From A Preacher's Note-Book
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth....giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." (Acts 17:24, 25) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." (1 Tim 6:17) "And this is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his son." (1 John 5:11) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)
"I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom." (Lk. 6:38) "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase." (Prov. 3:9) "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Mt. 19:21) "Distributing to the necessity of the saints." (Rom. 12:13) "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God bath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." (1 Cor. 16:1, 2) "That they do good, that they may be rich' in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." (1 Tim. 6:18) "He that giveth, let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7) "Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth to warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses. Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." (1 Cor. 9:6-14)
"And all that believeth were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." (Acts 2:44-45) "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.... Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostle's feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." (Acts 4:32, 34, 35) "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul." (Acts 11:29, 30) "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints....For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." (Rom. 15:25, 26) "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we should receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." (2 Cor. 8:1-5) "I ... send to you Epaphroditus your messenger, and he That ministered to my wants" "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again to my necessity." (Phil. 2:25; 4:15, 16) "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service." (2 Cor. 11:8) (These are only some of the scriptures teaching on the grace, the duty, and the manner of giving. The black face words are for emphasis, and the emphasis is ours.
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1)
When we observe another who has fallen into some gross act of sin, let us not, as so often we do, say, "I would never do that." Rather, let us say, "But for the grace of God, there am I." No individual really knows the quality of his own sincerity or the degree of his own fidelity to Christ until he is confronted with the opportunity and temptation to do that which is contrary to his will when there is no possibility of being caught 'by his fellows in the act. With the same motivation and opportunity as that which led our fellowman into sin, we might conceivably do as did he, or worse! This is certainly the thought of the inspired apostle when he says, "Consider thyself lest thou also be tempted."
Alexander Pope in his classic "Essay on Man" said, "Know then thyself; presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is man." We do not agree with Mr. Pope that man may not "presume to scan God." It is our conviction that man must "scan God" to know God or to "know himself," for that matter since God "made him in his own likeness and image." But we do agree that man should seek to "know himself." One of the first admonitions Paul gave in his marvelous address to the Ephesian elders was, "Take heed unto thyself ...." (Acts 20:28) In instructing Timothy "how he ought to behave himself in the house of God," Paul urged that he "take heed unto himself" as well as "unto the doctrine" which he taught. "Self" is man's worst enemy, and is often the last to be recognized.
Let us look into our hearts to know truly that which motivates us in that which we do. Let us look into our own lives for the sins we so easily and readily recognize in the lives of others. Let us look into our own strength and resources for the means with which to accomplish the work of God in the world. Let us not forever be taking the outward view, but rather, let us look inward. Introspection is a grace often neglected, hence its dividends frequently are lost. It is our earnest expectation that the members of the congregation at 10th and Francis will consider themselves with reference to the outlined program of work for 1961. Let us not depend upon someone else for its accomplishment. Let us rather ask ourselves, each of us, "What can I do toward its accomplishment?"
Attitude Toward Others
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged . ..." (Jesus, Matthew 7:1-2)
Too many of us are characterized by attitudes toward persons that are based upon hearsay and rumor rather than upon personal knowledge of the individual, his attitudes, his standards, his words, and his deeds. This is the "judgment" our Lord condemns. We need to face the fact that few men are as bad as their enemies portray them or as good as their friends consider them. Many years ago we read somewhere the following sage observation. "Do not speak too harshly of your enemies; someday they may be your friends. Do not confide too completely in your friends; someday they may be your enemies." Temperance in human relationships is a rule rarely regarded but sorely needed.
The Wise Man said, "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." (Prov. 18:13) To judge a person and form a definite attitude toward him before he is known to you is to be guilty of the same folly and shame. Much of the misery of this old world and much of the unhappiness among the churches of Christ could be avoided if people were more temperate and deliberate in their judgments of and attitudes toward others. It is often true that the man who talks the most actually knows the least. Let each man, as the Savior indicates, be known "by his fruits" and not by the anathemas of his enemies or the encomiums of his friends.
Our frontier parents used to have a saying, "Let every tub stand on its own bottom." Inherent in this homely observation is the truth we are trying to present in this article. Let each person be judged on the basis of what he is, not what his enemies or friends may think him to be.
In the present controversies among the churches, there are many who are violating the Savior's injunction to "judge not." Many speak with great authority concerning the views, teaching, and practice of this congregation or that, of this person or that, who know nothing whatsoever about the views, teaching, or practice of the congregations or individuals in question. This is "folly and shame." Why not know for yourself before making a judgment? Why not indeed!