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).
July 11, 2010
1) How to Become a Strong Christian (Steve Klein)
2) Will You Swallow Anything? (Oliver Murray)
3) The Tongue -- One of Man's Most Dangerous Weapons (Wayne Jackson)
How to Become a Strong Christian
by Steve Klein
What is the definition of a strong Christian? We might each have
a different idea about that. But I think we could all agree that
a strong Christian is one who stands fast in the faith through thick
and thin. He loves the Lord. He loves the truth and lives
it with conviction. He continues doing the Lord's will regardless
of changes in circumstances.
From where do strong Christians come? Do they have some sort of
special advantage or secret that others don't have? Is it a
genetic predisposition? Well, no. Strong Christians come
from the same place all Christians come from. Initially, all
Christians come right out of the world. They were once "dead in
trespasses and sin" and "children of wrath," but they were made alive
by Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3). They may have been raised in a godly
environment like Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), or they may have been
surrounded by the most heinous forms of worldliness like the
Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In either case, they became
Christians by being born again (John 3:5), coming up out of the water
of baptism to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4), and thus becoming
a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In the beginning, Christians are like newborns, begotten by one Father
(1 Peter 1:3). Their spiritual genes are the same. So why
does one become strong and another become weak? Why do some fail to
thrive in their new life in Christ? It has to do with nutrition
If we want to become strong Christians we must start by feeding on
God's word. "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word
that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). We will have no energy
to grow and become strong if we fail to feed on God's word
regularly. Strong Christians all have this in common: the word of
God dwells in them! In 1 John 2:14, the apostle John says, "I
have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of
God abides in you."
The second thing we must do to become strong Christians is
exercise. We can't build muscle by just sitting on the couch
eating, and we can't become strong Christians by just sitting in a pew
feeding on God's word while never putting it into practice.
Strong, mature Christians are those who "by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
They "exercise . . . toward godliness" (1 Timothy 1:7). When they
learn something from Scripture, they immediately attempt to put it into
practice in daily life.
No one becomes a strong Christian by accident. It is a result of
choosing to dwell on God's word and apply it in life. This is a choice
that you can make. Even the weak and hapless Corinthian Christians
could choose to be strong. Paul encourages them to, "Watch, stand
fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13). If
they could do it, so can you.
-- Via The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia, June 6,
Will You Swallow Anything?
by Oliver Murray
The shark is a large fish that swims in ocean waters and has an equally
large appetite. In fact, so large is his appetite that he will swallow
almost anything that he can get into his mouth without even knowing
what it is. A small fish called the urchin fish, when he encounters a
shark, will roll himself into a small ball. The shark will of course
swallow the urchin, but in this case the shark is the loser. This
urchin fish is a parasite, and once inside the sharks stomach he
unfolds and begins to prey on the shark from within its stomach,
eventually destroying his victim completely.
What a stupid thing it is for the shark to "swallow" something without
first knowing what it is, but after all, aren't there people in the
religious world like that? Many swallow the traditional religion of
their relatives without ever first checking to see if that is what the
Bible really teaches.
Many simply swallow what their church or denomination practices and
teaches simply because "that's the way it's been done or taught for
years." Many swallow what their preachers and teachers teach
without any concern as to whether the Bible teaches it or not, so long
as it "sounds good."
Modernism and liberalism are running rampant, not only in the world,
but also among churches of Christ. More and more we hear of
congregations who are accepting the "new hermeneutics," that is, the
new way of interpreting the Bible. The old way of commands, apostolic
example, and of necessary inference, is a thing of the past, no longer
acceptable to "modern and more intelligent thinking." As a result
more and more we hear of denominational "baptism" (whether it's
sprinkling, pouring, etc.) being accepted. We are hearing of women
being allowed to serve in roles in worship and organization that the
Bible strictly forbids. The Lord's Supper is no longer served
Sunday, but on Wednesday or any other day. Elderships are being
dissolved because members no longer recognize them as having authority
to "rule" and make decisions -- except as those decisions are first
corroborated by "prominent men" in the congregation or by the
"deacons." We hear of more and more churches of Christ simply
becoming "community churches," serving simply the social needs of the
community (tax seminars, "Sexual Enlightenment" seminars, "Arts and
Crafts" groups, etc.).
Let's examine carefully what we "swallow," because like the shark it
may be too late afterward. Similar to the shark who has few enemies
that can destroy it from without, God's Kingdom cannot be destroyed
from forces without. Satan's forces, as powerful as they may be (and
they are powerful), simply are no match for the spiritual forces and
strength of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His Word. Paul said, "...If
is for us, who is against us? But in all these things we
overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:31,37). God's
people can only be destroyed from WITHIN! That's what is happening in
many congregations today.
We need to be "Examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these
things were so" (Acts 17:11). We are responsible to not "swallow"
anything that anyone says, it matters not who or what they are. We will
be held individually accountable to God for the errors we have allowed
to come into our minds and into the church!
-- Via In Newness of Life, February 21, 2010
The Tongue -- One Of Man's Most Dangerous Weapons
by Wayne Jackson
Jesus Christ gave a stern warning regarding the unseemly language that
sometimes proceeds from a person's mouth. It is not without
significance that two of the Ten Commandments deal with speech --
taking the name of God "in vain," and bearing "false witness" against
another person (Exodus 20:7,16). Similarly, in the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus warned against the abuse of the tongue in "swearing falsely"
The way one talks is a very revealing index to his character. The
Scriptures describe different kinds of "tongues" (speech). Let us
consider some of these.
The Hateful Tongue -- Jeremiah
spoke of those "treacherous" people who
"bend their tongue like a bow." He cautioned that no one should place
trust in the person who "deceives" and "slanders," nor with those who
"have taught their tongue to speak lies" (Jeremiah 9:2-5). Jehovah
hates the lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17; cf. Acts 5:3-4). Some use their
tongues to rip and "gut" others -- even their brethren in Christ.
The Licentious Tongue --
Solomon said that the mouth of the forbidden
woman is a "deep pit" (Proverbs 22:14). Note the perfume-drenched words
("fair speech") of the dissolute woman who lures the unwary lad to his
destruction (Proverbs 7:14ff). Men have similarly taken advantage of
vulnerable, lonely women by their deceitful language.
The Boasting Tongue -- The vain
Pharisee, in a dramatic presentation
before the Lord, paraded his feigned accomplishments, but he was not
accounted as just with God, in spite of his boasting (Luke 18:9). It
was Francis Bacon who said something to the effect that "a bragging
man is scorned by the wise, and admired by fools." There are those with
whom one can scarcely engage a conversation without being bored to
tears with an incessant stream of self-adulating and dubious
The Impetuous Tongue -- An
inspired writer declared, "let every man be
swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19). The poet Robert Frost once
said that "half the world is composed of people who have something to
say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on
saying it." A wise man wrote: "Even a fool who keeps silent is
considered wise" (Proverbs 17:28). Unfortunately, he frequently opens
his mouth and removes all doubt! There are far too many people who talk
in an attempt to discover the content of their thoughts.
The Obscure Tongue -- Have you
ever had a religious conversation with a
person, and when the exchange was concluded, you had no earthly idea
where he stood on any significant issue? Such folks slip and slide,
flip and flop. "What is your position, brother?" "Well, I think there
is much to be said on both sides of that argument." Some people simply
cannot be pinned down on any point of truth.
The Critical Tongue -- A wise
man values constructive criticism; it's
just that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between constructive
criticism and plain old "meanness." But, as Solomon observed, "A rebuke
enters deeper into one who has understanding, than [do] a hundred
stripes into a fool" (Proverbs 17:10). A wise person can learn valuable
lessons from his critics if he but will. On the other hand, there are
those who have turned "criticism" into a recreational sport. Whenever
they gather, like vicious piranha, they devour all flesh in sight.
The Double-Tongued -- In
setting forth qualifications for deacons, Paul
admonished that they must not be "double-tongued" (1 Timothy 3:8). The
"double-tongued" person is one who has refined the art of duplicity. He
will say anything to get you off his back, then say quite another to
someone else. His word is not his bond. His tongue flaps like an
irritating awning in a winter storm (see Proverbs 8:8).
The Explosive Tongue -- James
observed that the tongue is an instrument
that no man can control completely (cf. James 3:8). But some make
almost no attempt at the effort. At the least irritant they explode
with expletives. One might be surprised to listen to the language of
the man on Monday, who has spoken so piously over the Lord's table on
Sunday! To those who operate in such fashion, the Lord's says: "What
right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant upon your
lips?" (Psalm 50:16).
"Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth . . . " (Ephesians
4:29), rather, "put away shameful speaking from your mouth" (Colossians
3:8). Listen to the warning of the Judge of the Universe: "I say unto
you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be
justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).
-- Via The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia, April
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
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/audioser.html (audio sermons)
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 a little less than 0.3 of a mile. Hampton Inn will be on
right. We assemble in its meeting room, which is very close to
the reception counter. Just walk pass the check-in counter; turn
right at the hall. The first and second doors on the left lead to
where we meet.