The readers of what we call the Hebrew letter were a people in great distress, convinced of the lordship of Jesus Christ, but overwhelmed by the persecution and ostracism that came with it.
To dissuade them from abandoning their faith in the son of God, the now anonymous writer assembled a number of arguments around a theme of the superiority of the new covenant to that of Moses. Like all disciples, they had the free will to choose faithfulness or apostasy, and the stakes involved their very salvation and eternal fate.
Continue reading » Fury of Fire
Don’t you love this strong admonition of Solomon’s? Often we hear moaning and groaning that Christians are not doing their duty. We might have even joined in such a tirade. To some this explains why the Lord’s church seems to be dwindling in our time or that preachers or brethren in general will not take a stand for the truth as they should. Some get so depressed they seem to have in common the woeful sentiment Elijah expressed, “…And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1Kings 19:4a) I hope we do not actually go this far when we are discouraged. No doubt many of God’s children are content to be “sluggards.” But I have noticed a peculiar thing about those complaining and that is they are not talking about their own personal efforts but are mostly bemoaning that others are not doing enough or we blame others for causing our state of mind. Continue reading » “Go to the Ant, Thou Sluggard” – Proverbs 6:6
One of the greatest tragedies of the church today is our apparent apathy toward the souls of men. We can become so caught up in the material aspects of our daily lives that we all too often lose sight of the spiritual condition of those around us. As Jesus Himself lamented, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
The apostle Paul was a man who saw the need to respond to the Lord’s appeal for laborers. The extent of Paul’s concern for lost souls can be seen in all of his efforts and writings, but this article will focus upon the first few verses of his address to the elders of the church in Ephesus recorded in Acts 20:17-21. Continue reading » Paul’s Concern For the Souls of Men
More than forty years ago, I shared in the Lord’s work with a faithful gospel preacher in Birmingham, Alabama, who was the only preacher among our black brethren in that area who truly stood firm for the Truth and preached it with all boldness. Brother James Ashhurst, now deceased, was one of the finest men that I have ever had the opportunity to work with in my efforts to preach the gospel. Brethren Frank Smith and Bob Crawley, both now deceased, had the same confidence in this brother and diligently worked to help him in every way that they could to carry the gospel to the black people who made up almost half of the population of Birmingham during those difficult years of the 60’s.
Brother Ashhurst was telling me one day about a brother whom he was trying to strengthen through teaching and said to me, “brother Reed, helping this brother is like trying to charge a battery which has a dead cell – you can charge it, and charge it, and charge it, and it will still be dead!” I thought then, and think even more today that our lack of effectiveness in providing strength, soundness, and knowledge to a great many of our brethren is being hampered tremendously by our having to try so hard to charge a battery which has a dead cell!
Continue reading » Charging A Battery That Has A Bad Cell
Editor’s Note: With this issue of Watchman, we welcome aboard brother Jeff S. Smith as our Solid Food columnist. Jeff is a very talented writer, and a studious man. In my association with Jeff, I have been impressed with his logical mind, his strong spine, and his quiet good humor. While he is just now joining our magazine on a monthly basis, he has written several good articles for us in the past. We look forward to his more regular contributions! If you don’t know Jeff well, be sure to visit our page of Biographical Sketches to learn more of him and his work for the Wonsely Drive congregation in Austin, TX. Meanwhile, here is his first article under the byline “Solid Food.”
The Hebrew writer was compelled to interrupt his explanation of the priesthood of Melchizedek to chastise his readers, whom he surmised would find such a subject beyond comprehension. The fault for this ignorance lay not in the writer, he asserted, but the reader, whose ability to grasp the scriptures had not grown properly. Although he had much to say about Melchizedek, he was hesitant to begin because his readers had “become dull of hearing”
(Heb. 5:11). Continue reading » Solid Food: Solid Food
Article: Ignorance and Apathy
For the last several months, I have not made any contributions to the Watchman Magazine effort. Some of it was due to illness and most of the summer and early fall have been consumed with matters relevant to my recent move to Lafayette, Louisiana. I am thankful to God for the improvement in my health and for answering many prayers on my behalf. I am thankful to so many brethren who encouraged me with their kind words and their prayers throughout most of this year. I am especially grateful to Stan and Tom for their patience with me in allowing me to stay on the masthead of this great publication while not doing any of the work. There is much work yet to do, and I intend, with God’s help, to be a part of that work. Thank you.
All of us, I am sure, have heard the story of the two people discussing words. One fellow asks the other, “What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?” Since they had been discussing words for quite awhile, the other man responded in his frustration, “I don’t know, and, quite frankly, I don’t care!” Little did this second fellow realize that he had defined both words with eloquent simplicity and pointed application.In Paul’s writings to Timothy, he said many things that would prevent the evangelist from falling prey to either of these maladies. “Study to show yourself approved…”
(2 Timothy 2:15). “O Timothy, guard what was committed to your trust…”
(1 Timothy 6:20). “These things I write to you…that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church…”
(1 Timothy 3:14-15). “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine”
(1 Timothy 4:13). Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Ignorance and Apathy