|Vol 5 No 19||June 18, 2000|
PAUL INSTRUCTED Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 to: "Take heed unto yourself and to the doctrine . . ." Over the years, I have observed that sound churches do an excellent job of taking heed to doctrinal matters. We have all heard numerous sermons regarding Biblical authority and what a local congregation can or cannot do as a consequence of Biblical authority. We have all had the privilege of attending Bible classes where teachers have stood for the truth on matters such as marriage, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, and the roles of men and women in the church and home. I applaud these efforts to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). However, we must be careful not to become the sort of people who study the Bible primarily to prove others wrong. Let us also remember that the bible must be used to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. Second Corinthians 13:5 says: "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified."
With this thought in mind. I will be delivering sermons throughout this Gospel meeting about our hearts. Jesus explained that all sin originates in the heart or mind of man. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:19-20).
Solomon stated with reference to man "as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). How do we think in our minds? Do we have the mind of Christ, as commanded in Philippians 2:5? What kind of attitudes should we harbor in our hearts? Although the following list is not exhaustive, they are attitudes that we need to adopt in our hearts.
Paul cautioned the Corinthian brethren, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think." Humility is understanding one's proper station in relation to God and that understanding, in turn, will lead to a proper relationship with our fellow man.
God has told us "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay" (Romans 12:19). This short statement means that a Christian must allow God to exact the price for a personal wrong suffered. There is no place for vengeance in the life of a Christian.
Ephesians 4:26 instructs the Christian to "be angry and sin not." Christians must learn when to become angry, what is worth becoming angry over, and how to express that anger in a way that is consistent with all of God's teachings.
Throughout the Old Testament, God condemned the Israelites for how they treated the poor and the weak among them. Jesus demonstrated tremendous compassion for those who were hurting spiritually and physically. To be the children of God, we must recognize that we truly are our brother's keeper, irrespective of our brother's station in life.
Let us all renew our commitment to adopt the character and attitudes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.