Nothing New Under The Sun
We are living in a rapidly changing world where everything remains the same. There are economic changes, political changes, social changes, moral changes and communications changes. Communication changes include mobile phones, internet, email, Facebook, Skype and Twitter. At the click of a button we can communicate with people anywhere around the world. Yet with all these changes things remain the same. In Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 we read, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” There may be new discovers in science, medicine and inventions; but in the course of human experience there is nothing new. The mistake and foolish, sinful acts of the present day are but a repeating of the sins and follies of past ages. One generation after another gives up the peace of God for the passing pleasures of sin. One generation after another tries to find peace and happiness everywhere but with God and they continue to meet with the same bitter disappointment. Man remains the same and his need for the gospel remains the same.
The power of nature has not changed. The heavens were of old; the earth abides for ever; and natural causes are still the same as they were. In Psalm 68:33 we read, “To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.” Some may ask, “Why are people being killed by storms?” This is nothing new. Job’s children were killed in just that way. (Job 1:18-19) Paul was in a storm that lasted two weeks. “But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country.” (Acts 27:27) Snow storms are nothing new. “Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow.” (2 Samuel 23:20) Floods are nothing new. “And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest.” (Joshua 3:15) Fires are nothing new. “And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire.” (1 Samuel 30:1) Cold and heat are nothing new. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22) There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to nature.
The heart of man has not changed. The complaints, corruptions and wicked desires of man’s heart have not changed. The fact that man somehow thinks that he will live forever has not changed. “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.” (Psalms 49:11) In Jude 1:8-13 evil hearts are spoken of with expressions like, (1) Filthy dreamers, (2) Those who defile the flesh, (3) They speak evil of those things which they know not, (4) They are brute beasts, and (5) Greedy. The unsaved heart lives in bondage as it trust its own wisdom, while rejecting the wisdom of God. The saved person trusts in the power of God and relies on His providence in his life. It is the will of God that rebellious hearts be changed. “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.” (Isaiah 65:1-2) We are rebellious, but God’s grace is there to change us and make us useful in His everlasting kingdom. The whole heaven rejoices when a human heart comes to the place where there is no sin or rebellion in it. If you have been rebellious against God repent of your sinful ways, that you may receive mercy from Him. Rebellion is an open door that leads to eternal damnation. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the heart of man.
The problem of sin has not changed. Our world tries to make sin look good. Sin is glamorized and made to look like exactly what should be done. Sin is called everything but what it is. Sin is called (a) an alternative lifestyle, (2) sowing wild oats, (3) a victim of society, and (4) a sickness. Sin is “exceeding sinful.” “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:13) We should strongly desire to be cleansed from sin. God said, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.”(Isaiah 1:16) Sin appears to bring life when it brings only death. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the problem of sin.
The need for the gospel has not changed. Man’s greatest need is to be made alive spiritually and to have the hope of eternal blessings. (Titus 3:7) Man’s need for the gospel has not changed. Obedience to the gospel makes us new creatures and puts a new song into our heart. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The message of the Bible is perfectly adapted to man as he is. Man has a great need to understand the will of the Lord. “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17) We need the old, Jerusalem gospel. We have no need for a new gospel for this new age. Let us never be like those described in Ecclesiastes 7:29. “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” We need the same facts of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), the same promises of the gospel (Mark 16:16, Revelation 2:10) and the same threats of the gospel. (Hebrews 9:27) The New Testament is the inspired message of the Holy Spirit and it is adequate to meet man’s spiritual needs. We need the peace of God to control our heart and mind. We need the salvation of our soul. We need to be controlled and directed by the wisdom of God. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Divine revelation.
Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. John said, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12) We join with Paul in saying, "To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:21) Are you a faithful member of the church of Christ?
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Lorene Beverly, LeRoy Boutwell, Jesse Brooks, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camren Coleman, Anna Bell Conway, Mark Coggins, Lillie Crawford, Bonnie Croley, Tim Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Mike Dalton, Crowell Davis, Nell Davis, Evelyn Duke, Marietta Faulkenberry, Gail Gipson, Bobby Godwin, Devin Hawkins, Doris Hayes, Patrick Hicks, Tommy Hunt (son of Betty Hobbie), Ann Jackson, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Gary Leger, Alice Little, Arthur Little, Annie McKee, Betty McQueen, Charlotte Miller, Ethan Miller, Jeff Miller, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Elizabeth Perdue, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Dan Raybon, Candie Reaves, Peggy Rice, Mary Riley, Billy Rodgers, Rosie Rudolph, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Joe Smith, Sarah Stidham, Arlene Thomas, John Tindoll, Jenny Trawick, Bobbie Walker, Jimmy Walker, Leroy Waller, Jim Watts, Carlton Whittle, and Cody Yelverton. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Lydia Ann Raybon, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter and Alice Thompson.
2. Requesting Our Prayers: April Rowell responded to our Lord’s invitation. Please remember her in your private prayers. April’s parents are Ann and Alan Jackson. Her husband is Brett and their son is Timothy.
3. Special Prayer for Reese and Lydia Ann Raybon: Please pray for Reese and Lydia Ann Raybon. Things have been difficult for them lately. Both have been in the hospital and now Lydia Ann has gone to Crowne Health Care for 21 days to receive some therapy. They are long time members of the Walnut Street Church of Christ. Please pray for these good folks.
4. Sympathy Expressed: Love and sympathy is expressed to: (1) The family of Gladys Warren. She was a good, Christian lady, (2) Roxanne McNeil and her family in the death of her brother-in-law, James Stewart.
5. Building in Annai: Please pray that everything can come together for the completion of the building in Annai, Guyana, South America. Charles Box will be in Guyana January 8th - 25th. Pray that much can be accomplished on the building.
6. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: January 9th Neil Faulkenberry and Justin Pierce.
7. Thank You Note: My warmest thanks. My heart wants to say “Thank you” for every little blessing it has felt because of you! Many thanks for all you’ve done. Thank you so much for the flowers, phone calls and most of all the prayers. It is great to worship with caring people. In His Name, Gary Leger
8. Thank You: Thanks to Lomax Owens for leadership given in organizing the good fellowship on New Year’s Eve night.
9. Basics Training: Mitch Bozeman is in basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Please keep him in your prayers. His address is: PFC Bozeman, Gary E. 1st – 40 FA 1st PLT, 6050 NE Rothwell Street, Fort. Sill, OK 73503.
10. Sign-Up Sheets 2013: The sign-up sheets for 2013 are on the bulletin board. Please volunteer to help. Many of you do so many good things. Thank You!
11. Food Committee List: There are sheets on the bulletin board for the Food Committee. Please sign-up even if you have been on a committee before.
12. Please Pray For Our Elders: Please pray for Mike Bagents and Bobby Terrell. Being an elder in the church of our Lord is a very serious matter. We need these brethren and they need us.
13. Be a Daily Bible Reader: It take about seventy-two hours to read the Bible completely through at an average reading speed. Why not make a commitment to read the Bible completely though during 2013? Fill your heart with the word of God daily and this will help you to grow spiritually.
Who is Wise?
Knowing it all is one thing; knowing the ONE who truly does know it all is another. James asks the question to which we’d all like to know the answer in James 3:13: “Who is wise and understanding among you?” Who DOESN’T want to know the right thing to do, the right thing to say, at just the right moment, and in just the right way? But how can I ever be like that? The answer lies much more in what I’m willing to TRUST God to do in my life than in how great I am.
The quick answer given in this text is: “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” How do you know if someone is wise? He obeys God in meekness. Jesus put it this way: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) Follow with me in James 3:14 and following, where James gives us a few more details that describe heavenly wisdom.
Read James 3:14-18 and first what wisdom is NOT. What is bitter jealousy? What is selfish ambition? James, through inspiration, explains that where these characteristics exist, wisdom does not exist. Even more troubling than that: EVERY VILE PRACTICE can find its way into our lives through jealousy and selfishness. It is important to note that we ALL have varying degrees of these qualities…the question is, will we allow them to live in us without challenging them and working to get rid of them?
Wisdom is: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” The best way to force evil out of our hearts is to replace it with good. (Romans 12:21) Think right now about some practical ways you could replace bitter jealousy and selfish ambition with one of the traits of “the wisdom from above.” Imagine your life with the positive changes and do what it takes to BECOME that person. With God all things are possible!
- - - - Darrell Powell
Don’t Just Own A Bible, read It!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551