Did you hear about t
he man who, during the Civil War was sympathetic to both sides? He lived on “the line” between the North and South. To show his sympathy for all concerned, he decided it would be good to dress like both… so he combined his uniform. He wore the Confederate Gray coat, and the Union Blue trousers.
All seemed to go well for a while till he found himself in thew midst of a hard fought battle. The Federals shot him in the coat, and the Confederates shot him in the pants.
The moral of the story: “Take a stand!” Stand up and be counted for Jesus. Study, pray, do your own thinking,. “Stand your ground!” No one loves those who are continually indecisive. Jesus said if one is not for him, he counts them as an enemy. STAND FOR CHRIST.
Matthew 12:30 “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (ASV). In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
I don’t know from which bulletin Dad cut this little article, but it brings smiles, and makes you think.
What we add here is this… 1.) Do your own thinking, 2.) Look for principles in the scriptures and ways to apply them. One of the dominant complaints from those in the seats against those in the pulpit is, “There’s always a lot of scriptures but very little application. People are seeking and needing “help for the day.” They do not need a “social Gospel,” nor a “all is great” sermon… scriptures are our only authority but how about fearless application.
Take for example Romans 14-15… How to deal with the weak brother? Most Christians understand about the historical setting of this, but strong preaching applies the principles in the setting of today. Here are a few ideas…
Negative Principle: “Never build a church on issues.” (The important thing about issues is how you deal with them.)
1. BRETHREN CAN DIFFER.
2. PERSONAL CONVICTIONS AND OR CONSCIENCE OR OPINIONS MUST NEVER BE CONSIDERED AS CONGREGATIONAL LAW. (People have a right to their opinions but not the right to push that on others.)
3. A “STUMBLING BLOCK” IS DIFFERENT FROM A “GRUMBLING BLOCK.” The “stumbling block” Paul speaks of is eating meat sacrificed to idols. He say he would not eat meat if it would make someone fall. The one who is strong and will not fall away from Christ should not be using this to “get his way.” He may go to another congregation, but this is his/her option… He can “have his say, but not necessarily get his way.” The “grumbling block,” should be dealt with as such, and not as a “weak brother.”
4. THE “WEAK CONSCIENCE” IS DIFFERENT FROM THE “HARD HEAD.”
The “hard head” will not consider other options, opinions, differences. He is like “Johnny one note,” who found his one note and would not play any other. Not all scripture is as clear as others, not every command is given for every culture and time. Give time to consider the who, what, where, when and why. Try and be consistent, and always make sure your conclusion fits within the overall story of the grace of God and His Bible. (Scriptures do not contradict scripture.)
5. APPEASMENT IS NOT UNITY. Preachers musty break free from the thought that they cannot preach what they believe fully or else they will lose their pay check. Elders should not want a “yes-man” in the pulpit. This helps neither the man in the pulpit nor the shepherds who need to grow as well. Appeasing some brother to “keep the peace,” is not the way to unity. Eventually things will come to a “head” and “unity” will be disrupted. Shepherds must deal with the “hot-head.”
Other thoughts on the scriptures:
1.) “The mainest thing is the plainest thing.” The plain teaching of scriptures is that coming to Jesus means faith is seen in repenting and being immersed for the remission of sins. The Spirit of God is then given to each believer (Acts 2:38-39).
2.) Context is still king.
3.) There is a big difference in “can’t” and “won’t.” When someone says “I can’t do…” just ask if they mean “I won’t do…”
Thoughts on the congregational makeup, since most congregations have:
1.) OLD GUARD
2.) BABY BOOMERS
3.) YOUNG MARRIED
6.) LITTLE KIDS
A good principle here is: Each congregation has Christians that are at different stages of development and growth… or the lack thereof (cf. Hebrews 5:11-6:2).
Grow in grace brethren!