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Bible Study 10:00 am
Worship 11:00 am
Bible Study: 7:00pm
TO HEAR SERMONS, or VIEW SERMON VIDEOS, CLICK ON “FROM THE PULPIT” ABOVE
November 29, 2015
A.M. “In Your Patience Possess Ye Your Souls”—Luke 21:19
P.M. “Hast Thou Considered My Servant Job?”—Job 1:8
THE GOLDEN RULE
Jesus Christ set the code of conduct for the Christian in the Golden Rule. It is recorded in Matthew 7:12 and really should be committed to memory by all who seriously consider living the Christian life because in a very real sense living by this rule defines what a Christian actually is.
The Golden Rule
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12.
The Golden Rule shines the brightest when compared to the other standards of conduct the world has always known about and most people follow. Once Paul spoke of “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” in Philippians 3:14. At this point, compare The Iron Rule, The Brass Rule, The Silver Rule, and The Golden Rule and the superior classification and character enhancement of The Golden Rule will become more apparent.
The Iron Rule
“Do unto others” is the motto of this rule. Do whatever is in your power to do to others. The Iron Rule is evident in the mistreatment of others. People are mistreated because someone had the power to do unto them what he wanted.
The Brass Rule
“Do unto others as they do unto you” is the motto of The Brass Rule. The Brass Rule mirrors and imitates the behavior of others. It is a standard that when practiced has no mechanism for improving undesirable conditions in life. It is only reactive and entertains no concept of goodwill toward others.
The Silver Rule
“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you” is the motto of The Silver Rule. As you see, it has its merits over The Iron Rule and The Brass Rule because it takes into account the feelings of others. The obvious shortfall of The Silver Rule is it is negative in its nature and opens the door for non-involvement in the lives of others we could be a positive influence on and help.
The Golden Rule
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” is the motto of The Golden Rule. See how the thought process is engaged in any anticipated action? The Golden Rule has us thinking about what is the best course of action, whether in word or deed, we would appreciate and approve for ourselves, and then it causes us to think of ways and means whereby we may instill this goodwill into the lives of others. It has us putting the best interest of others ahead of our own and raises the quality of life for all with whom we come in contact. The Golden Rule is unselfish and makes a better world and a more fulfilled life for the Christian.
“BE NOT MANY OF YOU TEACHERS”
Teaching the Word of God is both a great privilege and a great responsibility as we see from the brief quotation from James 3:1 in the title. The complete verse says, “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment” (ASV). The care and control of the tongue is the general subject of James 3:1-12. James acknowledges the challenge of always appropriately speaking in every situation and circumstance. When teaching the Bible the task is heightened. Yet, someone must rise to meet the challenge of teaching the Bible or no one can be saved or keep saved. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:44-45). And, in the great commission Jesus made clear the purpose and place of teaching the Bible when He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). In order for the church to grow and flourish she must have faithful Bible teachers. Paul charged Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
An examination of Ephesians 4:7-16 reveals how Bible teachers play a fundamental role in strengthening the body of Christ and building it up by “speaking the truth in love” (v. 15). In order to meet the need to have teachers in a local congregation and help each one of them to withstand the “heavier judgment” a teacher will receive, consider these six steps in the teaching process.
STEP ONE: Prerequisites. A Bible teacher must be a faithful Christian, for Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of a teacher who says one thing and does another when he said, “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). Also, one of the most powerful tools a Bible teacher possesses is his and her example (Matthew 5:13-16). A Bible teacher is first and foremost striving to “show himself approved unto God” and, therefore, must possess good Bible study habits the fruit of which is shared with those who will take their valuable time to listen to him or her teach a particular lesson (2 Timothy 2:15).
STEP TWO: Planning. When Paul commanded Timothy to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” he implied a level of planning that must go into his presentations of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:13). Planning requires forethought, and here again Paul told Timothy to “meditate on these things [be diligent in these things, ASV]; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all [that thy
progress may be manifest unto all, ASV]” (1 Timothy 4:15). A plan for a lesson or series of lessons must clearly be affixed in the mind of the teacher. As in anything, it’s hard to hit the bull’s eye without knowing where the target is.
STEP THREE: Preparation. Preparation is separate from planning because it involves specific effort on designing the content of each lesson that has been planned. For example, a teacher may plan to teach a series of 13 lessons on the book of Hebrews. Will he/she be teaching children, teenagers, young adults, or adults? Obviously, how the material is prepared will depend on the students. Will the teacher assign the reading of the text outside of class by the students and provide discussion on each of Hebrews’ 13 chapters in class due to the limitation of time? Or, will the 13 key themes in the book receive the attention [the key word “better” appears 13 times embellishing 13 areas wherein the New Testament is superior to the Old]. Specific preparation for each lesson ensures a positive outcome which should always be twofold: (1) to glorify God and (2) to strengthen the faith of the hearer.
STEP FOUR: Prayer. Perhaps a prayer like Paul prayed for the church at Colosse will show why prayer should always precede teaching someone. Paul said, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). While examples abound, one more for your edification is from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Always make prayer a part of the teaching process.
STEP FIVE: Presentation. Adequate food and rest before teaching helps provide the stamina needed for the presentation of the prepared lesson. The presentation includes the teaching environment whether it is a classroom or auditorium or even an outdoor setting the teacher must consider the surroundings for the presentation. Potential distractions should be minimized as much as possible. Visual aids used like a whiteboard, power point, or special exhibit need to enhance not distract from the lesson. Making the listeners comfortable aids in their learning. The ability to hear the lesson and see the visual aids are crucial to presenting the lesson. Then making sure the Bible is the centerpiece of the presentation must always remain in focus. A preacher knows to “preach the word” and so must the teacher effectively teach the word. This is that special time when all that has come before is built upon in the delivery of the content of the spiritual message.
STEP SIX: Payoff. A review of the process to evaluate the reward to the students lets the teacher know how effective he/she has been. Earlier we saw that Paul wanted Timothy’s “profiting to appear to all.” Some teachers like for each lesson to have at least one “take away” for the student—meaning one valuable point the student may take with him/her that has strengthened his/her faith. This is the “payoff.” A good “payoff” will keep the students coming to class and interested and will serve as a perpetual motivation for the teacher.
Beyond our own salvation, there may be no blessing retrieved from our existence here on earth we will value more highly in eternity than to know, even if in some small way, that our teaching helped another person to know God’s salvation through Christ and His church.
THE JOY OF BEING “IN CHRIST”
What a wonderful day it was when that unnamed treasurer serving in the realm of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, was privileged to receive the evangelist Philip into his chariot and hear Philip open up his understanding of Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit through the ready pen of Luke tells us that upon obeying Christ in baptism the treasurer, “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:26-39). What do you suppose provided the basis for the Eunuch’s rejoicing? May I offer a few suggestions?
He could see that his visitor, Philip, was showing real concern and compassion by taking the time and going to the trouble to travel along with him and teach him something about the Scriptures that before now escaped him (Acts 8:30).
He understood the Scriptures better than at any other point in his life (Acts 8:31).
He now knew for sure that the Messiah had come to save him (Acts 8:32-34).
He knew the Messiah had been willing to suffer humiliation and death in order that his sins might be taken away (Acts 8:33).
He had been privileged to confess the belief that now filled his heart that “Jesus Christ is the son of God” (Acts 8:37).
He learned what his response to this good news should be by being baptized (Acts 8:36-39).
His burial in water meant that he had been buried with Christ, crucifying his old man of sin, and purifying his soul from sin and its shame (Romans 6:3; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 2:20).
He was a “new creature,” and whereas his physical deformity had kept him from entering the sacred precincts of the Jewish temple where he had just been in an attempt to worship God, he was now “in Christ” where not even one spiritual blessing would be denied him (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:3).
He had been “added to the church by the Lord” (Acts 2:47), and likely traveled toward home filled with the exciting prospect of bringing back from his trip the gospel message that would benefit his countrymen to an extent and in ways that caused his mind to race with joyous anticipation.
“IS IT NOTHING TO YOU?”
Long ago the weeping prophet Jeremiah tasked with delivering the message of God’s displeasure upon the wayward southern kingdom of Judah wrote, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12). The northern kingdom of Israel had already met her fate in being carried away into Assyrian captivity (2 Kings 15:29; 17:3-6; 18:11-13; 1 Chronicles 5:26). Yet, for all this the southern kingdom of Judah persisted in her idolatry and rebellion against God and, like her brethren to the north, was swept away into Babylonian captivity for 70 years (Daniel 1:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:5-6, 9-10; 2 Kings 24:15-17; 2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 1:12; 7:5; 2 Chronicles 36:21). Indifference to God’s will prompted Jeremiah to ask, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?”
Five marks of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire affirmed by the English historian and member of Parliament Edward Gibbon (1737-1796) in his monumental six volume work on the subject should generate a stirring response from the citizens of the United States of America today, but while this information is widely known, its impact is insulated by a prevailing indifference. Notice the parallels then and now.
One, concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth.
Two, obsession with sex and perversions of sex.
Three, art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original.
Four, widening disparity between the very rich and the very poor.
Five, increased demand to live off the state.
Biblical and secular history show the need for concern over the increasing immorality in America yet both preview the lack of it. The church of Christ contains members who are Christ-like. The church of Christ is subject to Christ who loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:24-25). Paul contrasted the church to the world when He wrote of Christ, “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (vv. 26-27). Our efforts today to win the lost for Christ populate the church and strengthen the moral fiber of the nation. That’s why we purpose to keep “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14).
“IS IT NOTHING TO YOU?”
When Judah was taken into captivity to Babylon in the 7th century B.C., the prophet Jeremiah asked a very relevant question: Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12). Like Elijah before him, Jeremiah experienced that empty feeling of being alone in his grief over the indifference of his people.
While many individual causes contributed to Judah’s captivity, one of them was their neglect of their worship to God. Jeremiah lamented, “Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy” (vv. 3-5). Consider especially, “The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh….”
The things that happened during the Old Testament period serve to benefit us today, if we will stop and consider them. Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Jeremiah’s question then is as important today when he asked, “Is it nothing to you?”
Is it nothing to you when the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered on Calvary’s cross shedding His precious blood to purchase His church and there are Christians who forsake the solemn assemblies? (Hebrews 10:25). Is it nothing to you when the faithful few are reverently gathered around the Lord’s table on Sunday whereupon rests unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine commemorating His death and other Christians sleep in or simply forgot? Is it nothing to you when the church is meeting to sing the praises of Zion together and many Christians choose not to be there? Is it nothing to you that the Word of God is being taught from the classrooms and in the pulpit and there are Christians who choose rather to hear the television blaring some crass language and project obscene images before their eyes and into their hearts? Is it nothing to you when there are preachers who must leave their work reaping the souls of men in the mission fields to fulfill their primary responsibility financially to their family (1 Timothy 5:8) when the contribution of prospering Christians is withheld and wasted on worldly pursuits? Like Jeremiah we repeat, “Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?”
". . and upon this rock I will build my church . ." -- Matthew 16:18.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.