We all have loved ones that we long to see converted and saved. What will save the sexually immoral homosexual, fornicator and adulterer? That which will forever change man from the power of darkness to light is to see Jesus as did the Apostle Paul. Seeing Jesus will cause the murderer, thief, thug, agnostic, atheist, pessimists, evolutionist, pro-abortionist, prejudice, drug user and alcoholic to repent and obey God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Seeing Jesus will transform the mind from corruption to righteousness (see Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 1:12-14). A mind opposed to Christ will only come to receive Christ by seeing him. Saul of Tarsus was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins because he saw Jesus (see Acts 22:16). Continue reading » Have You Seen Jesus?
Even casual discussions with friends and loved ones who are outside of the churches of Christ can reveal a very strange mythology that has developed around them.
They are sometimes mischaracterized, maligned, and ostracized on the basis of misunderstood or poorly explained practices. Not all the criticisms, of course, are unfair or false, even if the scriptural basis for the differences among us goes unexplored. It is the mythology about churches of Christ that concerns us now, the kind of thing one hears about them from those operating according to ignorance or malice. Continue reading » Legends of the Churches of Christ
There are several phrases and themes that are used repeatedly throughout the Bible. One is these is “light” and the ongoing contrast between light and darkness.
The creation of light is the first command given by the God (Genesis 1:3). At the end of the Bible, the light of God is shown as overwhelming and casting out all darkness (Revelation 22:5). Between these two beacons, the imagery of light makes nearly two hundred appearances in the Bible. Continue reading » Let There Be Light
I started thinking the other day about our unique and special new year. It is the start not only of a new day, but a new month and a new year. There is something special about something new; it is fresher, cleaner, brighter and shinier. They are not old, rusted, decayed, bent, broken, dusty, dingy or damaged. Politicians have recognized the deep desire that people have for something new. Continue reading » “Behold I Will Do A New Thing”
Did You Know That All Of The Conversions In The New Testament Are Found In The Book of Acts?
A very excellent fact to know is that all of the cases of conversion are very conveniently found in the Book of Acts. Added to this is the fact that all of these cases of conversion mention baptism. The prevailing denominational views of course minimize or eliminate the need for actual baptism over variations of grace only salvation.
I have rejoiced many times to see the happy amazement of so many Christians when this basic help to their understanding is revealed to them. They almost hate to admit that such an obvious truth has been right in front of them all along. But now that they know about it, they are thrilled with prospects of easier access, less bumbling and confusion on their part when they are attempting to convert the lost.
Continue reading » Doing the First Works: New Testament Conversions
This article consists of an analysis of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, recorded in John 3. As the conversation is lengthy, and I desired to include the entire context in this one article, it too is rather long.
Born Again (John 3:1-5)
Jesus, in John 3, had a conversation with a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus. While it is obvious by Nicodemus’ words he was impressed with Jesus, it must be noted that he was ignorant of who Jesus truly was, and was a bit cautious in his approach.
Nicodemus referred to the Lord as a “rabbi” (teacher), and acknowledged that the miracles Jesus performed marked Him as a man from God. However, the fact that John revealed the ruler’s approach to be “by night” indicates that Nicodemus may have desired not to be seen talking with such a controversial man.
Continue reading » "You Must Be Born Again"
(Providing for the Spiritual Needs of Remote Converts)
Last month we looked at the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. After the account of his conversion in Acts 8 the Ethiopian Eunuch disappears from the pages of inspired history. We are simply told that, "he went on his way rejoicing" (v. 39). We assume he went back to his home in Ethiopia and back to his work as treasurer of Candice, queen of that country (v. 27). However, in light of his character, we are led to wonder about his future as a Christian and the future of the Lord’s work in Ethiopia.
Our purpose in asking the question contained in our title is not to direct attention to the eunuch specifically or engage in needless speculation. Rather, we seek to use him as an example of cases we sometimes face in mission work today. Specifically, that of people we convert who live far removed from us as well as other Christians of whom we may be aware. There have been a number of cases. Some are converted via Bible correspondence courses, others on a visit to a location where lectures are being held or where a church exists. Still others have been converted by a short-term preaching effort in their locale. After conversion such people are very much like the eunuch would have been in Ethiopia in that they find themselves nowhere near other Christians. How can we help such babes in Christ grow and prosper in the Lord? We offer several suggestions.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: What Became of the Eunuch?
People often comment on how much things change with the passing of time. We also see this with things found in the New Testament. Many things we find therein are very different from what we see in modern day religion. A good example of this is seen when we compare cases of conversion from the book of Acts with some modern day concepts. Let us read of the case recorded in Acts 8:26-39:
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch
In the May 12, 2001 Faith & Inspiration section of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, staff writer Patrick McGee had an article entitled “New Believers, True Believers.” The article sought to answer the question, “…what brings people to the decision to change religions?”
The article serves to illustrate just how far away modern day religion has drifted from the holy scriptures.
For example, note the following quote from McGee:
“Clergy of a variety of faiths say some of their congregations’ most devout members are people who did not grow up in the faith – the converts.”
Of course, biblical conversion has reference to salvation from sins, not leaving one denomination to join another. Though the term can be used accommodatively in this way, the fact that an entire article is written on the subject of conversion without salvation from sin even being mentioned is an indication that the entire concept has been distorted in modern denominations. Continue reading » Editorial: What Is Conversion?
In the 8th chapter of Acts, we find the record of the work of Philip the Evangelist in Samaria, and as he was called by an angel of God for a special mission to preach to one man (Acts 8:5; Acts 8:26). He preached to multitudes in Samaria with great success. Philip was not an apostle, but was obviously a gifted teacher and preacher of God’s word who had the gift to do miracles but not the apostolic privilege of passing on his gifts to others (Acts 8:7, 13, 18).
In the case of both circumstances where Philip preached, people were baptized into Christ (Acts 8:12, 13, 38). The record tells of his preaching “the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12) and simply preaching “Jesus” (Acts 8:35) both of which resulted in the baptism of those who heard him preach and believed what they heard. All of this was in keeping with the command of Jesus given first to His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and in baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Continue reading » Associate Editorial: The Conversion of the Ethiopian
The theme of this month’s Watchman is the subject of conversion. The dictionary tells us that conversion is a change. In a religious context, conversion is a change of faith, the acceptance of some new faith or standard of practice. What the theme authors have done this month is to take the accounts of four conversions: the 3,000 at Pentecost in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Eunuch, Lydia, and the Philippian Jailor and show by the consistency of the actions which they took, that there is a singular standard by which men are converted to Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, in Romans 1:15-17, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” The singular standard by which men are converted is the gospel of Christ. It is the power of God unto salvation. It is that which must be preached in order for men to see the righteousness of God. If we will ever find justification, we must live by the faith that is the gospel of Christ. Continue reading » New Testament Conversions: Theme Editorial
The Philippian jailer is a most interesting tale of conversion. The scene is set and the characters are introduced in verses 22 – 24. The magistrates, in response to allegations made against Paul and
It is interesting to note that neither the beating nor the imprisonment shook the faith of Paul nor Silas. In fact at midnight the scriptures say that they were praying and singing hymns to God. This activity is an example of what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:16 “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” It was a testimony of their faith in God, to both the prisoners and the jailer. Maybe this is the reason that no one left when the earthquake opened all the doors and loosed everyone’s chains. Continue reading » New Testament Conversions: The Conversion of the Philippian Jailor (Acts 16)
How “the Lord Opened Her Heart”
In the city of Troas on the northeast coast of the blue Aegean Sea, Paul the apostle of Christ received the “Macedonian call”. He saw a man in a vision saying “Come over to Macedonia and help us”
(Acts 16:10). Paul and his preaching companions immediately sought passage to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called them to preach the gospel there. They sailed across the Aegean and made their way to Philippi, “which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia”
(Acts 16:12). On the Sabbath day, they went out of the city to the riverside to a place where prayer was customarily made. They sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Here is the account of what happened next in the inspired words of one of the evangelists who was present:
“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she constrained us” (Acts 16:14-15). Continue reading » New Testament Conversions: The Conversion of Lydia (Acts 16)
“And he ordered the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38)
It must have been an odd sight to anyone who might have passed by – these two grown men down in the water practicing this strange ritual; one dunking the other, burying him completely under the water and then raising him up again; the one dunked coming up out of the water rejoicing like some kind of heavy burden had just been lifted from his shoulders, or like he had just been set free from a life of slavery, or prison. But then, maybe it was not such an odd sight after all. Maybe this kind of thing was going on all over Judea. We know that three thousand had gone through a similar experience in one day in Jerusalem not many weeks before this (Acts 2:41). And we know that a multitude of men and women in Samaria had done this exact same thing just days before. Perhaps by now the typical response of the passer-by would have been, “There goes another one!” Continue reading » New Testament Conversions: The Conversion of the Ethiopian (Acts 8)
In Acts chapter 2 we have the record of the conversion and salvation of about 3000 souls, Acts 2:41. These conversions were effected by the power of the Holy Spirit as He worked through the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told that the 12 apostles were together in one place on the day of Pentecost when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, Acts 2:1-4. This was the promise from the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which was promised the apostles in Acts 1:4,5. On that first day of Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead the Holy Spirit worked through the 12 apostles. He worked through them in performing the signs and wonders of that day, Acts 2:4-12. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth to the apostles, reminded them of Jesus’ words, and gave them the very words they were to speak, John 16:13; 14:26; Matthew 10:19,20. In doing this the Holy Spirit was fulfilling the work Jesus said he would perform in convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment, John 16:8. Continue reading » New Testament Conversions: The Conversion of the 3000 (Acts 2)