sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Volume 20, Number
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Mt. Baker church
Editor......Joe R. Price
In this issue:
Deafening Silence of the PreachersNoteworthy News:
Deafening Silence of the Preachers
Joe R. Price
Jeremiah was set in place by God to be His prophet to Jerusalem, Judah and
the nations. Using God’s word, Jeremiah was commissioned by God “to root out
and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jer.
1:4-5, 9-10). When he was severely persecuted for speaking God’s word to
rebellious Jerusalem, Jeremiah considered being silent rather than speaking
“anymore in His name” (Jer. 20:9). God’s prophet was tempted to refrain from
speech that was sure to bring him rejection, mockery, imprisonment, and
death threats. He did not yield to this temptation. Instead, Jeremiah was
emboldened in faith to continue to open his mouth and speak the inspired
word of God: “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my
bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jer. 20:9).
Although friends and foes were against him, he rested his confidence in the
Lord’s presence, power and justice (Jer. 20:10-12).
Jeremiah sets a worthy example for every Christian today. We live in an age
of moral defiance and open rebellion against God, and His holy standards of
conduct. Marriage is being redefined to include “same-sex” relationships.
The murder of innocent life has been redefined to be a woman’s “right to
choose” concerning “reproductive health,” while the unborn are relegated to
little more than a footnote, an appendage, a mass of cells. Mind-altering
substances like marijuana are being legalized, joining the ranks of alcohol
and other drugs to help people cope as they try to “escape” reality. In
religious circles, sin is being redefined out of existence. The Scriptures
are ridiculed and dismissed as mythical, outdated and irrelevant. Faith has
been reduced by many to a money grab as they preach a prosperity theology
that serves the flesh (1 Timothy 6:6-10). People are cynical of religion,
and many times, for good reason.
The question for Christians is, will we raise our voices against the
prevailing winds of sin and unbelief? Or, will we fear men and be silent?
Will we, by our silence, publicly “go along to get along” with this present
evil world? Or, are we prepared to suffer reproach for the name of Christ,
like first-century disciples (1 Pet. 4:16; 3:13-17)? What would Jeremiah say
and do today? (If you are familiar with the life of Jeremiah, you know the
answer to that question.)
Jeremiah is a worthy example for gospel preachers, too. These are men who
devote their lives to proclaiming the word of God to a lost and dying world.
These are men who are obliged before God to “preach the gospel” without fear
or favor (1 Cor. 9:16; 2 Tim. 4:2-4). Gospel preachers are to boldly speak
the whole counsel of God, not avoid its full proclamation (Acts 20:27). They
are not to be hirelings who remain silent in the face sin, error and
spiritual danger (Jno. 10:12-13).
The apostle of Christ said, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord
Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and
His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim.
4:1-2). Too often, we are left to wonder what a preacher teaches and where
he stands on the soul-effecting topics of the day. Jeremiah did not have
that problem. Like Jeremiah, a gospel preacher must stand against the tide
of public opinion and unfaithfulness among God’s people. This is not only
true of gospel preachers. It is also true of elders, teachers, and all who
have the Christ-given work of building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-16).
Preachers are silent today when they ought to proclaim God’s word. God’s
warnings ought to be heard against sin in all its forms, including false
teaching and immorality. No preacher (or elder) should ever be heard saying,
“There is no need to preach on that subject, because we do not have that
problem here.” That is exactly what our adversary the devil wants – the
silence of the preachers! Be assured fellow-preacher, if you are not
preaching on subjects because they are not currently problems where you
live, they will eventually become problems. Furthermore, the brethren will
be ill-equipped to address them and overcome them, in part, due to your
silence (Jas. 3:1). Consider these applications to illustrate this poignant,
if not prevailing, problem.
Bible authority and the local church. Brethren have told me on more
than one occasion that how to establish and how to apply Bible authority is
not being preached today as in times past. More and more congregations are
becoming ill-equipped to prevent innovations from creeping into local
churches. We now see “non-institutional” churches of Christ advertising the
social activities of their members (from picnics to youth “lock-ins”) on
church websites, in gospel meeting flyers, bulletins and on bulletin boards.
Some churches have taken to announcing summer youth camps. (For example, I
was recently asked by a Florida College booster club to at least post an
announcement of their youth camp on the church’s bulletin board.) By what
Bible authority does a church advertise social activities? Where are the
preachers who are warning brethren against violating Bible authority by
adding a social work to the spiritual labor of the local church (Col. 3:17)?
Fellow-preachers, when was the last time you preached on Bible authority and
the differences between the individual and the congregation (1 Tim. 5:16;
Matt. 18:15-17)? The silence of the preachers is deafening!
Marriage, divorce and remarriage. Now, that’s a topic from which many
preachers run. When was the last time your preacher preached on divorce and
remarriage from the pulpit? There are preachers who simply will not do so.
They reason like the world: “That is a subject for classes or private study,
not the pulpit.” Perhaps Jeremiah should not have preached publicly against
the adultery of his day (both physical adultery and spiritual adultery,
i.e., idolatry, Jer. 3:8-9; 7:9; 29:23). From time to time I am asked what a
preacher teaches on divorce and remarriage. More than once I have had to
rely, “I do not know; they have nothing in writing or on record to go to and
find out.” That should not be the report concerning one who preaches the
whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27). I know, not every preacher writes,
and not every preacher has his sermons recorded for public distribution.
But, when a preacher is published and prolific on many other Bible subjects,
yet nothing can be found on controversial subjects like divorce and
remarriage, it is mighty strange. Such silence enables the spread of doubt,
sin and compromise with error. Furthermore, when one does speak up and
preach the truth of God on the subject he is liable to be branded a
“radical,” a “troublemaker,” and an unloving “extremist” unworthy to be
heard. That sounds much like how Jeremiah must have been described by the
opponents of the truth (Jer. 26; 37:11-21; 38:3-6). For some preachers, it
seems, it is safer to be silent. Yes, the silence of the preachers is
Space fails to speak of the silence of the preachers on immodest
clothing, social drinking, fellowship with error and those who teach it, and
more (2 Jno. 10-11; Gal. 1:6-10). Jeremiah’s warning remains relevant:
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and
My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jer. 5:31)
Is your preacher being silent when he ought to be preaching the truth of
God? If so, ask him why. Help him fulfill his ministry to preach the whole
counsel of God. Jeremiah had a fire in his bones that compelled him; he had
to preach God’s word. He could not be silent (Jer. 20:9). May this be said
of every gospel preacher, as well.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
If you are reading
this on or after September 24, 2017, then the most recent prediction of
the end times has proven to be false. According to David Meade, the
rapture was supposed to occur on September 23, 2017. His viral, 4-minute
YouTube video, said so. With a fanciful interweaving of the location
of stars and planets, a reliance on fanciful Biblical numerology, and
twisting figurative passages like Revelation 12:1-5 (which has nothing
to do with the second coming of Jesus), Meade settled on September 23,
2017 as a pivotal date in world history (“September 23, 2017: You Need
to See This,” YouTube).
Meade said, “The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is
ending," he said, adding later: "A major part of the world will not be
the same the beginning of October.” (“The world as we know it is about
to end - again - if you believe this biblical doomsday claim,” Kristine
1) The doctrine of a rapture is not in the Bible. The Bible says
that when Jesus returns, all the dead will be raised in the same hour
(John 5:28-29). The rapture doctrine puts 1000 years between the
resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked. But,
living Christians will be caught up in the air, there to join Christ and
the resurrected saints, “and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1
Thess. 4:17). After all the dead are raised, this world will be consumed
by fire (2 Pet. 3:10-12).
2) No one can predict when Jesus will return. That has not been
revealed. It will happen suddenly, “as a thief in the night” (2
Pet. 3:10; 1 Thess. 5:2). Only God, who knows the end from the
beginning, possesses such knowledge (Psalm 46:10; cf. Acts 1:6-7).
Always be prepared for the Lord’s return, because no one knows when it
will happen (Matt. 24:42-51; 25:13).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
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