“He Is Too Narrow!”
The observation is sometimes made about a preacher, elder, or teacher that he is “too narrow.” It is entirely possible, of course, that one may be “too narrow.” However, this is not so often the case as some may think. Some people are so broad that they are mighty shallow. Absence of conviction is often mistaken for broadness of mind. Some people think that they have to be broad in order to match their real or imaginary importance in the business or social world. Noah was a rather important man in his day, yet he preached and practiced that no one could be saved except those who entered the ark he was building (Gen. 6-7; Heb. 11:7). When the flood came, his “narrow” preaching was entirely vindicated. It was better to be “narrow” and be in the ark than to be broad and be drowned in the waters of the Flood. The word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). Yet, have we considered the fact that it is the narrow edge that makes the cut? The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. It must be “narrow” to penetrate and cut, “even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow” (Heb. 4:12). Roy L. Smith has had the following to say about “broad-mindedness” in religion; it is worth reading:
“The preacher is sometimes accused of being narrow-minded because he insists upon Christians forsaking all to follow Christ. But all of life is narrow, and success is to be found only by passing through the narrow gate and the straightened way (Matt. 7:13-14).
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the chemical laboratory. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The slightest deviation from that formula is forbidden.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in music. There can only be eight notes in a measure. The skilled director will not permit his first violin to put in even so much as an extra thirty-second note.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the mathematics classroom. Neither geometry, calculus, nor trigonometry allows for any variation from exact accuracy, even for old time’s sake. The solution of the problem is either right or wrong — no tolerance there.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in biology. One varying result out of a thousand experiments will invalidate an entire theory.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness on the athletic field. The game is played according to the rules, with no favors shown for charity’s sake.
“There is no room for broad-mindedness in the garage. The mechanic there says that the piston rings must fit the cylinder walls within one two-thousandths part of an inch. Even between friends, there cannot be any variation if the motor is to run smoothly.
“Seeing these things are true, how then shall we expect that broad-mindedness shall rule in the realm of religion and morals?”
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Matthew 16:18-19
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In the shadow of Mount Hermon, a place that had seen idolatry for millennia, Christ promises that based upon Peter’s confession (Matt. 16:16), His church will be built, and that death itself (hades) will not stop its coming! Jesus promises not only the founding of the church but also that Peter would be the one to “open the doors” to this church. Looking forward just a few years, we see this promise fulfilled on the Pentecost following Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. After hearing the gospel preached, Peter answered the Jews’ question in Acts 2:37 by telling those convicted souls to “repent and be baptized … for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). About ten years later, Peter would be sent to Cornelius and his household that they might hear the truth, believe, and obey it (Acts 10-11, 15:7). The statements made on this day echo to this present day!
– Jarrod Jacobs
Don’t Believe Your Eyes!
Magicians’ sleight of hand fools most people when it is done correctly. When watching them, we are wise when we heed the warning, “Don’t believe your eyes.” In entertainment, many a short man has been made taller on television and in the movies by filming him next to his “leading lady” while he stands on a box! Many a computer has generated scenes and events for movies that could never happen otherwise. Our senses can be fooled in many ways. I remember when Isaac was fooled when his sense of “touch” told him one thing, while his sense of “hearing” told him something else (Gen. 27:22). Since our senses, especially our sense of sight, can be misled, does it not then make sense that through our senses, specifically our sight, Satan will tempt us to do evil? This is what he does!
In the beginning, Satan tempted Eve by what the apostle John described as “the lust of the eyes” (I Jn. 2:16). Satan encouraged Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in contradiction to God’s command (Gen. 3:4-5). When, among other things, Eve “saw” the fruit was “pleasant to the eyes” she ate of that fruit (Gen. 3:6). This was not the only means Satan used to tempt her, but the lust of the eyes, the appeal to what her eyes saw, was a key element in her temptation, her sin, and ultimately her spiritual death (Gen. 2:15-17; Jas. 1:14-15).
In like manner, we must be careful with our sense of sight and what we look at from day to day. We can commit sin if we are not cautious and careful in our observation. We need to appreciate the warnings God has given to us in reference to our sense of sight.
For example, long ago, Job said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). He was wise and saw the dangers associated with using his eyes and mind to lust after a woman. Christ also said that our sense of sight could lead us into sin. He said, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Let us pay close attention to these words! Both God and Satan know that the lust of the eyes can lead us into sin. Therefore, we must be on our guard to make sure we do not sin by lusting after others!
Another sin we can commit with our eyes is to have a “proud look” (Prov. 6:17-19). God hates the proud look; it is an abomination to Him. This is made clear as we read in the Bible of God’s hatred for pride and the proud look as well as God’s commendation for humility (I Pet. 5:5-6; Jas. 4:10).
At times, our little children sing the song, “O, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” After reading of God’s warnings concerning our eyes, perhaps it would be good for the adults to learn this song as well!
The Scepter Of The Lord
A scepter is an object unknown to most of us in the United States. A scepter is an object used by the monarch of a country. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines “scepter” as: “The official staff or baton of a king, symbolic of his authority .... ” The term “scepter” is used several times in the Bible. We will use this article to focus on how the term “scepter” applies to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, we see the term “scepter” used for the first time in Genesis 49:10. In preparation for his death, Jacob assembles his twelve sons together and conveys blessings upon them. As he comes to Judah, he says: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and to him shall the gathering of the peoples be.” Here, we find the promise of Christ’s coming (Shiloh) through the physical lineage of Judah (Matt. 1:2-3; Lk. 3:33; Heb. 7:14). Looking further, we read, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” (Ps. 45:6). In other words, this ruling One is righteous in His judgments, and not a wicked king by any means.
One passage that ought to jump out at us after reading Psalm 45:6 is Hebrews 1:8. “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is a scepter of your kingdom.’” Therefore, the statement of David had reference to Christ and His righteous rule!
Paul wrote to Timothy and said that Christ is, “... the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:14-15). When writing the book of Revelation, John said, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings ...” (Rev. 17:14, 19:16). Yes, Christ rules today, and will do so “till he has put all enemies under his feet...” (I Cor. 15:25, 28).
The Lord reigns over us right now, ruling with a scepter of righteousness or uprightness. Therefore, our responsibility is to submit willingly to the Lord, our King. What Christ tells us to do, we must do (Col. 3:17)!
Our King tells us to believe on Him or die in our sins (Jn. 8:24). Christ tells us to repent or perish (Lk. 13:3). Our King commands men to confess Him or be denied in the presence of the Father (Matt. 10:32-33). Jesus also has decreed that one must be baptized in order to be saved or we will be lost (Mk. 16:16). Our responsibility is to submit to His plan, not fight against it!
Similarly, all of the New Testament stands as our instructions for living in this life (II Tim. 3:16-17). We are expected to do all things according to the authority of our King (Col. 3:17). Will we rebel, or will we gladly obey? That is the question! Christ is our King; are we living for Him (Lk. 6:46)? Think about it!!
Did Alexander Campbell Start A Church?
When discussing the subject of the church of Christ, we sometimes hear the comment made that the church of Christ was started by Alexander Campbell. Mr. Campbell was a well-known preacher in America in the 1800’s; but did he start the church of Christ or any other church for that matter? The answer is no. Yet, the teaching that Mr. Campbell established a church is made because people do not know the simple teaching of the New Testament concerning the church.
To begin, Alexander Campbell could not have started the church of Christ. This is because folks like Mary, Peter, James, John, Phoebe, and Paul were among the members of it (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:28; Rom. 16:1, 16; Heb. 12:28; Rev. 1:9). Saved people were added to the Lord’s church beginning in Acts 2:47, and continue to be added to it to this day. Alexander Campbell did not live in the first century. Nor did he die to purchase a church (Acts 20:28). Mr. Campbell lived from 1788 to 1866. In other words, he was born almost 1800 years after the Lord’s church was established in Acts 2.
Have you ever been to Paris, Kentucky and visited the Cane Ridge meeting house? If not, you need to go there and look at one of the grave markers in the cemetery. In the cemetery, you will find the grave marker of William Rogers. Mr. Rogers’ headstone looks like many others of that era except for the inscription found upon it. William Rogers’ headstone reads as follows: “Born in Campbell Co., Va., July 7, 1784, removed with his father to Cane Ridge, Bourbon Co., April 1793. United with the Church of Christ at Cane Ridge in 1807.”
A significant date mentioned on the headstone is 1807. This is because 1807 was two years before Alexander Campbell came to America from Ireland and three years before he preached his first sermon in America. How could Alexander Campbell have started the church of Christ if William Rogers was already in it in 1807?
Further, in Celina, TN, there is a church of Christ who can trace the congregation’s beginning back to 1805. How could this be possible since Mr. Campbell wasn’t even in America at the time? The answer, of course, is that it is possible because Mr. Campbell didn’t start the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). The church of Christ began in this country when Christians came here simply preaching and teaching about the church found in the Bible! As was noted above, such things happened long before Alexander Campbell was in this land.
Mr. Campbell did much in his life to spread the gospel, but there is nothing the church of Christ does or practices that had its beginning with Mr. Campbell, or any other man (Gal. 1:6-9). The church of Christ follows what Christ has revealed in the New Testament (Jn. 12:48). If you’re interested in knowing more, contact me.