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They lead by servitude in the same way that Christ did, by always having the best interest of the souls of which they shepherd over in mind, and not their own personal desires and wishes

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Articles

I have found the 2016 presidential race in America to be interesting at times. One thing that I have noted is the increase of liberalism within our society. What is known as the liberal left has really taken root and almost took over the Democrat Party in this year's election. But though they failed, the movement is alive and well, and clearly has its stamp on last week’s Democratic National Convention. One thing I notice about this movement is the number of liberals that have absolutely no respect for our laws or authority.
 
Now as far as the church, the kingdom culture of Christ is supposed to be influencing the world; yet I am afraid at times it is modern Pop-Culture or Secular Humanism that is all too often influencing the Lord's church, and clearly not for good. Meaning, liberalism is, unfortunately, alive and well in what is called the Lord's church today. And as many in our nation no longer respect and honor our laws as they are required to do by God, Romans 13:1-7, many in the Lord's church today absolutely no longer respect and honor God's laws as well. So all across the Lord's church, congregations are changing and adding, and changing and adding without a "thus saith the Lord." 
 
Brethren, we need to get our healthy fear of the Lord back again! And understand, God is not kidding when His word commands of us that "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," Colossians 3:17. The Holy Spirit is clear in 1 Corinthians 4:6 that we are "Not to go beyond what is written," in God's word. And to emphasize that God is not playing with us, the Revelator wrote, "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book," Revelation 22:18-19. Now, some people would interject here and say, "But John made this threat about the book of Revelation." And that is true; but clearly, God's point is made. It doesn't matter what inspired book one is discussing, if one takes away or adds to it what they want, what they feel is best, what they prefer, or what they like, there are going to be some eternal consequences. 
 
God is concerned with what we are doing and if we are adding or taking away, Leviticus 10:1-2. Let's show and prove our love to Him by simply obeying in all things what He has prescribed for us, John 14:!5; 15:14; Matthew 28:18; Luke 23:1-3; Ephesians 5:23.
Elders

"For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus," Acts 21:13. Last week I wrote that death did not scare Paul because he was in a proper relationship with God. Being baptized into Christ, he knew that at the moment of his death, all would be well. But there is more to being prepared to die than just being immersed with Christ. 2) Paul was not afraid to die because he divorced himself from the world. There are too many people who are not ready to die today because of their love for the world and the works of this world, i.e., the works of the flesh. Paul warned his audience in Romans 8:12-13 and in Galatians 5:19-21 that if they continued to walk in the flesh, they would not be permitted to enter heaven. Paul was ready to die because he didn’t count the things of this world as something worth holding. He counted the things of this world as refuse that he might gain Christ, Philippians 3:3, 8-10. And the apostle of love tells us not to love the world nor the things in it, 1 John 2:15-17.

Paul was ready to die because he heeded his advice in Colossians 3:2 and had set his affections on things above, not on things of this earth. 3) Paul was prepared to die because he was faithful in service to the Lord. Paul said he had “fought a good fight, finished the course and kept the faith,” 2 Timothy 4:7. He also reminds us that it is required of stewards to be found faithful, 1 Corinthians 4:2. And the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 clearly teaches that many will be punished because they refused to accept responsibility and not properly serve their master.  To conclude, God has reserved eternal salvation for the obedient, Hebrews 5:9. And one who has not put Christ on in baptism and then divorced oneself from the world, nor is faithful in service to God is one who is NOT prepared to meet God. Are you ready to die? Not knowing the time, date, or place should serve as a warning that we should not linger in getting right with God. 

Do you remember when it was quite common for some brethren to be seen taking "one last drag" on a cigarette before entering the building for Bible classes? And then, between Bible classes and the hour of worship, many of these same ones would congregate right outside the entrance door for "another smoke?" But as time passed, through some straightforward teaching (and with the help of the tobacco/cancer connection given wide public hearing), most brethren learned better and we don't see that sort of thing being done like we once did. Most folks do better when they are taught better! And the majority of brethren have finally learned that smoking is indeed an unhealthy, obnoxious habit that is wrong, inappropriate, and improper for a Christian at any time, and is especially repugnant when engaged in around the church building where/when God's people assemble to worship Him. It just isn't fitting.

But replacing one bad habit with another is to do no better...... The "trend" in our society presently is toward "casual dress" and "act as you please" conduct. Unthinkingly, I believe brethren have allowed "the times" in which we live to impact us to a greater extent than we realize, and this has gradually eroded the sense of propriety that once seemed to prevail when Christians gathered for worship. In recent times, more and more church members, brotherhood wide, are developing a "casualness" in attire, even when gathering for the worship of Almighty God, that is cause for concern.  And this "casual approach" spills over into the area of deportment. Thus, it is not unusual to hear laughing and incessant chatter right up to the very moment of beginning the worship hour. If you doubt what I'm saying, "tune in" to the noise level just before worship in most every congregation.   

In Leviticus 16, concerning the entrance of the high priest, Aaron, into the holy place, specific instructions were given by God through Moses as to how he was to dress (verse 4) and what he was to do! Though admittedly that context does not apply to us today directly, yet it does inform us of God's interest in such matters. (And remember the principle of Romans 15:4).  “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence of all them that are about Him,” Psa. 89:7.  "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” (Psalm 29:2, NKJV). Remember, "the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23 NKJV). 

Additional insight into the principle of "proper decorum" is seen in the Lord's parable concerning the marriage feast a king had for his son, in Matthew 22:1-13. Without delving into the meaning of all the teaching of the context, I want us to take note of the one thing that pertains to this article: Jesus told of a man who came to the feast without wedding clothes on. When the king came in, he saw the man, and inquired of him, "Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes" (verse 12, NASV)? The man was speechless because there was no valid explanation to be offered. Acceptable conduct in those times required proper attire for such occasions. Thus, the man was immediately and harshly expelled from the feast (verse 13).    

In like manner today, even "common sense" tells us that we should "dress and act" to fit the occasion. One does NOT gather for the purpose of worshipping Almighty God in the same kind of clothes he'd go fishing or golfing in! And one does NOT "holler and cheer" in the assembly of worship as he would at a ball game! The word, "decorum" means: "a standard or code of what is proper, fitting, and established; conduct appropriate to established principles or circumstances; propriety; quality or state of being in accordance with a standard of what is fitting; proper behavior." The principle of acceptable decorum in the assembly of the saints would include appropriate dress and appropriate deportment.  If not, why not? Think about it

The false doctrine that all of life is worship derives from a misunderstanding of Romans 12:1, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Some versions and paraphrases like the NASV and NIV translate this passage wrong. For example, the NASV reads, “which is your spiritual service of worship,” and that is quite an unfortunate translation. The Greek word for worship is NOT even found in this verse and was supplied by translators, just like the word “Unknown” in 1 Corinthians 14:2, which has caused lots of false doctrines as well.  The Greek word they translated as service is ”latreian,” which means service, and can mean spiritual service. And the Greek word for worship is “proskenueo” which, again, is not found in Rom. 12:1. Both of these words or variations of them are found in Matthew 4:10, where there the Bible says, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” This passage clearly demonstrates a distinction between worship and spiritual service. Here are some other points to consider in deciding if all of life is worship: First, let’s go back to Matthew 4:10. Jesus The false doctrine that all of life is worship derives from a misunderstanding of Romans 12:1, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Some versions and paraphrases like the NASV and NIV translate this passage wrong. For example, the NASV reads, “which is your spiritual service of worship,” and that is quite an unfortunate translation. The Greek word for worship is NOT even found in this verse and was supplied by translators, just like the word “Unknown” in 1 Corinthians 14:2, which has caused lots of false doctrines as well.  The Greek word they translated as service is ”latreian,” which means service, and can mean spiritual service. And the Greek word for worship is “proskenueo” which, again, is not found in Rom. 12:1. Both of these words or variations of them are found in Matthew 4:10, where there the Bible says, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” This passage clearly demonstrates a distinction between worship and spiritual service. Here are some other points to consider in deciding if all of life is worship: First, let’s go back to Matthew 4:10. Jesus

There are plenty of erroneous doctrines in this world today.  Satan is doing a great job twisting the minds of humanity with his seducing doctrines, 1 Timothy 4:1.  Another one of those false doctrines is the doctrine that teaches that salvation is based upon the faith of Jesus and not our own.

Now, this false doctrine may seem a bit bizarre, or is it that I am simply ignorant of the position:  Did or does Jesus have faith? And am I saved based on His faith or mine? If humanity is saved today because of what Jesus believed, then salvation is universal today, because through the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man, Hebrews 2:9.  However, the Bible makes it clear though Jesus tasted death for everyone, that saving faith is mine: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." The previous statement shows that saving faith begins with me; it is, "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," Acts 20:21; faith which Paul declared in Romans 1:12 was "both of you and me." 

When Paul wrote Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, he praised the faith that was in Timothy, not the faith that Jesus had: "The unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." This was not Jesus' faith that entered Timothy, but "your faith in Christ Jesus," Colossians 1:4. 

This concept can be further explained by looking at the love of Christ. Did Christ love?  Did He not love His creation enough to die for us?  But does His love and offering of His love mean everyone is saved?  No, it is as Jesus taught in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." It is in keeping the commandments of Christ that we evidence our love toward Him. To conclude, this "Jesus' faith, not ours" is false doctrine and very comparable to "grace only, no obedience." "For by grace are ye saved through faith," Ephesians 2:8.

At the Brown Trail School of Preaching we have very strong convictions regarding the truth.

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The Truth in Love is a half-hour television program that is part of the evangelistic outreach of the Brown Trail Church of Christ in Bedford, Texas.

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Brown Trail financially supports the following evangelistic works: Truth for Today World Mission School, Voice of Truth International, World Video Bible School, Mission Printing, Chimala Mission Hospital and School of Preaching.

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