WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OBEYS THE GOSPEL?
The expression “obey the gospel” may not be familiar language to many, but to those acquainted with the Scriptures it is recognized as the expression of a great spiritual truth. Peter wrote, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God (Christians, the church – I Timothy 3:15, hf). And if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17). As if in anticipation of that question Paul had earlier warned that at the second coming of Christ He would take “vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:8). In his letter to the Romans Paul plainly stated: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (10:16). The American Standard Version says, “But they did not all hearken to (heed, NASB) the glad tidings” (another term to refer to the gospel, hf). Continue reading
Beginning this coming Sunday, October 13 (D.V.), I am to preach in the first of three consecutive gospel meetings. These evangelistic endeavors will be with the Hartsville Pike Church of Christ here in Gallatin, TN where we live (October 13-16), the Sylvia Church of Christ in Dickson County, TN (October 20-23), and the Adams Church of Christ in Adams, TN (October 27-30).
Some might ask, “What is a gospel meeting?” A gospel meeting is simply a series of religious services in which the gospel is preached for anywhere from a few to several successive days and/or nights. Some religious groups refer to them as revivals. Many churches need a spiritual revival. So, to speak of a “revival” or a “revival meeting” or some other related term is not inappropriate. Most churches of Christ refer to such events simply as gospel meetings, with the purpose being to preach the gospel of Christ in such a way as to lead the lost to Christ and His church and to strengthen Christians in the faith. Continue reading
GOD’S GRACIOUS PLAN OF SALVATION
From time to time, perhaps at least twice a year, I want to present to my readers God’s gracious plan of salvation as set forth in the New Testament. A number of my readers have never obeyed the gospel of Christ and are therefore in a lost state (II Thessalonians 1:6-10). I have a deep and sincere love for them and their souls and a compelling desire to share God’s wonderful plan of salvation with them. I want all of them to hear and understand the pure gospel of Christ, as opposed to a perverted gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and I want all of them to know God’s simple plan of salvation as opposed to corruptions of that plan by the doctrines, commandments, and traditions of men (Matthew 15:8-9; II Timothy 4:3-5). I urge all to read all the passages cited in this essay.
Salvation begins with the recognition that one is a sinner, and therefore lost and in need of salvation (Romans 3:23; Titus 3:3). God, in His matchless grace (His graciousness), gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement for our sins (John 3:16; Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ died, was buried, and was raised from the dead that we might be saved. This is the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-5). And it is this gospel that is God’s power to save those who will believe and obey it (Romans 1:16-17; Romans 6:16-18). Now follow these Bible steps. Continue reading
LEAVING THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
(Note: The following was posted on my FB page on September 12, 2019. I have expanded it and send it forth to a wider reading audience as this week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views.” It speaks to an extremely important issue, and is somewhat of a sequel to last week’s essay on “Why Do The Liberals Among Us Stay?” Read closely, carefully, prayerfully, and reflectively the following and let it sink in).
When a member of the church of Christ leaves it for a denominational body such as the Disciples of Christ, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Catholic Church, etc., in their mind they are not abandoning the body (church) of Christ as they view it, nor or they abandoning Christianity. Rather, in their mind they are simply switching from one denomination to another. They see themselves as moving to another church—one that is more in keeping with their changed and/or changing religious views. But such a move on their part reflects that they had a fundamentally flawed concept of the church of Christ to begin with. They started out viewing it simply as a denomination—one of many—one from which they could switch and go to another if they so chose. They never viewed the church of Christ from its New Testament perspective as the exclusive body of Christ, composed of all who have obeyed the gospel of Christ by following the New Testament plan of salvation, and only those who have done so! They never understood it as being the one and only body of Christ to which the Lord adds all the saved (Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:4; Acts 2:47). Continue reading
WHY DO THE LIBERALS AMONG US STAY?
If the church of Christ is just another denomination beset with as many sins, shortcomings, failures, and uninformed views as the leftist/progressive members of it say that it is why do they not leave it for “a different denomination,” a better and more perfect one, or at least one that is more in keeping with their views?
If loyal churches of Christ are behind the times because they refuse to adopt instrumental music in the worship of the church, utilize women preachers, admit to being a denomination, or accept as members those who have not been immersed for the remission of sins (or some biblically synonymous reason), etc. why do the leftists stay? Continue reading
WHAT I BELIEVE AND WHY I BELIEVE IT
The apostle Peter wrote: “[B]ut sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15, American Standard Version).
These words are directed to every Christian, and every Christian has an obligation to know what he believes and why he believes it and to effectively communicate that belief to others “with meekness and fear (humility, reverence, respect, hf).” In fulfillment of that divine requirement I set forth below some of the fundamental things I believe and why I believe them. They are stated succinctly with relevant scripture citations given to back up my reasons for believing them. I respectfully ask my readers to check the scripture references for what they say about the matters mentioned. Continue reading
(Note: Before being “jumped on” for the title of this essay by those who may not be all that familiar with biblical language, let me point out (as I do below) that the phrase is from the pen of the apostle Paul. What follows was first posted as an Observation on my Facebook page on Friday, July 5, 2019. I have expanded the material and send it forth this week to a wider reading audience, hoping that it will stimulate thoughtful reflection on the part of all who read it). Continue reading
NOAH, DANIEL, AND JOB
Ezekiel was a prophet of God who was taken into Babylonian captivity with the first wave of captives around 606 B.C. His prophetic ministry was carried out during the early part of that seventy year period of exile. In a fascinating statement, Ezekiel wrote: “The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: ‘Son of man, when a land sins against me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,’ says the Lord…‘Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.’” (Ezekiel 14:12-14, 19-20). Continue reading
WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT GOD IN NEHEMIAH 9
On Sunday morning, January 20, 2019, at the Nashville Road Church of Christ in Gallatin, TN, Charles Williams preached a great sermon from Nehemiah 9 about our awesome God. Charles served as the pulpit preacher at Nashville Road for 18 years and continues as the church’s minister of involvement. He is a great student of the Scriptures, a great preacher, a great teacher, and a wonderful friend and brother in the Lord. Jan and I are privileged to be members of this wonderful, loving church. Following are the highlights of his outstanding sermon. Continue reading
INSIGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND QUOTATIONS
“According to the plain teaching of the New Testament, the church is a spiritual body, Christ is head over it, every Christian is a member of it, and there is no organization in it but local congregations. All Christians are ‘one body in Christ;” there are ‘many members, yet but one body;” that one body is the church. In New Testament times the Christians in each locality formed, or constituted, a congregation for religious work and worship. Each local congregation thus formed or constituted was the church—the body of Christ—in that place, and every Christian in that locality belonged to it because he was a Christian, and worshiped in it and worked through it because there was nothing else for any Christian to be a member of or to worship in and work through. Thus they kept ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ There were no ecclesiastical brotherhoods [“tribes,” “traditions,” “fellowships,” “denominations,” etc., hf] in Christianity in New Testament times. Christ and all Christians were one, as the vine and its branches are one” (F. D. Srygley, Letters and Sermons of T. B. Larimore, Volume 1, reprinted by Guardian of Truth Foundation, 2006, p. 208). Continue reading
INSIGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND QUOTATIONS
“(5) The disciples were called Christians (Acts 11:26). Let us be candid here. They were not called Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Pentecostals, or Episcopalians. The divine name was Christian…It is likely that the majority of those claiming to be Christians in the present day are wearing some humanly devised name” (Alan E. Highers, “Characteristics of New Testament Churches,” The Spiritual Sword, Volume 50, No. 4, July 2019, p. 41).
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Fifty-five years ago (September 1964), my family and I moved to Clarksville, TN in order for me to serve as minister of the Madison Street Church of Christ. Clarksville is located 45 miles northwest of Nashville. I often went to Nashville to visit people in the hospitals, and my family and I frequently enjoyed shopping and pleasure trips to Nashville. I-24 did not exist in those days and the trip was made via Highway 41-A. About halfway between Clarksville and Nashville was a neat little roadside restaurant that served great barbeque on cornbread hoecakes. It was a popular eating place, and it was always a special treat for us to stop and eat there, though I have long forgotten the name of the place. Continue reading
GIFTED OR AUTHORIZED?
In the worship of the church the New Testament authorizes Christians to sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; et al). Singing was the specified kind of music to be offered in worship to God by Christians. It was over 600 years after the establishment of the church before instrumental music first began to appear in worship, and some historians say it was at least 1000 years after the church began before instrumental music appeared.
When the Protestant Reformation began, most, if not all, Protestants rejected the use of instrumental music in worship because they viewed it as a part of the apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church. Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists early in their history opposed instrumental music in worship. David Benedict, in his book, Fifty Years Among the Baptists, published in 1859, stated: “Staunch old Baptists in former times would have as soon tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries” (as cited by Alan E. Highers, editor, The Spiritual Sword, Volume 35, No. 2, January 2004). Continue reading
“THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART . . .”
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1a). This text is not talking about the avowed atheist who blatantly denies the existence of God. Rather, it is talking about the practical atheist who, while confessing with his mouth that he believes in God, nevertheless in his heart and by his life denies the reality of God. Of such people the apostle Paul wrote: “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
There are many of these kinds of fools in the world at large, in the various religious organizations formed by men, and even in the church of our Lord. Consider the following. Continue reading
TEXTS USED OUT OF CONTEXT
Context has to do with the setting and circumstances in which an event takes place or a statement is made. By ignoring context events can be misinterpreted and statements can be misunderstood. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in today’s world. A man may have made a statement (or be charged with having made a statement), and without knowing the context of his statement, he may be accused of saying and believing something that he neither said nor believes.
In studying the Bible it is important to observe the context of all that it says. Sometimes statements of scripture are lifted from their context and made to teach things that the inspired writer never intended to teach. The statement taken out of context may, indeed, set forth a truth that is taught elsewhere in scripture but not in the text cited. To use a passage out of context is unjustifiable, because as the old hermeneutical saw goes, “A text taken out of context is a pretext.”
Following are a few of many examples that could be given of using a text of scripture out of context. Continue reading