The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 7, 2010
1) Lessons My Dad Taught Me (Leon Mauldin)
2) Pleasant Words (Roger Shouse)
3) News & Notes
Lessons My Dad Taught Me
by Leon Mauldin
When a loved one dies, it is normal to engage in some reflective
thinking on the life of the deceased. One's memory seems to select
those incidents and occurrences, which, now that death has come, take
on special significance. Perhaps this is a factor that helps the
survivors in the "healing process" that needs to occur when we "have
said 'Good-bye' to the dearest on earth" to us. It has just now been
two years since my father died of cancer. This has given me the
occasion to reflect upon lessons that I learned from him, for which I
will always be thankful.
The Bible Is Right
My father had absolute faith in the inspiration and infallibility of
Scripture. For example, he had unquestioning faith, childlike faith, in
the Genesis account of creation. When God's Word said in Genesis 1:1,
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," that settled
the matter. In looking up at the skies, the handiwork of God was seen.
No theory of evolution was ever seen as a plausible explanation of the
things "that have been made" (Rom. 1:20; Heb. 11:3).
Likewise, in the matter of God's provision for our salvation in Christ
(Isa. 53; John 3:16) and obedience to the Gospel that we might receive
salvation, the Bible is right (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). One of my Dad's
favorite passages was that of the conversion of the Ethiopian nobleman
(Acts 8:26-40). Just weeks before his death, when he was no longer able
to locate references, he asked me to find that text for him.
I learned from my Dad that in all matters, the Bible is right. "All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped
for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16,17).
The reason that this attitude toward Scripture is important, is because
it is the attitude that Jesus had toward the word of God: God's Word is
right "and the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
My father taught me that Scripture is that which is spoken to you by
God; that it is God's word for us today. When Jesus was asked a
"knotty" marriage question that was really intended to disprove the
resurrection, He replied, "But as touching the resurrection of the
dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I
am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God
is not God of the dead, but of the living" (Matt. 22:31-32).
Although the words to which Jesus referred (Exodus 3) had been spoken
more than 1400 years earlier, the Scripture had direct application and
relevance for His audience. This is the exact view of Scripture which
we must have!
The Futility of Denominationalism
While there was never hatred or malice for our friends and neighbors
who were members of various denominations, I learned from my father a
very important principle: that the doctrines and traditions of men are
futile. If name, or doctrine, or belief or practice was not from heaven
(revealed in God's Word), then it was man-made, and was to be rejected.
With my father, it was as simple as that.
This principle is not true because he believed it, but because God's
word reveals it: "Thus you have made the commandment of God of no
effect by your tradition...And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as
doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:6,8-9). "Every plant which
My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted... And if the
blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matt. 15:13-14).
(Please read also Gal. l:6ff; 2 Jno. 9; Matt. 7:21-23; Lk. 6:46).
That Liberalism Is Wrong
When we moved to Sumiton, Alabama, in the early 60's, the Sumiton
church had not been established. I remember my Dad making a call to
brother Pryde E. Hinton, who was preaching at Sayre (Jefferson County),
whom we had never met, and asking him how the Sayre church stood
regarding church support of human institutions. Upon learning that the
church was scriptural in its organization and work, we began to worship
Even before that, I remember hearing discussions with relatives, where
Dad would maintain that there is a difference between an individual's
money, and the treasury of the church, and a difference between what he
could do with his money, and what the church could do with the Lord's
Regarding this subject, as well as much of these matters included in
this article, I have had the occasion to thoroughly study for myself.
My faith is not my father's faith; it is my faith, as indeed it must be
for me to be pleasing to God. But it is the word of God that speaks of
local churches with bishops and deacons (Phil. 1:1); of elders who tend
the flock among them (1 Pet. 5:2). It does not authorize such
arrangement as the sponsoring church, with elders overseeing the funds
and work of many churches. The Bible teaches that the work of the
church is evangelism, edification and benevolence (relief of needy
saints). The work is not recreation, entertainment, or social program.
Jesus did not shed His blood to purchase unto Himself a people that
would duplicate the services of various human organizations (Red Cross;
Human Services, etc.). I learn from reading the Bible that the church
is not authorized to build and maintain human institutions that propose
to do the work that God assigned to the church.
Sensitivity To People
From my father I learned to care about people; to be sensitive to
people. He was observant as to whether one "had something on his mind,"
or was upset, or had hurt feelings. In this regard, he readily saw what
others either do not see, or else have to be told.
Repeatedly in the ministry of Christ, we read that He was moved with
compassion. We also should have a heart of compassion (Col. 3:13) that
is sensitive to the needs of others, and be tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32).
This should find expression in our family. Truth must be lived and
practiced, but that includes conveying to one's spouse and children
tenderness toward them, and genuine care for them.
This is true regarding our brethren; sensitivity is needed here also.
Each of us are at different levels of growth. It is clear that if one
is unruly (disorderly, ASV), he is to be warned (1 Thess. 5:14); and if
that warning is not heeded, he is to be withdrawn from (2 Thess.
3:6). Truth must never be compromised. But we need to be
sensitive to the fact that not all are unruly; some are faint-headed,
others are weak. Some may struggle with problems which they have not
informed others about. "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those
who are unruly, comfort the faith-hearted, uphold the weak, be patient
with all" (1 Thes. 5:14). This calls for wisdom, and for sensitivity.
In all of this our goal should be to strengthen our brother's hand in
God (1 Sam. 23:16).
Toward those not yet children of God, there is a need for sensitivity.
I must ever keep in mind that "by the grace of God, I am what I am" (1
Cor. 15:10). Error must be met forcefully, but I must not be motivated
by glee in answering the opponent's argument. Remembering that people
in error have feelings too, I need to approach them as I would want
someone to teach me if I were in their shoes (Matt. 7:12). Each
Christian is told to be "ready to give a defense to everyone who asks
you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1
Pet. 3:15). That individual we teach in his home, in an effort to
convert him, must see that we are not merely filling our quota of calls
for the week; he must see that we have a genuine interest in and love
for his soul.
Conclusion: I have not written about opportunities that were fumbled,
and blunders that were made. There were many weaknesses in his life of
which my father was aware, and many things of which he was rightfully
ashamed, but I will always be thankful to have had these foundational
truths from God's Word to build on. These principles have helped
fortify my faith, and it is my desire that in some small way they may
strengthen your faith also.
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, November 1990, Volume 31, Number 11
by Roger Shouse
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the
bones" (Proverbs 16:24).
This passage shows the effect that pleasant words have to a person. It
is as if the words sink deeply within. They are sweet to the soul and
healing to the bones. Cold weather often makes our bones ache. Stress
and hard work can make us "bone tired." We have learned that calcium
can strengthen our bones. But in this passage, the writer is not
talking about literal bones or literal healings, but the positive
effect that good words have deep within us.
There is a difference from pleasant words and flattery. Pleasant words
are true, sincere and genuine. Flattery is often artificial, self
seeking and doesn't do much other than swell the head.
Notice today how many pleasant words you hear. I think you'll find that
a typical day is void of many pleasant words. Look for ways to give
pleasant words, especially to family and brethren. Once you have tasted
of the sweetness of pleasant words you want others to enjoy it as well.
The compliment, the words of gratitude and appreciation, and even words
of forgiveness all fall under the category of pleasant words.
Paul talked about "words fitly spoken" -- he may have had "pleasant
words" in mind when he wrote that! I think of Barnabas, who the
apostles called the "son of encouragement." He must have been one of
-- Via The Beacon, January 19, 2010
News & Notes
Back issues of The Gospel Observer,
going back to March 1990, can be accessed at the following website:
Some of my audio sermons (in MP3 format) can also be accessed at the
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12. At the end of
the exit ramp, turn north. Go about a stone's throw to Rushing
Road. (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas
stations; with each on each corner.) Turn left on Rushing Road,
and go less then 0.3 of a mile. Hampton Inn will be on the
right. We assemble in its meeting room, which is very close to
the reception counter.