April 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Be Evangelistic!)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • How to Excel in Personal Evangelism (Rob Whitacre)
  • Some Evangelism Do’s and Don’t’s (Cody Westbrook)
  • Why Every Christian Should Be Interested in Evangelism (Doyle Wells)
  • You Never Mentioned Him to Me (Sam Dilbeck)
  • Bring Them Back (Jimmy Ferguson)
  • Learning to Teach from the Master Teacher (Russell M. Kline)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#advice, #christian-worker, #evangelism, #evangelistic-studies, #following-jesus, #individual-responsibility

Cornelius was no Calvinist and You Shouldn’t be Either!

I was told the other day by an adherent to Calvinistic theology that (and I quote):

“The free human will can do a lot of things; but it cannot will anything pleasing to God; because the natural human mind cannot submit to God’s law.”

The first thing/question that popped into my head after thinking about what they said was, “A free will that’s only free enough to do things that do not please God? Doesn’t sound very “free” to me.” After all, if a person has no free will concerning their will toward God they have no will at all!

But then I started thinking about what the scriptures say (outside of the plainly contradicted verse of Romans 2:14) concerning people before they became a Christian and whether or not their will had any will to do the will of God and one person in particular came to mind, and that was Cornelius. Cornelius is a case that simply reveals how wrong Calvinistic theology is when it comes to their complicated and contradictory teaching on the free will (or the lack thereof) of men and women, for the scriptures (with emphasis added) say concerning Cornelius that:

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius! “And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” (Acts 10:1-7)

Cornelius was a good man, but like all sinners who are not in Christ he was not saved. But despite the fact that he was not saved, i.e. he needed to be quickened due to being dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1-5), Cornelius did things that were pleasing to God, and they were pleasing even to the extent that the Bible says that his works reached Heaven itself! That’s right; Cornelius did things that were pleasing to God before hearing and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cornelius was doing what Calvinism says can’t be done – he willed, and he did things that God took note of in a positive way. Sure, Cornelius still had to come to the Father through the Son because his good works could never justify his sinful deeds, but the point still remains, and that point is that God Himself took note of this man’s free will that willed to do the will of God.

Furthermore, take note of what the angel of God said to Cornelius. It was the angel who told Cornelius that Peter would tell him what he must do. What had to be done had to be done by Cornelius and it had to be done of his own free will, for if his will was anything other than free it would not have been Cornelius who was doing it, nor would there have been anything for him to do. There was nothing that he could do to make God owe his salvation to him, but something had to be done by Cornelius’ will, which willed to please God, in response to the gospel of Christ for this was and still is the will of God concerning the lost (John 3:16).

This is why I say that Cornelius was no Calvinist and you shouldn’t be either!

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

#calvinism, #conversion-of-cornelius, #free-will, #individual-responsibility, #pleasing-god, #theology

Independent, But not from God (Mike Glenn)

We have already, in our JG studies, considered the characteristic of cooperation or interdependence. This is the quality of being a team player so that others can count on you and of having confidence in other faithful brethren so that you can count on them. There are so many ways that we need each other. We need brethren to help us when we are overtaken in a fault (Galatians 6:1). We need help with our overburdens (Galatians 6:2). We need elders to watch for our souls (Hebrews 13:17) We need to provoke one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). We need to be examples to one another (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Yet, at the same time that we keep a cooperative spirit, we must be ready to stand alone, to act for God even if no one else will. That is what the characteristic of independence is about. We will not stand before God in judgment as a family or congregation. We will stand as individuals. In this life, we must independently follow God.

By independence, I also do not mean independent from God. Anytime we work without God properly in the picture, we are lost. The psalmist said, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). God wants us to depend upon him (Hebrews 4:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Independence, rather than acting apart from God, is the choice to work for God by obeying Him and living for Him even when others neglect to be obedient (Hebrews 2:3).

Many times we are moved by peer pressure to compromise our beliefs. Sometimes extra pressure is brought to bear to intentionally ignore some principle we know is true. And, it is especially true that in many congregations there are no comprehensive plans that will involve every member of the congregation in the work. We, must learn to be active for the Lord and strong for the Lord regardless of whether we are part of a congregational program or not.

Consider some people who were independent in their actions for an example to us. Consider the

independent action of Joseph recorded in Genesis 38-39. Hated by his brothers and enslaved, he still rejected the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. He still dealt honestly with his master. After being imprisoned, he did not sour on God and think that he was not taking care of Him. Rather, his continued integrity kept him in both God’s favor and that of the prison keeper.

I love the story of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22. When Ahab sent for him after hearing all his prophets tell him he would be successful in taking Ramoth-Gilead. Ahab desperately wanted Jehoshaphat to go with him to war, so the messenger sent to fetch Micaiah told Micaiah to agree with the other prophets. Micaiah’s answer will always be classic, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord sayeth unto me, that will I speak” (1 Kings 22:14).

I also believe that Jonathan was a man of independent action for God. Read 1 Samuel 14:1-14. Israel was at battle with the Philistines. Jonathan, while the army was at rest decided to take the battle to the Philistines. His words to the armor bearer in verse 6 are the words of one who depends on God and acts even when others are not.

And I especially love two passages in the book of Acts that speak of independent action on the part of many of the first century Christians. In Acts 8:1-4, after the death of Stephen, the disciples went everywhere preaching the word, but the apostles were not in the number. In Ephesus, Paul was daily, for about two years, disputing in the school of Tyrannus, but all Asia heard the word. In both of these cases, there was no program led by elders, no full time preacher going to every place, just disciples, men and women, acting independently to take the Lord to the world.

Brothers and sisters, God has given us all we can do if we will. No program is needed. No leadership is essential to my salvation.

  • I can follow God.
  • I can make a point of doing good for people so their heart will be opened.
  • I can pray in depth for those I know.
  • I can continuously ask others for studies.
  • I can learn the Bible well with diligence.
  • I can try to save erring brothers and sisters.
  • I can be hospitable.
  • I can qualify myself to teach or serve some other way.

There is never a time when every member could not fully employ his time in the Lord’s work where he or she is.We must do our own work and stand before God alone.

Mike Glenn

#independence, #individual-responsibility, #youth