Volume 38 October-November-December, 2007 Number 4

Doing Good to All - Al Diestelkamp
When All the World Comes to Us - David Diestelkamp
My Body, My Slave - Rick Liggin
Dead or Alive? - Al Diestelkamp
Putting Christ Back in Christian- Andy Diestelkamp
Truth or Ignorance - Al Diestelkamp
Saints Who've Gone Home - Al Diestelkamp

Special Article: Is the Church the only authorized organization to preach the gospel? A Response to Tim Haile (click image).

Doing GOOD to All
By Al Diestelkamp
The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write: "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10).

Wow! Does God really expect us to do good to all? That's a tall order, to say the least. On the surface it may seem to be an impossible task, but we know that God doesn't require the impossible, so instead of wasting time lamenting about the difficulty, let's look for opportunities to fulfill this noble command.

Too many times we think of Galatians 6:10 as applying only to doing good deeds, such as benevolence toward the poor and needy. While that is certainly part of the good that we should do, the command involves much more.

It's The Godly Thing To Do
Actually, the opportunities for doing good abound. The problem is that many times we close our eyes to situations wherein we could "do good." Even more than others, Christians should look for opportunities to do good since we are children of a good God--and striving to be like our Father.

Everything God does is good, and is for the benefit of those He created in His image. Even in the beginning, during the six days of creation, God declared that what He had made was "good" (Gen. 1:4,10,12,18, 21,25), and then when it was completed He declared the total of His work to be "very good" (Gen. 1:31).

Jesus makes an argument for doing good to all based on our relationship to the Father, noting that "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45).

David, throughout the Psalms declared and praised the goodness of God. The phrase, "His mercy endures forever" is stated 41 times in the Old Testament (33 in the Psalms) as God is praised for his goodness. Not only is God good, but he does good. The psalmist declared, "You are good, and do good..." (Psa. 119:68). God's goodness is offered to all of humanity. Indeed, "The Lord is good to all..." (Psa. 145:9).

Jesus not only taught people to do good, He "went about doing good" (Ac. 10:38). While we don't have the power He displayed by healing and casting out demons, the lesson we learn from His good work is to do what we can.

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By David Diestelkamp
Advancements in transportation and communication, as well as the fall of some oppressive governments, have made it possible to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15) with an ease rarely, if ever, seen before. "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest ." (Matt. 9:37-38). We need to go and we need to send.

In recent years the United States has seen a large increase in immigration. Government, schools, and society in general have responded to meet their needs. What about the church? We know we are to be interested in foreign evangelism, but what do we do when the world comes to us?

As Christians, our love of the lost must cause us to rise above the political, social, legal, and prejudicial controversies which surround the allowance of immigrants into the country. If you think they should not be here, it doesn't change the fact that they are, and that they need the gospel.

If their customs seem different, they still need the same Savior you need. You may feel they should learn English, but how will you get the gospel to them until they learn (or if they never do)? If there are changes in our country which you don't like due to immigration (laws, culture, jobs, schools, etc.), what is the ultimate loving response to the immigrant? The responsibility to preach is in our hands and we cannot expect the circumstances in which we find the lost to be ideal. Will we wait around, as the lost die in sin, for the conditions to change to suit us, our teaching methods, our politics, our culture, our language, etc., or will we join Paul in becoming "all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22)?

We desperately need brethren who will prepare themselves and go to preach in foreign fields--abroad and here. And churches must keep this as a high priority. There are a good number of men who need support to do foreign evangelism in the U.S. They are strong, motivated and bi-lingual. They require no travel funds or long journeys. There are no customs problems or difficulties in them reporting what they are doing. They are ready to go. Are we ready to send? More of us need to be.

940 N. Elmwood Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Email: davdiestel@yahoo.com

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By Rick Liggin
In talking to the Corinthian Christians about the importance of self-discipline, the apostle Paul said: "I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:27).

When I read this text, the words, "buffet my body and make it my slave" [NASB] grab my attention. This expression suggests a distinction between my body and the real me. Obviously, my body is not the real me. It is only the outer physical shell that houses the real me.

This fact is confirmed in other Bible texts, like Paul's second letter to the Corinthians (4:16-18; 5:1-9). Here Paul tells us that the "outer man" (our mortal body) is decaying day by day, while the "inner man" (the real me) is constantly being renewed (4:16). This "outer man," Paul says, is only an earthly tent that houses the real me (5:1-4).

We note this distinction because of what Paul said about controlling our bodies. The real me must control my body, even if I must "buffet" it to get the job done (9:27)! To "buffet" a person literally is to give him a black eye [Zerwick]; it is to treat him roughly. Metaphorically, it essentially means what we mean today when we speak of "whipping ourselves into shape."

Our text tells us what Paul did to ensure his salvation; and it suggests what we must do as well! We need to "whip our bodies into shape" and make them our slavesa slave of the real methe inner, spiritual me! If I'm serious about my own salvation, I need to exercise some rigid self-discipline over my body, and I need to do it no matter how bad it hurts. I must make my body "my slave"! I have to let my body know just who in this relationship is going to control whoreally; who the real boss is going to be! And folks, it must be me! I must not allow my body to dictate to me! I must dictate to my body!

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By Al Diestelkamp

A preacher at a funeral service, referring to the deceased, once said, "This corpse has been a member of this congregation for 17 years." While this was a "slip of the tongue," it may reflect the spiritual condition of some lukewarm members of the church who are "dead" while living (see Rev. 3:1).

Another preacher said in all seriousness, "There's nothing wrong with this church that a few funerals would not cure." As morbid and disheartening as that sounds, it may be true that some people become such a drag that the congregation would actually be better off without them. Hopefully no hearse is backed up to our church building doors!

P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
Email: al@thinkonthesethings.com


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By Andy Diestelkamp
It seems to happen earlier every year. The stores begin displaying their Christmas merchandise. Many bemoan the crass commercialization and blatant materialism often associated with what some declare to be a holy day. It won't be long before we will again hear the plaintive cry to put Christ back in Christmas. Ironically, from a scriptural perspective Christ has never been in Christmas. This annual festival is a conglomeration of human traditions that has evolved into a sentimental event with a smattering of spiritual jargon sufficient to tickle the ears of those who desire a form of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5). With that kind of background, it was inevitable that it would turn into something more carnal than Christian.

O come all ye faithful! If we are really interested in putting Christ back into something, then let's forget about Christmas and start by putting Christ back into Christian. Those who wear the name need to be primarily concerned with putting Christ back in their daily lives. Christ is not the reason for a season but for eternity. The term Christian is so glibly used these days. It may be attached to the most carnal of things from merchandisers to political parties. As a result of its flippant overuse, its scriptural meaning is being lost.

The term Christian is used in just three places in God's word. The first is Acts 11:26. There we learn that the disciples in Antioch were the first to be called Christians. There is some debate about who was calling the disciples Christians. Some see in the word "called" a divine calling (and this is possible), but regardless of the originating source, the term fits as a legitimate designation. We know this because the Holy Spirit inspired this observation to be made to Theophilus. Calling attention, in a positive context to the significance of when the term Christian began to be used, without any further explanation, gives tacit approval of its use. There is no shame or inaccuracy in disciples of Jesus being called Christians.

If we are going to scripturally put Christ back into Christian, then we who identify ourselves as Christians must be disciples of Jesus Christ. What it means to be a disciple of Jesus is what it means to be a Christian.

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Truth or Ignorance
By Al Diestelkamp
One of the tactics being employed by some who say homosexuality should be considered an acceptable "lifestyle," lament the "ignorance" of those who disagree. I recently heard a popular talk-show host, while trying to console a liberal activist, explain that Bible believers are acting on ignorance. Her point was that given enough time and patience we would "come around" to their way of thinking.

Obviously, none of us want to be viewed as ignorant, but perhaps we ought to get used to it. No amount of education will make proper what the Bible says is "shameful" (Rom. 1:27).

For some time those who hold to what the Bible says on this subject have been accused of being "homophobic." A phobia is the irrational fear of something. I deny having an irrational fear of homosexuality. However, attempts are being made to change the definition to include "hatred of homosexuals." I deny hating anyone, even though I may hate what they do.

We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by those who call us ignorant or accuse us of hating them. God's word must be our teacher.

P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
Email: al@thinkonthesethings.com

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We don't pretend to report, in this publication, every death of fellow gospel preachers. However, when those who have had a significant impact on us pass from this life, I feel the right to give "honor to whom honor is due" (Rom. 13:7). In the past few months we have heard of the deaths of at least three such men:

Though Robert Turner did not do much preaching in areas where I have worked, I benefitted greatly from his writings. As the long-time editor of Plain Talk, he wrote brief articles that communicated long-lasting messages of truth. Due to prolonged illness his pen has been stilled for a number of years. He went to be with the Lord October 17th of this year at the age of 90.

We learned of the death in mid-September of James L. McGowain, Sr., who preached most recently for the Long Avenue church in Chicago, but earlier worked with churches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois. His good influence in the greater Chicago area will be greatly missed.

On July 24th, Bryan Vinson, Jr., died. In 1956, while preaching in Aurora, Illinois, he, along with Leslie Diestelkamp, Gordon J. Pennock and others, started publishing Truth Magazine. He served as the paper's first editor. In more recent years, until his last hospitalization, he preached for the church in Lavon, Texas, which he helped start. He lived to see it grow and have elders, which was a real joy to him in his final days.
- Al Diestelkamp

About Think's Editor - Al Diestelkamp