TAKING SOUND GOSPEL PREACHING FOR GRANTED
Sometimes those of us who have been privileged to routinely hear sound gospel preaching come to take it for granted. To those who have had the “other kind” of preaching, the plain unvarnished truth boldly proclaimed and defended is a cool, uplifting, and refreshing draft of essential spiritual nourishment. I assure you that is not what many churches that continue to have church of Christ “above the door” are hearing. Many of the churches that are not openly promoting false doctrines, refrain from dealing with the first principles and fundamentals of Christianity that set the church of our Lord far apart from denominational sectarian churches founded and sustained on the commandments and doctrines of men.
“AS THE PULPIT GOES . . .”
Someone has well said that “as the pulpit goes, so goes the church.” I may also add that “as the eldership goes, so goes the pulpit.” But, that is not the end to “what and when” and “where they go.” If the church members do not respect Bible authority in all things (Colossians 3:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15; Hebrews 4:12; Luke 8:11,15; Ephesians 6:17; James 1:25; John 12:48), they will not tolerate scriptural elders who superintend the church according to God’s will. Such a rebellious church will raise up elders who are “men pleasers.” When this happens and is not corrected, gone is “the faithful spiritual neighborhood that is the church.”
A FABLE LOVING AND FORGETFUL PEOPLE
As noted, one of the first things to go when such rebellion permeates the bride of Christ is the faithful courageous gospel preacher. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:3-4).
Indeed, today we are in the midst of a “fable” loving people. Furthermore, we are living among “forgetful” people. As good Jeremiah declared of apostate fleshly Israel, so it is with spiritual Israel, the church. “Can a maid forget her ornaments or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32). Because so many in the church love “fables,” they have replaced the truth of the gospel with them. In general brethren have forgotten that…:
- “God is not man that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19);
- To rebellious man “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31);
- “God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7)―man shall reap what he sows.
- “The conclusion of the whole matter…” for man “is to fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13);
- The love of God always manifests itself in faithful obedience to God’s commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:5; 5:3).
- Christ saves only those who obey him (John 14:6; Hebrews 5:9; Romans 6:3-4; 17-18; Acts 10:48);
- There is only one plan of salvation (Romans 10:17; Acts 17:30; Romans 10:10; Acts 22:16);
- There is only one church acceptable to God and she contains all those who are saved by Christ (Acts 2:38; 47; Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 5:25-27).
- The Lord’s church exists any time and any where men will obey the gospel and “continue stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; Acts 2:42).
- The church of Christ is not a denomination; that is, she is not a part of the whole church, but she is the whole church or realm of the saved (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23);
- The kingdom of Christ and the church of Christ are one and the same institution (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 41-42, 47; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9; II Corinthians 15:24-28).
WE MUST PREACH THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD
While there are other marks of identity of the Lord’s church found on the pages of the New Testament, the above are sufficient to set forth those gospel truths that are not being taught by certain brethren. Yet, to be a faithful gospel preacher one must, with the apostle Paul, be able to declare: “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).~
with a question. “Why do ye transgress the commandment omind. It was the commandment having to do with honoring father and mother (Matthew 15:4). But how were they reacting to this word?
David P. Brown