July 1, 1997 Issue

by Don McCord

Objectionable Sermon Language — Preachers must preach on modest apparel (I Timothy 2:9), modesty both in dress and demeanor for women as well as men. We must remember there is a way to do it without being offensive, our choice of words objectionable. To preach with objectionable language is inexcusable, whether from the pulpit or in private. We cannot preach on illustrations and expressions. This is sinful. Paul preached on modesty and was in no way objectionable in the way he expressed himself. We dare not preach otherwise.

We can preach boldly against "fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lasciviousness" (Gal. 5:19) and not give a lecture on the so-called "sex education." Paul preached against such practices and did not so lecture. We should emulate him. Preaching otherwise is uncalled for. It does matter what is preached; it does matter how it is preached. We can preach sound doctrine without being so embarrassingly explicit that we defeat a noble purpose. We thusly sin ourselves and cast a pall of humiliation over our captive audience, and this is the Lord’s House. We can preach the truth, the gospel about any issue pertaining to sound doctrine and not offend, I am thoroughly convinced. I find that brethren and sisters appreciate what is called "hard" preaching when it is in love; preach to me, preacher, but don’t embarrass me, offend me, whip me, beat me; you please get the truth, in all of its boldness and plainness over to me, in all of its doctrinal soundness; to do otherwise, you defeat your purpose, and turn me off. You might be surprised how many in your audience feel likewise.

Preachers and Meetings
- I read and hear such as this too often these days — the reasons some of us preachers do not have many meetings, and are not known far and wide, is because when a preacher is known for being hard on sin, immorality, ungodly living, he becomes "unpopular," and brethren won’t call him for meetings. This has unfair implications to say the least. One implication is that the preachers who hold lots of meetings are lax on sound doctrine, and in preaching truths that are needed. I do not believe this. Another implication is that many brethren just call preachers who are lax on sound doctrine to preach for their respective congregations. I do not believe this either. My experience is that the sounder in doctrine you are, the harder you are on sin as a preacher of the gospel, the better brethren like it. Good for them!!

"Big Meeting" Time - Again, summer is here with gospel meetings in many places a highlight of the year in the Kingdom; this is the way it ought to be. Some of the meetings will be "big meetings" - 4th of July, Labor Day. I for one believe in them, promote them, and wish I could attend all of them. When we speak of them, where is our emphasis? This is my point here. Almost without exception, when we speak of "big meetings," our emphasis is on numbers. How many were there; how big was the crowd? We are too concerned about numbers. They impress us, sometimes depress us. When the crowds are big, we are up; when they are small we are down. This ought not to be. How often is it that we hear such as this, not very often! How about the preaching, singing, praying, but I hear how big or how small the crowds are, the numbers. I contend this is the wrong emphasis. Let us put the emphasis where it belongs whether the meeting is what we may call a "big meeting", or a "little meeting" in some little out-of-the-way place where dear brethren struggle constantly to keep the faith, keep the meeting house doors open, and save the lost. Let us place the emphasis where it belongs for spiritual betterment.

Division - divorce, remarriage
- In the 1960s, remember that decade of decadence? — A division occurred that should have never happened, as is true of all divisions. Having lived through this, and as I look back, I conclude there was fault on all sides; I am willing to accept any blame due me in this matter. We are now and will likely to the end of the age reap the whirlwind. Apparently, some thought a division on divorce and remarriage would take care of an admitted problem. We have seen with our own eyes that such was not and is not the case. On all sides, yes, on all sides, there is more divorce and remarriage, broken homes, than before. So, those who do not believe Matt 19:9 applies, and those who do, are divided yet, and for no scriptural, logical reason. Even the scourge of AIDS has invaded both sides; isolated, but nonetheless invaded. There is nothing right about all this; the division has resoundingly backfired; no justifiable excuse or reason can be cited. Those responsible must stand guilty before God and man!

AIDS and the communion cup
- For years some have been afraid to use one cup in the communion as the Scriptures teach, using a sanitation argument supposed. It was tuberculosis, the common cold, flu and now AIDS. Let it be remembered, no one gets AIDS at the Lord’s Table; no one need fear the cup in this respect. As part of my classroom curriculum in the public schools, it is my responsibility to teach young people about AIDS and the HIV virus responsible. "The Great Body Shop," approved and adopted, is our study guide; I conclude this brief, pointed, revealing quote: "saliva kills HIV." The reader can draw your own conclusion. I for one am tired of the flimsy, baseless, worn-out supposed argument that diseases are spread by the use of one cup on the Lord’s Table. Sheer nonsense!! The Lord would not set us an example, and punish us for following it. God knows what He is doing! When will men ever learn that?

Division to solve our congregational problems
- We seem to have the mistaken idea that when problems arise in the congregation the thing to do is divide and start somewhere else. This was never recommended, suggested, commanded in the Book. When Paul was advising, rebuking, admonishing about all the troubles at Corinth, he never mentioned dividing to those people as a way to solve their problems. When Christ wrote the letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2, 3), where there were problems, he never recommended dividing; He did tell them consistently to repent; He did threaten to remove the candlestick (lamp stand); that is, cease recognizing them as one of His. Could the lamp stand be removed, and we do not know it? Serious thought, indeed!!!

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