Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 19, 1969

Article Of The Month

"Dyed By Her Own Hands"

Jesse Kelley — From "Perspective" Laporte, Texas

Back in the days when bleached, dyed, and otherwise camouflaged hair was a rarity, I can remember one of my older brothers-in-law once referred to a certain woman as "a suicide blond - dyed by her own hands." Those were the days when "your hairdresser knew for sure," but so did every one else. Good camouflages had not yet made their appearance - peroxide, I think, was what made brunettes and browns "have more fun as blonds."

I am fearful that a similar epitaph could be created over the remains of many congregations of Christ -"Died by her own hands!" Not a few churches perhaps even this one are as dead as last year's Thanksgiving turkey. The fatal blow was not delivered by an alien from without who slipped in under cover of darkness to commit the dastardly crime, but from those within - the "friends" of Jesus - who have brought ruin, disrespect, and death to the churches of which they are members. Listen a moment as we point out just two or three characteristics of those who bleed the church of life.

1. Personal Selfishness. This is a deadly thing. It manifests itself in two directions, either of which will kill a church. The man who is overly ambitious to be a church leader, or is a church leader for the sake of prominence or a position of preeminence. His selfishness in the affairs of a church causes him to imagine that only his own ideas are worthy of implementation. He therefore opposes those of others; and if he is not permitted to have his way he will ferment open discord and division in the Body of Christ. He will rule the church, or he will ruin it. Its influence dies in the community as he takes a faction to some other location and begins meeting in an abandoned, run-down building. The apostle John writes of a man like this who lived in New Testament times. Listen to him. "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, when I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." (II John 9,10)

The other manifestation of selfishness is seen in those who, because of their own selfish interests or pleasure, will absent themselves from not only the work of the church, but its worship also. In simple terms, they had rather do something else than work and worship in the Kingdom of God. Call for volunteers to do a needed work and they "don't have time." Conduct a gospel meeting and they won't be present; there is something else they had rather do. These want their names in the church directory, but they are too selfish to be worthy of the honor. Their cold indifference and empty profession have sapped the life from the church; and a community, impressed by its listlessness is "inspired" to never "go to that church." It "died by its own hand."

2. Too Busy. There are some fine people in the church who have so burdened themselves down with the affairs of life that they simply have no time left for study, meditation, and helping others find the way of life. They attend the services and are generous with their money, but they do little or nothing toward making the church a more powerful influence in the community, or adding convicted and converted souls to its membership.

When God created Adam and Eve, he told them to "multiply and replenish the earth." God furnished the law of nature by which this could be accomplished, and he gave Adam and Eve the ability to do it. Now if Adam and Eve had become "too busy" to obey the command of God, they would have lived out their life and died and you and I wouldn't be here.

So it is with the church. God created the church as he did the world. He created spiritual life in man; and his commission is, "Go and make other disciples." In other words, "multiply and replenish" spiritual beings for God's service. One reason why a church may have a smaller membership this year than last is because its members have failed to "multiply and replenish." But perhaps I'm getting a little too close to 704 South Broadway, so I'll stop. But you can take it from here.