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Just Thinking

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Just Thinking

Brian Lewis

We are living in changing times. Sadly enough though, a lot of the changes we see around us aren't for the good. It seems like THESE DAYS the world keeps getting morally stagnant. What is astonishing is the realization that things seem to be getting colder in the church as well. The apostle Paul enlightened Timothy concerning how life here on earth would grow progressively worse. He teaches in 2 Timothy 3:1-7, "This know also, that in the last days (THESE DAYS) perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." To me, that pretty well sums up folks THESE DAYS.

In my forthcoming thoughts I would like to point out some ways, in my opinion, I think the church has changed over the years. Please consider my message. I'm just thinking out loud.

Preaching the Truth

Why is it that we argue? It is hard to address a brother or sister in Christ THESE DAYS because so many folks are so very defensive. Why is it that Truth isn't as receptive THESE DAYS as it was when I was a kid? THESE DAYS a preacher or teacher is under very heavy scrutiny if they dare teach on those "sensitive issues" like sisters cutting their hair (glory), modesty, the assembly, divorce and remarriage, etc. Why is that? Why can't we all receive the Truth with "gladness" just like the early church did? In Acts 2:41 the Scriptures teach that those first century Christians "gladly received his word!" In these "perilous times" people are such a long, long way from that. THESE DAYS we argue, debate and wrestle the Scriptures instead of receiving them into our hearts with an unbiased mind. To many folks, God's Word is just a means of controversy. They seem to be "ever learning, (but) never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth" (2 Tim. 3:7).

THESE DAYS when Truth is preached from our pulpits, there are those who shout "you made me mad!" Or they may say, "If you're going to preach on that, I'm not coming back!" I recall my mother telling me that back in her day when preachers like brother M. J. Buffington would come around to conduct a gospel meeting, there may have been those who did not agree with his views, but there were not as many people who cried, "I'm offended, I'm offended!" At least not like there are THESE DAYS, she recalls.

What is wrong with us? It is a sad day in the church when Christians are too "proud" (2 Tim. 3:2) to receive Divine Truth! I suppose these things are just signs of the times. Oh dear brother, are we not living in "perilous times"?

Gospel Meetings

I remember older folks talking about 10 day to 2 week gospel meetings. During my youth in the church it was reduced to one full week. THESE DAYS some congrega-tions only want to have a Wednesday through Sunday meeting or only a weekend meeting. I suppose when my children are my age, a "gospel meeting" will be limited to just a single "Lord's Day" (morning and evening service). Why is this? Brethren can plan a ten day vacation across the country, but don't even suggest that they plan to come to church services and hear the gospel preached for an ENTIRE WEEK!! That is just asking too much, I suppose. It seems that they are "too busy." Too busy for what? For God? For the church? They may suggest that "there are not enough hours in a day." Well, all of us have the same amount of time. Therefore, we can make time for what we really want to do, can't we? If I can make time to go on vacation, can't I make time to attend a gospel meeting?

Why is it that some just don't want to get involved in spiritual things? Our Lord said it clearly when he said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:21). The apostle Paul penned that we must "be ready to every good work" (Titus 3:1). BE READY! Paul said. Are we ready? Or are we "too busy" with earthly treasures? Or is it that we are just "lovers of pleasures MORE than lovers of God"? (2 Tim. 3:4). THESE DAYS are indeed "perilous times."

Evening Church Attendance

I suppose church attendance has always been a problem in the body of Christ. I remember as a kid though, it seemed that church attendance was considered just a little more important within the congregation I grew up in. I recall both my grandfather and grandmother attending services three times a week faithfully under very poor health conditions. If they didn't attend it was because they were truly sick. Worshipping God was vital to them. There is also dear sister Eva Martell if Clearfield, Pennsylvania. She is a prime example of a Christian who treasures public worship. At age 96 she tries to attend every service. But THESE DAYS, a brother or sister may stay home even if they have a slight headache. Or they may not attend any of the night services, "just because..." They will suggest, "It's not a command to attend, is it?"

THESE DAYS, evening services just aren't that important. Folks sure seem to have their priorities way out of kilter. There is far too much apathy within the body. The Sunday morning "Christian" seems to talk a pretty impressive talk on Lord's Day morning. But after that, where is their faith? Was the apostle Paul speaking about them when he said there would be those who had "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof?" (2 Tim. 3:3). Why can't we give anything "extra" to God? Paul taught that we are to "present (our) bodies a living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1). A SACRIFICE!! He affirms "which is (our) REASONABLE service." Sure, attending gospel meetings, night services or doing other "good works" is a sacrifice on our part. It takes time out of our busy days. But look at the supreme sacrifice that our Lord went through for us. And then we want to give him only that which is "required" of us?? Why can't we go the "extra mile" for him? Yes, "perilous times" have come." —3402 Canal Rd., Wooster, OH 44691



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