EAST SIDE MUSINGS
One part of an old song says, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." This seems to be especially true today during this election season which has proved to be very bitter. Well, the truth of the matter is that the world always stands in need of love.
In the first place it must be understood that the world is loved by the God of universe. John wrtote that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16). This Son loved the world so much that he went to the cross because it was the will of the Father that He do so. Matthew describe the scene in the garden in the following way, "And he took wirh him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father if it be possible,let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt. 26:36-39). The great expression of heaven's love is found in the death of the Savior at Calvary. However, the world has the responsibility of acting favorably toward that great love through obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His words, and His words are the words of the Father (Jn. 14:23, 24). This world is filled with a great amount of hatred but in it one can find the love of God. Search the Scriptures!
The Lord has appointed that His children should show their love for this lost world by taking the "good news" of Christ to it. "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: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:19-20, KJV).
Here we find the Christian's responsibility to the world. We are to show our love for the world by preaching to the lost the love of God.
Could it be that much of the hate found in the world is due to the fact that we have not preached the gospel of peace to it as far and wide as it should be? Have you been doing your part to tell others of the Love of God? Let's go "tell it on the mountain." "If the light of His peresence has brightened your way, O will you not tell it today?"
Another matter to be considered in regard to this subject is what the Lord said in Jn.13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another (Jn. 13:35). Perhaps one reason why this world is still filled with hatred is that those of us who claim to follow Christ do not have the love for one another as we ought. The world will not learn of God's love if His children do not love one another. If God's children hate one another why would the world love God and keep His commandments?
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love."
Brother Cook presented a lesson comparing the Christian race to a physical race. Most people would agree that to run a race or marathon one needs the proper attitude, nourishment, training, and attire. Here are a few notes from the lesson.
Running the Christian Race
1. Proper Attitude (commitment, “can do” mind set, drive)
Matt 11:15 - willing to listen. Matt. 7:24-25:27
John 10:27, James 1:22-25, II Timothy 3:
2. Proper Nutrition
a. Carbs – bread of life - John 6:35, 48
b. Protien – milk/meat – 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:13
c. Water – water of life – John 4:13-14
d. Bad carbs – man-made teaching
3. Proper training
a. Self-displine –I Thess. 5:6
b. Endurance – James 5:11
c. Associations/changes – Mark 10:
4. Proper Attire (clothing/uniform)
Romans 6:34, 10:10, Acts 2:38
EAST SIDE MUSINGS
It is an amazing matter how much influence the denominational world has had on the church of the New Testament. Some have picked up both the thinking and language of denominationalism.
When some folks think of churches of Christ, they consider it (the church) to be just a denomination among denominations. Consequently they refuse to teach the uniqueness of the Lord's church as it is revealed in the New Testament. It is the Lord's body (Eph. 1:22-23) and Paul later in this same letter says there is just one body (Eph. 4:4-5). This one body is not a conglomeration of different religious groups all teaching different things, but it is united and composed of those who have been baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-5) and who believe in one Lord, one faith, one baptism (a burial in water for the remission of sins, Acts 2:38) and one God who is the Father of all and who is over all and through all in all.
Denominational language has also crept into the thinking of some. This is seen in a number of ways. For example, some think of the preacher as being a pastor. The pastoral system comes directly from denominationalism which borrowed it from Catholicism. The word "pastor" or "pastors" is used in the New Testament to refer only to an elder or elders in the Lord's church. One should look at Eph. 4:11 where the original word "poimen" is translated shepherd or pastor. A preacher is not a pastor unless he has been appointed an elder by the congregation. This man then serves in two roles—preacher and pastor. And, incidentally, there were always a plurality of pastors or shepherds in every congregation.
Another way denominational language has come into the church is to refer to the preacher as "reverend." In no place in the New Testament is any preacher called a
reverend. Look in any concordance, and you will find that the only time this word is used is in Psalm 111:9 (KJV) and there it refers to God. The NASB uses the word "awesome" instead of reverend with a footnote that says, "inspiring reverence." Preachers in the New Testament are referred to as preachers or ministers (servants). Shame on any man who feels he is so awesome as to be reverenced. Let's use Bible terms to refer to Bible things.
EAST SIDE MUSINGS
What do you know? We only had one doctor's appointment this week. I used to kid an older couple in Joplin that if they didn't go to the doctor they would have no place to go. Now that seems to be true of us. Even if a Christian does not have some kind of a doctor's appointment each week they do have an appointment with God on the first day of every week.
We know the early church did this because Paul wrote concerning their giving, "On the first day of every week each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come" (I Cor. 16:2,ESV). The early Christians met every first day of the week to worship God. Paul and his company stayed at Troas for seven days in order to "break bread" with the brethren "on the first day of the week" (Acts 20:6-7). If "breaking bread" in this context referred to a common meal, we know that could have been done on any day. Context shows it to refer to the Lord's Supper. Some had started neglecting to meet together and the Hebrews writer warns them concerning this matter by saying among other things. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:23-31). There is also proof of Christians meeting on the first day of the week to observe the Lord's Supper from the writings of those men who lived immediately following the apostles. Later on, we have the teaching of men who were interested in restoring New Testament Christianity who taught that Christians were to meet every first day of the week to observe the Lord's Supper and as with their other teaching, this was based on the New Testament. Present day Christians continue to meet every first day of the week.
Our purpose in meeting on this day is to worship the God of heaven. And our worship is to be "in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24). But our assembling together also involves our stirring up one another (Heb. 10:24) and encouraging one another (Heb. 10:25). When we sing in the assembly, we "teach and admonish" one another (Col. 3:16). "What's in it for me?" is not really a bad question, as long as we don't try to change New Testament worship from its pattern. Yes, we do praise and adore our Father in heaven and one cannot over-emphasize this fact. And He is the one who regulates our worship. But there is something in it for me.
If you want to get a feel for what the worship of the Father is all about, take the time to read and study the Psalms. The Psalmist praised God and he also benefited from this praise.
We have an appointment every first day of the week to worship God and to benefit there-from. Are you keeping your appointment?
Birthdays, Time, and Attitude
We have several who have birthdays in August. We appreciate one and all and wish for them another good year. However, the Bible teaches that life is uncertain and just because we have another birthday does not mean that we will live another year, month, day or hour. James writes, Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (Jas. 4:13-15).
As one who is on the verge of having lived 76 years I would like to say a few things about growing older.
In the first place, growing older is a plan made by the God of heaven. We were not designed to live here forever (Heb. 9:27). So our bodies gradually deteriorate until they cannot support us any longer. Solomon wrote that there is a time to be born and a time to die (Eccl. 3:2). But this does not have to be a melancholy journey. Having been Christians we have been able to walk with God in the greatest life known to man. We have been able to be brothers and sisters with the greatest people on earth. We have been able to rear our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, one of the greatest challenges we faced.
Secondly, we are not finished with this life. There is still much to do, there is work on every hand. Even though we may not have the energy we once had, that does not mean we should sit down and twiddle our thumbs and say we have done our part. What about your influence for good? What about offering words of encouragement to those who are now in positions of leadership—teachers, preachers, song leaders? What about encouraging those who seem to be discouraged? What about sending letters and tracts to those you would like to see obey the gospel? What about faithfully attending the services of the church as long as it is physically possible? What about visiting the sick and shut-ins as long as you can? Don't wait for someone to give you a job. Do what you can as long as you can.
Thirdly, because we have sincerely attempted to live a good Christian life, we have no reason to be pessimistic or even grouchy in our old age. I know by experience that the golden years are not always that golden, but that gives neither one of us an excuse to be hard to live with. If we are happy or sad in life depends on our attitude. And that is true regardless of our age. Let's all make sure we develop the attitude of Christ (II Cor. 3:18) and make it pleasant for others to be around us.This we can do. -- Don Deffenbaugh
Genealogy of Christ
I have a first cousin who has a great deal of interest in genealogy. It leads me to discuss in this article the genealogy of our Lord.
The gospel accounts trace the two sides of our Lord. We begin with his human side. When one looks at the genealogical tables given by Matthew and Luke he runs into some difficulty. H. Leo Boles in his commentary on Luke says, "Matthew's design was to trace our Lord's genealogy from Abraham down to his reputed father, Joseph, in order to furnish legal evidence to the Jews (and Matthew was writing about Jesus for the benefit of the Jews d.r.d.), that Jesus of Nazareth was, through the male ancestry, the lineal descendant of David and of Abraham.
Luke traces his genealogy from Joseph, 'as was supposed,' father of Jesus, on back through David and Abraham to Adam" (88). These facts do not answer all the problems of harmonizing these two accounts but it does help us to see that the Scriptures intend for us to understand that He came in the flesh. (I Tim. 3:16). Even Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man (Matt. 8:20). The Gnostics denied this fact but they were false teachers and were answered by New Testament writers like John in I Jn. 1.But our Lord was also divine and John, in his account of the gospel story, emphasizes this fact in John 1. He says that Christ was the Word in the beginning and that the Word was God. If one doubts who the word was, John adds in vs. 14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." The fact that Christ was divine, being the Son of God, was something that the Jews just could not swallow. They argued with Him every step of the way about this point and finally had Him crucified because they could not answer Him (cf. Jn. 3:16; Jn. 10:36 Jn. 17:1; Matt. 27:43). John said to his disciples concerning Jesus "this is the Son of God" (Jn. 1:34). Two verses later John told his disciples that the Son of God was the Lamb of God (v. 36). His life, His death, and His resurrection all proved Him to be the Son of God. As a matter of fact, Paul wrote that He was proved to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 1:4). Grateful that the Son of God was also the Lamb of God we should be willing to confess Him before men (Matt. 10:32). Our willingness to confess Him means that we believe Him to be the Son of God and we should be willing to repent of our sins and have them washed away in His blood (Rev. 1:5).The genealogy of Christ is important because our salvation depends upon our believing that He came in the flesh and was the divine Son of God.
-- Don Deffenbaugh
* Privileges and Responsibilities of Married Couples
We are not discussing folks who decide just to live together. They have no obligation except to get out of their relationship---this kind of thing is described as fornication in God's Word (I Cor. 6:13, 18). Sexual desires are to be fulfilled only in marriage (I Cor. 7:2-5). This is one of the great privileges and responsibilities of married couples. See I Cor. 7:2-5 again.
Another responsibility and privilege of married couples is to love one another (Eph. 5:25-33). This love includes fleshly desire but goes far, far beyond it. Paul says the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (v. 25). This love involves husbands loving their wives to the extent that they would give their life for them. In reading stories from the Joplin tornado we were impressed with the number of men who stretched their bodies over the bodies of their wives and saved their lives but lost their own. What more can we use to illustrate this love? In verses 28-29, Paul writes, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nournisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." This chapter closes with the following words, "Nevertheless let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (v. 33)
It is the responsibility and privilege of married couples to live with one another. An exception to this is found in I Cor. 7:10-11. It isn't the burden of this article to study the other things that are said in the context of these verses as it would take much more room than is available to us in this article. I have been amazed through the years of the number of married people who have not lived with one another. My question is: Why did they get married in the first place? Married couples are companions and that companionship is priceless. Only our walk with the Lord exceeds it.
The final responsibility and privilege of Married couples I will mention in this article is to laugh together. Yes, there are troubled times in a marriage, but think how each one can help the other to get through those tough times. They also have pleasant times when they enjoy one another's company at worship, at work, at play, and at rest. Those of you who are married, or have been married, stop here to think of the good times you have (had) in one another's company. Married couples love, live, and laugh together.
- Don Deffenbaugh
Although most "Christian" religions practice some form of baptism for a variety of purposes, not everyone follows the teaching of the New Testament on this subject. Scripture says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16).
"Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38)
"Know ye not, that so many or us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:3-4). Have you been scripturally baptized?
These are articles written by Brother Don Deffenbaugh.