Ashamed of the gospel?

Paul’s second letter to Timothy is where the apostle made that statement: “…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me,” (2 Tim. 1:12).

Right away we would think and say, “I am not ashamed” of the gospel! But it will be valuable to put that claim to a test.

Imagine, you are talking to a friend whose life has never been based on faith in Christ. Your friend reaches a low point and talks to you about how distressed they are about their present condition. In this rambling outburst, you hear conflict, hostility, grudges and guilt. You also become audience to tales of sexual promiscuity, bouts with alcohol and a variety of instances where irresponsibility is confessed.

In tears, your friend wants your response. “What do I need to do? How can I really change my life?”

What is your response? You are handed this conversational opening. It’s your turn to speak. If you are really not ashamed of the gospel and you really care for this person – what will you do?

You know. I know. Let’s get out hearts, mouths and Bibles open.

Worship, the Emotional Component. By Jay Bowman

From the book – JAY BOWMAN, THE COLLECTED WORKS.

Every element of true worship involves some emotional component. The emotional component is not driven by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit (as in Calvinism) or “getting the Holy Spirit” (as in Charismatic practice). The emotional component of true worship is the result of relationship with Deity.

The faithful disciple will go into every assembly with the emotion of joy, reverence for Deity and the anticipated interests in praising Deity and being edified. The true worshipper will leave the assembly with the emotional satisfaction of participating in all that God has directed, unto His glory. The emotional component is not contrived and advertised by men. It is the result of relationship with God! Emotions in collective worship are appropriate and profitable, depending upon one’s relationship with Deity.

No campaign to stamp out emotion can bring us closer to God, nor answer the error and emptiness of popular “charismatic” practices. The proper response is to foster healthy and scriptural concepts of emotion, as determined by divine purpose and revealed.

When the Word is faithfully preached, there should be a range of emotions in the hearts of faithfully listeners (remorse, assurance, joy, the satisfaction of knowledge gained). In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, remembering His death, the emotions of both sorrow and gratitude should combine in our reflection. Singing has a strong emotional component. But this emotional result is directed tied to lyrical content. What do the lyrics mean to the worshipper? Some love music and are moved by what they believe is good music, but without any self-examination or thought to lyrical content. The emotional connection derives from content, not form (harmony, meter, structure). Likewise, praying is not simply a formal, mechanical exercise. It has great emotional potential, but not due to voice or poetic structure, but content and direction (praying to Deity). Giving should also have an emotional component (a cheerful giver, 2 Cor. 9:7). 

The Danger Point

THE DANGER POINT       

(Source Cited Below)

Everyone is excited in the beginning of a venture, but after the newness wears off, dejection can take its place. Students who enthusiastically begin a new semester often feel overwhelmed when they reach the middle of the term. A young man’s patriotic fervor may turn to depression halfway through boot camp. An idealistic woman who transfers to a new job will discover within a few months that her new company is not without its flaws. Passionate couples who gaze into each other’s eyes as they exchange vows of devotion will soon realize that marriage is no fairy-tale cruise on the love boat.

Every enterprise enters a phase when idealism comes face to face with reality. Romantic notions give way to the hard facts of life. The experience may be gradual or abrupt, but, in either case, it is a real danger point. Encouragement is what keeps a student from dropping out, a soldier from going AWOL, a worker from job-hopping, or a couple from divorcing.

Nehemiah helped dejected workers look beyond the rubbish at their feet to the final result. He reminded them of the importance of their work and the power of God to sustain their efforts. His words gave wavering workers the strength needed to keep on keeping on.

Barnabas Factor, by Aubrey Johnson, p.#115. Published by GOSPEL ADVOCATE.

On Fighting

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?”

(Jas. 4:1)

I’ve been writing lately about the downward spiral into acrimony that seems to stand out on social media and in a variety of news feeds. My purpose is to identify some of the obvious causes, suggest some of the less obvious causes and propose the Biblical model of thought and conduct as the remedy. I’m not certain yet when, how or where this material will be published. But I’m getting a lot of my thoughts recorded, which I hope will be of value to those who read it.

I will likely not put the word “acrimony” in the title. It isn’t a common word in our daily vernacular. I may borrow from James: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you,” (Jas. 4:1).

Acrimony is “anger and bitterness: harsh or biting sharpness especially of words, manner or feelings.”

As I was reading up on this rather broad subject, I ran across these observations by a preacher who has long passed to his reward. I’m going to share that with you today.

On Fighting

Floyd Thompson

Editor’s Note: The following article is excerpted from Book, Chapter & Verse, an about-to-be-published book of sermons of the late Floyd Thompson of California. His widow, Ruth Thompson, a frequent contributor to this magazine, has spent several years preparing a book of some 34 full-length sermons as well as other material. It will be well worth securing. She may be reached at 429 Eastside Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701.

I have said many times that I think I have seen demonstrated in the lives of some people, that their idea of being sound in the faith was to be insulting and obnoxious. I don’t believe that. I think a person can be amiable, and at the same time not compromise an inch insofar as the teaching of God’s word is concerned. There is where the fight ought to be made. I just cannot imagine the apostle Paul getting up in the presence of any audience and feeling that he had to insult them to prove his soundness. Now, if his stating a truth brought the wrath of the whole crowd down upon him, he would have stated the truth, and then said, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

The thing that I am saying is this: There is a warfare going on and we must be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Our work consists of more than fighting: we are to be sheep, teachers, many other things that we are to perform. But there are some people, I am afraid, that have actually never recognized the fact that there is a portion of time in our lives when we will have to be involved in a fight. Some people detest that; they had rather someone have his way, even if a false doctrine is being taught, than to have a fight. They think that fighting is the worst thing in the world, they think we can never, never, never get anything accomplished by fighting. If a situation comes about where fighting becomes necessary, and you tuck tail and run, you need not call yourself a Christian. That’s not what you are. I can give you a one-word description of what you care; it begins with a “C” also, but it’s not Christian.

There is part of our lives that needs to be given over to the defense of truth. When it comes, you’ve got to fight. We are soldiers. God gave us an armor for that purpose. There is no use at all to put on armor, if what you are going to do is retreat. Just serves no purpose at all. There is a time to be as gentle as a nurse with a child, a time to be long-suffering, but there is also a time when we ought to learn to fight.

I want to read these two verses of Scripture, Judges 3:1–2, in harmony with what I have just said about our knowing how to fight, and the responsibility that is laid upon us as soldiers of Jesus Christ. Consider this carefully: “Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof.” Now, that wasn’t put there accidentally. Do you see what that says? When God brought His people out of Egyptian bondage, and conquered the Canaanites, it would have been just as easy for them to have cleaned out the whole land and possessed it. But God had a purpose for leaving some of the heathen in the land. In times to come, when these children grew to manhood, and were threatened by raiding armies, they would not have had any experience in fighting. They could have been easily taken. They needed to learn to fight. They could not have protected their homes, nor retained possession of their inheritance.

I think there is a great lesson in this example. I know our warfare is not carnal, but we have a spiritual warfare that we must be prepared for. Paul says, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty before God to the pulling down of strongholds:) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:4–5.

How can we make a stand against the things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God unless we have on the armor of God, and are willing to stand and fight?

If a member of the church feels that all the debating is over, all the battles have been won, all the discussions have ceased, all the false teachers have been brought to an end, and there will never be any problems or difficulties come up regarding teaching, they simply need to restudy the admonitions given by the Lord about our need to stand for the truth, and fight error.

Paul said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses,” 1 Timothy 6:12. I do not think that fighting is the whole of one’s life as a Christian. Some people think they are supposed to get up fighting and go to bed fighting, and dream about fighting while they sleep. It is not a fight all the time, but when the situation demands it, and when there is time for a contest, don’t you run. You be there. If nothing else, you can hand ammunition to somebody who is able to throw it like you ought to throw it. But don’t run! Stand there. There is a fight going on, and there will be a fight going on between the forces of truth and the forces of false doctrine, righteousness and unrighteousness, right and wrong, and it’s going on today. It was going on yesterday. And it will be going on tomorrow.[1]


[1] Thompson, F. (1988). On Fighting. Christianity Magazine, 5(8), 30.

We Need Jesus

From Doy Moyer

Everyone has issues. Everyone has unexpressed pain. Everyone has a story.

I know that it is good to talk about what bothers us to those whom we know will listen and care. We need to be able to unload a bit. We need those who will listen with a mind toward bearing one another’s burdens. And we need to be willing to listen as well.

I also know that it is easy to fall into a trap of thinking that no one else understands what I am going through. I am alone in my pain. Think Elijah.

What I need to remind myself of is that everyone has issues they are dealing with. I may be in emotional, spiritual, or physical pain, but so also might be the one to whom I try to vent. Is it possible that in my own expressions of pain that I am saying something that could trigger pain in another?

I don’t know everyone’s story. Very few know mine. Let us be mindful that others may be suffering silently, too, and that we ought to be careful about how we vent our own emotions. This includes how we vent our personal pain on social media. I’m not saying there is no outlet for it. I am saying that we need to be careful because we won’t know how we might be affecting others.

Beyond all that, let us remember that Jesus does know and understand.

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb 2:18). “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:15-16).

We need Jesus.

Doy Moyer

FACEBOOK, Sept. 30, 2021

About Money

Thanks to Dee Bowman

The Book of Proverbs has more warnings about money than all the others combined. It warns that:

•     Money cannot buy peace. “Better is little with fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

•     Money cannot buy moral sense. “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (16:8).

•     Money cannot buy a home. “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife” (17:1).

•     Money cannot buy true security. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit [imagination, NASV]” (18:11).

•     Money cannot buy an honorable character. “Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich” (28:6).

•     Money cannot deliver from death. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath; but righteousness delivered from death” (11:4).[1]


[1] Bowman, D. (1989). Front Lines: Money! Money! Money!. In Christianity Magazine: July 1989, Volume 6, Number 7 (2). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.

Shortages

Shortages, by Gardner Hall

(via Facebook, Sept. 27)

The world is concerned about shortages of workers, computer chips, construction material, electronics, food materials, etc.Christians should be concerned about shortages like these:

1. Workers in the kingdom (Matt. 9:37). The harvest is plentiful in many places, but the workers few. Yes, there is a “preacher shortage.”

2. Spiritually mature young men (1 Tim. 4:12). Many seem to be in perpetual puberty because of addiction to video games and even pornography. An increasing number of godly young women have few prospects for marriage because of this shortage.

3. Inwardly beautiful and modest young women (Titus 2:4,5). Too many are obsessed with outer beauty and even worse, with provocative poses for selfies on Facebook and Instagram.

4. Children in churches (Ps. 127:3) – Though some congregations are full of kids, others have almost none!

5. Men qualified to be elders (1 Tim. 3:1) – Increasing numbers of family challenges and worldly distractions have shrunk the pool of qualified men.

6. True humility (James 4:10) – The emphasis on “loving yourself” has produced several generations of self-focused narcissists.

7. Disciples with an other-worldly focus (Phil. 3:20) – Thus, the squabbles over politics, culture and traditions.

What The Devil Hates

The Devil Hates Deliberation

When I got out of the army, for a few months, I worked as a salesman selling what was called Hi-Fi equipment (not WIFI; stereo components).

The easiest sale was when a customer would listen to some music being played on the equipment, like the sound of it and buy it on the spot. We called those THE QUICK SALE.

The hard sale was the man who, while listening to the music, asked about the electronic board, technical specifications of the equipment, warranty, etc.

“How long will this amplifier last? Will it work with my pre-amp? Will it push to my set of speakers which are 15 feet away? What is the maintenance record for this turntable? What about access to parts?”

These customers were not impulse shoppers. They would not buy just because the system sounded good in the store. They took their time. They applied thought and discipline in their purchases.

The devil is annoyed when we stop to think about all that is packed into a given temptation. When we start thinking of long-term consequences; when we study; consult with good spiritual advisors; pray and pause – the devil may just move on.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7)