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 projection. 

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 not 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 exaltation. 

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 you too.

-- 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; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726
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 the 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.