Mark 16:15

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

A New Creature

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17 KJV). “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (NKJV).
When an individual becomes a Christian, he is a new person; he has been “born again” (John 3:3; I Pet. 1:23). One is “in Christ” as a result of having been baptized “into” Him (Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:3). Our text plainly states that this one is now a “new creature” or indeed a “new creation.” He is no longer to be “conformed to this world,” but he is to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2). Paul described himself following his conversion in these words, “I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20). The “new creature” is to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). He is to “walk as He walked” (I John 2:6). He is to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (I John 1:7). His everyday aim is to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18).
Paul described this “new creation” as “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). This “new man” is “put on” after we have “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22). He even goes on to demonstrate how this works as he gives several examples. For instance he says, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25). Lying may have been a habit of the “old man,” but the “new creature,” which has been “born of the water and Spirit” (John 3:5), speaks only truth. See Ephesians 4:26-32 for other examples.
This “new creature” who has been stripped clean must prepare himself by putting “on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). This will keep him from being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). He will be “sober and vigilant,” knowing that his “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). He will “be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). He will “let his light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
There are volumes more that can be said of this new creation who has been “made free from sin” by “obeying from the heart that form of doctrine delivered you” (Rom. 6:17-18). But here is the challenge: do these words from the Scriptures describe YOUR life? Are YOU different from the world, or just trying to “fit in”? Have you been “transformed,” or are you still trying to “be conformed?” Christians have the responsibility of talking differently, dressing differently, acting differently, living differently, etc., than the world does. Let the world see the difference in your life!

—Paul M. Wilmoth

How to Be Successful (Josh. 1:8)

Moses is dead; a new leader for the children of Israel has been selected. Israel is about to go into Canaan. There will be many battles ahead. God lays down the rule to guarantee their success. It is given in our text: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
BOOK OF LAW NOT DEPART FROM THY MOUTH: In whatever age man lives, he must hear God’s law. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9). Israel was commanded to hear (Deut. 4:1; Mark 12:29), and so are we (John 6:44-45; Rev. 2:7). God’s prophets were required to speak God’s word
faithfully (Jer. 23:28). Today, God’s preachers must speak the gospel faithfully (Acts 20:27; Gal. 1:6-10; I Pet. 4:11).
MEDITATE THEREIN DAY AND NIGHT: How we think affects what we are. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). The psalmist says the man is “blessed” when his “delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Christian meditation is spoken of in I Timothy 4:13-16, where Paul, after urging Timothy to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” instructs him to “Meditate upon these things.” Paul even gave a list of good things to meditate upon in Philippians 4:8.
DO THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN: God always requires obedience (Matt. 7:21). Solomon summed up his search for meaning with this conclusion: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Today, as when God gave the children of Israel this rule of success, we must do that which is written. An inactive religion is vain (James 2:22-25). James also describes how our faith is perfected by works (James 2:22). And listen to what John says about the man who does not do what is written: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4). It is also important to note that we are limited to “all that is written.” We must not go beyond it. “I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written” (I Cor. 4:6 RSV). And a strong warning is given to us in II John 9-11, “There is one gospel” (Eph. 4:5), and only that one gospel must be preached and obeyed (Gal. 1:6-10).
RESULT OF THIS RULE: Our ways will prosper (Josh. 1:8). Listen to David’s description of this success: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1). Christ’s statement to us is found in Matthew 6:33.
Do you want to be successful? Follow this rule. It is from God.

—Paul M. Wilmoth

I Remember Malcolm

When Christy and I first came to Northeast in July 1983, I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to work beside Malcolm Hill, a man I had long admired, for 29 years. I had known of him and his preaching for many years prior. In the late 1960s brother Hill came and held a Gospel Meeting at the Netherland church of Christ in Overton County where I was preaching at the time. The first night of the meeting we had an attendance of 324 which broke the old attendance record by 150. We averaged over the previous record for each of the eight services. I have never been involved in a Gospel Meeting where the interest was any higher. We had huge crowds each night and a number of responses to the invitation including those following the meeting as a result of his preaching. I heard him preach one of his favorite sermons, “The Museum of the Heart”, during the meeting, and I never forgot it. But even at that time, I would never have thought about having the opportunity to work beside him in proclaiming the Gospel.
We worked together, traveled together, visited members and prospects together. He knew that I was almost always up until midnight, and he often called me to come over and “porch.” We sat on his front porch into the late hours discussing the affairs of the church, and how we could work to make Northeast grow.
On June 26, 2012, I got a call informing me that brother Hill had passed into eternity. That day a giant in our brotherhood made his journey home. I think of him often. I remember the willingness of brother Hill to sacrifice whatever it took to make Northeast into a great congregation. When money was short and bills had to be paid, brother Hill and Mrs. Billie sold the house they lived in and paid the bills for the church. They did this on two occasions. I never heard him complain about doing this either. Malcolm never preached or taught that the church should do anything that he was not willing to do himself.
Malcolm labored with his hands. He did most of the work on the house he was living in when he departed this life. He did much of the labor in building the present Tennessee Bible College building. He had two passions in life—preaching the Gospel, and training men to preach. His love for the church was demonstrated by his strong stand for the Truth during the great departure of many congregations from the Truth. Many who criticized him for his stand are now saying the same things that he said back then.
When I saw Adam Farris and James Strong speak during this year’s Truth Bible Camp at TBC, I could not help but remember Malcolm teaching them (and countless others) in his pew packers’ class. Brother Hill is still missed by those of us who knew and loved him, and I regret that our new crop of pew packers won’t have the opportunity to know him. One of his obvious traits was his love for children and they loved him right back.
How about joining me with a contribution to TBC in his name to be used in training men and women to be workers in the kingdom he loved? He would be thrilled to know the progress that the college has made with his son, David, as President. I believe Heaven will be sweeter because of the opportunity I will have to see him again.
Thank God for the memories!

Paul M. Wilmoth

Gospel Meetings

I grew up in the little town of Algood, Tennessee in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those were quiet times and peaceful times. A man’s word was his bond; neighbors looked out for neighbors; we never had a TV until I was in the seventh grade; never attended the movies, even though there was a movie theatre in Algood. Kids could play outside and walk to town by themselves with no fear. I never remember coming home from school and my Mom not being there. I never remember going to school without a home-cooked meal. As I said, those were good days.
One of my favorite memories especially now that I can look back, was Gospel Meetings. They usually began in early Spring and continued until Winter. My dad took us to these Gospel Meetings in Putnam, Jackson, White, and Overton Counties, etc. We attended almost all of them, sometimes multiple times. I grew up listening to Monroe Lawson, Basil Overton, Malcolm Hill, J. B. Gaither, Carson Burroughs, Marshall Keeble, John Renshaw, the Lemons brothers, and Ralph Kidd, just to name a few.
These meetings were usually very well attended and often times there would be large numbers of baptisms and restorations. The Gospel was preached with fervor out of love for the Truth and the lost. The truth about the church, God’s plan of salvation, and proper worship were subjects you heard over and over. Christian living was stressed including the truth about marriage, the sins of drinking, dancing, and immodest apparel.
In those days, if you had Malcolm Hill for a Gospel Meeting, you could count on a full house; often young children would sit on the pulpit or stand at his feet. In many of his meetings he had large numbers of responses, and the church would have responses from his preaching even after he was gone.
The Gospel Meeting was a tool in carrying out the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. Since many smaller rural churches did not have preaching much except at “Big Meeting” time, many obeyed the Gospel during these meetings.
And don’t forget that air-conditioning consisted of raised windows, and paper fans furnished by the funeral homes in the area. Preachers would often get so hot that their suit would be soaked. Most men, even in those hot times, wore suits or at least a white shirt and tie.
I miss those days! Many congregations no longer have these meetings, and certainly that is their right. I do not believe Gospel Meetings today serve the same purpose that they did in the “good old days.” However they still are important tools to teach the church and to permit us to visit with brethren from other congregations.
When there are Gospel Meetings in the area, may I suggest that you take advantage of them. They provide the opportunity to hear preachers you will never hear otherwise, as well as an opportunity to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul M. Wilmoth

More on Drifting

J. D. Tant, Gospel preacher of bygone days, said, “Brethren, we are drifting.” Last week we looked at the warning against drifting in Hebrews 2:1-4. In this article we want to discuss some “currents” that are out there that may lead us to drift away from the safety of God and His Word.
First, there is the current of
time. A time in which we grow weary of doing good—a concern is expressed in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” If we are not careful as time goes by we can gradually lose some of the fervor and zeal of our devotion. It happened to the church at Ephesus, and it can happen to us (Rev.2:4-5). We may begin to rest on our past accomplishments, and cease pressing forward (Phil. 3:13-14).
Then there is the current of
popular opinion. The tides of modern opinion may easily persuade us (I Cor. 15:33). It is sometimes difficult to maintain the course when we are bombarded with secular humanism, false religions, and even “surface Christianity” offered as Truth. Such things may cause us to drift away from the simplicity and wisdom of the Lord (II Cor. 11:2-3; I Cor. 1:17-25; 2:1-2).
Another current that may cause us to drift is the current of the
flesh. Our warfare is not only without but also within (I Pet. 2:11; Gal. 5:16-17). The world has so much to attract us and allure us away from the great salvation. We need to study seriously Romans 12:1-2 and I John 2:15-17.
Another current is that of
daily affairs. Daily cares, anxieties, pressures, and duties can distract us. Jesus warned against this (Luke 8:14; 21:34). He taught the necessity of setting priorities (Matt. 6:33). Guard against being too busy to read, study, and meditate on God's Word (Psalm 1:1-2).
How do we prevent drifting away? The Hebrew writer says, “We must give the more earnest heed…” Imagine yourself in a canoe, in a river with a slow-moving current. Failure to pay constant attention leads to drifting. The drifting may be subtle at first, and by the time you realize it is happening it may be too late! Compare with drifting on a raft in the ocean's currents. Last-minute corrections may be made, but even then one may still run into the brush, crash into the rocks, or go over the falls!
So it is with salvation. We must remain diligent to the task at hand (II Pet. 1:5, 10). Diligence is “careful and persistent work or effort” according to the
New Oxford American Dictionary. There is absolutely no place for halfway commitment (Phil. 3:12-15; Matt. 6:24). Note that we must give the more earnest heed. We are to be more earnest than those who heard the word spoken through angels. We have a greater salvation offered and when more is given, more is required! (Luke 12:48). The same thing is taught in the parables of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30). Are you and I more earnest in giving heed to what we have heard than those saints of old?

Paul M. Wilmoth