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Archive for the ‘Falling Away’ Category

Why Congregations Dwindle

 

Connie Adams
Louisville, Kentucky

It is not uncommon to see congregations that once were large and active in the Lord's work gradually dwindling. The natural question is why? I believe the following reasons must, be considered.

1. PEOPLE MOVING AWAY. Sometimes workers are transferred, or lose jobs and must move elsewhere. This reduces the membership of the congregations where this happens. Sometimes a congregation will "swarm" and start another one (whether peacefully or otherwise) and this reduces the membership of the churches from which they came.

2. INEFFICIENT LEADERSHIP. Elders are to be appointed in every flock and are to take the oversight (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). They are to possess godly characters and to be able to teach the word of God (I Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:9). There are elders who do not know the flock or what is going on in the flock. Their concept of the work of elders is to hold a business meeting now and then and decide who to get for a meeting and how to spend the money on the physical property. Instead of being out front leading the flock, they must be, prodded by the flock to feed them. The work, of, the Lord requires planning and execution. Congregations need realistic challenges set before them. They need to be, inspired to greater service as they behold elders who are leading the way. When a congregation begins to dwindle, it is time for the elders to do some soul-searching.

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The Goodness and Severity of God

 

Mike Willis
Alexandria, Indiana

Recently when talking with a Christian in regard to a matter of disagreement, when faced with the realization that he had no scriptural evidence for his position, he said, "God is a good God; he will have mercy on me." No person who has studied the Bible will deny that God is a good God.

We can consider God's goodness to man in sending his Son to be our Savior. Why should God be so good as to send his only begotten Son to die for sinful men? On the other hand, God's severity is seen in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire. Both of these acts manifest the goodness and severity of God far beyond the comprehension of men.

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The Adversary Satan

Garreth L. Clair
Bedford, Ohio

In this life the Christian must constantly be at war with the forces of evil. We who have taken allegiance to Christ have a very potent enemy, the Devil. Because the Devil is an enemy of righteousness we must always be aware of his many devices. In this article, I want to give some attention to the devil, his agents, and their use of devices in carrying out their evil purposes.

The Devil

First, let us look to the source of all evil, the Devil. We must never loose sight of the fact that although we cannot see the Devil he is very real. The Devil is a spirit being and can only be identified by the deeds which are performed by and through his agents (1 John 3:10; 1 Cor. 10:20; John 6:70; 8:44). From these passages of Scripture and others, we can observe the way the Devil works through agency, mankind. Since the Devil is an abstraction we must look to other sources to identify him and his activity. The most complete source of information about the Devil is the Bible; in it we can know him and his characteristics. Once we have adequately identified the Devil we may better know how to handle his activity pursued by his agents. The Scriptures tell us all that we require about the Devil so we may search the Scripture to become adequately informed of his character and continuing activities in this world as they affect God's people. The Scriptures tell us that the Devil:

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Do Not Be Discouraged

Lewis Willis

I read a Japanese proverb in the Reader's Digest (6-92). It says, "Fall seven times, stand up eight." I like that, and I think there is a good message for Christians in it.

To "fall" is a biblical idea. In fact, we will notice in this article several references to it. Before we do that, though, let's define the word. The Greek word ekpipto is the word used to warn the believer about falling away from the course of the Lord set forth in the Scriptures. Vine (73), says the word means "to fall out of " (ek, out, pipto, to fall). Something significant is involved here that must be noted. One must be "in" before he can "fall out of." Clearly the Bible uses this expression to describe a condition that pertains to a Christian.

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