Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN

God’s Plain Language

Plain preaching is the great need of the hour. Two thousand years ago the apostle Paul wrote about his goal in preaching: "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:8-9). Paul had an inexhaustible, incalculable subject — "the unsearchable riches of Christ" — but his goal in preaching them was to "make all [people] see"! To that end, he said a few verses earlier, he "wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" (verses 3b, 4). Paul wanted people to understand God's eternal plan and purpose, carried out in and through His Son Jesus Christ. God used plain language to communicate His will to us, but the religious world today is a maze of multiplied faiths and bodies. Believers in Jesus remain divided into hundreds of groups that teach conflicting ideas even on some of the Bible's most fundamental Bible topics. Meanwhile, God's Word still plainly says, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6). Plain language. But the clear water of these vital Bible truths has been muddied with human traditions and teachings/practices. More than ever, we must "search the Scriptures to find out whether these things were [are] so" (Acts 17:11)! The New Testament speaks a profound but plain message to mankind, proclaiming that to be saved we must hear and believe the Gospel of Christ crucified and buried and raised; repent of our sins; confess Christ as God's Son; be buried with Christ in baptism for the forgiveness of our sins and be raised up to walk in newness of life. When we do that God adds us to His church and He promises that if we live a faithful Christian life He will at judgement give us the crown of eternal life (see Romans 10:17; Romans 10:8-10, 17;Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 8:35-39; Acts 10:47-48; Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38, 47; Revelation 2:10, etc., etc..). 

The baggage that has been added to the simple Gospel message of the New Testament reminds me of an old story. An old-timer went to the post office where he retrieved and opened a letter. Unable to read it, he asked the postmaster for help. The postmaster said he would do the best he could. He took the letter and began to read, "Your Uncle James, having become seriously debilitated both physically and intellectually by the approach of senility, and having suffered innumerable financial reverses resulting in the complete elimination of his multiple monetary assets — he, in a moment of temporary dementia, precipitated his own demise." The postmaster grew quiet for a moment then said, "That's what it says. But in just plain language, it means this — your Uncle Jim got old, lost his marbles, went nuts, and took his own life!" Some things in Scripture are difficult to be sure (2 Peter 3:16), and we must study the Bible if we hope to "rightly handle" it (2 Timothy 2:15 kjv). But its fundamental message about God's love and man's salvation in Christ is revealed in plain, understandable language. God help us to help others see it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ