Weekly Bulletin Articles
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:18-19; Emp.JS)
There is much that could be discussed from the text above, such as the sinfulness of drinking alcoholic beverages, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, singing without the mechanical instrument, and unity among the brethren. However, the subject that encompasses the entirety of the text is thanksgiving. For we cannot keep ourselves from worldly desires in allowing the word of God dwell in our hearts and give praise to the Lord in song (Colossians 3:16) while dwelling together in unity without being thankful to God. We could not do anything that the Lord commands us to do without giving thanks to God (Colossians 3:17). “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). We will now notice three things for which we should be giving thanks always to God.
Giving Thanks Always For What God Has Done For Us
We should give thanks always to God for giving us life (Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:29; Hebrews 12:9), and for giving us the things that sustain our lives (Matthew 5:45; 6:25-26; Acts 17:25-26). Most of all we should give thanks always to God for giving us what we must have to have the hope of eternal life (John 3:16;Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:3). “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Giving Thanks Always For What God Is Doing For Us
We should give thanks always to God for His plan of Salvation and His providential care for us. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Acts 8:28). “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Peter 3:12).
We should give thanks always to God for His promises. We should be thankful to God for His being longsuffering toward us (2 Peter 3:9). We should be thankful to God for allowing us to enjoy our fellowship with Him and for all spiritual blessings He gives us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-7). We should be thankful to God for never forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5-6). We should be thankful to God for allowing us to enjoy our fellowship with Him and for all spiritual blessings He gives us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-7). We should be thankful to God for never forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5-6). We should be thankful to God for the blessed assurance we have of His Promise of eternal life. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
Giving Thanks Always For What God Will Do For Us
We should give thanks always to God for allowing us to live one day in heaven for eternity. What a joyous day that will be for us when we will be able to show forth our gratitude to God forever when we heart: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23). Let us be giving thanks always.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:17-19).
Each of us has a soul or inward man which is to grow and develop into maturity—into manhood and womanhood. The fact of the reality of the soul is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. In speaking to his disciples, Jesus taught to “...fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). The Son of God also stressed the value of the soul and compared its worth to the physical things of this world. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt. 16:26)? Furthermore, by inspiration the apostle Peter, concerning the importance of man’s soul growing into maturity, exclaimed that we should “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” and exalted Christians to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
As we consider God’s teaching in regard to the soul, we might find it good to ask, “What size is our inward man?” Are we growing spiritually as we ought, or are we still mere babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1; 14:20)? It would be well for each of us to consider and discern the progress of our inner growth. It is something that can be measured...not as a box might be measured with a ruler or tape. We cannot see the soul, except in the mirror of God’s word. But we can determine the size of the inner man by the measure of its manifestation.
The size of the soul may be measured by determining the height of its ambitions. Big souls are always ambitious souls of high ideals and worthy goals. We must never be found guilty of becoming the “one talent man” of Matthew 25. Because he felt he could not do big things in the sight of the Lord, he did nothing.
Christians should continually strive onward with their eyes focused upward. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16). Christ came to do big things and gave us a big job.
The size of the soul may be measured by the depth of its convictions. Hebrews 11:1 speaks of a “conviction of things not seen” (ASV). This has always been a characteristic of God’s great people, with his honor roll of faithful followers forever recorded for our learning. Daniel was another example of our Father’s expectations, proving himself to be a man of deep convictions and faithful to the will of Jehovah. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8). Big souls have convictions concerning right and wrong, truth and error, and matters of duty.
The soul may be measured by the length of its love. Consider the measurement of God recorded in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” God so loved the world. “So” is an adverb of degree. It tells how much God loved the world. He went so far as to give his only begotten Son. And when we read this, it should bring to our minds a much-needed question: How does our love measure up in regards to God, the church, and the lost? 1 John 4:19 should be emblazoned within our hearts and thoughts. “We love him, because he first loved us.”
The size of the soul may be determined by the weight of its influences. Matthew 5:14-16 relays a command to be carried out by every Christian. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” How much light do we radiate? One of the Lord’s parables brings forth a closely related reminder. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Matt. 13:33). Are we leavening for others through our actions and our words? What is the weight of our influence for those around us?
May we each ask ourselves the soul-searching question: “How big is my inward man?”
In the beginning of time, everything God created was perfect. After each division of His creation, God “...saw that it was good” (cf. Gen. 1). Adam and Eve formed the first home, the oldest of God’s divine institutions (Gen. 2:21-25). It wasn’t long before there was trouble in paradise; sin entered into this world (Gen. 3:1-6). Mankind has suffered the consequences of sin ever since that tragic day in Eden. Solomon wrote, “There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20).
In the New Testament, Christ created another divine institution, His church (Acts 2:1-47). The book of Acts is a history of the establishment and growth (about 30 years) of the church of Christ. The church, as Christ planned it, is like “heaven on earth.” She truly was a spiritual paradise until sin raised its ugly head, and the church became corrupted; consequently, again, there was trouble in paradise.
Many years ago, I was privileged to be a student in one of the late brother G. K. Wallace’s Bible classes. In one class session, a student asked brother Wallace, “What does the church of Christ teach...,” and before he could complete his question, brother Wallace replied, “Just about anything!” We all laughed! But, now, it’s no laughing matter. The church, God’s spiritual paradise is in deep trouble.
In the late 40s and throughout the 50s, the church faced the problem of brethren denying the right of the church to financially support, from her treasury, a home for orphans operated by brethren; along with congregations cooperating with each other in the field of evangelism. Our great brotherhood was torn asunder. Indeed, there was trouble in paradise.
In the 60s and 70s the church faced the problem of Pentecostalism. During the early 80s until now, there has been a steady drift into liberalism. The ultra-conservative brethren sought to bind upon the brotherhood what God had not bound. Now, our liberal brethren are seeking to loose what God has bound. To do this, they have come up with a cry for a new hermeneutic in Biblical interpretation and a denial of any New Testament pattern for the church to follow. Who among us would have ever dreamed the beautiful bride of Christ would experience so many departures from the faith? The apostle Paul wrote of those who would give “...heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils”
(I Tim. 4:1). These “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” are running rampant in the church, and it’s later than most seem to think. What, then, has destroyed this paradise?
We have allowed at least two generations to “come up in the church” who have little, if any, concept of what is meant when we speak of scriptural authority. We have far too many preachers who either: 1) do not believe in the necessity of having scriptural authority for our beliefs and practices, or 2) they are afraid to preach sermons that teach the necessity of having scriptural authority for all we do (cf. Col. 3:17). Our pulpits, in many cases, have become weak and inefficient in preaching the Gospel of Christ. When the sermons we hear Sunday after Sunday could be preached in most any denominational church, without any disapproval, it’s no wonder the church is in such serious trouble.
The old pioneer preachers often referred to the church as the “ship of Zion.” Brethren, we can turn this “ship” around. How? By getting back to the basics by teaching God’s word in its completeness. Let’s return to demanding a “thus saith the Lord” for what we preach and practice. Let’s let the denominational world know there is a vast difference between them and us. The true church of Christ is militant and distinctive in doctrine and practice. If we will “speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11), the true church will be restored in all its pristine glory. Then, like Joshua of old, we will have good success (Josh. 1:8). Think about it.
The Lord’s church is the one that was established in A.D. 33 in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The Lord’s church is the one that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18) and purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). The Lord’s church is the one body the apostle Paul recognized as being valid (Eph. 4:4). There is only one body that the Savior has promised to save (Eph. 5:23). It is imperative to understand that we are not discussing what denominations were established to do. Denominations may do whatever their founder desires them to do and please men, but they will never please God. If the church of our Lord is to be faithful, it must only do the bidding of its founder, Jesus Christ, and such will never please most men.
The Lord’s church was not established to exist incognito! It makes one want to gag to hear those who profess to be members of the Lord’s church avoid telling people they are a member of the church of Christ. These modern day dreamers will tip-toe for miles on eggshells before they will admit they are a member of the church of Christ. Upon being forced to make the admission, they then apologize by saying, “But we don’t believe we are the only one’s going to heaven.”
What is wrong with the name church of Christ? Am I ashamed that Christ built His church? Am I embarrassed that the church wears His glorious name? Do I not want the church to be connected with the Savior? Brethren, these questions deserve an honest answer. Many members need to begin thinking for themselves and cease following the liberal change-agents who would place the church under a bushel (cf. Matt. 5:13-16). Faithful soldiers of the cross will boldly proclaim the essentiality and eternal destiny of the Lord’s church. We cannot keep the church a secret and save the souls of men!
The Lord’s church was not established to provide entertainment for its members! One can search the Bible from beginning to end and never find one incident where God has sought to entertain His people. It can be proved, however, that God “would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). It is also true that “the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). We read that it was the Lord’s desire “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). When the early church was persecuted and scattered, they did not offer all types of entertainment to attract people. They did, however, go “about preaching the word. And Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed unto them the Christ” (Acts 8:4-5). The early church realized that the Gospel was the only “power of God unto salvation,” and they were not ashamed to proclaim it (Rom. 1:16).
The early church did not seek to attract people with eloquent dramatized skits laced with finger-nail biting excitement! Neither did the early church have “youth ministers” to entertain and baby-sit the young or a 㦓’ers minister” to transport the older saints to every play and flower garden within driving distance. Didn’t they know that because of severe persecution they would have to cater to the wants of both young and old in order to grow? The wisdom of man says that the early church is destined to fail. The result — the early Christians who feared God and unashamedly proclaimed the Gospel grew by leaps and bounds (cf. Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31).
The Lord’s church was not established to provide a soothing answer to man’s sins! The majority of men want to live in sin, enjoy the pleasures of the moment, and be told that all is well with their souls. Thus, alcoholics have a disease, homosexuals have a defective gene, fornication is simply an affair, lying is misinformation, and sin is tolerated as a mistake. Brethren, we can ill afford to pat members on the back, accept their contribution, and overlook sin! All sin is deadly (Rom. 6:23), and all must repent (give up) of their sins or lose their souls. Even though not “politically correct,” Christians will teach sinners that they must “repent or perish” (Luke 13:3).
May we keep in mind that the Lord’s church was established to do what no man-made institution can do. Let us therefore not lose sight of the glorious purpose and mission of the Lord’s church.