By Connie W. Adams
Meeting Schedule 1997
Several have asked that I publish my meeting schedule. It is always good to meet some of our readers in these places.
March 2-7 S. Bumby Ave., Orlando, Florida
March 16-21 West Columbia, Texas
April 6-11 Providence, Brodhead, Kentucky
April 20-25 Greencastle, Indiana
May 4-9 Lilbourne, Georgia
May 18-23 Cahaba Heights, Birmingham, Alabama
June 8-13 Uhrichsville, Ohio
June 15-20 West Mason, Ohio
July 6-11 Ridgefield, Washington
July 13-18 Canby, Oregon
August 3-8 Fayetteville, Tennessee
August 17-22 Altamonte Springs, Florida
September 7-12 Columbia, Missouri
September 21-26 Eastside, Scottsboro, Alabama
October 5-10 College Park, Richardson, Texas
October 12-17 Bossier City, Louisiana
November 2-7 Lake Wales, Florida
November 16-21 West End, Richmond, Virginia
Charitable Deeds to Be Seen of Men
Jesus warned against doing good deeds “to be seen of men.” He said “Take heed that you do not your charitable deeds before men, to be seen of them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet be-fore you as the hypocrites go in the synagogues and in the streets that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matt. 6:1-2). There is no question that life offers many opportunities to come to the aid of brethren in need as well as neighbors in the world or even chance acquaintances. The reaction of a faithful child of God should be spontaneous in doing what he is able to help. This grows out of our humanity but especially humanity refined by the influences of the gospel. The motive should be obvious. It is the right thing to do. Any such action motivated by a desire for praise from the world (or the brethren) is misplaced. The one in need may still be benefitted but the giver has forfeited any right to expect God to honor what was done. He did it for praise of men, he received praise of men. So much for the reward.
Answering Before Hearing
“He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). Yet, how often is this done. Parents sometimes provoke their children to anger because they do not listen. Before you say yes or no, hear them out. In labor disputes, each side needs to hear what the other has to say. In the church there will always be differences to arise. Sometimes elders are called on to arbitrate. It is good idea to get all the facts before making a judgment. Rumor and fact are often worlds apart. We are all often given to more prejudice than we want to admit. If a brother in whom we have confidence says something adverse about another brother, it is easy to rush to judgment without hearing the whole story. Politicians are not the only ones given to prejudice.
The Pain of Alienation
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1). On the other hand, how dismal it is for brethren who once stood shoulder to shoulder in solid phalanx against the armies of the Devil, to begin to “eye” one another, stand apart and aloof, and to see that deteriorate to the point of division and even hostility. I have been preaching long enough to remember the time before open division over institutionalism and related issues. It was a wonderful time when we enjoyed a friend-ship and camaraderie that was special. I often reflect wistfully on those days. Through the years since that tragic division I have often thought of those who once were so close to me and whose encouragement meant so much. As years have passed, other questions of great import have arisen and friends of long standing have first stood apart and then loaded and aimed their spiritual weapons at each other.
Even now, there are two mind-sets among brethren which become more obvious with each passing day. Unless these can be brought together, we will see families alienated, meetings canceled, influences suffer, and great anguish of spirit will descend upon us. It is a time for all to turn away from the witty and clever writings and preaching of popular denominational leaders and get our heads and hearts solidly back into the word of God. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). But keep one thing in mind: unity in error will land us all in the lake of fire.
The Value of Truth
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Nothing else is as good as truth. If something is close to it, then isn’t that nice! It still is not truth and cannot do for us any of the things which truth can do. If truth makes us free, then does something which is close to the truth make us close to being free? If so, then we are not free at all. Our Lord’s statement implies that truth is discoverable. It is knowable. It is not mired down in some nebulous gray matter. No sir! There is a difference between truth and error, and you can know what it is. If you cannot, then you are not free. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “Buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23).
Truth can be determined by the word of God. Error cannot. Faith rests upon truth. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). One of the harmful side effects of what some are teaching about Romans 14 and fellowship is that truth is made to appear fuzzy. It is a short step from that to the cynicism of Pilate who asked “What is truth?”
From what does truth free us? It frees us from the bond-age of sin. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:2). It frees us from the guilt of sin. “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). It frees us from the fear of the grave. “0 Death, where is thy sting? 0 Hades, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55). I don’t think I want to trade that away for anything else. What about you?
Guardian of Truth XLI: 6 p. 3-4
March 20, 1997