Lessons From Brevity

It may seem a bit odd for a preacher to bring up the subject of brevity, but I am no stranger to oddness. As is the case with some preachers I have the capacity to go on a bit longer than I should, but I do try to keep from doing so. It is true that the best of ideas require the fewest words.

The Implications of Who We Are?

We have been spending some time thinking about the question "Who are we?" A full answer to this question is available through cumulative Bible study and the careful use of ancillary materials. Older scholars associated with the church have done a fine job describing the New Testament doctrine of the church. Mc Garvey, Milligan, Wallace, Brents, Hardeman, Lipscomb, West, are but some of the men whose work can be studied profitably. Everett Ferguson's book The Church of Christ is another more recent effort at presenting a coalesced view of the Bible's teaching on the church. The Spiritual Sword, a periodical edited by Alan Highers, does an outstanding job in describing the church in Biblical terms. The present issue comes at the subject from a historical perspective and is excellent. In recent times the Gospel Advocate has approached the subject with Biblical clarity. The point here is this: There is ample sound and solid material available for a good well-directed study of the identity of the church. More of us need to undertake that effort.

Who Are We? III

The question of who we really are as the church has a multi-faceted answer. One facet is this: The church is the family of God. This is based on 1 Timothy 3:14-15 which says, "These things I write to you, although I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to behave in the house of God, which is the church of the living god, the pillar and ground of the truth."

Who Are We II

It is impossible to think profitably about the identity of the church without consideration of the context of the question, "Who are we?" By context I mean our own temporal, physical, historical and cultural environment and that of others about whom this question is concerned, now and in the past.

Who Are We?

Who Are We? is the title of a recent book by Samuel P. Huntington which has the subtitle The Challenges To America's National Identity. As you might surmise Huntington examines America's identity crisis. Students of current events are familiar with this discussion. We are told by our oh-so-wise media that the United States of America is divided into polarized bodies, one made up of the red states and one of the blue. I hate to sound like Isaiah or Jeremiah about this (I don't really hate it I like it very much), but our problems as a nation increase in proportion to the distance we move away from God-given principles of right living. Too many in our nation refuse to see that this country is a blessed and well-prepared vineyard. These intelligent and arrogant folk turn away from the fresh water of God's truth to broken cisterns full of the bitter water of secularism.

Understand the Bible?

One might say about the Bible that it has a lot in it. This is the truth. The Bible contains a massive amount of information. Sometimes the size and complexity of the Book discourages people. It is so big in terms of words and ideas that folks don't even feel like trying to understand it.

Flying Blind

I have read and admired the work of Thomas Sowell for many years now. His new book, controversially titled Black Rednecks and White Liberals, is a fascinating study of how history is used by people who have hidden (and not so hidden) agendas. Sowell is an economist and historian of logical habits. In this recent book he said this: Where beliefs are not checked against facts, but instead facts must meet the test of consonance with the prevailing vision, we are in the process of sealing ourselves off from feedback from reality. Heedless of the past, we are flying blind into the future (page 291). The proverbial nail has not only been hit on the head, it has been obliterated.

Popularity and Perspective

Not a few people have been bemused at the public reaction to the trial of Mr. Jackson of pop music fame. I am amazed that people get so caught up in these things, though I know that it is because a popular (in some circles) celebrity is involved. There is, however, an underlying problem with spiritual implications.

Spiritual Fatigue

We know that for the child of God Christian service is a "given." We attend the services of the church and we worship God according to the pattern revealed in the Text. But we know that there is more. And as James said, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). The faithful Christian serves God.

WORK TO DO

Though at times onerous, work is a good thing. Proverbs 12:24 has "The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor." In Proverbs 13:4 we find, "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." Again, in Proverbs 19:15: "Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger." It is good to work even if sometimes it is hard. Laziness is a reprehensible waste of the blessings of God.