A RAY at Maple Hill

Lexie B. RayOn the first Sunday in August I will begin to serve as preacher for the Maple Hill church of Christ in Benton, Kentucky.  In the mean time, it has been a delightful blessing for me to be able to listen to the preaching of Dan Sikes, who is winding down a period of 11 years of faithfully preaching the gospel at Maple Hill.  Knowing of the caliber of preaching that has been done at this congregation really sets a tremendous challenge before me as I enter that area of service in the kingdom.

The man in the photo at left is Lexie B. Ray, preacher for the Fairdealing church in Marshall County, Kentucky.  Lexie just completed a gospel meeting with the Maple Hill church.  It was one of those longer, Sunday through Friday ones.  Lexie has been a friend of mine for many years.  When I lived in Kentucky previously, I listened to him on WCBL each Sunday morning at 7:30.  Thus, it was no surprise for me, when I had moved back, to tune him in on the first Sunday in May of this year at the same time and station.  He is still doing some remarkable preaching, even at 78 years of age.  During the course of the meeting, he estimated that he had presented somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000 Bible lessons during that time.  He did a wonderful job for us at Maple Hill and we appreciate having his strong voice in Marshall County.  One of our elders, Jimmie Phelps, recorded the eight lessons Lexie presented and I have converted them to mp3 files.  You can listen to them by clicking on the sermon titles listed below.  Also, if you wish to download them to your computer, you can RIGHT-click on the title and then tell your computer where to store these precious audio files.

You are Special!  33:12

Being Responsible Like Jesus  29:33

Forgiveness  45:29

How to Tell Right from Wrong  43:06

5 Views of Mark 16.16  43:21

Take Time to Be Holy  42:54

God’s Great Promise  44:48

If I Only Had One Sermon to Preach…  49:37

Perspectives of Jesus

SOURCE: Gospel Advocate, January 19, 1984.

Four Perspectives of Jesus

by David Paul Smith

The first four books of the New Testament are commonly known as “the four gospels.”  Each of them set forth the record and the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ.  Though their purpose is common in that respect, each of them has a unique perspective of Jesus.  We might say that each writer portrays Jesus in a different light of emphasis.

Matthew emphasizes the “position” of Jesus.  He alone records the claim that Jesus made, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).  As if Matthew wants to emphasize this point, he makes certain that this is one of the last points he mentions.  Yet, this point was emphasized throughout the book.  Near the beginning, we find some asking, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).  Throughout the inspired book, we find reference to “the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew portrays Jesus as the King that has come to establish his kingdom (cf., Matthew 16:18-19).

Mark underlines the “power” of Jesus.  Merrill C. Tenny wrote, “Mark gives more space to the miracles than any other Gospel; for it records eighteen out of a possible total of thirty-five” [New Testament Survey, Merrill C. Tenny, Eerdmans, 1961, page 164].  He has power over disease (Mark 1:40-45), demons (Mark 5:1-20), and death (Mark 5:35-43).  His power is not without purpose though, “the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  Just as the miracles his apostles performed in his name confirmed the message they proclaimed (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:2-4), the miracles Jesus himself performed attested to his claims (cf., Mark 2:1-10).

Luke draws attention to the “purpose” of Jesus.  Luke records Christ’s own words concerning his purpose, “for the son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9).  This is only reasonable since Luke’s work is continued in the book of Acts, the book above all that sets forth clearly the gospel plan of salvation.  The position and power of Jesus makes this wonderful purpose possible.  Isn’t it likely that on many an occasion Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14) marveled at the “surgical ability” of Jesus that could remove a man’s sin?

The last of the four, John, boldly sets forth the “person” of Jesus.  Most of all, we see Jesus held up as God’s son.  John himself declared that this was his purpose in writing, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).  However, in this same book, we see Jesus as a man.  He was “the word” that “became flesh” (John 1:14).  As a man, he knew what it meant to be tired (John 4:6), sad (John 11:35) or thirsty (John 19:28).  Jesus, though in every way like us in nature, was also an incarnation of God in the flesh.

The first four books of the New Testament declare the position, power, purpose, and person of Jesus Christ.  It is now up to us to allow Jesus to hold the supreme position in our life.  Let us rest confident in his power to save us, his great purpose.  Since he is God’s son, we know that he can and that he knows our needs, and those first hand.  Praise God for th epositioni, power, purpose, and person of Jesus Christ.

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A Gospel That Offends No One

SOURCE: The Gospel Reminder, of the Bay church of Christ, P.O. Box 159, Bay, AR  72411

A Gospel That Offends No One

by Mark Lindley

We live in a time when it is unpopular for one to hold firm religious beliefs.  In our day, anyone who claims to “know” truth is thought to be narrow-minded and radical.  The philosophy of relativism (the concept that there is no such thing as absolute truth) has influenced our generation to such an extent that one who takes a firm stand for his religious convictions is offensive.  The most terrible “sin” that can be committed today is for one to say, “This is the truth, and everyone should accept it.”  Many people want religion; they want God and the Bible, but they want a gospel that offends no one, a gospel without demands, challenges, or sacrifice.

The fact is, Jesus has never offered such a gospel.  On the occasion of Matthew 15, the disciples came to Jesus.  They were very concerned because Jesus had offended the Pharisees.  They said, “Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?” (verse 12).  It might surprise some that Jesus did not run after the Pharisees and apologize for His teaching.  Neither did He water down the message in order to make the Pharisees feel better.  Rather He responded with these words: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (verse 14).

No man has ever had more love and compassion than Jesus has for mankind (cf., John 15:13).  Yet in spite of His unspeakable love, His warmth, gentleness, and compassion, He did not fail to teach the truth.  Note His statement in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Consider also His words recorded in John 8:24: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

“But wait a minute Jesus.  Don’t you realize that such language is offensive to those who do not believe in you?  You have offended atheists, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus.”  If Jesus were here today in bodily form, He might answer with words like these: “It should never be one’s aim to offend others.  We should always ‘speak the truth in love.’  But we must stand for what is right, even if others are offended.”

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