Category Archives: Volume – 1

The Place Called Calvary

When Christ was born at Bethlehem, the night turned into day: but when he was crucified at Calvary, they day turned to darkest night. In the Old Testament days the sheep died for the shepherd: but in the New Testament days, the Good Shepherd died for the sheep. God loved Abraham so much that he spared Abraham’s son on Mount Moriah: But God loved the world so much that he could not spare his own Son at Calvary. When hanging on the cross Jesus cried, wary. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” One reason he was forsaken was that he might give us the wonderful Promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The first thing that Jesus did when he got to the cross was to ask forgiveness for those who nailed him there. The last thing he did was to commit himself to the Father. He prayed, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” The two thieves who died with him had sin in them; but Jesus had sin on him.

Three crosses were placed on Calvary. On each cross a man was dying. One was dying in sin; the other was dying to sin. The one on the middle cross was dying for sin. Someone has suggested that three trees were planted there, each tree bearing a different kind of fruit. One tree was bearing poisonous fruit; the other tree was bearing the fruit of repentance. The tree in the middle was bearing the fruit of love.

One thief on the cross rejected Christ. The thief on the other cross received Christ. On the middle cross Christ died to redeem the world. It has been suggested that in the three crosses we have (1st) the cross of rejection, (2nd) the cross of reception, and (3) the cross of Redemption.

John in his gospel said that he saw blood and water coming from the spear pierced side of Jesus. It is believed that the blood came from the heart and the water from the pericardium. The pericardium is a small sack or membrane surrounding, or encasing the heart. It contains a small amount of fluid or water to facilitate the motion of the heart. We are told that under normal circumstances there is about one teaspoon of water in the pericardium, but when a person suffers great anguish or pain this amount has been known to increase as much as twenty-four teaspoons full. There was so much water coming from the side of Jesus that John was able to see it with the blood as he stood on the ground below the cross.

It speaks to us of the great suffering and bitter anguish endured by Jesus, our blessed Lord. “He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”He died that we might live. He became poor that we might be rich. He was bound that we might be made free. He was bruised that we might be healed. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He wore a crown of thorns that we might wear crowns of glory. He endured the tortures of hell in order that we might enjoy the wonders of heaven. He who was the Son of God became the Son of man that we, the sons of men, might become the sons of God.

When Jesus died upon the cross, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Not from the bottom to the top, but from the top to the bottom signifying that God did it.

In the Old Testament days, no one but the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies; and he could enter only once a year with the blood which he offered for his own sins, and for the sins of the people. This had to be repeated year after year. No doubt each time the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies, and would see the blood stains of the previous years, he would realize that this was only a temporary arrangement. His work was never finished. Because of this, there was no place in the holy of Holies where he could sit down. How wonderful that when Jesus died, he was able to say “It is finished!” By one sacrifice he has forever provided redemption for all who will accept. His work was finished, so he has now sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. “But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God”—Hebrews 10:12. Let us praise him for his past sacrifice as our Redeemer, for his present ministry as our Advocate, and for the promise that he will come again and receive us unto himself, that where he is, there we may be also.
-Selected.

Goodbye, Death Valley

A wagon train reached the top of a mountain pass, and was prepared to descend into the valley below. One man of the party turned for one last look at the valley they had just left, and waving his hand with a gesture of great relief, cried, “Goodbye Death Valley.” This wagon train was composed of the now famed “49ers” who, with their families, had sought a short-cut to the alluring gold fields of California, and had wandered into the now famed Death Valley where they endured terrible hardships in that barren desert of unendurable heat. This was how Death Valley got its name. The group that was able to escape from that furnace of heat were much fewer in number than those who entered, for that valley was dotted with the graves of many who perished under the searing, merciless rays of the sun that sometimes raises the temperature to 134 degrees Fahrenheit, and no person can long remain in that heat without damage to his system. There is no available information as to how many persons have lost their lives in that area.

On a recent trip to California, circumstances permitted me to visit that valley. Of course I did not go during the summer months. It was early December, and the weather at that time of the year was reasonably comfortable, and a trip at that time of the year involved no risks. The scenery was amazing! It would be difficult to describe the grandeur of the varicolored hills and mountains, and the weird and fascinating views all but impoverish one’s vocabulary, if a description was attempted orally. Fortunately, my 35MM camera with a roll of colored film pictured it far better than speech could do.

At one point called Bad Water, we reached the lowest point on the North American continent, 274 feet below the sea level, and from that point on a clear day one can see towering, snow-capped Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States. My first view of the valley greatly deceived me, as the alkali flats presented the appearance of a shallow lake. This appearance rapidly dissipated as we descended lower into the valley. One ghost town, Rhyolite, presented a scene of utter desolation. Men consumed with a thirst for gold, braved the terrible heat of this desert, and recklessly built houses and even a railroad that, in a few years was abandoned to the mercy of the elements.

After a tasty and nourishing meal at Furnace Creek Ranch, we had a couple of hour’s leisure to examine the museum, and the immediately surrounding country. Of particular interest were the famed “Twenty Mule Team Borax” wagons that were used to haul borax to points where it could be shipped to factories.

While there I meditated much as to the application of the scenery to the facts of Life, Death and the Hereafter. Since Adam’s grievous sin in Eden all of his posterity have been faced with the grim reality of death. The stern sentence of an offended God was “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”—Genesis 3: 19. Four thousand years later, the apostle Paul stated the solemn, undeniable truth, “And as it is appointed unto man to die, but after this the judgment”—Hebrews 9:27. Today every son and daughter of Adam’s lost and fallen race faces the inevitable experience of death. “Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”—Romans 5:12. It has been estimated that at least 60 billion people have lived on earth up to the present. All of them physically sleep in the dust of the centuries that are forever past. How many unnumbered billions may yet enter the dark tombs of death we cannot know; but this old world which we call “the land of the living” is in reality, the land of death. Satan once stated “all that a man hath will he give for his life”—Job 2:4, and in so stating he expressed the common desire of every normal person to maintain life at any cost. Man’s tenacious hold on life, even amid the most unfavorable circumstances, has been the wonder of the ages. Old age with its cruel infirmities does not lessen man’s desire to remain in the land of the living. Few indeed are those who willingly and gladly relinquish their hold upon the cords of life, and yet all face the grim reality that “death is the lot of all.” No question ever penetrated the mind of man that held greater interest than the question as to what will death bring. Even though man knows that death is inevitable, yet instinctively he shudders at the thought of leaving this world to try the realities of that which is to come. The valley of death, for many centuries, had been shrouded with the dark curtain of uncertainty. To the untaught and unsaved, Death’s valley is filled with unnamed, inexpressible terrors. The agnostic tries to comfort himself that he faces only “the dreamless silence of the tongueless dust.” or that death is an eternal sleep. But even the prospect of what he believes to be “eternal oblivion” does not dim the fact that they would gladly avoid death’s dark shadows.

In the very center of California’s Death Valley the traveler finds accommodations either at Furnace Creek Ranch or Furnace Creek Inn. The latter place caters to the wishes of the wealthy. Every luxurious convenience and means of physical pleasure and comfort is found there.

At the Ranch any ordinary traveler or tourist can be refreshed, and sheltered with a maximum of comfort. Man has wrought wonders in making that arid, barren place habitable. The Valley has, in a large measure been robbed of its terrors: especially is this true in the late fall and winter seasons of the year. Instead of a valley of death, it has through man’s ingenuity become a place of pleasure and comfort.

Since Christ passed through the Valley of Death, it too has been robbed of its terrors. Jesus conquered death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Instead of the valley of death being a place of terror, it has now become a beautiful avenue that leads to endless light and eternal pleasures. Truly Jesus has “delivered them who through fear of death were all their life- time subject to bondage.” because he tasted death for every man”—Hebrews 2:14, 15. What a wonderful change!

The blanched cheek that once faced death with the fear of the unknown, is now rosy with a glorious hope of the future. The terrors of death have been turned into the hope of Tomorrow. Instead of shrinking from Death’s cold hand, we lovingly grasp it to walk through the temporary darkness into the eternal light of Heaven’s glory. This is the hope of the Christian. We may often be called upon to stand by an open grave, and watch with tear-dimmed eyes as the earthly form of a loved one is laid gently to rest in the bosom of Mother earth. We say not “Goodbye, forever,” but “Good- night ’till the Morning breaks, and the shadows flee away.” For we sorrow not as others which have no hope, but believing with positive assurance that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”—I Thessalonians 4:13,14.

Once I was in a vast crowd that filled to capacity a large church building. That crowd was hushed and tearful as before us was a flower covered casket containing the form of a lovely young woman. Most regretfully her life ended while yet it was noon, and her large family of heart- broken relatives wept unashamedly as the services opened. Sweet-voiced singers in muted tones gave utterance in song to those most beautiful words– There’s a land that is fairer than day; and by faith we may see it afar- for the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there.” This was a scene that in general has transpired so many times in every community; but this one was much different. As the singers began their song of spiritual comfort, the grey haired Mother of the deceased lifted up her voice, and in calm tones sang the song to its melodious end. That mother’s sorrow was as deep and poignant as any mother’s could be, yet the welling up in her heart of the glorious hope of the resurrection dried her tears and calmed her grief-stricken heart! What a wonderful hope! Listen! “Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also”—Jesus. With an unshakable faith in Christ, who for us walked gladly and willingly through Death’s dark valley, we can say with the Psalmist “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

We write these things to you because it would grieve us deeply if you should be required to go down to the grave “having no hope, and without God in the world.” In Christ Jesus, who is our hope, we can have the full assurance of faith as the evening shadows swiftly lengthen over the fields of life, and the chilling winds of death blow toward us from that cold shore of eternity. Be prepared for the certain call of death by surrendering your life in humble obedience to Christ. This is the desire, the hope and the prayer of one who cares for your soul. A soul that has entrusted it’s future into the hands of the sin-forgiving Christ, will find no fears on the brink of the grave, nor will there be any terrors in the valley.

Christ is reigning upon the throne in the highest heavens, and no power in earth or Hades can dethrone this all-conquering Prince of Peace. His reign shall continue till every foe is conquered, and “the last enemy to be destroyed is death”—I Corinthians 15:25. When death and hades have surrendered its very last victims, then the unnumbered redeemed of all ages of the past can sing in rapture, “Death is swallowed up in victory! O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”—I Corinthians 15:54-55.

The lost Eden will be more than restored, for that Old Serpent, the devil who was responsible for the entrance of death into the world, will be eternally removed from all contact with the creatures of God; and then forever, through the unending ages of eternal bliss, the ransomed of the Lord shall dwell in perfect peace and joy. “Goodbye, Death Valley!”

Roy Loney

Worship

There are two words in the book of Revelation that echo a solemn warning, give forth a plaintive plea, and point humanity in the right direction. Those words are, “Worship God”—Revelation 19:10. In the second chapter of Acts, the gospel invitation was given by Peter and the other apostles, and 3,000 souls obeyed the truth. This fact is very important because the word of God does not require things of us that are not necessary or vital. No one can over emphasize the importance of repenting and being baptized, but the divine instructions go much farther. Man must continue doing the will of the Creator or all else is in vain. The obligation of every Christian is to worship God. Worship is an act of adoration, and the outward act signifies what is in the heart. This does not give man the liberty to perform as he feels in his heart; because God requires us to “keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life”—Proverbs 4:23. We are responsible to God as to how our hearts perform.

We find the record stating what the 3,000 did after they obeyed the gospel and became the lord’s disciples. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”—Acts 2:42. This shows that the religion of Jesus is a revealing religion, not dependent on feeling; but upon whether the commands are kept. It is possible for us to have the right motive prompting worship, and yet we may not worship God in the right way. For example, let us consider the case of Lydia in the 16th chapter of Acts. She was a saleslady quite a distance from home, and had assembled with other women outside the city of Philippi. When Paul arrived in that city, he speaks to the women who had resorted by the riverbank. According to Acts 16:14 this woman worshipped God, but she was not worshipping according to the law of Christ. She was worshipping according to the law of Moses which had ceased to be effective. We learn in Romans 10:4 that “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness.” If Lydia’s worship was all right, why did Paul speak to her of the gospel and induce her to obey it?

Do you know there are four kinds of worship mentioned in the New Testament, and only one of the four is acceptable to God? Let us consider each one separately.

 

  • 1st: Vain Worship. In Matthew 15:9 Christ States, “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”Jesus says there is a vain worship, and if you say any worship is all right as long as a person is sincere, it is you and the Lord for it. The word vain means, “empty, devoid of any real value.” According to the Bible, this “vain worship” is brought about by using the doctrines and commandments of men instead of the law of Christ.

  • Next, we have 2nd Ignorant Worship. When the apostle Paul went to Athens, and saw it given wholly to idolatry, he informed the Athenians that the “Unknown God” whom they “ignorantly worshipped” was the God he preached unto them. Ignorance has always been a curse, and always will be. According to Isaiah 5:13 the Israelites went into captivity because they lacked knowledge of God and of God’s ways. An understanding of the Bible is still the world’s greatest need. No one can acceptably worship God unless they know what God desires. Timothy was instructed to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”—II Timothy 2:15. Is ignorance excusable? Absolutely Not! If I believed it was I would quit preaching at once, because if ignorance is going to save people eternally, the more ignorant the better. Such thinking is ridiculous! The apostle Paul was not commending Israel when he said they “had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge”—Romans 10:2. Next, we will consider any other type of worship:

  • 3rd. Will Worship. This kind of worship is also undesirable, as it is that which is self-willed, not God willed. There are some people in the world who cannot see the truth for the simple reason that they won’t. They are imbedded in the traditions of their religion to the extent that they won’t believe what the Bible teaches when it is shown to them in black and white. Jesus said he came “not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me”—John 6:38. Now let us consider the last and final form of worship.

  • 4th. True Worship. There were plenty of religions in the world when Jesus came, but he came to set up a different standard. A standard that would meet the needs of all the people under all circumstance! Jesus informs us that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth”—John 4:24. Here we have the ultimatum, and there is no alternative. We must worship in spirit and in truth. There is only one way by which you can know if your worship is acceptable to God. It must be measure by the word of the Lord.

 

Winford Lee

THE ENDLESS ACTIVITY

The holy Scriptures are brought to the reality of an endless activity which brought joy and spiritual well-being to the children of God in the early days of Christianity.

“The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God”—I Corinthians 1:18. The preaching of the gospel in word and life was a daily part of every Christian’s activity. This led the follower of the Lord Jesus to look upon his unsaved neighbor or relative as one to whom he owed a debt of love. In this, one away from Christ, he could see the greatest of all needs, the salvation of the soul from sin.

To those who read this writing: First, if you are in sin today, someone wants to see you saved. Secondly, if you are already a Christian in the Bible sense of the word, you are the one who should want to see the unsaved, saved from sin.

The ministry of making the gospel known to the world was paramount in the minds of the early Christians. Remember, even in the hour of great persecution, they went forth preaching the word—Acts 8:1-4. They were urged to live righteously as well—Philippians 1:27. If you are a Christian, you will always owe a debt of love to those about you. To your brethren in Christ, and to the sinner without the ark of safety your obligation to the latter is to live and speak in the way that will lead his soul to Christ.

Wm. J. Hensley

The Humanity of Christ

“And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth”—John 1:14.

Perhaps to many the incarnation of Christ, is the greatest mystery of the entire Bible, the one fact hardest to understand, and yet the one truth most essential to man’s salvation. Anyone who denies that Christ came in the flesh, is antichrist—II John 7. We ponder the great mystery as to how God could be made manifest in the flesh. The difficulty of believing this fact lies not in any unreasonableness of what is revealed, but in man’s incapacity of understanding the working of God’s infinite mind. If we believe in God, we must likewise believe that God’s power is unlimited. With the prophet we can say, “Ah Lord God, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee”—Jeremiah 32:17. We behold mysteries every day, yet give them little thought. What could be a seemingly greater mystery than when we eat a dish of vegetables, those vegetables are, in a matter of hours, turned into human flesh and blood. The same grass which a cow eats which is turned into milk for human consumption, also causes the bony structure to grow which we call horns. We should not reject a thing because our little minds may not comprehend it. Nothing can be harder to believe than that this great universe, of which we are a very small part, could exist without the creative power of God. If God could speak the great worlds into existence, it certainly would not be impossible for him to send his Son into the world clothed with the flesh of humanity. This is the great fundamental fact of the Bible. Believing this to be a fact, we may rightfully search for the purpose God had in sending his Son into the world in the form of the Babe of Bethlehem. Just what are the revealed purposes of God in this matter?

 

  • 1st. Christ became a man in order that he might reveal God to man. Moses once wanted to see the face of God, but the Lord said, “No man can see my face and live”—Exodus 33:18-20. If the light of the sun at noonday is too bright for the endurance of our eyes, how much more would be the brightness of God’s glory? Yet it is important that man should know God if man is to render homage and service to the Author of his being. One time Jesus was teaching his disciples about the Father. One of the disciples, Philip, spoke up saying, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” His desire to see God was reasonable and understandable; and it is perhaps the universal desire of the majority of mankind. Jesus said to Philip, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”—John 14:8, 9. The appearance of God as to form and shape matters little. But to know the attributes of God, his love, compassion and mercy, is to know the real God. That is what Jesus in the flesh revealed. The record of Jesus’ life as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is a revelation of God’s personality.The marvel of Jesus’ life and teaching has been the world’s greatest wonder. His high idealism and absolute purity is the marvel of the ages. If one would know what God thinks and plans, let that one read carefully the life of Jesus Christ, and he then will know God.

     

  • 2nd. Jesus was manifested in the flesh that he might be a perfect example for man. Man in sin has wandered far from God. And in order to get back to God, man must have a leader, one who can point the way by precept and example. The life which meets with God’s approval, was perfectly exemplified in the person of Christ. Pilate’s decision, “I find in him no fault at all” is the universal decision of all who have carefully studied the record of his life. Tempted in all points as we are, yet he resisted every effort of Satan, and lived a life of spotless, unblemished purity while on earth. That life lived amid manifold temptations and persecutions reveals to all mankind a science of right living. His deep interest in the welfare of all mankind, his evident sympathy for all in trouble, and his unselfishness in ministering to the needs of the hungry, the sick, and all in sorrow is a revelation of the character of an 0- loving, and merciful Father. Jesus never retraced a step nor retracted a word. He went through every experience that a man is subject to, without once stumbling into error. That life of his is our example to follow. “For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps”—I Peter 2:21. In a word- Jesus taught men how to live by the way he lived, and the noblest accomplishment of all time is to learn to live according to the high idealism of Jesus Christ. 
  • 3rd. Jesus became man that he might be a perfect High Priest. The work of a priest is to stand between sinful man and an offended God. He must mediate the difference between the two, because man in sin cannot approach God. Paul said, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels- But he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoove him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted”—Hebrews 2:17,18. Perfect God and Perfect Man! He who would atone for the sins of others must understand the frailties of man, as well as the stern justice of God. He who had no sin, took upon himself the sins of the whole world. “The wages of sin is death”—Romans 3:23 and because all had sinned, the world of mankind was doomed: but Christ, the Perfect One, paid our debt to God. God made him “to be sin for us, who knew no sins, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”—II Corinthians 5:21. Truly, we need no other priest but Christ. The God who became man, helps man to become like God.

 

~ Roy Loney

The Bible

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrine is holy, its precepts binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to sustain you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelers’ map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and carefully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in this life, will be opened at the judgment, and will be forever remembered. It involves the highest responsibility, gives the greatest reward to its laborers, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command thee, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you”—Deuteronomy 4:2. “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words lest he reprove thee and thou shalt be found a liar”—Proverbs 30:5, 6. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”—Revelation 22:18-19.

Compiled by A. W. Harvey

The Love of the Truth

The very first sin committed on earth was a result of believing the devil’s lie in preference to accepting God’s truth. God had told Adam and Eve that eating of the forbidden fruit would bring death, but the serpent contradicted God, and with his smooth, deceptive words beguiled the woman, and she fell into his snare. Soon Adam was also involved into Satan’s trap, and this brought death and all of its sorrows into the world. Genesis 3:17. No human tongue or pen could accurately portray the awful results of this foolish and senseless deed… “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men for all have sinned.”—Romans 5:12. Since that time the conflict between truth and error has never ceased.

Jesus taught that Satan was “the father of lies.” “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it”—John 8:44. Every untruth that has degraded a character and deceived a trusting heart has Satan back of it. He has only one purpose that actuates him; that is to humiliate God and destroy man. His deceptive and evil work never ends; but the saddest thing to consider in connection with the devil’s work is the fact that his lies are seldom coarse or crude. He is a polished liar! Paul said that Satan has the power to transform himself into an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed into ministers of righteousness—II Corinthians 11:14, 15. This is why Paul realized the wisdom of always being aware of Satan’s “devices”—II Corinthians 2:11. Only a knowledge of Satan’s devices can protect one against error. A mind that is held in the thralldom of deception can never know the wonderful joys of freedom, or have the full assurance of faith. Besides all this, we need to face the stern fact that no error can ever lead a soul into salvation. Jesus once declared. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”—John 8:32, and in so stating he revealed the only power that can free man from the bondage of sin and Satan. How important it is that all men should recognize and understand this truth. The way to freedom and salvation is the way of truth.

But just here we are confronted with another question. When Jesus stood before Pilate, he stated that he came into the world to bear witness unto the truth. Pilate rather contemptuously asked, “What is truth?” In John 17:17 Jesus gives us the clear answer. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” We have in the New Testament the revealed will of God, which “is able to make one wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”—II Timothy 3:15. Paul declares that “God cannot lie” (Titus 1:2) which being true, we must accept his word as absolute truth. Anything that is diverse from or contradicts God’s word, must be rejected as falsehood. Hence, it follows that if man would be saved, he is saved by acceptance of the truth of God’s word. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my word, hath one that judgeth him; and the word which I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”—John 12:48. This makes it imperative that man should diligently study the word of God to know what the Lord requires of him. He who truly values his immortal soul, will be satisfied with nothing less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Paul speaks of many who shall perish “because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.”—II Thessalonians 2:10. Love for the truth must exist in the heart, before the heart will search for truth. Therefore, if one is concerned as to his eternal future, nothing but the truth will satisfy him; and he will go to the sole source of religious truth to ascertain what the divine Father requires of him.

Life is short, and death is certain, heaven will be beautiful and hell terrible. God loves man while Satan hates and despises him, ever seeking his destruction. The above indisputable facts should provide the motive to arouse man to desire to know the truth. No one will arrive at heaven’s gate by accident or chance. Jesus said to the Jews, “ye shall die in your sins, and whither I go, ye cannot come”—John 8:21. The greatest quest a man can make is the quest for a knowledge of God’s purposes for him; and, therefore, there should not be the slightest hesitation in putting his belief to a test to learn if he is building on the rock or on the shifting, unstable sand. When the deeply religious, but greatly deceived Saul of Tarsus, met the Lord on the Damascus road, the earnest, passionate prayer that came from his humbled, penitent heart was, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do”—Acts 9:6, and that same prayer should arise from every sincere heart who truly wishes to serve God in humble reverence and godly fear. Saul followed his conscience and it led him to become “the chief of sinners”—I Timothy 1:15, others followed their conscience and it led them to become murderers of God’s servants—John 16:2. There is only one source of knowledge of the divine will—the word of God; and in it God speaks to every heart revealing the way to heaven. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”—Matthew 7:21. The eternal safety of every eternity bound soul depends on its humble, sincere effort to learn the truth and then to obey the truth in all of its divine requirement.

Christ predicted that false prophets and false Christ’s would arise whose power of deception would be so great that even the very elect would be in danger—Matthew 24:24. Peter said that as there had been false prophets among the people, even so there would be false teachers who would bring in damnable heresies—II Peter 2:1; and in view of these inspired declarations, how important it is that we all diligently study God’s word lest we be led away by our own destruction. We earnestly urge upon all of our readers the necessity of learning God’s revealed will that we might “be wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”—II Timothy 3:15.

~ Roy Loney

The Power of the Gospel

Without a doubt, those who read this article will acknowledge that the Gospel of Christ has great power–power to bring salvation. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation”—Romans 1:16.

However, of the many who realize that power to save, but few will think of the power of unity as a part of man’s salvation. It is this look at the gospel power that is found to be of great interest. Before Jesus died outside of Jerusalem those who believed in God were divided not alone among the sects of the Jews but even among the Gentiles who were (not in agreement with the Jews,) there were those who acknowledged God. In the prayer of Jesus in John 17th chapter, we see the theme of unity. Certainly, Christ prayed for the unity of both Jew and Gentile, as well as for the oneness: that comes in the life that turns from sin. Of course, all of this unity is found in Christ. See Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Not alone were men actually made free from sin by obedience to the gospel teaching, but they were brought into a state of unity with one another. This is clearly understood when we see the unity first at Jerusalem at Pentecost, and; also as the city was filled with the doctrine of Christ. In Acts 2:42 it is stated that there was unity of action among the baptized believers: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and in fellowship, and breaking of bread and in prayers.” Then in Acts 4:32 it is revealed that “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” This same teaching brought men and women, Jew and Greek, bond and free into Christ and thus into one body. The power of the gospel made this unity possible. No other power could do this.

The interesting factor in this consideration is to be found in the very simplistic teaching used to bring this about. All human complex endeavors would have failed to save man from sin, and from disunion as well. In our present age, we need more emphasis placed upon this simple proclamation of the inspired word of God. By preaching this gospel, we will lead many to Christ. By a constant announcing of the gospel, unity of believers can also be realized. We do not omit the Christian life as an example of the applied gospel, but we add this to the words to be spoken publicly and privately. Upon this basis alone can true salvation be realized as well as the unity of all believers.

~ Wm. J. Hensley

Why Do We Believe?

The vast majority of the readers of this article are believers in both God and Jesus as His son, the Christ. But do you know why you believe? We can believe in God through the evidences of the world about us. David, the king of ancient Israel, phrased it this way: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.” (Psalms 19: 1). We only need to quietly and seriously examine the works of “nature” about us, to be made to realize that there must be a master craftsman, to fit and establish the natural works of the universe.

Why do you believe in Jesus as the Christ? Not by the works of nature, nor by the records of secular historians. History may strengthen our faith, but will not produce faith in Jesus as the son of God. Where must we go for such faith? The apostle John is of help to us, listen to him: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written. that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) The signs and evidences recorded in the gospel of John, in addition to the testimony of the three other gospel records, is the foundation of belief.

What signs do we have recorded? Luke 8:40-55, recounts to us of the healing of a woman badly afflicted with a hemorrhage, and the raising from the dead of Jairus daughter. Each of the gospel writers tell of the feeding of a great multitude with only a “handful” of fishes and bread. (John 6:1-14; Matthew 14:13-21 etc) These miracles were for the purpose of establishing the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. That he showed compassion is readily granted, but that was not the primary purpose. (How different from “faith-healers” of today.)

Not the least of the signs of Jesus is the raising from the dead of Lazarus, who had been dead four days. (John 11) Who, but the most warped of individuals, could have failed to acknowledge that God truly had in Jesus a man of great power, and accept the word of that man, that he was the son of God.

As we read the sermon on the mount. – (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) we are made to realize that here is the essence of peace, harmony and tranquility in this world. If only men would sincerely accept the truths and wisdom of this record, we could dwell peacefully in this world. The teachings of Jesus are “signs” unto us that he is the son of God.

As concluding evidence the biographers of Jesus, tell of his resurrection. Let me ask you to read again the writings of John, chapters 20 and 21. Note the discovery of the resurrection by Mary Magdalene (20: 1). The thorough examination of the tomb by Peter and “the other disciple” (John). (20:3-10) Consider carefully the appearance of Jesus to the Apostle Thomas, his doubt and acceptance. Note the promise of Jesus as he speaks to Thomas (v. 29), “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen. and yet believed.”

“These are written that ye might believe.” This is our source of faith in Christ as our Saviour. Do you lack faith in Him? Read the gospel accounts. Are you weak in your service to Him? Read these writings. Are your doubtings hindering your acceptance of his terms of obedience? Read the biographies of Jesus. Listen to Marks’ record of the final commission of Jesus to his apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) The gospel is the story of Jesus, and to believe is to accept Him as God’s son.

~ Wilford Landes

What Shall It Profit You?

Jesus warned against choosing the wrong goal in life. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”—Mark 8:38. No matter how great our material success in life might be in achieving possessions, power, honor, and prestige; it will be of no benefit to us if our life is not pleasing to God. God is pleased when we are obedient in all things, not when we disobey and disregard him—Matthew 7:21-23. Even as a good income does not create love and a beautiful home does not make a beautiful character, even so true riches are not found in material possessions but are instead the fruits of a Christian life. Jesus said. . . “Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”— Luke 12:15.

God created all things through Christ Jesus (John 1:1-3) and by his power that creation continues to, exist. All things belong to God. If we spend our lives trying to grab all we can in material things, we try to accumulate that which in the true sense can never be ours and which we must leave behind at the grave. We cannot take it with us; it is left to others.

In seeking God’s physical blessings, man forgets the one from whom they derive. Men are like selfish children who argue and fight over their parents’ gifts but have not the slightest feeling of gratitude to the parents for them. Often we are so busy in our own planning that we have no time to spare for the God who has given us everything. Our gratitude for his goodness should cause us to turn to God and honor him; but to the shame of mankind the heart of man holds little appreciation for God. As it is written: ” . . . not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”—Romans 2:4. When we use all of God’s blessings but are not even grateful, when these blessings do not move us to love and obey God; then we have truly failed in life. Possessions in themselves are not wrong but they should never be our goal in life. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”—Matthew 6:33.

Man was not created to remain on earth but God created man that he might inherit eternal life—Titus 1:2; Matthew 25:34. Our life here is a time in which we are to prepare to meet our God. Since the only purpose in life is to so live that we please God, we can understand how useless and senseless a life will be if that life is not lived in Christ Jesus. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life—John 5:11-12. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”—John 14:6.

Parents who make every effort to provide their children with adequate food, clothing, and educational opportunities, lavishing love and affection on them, still fail their children completely if they do not provide them with a Christian example. They fail in that area of child training which is of supreme importance, the care of the soul for which our Lord died. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:4. Many children grow up with little or no knowledge of Christ and God because their parents were too busy to bother about the one who gives them life and breath, and who holds out to them the hope of life everlasting. Strangely enough, many parents spend all of their care on the child’s body which must die and none on his spirit which must live in eternity.

Young people in planning their life must remember that if their life is not consecrated to God, they will fail in life’s only purpose. Man is created for God and for God only. We must not live unto ourselves but “to the one who died for us and rose again that we might live in him.”—II Corinthians 5:15. Christ died to save our souls from everlasting condemnation: He did not die to help us to live the good life here. We must make preparation for the Day of Judgment for no shall escape it. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”—II Corinthians 5:10. We could miss many of the conveniences in this life and still have everything if we have so lived that we please God; but though the whole world should ring with our praises and all of life’s pleasures be ours, we shall have gained nothing if we lose our own soul.