Volume VII, Number 02
In this issue:
Have you ever heard of Gossip Town on the shore of Falsehood Bay, where old Rumor, with rustling gown, is going the lifelong day?
It isn’t far to Gossip Town for people who desire to go. The idleness train will take you down in just an hour or so. The Thoughtless Road is a popular route, and most folks start that way: But it’s a steep downgrade; if you don’t look out, you’ll land in Falsehood Bay.
You glide through the valley of Vicious Folk and into the tunnel of Hate; Then, crossing the Add-to-Bridge, you walk right into the city gate.
The principal street is called “They Say,” and “I’ve Heard” is the public well. And the breezes that blow from Falsehood Bay are laden with “Don’t you tell.”
In the midst of the town is Telltale Park; you’re never quite safe while there. For its owner is Madam Suspicious Remark, who lives on the street Don’t Care. Just back of the park is Slander’s Row; ‘twas where Good Name died, pierced by an arrow from Jealousy’s bow in the hands of Envious Pride.
From Gossip Town peace long since fled, but trouble, grief, and woe, and sorrow, and care you’ll meet instead if ever you chance to go.
The Christians in Corinth were having spiritual problems. Sin was being accepted among them, the Lord’s Supper was being abused, love was lacking and brethren were elevating themselves above each other by misunderstanding the miraculous spiritual gifts they had received from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12-14).
Paul taught them to properly understand and use their spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 14. He drew upon several general principles and made application of them to how they should conduct themselves in the use of their gifts. These general principles continue to teach us how to faithfully serve God and benefit from His gifts and blessings in our lives. Let us take a brief look at these principles of truth.
1) Teaching must be clear and distinctive for it to achieve its purpose, 1 Cor. 14:9. Paul is discussing the gift of speaking in tongues in this context: unless the language spoken was interpreted, the goal of edifying the church would not occur (14:11-13). This principle is universal. We urgently need to be plain, clear and understandable when we teach the gospel of Christ (Rom. 10:14, 17).
2) Let all things be done for edification, 1 Cor. 14:26. Every member of the body of Christ must work for the good of the whole body (1 Cor. 12:21-31). The abilities and opportunities of each Christian should be seen as a chance to benefit the church, not just one member of it. That lesson was needed in Corinth, where selfishness was destroying unity. It is also needed today. Working for the edification (spiritual building up) of the church contributes to peace and the unselfish treatment of others (Rom. 14:19). Let us check our motives to be sure that what we do for the church is intended to build up our fellows rather than elevate ourselves at their expense.
3) God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, 1 Cor. 14:33. By suggesting that God endorses religious diversity and denominationalism one unwittingly accuses God of causing religious confusion! The gospel teaches us to work diligently for unity among believers, and that the bond of that unity is peace (Eph. 4:3). It is consistent with the character of God to expect His people to exhibit orderliness in their worship of Him (v. 40; Jno. 4:24; 1 Tim. 2:8). Similarly, peace is to prevail among Christians (Col. 3:15; Jno. 17:20-21).
4) Let the women keep silence in the churches, 1 Cor. 14:34. In an age when women’s rights advocates have won for women a place in the pulpits of many churches, churches of Christ continue to honor the order of headship ordained by God (1 Cor. 11:3). God does not give women permission to teach over a man or to take a position of authority over men (1 Tim. 2:11-14). Women (as well as men), please be careful to not take upon yourselves that which God has not given you.
5) Let all things be done decently and in order, 1 Cor. 14:40. Despite what some believe, the Bible does not produce religious disorder and confusion. Since God is not the author or source of confusion, we would expect Him to demand orderliness from those who worship and serve Him (14:33). Truth, when obeyed, brings order to one’s life. Sin and error always bring chaos.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Watchmen in Zion
Reading: Morning: Ezekiel 3:16-21
Are there watchmen in Zion today? Should there be? If so, who are they? How do we react to them and the work they do?
I. WATCHMEN IN OLD TESTAMENT.
Written for Our Learning - Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 10:6-12.
II. WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS OF ZION
Kingdom, the Church of Christ, is Mount Zion, the City of the Living God –
Heb. 12:22-23; Gal. 4:25-26.
III. CHRIST HAS SET WATCHMEN IN HIS CHURCH.
Christians are to be Watchful in All Things – 1 Cor. 16:13. (Spiritual
alertness, Matt. 24:42-44; 26:41; 1 Ths. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 3:2-3; Eph.
IV. A CALL FOR WATCHMEN WHO WILL WATCH & WARN AGAINST:
Worldliness – 1 Jno. 2:15-17.
V. OBJECTIONS TO WATCHMEN.
“Trying to Control the Brotherhood” (violating autonomy) – 1 Cor. 4:17; 11:1
(Mk. 16:15); 1 Tim. 1:3; Tit. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:9 (Amos 7:12)
By now you’ve probably hear about the lawyer who filed a lawsuit against Kraft Foods Inc. for making Oreo cookies. Stephen Joseph said the trans fat (hydrogenated oils) in Oreos make them a serious health risk. He contended that since people in California (where the suit was filed) did not know the risks of trans fat, Kraft should be forced to pull Oreos off the shelf. After three days of intense media publicity, just about everyone has heard about Oreos and trans fat. Now, Joseph has withdrawn his suit. Pass the cookie jar!
Of course, we must make decisions about the quality of the food we eat or we will not be healthy. Similarly, we must make good decisions about what the world offers us to “eat” that indulges the flesh but destroys the soul (1 Jno. 2:15-17). Immorality is rampant in our society, and we must be strong in the faith to say “no” to all such temptations (1 Cor. 16:13; Rom. 13:14; 1 Pet. 4:1-4).
Oreos taste great, but do contain ingredients that are best avoided. It is not easy to say “no” to sin when, like Oreos, it tastes so good. Moses sets a worthy of example for us as he lived by faith, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25). Unlike Oreos, we cannot allow ourselves “just a little bit of sin this once” and not pay the price eternally (Rom. 6:23).
If we eat too many Oreos we will likely have to stop eating them (or cut back), change our eating habits and exercise a lot more. If we are to overcome sin we must stop committing it and change our practice of it (repent), and start exercising ourselves toward godliness (Jas. 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; 1 Tim. 4:7-8).
When it comes to Oreos, pace yourself. When it comes to sin, abstain! (1 Ths. 5:22; 1 Pet. 2:11)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/19/2003
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