PC

Was Jesus Concerned about Being Politically Correct?

by Roger Campbell

By most modern calculations, Jesus was born in B.C. 5 or 4. In terms of eras, He was born B.C., died A.D., and lived His whole life B.P.C. What is “B.P.C.,” you ask? It could be “Before Personal Computers,” but for our purposes we are employing it to stand for “Before Political Correctness.”

The political correctness mentality has swept modern-day America. According to such a mindset, while one may disagree with others, even strongly disagree, even strongly disagree because the other is blatantly wrong, the politically correct thing to do is not to make a big deal out of it and be careful with the language you employ lest you offend anyone. If one is in violation of some moral or biblical standard, then the politically correct thing to do is just let it slide without labeling it as “sin.” Because, after all, calling things “evil” or “sinful” is divisive, or so we are told. Or, if a person of a particular religion or cultural background violates some code of conduct, then the politically correct thing to do would be not to identify the specific religion or background of the violator, because the very mention of such would be proof of prejudice, hostility, or lack of human decency. So goes the reasoning (?) of many today.

What about our Lord? When you study the first four books of the New Testament, do you come to the conclusion that the Christ was concerned about being politically correct? Surely not. Before proving the proposition that the Master was not an advocate of being politically correct, let me hasten to remind you that His approach was flawless. He never sinned – not once (1 Peter 2:21-23). He always spoke the truth (John 18:37). In doing so, His attitude was always right. He loved all people. He showed genuine kindness and compassion. His speech was pure, and His conduct was in complete harmony with the will of the Father (John 6:38). I say all of that in order to emphasize that it is possible not to be an advocate of political correctness, but at the same time speak the truth and be a caring, helpful person.

So, what is there in the Bible record that convinces us that Jesus was not one that put any stock in being politically correct? For one thing, He spoke about “evil.” The Christ said that “evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:23).

Coupled with His message about people doing evil, He also preached about the need for sinners to repent, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), and, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). A message of repentance does not sit well with the Washington, D.C. crowd or those that write the scripts for CNN, does it?

Jesus preached about people going to hell (Mark 9:43,45). He labeled it as a place of  “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46) and said that only “few” will avoid going there (Matthew 7:13,14).

Our Lord warned folks about the religious leaders of His day, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:2,3). Jesus referred to such religious hypocrites as “hypocrites,” if you can imagine! (Matthew 23:13,27,28).

Jesus went against the accepted teachings of His day. Many Jews had come to accept the notion that it is okay to hate your enemies. Jesus said to love enemies, pray for them, and do good to them (Matthew 5:43,44). Instead of upholding the man-made doctrines that some were binding about washing hands and utensils before a meal, Jesus said that teaching for doctrines the commandments of men makes worship vain (Mark 7:7).

When Jesus spoke about the sensitive topic of marriage and divorce, He spoke in terms that were clear. What He had to say was true, and whether others liked or received His message had nothing to do with it. He taught, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder . . . Whosoever shall put away his wife, and except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:6,9).

Jesus taught what people needed to hear. That, of course, did not make Him the most popular preacher of all time, but it is obvious that being popular was not one of His goals! God wants us to have the mind or heart of His Son (Philippians 2:5). He was humble as He approached lost people, and we must be as well. He was also courageous, and God has not given us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

Brothers and sisters, we must zealously and urgently proclaim the glad tidings of salvation through the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). The world still needs to hear that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Ephesians 4:4-6). Let us never be ashamed of our Lord and His gospel. Yes, as we deal with others, even with the God-bashers, morally corrupt, and religious crackpots, we must be courteous (1 Peter 3:8). And, yes, we must be tenderhearted as we live our lives and converse with and about others (Ephesians 4:32). But, we must not allow ourselves to get sucked into the political correctness mentality. Jesus was not concerned about being politically correct, and neither should we be.

Roger D. Campbell

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Bible Class Attendance

HOW CAN WE GET MORE PEOPLE TO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES?

A brother in the Lord, who is a cherished friend of mine, recently wrote and asked me a question along these lines. There may be a few isolated cases and congregations in which the number who attend Bible classes matches the number who attend worship services, but unfortunately, those would be exceptions, rather than the standard practice.

Our brother’s concern is legitimate. Every local church of which I have ever had knowledge has had members who did not regularly attend Sunday and/or mid-week Bible classes. Spiritually-minded saints and congregational leaders are always wondering what, if anything, can be done to increase attendance of Bible classes. Let me offer a few suggestions for all of us to consider.

Present Bible class attendance to the congregation as a priority, something that we look at as being mighty important. Advertise the classes. Make it known to the whole church that our goal is to have 100% attendance of our members coming to every Bible class. We recognize that sometime things happen that are totally out of members’ control and legitimately prevent them from attending Bible classes, but we are talking about all of our folks having a desire and making an effort to be at such classes. I personally am befuddled by the mindset that presents the goal for Bible class attendance as a lower figure from the number who attend worship on the Lord’s day. What kind of message does it send when we tell members that our goal for Sunday worship is 100 people, but our goal for Bible classes on Sunday is 75 people, and our goal for mid-week Bible classes is 40?! Why not make the goal 100%?!

Read the rest by clicking H-E-R-E.

Smyrna

LESSONS FROM JESUS’ MESSAGE TO

THE SAINTS IN SMYRNA

by Roger D. Campbell

The Lord’s church in the ancient city of Smyrna is mentioned only in the book of Revelation. We first read about it in Revelation 1:11, then in Revelation 2:8-11 we have a record of Jesus’ letter to the saints that lived there. Surely in a number of ways, the Christians that lived in that city must have been a lot like you and me. For certain, their spiritual needs were the same as ours.

The message that Jesus sent through the apostle John to the church in Smyrna contains both reminders and words of encouragement. Let us first read the text, then take a look at some of those reminders and encouraging statements.

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt  suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Rev. 2:8-11).

What are some truths that stand out in this text? First of all, as a follower of Jesus, I have a living Savior that knows and understands what is going on in my life. Our Lord was put to death, but He overcame death and lives! He will never die again (Romans 6:9). Look at how the words of this text show that Jesus is both alive and active: He speaks (8), He lives (8), He knows (9), and He gives (10). The fact that Jesus says, “I know thy works,” serves to remind me that I am never flying below the Lord’s radar. Since He knows all that is going on in my life, then I need to think, act, and speak as if I am being watched – because I am! While the fact that the Lord knows what is going on in my life serves as a warning to me, it also gives me a mental boost. Why is that? Because it means that He not only sees me when things are going well in my life, but He also is aware of and cares about my trials, my disappointments, and my down days through which I struggle.

Second, as a follower of Jesus, I am rich! Our text says that Jesus told them, “I know thy . . . poverty, but thou art rich” (2:9). Regardless of where a Christian ranks in terms of material wealth, he/she is wealthy in spiritual matters. God’s faithful children are “rich in faith” (James 2:5). Not only that, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in the Christ (Ephesians 1:3). How were our spiritual riches made possible? “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Because the Godhead loves us and provides for us, because we have a wonderful Christian family that cares for us, and because we live with the hope of being in heaven throughout eternity, we are rich, indeed! We must not allow the affairs of life to take away our joy nor cause us to lose sight of how blessed we truly are in those things that really matter.

Third, as a follower of Jesus, there are times when I must face and deal with unpleasant realities in life. Jesus did not beat around the bush or sugarcoat His words to the brethren in Smyrna. Revelation 2:9,10 says that the Lord spoke to them about their tribulation, suffering, being put in prison, and being put to death. Look at four of those words again: “tribulation,” “suffer,” “prison,” and “death.” And why would these matters be present in their lives? Because of their commitment to the Lord Jesus. To say the least, their life was filled with challenges. Is that not also true of our life today? Becoming a follower of Jesus does not automatically remove the trials of life. In fact, being a Christian brings additional challenges and trials. How committed are we to the Cause? Are we committed enough to the Master to stick with Him through thick and thin? Are we devoted enough to stay with Him despite the unpleasant experiences that we may encounter? If we will maintain a good attitude and pure heart, the trials of life can strengthen us. The Bible says so (James 1:2,3). The question is not whether or not we are going to face difficulties in life. The question is, how are we going to respond to them? Are we going to shrink into a corner and do nothing? Are we going to throw in the towel? Are we going to gripe, murmur, and complain? Or, are we going to take the approach that says, “If the Lord and I stick together, we can get through this thing”? Sometimes we tend to “play up” the struggles that we have to deal with in life, but in reality, most of what Christians face today are miniature-scaled problems in comparison to what our brothers and sisters that lived nearly 2000 years ago faced – the daily threat of tribulation, suffering, prison, and death.

In addition, from our text I learn that as a follower of Jesus, I have one basic responsibility in life that overshadows and outweighs everything else: be faithful. When Jesus tells us to “be faithful” (2:10), then guess what? That is exactly what we need to do! How much money do you have? How much education have you received? How big is the house or apartment in which you live? Do you own a car? How many? How many grandchildren do you have? Are/were you a good athlete? On the day of judgment, not one of these questions will be important – not one of them! The only matter that will matter on that great day is the Lord’s answer to this question about your life and mine: “Was he/she faithful to Me?” Brothers and sisters, we live in a fast-paced era. Most of us are constantly busy doing this and that. We must not allow our busyness to hinder us from keeping our eye on the goal, which is to live faithfully in order to be blessed to hear the Master say, “Well done, though good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). When Jesus talks about the need to “be faithful,” we need to listen up and make that the priority of priorities in our lives.

Finally, Jesus’ message to the saints in Smyrna reminds me that, as a follower of Jesus, I have an amazing reward awaiting me. “. . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (2:10). The Bible certainly teaches that we need to be faithful “unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6,14). However, in the context of Revelation 2:8-11, being faithful “unto death” more likely refers to the idea of being faithful to Jesus even if that means that we have to die/give our lives for Him. Remember, Jesus had just spoken to these Christians about tribulation, suffering, and prison. What would they do in the face of danger? Jesus exhorted them to remain faithful to Him, regardless of what men might do or threaten to do to them. What is the amazing reward that He has waiting for us? “A crown of life,” which is given to those that make it to “the paradise of God” (2:7). To whom will that crown be given? In the words of Jesus, it will be given to those that remain “faithful” to Him. Or, as we read in James 1:12, the crown is for those that love the Lord: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Jesus taught that we show our love for the Lord by doing what He tells us to do (John 14:15,23).

As a reminder, here are five points at which we have briefly looked. As faithful followers of Jesus: (1) We have a living Savior that knows and understands what is going on in our lives; (2) We are rich; (3) There are times when we have to face and deal with unpleasant realities in life; (4) We have one basic responsibility in life that overshadows and outweighs everything else: be faithful; (5) We have an amazing reward awaiting us.

Life is not always easy. Being a faithful child of God is even more difficult than making it through the ordinary ordeals of life that all people must face. Let each of us take to heart Jesus’ words to the church in Smyrna. Let us seriously consider what He said to that congregation, and let us seek to learn and apply those principles to our own lives.

Why Doesn’t God Like Women?


Source: Bulletin, Highland church of Christ, Dalton, GA
Volume 9, #18, April 23, 2008

Why Doesn’t God Like Women?

by Roger D. Campbell

God does not like women? Who said so? Where did that idea come from? In many cases, the notion that God does not like women is espoused or implied by those that unashamedly let it be known that they do not like God! Is it really true that God does not care for women as much as He does men? Not at all.

Jesus declared that “God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Since God loved “the world,” then His love is for all of earth’s inhabitants, without regard to their gender. Not only that, but we also see in this passage that God’s plan to save people is for women just as much as it is for men. This is evidenced by the fact that “whosoever” has the opportunity to believe in and have eternal life through the Christ. As clear as these truths are, still there are some who claim that God does not treat women as well as He does the males of the human race.

“If it is true that God likes women, then why did He punish Eve? And why make the rest of the women that came after her suffer because of what she did?” Jehovah punished Eve because she disobeyed His word. Yes, she was beguiled/deceived (2 Corinthians 11:3), but she took action that was a violation of God’s law (1 Timothy 2:14). For that, she was punished (Genesis 3:16). Do not overlook the fact that Adam was punished as well (Genesis 3:17-19). The sorrow and pain in childbearing that women of all generations have endured are a consequence of Eve’s sin. Some mistakes carry longer and more far-reaching consequences. Eve’s was such a mistake. Why do the consequences of her sin continue even today? Because God, Whose wisdom is without measure, and Who does not need human counselors, advisers, or permission to act (Romans 11:33-34), decreed that it shall be so. Yet, that truth does not give a single ounce of support to the false notion that He does not love women.

“If God really likes women, then why does He not allow them to be pastors/elders?” One of the Lord’s requirements for an elder is that such a Christian be “the husband of one wife” (Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:2). Since God’s plan is for “a man” to leave “his” parents to marry a woman (Ephesians 5:31), then the only type of person that can properly be “the husband of one wife” is a male. So, since women cannot meet the criterion of being “the husband,” then they may not serve as pastors. Someone had to decide which people are authorized to serve as the shepherds of local congregations. The Christ, who has all authority (Matthew 28:18), decided the matter. Someone has to lead and rule the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-3), and the Lord chose faithful brothers, not sisters, for such a task. That does not mean that women cannot serve faithfully and effectively in the Kingdom. Anyone that has been observant knows that a whole lot of the good work that is done in the church is done by faithful sisters in the Lord, and He is not unrighteous to forget their work and labor of love (Hebrews 6:10). In some instances, they may have different roles from their brothers in the Lord, but they are just as valuable and just as loved by the Creator!

“If God really likes women, then why doesn’t He let them teach?” On the contrary–He wants them to teach! Every time Christians lift their voices together to praise God in song, they teach (Colossians 3:16). The Lord wants all of His servants, including women, to be “apt to teach” (2 Timothy 2:24). Sisters in the Lord were part of the group of scattered disciples that went everywhere teaching the word (Acts 8:4). “The aged women … they may teach the young women…” (Titus 2:3-4). The restriction that God has placed on sisters in the Lord is that they are not allowed to teach men in such a way that they have dominion over them: “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:12, NKJV). Why is that the case? Two reasons are given in the verses that follow: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” If God had given only one reason or explanation, or even if He gave no explanation at all, humans must still submit to His will in all things.

Women are often effective communicators of the gospel, but the Lord saw fit to have them teach the gospel in ways that they do not serve as gospel preachers. Simply because a person is not allowed to be a gospel preacher, though, is a far cry from saying that the One who disallows such action does not like them. Every reasonable parent knows that the fact that they do not allow a child to do something does not mean that they do not love the child. So it is with God and women.

“Well, if God likes women, then why does He make her be a servant to her husband?” The Bible nowhere teaches that a wife is her husband’s slave, and a decent husband, rather than treat her as a thing or possession, gives her honor (1 Peter 3:7). Is a wife required to serve her husband? Yes, but it is just as true that he ought to serve her as well. All Christians are charged, “… by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). That certainly applies in the husband-wife relationship: love one another, and show that love by serving each other. That being said, there is need for headship in the home, and by God’s decree “the husband is the head of the wife” (Ephesians 5:23). That statement is not a slap in the face to women, nor does it in any way suggest that God considers women to be inferior to men. In many ways, wives “outdo” their men and demonstrate more character, more ability, and wiser judgment. Those facts do not change the truth that the husband is the God-ordained head of the wife and family. In the realm of the home, husbands and wives simply have different roles. Should we conclude, then, that the Lord does not like women? No, no more than we should conclude that because men are not capable of bearing and breastfeeding a baby, then that proves that God does not like men.

Women and men alike have the privilege of obeying the gospel and becoming children of God through His Son. What greater proof of God’s love for women would a person need?! “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ … there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28). Perhaps the next time we hear someone pop off about God not liking women, we will be a bit more prepared to give a scriptural response. May it be so.

Marry a Christian


Number 0009

WILL YOU MARRY A CHRISTIAN?

by Roger D. Campbell


If you are not married, but you hope to be married someday in the
future, do you plan to marry a Christian? Christians have the right to
be married, for it is written, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not
sinned” (1 Cor7:28). But, it is not true that marriage is only for
Christians. Thousand of years before Jesus came to earth, Adam and Eve
were married, and thus became one flesh (Mat 19:4,5), but they
certainly were not Christians. Furthermore, it is possible for a
Christian to be married to one who is outside of Christ, and God
recognizes them as husband and wife (1 Peter 3:1). So, what advice
shall we give to our brothers and sisters (both young and not so young)
who hope to get married some day? Should they marry a Christian, that
is, one who is a member of the Lord’s church? Without any hesitation,
our answer is YES! By all means, marry a Christian!

After Jehovah brought the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, at
Mt. Sinai He declared unto them, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of
priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). God wanted His people to be
holy as He was holy (Leviticus 11:44). One specific command that He
gave to His holy nation pertained to whether or not the Israelites
should marry the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, who were Gentiles.
God told the children of Israel, “Neither shalt thou make marriages
with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his
daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son
from following me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of
the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly”
(Deuteronomy 7:3,4). We see that God forbid His children from marrying
the Canaanites, and the reason was plainly stated: God did not want
the Gentiles to influence His children to forsake Him to follow false
gods.

Can you think of an Israelite king who disobeyed God’s command not
to marry a foreign wife? If you were thinking that the answer is
Solomon, then you are right. Of him it is written, “But king Solomon
loved many strange women . …women of the Moabites, Ammonites,
Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittities . . . Solomon clave unto these in
love. . . For it came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives
turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect
with the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11: 1,2,4). Make no mistake, Solomon
was responsible for his own mistakes. But the text plainly shows that
his wives turned his heart away from Jehovah to false deities. About
five hundred years later when Nehemiah saw that the Jews of his days
were involved in mixed marriages with foreigners, he reminded them of
Solomon’s tragic mistake, severely rebuking them by saying, “Ye shall
not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto
your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by
these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who
was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel;
nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then
hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our
God in marrying strange wives” (Nehemiah 13:25-27)? Solomon sinned
when he married those foreign wives, and as a result of their
influence, he began to serve idols! We recognize that Christians are
not under the law of Moses, but we also understand this truth: “For
whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning”
(Rom 15:4), so there are some powerful lessons that we can learn from
the Old Testament. Solomon probably thought those wives would never
influence him to depart from the true and living God, but they did!
From Solomon’s mistakes, do we not see that it is a very dangerous
affair to marry someone who is not a child of God?

Every Christian must be very careful about his associations with
others, as God warns us, “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt
good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Surely all of us need to be
extremely careful about the marriage relationships into which we enter,
for the decision that we make about whom we marry may effect the
eternal salvation of our souls and the souls of our children! Please
consider this: the Lord Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against
me” (Matthew 12:30), so one who is not a Christian is, in reality, a
child of the devil (Acts 13:10). Do you realize what that means for you
if you marry a child of Satan? It means that the spiritual father of
your spouse, your father-in-law, will be the devil himself! Like it or
not, that means you will always have the potential for serious
spiritual problems.

It is a risk, a very high risk, for a Christian to marry someone
who is not in Christ. Yes, it is possible that you might eventually
influence your mate to become a Christian, but the chances are much
greater that your mate will influence you to become lukewarm in your
service to Christ or to leave the Lord completely. Brothers and
sisters, please believe me. I do not say that because I doubt your
faith, but rather I say that because in history a very high percentage
of members of the church who married a non-Christian, in the end
ompromised their faith and became unfaithful. We do not desire to
conceal that fact from you, because we do not want to see you make the
same tragic mistake that many others have.

We know that before a Christian marries a non-Christian, when they
are still just dating the non-Christian often promises that it will not
be a problem in their marriage if the Christian wants to continue to
attend services and live a faithful Christian life. Probably the
Christian thinks that is true, and deceives himself into thinking that,
yes, all will be fine in his marriage to one who serves Satan. Stop!
Please take time to seriously think about the following problems that
you will face. If you marry one who is not a member of the church, you
will still want to keep coming to every Bible class and every worship
service of the church, just like before marriage. However, your spouse
will not like that. He or she will probably be jealous of the Lord and
the church, because he will consider both the Lord and His church as
competition. Suppose your mate’s mother’s birthday is on Sunday, and a
birthday meal is planned at your mate’s house at the same time the
church is assembling to worship God, and you tell your husband that you
will be going to services first, then later to the meal. He will not
like it one bit, and you will have a serious conflict. And what about
your kids? You will certainly want to bring them to every service and
Bible class of the church, so that you can raise them up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Do you think your mate will
like that? Probably not, and more serious conflicts will be coming.
When you tell your non-Christian mate that you are going to give as
much of your money as you can to the Lord each first day of the week (1
Cor 16:2), how do you think your non-Christian mate will like that? Not
much! When you want to spend as much time with other Christians in
order to enjoy their wonderful fellowship, your mate will probably be
against it, as he or she would rather be with his or her own worldly
friends, doing the things that worldly people do. Sisters, how is your
non-Christian husband going to like it when he smokes and drinks, but
you tell your kids that you will beat them severely if you ever see
them smoking or drinking? Conflicts, and more conflicts! How will you
and your husband spend your time and money? Will you raise your kids to
know and serve Christ? With which friends will you spend time,
Christians or non-Christians? Don’t deceive yourself, you and your
non-Christian mate will never have the same answer for these questions.
You might think that you will be strong and will never compromise, but
the sad reality is that most Christians married to those out of Christ
do, in fact, compromise, and their souls are in great danger!

Before you make a decision to get married, please ask yourself
another question: If I marry this person, will he help me go to heaven,
or will he hinder me? Will he help me train my kids to know the Bible
and faithfully serve Jesus Christ, or will he hinder me in this effort?
Believe me, if you marry a child of the devil, their will be no
spiritual help from them, only hindrances to you and your children
going to heaven. We do not say these things because we hate those who
are out of Christ, for we love them. We say all these things because
they are true, a reality that many Christians have found out only when
it is too late. Marry a faithful child of God!

We are sure that some will say, “Brother Roger, you have still not
shown one Bible verse in which it plainly says that a Christian sins if
he marries one who is not in Christ.” I agree. But together we have
seen some important Bible principles. Do you truly seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness in your life (Matthew 6:33)? If
so, how could you even consider marrying one who is not in the kingdom
of Christ? If you marry a Christian, does that guarantee that you will
have a happy, successful marriage? Not at all. So, make sure that you
marry only one who is a FAITHFUL member of Christ’s church. That will
be your greatest chance for having a happy marriage in this life, and
having a marriage in which you and your mate can exhort one another to
be faithful to the Lord so that you can spend eternity together in
heaven in the next life. If you get married, will you marry a
Christian? We hope so.

26 JUNE 1998
CHURCH OF CHRIST, P.O. BOX 828, KIEV 252067, UKRAINE

Resurrection(s)?


DRL Note:  “Hard Copy” or “Digital,” I receive many excellent and helpful Bible study articles that are worth reading.  I have just added a folder to my website into which I plan to upload PDF copies of articles I receive by Email or in some way from the internet.  These will definitely be DIGITAL ARTICLES WORTH READING!   I hope you  will benefit from this folder as I notify you by means of this BLOG.

How Many Future Resurrections from the Dead Will There Be?

by Roger D. Campbell

To read this excellent article from a PDF please go H-E-R-E.

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Oh, for the Good Old Days

OH, FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS!
by Roger Campbell

We often hear folks express the sentiment that “the old days” were better. It seems that the older we get, the more we tend to dwell on what we consider to be the good or positive things from our past. There are others, however, who will bluntly tell you in a heartbeat that they have no desire to go back to the old days. No, sir. To such people, “the old days” meant plowing behind a horse or mule, picking cotton by hand, no indoor plumbing, and, well, you get the picture. For them, “the old days” were a far cry from being good and pleasant days.

On the other hand, we can sympathize with an elderly person that, when recovering from hip replacement surgery, reflects on the time when he was in his youth and could work in the field for ten or twelve hours, then still have the stamina to play ball or swim in the creek for a couple of hours after his work ended. To his way of thinking, his good days are behind him.

We can feel for a woman that is saddened by the reality that her siblings have all scattered into different parts of the country (or world) and they never get together, unless it is for a funeral. She fondly recalls their childhood years together. Times were not easy for them, but they made it, and having a close-knit family really helped them persevere. Now, things have changed, and they will never be the same again. It is easy to understand why she would long for what she calls “the good old days.”

Take note, though, that there are some potential dangers in the spiritual realm when it comes to longing for what we count as “the good old days.” Take, for instance, the children of Israel in Moses’ generation. Even before they crossed the Red Sea, they were spouting out words of dissatisfaction with God’s plan to deliver them from slavery and into the Land of Promise. Hear them complaining to Moses: “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:12). Later, after they left Mt. Sinai and headed toward Canaan, the Israelites stepped up their rhetoric, saying, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick” (Numbers 11:5). Basically, they were saying, “It was so much better back in Egypt. Those were the good old days!” Better in Egypt? You have got to be kidding! Being a slave was better than freedom? Being restricted in their religious activities was better than freely worshipping Jehovah once they escaped Egypt? Somebody was not thinking rationally! Rather than whine about what they thought their lives were lacking, God’s people needed to get on with the business of loving Him with all of their being (Deuteronomy 6:5).

During our six years in what was part of the former USSR, it was not uncommon to hear people express the sentiment that things were “better” before the collapse of the Soviet Union. They did not use the term “the good old days,” but that was apparently what such people felt in their hearts. It was disheartening to hear a few members of the church chime in and say that life really was better under communism. Wait a minute! Under communism, you did not enjoy the religious freedoms that you now have. How could that situation have been better?! And, during your years under communism, you had not yet obeyed the gospel. You were still lost in your sins. After communism fell and the gospel came into your country, you received that saving message and were born again. You stopped being a slave to sin and became a slave of righteousness (Romans 6:17,18). You stopped being dead and were made alive (Ephesians 2:1-5). We understand that some in the former Soviet Union, as well as other places, had more money, more buying power, and in general, in former days were better off materially speaking, but we must never lose sight of the big picture. Enjoying religious freedom and being saved from sin outshines greater material blessings any day of the week! There is no way that any child of God should think of a system that is atheistic and wedded to evolution and other human philosophies as being superior to the privilege of receiving the gospel and being blessed by it.

How about this one? “Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the church was really growing in America. Those were the good years, as far as the church is concerned. It would be great if the church could begin growing like that again.” I was not a member of the church during those two decades when the church was growing so well numerically in this country. There is no doubt that the religious climate was different then. At that time, many more people had respect for what the Bible says. That is why great numbers obeyed it when they learned its message. Yes, we, too, would like to see the church be able to enjoy great numerical growth, provided, of course, that the means of achieving additions is scriptural.

There is another aspect of “the good old days” of church growth in the USA that we must not fail to see. While it is true that the overall environment in society in the 1950’s and 1960’s was more conducive to the spread and acceptance of the gospel, according to what I have been told, it is also true that the church was different in those days from what it is in many cases today. There are two things that quickly come to mind in this regard. First of all, in general, members of the church appear to have been more knowledgeable of the Bible “back then.” That gave them confidence to open the Bible and teach it to others. Second, it is also said that in those years when the church grew extensively in our land, a major factor was the evangelistic zeal of our brothers and sisters. They knew the Bible well and were frequently making an effort to teach it to others. We cannot force the religious climate to change in this nation, but we can make a better effort to know the Book and be more aggressive and outgoing in teaching it. What do you think?

There is one more wishing-for-“the-good-old-days” scenario that we should note. A few members of the church may carefully verbalize it in some private circles, but many others share the same sentiment in their hearts. What sentiment might that be? “Before I became a Christian, I had a lot more fun. I miss those (pre-Christian) times and the things I did back then. Being a Christian has taken all the fun out of life.” The Bible says that in the Christ, we are new creatures and old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The apostle Paul counted his pre-Christian days and all that meant something to him back then as “dung” (Philippians 3:7,8). You and I ought to share the sentiments that Paul expressed.

Remember that before we obeyed the gospel, we were living in a state of corruption (2 Peter 1:4). We were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). We were without the God of heaven, without the Christ, and without hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12). It is true that sin has its pleasures (Hebrews 11:25), but having a desire to return to our old way of life and once again be what the Bible calls “our old man” (Romans 6:6) just makes no sense. Whatever we might have forsaken in order to follow Jesus, we can live without it! We do not need it. And, whatever we gave up in order to live for the Master, we need to leave it where it belongs, which is in the past, out of sight and out of mind.

As long as we are still living on the earth, the best is yet to come. Why is that? Because as long as we are still in our fleshly bodies, we have not yet departed “to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Let us stay focused on that place that is “far better” than anything we can experience in this world. Let us all be resolved to keep pressing toward the mark (Philippians 3:14), ever grateful for the blessings and lessons learned in the past, but ever conscience of the fact that faithfulness to God and being in good standing with Him is not about what we were/did, but about who we are/do. Our greatest concern is not, “What were we,” but rather, “What are we, where are we headed, and what is our battle plan for reaching our ultimate goal?” It is okay for us to take time to enjoy precious memories of the old days, but we must go past our reminiscing and accept the reality that we live in the present, not in the past.

— Roger D. Campbell

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