1) “If You Show Partiality, You Commit Sin” (R.J. Evans)
2) Some Things That May Surprise You About the church of Christ (Ernest Finley)
“If You Show Partiality, You Commit Sin”
We should ever be thankful that we serve an impartial God. If that were not so, we would be in a hopeless condition. But we are reminded a number of times throughout the scriptures that “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:25). To show partiality involves being prejudiced or biased in favor of one person compared with another. Thus, it involves showing unfair favoritism. The fact that God does not show respect of persons is expressed so well by the Apostle Peter when he preached the gospel to Cornelius, his relatives and friends — the first Gentiles (Acts 10:24). After his arrival we are told — “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him'” (Acts 10:34-35).
In the days of Moses, when the heads of the tribes were chosen, they were instructed to “Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment” (Deut. 1:16-17).
Well, just as God shows no partiality, we are commanded to do the same. But often we have difficulty with this. After giving Timothy instructions on how to deal with an elder who had sinned, the Apostle Paul plainly told him: “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim. 5:21).
Often we are tempted to think we are above certain people, and we treat them accordingly. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that we are superior to others, or that certain people we know are more important than others. The following is humorous, but it touches on what we are discussing. Throughout my years of preaching, I have heard many members of the church say something like this about their local preacher: “We have the best ‘little’ preacher.” Why is the word “little” in that sentence? Does it mean they are bigger, older, superior, or more important than the preacher? Some of those “little” preachers I have known are pretty “big” in size. I’m still my aunt’s “little” nephew — she is nine years my senior. I feel certain that is the reason why she refers to me in that manner. The above has always been somewhat amusing to me, but there can also be a serious side to this way of thinking.
The scripture specifically warns against holding “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with partiality” in our assemblies (Jas. 2:1-9). If we rush to show friendliness, kindness, attention and interest in someone who is well-dressed and appears to be “important” — while at the same time ignoring a person who appears to be poor in our own estimation — notice carefully what James tells us. He says, “You have dishonored the poor man” (v. 6), and most important of all, “if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (v. 9). That’s how serious this matter is!
In the local church we must be so careful to not show partiality by purposefully ignoring or leaving someone out of certain activities. When good deeds and good works are mutually shared, we need to do our best to make sure that everyone is included. We have observed over the years that some will speak and be friendly to most of their brethren, but at the same time, make it a point to avoid other Christians. The person being avoided begins to think: Am I invisible? Am I not worthy of being greeted or acknowledged? Would not these kind of actions be showing partiality toward one, while discriminating against another? Is this not being partial, and in practice, guilty of what James warns against?
When we show partiality among ourselves, it reveals itself in various other ways, none of which are good. It fosters a heart filled with pride and superiority, we become rude, impolite, unfriendly, lacking good manners, untrustworthy, and not having a genuine love for our fellowman. Perhaps there are other bad traits that accompany being partial; but again, the most important fact to remember is: “IF YOU SHOW PARTIALITY, YOU COMMIT SIN.”
— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, May 15, 2016
Some Things That May Surprise You About The church of Christ!
1. You may be surprised that everyone in the assembly is invited to participate in the singing portion of the worship services. We have no choirs, special groups or solos. We use no pianos, drums, organs or guitars, etc. All music is a cappella (vocal) as the New Testament indicates it was in the apostolic days (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Contrary to what you may have heard, the singing is good singing, soul stirring and encouraging!
2. You may be surprised that visitors are NOT requested to make a contribution. Local members contribute on the first day of the week, each and every week. This is done without demand in the form of “dues” or “assessments.” Free-will giving on the basis of other New Testament principles is impressed as the plan of scriptural giving. No pie-suppers, crab feeds, raffles, or money-raising schemes are used! We do not bum or beg from those outside the Lord’s own family. All contributions, if the Lord’s Will is respected, are freely given.
3. If you visit with us on any Lord’s Day (the “first day of the week”), you may be surprised to find that we commemorate the death of Christ by partaking of the Lord’s supper, which was instituted by Christ and commanded and taught by Paul, the Apostle (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). In the first century, “upon the first day of the week the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). Therefore, since every week has a first day, it follows that the Lord’s death must be commemorated every week! Not once every six months, or only on “Easter Sunday”!
4. You may be surprised that no hyper-emotional appeals are made. You will not be urged to act or move in response to the invitation of the Lord until you have sufficient knowledge of the Truth, to serve as a basis for your faith (Jn. 20:30-31; Acts 16:32).
5. It may surprise you that most Christians attend every assembly of the church because they want to, enjoy it, know it is commanded and because they realize that assembling to worship is vital to their spiritual growth and service to God (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25).
6. You may be surprised to know that we have no man-made prayer book, no church-authorized discipline, manual or creed and no ritualistic worship (2 Tim. 3:16-17 & 4:1-4).
7. You may be surprised at the manner of our services. You will not hear shouting, screaming or any other manifestation of unbridled emotions. No one will fall out in a faint, roll around on the floor or speak in “unknown” tongues. You will see that the admonition of the apostle Paul that all things “be done decently and in order,” is sincerely observed (1 Cor. 14:40).
8. You may be surprised that the service is NOT conducted by a man claiming to be a part of a special priesthood. Since the Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest and all Christians now make up a general priesthood and can themselves approach God and offer their prayers and sacrifices, it should be evident that no special earthly priesthood is necessary today (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Heb. 4:14-16).
9. With virtually all denominations having earthly headquarters, it may surprise you that the church of Christ has neither earthly headquarters nor an earthly head. Christ alone is head of His body and the church’s headquarters is in heaven, where Christ now sits and rules with ALL authority (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Phil. 3:20-21).
10. Contrary to what you may have heard, you may be surprised to know that the church of Christ is not intent on condemning everyone to Hell, but invites all to come to our Lord in obedient faith, in faithful service and worship and in Godly living, that one may enjoy the benefits of His grace and strive for the hope of eternal life (Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Jn. 2:25).
11. Finally, you may be surprised to learn that the Lord’s church is neither Catholic, Protestant, sectarian nor denominational. The Lord’s church in the first century was obviously none of these. If we are correct in our claim that we follow His Word alone (admitting that not all “churches of Christ” can honestly make this claim) and in every way seek to be simply New Testament Christians, then we are the same as it was in the first century. Being of the same head, doctrine and practice results in being the same body the Lord purchased or built and therefore antedates both Catholicism and all Protestant denominations (Acts 20:28; Matt. 16:18).
We greatly desire the unity for which Jesus prayed; but, we believe that scriptural unity is found only in Christ (Jn. 17:20-21). Both Catholicism and denominational sectarianism stand opposed to this unity. We stand upon the Word of our Lord alone, respecting His authority in everything and speaking only as He directs us if we “all be one” in Christ as He so fervently prayed (Matt. 28:18; 1 Pet. 4:11). PLEASE ATTEND OUR SERVICES AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!
— Via the website for the Railroad Avenue church of Christ at the following address: (www.railroadavenuechurchofchrist.org/ index.htm)
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following in prayer:
Penny Medlock had all her wisdom teeth extracted last Thursday, which can take about 2 weeks to heal.
Carole Drain will be having her second-to-the-last chemo treatment this Friday.
Let us also be keeping the following in prayer: James and Bennie Medlock (who have been having some health tests), Easton Cox (chemo patient), Mary Vandevander (housebound), and Sue Wooten (in a nursing home).
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)