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).
September 5, 2010
1) Attitude Toward People (Julian R. Snell)
2) Visual Aids & Instrumental Music (Greg Gwin)
Attitude Toward People
by Julian R. Snell
In this second of four articles from the Book of Philippians, we
continue the focus upon matters pertinent to the theme "Attitude." Our
initial lesson set the stage with attention being directed to Paul's
attitude toward his circumstances. In this we explore the proper
attitude toward people as impressed in the second chapter of this book.
We must not lose sight of the fact that there is an overriding tone to
Philippians of joy and rejoicing. From this we have suggested that the
attitude of the child of God is to be ordered toward Jesus, others, and
self. Only as such is the case is there to be the joy and rejoicing
experienced by the Christian.
Attitude is defined as "position or bearing as indicating action,
feeling or mood." While the word is not in the King James, the idea is
common. Perhaps it is nowhere so forcefully defined and illustrated
than in Phil. 2:5. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Jesus." As we therefore speak of attitude, we are talking of the "mind
within you." Emphasis in this epistle to the Philippians is on "the
single mind," set and unwavering, with Christ as the seat and center,
the single object.
Now with these brief introductory observations, definition being
established for our study, we focus upon attitude toward people, more
specifically brethren. In the first four verses of this chapter 2 our
study is framed. Thrust continues upon the single-mind, centered in
Christ and devoted to the doing of His will. Such will produce a
special attitude within those so dedicated, an attitude of
like-mindedness. Our text says, "If there be therefore any consolation
of Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if
any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded,
having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." The obvious
emphasis is upon agreement and agreeableness. "If" reflects not doubt;
rather these are things proven by experience. They are not just theory
but real. The beauty of Paul's relationship with these brethren shows
through the expression, "fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded,"
complete my joy by living in unity, in singleness of mind. "Likeminded"
is to be "of one mind" and includes agreement as to doctrine. But, I
submit it includes more than this, including also agreement as to
methods and aims. The agreement results from working along lines of a
common love. Love is the "bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14). We might
observe that just as hatred separates man from man, love produces
harmony of feeling and interest that leads to unity. Let us not lose
sight of the basis of love as here viewed, "For this is the love of
God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not
grievous" (1 Jn. 5:3). The Philippians needed this reminder as
disagreement existed. Specifically two women were at variance and their
attitude had a detrimental effect on the whole church. They are
identified as Euodias and Syntyche (4:2).
After this admonition to likemindness and unity there is the setting
forth of certain deterrents to unity. "Let nothing be done through
strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other
better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every
man also on the things of others" (v. 3). Unity among brethren is
deterred by strife, faction or contention (cf. 1:16). Party spirit
continues to be one of the greatest dangers among brethren. Such
identifies as a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:20) and we are to remember
the indictment levied against these things, "they which do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
The party spirit, fruit of strife and a factious attitude, arrays men
against one another. The party becomes more important than Christ and
the gospel and the free course of the same is deterred. This problem
prevailed at Corinth. "There are contentions among you. Now this I say,
that every one of you saith, I am of Paul and I of Apollos; and I of
Cephas; and I of Christ" (1 Cor. 1:11-12). This attitude and the fruit
it produced is indicated and rebuked. Faction carries beyond discretion
and rends the unity of brethren and the church. The writer of Proverbs
17:14 says, "The beginning of strife is as the letting out of water."
How graphic, as water leaks out a hole in its container until empty, so
strife is the letting of every admirable and commendable attribute and
quality that is produced by the love that is to characterize the child
of God. The end result is an emptiness, void of the spirit of Christ.
Such is here identified with "vainglory," pride and self-conceit. Here
is a projecting of self rather than Christ and the gospel.
Moving from this negative consideration, there is an offering of
guarantee to unity, some positives, exhortations to cultivate certain
qualities. "Lowliness of mind" or humility is initially offered.
Actually, unity implies humility and is essential to it. Human ambition
of necessity must be relegated to pleasing God. Then he says, "esteem
other better than themselves." Hard to do? Certainly, but essential to
the unity which must prevail among brethren. The best of us must admit
to being sinners and the nearer one draws to the Sun of righteousness,
the more he sees his own guilt and unworthiness. Such being the case,
what makes any one of us any better than the other, since each is
recipient of the same grace of God? We, perhaps, are tempted to magnify
our own virtues and the faults of others. True wisdom reverses this,
bringing an attitude which produces a looking on our own faults to
correct and the good in others that we might imitate. True humility
implies unselfishness. Christianity is intolerant of self
Let not these conclusions within our consideration of "lowliness of
mind" be seen inconsistent with duty to self. Proper attitude toward
self cannot be attained unless and until one has proper concept of
himself in relation to others. Acquiescence is the basis for unity and
singleness of mind among brethren and is certainly consistent with
"desire one another's good" (1 Tim. 2:1) and numerous other
admonitions. Possibly a false estimate of themselves was the dividing
element of Philippi. It is possible we may have the same problem.
Let us be aware that controversy may be carried on in the spirit of
fairness and that parties may be necessitated by fidelity to principle.
Separations among professed followers of Christ may be justified. Paul
so instructed, "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith
the Lord" (2 Cor. 6:17). Such would seemingly envision a severance from
the ungodly, a persistent attitude and disposition out of harmony with
truth resulting in sin from which no repentance can be effected. Where
such is the case, those with mind centered in Christ must disassociate
themselves from that which deters and prevents expression in truth.
Admitting certain justifications for separation, let us be impressed
nevertheless that self assertion is a prolific source of controversy,
party and division. When our own opinions, ways, group becomes more
important than the cause of Christ, such is factious and sinful.
Problem stated, positive and negative considerations offered, we are
then treated to the cure for this kind of situation. "Wherein does the
cure lie? Quickly tell us," is the plea of brethren who have the right
attitude toward the Lord, themselves and others. "Let this mind be in
you, which was also in Christ Jesus" is the response of the spirit via
Paul (2:5). He then proceeds to exemplify that mind as Jesus Christ is
projected as the supreme example of humility. (Please read through
verse 16.) He became a man, "emptied himself." The suggestion is
that he ceased to be what he was, rather emptied in becoming another,
became man while God, servant while Lord of all. Took the form of
servant, being made in likeness of men, "being found in fashion as a
man." He was perfect God and he became perfect man. As man he
"became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (v. 8). The
abasement of Jesus Christ is expressed in obedience. Not an obedience
by natural obligation to himself but solely for others. His was
voluntary obedience, an abasement involving the lowest of death, the
cross. What an example to those claiming to be His, here is the cure to
those problems reflecting lack of humility.
Exaltation (v. 9). "given him a name which is above every name." I do
not perceive this to refer to the name Jesus, but the name Lord,
Jehovah (v. 11). His name before incarnation and now returned to
him. Not a new name, connoting first used but name and designation
complementing his restoration to heaven on high, in keeping with his
elevation to be the "blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and
Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Right attitude toward brethren, presuming
the proper basis, "mind of Christ," will result in the same
People problems, attitude toward people, specifically brethren, as we
consider this chapter, have always plagued Christians. In the majority
of instances, as strife, dissension, and the party spirit become
evident today it is because we do not have the right attitude, first of
all toward the Lord and then toward each other. May God help me to grow
out of this and my prayer is that the study of these verses will help
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, October 1983, Volume 24, Number 10
Visual Aids & Instrumental Music
by Greg Gwin
A visitor to our services asked about our practice of using visual aids
during the sermon. Specifically, it was asked why we oppose the use of
instrumental music, but allow the use of a projector to display charts
and graphics during the lesson.
The basic answer to this question involves distinguishing the
difference between something which "aids" versus something that "adds."
For example, in baking cookies the process is "aided" by use of a
baking pan, a spatula and a hot pad. In fact, it will be hard to bake
cookies without these "aids." But we will ruin the product if we "add"
something to the list of ingredients. (Chocolate chips cookies don't
taste right when pickles are in the mix!)
In the same way, we can properly use things which "aid" our worship, so
long as we do not change the end result. For instance, the Lord's
Supper is "aided" by the use of a plate or tray on which the elements
of the supper (bread and fruit of the vine) are distributed to each
worshiper. This does not change the act of worship. It would be wrong,
however, to add jelly to the bread, or to substitute a different drink
instead of grape juice.
In the same way, we can use a "visual aid" during the preaching of a
sermon. It has been repeatedly proven that people retain more of what
they are taught when they both hear and see the main points of
emphasis. Therefore, a printed outline or words written on a blackboard
are helpful to the learning process. Similarly, an overhead
projector or one of the new computer driven video projectors is a
significant "aid" in teaching God's Word. As long as the end result
(teaching Biblical truth) is not changed, the use of appropriate "aids"
is not wrong.
Now, what about music in worship? Some things will serve as valuable
"aids." A pitch pipe or tuning fork can help the leader start the songs
correctly. Song books definitely improve our worship by keeping us all
on the same verse, singing the same words. These are simply "aids," and
the end result is not altered -- we sing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).
However, if we "add" an instrument to the mix we are doing something
different. We are now "singing" and "playing," and the latter is not
authorized in New Testament worship (Col. 3:17).
-- Via The Beacon, October 27, 2009
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.