Index by Subject

Creation, Faith, and the Authority of God

The author of Hebrews writes, “Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Hebrews 11:6).  What causes people to believe in God?  Parents play a great role in many people’s lives that come to believe in God (see Ephesians 6:1-2).  Sometimes preachers, friends, family members, or a spouse help us come to faith (2 Timothy 2:2).  What caused you to believe that God is?  Our Bibles reveal that creation is the central cause of man’s faith.  Creation establishes faith, the authority of God, revelation, and our responsibility to be obedient.  Creation ought to be the beginning point of study with unbelievers.

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The Intolerance of Toleration

intoleranceI recently came across an internet article listing the 5 most hated YouTube videos in internet history. This list was based upon the number of “thumbs down” designations given. Fifth on the list is the music video, “Baby”, by teen pop singer Justin Bieber. First on the list is a young lady who videotaped her opinion that the earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Japan was an answer to prayer, that God might convince the atheist of His existence. Interestingly, the girl later admitted that her video is a hoax, deliberately outrageous with the intent of provoking the ire of viewers.

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Paul’s Concern For the Souls of Men

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

The Work of an Evangelist

In 2 Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” The admonition is serious, and any man who would take on the work should have an understanding of what God requires of him. It is also important that all Christians know what is the evangelist’s work.

Too many times I have heard the simplistic answer, “The evangelist is to evangelize!” The Greek word for evangelist means, “the bringer of good tidings … one who brings good news.” So, looking at the definition, the evangelist preaches the gospel to the lost. When this is contended, it is sometimes intended to limit the work of the evangelist to that single act, preaching to the lost.

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Video Script: The Power of the Gospel (7)

In Ephesians 2:8-9, The apostle Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

We are saved through faith. That is a wonderful thing to know, and yet it remains that we must determine what Faith is, and further, what our faith will be in!

Fortunately for our soul’s sake, both questions are easy to answer. Faith is simply belief. If we believe something, we are said to have faith in it. So, the second question can be phrased in this way: "What is it that we believe in that brings us that salvation we seek?"

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Doing the First Works: New Testament Conversions

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.

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India – Teaching Liberal Preachers Sound Doctrine

This past January 2010, I had the pleasure of joining Joe Price and Dan Torres with a number of Indian brethren in Bangalore, South India to teach classes to more than 120 liberal gospel preachers who expressed interest in leaving their institutional backgrounds. Having never preached or taught the gospel of Christ in another country I found the experience much more rewarding than I ever would have thought. I would like to highly recommend the potential and the validity of this extraordinary effort that after following this work from its inception from afar I have now had the chance to witness it and join in to do my part.

Of course, Joe Price had been on four previous trips to India and Dan Torres had been previously as well, so I was the new guy. This work was originally pioneered by Bobby Holmes and Stan Cox back in 2004 and faithful brethren had come nearly every year in the intervening years. On my trip I was filling in for Bobby, who requested me to come to fill in for him, since his health has become perilous and he has decided because of the sometimes difficult aspects of such travels he cannot return. Bobby has been indefatigable through his many trips to India and his devotion to the spread of the truth throughout India is unquestioned. In fact, if you spend some time with Bobby you will learn that his enthusiasm for India is infectious!

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The Parable of the Soil Tester

Behold a sower went out to sow. But before he cast a single seed, he got down on his knees and tested the soil. Here it was too dirty and there it had too much clay and over by the way it was too distant to consider. He tested more soil and decided it was unlikely to receive his seed positively and after a little while came to the conclusion that all the soil around him was infertile and so he went back and sat on the porch until he nearly starved. When his master returned, he was cast off the estate and punished for wasting his seeds and not trusting in their power.

Therefore, hear the parable of the soil tester: When anyone confronts his duty to share the gospel seed with others, he takes it in his heart and mouth and considers where he might sow it in the interest of being fruitful. Sadly, his master never instructed him to waste time testing the soil, but he believes it to be practical and wise to whittle down the field to a few likely spots. Yet all he sees are people in sin; he’s looking for people that don’t seem to need the gospel to share the gospel with! And he is surprised that he can’t find any!

The soil tester turns up his nose at the man with tattoos and the coworker who is trying to quit smoking. He judges everyone under the age of 30 to be too wild and everyone over the age of 30 to be too old to change their ways. At the end of the day, the soil tester has not sown a single seed, but he feels justified because it is the soil’s inadequacies that are to blame. When Jesus returns, however, he is found to have wasted his opportunities as a poor steward of the seeds and he is cast into outer darkness as an unprofitable servant.

The Influence of Eastern and “New Age” Beliefs

When Americans sit in their different worship services, the chances are that one in five of the people there find “spiritual energy” in mountains or trees, one in four believe in astrology, one in four believe yoga is a “spiritual practice,” and one in six believe in the “evil eye,” that certain people can cast curses with a look. Continue reading » The Influence of Eastern and “New Age” Beliefs

Editorial: A New Church in India

In November of 2004, Bobby Holmes and I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to India, and preach the gospel.  We were in the country for the full month, and much was accomplished in the effort, due to the grace of our Lord and the power of His word.

Background

While Joshua Mahendranath was working in Kuwait, he determined to use his time away from his family to study for himself the truth of God’s word.  He signed up for many correspondence courses over the internet, and from them found that those courses he received from churches of Christ were different.  They were challenging and Bible based, and from them he learned the truth.

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White Unto Harvest: American Christians’ Support of the Gospel in the Philippines

It has been a pleasure and encouragement to meet brethren in the Philippines and have the opportunity to work with them in the spread of the Gospel. Like other American preachers before me, a matter of great concern to me has been the number of Filipino preachers who work with little or no financial support for their labors. Time has not only caused me to appreciate the sacrifices of such men, it has also caused me to view the problem from the opposite standpoint, that of brethren in the U.S. Several preachers in the Philippines are supported by brethren or churches in America, but only a small percentage of faithful Filipino brethren receive such support. Still other Filipino brethren have sought support for their work and have not been successful. They have preached for years while supporting themselves by whatever means available and such men are worthy of our love and respect because of their sacrifices in serving the Lord without complaint.

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God’s Pattern for Evangelism

In an earlier article we took note of the fact that God has a pattern for what we are to do. We noted that when His patten is ignored or changed we bring down the wrath of God upon ourselves.

One example of this is found in the Israelites disregard for God’s pattern for transporting the ark of the covenant. God had directed only the house of Kohath was to carry the ark of the covenant, (cf. Numbers 4:15), but no one was to touch it. When the Israelites decided to move it on one occasion and did not follow the pattern God had set up, they were cursed in their efforts.  When Uzza reached out to keep the ark from falling, God struck him dead (1 Chronicles 13:7-10). Later, King David recognized his error (1 Chronicles 15:1-2), and corrected it. David also acknowledged his wrong. "For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order."  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.   And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD"  (1 Chronicles 15:13-15).

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White Unto Harvest: Forty Years Ago and Now

Edwin Broadus
(Truth Magazine, November 1957, Vol. II, No. 2, page 3)

In 1915 the Gospel Advocate published several special articles on missionary work, as well as other subjects. These articles were reprinted the following year in two volumes entitled Christian Treasures. Excerpts from these books should be of interest to us today because they remind us of the wonderful progress that the gospel has made since that time in many sections of our nation. They should also serve to encourage all who are laboring in places where the cause of Christ is weak and where growth seems extremely slow.

At that time John E. Dunn reported that to his knowledge "there are but two sections of country in the world that are fairly well evangelized. They are Middle Tennessee and Central North Texas." He then added, "There is one sad – very sad – condition in both of these districts. Nearly all the churches and preachers are at ease in Zion. They are very much like the church at Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-22). O, for more zeal, sacrifice, and consecration after the type of Paul and Timothy."

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White Unto Harvest: Saving Money Until Jesus Comes

(Article written by Bobby L. Graham, Guardian of Truth, May 4, 1989)

About thirty years ago at the Holt-Wallace Debate in Florence, Alabama, brother G.A. Dunn remarked to this writer’s father that most problems that had come about among the Lord’s people related to money.  Whether his judgment was precisely correct or not, experience indicates his remark apropos. The variety of problems involving money in local churches and among different local churches has included disdain for the very idea of a local-church treasury, reluctance to use the money collected, and looseness in the use of church funds.

A Local Church Treasury

The first congregation in Jerusalem had a treasury under the control of the apostles. Acts 4:32-5:10 demonstrates that generous saints funded the physical assistance of their brethren’s daily needs. The funds likely never made it to the bank, but a fund was initiated and maintained for an indefinite period of time for the expeditious meeting of needs.

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White Unto Harvest: Sending Forth Laborers

Feature Editor’s Note:  This month’s article is a fine effort by brother Joe R. Price.  I commend the article to you, as well as the reports from foreign fields which follows.

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."  (Matt. 9:37-38)

The need for laborers in the work of harvesting souls is undeniable.  For that matter, so is the fact that every Christian, according to his or her abilities and opportunities, is to be a laborer reaping souls in God’s harvest (Acts 8:4).

The truth is that many Christians need to repent of a lack of work in this area.  We need to rededicate our hearts and refocus our attention on trying to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ.  We sing, "to the work, to the work," but too often our lives say, "let somebody else work!"

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Associate Editorial: The Importance of Biblical Preaching

"Preach the word," was Paul’s instruction to Timothy, the young evangelist (2 Tim. 4:2). The apostle Peter also said, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). Though they lived in the "Golden Age of Greece" when philosophy was so prevalent, both of these inspired apostles directed evangelists to base their preaching solidly on God’s revealed word. In fact, Paul made direct reference to the difference between human wisdom and divine wisdom when he wrote to the church at Corinth, an ancient pagan city. "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (1 Cor. 1:20). The wisdom of the world did not acknowledge even the existence of God. "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (v. 21).

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White Unto Harvest: "Ye Have the Poor Always With You"

From our earliest experiences in Lithuania we have been confronted with the extreme poverty of many people there. While things have slowly improved over the years it is clear that the changes of the early 1990’s came too late for many Lithuanians. This is likely also the case in other East European countries. The majority of the people above the ages of 40-45 have found it difficult to adapt to life in a market economy. Pensions and social help pay the barest minimum. Work opportunities are scarce. Further, opportunities are certainly not abundant for those of a more marketable age. Meanwhile, all face the normal expenses life brings upon one. One sees many beggars on the streets. Also, street work, such as we do there, brings one into contact with all classes of people, including beggars. If there has ever been a visit there where I have not helped some poor person(s) financially it escapes me at this time. I always bring some of my own money (as apart from the money I raise from churches to pay my expenses) along when I go there with this in mind and helped several poor people during my most recent time there. Hopefully, the above lines have turned the reader’s mind to a subject that cannot help but trouble those who contemplate it – and that from several aspects. It is our purpose in this article to discuss different Bible texts and some facts relevant to the poor and the Christian’s responsibility to them in the mission field.

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Preaching in the Pacific Northwest – Report 2 (1998, 1999, 2001)

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles recounting brother Holmes’ preaching trips to, primarily, the Pacific Northwest.

1998

Jo Ann and I waited until the first of May in 1998 to leave for the Northwest again. We did this for two reasons. First, to give us time to “get over” the grueling task of the eleven month work in 1997 and second, I needed time to work on some material for the trip.

My first meeting on this trip was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We had planned on leaving early Monday morning, but Jo Ann became very ill with a virus like condition that caused, among other things, severe vomiting and extreme weakness. I took her to our doctor Monday morning explaining our need to leave as soon as possible and he gave her some strong medication including something to “put her out” to overcome the vomiting. Though she was still not feeling “up to par”, we left on Wednesday and traveled hard as I was to begin the meeting in Rock Springs on Sunday.

Continue reading » Preaching in the Pacific Northwest – Report 2 (1998, 1999, 2001)

Preaching in the Pacific Northwest: Report 1 (1997)

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles recounting brother Holmes’ preaching trips to, primarily, the Pacific Northwest.

On January 3rd, 1997, JoAnn (my wife) and I left our home in Duncanville Texas and spent eleven months on an extended preaching trip, at least half of it in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wisconsin and the province of Alberta Canada. The rest of the time was spent in my holding meetings in Ohio, Mississippi, W. Virginia and the south Texas area.

In preparation for the trip I resigned as an evangelist for the Dallas Avenue church in Lancaster Texas December 31, 1996 after fourteen years of the best local work of my almost fifty years of preaching. With the help of a working membership who helped to arrange Bible studies for me, I baptized over 100 souls into Christ during that time.

The eleven month trip in 1997 came about as a result of several years of preaching trips I had taken into Canada. Four days driving up and four days back home put me in contact with several souls who would ask, "Why can’t you come help us?". Most of these brethren had no preacher to work with them and were struggling. A burning desire to help these precious souls began to grow within me until finally I told Jo Ann and the elders at Dallas Avenue that I simply had to go before I grew too old and my health failed me.

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White Unto Harvest: Russia – Belgorod Applies Anti-Missionary Law

    (June 01, 2001) The regional duma (parliament) of Belgorod region, approximately 450 miles south of Moscow, has passed a local law sharply restricting missionary activity. The new law is supported by the local Orthodox bishop and the governor, but opposed by Belgorod’s Protestants, some of whom have already had it applied against them.

    According to Keston News Service, a Pentecostal church was denied permission for public events in the city center in April as an official claimed the possible presence of children without written permission of their parents meant the events would violate the law, although the Orthodox had no problems holding public Easter celebrations with children present.

    Unlike many similar local laws in Russia, "On Missionary Activity on the Territory of Belgorod Region" is not just confined to foreign citizens, although they are specifically prohibited from conducting missionary activity if they have come to Belgorod for a different reason.

    Residents of other Russian regions intending to carry out missionary activity in Belgorod must also submit to the local authorities a document confirming their affiliation to a particular religious organization, a copy of their invitation to the region, an itinerary of their stay, and proof of local registration.

    (http://www.keston.org)

    http://news.crosswalk.com/religion/item/0,1875,347471,00.htm

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Bible Commentary
Joe R. Price

This reminds me of the visionary "invitation" (plea) to Paul to "come over to Macedonia and help us" (Acts 16:9-10). I don’t think Paul said, "No, you have to first send us a written invitation before we can preach in your country!" He instead concluded "that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them." Paul and Silas would be thrown into prison there, accused of teaching "customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe" (Acts 16:21). Nevertheless, the Lord blessed their work (Acts 16:25-40).

Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Russia – Belgorod Applies Anti-Missionary Law