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 8, 1990


1) Beware -- What Goes In Might Come Out (Tom Edwards)
Friendliness (John P. Sherd, Jr.)


Beware -- What Goes In Might Come Out
by Tom Edwards

Recently, a young girl called in and asked the question, "Can a Christian listen to Rock or Rap music and still be a Christian?" The following is part of the letter that I wrote to her in reply:

Actually, the question could include many other forms of music as well. For example, much of today's country music often tells stories of an immoral nature which should never characterize any child of God.

It's been proven that the media can have an effect on a person's own outlook and disposition. Take for instance many of the movies of today. Violence, vulgarity, indecent dress, and a disregard for what is proper and right can have a harmful influence on especially young viewers. I have read of crimes committed by young people who attributed what they did to something that they had seen on TV. This has probably happened many times. I suppose everyone needs a role model; but, unfortunately, the movie industry is not always portraying the right kind.

We must not forget that the Bible teaches "Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33). In a sense, what we watch on TV or listen to on the radio becomes "company" to us. According to Paul, the wrong associations can corrupt us.

I have heard songs before that actually seem to be encouraging people to commit suicide or do some other foolish thing. Songs of this nature are bad enough in themselves, but when people listen to them while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they become even worse.          

In view of these thoughts, it is wise for a person to be careful in what he watches and listens to. It is true that an individual does not necessarily sin because he has heard someone speak a dirty word or listened to someone sing suggestive or immoral lyrics, but what do you think a steady diet of this might lead to? Will it not break down a person's resistance to such things? We often refer to this as one becoming "desensitized to sin," which describes a person who is losing conviction of what is proper or right and no longer caring. Surely, this is not good.

Why one must be cautious in what he allows to fill his mind is because the Lord shows that we will be judged not only by what we do, but also by what we allow our hearts to dwell upon. During this gospel age, in which we live, an adulterer doesn't have to be the one who commits the actual act, but merely by fantasizing of it, he has become guilty of the very same. In Matthew 5:27,28, the Lord warns: "You heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Many of today's movies are very lascivious and are designed to appeal to the baser instincts of man, such as lust. Though it might not be a sin because a Christian so happened to catch a glance of this type of programming, does it really seem as the type of show that one should be spending time with?

Perhaps we should ask ourselves -- whether it be concerning music, movies, magazines, books we read, etc. -- the following questions: "If Jesus were here with me in physical form, would I want to share this movie, this song, or this magazine, etc., with Him?" "Would He approve or be displeased?" Remember -- That what many people fill their minds with is the very reason why Jesus had to die on the cross.

From out of his prison confinement, Paul joyfully exhorted the Philippian brethren to give their attention to "whatever is true...honorable...right...pure...lovely...of good repute." He continued by saying, "if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8).

May these thoughts encourage each of us to fill our minds with good things, for as Jesus Himself declares: "...the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart" (Matt. 12:34). Let us also remember that there will be nothing impure or defiled that will ever enter into the sinlessness and purity of God's holy and eternal, heavenly kingdom.


by John P. Sherd, Jr.

Yes, I think this church is a friendly one, but we should not "coast" on that reputation. Just as an athlete or musician continues to hone his skills, we should practice friendliness at all times. Let me offer some suggestions that can help us be friendlier.

1. Think Friendly. Before coming to worship, tell yourself that you are going to be a friendly person. Remember that you can express friendship in your own way to those with whom you worship.

2. Take the Initiative in Being Friendly. Do not wait until someone speaks to you, but try to be the first to speak. Do not wait until someone offers you his hand to shake, but offer yours first. Do not worry about seeming obtrusive. After all, who are we?

3. Do Not Rush Away After the Service. Stay long enough to welcome visitors and do some visiting, especially with those you are not around very much at other times. Too often, we are with people socially on the weekend, then sit with them at church and visit with them after worship -- all the while ignoring guests and new members.

4. Learn the Names of as Many Members as You Can.  Study your church directory. Immediately write down the names of those you do not know who make a public response to the invitation or place membership.  Remembering names will add a new dimension to your friendliness.

5. Let Your Friendliness Extend Beyond the Building Walls and the Ties That We Have Assembled For Worship. Let it be expressed by a continuous flow of concern, esteem, and good deeds.

-- In Pulpit Helps

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).

First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland, Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards