Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1960
NUMBER 37, PAGE 9a-10

From A Preacher's Note-Book

James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

(Editor's note: A few weeks ago we printed a few excerpts from the "Gospel Visitor", weekly publication of the Tenth and Francis Streets Church in Oklahoma City. The response was so very favorable, and the desire for more such writings so evident that we have decided to make these brief articles by Brother Adams a more or less regular feature. A wide variety of subjects will be discussed; and there will be little connection usually between the articles. Because of the nature of the writings, we will run this feature under the general heading used above. All articles appearing in this department will have first been published in the "Gospel Visitor".)


All of us to one extent or another are creatures of prejudice, or "predisposition." While imagining that we are independent thinkers, studiously logical, and quite objective in our appraisals, we have strong dispositions toward certain views, procedures, and organizations. These dispositions result from many things: rearing, custom or tradition, popularity of the thing in question, innate personality traits etc. The cause may differ with different individuals, and whatever the cause the practical result in the same, but we all have predispositions. This fact should cause every man who desires to spend eternity with God to reexamine the spiritual ground on which he stands. Am I what I am and do I believe and practice that which I believe and practice because they are right and true, or because they are what I want to be right and true?

One of the universal tendencies of mankind has been to worship a God of his own creation. This can and is done without constructing a graven image of wood, stone, or precious metal. Many individuals professing to be New Testament Christians who would consider it quite heathen to bow down to a graven image (to) worship a God of their own creation. The Psalmist warned against this tendency when he quoted God as saying to the wicked: "These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself . ." (Ps. 50:21.) Do we worship and serve God as He is revealed to us in His word? Or, do we worship and serve Him is we desire Him to be?

Frances Bacon wrote: "What a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should seem to be occupied with things mean and transitory: things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the wars, and sometimes imperceptible, in which affections color and infect the understanding." (Novum Organum via Logic and Language.)

Jesus impressively taught in the "Parable of the Sower" that the "good seed" — "the word of God" — takes root and grows to fruition only in the "good and honest heart." (Lk. 8:11-15.) The more strongly therefore we desire to believe a thing, the more carefully we should guard against being deceived by our own predisposition!

(J.W.A.) Pleasure And Happiness

Some months ago in the Gospel Visitor we offered some thought on the difference between pleasure and happiness. In the December isue of Nuggets we ran across the following distinction between the two copied by the editors from The Optimist.:

"Pleasure is bred of worldliness. She is the mother of self-indulgence, wastefulness, vanity, dissipation, dishonesty, failure, and ill health.

Happiness is born of high ideals, kindness, consideration, unselfishness, thrift, honor, and of each day's work well done. Her children are con-tentment, success, bright days and long years.

"Pleasure is hectic and lives on excitement, but happiness thrives in the home and in the daily task. "Pleasure has a vampish beauty which cannot be denied, but is of the rouged and penciled type.

Happiness has a calmer but more satisfying beauty.

"Pleasure wakes with eventide and stalks the night.

Happiness rises with the sun and walks all day at the side of him who is worthy of her companionship.

"Pleasure rides with prosperity and converts it into need.

Happiness walks hand-in-hand with poverty — and, endowing it with the gifts of aspiration and thrift, turns it into affluence.

"Pleasure may be bought.

Happiness can only he earned."

Jesus says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Lk. 12:15.) The Wise man said: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Eccl. 12:13.) This statement was made after a lengthy treatise dealing with Solomon's search for happiness. The word, duty, in the text is italicized indicating that it was supplied by the translators and was no part of the original. A better rendering would have been: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole happiness of man."

Fortunate indeed is the individual who recognizes the difference in mere sensual pleasure and the real happiness that life can offer. Such a person will have discovered that real happiness cannot be found apart from the spiritual verities of life. Man bears the image of his immortal Maker. He cannot neglect his noblest nature and find true happiness.

Wings Like a Dove David in despair over the oppression and hate of his enemies once prayed to God: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." (Ps. 55:6.) Elijah made the same mistake when he fled from the wrath of Jezebel. Supposing that he and he alone stood against the evils of his day, he prayed: "0 Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (1 Kings 19:4).

It is not too difficult to serve God when conditions about us are favorable to such service. The real test of our faith, loyalty and devotion comes when circumstances are inimical to such service. Too many of us in the day of trouble like David and Elijah desire to have "wings like a dove that we might fly away and be at rest." There has never been a day among churches of the Lord in the memories of those now living when the cause of Christ more desperately needed true soldiers of the cross of Christ than now! Our problems, many though they may be, cannot be solved if we pine for "wings like the dove that we might fly away and be at rest." So long as the cause of Truth has an enemy, the true soldier of the cross of Christ cannot rest. Taking refuge in discouragement, defeatism and isolationism will give no man of conscience rest. The Lord provided no piece of armor for the back of the Christian soldier (See: Eph. 6:13-20.) He contemplated no situation in which it would be proper or in harmony with his will for his soldiers to turn their backs and run. Our only hope for "rest" is to rise in the strength of Israel's God and "fight the good fight of faith."

(J.W.A.) The Way

Jesus said: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Mt. 7:13,14.)

There is an inordinate dread in our day on the part of many of being regarded narrow or intolerant in religion. It is thought to be a mark of intellectual culture to be "broad" and tolerant in our views. Such emphasis has been given to the idea of tolerance that one is regarded as a grossly ignorant bigot if he dares to have a positive faith. There are even those, some in the church of the Lord, who regard contending for the truth and opposition to error un-Christ like. In opposition to such contention for truth and opposition to error, many suggest that we ought to have the spirit of Christ!

We have often wondered how these good brethren arrive at their knowledge of that which constitutes the "Spirit of Christ!" Is it possible to separate the "spirit of Christ" from the things that he said and did? We think not. It is our conviction that the "spirit of Christ" is determined by what he said and did. Our text indicates it was the Lord's attitude that there is one way to heaven and it a restricted way, a "narrow" way. He characterizes it as "the way." Furthermore, he suggests that all who are not in this way are in the "broad" way which ends in destruction. Our Lord, while cognizant of and even tolerant of the weaknesses of frail humanity, tolerated no perversions of the Divine will and way. He condemned with great severity the spirit of "innovation" in things spiritual. In righteous indignation, he drove the sellers of sheep and oxen and the changers of money from the temple of God. (John 2:13-17.) In holy wrath, he styled the scribes and Pharisees "hypocrites, blind guides, fools, full of extortion and excess, whited sepulchres, serpents, generation of vipers." (Mt. 23.)

A man can be no broader and no narrower than the Christ and have at the same time "the spirit of Christ." The many ways of man cannot be tolerated without opposition by the servant of the Lord. It is not true that one church is as good as another if one of them is the Lord's church. Let us "walk in the way turning neither to the right nor the left."