Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 4, 1960
NUMBER 13, PAGE 5a,12

From A Preacher's Note-Book

James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"Brethren, We Are Growing!"

In many church bulletins these days, the statement which is the title of this article is featured a number of times. Ordinarily, when one makes such a statement, he compliments those to whom reference is made. Certainly, the brethren who use it mean it so. But, it is not necessarily complimentary, or suggestive of a laudable accomplishment. Deadly malignancies within the human body are but growths. Disastrous floods are precipitated by growth of the volume of water in streams. A balloon being blown up invariably bursts at the apex of its growth. Jesus once looked upon the multitudes which followed him and noting the marvelous proportions to which they had swelled, he said, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." (John 6:26.) Jesus knew that a following meant nothing if those who constituted it were not properly motivated by a conviction of truth. Is our growth the result of New Testament conversions, or is it made up of those who "join the church?" (J. W. A.)

Closing The Doors Of The Mind

Closed doors have a frightening aspect to them. So much of life that is sad, frustrating and discouraging is associated with them. Of all the closed doors of life, the most tragic is probably "the closed door to the mind." Most of us have such closed doors, and all of us deny it. Even to ourselves, we are unwilling to admit their existence. This is likely the principle reason they remain closed.

Jesus emphasized the reality and danger of closing the door of the heart (mind) in the realm of things spiritual. He said, "This people heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Mt 13:15.) The blessings to which the "open door" of the heart admits ns are emphasized in the beautiful statement made to the church of the Laodiceans by our Lord in the letter written to her by John from Patmos: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3:20.)

There is an old story that has been told for years in East Texas. Jefferson, Texas is today a sleepy village in Northeast Texas near the Louisiana border. Year ago it was one of the principal cities of Texas. Merchandise came by steamboat to the landing there and was freighted by wagon Westward. The town at one time boasted a population of some thirty-five or forty thousand people. It was one of the first towns in the West to have an ice plant where manufactured ice was produced. The story is that for examination and trial on the charge of being a liar, a deacon from a small Baptist Church in the country went to Jefferson in July and saw a 300 pound block of manufactured ice. He returned to the country community where he lived and reported it. He was brought before the church He told his story to his brethren. Their decision was classic. He was found guilty of lying and excluded from their fellowship because, said they, "Anybody knows that only God can make ice, and he can't do it in the summertime."

This is to us ludicrous, yet it is typical of most of us in one respect or another. Tragic indeed is the situation when we manifest such an attitude in matters that affect the eternal security of the soul. (J.W.A.)

"Ye Call Me — — "

Ye call me Master, and obey me not;

Ye call me Light, and see me not;

Ye call me Way, and walk with me not;

Ye call me Wise, and follow me not;

Ye call me Fair, and love me not;

Ye call me Rich, and yet ask me not;

Ye call me Eternal, and seek me not;

Ye call me Gracious, and trust me not;

Ye call me Noble, and serve me not;

Ye call me Mighty, and honor me not;

Ye call me Just, and fear me not; , Ye call me Life, and desire me not;

If I CONDEMN you, BLAME Me not!

(Waukesha Workman, May 27, 1960, Waukesha, Wis.)

Arrowheads And Opportunities

Mr. Thoreau was once asked where he managed to find so many arrowheads. He answered by stooping down and picking one up. As a boy in camp I was associated with a counselor who made arrowheads collecting a hobby. He would find twenty-five to my one on the same ground. He had trained his eyes to see and recognize them.

A great many people in the church are constantly complaining about not having anything to do. They are unhappy because the elders have not given them anything to do- Opportunities to do God service are like arrowheads. One must train himself to see and recognize them. They are all about us in our neighborhoods, our places of business, places of amusement, etc. They are to be found in every human relationship of life. Christians need to keep their eyes open and their zeal warm. No servant of the Lord need ever be lacking in reference to "something to do." In this connection, we are reminded of a verse or two from "Drop Your Bucket Where You Are" by Sam Walter Floss:

"Oh, ship ahoy!" rang out the cry,

"Oh, give us water or we die!"

A voice came o'er the waters far, Just drop your bucket where you are."

And then they dipped and drank their fill Of water fresh from mead and hill;

And then they knew they sailed upon The broad mouth of the Amazon.

O'er tossing wastes we sail and cry

"Oh! give us water or we die!"

On high, relentless waves we roll Through and climates for the soul;

'Neath pitiless skies we pant for breath Smit with the thirst that drags to death,

And fail, while faint for fountains far, To drop our buckets where we are.

Then, there was the song I used to sing as a boy "Brighten the Corner Where You Are." Jesus said, "Let your light so shine. . . "Let it begin to shine where you are, Brother! (J.W.A.)

"The Immortality Of Goodness"

(The following excerpt is from a sermon entitled "Not Wasted" which appears in a book of sermons called "Old Sins In New Clothes" by George Clarke Peck. Mr. Peck is discussing the woman who anointed our Lord with precious ointment and the statement Jesus made concerning her, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." (Mk. 14:9.) J. W. A.)

"I affirm that what Jesus promised to this woman was not a bare immortality of remembrance. The key to His meaning is found in the preceding verses. There, as you will recall, the critics had condemned as waste her fragrant gift. They had figured up the loss in pennies. They were ready to reproach the Master for not staying the woman's lavish hand. They had no measurements for supreme values, no scales to weigh fine motives. And when Jesus assured them that 'wheresoever throughout the world' His gospel should be preached the woman's gift should be remembered. He was simply affirming the glory of that gift. According to His word, the three hundred pence were not wasted but were turned to divinest use! That all goodness and kindness are immortal in results, that every real sacrifice bears fruit through everlasting years, that no truthful history can ever be written without including the widow's mite and the cup of cold water, is the message of this old scripture to modern men."

"With such a truth only can we meet the widespread skepticism which phrases itself in Shakespeare's familiar lines,

"The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones.'

Such is the statement of a common creed. More widespread than the doubt of God is the doubt of the efficacy of goodness. 'Wherever a toiler goes reluctantly to his task, wherever a soul would rather be amused than grow, wherever a Sunday school teacher is skeptical regarding the value of his work, there is the spirit of infidelity — the doubt of goodness. One reason why it is so hard to convert the sensualist from the error of his way can be found in the fact of this infidelity. He thoroughly doubts the value of a self-renouncing life He knows the effect of a glass of Honor, he can feel its thrill in his nerves. He can appraise, definitely, the pleasure of his sensual hours. Even though he should happen to lose at the gambling table he comforts himself with the thought that he had at least a chance of winning. The fruit he lives for grows near the ground, within easy sight and reach. And before we can help him strain up toward the highest fruit of life we must convince him that the higher fruit is real"

"The immortality of goodness — it ought not to be so hard to believe."

In this connection, we think of the statement of Paul. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Gal. 6:9) and of Solomon, "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." (Ecc. 11:1.) We firmly believe with Mr. Peck in "the immortality of goodness." It is our conviction based upon such statements as those given above from the word of God that no effort consistent with the will of God which is performed in His service is ever wasted, but that in due time it will bear its legitimate fruit to God's glory. We too regard as a species of infidelity "the doubt of goodness" — that any faithful act of service to Christ is ever wasted. (J. W.A.)