EXHORTATIONS FROM THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
The New Testament book of Hebrews draws a striking contrast between the obsolescence and ineffectiveness of the old covenant and the beauty and power of the new covenant to actually and fully provide justification from sin (Hebrews 10:1-10). In reality, the book is a written sermon consisting largely (though not exclusively) of exhortations as to how those who have been justified by Christ and His blood are to live (Hebrews 13:22).
The human author of the book (sermon) is unknown, though I personally lean heavily toward the apostle Paul as being the author. Origen (185-254) said that only God knows who wrote Hebrews. Whoever wrote it was guided by the Holy Spirit and the book is a part of God’s divine revelation to man (II Timothy 3:16-17). Its message needs to be read and digested by Christians today and its exhortations need to be followed. Consider the following. Continue reading
THE RESTORATION LEADERS AND THE LIMITS OF THEIR INFLUENCE
The men who down through the ages have pled for the original ground of the New Testament are certainly deserving of our respect and appreciation. Their insights into biblical teaching are worthy of our reading and study, and from them we may learn much concerning the will of God. But we must remember that they were fallible men, capable of erring with reference to various matters. Neither Stone, Campbell, Scott, Smith, McGarvey, Lard, Lipscomb, Harding, Boles, Brewer, Hardeman, Wallace, Nichol, Nichols, Cogdill, Woods, nor any other mortal man is our authority in religion. That right belongs to Christ and to Him alone (Matthew 17:5; Matthew 28:18; Colossians 3:17; Hebrews 1:1-2). Continue reading
UNUSUAL THINGS FOR WHICH TO BE THANKFUL
I do not know the origin of the following, but since we are celebrating another national day of Thanksgiving this week I thought it would be an appropriate reminder of so many of our blessings which we often tend to overlook.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire… if you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know… it gives you an opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for difficult times… during those times you grow. Continue reading
A SACK FULL OF “GOLD NUGGETS” FROM MY READING
From time to time I post on my Facebook page some “gold nugget” that I have run across in my reading. This week for my “News & Views” I am sharing several “nuggets.”
“The story (of Christ and salvation, hf) was plain and easy to tell. There was nothing to do but open my Bible and let it tell to a perishing world the way of salvation. It was not necessary to warp or twist a single sentence” (Samuel Rogers [1789-1877], pioneer gospel preacher, Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate Company , pp. 52-53). Continue reading
I AM A CHRISTIAN
(Note: The following article was written by Dr. Cecil May, Jr., dean emeritus of the V. P. Black College of Biblical Studies at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL. It appeared as his “Finally, Brethren” column in the October 2019 issue of the Gospel Advocate and is used here by the express permission of the Gospel Advocate company. I highly commend Dr. May’s provocative article to all).
I am a disciple of Christ; I seek to learn from Him and follow Him…but I am not a Disciple of Christ.
I am a methodist; I try to follow the biblical method…but I am not a Methodist.
I am a baptist; I have been immersed in water for the forgiveness of my sins…but I am not a Baptist.
I am catholic; Christ added me to His universal church…but I am not a Catholic.
I am part of an assembly of God; we assemble each Lord’s day…but I am not of the Assemblies of God.
I am presbyterian; my congregation is shepherded by elders (Greek, presbuteroi)…but I am not a Presbyterian.
I am episcopalian; my congregation is overseen by bishops (Greek, episcopoi)…but I am not an Episcopalian.
I am a member of a congregation which is Christian and independent…but I am not of the Independent Christian Church.
I am a member of the church of Christ; He built it and purchased it with His blood…but I am not Church of Christ.
I am a member of the church of God; He purposed it before the worlds began…but I am not Church of God.
By the grace of God, I am a Christian.
Hugh Fulford, November 12, 2019
REFLECTIONS ON PRAYER
I have always been a person of prayer and have always believed in the power of prayer. More importantly, I have always believed in the one true God of heaven and earth who hears the prayers of His children. Even before my father became a Christian he taught my sister and me the childhood prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. If I should live for other days, I pray the Lord to guide my ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” At all three of our meals (always eaten, by the way, at the family table) my father led us in a prayer of thanks for our food. After he obeyed the gospel, it was the practice of our family for my father to read a chapter from the Bible (with the rest of us following along in our own Bible) and to lead us in prayer before we went to bed for the night. It was these home Bible readings, along with the study of the New Testament book by book and chapter by chapter at the little congregation we attended, as well as my own reading, that formed my first acquaintance with the contents of the New Testament. Our congregation had no divided classes (not that we were opposed to them), but we were so small that everyone (children and adults) met in one large class on Wednesday nights and we studied through the New Testament in the above fashion. I think there is much that could be said in favor of ten, eleven, and twelve year old boys sitting in a Bible class with adults, reading the scriptures with them, both asking and answering questions that arise from the text, and making appropriate comments on the text being studied. I know that I will always cherish those sweet and precious memories! Continue reading
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