Let's Start Talking
Let's Start Talking
By Paul R. Blake
Conversation is becoming increasingly difficult in this country. Honest dialogue is often hindered or even blocked completely in contemporary society. The rules governing discussion of religious matters are numerous and ever increasing. Civil law bans religious expression in most public places and forbids prayer in school. Political correctness binds a gag on Judeo-Christian religions while at the same time exalting New Age, Wiccan, and Islamic faiths. Our very culture makes it impolite to speak of one's belief and discourteous to ask questions about another's doctrine. Even among those professing Christianity there exists an atmosphere of mandatory tolerance that makes it difficult to teach the Gospel to someone from a different denomination. “Attend the church of your choice” has become a slogan that effectively silences our efforts to open the Bible and teach others about the church of GOD'S choice. How can we keep the instruction of the Lord to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) in such an environment?
First, we can demonstrate the same attitude that the apostle Paul taught to young Timothy. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim. 2:15). It is important to begin with the desire to learn all one can about the word of God. In fact, Paul makes it necessary to being approved by God, a condition in which we would all like to be. Therefore, we should with strong purpose of mind study the Bible to the end that we will both know and understand what God wants of us. “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). If we truly want to know and do what God's word says, we will not silence those who wish to discuss Bible matters with us.
Second, once we have learned the truth, we should hold tightly to it. “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have learned from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2Tim. 1:13). It is vital that we stand firm with what we have learned to be true. Much religious confusion exists today, and it is relatively easy for one to be misled. “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). This is not to say that one should not change what he believes if he learns he is in error. Yet without scriptural evidence to the contrary, one should stand fast on what he knows to be true.
Third, after we have learned the truth and are holding fast to it, we must defend it against assault by false teachers. “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Those who teach a doctrine not found in the word of God need to be withstood and shunned. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2John 9-11). By instructing us to defend the truth and shun the false teacher, God is implying that truth is not changeable or is not subject to our “own personal beliefs.”
In fact, we are directly commanded to teach the truth in an unaltered state. The Bible is full of directives that forbid the reader to change what is written therein. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him... to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who... want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But if even we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-8). All of the doctrines and creeds that have been written by men since the Bible was completed fall under this condemnation. Only the gospel can save (Rom. 1:16); only the word of God is truth (John 17:17).
Fourth, one must follow what the word of God has to say. “But God be thanked that though you were the servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). Clearly, obedience to the doctrine of Christ releases us from the burden of our sins. In addition, the obedient believer is pleasing to God and is a part of the kingdom of righteousness. We complete our faith by following what is written in the word. Having obeyed the gospel, the child of God can live in anticipation of dwelling with God in heaven in the life to come.
Lastly, it is imperative that we share our knowledge of God's will with others. Jesus said, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). We have come back to our original question. How can we talk about spiritual matters vital to our salvation and the salvation of others in this religiously repressed society? We must teach the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and trust God for the results (1Cor. 3:6). It is just that simple. Reality teaches us many will not want to hear the word of God, yet we must teach the truth regardless.
Is it possible that people today still have an interest in spiritual matters? Is it possible to have a reasonable conversation with someone of a different faith and come to a common understanding of the truth? I submit to you that both are still possible. If we agree to sit down with open Bibles, with our minds open to the will of God, and our hearts open to each other’s needs, we can still talk about the doctrine of Christ. So let's start talking!
A Moments Wisdom on Working
--Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry in the daytime, and too sleepy at night.
--Happiness depends chiefly on our cheerful acceptance of routine, on our refusal to assume, as many do, that daily work and daily duty are a kind of slavery.
--Anything that one does, from cooking a dinner to governing a state, becomes a work of art if motivated by the passion for excellence and done as well as it can be. A man who does his job in that spirit will be the one who gets the most satisfaction out of life.
--If you want to be, not only successful, but personally, happily, and permanently successful, then do your job in a way that puts lights in people's faces. Do that job in such a way that, even when you are out of sight, folks will always know which way you went by the lamps left behind.
--The greatest composer does not sit down to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working.
--The only place where success comes before work is a dictionary.
--There are two changeless sources of solid happiness: first, the belief in God, and second, the habit of hard work toward useful ends.
Test Your Bible Knowledge on the Tabernacle
1. God was very specific about the construction of the Tabernacle. What kind of wood was used? _______
2. What four kinds of fabric covered it? __________, __________, _________, and __________
3. What three worship items were in the Holy Place? __________, __________, and __________
4. What was the only worship item in the Holiest of Holies? __________
5. Who was the only person permitted inside the Holiest of Holies? __________
6. Where did the burnt offerings take place? __________
2/7/21 AM - “Even His Brothers Did Not Believe”; PM - “The Lord Is My Shepherd” Themed Song Service
2/14/21 AM - The Mystery of the Resurrection; PM - Naomi and Ruth: God’s Non-Traditional Family
2/21/21 AM - Five Faithful Sayings; PM - God’s Feelings
2/28/21 AM & PM - The Power of the Gospel Over the Power of Sin, Parts One & Two