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
It seems that our society is always changing for the worse. Immorality is shamelessly promoted and defended by celebrities, educators, and politicians. The law of our nation will allow a mother to kill her unborn baby, but will incarcerate a man for mistreating his pet. We have seen great changes in our nation as a result of the pro-homosexual agenda. What was once considered an abomination, detested and rejected by our society, has become embraced and championed. Laws have been changed, marriage has been re-defined, entire denominations have become split over this issue – and it is only getting worse.
The religious landscape of our nation is also changing. Basic truths of Christianity are constantly challenged and denied by so-called Christians. This change has had an impact upon some of our brethren. In recent years we have heard brethren make arguments for a figurative interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, question the inspiration of 2 Peter and Jude, and deny the eternal nature of Hell.
All this change going on in the world is enough to make one’s head swim. However, we must remember that we are not the first ones to have lived in a time of great moral decline. Things generally happen in cycles (consider the book of Judges), which should indicate to us that we are not living in the “worst of times.” Continue reading » Timeless Truths in an Ever-Changing World
James said that the tongue is “a world of iniquity” (James 3:6). Indeed, there are numerous sins that can be committed by or aided with the misuse of the tongue. When one thinks of the sins that are committed with the tongue, he often thinks of things such as lying, speaking blasphemies, using profanity, and gossip. However, we rarely consider complaining to be a sin.
Americans are granted the freedom of speech, and many of us exercise this right with pride and passion. We think very little of voicing a criticism or complaint about another’s driving on the highway or service at a restaurant. We see it as our civic duty to complain about our elected officials. We feel that the price we paid for admission to a sporting event gives us the right to let the players, coaches, and umpires know if they are doing a lousy job. We even have careers that are based upon the practice of criticism (restaurant critic, movie critic, etc.). Our society abounds with criticism. For this reason, some Christians have a difficult time viewing complaining and criticizing as a sin.
Continue reading » The Sin of Complaining
Paul tells us that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8, emphasis mine, HR). We understand that Jesus came to this world to die for our sins because no one else could accomplish this task. He was our only hope. However, someone might ask, “Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?”
Death by crucifixion was the most painful manner in which a person could be put to death. Suspended from the ground, the weight of the victim’s entire body pulled against metal spikes which were driven through the hands (wrists) and the feet. The victim would writhe in pain as he slowly died of asphyxiation. Continue reading » Why the Cross?
The last paragraph in what we call James chapter four begins with the words, “Come now.”
The message of the gospel and the call of God consistently is “Come now”–don’t wait until later. Procrastination is a pervasive problem and probably no one among us is immune to its allure. It has been said, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” The allure of tomorrow regarding obligations that are onerous or costly or humbling is that tomorrow never comes.
Continue reading » Come Now
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
There has likely been more interest in mission work in the 1990’s than in anytime since the period immediately following the Second World War. The countries wherein Gospel preachers are presently laboring are numerous enough that even attempting to list all of them and all the workers is quite a chore (I tried this recently). This alone is a testimony to the commitment preachers and churches have shown toward fulfilling the great commission in our time. In spite of all these efforts to further the Gospel a familiar enemy can present a great hindrance: Discouragement.
Discouragement can rob a foreign worker of the zeal and devotion he needs both to sow the seed and bring fruit “to perfection” (Luke 8:14). It can cause him to be lax toward his own spiritual needs and can sap or divert his energy, or even cause him to leave the mission field. Such a state of mind will affect his work negatively: When the preacher is discouraged he will have a hard time encouraging others — both lost and saved. Thus, in spite of the interest and support of brethren in many places, discouragement can blunt the sword of the Gospel at the very point of contact with needy souls in the mission field. Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Dealing With Discouragement in Mission Work