Good News For Youth (GNFY) published under the oversight of the Alkire Rd Church of Christ elders and posted by permission of the editor.
Godís word is clear in regard to His expectation of Christians
Often, however, we are quick to adopt the excuse making attitude exhibited by Moses when he was confronted by the angel of Jehovah at the burning bush (Exodus 3). We say, "I canít do that because..." God, however, has given to each of us something which is a constant reminder of His expectations of us, that being a physical body.
Godís first expectation of us as Christians is that we listen to His word. Godís word says that "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). As Christians, we must have the attitude of Godís people in the day of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8) whose purpose was to hear (v.1), who made preparation to hear (v. 3), who expended effort to understand what they heard (vs. 3, 8), and who showed respect for what they heard (vs. 5, 9).
We are expected to use our eyes to look at the examples we are given. By so doing, the Christian gains strength to live the pattern for life he finds disclosed in Godís word. The ultimate example for all Christians is Jesus Christ. We are directed in I Peter 2:21-23 to "follow his steps". The Bible assures us in Hebrews 4:15 that Christ has been faced with it all, yet He did not sin. Paul, the apostle, encourages us to imitate his own life even as he imitated the life of Christ (I Corinthians 11:1). Therefore, we are not only expected to see the example of Christ but also the example of the apostles and beyond that, the examples of other faithful Christians (Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7).
Further, we are expected to use our eyes to see false teachers for what they are. The warning from II John 10-11 is clear: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Brethren, there are false teachers among us (Acts 20:29-31; II Peter 2:1-2; Philippians 3:18-19). Do you defend false teachers? Do you give them words of encouragement? Do you support them financially? If so, you are in sin and are not meeting Godís expectation of you.
The Christian is expected to think on good things. Philippians 4:8 stands as proof that the Bible teaches mind control, not mind control that is placed upon us by others, but rather control of our own thoughts and will. Clearly, since the word of God is "quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12), we are expected to maintain control over these thoughts and intents.
The Christian is expected to feel compassion for the wayward brother (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20) and share in Godís desire for the alien sinnerís repentance (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9). Do we love the lost? Do we hurt because we understand the eternal consequences for those who will not repent, or worse yet, for those who have never heard the gospel (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)? Christians must feel the weight of responsibility and the urgency for the action placed upon us.
The words of the great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 demonstrate that each Christian has a personal responsibility to go and teach. Do as much as you can, whenever and wherever you can to tell others about Christ. Tell your friends, your family, your co-workers, and if the opportunity is yours, those in foreign lands about the eternal nature of man, the eternal blessing of heaven, the eternal punishment of hell and the gospel plan of salvation.
Christians are expected to use their mouths to speak in confession of their belief in Christ as the only begotten Son of God (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32), and in proclamation of the word (II Timothy 4:1-2; I Peter 3:15). We are also expected to speak in defense of or to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3) and to do so unashamedly (Romans 1:16). Never let anyone walk over the truth, be he an intentional false teacher or a brother in error. Remember what James wrote: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
Again, looking at the example we find in the great book of Nehemiah (4:17), God expects the Christian to used one of his hands to work by providing for the work of the church (I Corinthians 16:1-2), by providing for our families (I Timothy 5:8), and by providing for the needy (Ephesians 4:28). The other hand is to be filled with the greatest weapon of all "the sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17) and with it God expects us to "Fight the good fight of the faith..." (I Timothy 6:12).
A recent newsletter from brother Goebel Music quoted Leroy Brownlow as saying: "The medical marvel of the ages is how that so many men have lived so long without a backbone." Truly, Christians are expected to use the blessings each has been given, our ears, our eyes, our head, our heart, our feet, our mouth, and our hands with courage and steadfastness. I Corinthians 15:58 says, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
-Ė Leroy Growns, November 2001 Ė-