Mark 16:15

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

Thanksgiving

Paul wrote to the Philippians in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Paul also wrote, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18).
Alexander Cruden wrote of the word
thanksgiving, “An acknowledging and confessing with gladness the benefits and mercies, which God bestows either upon ourselves or others” (Cruden's Concordance). Throughout the pages of inspiration, we are often exhorted to be thankful. The Psalmist wrote, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). And to the church at Colosse Paul urged, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15). In the negative sense in listing the sinful condition of the Gentiles, Paul said: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21).
Paul practiced what he urged upon his fellow Christians to do in giving thanks. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57). “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (II Cor. 2:14). “But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you” (II Cor. 8:16). “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). Perhaps his statement in Ephesians 5:20 sums it up, as far as Paul is concerned: “Giving thanks always, for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, let's go back to our original passage of Scripture with which we began this article: “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” It appears that Paul viewed prayer as the proper response to every situation that might arise in our lives. There is nothing which has to do with our life that we cannot go and spread it all before the Lord. We are taught that God is pleased when His children approach Him in prayer. He has assured us that He is ever able and ready to listen and bless us, even more so than earthly parents (Eph. 3:20). It is equally clear that thanksgiving should accompany all of our prayers, no matter the circumstance or the situation.
Are you thankful? Does thanksgiving accompany every request you make to God? In the words of the Christian hymn, “Count Your Blessings”, the final verse says, “So, amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.” I can only add, “Amen!”

Paul M. Wilmoth

Kenneth W. Buckner (1932-2019)

On Wednesday, October 23rd our beloved friend and brother in Christ, Ken Buckner, ceased his earthly journey as he “walked through the valley of the shadow of death” spoken of by the psalmist in the 23rd Psalm. And because of the kind of life he lived, we believe that, like the psalmist, Ken “feared no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Ken and Barbara have been members of the Northeast family for many years. Over the years they have endeared themselves by their dedicated life as Christians. There are a number of things that stand out as we remember Ken.
He was a humble man. I never saw anything that resembled pride in this man. He lived quietly the Christian life never seeking the limelight nor praise from men. When he made comments in Bible classes it came from his heart. He always desired things to be done for the betterment of the church and the community.
He was a knowledgeable man in the Scriptures. I appreciated so much all of the encouraging things that he has said in regard to my preaching, and I know that this was true of brother David as well. He encouraged and desired that only God’s truth be presented with no sugar coating. He agreed with Paul that Gospel preaching included “reprove, rebuke and exhort” as Paul told Timothy (II Tim. 2:4).
Ken, along with his good wife, was a very generous man. When announcements were made for help to reach some goal or to be able to do some good work, Ken and Barbara were among the first to respond. He was there contributing to help with Thanksgiving baskets, providing food and water for Truth Bible Camp, as well as supporting Tennessee Bible College through the annual dinner for the College. In the past few years he purchased tickets even when he was not able to attend. You could always count on Ken.
One thing that I observed from the beginning was the prayers he led. They were never copies of what he had heard others say; he prayed from the heart and it was very apparent. You could tell by the way he prayed that he sincerely believed in the power of prayer.
Ken and Barbara seldom missed a service, unless visiting out of town, and they usually made the elders aware of where they would be if planning to be away. All should follow their example.
Ken dealt with numerous health issues during his sojourn here on earth; this was especially true of the last few years. I am sure that he came to worship when many people would not have attempted it. But I am confident that Ken is now in a place where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21:4). We will miss Ken tremendously, but believe that Heaven will be a better place because of Ken Buckner. And we know that the world was made better by his presence.
To Barbara and the family we extend our sympathy, but we “sorrow not as others who have no hope” but look forward to being reunited with him one day when our lives are finished here as well.

Paul M. Wilmoth

The Redeemer

Job said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25). David said in the Psalms, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). The earth, our universe, man, and everything visible and invisible had to have a creator or maker. “For every house is builded by some man; but he that made all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). No house, or any other building, ever came into existence by mere accident or chance. No building was ever constructed by a tornado, a hurricane, or an earthquake. The earth and all the universe of God are a million times more marvelous than any building; therefore, they HAD to have a Maker—and that Maker is God! All one has to do is look around; we can see intelligence and design in all things. Some claim that the earth sprang up out of nothing; these are just wild assertions and speculations in order to deny the existence of God; and they are most foolish indeed! Even science teaches that from nothing, comes nothing. Everything had to have something back of it; and that something goes all the way back to God, the original and eternal ONE who “created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
Listen to the testimony of the word of God: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (Psa. 19:1-3).
For an example, consider the radio. It was first conceived in the mind of the inventor; it shows purpose and design from an intelligent cause. So, also, does the universe that we live in show forth divine intelligence and planning. Some claim that they cannot believe in an eternal God with infinite power and knowledge; they then turn right around and try to prove that all things came from dead and lifeless matter; this they do without any evidence at all. Where did the lifeless matter come from? It is completely unreasonable and illogical to say that nothing came from nothing. How could a nothing, which did not exist and could not be anything or do anything, make itself exist, and do and be something and make itself into a wonderful universe of matter? From nothing comes nothing. If there had ever been a time in the eternal past when there was nothing whatsoever in existence, there could never have been anything in existence. That eternal something, which has always existed, is God! “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen and Amen” (Psa. 41:13). Read also Psalm 106:48; 90:2; 93:2; 103:17; Proverbs 8:23; Isaiah 63:16; Micah 5:2; Habakkuk 1:12.
Also, lifeless matter could never have created the heavens and the earth, or made man, or anything else! “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?....he that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?” (Psa. 94:9-10). Mr. Edwin Conklin, a Princeton biological scientist, argued that
it would be as impossible for life to have just happened upon the earth, as it would be for an unabridged dictionary to come into existence as a result of an explosion in a print shop. So, God created the earth to be inhabited. “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18). He made it to precision. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” (Isa. 40:12).
How is it that the oceans, and rivers do not fill the earth? What causes them to go so far—and no farther? Just chance and happenstance? I think not! Isaiah said that God made the earth and everything in it to precision. How can scientists tell us exactly when the next eclipse will take place and many other events too marvelous to just be by chance. There is an intelligent cause behind all of creation—and that cause is God! God hung our world up into space by gravity—another name for the power of God (Job 26:7). He created the first man and woman in orbit around the sun—and we have been in orbit all of our lives. If the earth had been too large or too heavy, we would have drifted farther away from the sun, and eventually life could not exist; if the earth had been too small, and too light, we would have drifted closer to the sun and would have perished. Not in a trillion chances could any of this have just happened—an earth made to precision, and perfectly adapted to man and his needs. Yes, our God really does exist, and desires to redeem man from sin and eternal ruin. Each of us, with Job, can say, “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25).


Paul M. Wilmoth

Praise of Men or of God?

In this last installment concerning what brother N. B. Hardeman viewed as dangers facing the church decades ago, we will be considering the fourth danger he listed: “A love for the praise of men more than the praise of God, lest they be put out of someone’s social circle.”
As far as getting to heaven is concerned, the praises of men are not to be sought, nor are they of any benefit! This is especially true if one is seeking praise of men instead of being concerned with what God teaches or desires. Paul asked a number of rhetorical questions in I Corinthians 3:1 when he asked, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” Another statement on this subject was given In II Corinthians 10:12:  “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Then in verse 18 of the same chapter he says, “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” Perhaps the individual would be more likely to speak more favorably of himself than others; and yet Paul shows that this is useless and vain. Now if I should not seek the opportunity to praise myself (“toot your own horn” as my mother used to say) why should I seek the praise of anyone else?  After all, God is the only one that we are to seek to please (Gal. 1:9-10).  
An example of what brother Hardeman is referring to is found in John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”   
And Jesus expounded on this subject again in the book of Luke: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23).  He made it even plainer in verse 26 when He added, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Don’t believe I see any incentive in the Scriptures for being concerned with the praises of men, nor even the opinions of men.
So, after reviewing brother Hardeman’s suggestions of the dangers facing the church in his day, has the nature of man changed very much? Do we not face the same identical problems today that they did back then? Are not the same tactics used today to try to prevent the preaching of the plain, distinctive truth of the Scriptures? What is the answer? Preachers must continue to preach the Gospel without fear or favor (II Tim. 4:1-4). Elders must seek out men who are sound and who will assist in feeding the flock (Acts 20:28) and will hold back nothing that is profitable (Acts 20:20); and all should encourage and hold high the hands of God’s herald who faithfully delivers ONLY the message assigned by the King! (Rom. 10:15).
Before we leave this subject, let me also call your attention to one other statement of our Lord on this subject in His Sermon on the Mount. “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Is there ANY reward gained from praises of men? Yes, but only from men, and Jesus states there will be “no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”  Which will you choose?

Paul M. Wilmoth

Truth or Compromise?

The third danger listed by brother N. B. Hardeman, when he was asked about the dangers the church was facing, was “A disposition to compromise the truth and discourage sound preaching.”
I may be revealing my age, but when I was growing up, if you met someone and found out that he or she was a member of the Lord’s church, with few exceptions, all believed and supported the sound preaching of the Truth. Elders and members expected to hear nothing less than the Truth. Nor was the truth “sugar-coated” to make it sound more desirable. The preaching was plain, and it was distinctive. In Gospel Meetings you could expect to hear sermons on the identity of the church of the New Testament, sermons on Christian living, and the question, “What must I do to be saved?” was proclaimed often and clear enough that none could misunderstand it. False doctrines (such as “faith only,” “one church as good as another,” the use of instruments of music in Christian worship) were shown from the Scriptures to be false. Denominationalism was exposed for what it is, false religions started by men.  
In those days, it was not strange to see 30 or more responses to the Gospel; many of those converted were converted out of denominational churches when they heard the Truth presented exactly as God’s Word teaches it. Today, the question is often asked, “Why is the church not growing very much today?” Could it be because the Gospel is not being presented as plainly and distinctly as it was then? The “seed” is the “Word of God” (Luke  8:11). Maybe the reason we are not converting souls at the rate we were in those days is because we are not sowing enough “seed.”  
It does not take a man with the eye of an eagle to see that the Truth has been compromised today in many places. There is a famine in the land of sound Gospel preaching!  Folks want us to preach on things we all agree on, and leave off the things that divide us. That is like washing around an area where a cancer is growing and just ignoring the cancer itself. We will never all “speak the same things” (I Cor. 1:10) until we study the issues that divide us. Not preaching what the Bible teaches about baptism, music in worship, divorce and remarriage, dancing, and social drinking solves nothing. It only allows folks to be cheated out of learning the eternal truths on these subjects. 
Folks that were members of the Lord’s church used to be called “walking Bibles.” But today many of our preachers could not be justly called by that designation. And as far as discouraging preachers to preach the distinct Gospel today, preachers have been fired just for refusing to compromise the preaching of the Truth. Paul, in addressing the Ephesian elders said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). He had already said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). Implied in this, preachers, is if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God, we are not free from the blood of those to whom we preach. And I for one, do not want others to be lost because I failed to proclaim all of the counsel of God! Preach it, and let them decide if they want to accept it or reject it, but preach it!
So, let none of us ever be intimidated or persuaded in any fashion to compromise the truth to any degree. We leave you with Paul’s statement that explains the degree that we should compromise. This statement explains how he dealt with false teachers: “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:5). Amen!

Paul M. Wilmoth