By Johnie Edwards
A cigarette commercial sells its tobacco on the theme, “You Have Come a long way baby.” It might be more rightly said, “We have got a long way to go.” Let’s take a look at some areas in which we have a long way to go:
In Our Attitude Toward Sin
Most people have white-washed sin to the degree that few know what sin really is and what it will do. Sin is still sin and does what it has always done. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah said, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). This passage says that sin:
1. Separates us from God. God cannot stand sin and he will not allow us to be near him as long as we sin.
2. Causes God to hide his face from such. Peter said, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12).
3. God will not listen when we pray. Try as hard as you may, if you are not willing to quit your sinning, God will not hear when you pray.
All forms of sin are tolerated in a lot of churches of Christ and no one says a thing about it. A lot of churches are so worldly that you can hardly tell the difference between them and the world! The wages of sin are the same as they have always been. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
In the Upbringing of Our Children
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). Many of our children are being left to themselves to do as they please when they get ready. The rod and reproof have been left off and wisdom goes lacking! Most parents are too busy and thus spend so little time with their children, they do not know what they need in regards to discipline.
A lot of parents are more interested in things than in their own children. Parents are commanded to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6). Fathers are instructed, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The wise man said, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). As parents, we just need to apply the rod in the proper places. We cannot wait until the child is half-grown to begin this correction, but it must start at a very early age.
Too many parents give their children too many things. Young people these days grow up with everything they want and have nothing to look forward to in later years. With the free sex life most young people are encouraged to live, I don’t even see why they bother with the “honey-moon” when they get married! We have a long way to go in teaching our children.
Most of our schools are filled with drugs, alcohol, guns and sex with hardly any discipline. There was a time when a child got a whipping at home if he got one at school. To-day, if a child gets a whipping at school, the child and his father go to the school and whip the teacher! We have got a long way to go in regards to discipline!
With Regards to Respect for Authority
So few have so little respect for authority that you might think there is no authority anymore! A lot of people have no respect for themselves, anybody, or anything. Kids talk back to their parents. Those in places of authority are not respected or feared, not even God! Young people are commanded to “honor thy father and mother” (Eph. 6:2). It must be realized that Christ has “all authority in heaven and in earth” (Mt. 28:18). A lot of churches of Christ have a long way to go to get back to respecting what Christ has to say. He is “the head of the body, the church” (Eph. 1:22-23). The church must come a long way back, in some places, and realize that “the church is subject unto Christ” (Eph. 5:24).
When more than 4000 churches send funds to a sponsoring church to try to evangelize the whole world, as with the One Nation Under God project, we have got a long way to go! We have to go back to the example of the church at Philippi as they “sent once and again unto my necessity” (Phil. 4:16). Paul said, as he preached the gospel in Thessalonica. They sent directly to the preacher in the field of work and not through a sponsoring church with elders who were not satisfied to just “tend the flock of God among them” (1 Pet. 5:2). We have come a long way from this old pattern of evangelism.
There is a great demand for all of us to “fear God” (Eccl. 12:13; Acts 10:34-35). As was said in Jeremiah’s day, it can be said today in a lot of places, “my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts” (Jer. 2:19).
In Being Faithful
I am not convinced that many really know what faithfulness is all about. John’s statement about being faithful is a summary of all the child of God is taught to do. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Paul told the Corinthians, “Morever it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). We have got a long way to go in being faithful. These early Christians were being threatened with death itself and in the face of being burned at the stake, they were encouraged to just hold out and be faithful, even to the giving of your own life.
A lot of church members think they are faithful when they attend on Sunday morning, eat the Lord’s Supper, give a few dollars and live as they please during the week! Being a Christian and going to heaven is a daily affair. We are taught to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). And, until we do this, we have got a long way to go!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, p. 18
January 7, 1993