“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) When We Disagree (Doy Moyer)
2) “So Great Salvation” (Greg Gwin)
3) Where Do You Turn? (Shane Williams)
When We Disagree
The Lord wants unity, but disagreements in discussions are also a fact of life. Sometimes discussions can fall apart pretty quickly, even before we really understand why. How should we react to this? How should we proceed in discussions when we are dealing with disagreements? Here are some suggestions:
1. Be generous. Assume the best first. Don’t assign evil motives to other parties. They may have intended something else. Let the principles of love guide our discussions. Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7). This is simply an extension of the “golden rule”: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matt. 7:12).
2. Be respectful. Don’t begin a response by insulting and insinuating that the other parties are intellectually deficient. There should be no room for inflammatory comments. Just address the issue without resorting to ad hominem attacks. Kindness and respectfulness should mark all conversations. “What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar” (Prov. 19:22; cf. Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:32).
3. Be Reasonable. It’s possible that we misunderstood something. Be willing to discuss and foster good communication through definition and clarification. “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). In the same way, be logical. It is one matter to just state, “I disagree,” or to just state a contrary proposition. It is another matter to state the disagreement along with reasons. Learn how to make actual arguments (in the good sense). If we want others to consider our positions, we need to able to give the “because” for our positions. If we can’t state the “because,” then we don’t have adequate grounds for decent discussion and we are just pointlessly naysaying.
4. Be open. It’s possible that we are wrong ourselves and haven’t thought something through as much as we should. Are we willing to change if we are shown to be in error? Consider the other position and make sure that we understand it before rejecting it outright. If we are still sure that we disagree, then proceed with the other principles in mind. Be a truth-seeker, and “understanding will watch over you” (Prov. 2:11).
5. Be honorable. One of the most frustrating parts of a disagreement is when the other party misrepresents what we believe. We all make honest mistakes in our reasoning and conclusions, but if we purposefully twist or distort something in order to win an argument, we have crossed over into dishonesty. This is never honorable or right. When representing what others believe, be fair and accurate. If we find that we have not been accurate in how we represent a position, then be willing to listen and gain further understanding. Never intentionally misrepresent just to win an argument. “A trustworthy (i.e., honest) witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies” (Prov. 14:5).
6. Be direct. We may often be frustrated in discussion because we cannot pinpoint the real problem. Being generous and kind does not mean that we have to beat around the bush when we address the issue. State clearly the objection and the reasons for the disagreement. What is the real problem? The principle of being direct, whether in rebuke or disagreement, is part of wisdom: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). We can be friendly, tactful, and kind while at the same time being straight-forward and addressing the real issue.
7. Be committed. First, be committed to the Lord and His truth. Then be committed to the well-being of others. Be committed to souls and seek salvation for all. Winning an argument is pointless just for its own sake and can be a form of self-glory. God calls us to a higher standard. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
You can probably think of more. Reason and persuasion are a part of being disciples (cf. Paul in Acts 17:17; 18:4; 19:8- 9). Scripture gives us the principles by which we may proceed in discussions that are often bottlenecked by stubbornness and unreasonable posturing. We can do better. We can seek the Lord, seek truth, and seek for the greatest benefit for others. This must be intentional, bearing in mind the wisdom of God.
— Via Mind Your Faith
“So Great Salvation”
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3).
Christians should think long and meditate often about the wonderful salvation that God has made available to us through His Son. Look at this text, and realize that we are the recipients of a:
“Great Salvation”: It is great because our past sins have been forgiven; we enjoy a present relationship with God as our loving Father; and we have the hope of a beautiful future in eternity.
“Spoken Salvation”: Too many people in the religious world trust their subjective feelings concerning their eternal souls. They wouldn’t do that if it involved their material possessions or their financial security, but they do it with their souls. It simply makes no sense. God does not ask us to trust our salvation to such uncertainty. Instead, he has given us His spoken word, whereby we can learn and understand the things essential to salvation (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; Eph. 3:3-5).
“Confirmed Salvation”: We can be sure that the salvation offered through Jesus Christ is legitimate. The message of salvation was confirmed by the men who knew Jesus, who saw Him, heard Him, worked with Him. They were eyewitnesses to His life, and their words and accounts assure us that these things are true. In fact, their willingness to die for His cause is one of the surest proofs of all. Furthermore, God also confirmed their testimony by way of the miracles they were empowered to do (see the previous verse, Heb. 2:4).
“Conditional Salvation”: A key word in this great text is the word IF. It clearly teaches that our salvation is conditional upon meeting the requirements set forth in God’s word. God offers us this wonderful gift. We show our willingness to accept it by doing His will. Salvation is for “all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8,9).
— Via The Beacon, May 24, 2016
Where Do You Turn?
Where you turn when you’re in trouble reveals your character. What does it tell us about young kids whose trouble turns them toward gangs, guns or drugs? What do we learn about adults whose problems direct them toward alcohol, adultery or the weird teachings of a cult?
What about ourselves? Where do we turn when we have trouble in life? Do we look to the world or the Bible for wisdom? Where do we look for help when we are struggling with sin? We must turn to the Lord Jesus and to His Word. He is the only one who can help and certainly the only one who can offer us forgiveness. The answers of this world will never lead us to “real” help but only to destruction.
The Christians to whom Peter addressed were facing various trials (I Peter 1:6), slander and maligning (I Peter 3:15; 4:4), sufferings and reviling (I Peter 4:12-14). To whom should they turn? Not to the world or its ways, but rather to “the God of all grace” (I Peter 5:10). We need to look back and remember that He called us, recognize His glory in Christ, and look ahead to see how God is equipping us through our difficulties. “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (I Peter 5:10).
Trouble on the horizon? Put your confidence in God. He helped the early Christians who suffered through persecutions to overcome. He will help us through our troubles today.
— Via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 10, No. 4, August, 2009
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)