PO Box 3425
May/June Issue 2010 - Volume 29 Number 3
if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each
one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in
fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like
silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your
fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot.” 1
you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an
opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
The Bible very
plainly tells us that freedom is not free. The salvation of mankind was
purchased at a very high cost, “the precious blood of Christ.” The
Bible further exhorts us to understand that freedom is not the absence of
responsibility. On the contrary, freedom from the shackles and curse of
the Law enjoins upon us the responsibility to “serve one another”
through love. The irresponsible man who thinks freedom means that no one
can tell him what to do misunderstands the true concept of freedom. We
sometimes think that freedom is like a perpetual weekend off from work;
however, freedom is more like using my weekend off to help a friend.
that our freedom as a nation comes with a price tag. Thomas Campbell, a
Restoration preacher, wrote, “The patriot's blood is the seed of
Freedom's tree.”As we shall note a little later, the founding fathers of
the United States of America paid dearly for their venture into freedom.
In Campbell’s analogy the seed is the patriot’s blood. There was a
cost to produce the seed that grew into the tree of freedom. Just as a
child sometimes takes for granted his food, clothing and shelter, we
sometimes forget that someone has to pay the bills.
Someone has to labor to provide my cozy existence. When some young
people come face to face with this reality they cower in fear and choose
to shirk responsibility rather than pay the price.
We need to be
reminded of a truth expressed by Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers
of the United States of America. Paine wrote, “Those who expect to reap
the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of
supporting it.” We love to bask in the warm waters of materialism, and
we often put an extravagant life style on credit. Then when it is time to
pay, we want to file bankruptcy. Again
this is the childish attitude that just can’t understand why mom and dad
don’t “get a life.” Such a child forgets that the day to day grind
is the dull “life style” that pays the bills and allows the child to
have a comfortable life.
Roosevelt said, “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it
must be achieved.” Roosevelt was a war time president who helped lead
the United States through some difficult years. We can lose our freedom
just as surely as we can gain it. There are times when we must do more
than just talk about freedom. We must act to achieve the freedom that we
Some time back
I received an email that contained some information about the Founding
Fathers of the United States of America. It is interesting and instructive
to observe what happened to the signers of the Declaration of
Independence. Here is the article I received:
Have you ever
wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of
Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and
tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two
Nine of the 56
fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They
signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred
honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men
of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his Ships swept from the
seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his
debts, and died in rags.
was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost
constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept
in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his
soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett,
Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas
Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the
Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George
Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she
died within a few months. John
Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13
children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to
waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home
to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
Some of us
take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. We should
thank these patriots in our hearts every day. It's not much to ask for the
price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free!
If we didn’t
know this about the Founding Fathers we are probably astounded. Our
natural tendency is to imagine the signers of the Declaration of
Independence coming to Philadelphia, discussing plans for the new nation,
coming up with a declaration, signing it and then going their merry way
back home to be with the wife and kids! We may think that freedom is just
a matter of signing a declaration and then sending the document out to
accomplish its task, while we sit at home and glory in the admiration of
adoring fans who applaud our accomplishments. Nothing could be further
from the truth because freedom is not free.
time the Bible describes the price that Jesus paid for our freedom from
sin. The gospel message is not cheap. Paul declares to the Corinthians:
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was
buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Luke tells us, “And when they had come to
the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one
on the right hand and the other on the left” (Lk. 23:33). The Apostle
John reminds us in the opening words of Revelation, “…To Him who loved
us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5). How can we
ever forget that the price of freedom is great?
twelve men to proclaim the gospel message. Some of them were fishermen,
one was a tax collector and others came from various walks of life. Later
Jesus would choose the Apostle Paul to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.
According to history, both Biblical and secular, these men, with the
exception of Judas who betrayed him, paid with their lives for the work of
proclaiming the gospel message of hope. From the pen of the Apostle Paul
we learn a little about what it meant to preach freedom from sin through
the gospel of Jesus Christ: “From the Jews five times I received forty
stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned;
three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of
my own countrymen, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the in the
sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in
sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
nakedness---besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep
concern for all the churches” (2
Cor. 11:24-28). Does this sound like freedom is free?
I am concerned
for the church, the people of God. I’m afraid that we are looking for a
cheap gospel, one that pampers and entertains. We have forgotten that
Jesus said the one who comes after him must take up his cross daily and
follow him. We want the crown but we don’t want the cross. We want the
reward but we don’t want to pay the price. We want newness of life but
we don’t want the death of the old man.
We have been deceived. We think that freedom is free!
Rebellion of Man
For someone to write that most people in the world will be lost in eternity would not constitute a statement of profound intellect. In-depth study of the Bible is not needed to understand that sad reality (Matt. 7:13-14). So let us turn attention to the reasons for it.
In our attempts to explain why most of the world's six billion people will be lost, more often than not we focus on ignorance as the chief cause. With that conclusion it would be difficult to argue. No doubt many will be lost because they "know not God" (2 Thess. 1:7-9) and are "ignorant of God's righteousness" (Rom. 10:3). But in this article I want to go deeper than that. Why are people ignorant of God's righteousness? Why do people not know God? The simple answer might be, "Because they have never been exposed to the truth." Again, let's go deeper than that. Why have most people not been exposed to the truth? I submit that the Bible teaches that most people will not have been exposed to the truth and therefore will be lost because they will have had little or no desire to learn, accept and be obedient to truth. Some have been known to opine, "If we could just expose the ignorant to the truth, they would surely accept and obey it." That may be true in some cases, but probably not in as many cases as we would like to believe. Consider the following.
God's ultimate desire for the world is that every person in it be saved (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Read closely what Paul said to the philosophers of Athens in Acts 17:26-28, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”
Notice that Paul said God created every nation of men "so that they should seek the Lord." In addition, God "is not far from each one of us." Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Jesus also said in John 7:17, "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority."
These passages teach that God loves the world so much that He will providentially work in such a way as to give everyone who has the desire to do His will the opportunity to learn, accept and obey the truth, no matter where that person lives or who he is. So, if it is the case: (1) that God created us so that we would seek Him, (2) that God is not far from anyone (including a gathering of idol-worshipping, heathen philosophers in first century Athens), (3) that God wants everyone to be saved, (4) that God has made salvation possible through Jesus Christ, and (5) that we can and will find the truth if we truly want and seek for it, then why will most people be lost in eternity? Allow Jesus to answer that question:
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
Ultimately, the reason why most people will be lost is because they want to be. No one will be able to stand before God in judgment and blame Him for his lost condition. No one will be able to look God in the eye and say, "I wanted to obey the truth. I looked diligently for the truth. I sought You will all my ability, but You never gave me the opportunity to find what I was looking for." How could he in the face of all that God will have done, and would have done, for the salvation of his lost soul? If more people were seeking the truth, then more people would be obeying it - for God will see that those who want and seek the truth will find it. The sad reality is that most in our world are like those of Jesus' day who "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).
Should that cause us to despair? Only to a degree. While we ought to be saddened at the prospect of any lost soul meeting God in that condition, we should not despair to the point that we throw up our hands and say, "What's the use?" The scenario outlined above has always been descriptive of reality. It didn't stop Jesus from "seeking and saving the lost" (Luke 19:10). It didn't stop early Christians from going "everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). And Jesus, knowing the conditions of men's hearts, still commissioned His apostles (and us by implication) to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
Though most people would rather not be bothered by truth, still there are precious souls searching for what God offers through Jesus Christ—salvation from sin. We should, therefore, be all the more diligent in our search for those good and honest hearts (Luke 8:15) truly seeking to do God's will.
…Eddie Parish, Brown Trail Church of Christ
Via Almost Daily,
Ca. Lane Church of Christ
“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’”
V. O. Fossett wrote a song and named it “Drifting Along.”
It is a pretty song with good words and although it is in a lot of
our books, we haven’t used it much.
The message says we are drifting along with a smile and a song,
never once thinking that you might be wrong.
Years ago in
the month of July, Brother Leland Knight came to Colbert, OK for a
meeting, and I made the decision to be baptized into Christ.
I made no plans beyond that day, but three years later the decision
was made to do church work. There
was no way to know what the future held in this life, but there have been
no regrets on either of those decisions.
I would like
to say I never just drifted along, but I am not sure I can make that
statement in all truthfulness. There
were times when I had to fight currents in order to get where I felt I
needed to be. I can remember
preachers saying years ago “brethren, we are drifting,” meaning we
were not staying with the teachings of the scripture that meant so much to
us in everything.
the Ephesian Elders he kept back nothing that was profitable to them, but
that he had declared the whole counsel of God.
Peter states “we have been given everything that pertains to life
and godliness.” Paul tells Timothy that inspired scriptures are
profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness
so the man of God can be complete. It is somewhat presumptuous of us to
think we can improve on God’s plan. But that is exactly what we think
and what we are saying when we change God’s plan and substitute one of
I Make It What It
is my church...
is composed of people like me.
make it what it is.
will be friendly-
pews will be filled-
I will help fill them.
will do a great work-
will make generous gifts to many causes-
I am a generous giver.
will bring other people into its worship and fellowship-
I bring them.
will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith.
a church with a noble spirit-
I, who make it what it is, am filled with these.
with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being
THE THINGS I want my church to
Church of Christ Bulletin
- Number 3 -
May/Jun 2010 BC
is published every other month. Send all inquiries, address changes and
subscriptions to the editor: Scott
Gage, PO Box 3425, Fayetteville, AR 72702-3425
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