Most will remember that the Israelites left Egypt under the command of God’s servant, Moses, who led them through the wilderness forty years until they finally reached the Promised Land.
At that point, Moses died and Joshua took charge, leading the people into battle to take control of their land. Because Jehovah’s religion was to have one Lord and be free of idolatry and superstition, the faith of the heathen was a great danger. God commanded that they should be eliminated, but they weren’t.
Today, our strategy in dealing with the world around us involves conversion rather than extermination, but immersion in this life affords us the same opportunities to influence for good or to be influenced for evil. What are the dangers when we mingle with the Gentiles?
Continue reading » Mingling With the Gentiles
No doubt you have heard the following story in one form or another:
The pig and the chicken walked down the street together. Every restaurant they passed had signs in the window advertising, “Ham and Eggs.”
“See,” said the chicken, “We’re famous.”
The pig grunted. “For you,” he said, “a plate of ham and eggs is just a cackle. For me it’s the supreme sacrifice.”
In a more concise form it is observed that when it comes to such a breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed!
Continue reading » Editorial: Commitment of Biblical Proportions
How many members were there in the church at Corinth? The churches of Rome or Galatia? Any one of the seven churches of the Revelation? We don’t know.
Why don’t we know? The Bible doesn’t tell us.
Now, the Bible does tell us “…all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). So, the more important question is: Why would we ask?
Satan moved David to number the people. God had said not to number the people. He didn’t want Israel to trust in himself and his own strength. (1 Chronicles 21:1; Exodus 30:12)
Gideon learned that his 30,000 mustered troops were too strong. God whittled it down to 300. That way they could fell an army of over 100,000 and know for sure that God had delivered them rather than their own military might. (Judges 7:2; 8:10)
The disciples asked Jesus whether it was few who would be saved. He replied, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” He also taught, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:14)
How many are “a few?” Peter said “a few” were saved in the days of Noah. That means eight. And Noah had preached the gospel for a hundred years by that time. (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; Genesis 5:32; 7:6)
Jonathan son of Saul understood that “…nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few,” as he and his shield-bearer overthrew a Philistine garrison (1 Samuel 14:6).
One great concern that Paul shared with all of us who undertake some difficult and personally emotional objective is that the work might turn out to be in vain.
An account executive might work for months in an attempt to woo a client only to have another firm swoop in and steal him away. A doctor can labor in an operating room for hours only to have his patient die on the way to recovery. A Christian can study with an unbeliever for months, see him converted and then watch as he shrinks back into perdition. All are filled with a sense that their work was in vain as Solomon put it first (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
For example, Paul writes the Thessalonians: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Learning from Christ’s parable, Paul understood that tribulation and persecution had the power to uproot faith in the sapling stage and destroy it (Matthew 13:21). Yet the Thessalonians were standing firm and Paul’s work was not in vain (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). They continued to be examples of perseverance to others (1 Thessalonians 1:6-2:1). Continue reading » Conduct Worthy of The Gospel
I must begin by saying up front that I am not a farmer, nor a gardener, nor anything else that may faintly resemble either of those noble professions or avocations. I am a city boy, born and raised. Having said that, however, after almost 25 years of preaching the gospel, I have picked up enough information along the way to be able to address this topic. Watchman is a webzine dedicated to the truth of God’s word, so we will limit our remarks to His revelation and not any personal frame of reference.
The theme of this month’s issue is on the “fruit of the Spirit” from Galatians 5. I am certain that Stan and the writers who have contributed to this issue have done a superb job of putting before us the issue of “bearing” that fruit in accord with the will of God. Of that fact I have no doubt. In this article, I want us to focus on three passages that have to do with the general topic of bearing fruit and see what the Lord says about this important task.
“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Discipleship is demanded of the Lord. The goal of the Great Commission was to “make disciples” (Mathew 28:19). It was the “disciples” who were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). The obvious point is that if we are going to prove to be disciples, we must bear fruit, and, not only that, but, as Jesus said, bear much fruit. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Bearing Fruit
The work under consideration in this article is that of the individual Christian. This is not an attempt to justify any activation of the church in a “universal” sense. The church in the “universal” or “relational” sense merely refers to all Christians of all time in every location who have been saved by the blood of Christ and have submitted themselves to His headship. It is not the sum of all local churches presently in existence. Thus, the “universal” church is relational in its nature, not functional.
As individual Christians, we share a relationship to one another regardless of our present location due to our common family in the new birth. The love and concern that comes with that family bond leads us to fulfill various responsibilities which we have to our brothers and sisters wherever they might be. Though the Lord established local churches to function corporately in ways prescribed by His will, He did not relegate all religious action to the joint work of a local church. Much of the work to be done in spiritual matters has been left to individual Christians. When engaged in such work, the individual Christian is not restricted to acting only within some diocesan border defined by geographic locality. Continue reading » Christians At Work in the Universal Church
A disciple is a student, a follower, and an imitator of his or her teacher. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). The Lord expressed Himself plainly: disciples have work to do, and it will cost them something. It is only right, since He denied Himself and took up the cross on our behalf, that we serve Him thus.
The Scriptures also describe Christians as priests of the Most High God. “You…are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). What is that sacrifice? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). These passages indicate that Christians–all Christians–have a responsibility before God. Every one of us is a priest, and every one of us must offer himself or herself up as a sacrifice to Him by denying ungodliness and worldly desires–yes, and even denying ourselves! Continue reading » The Work of Disciples
The Lord’s church today needs devoted disciples! The truthfulness of this statement is self-evident. The purpose of this article, and one of the reasons for this special issue of Watchman, is the recognition that there are many challenges besetting the church as we near a new century. In order for God’s institution to be able to fulfill His mission for it, Christians must do their work. It should be obvious to any with discernment that a primary need is devotion on our part, as individual Christians. Webster’s New World Dictionary, in describing the nuances of the term “devote”, states, “Devote suggests the giving up or applying of oneself or something with the seriousness or earnestness evoked by a formal vow (to devote one’s life to a cause).” No other phrase defines the essence of discipleship better than the “giving up or applying of oneself.” Consider the Apostle Paul’s sentiment as recorded in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” It must be stated that the only true disciple of Christ is the devoted disciple of Christ. Continue reading » Editorial: Devoted Disciples