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Beware Of Dogs
There are several strange and unusual statements in our Bible. Not many Bible statements are more unusual than when Paul wrote to the Philippian brethren and said, “Beware of dogs.” He wrote, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” (Philippians 3:1-2) The word “Dog” is found in 17 verses in our King James Version of the Bible. The plural word “Dogs” is found in 23 King James verses. One of the most familiar uses of the term “dogs” in our Bible has to do with the rich man and Lazarus. “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” (Luke 16:19-21) Now, in the book of Philippians, God says “Beware of dogs.”
How many breeds of dogs are there in the world? There is no correct answer to this question. There are many breeds of dogs in the world. The AKC list more than 150 breeds. There are likely 500 to 600 different breeds of dogs. Then there are so many dogs that would fall in that category that we would call “Mutts.” They are mixed breeds and come in all sizes and shapes. 42.5 million Households in the US have 1 or more dogs. In a News report from Tallassee, Alabama on February 28, 2014 we read, “A year-old girl died after she was attacked by dogs in her front yard in Tallassee, Alabama. The child was alone when the two dogs attacked her. A few minutes later, the little girl's grandfather just happened to check on her and saw what was happening. He grabbed her and called 911. "The ambulance responded to the scene and determined that the child was deceased upon arrival," said an official with law enforcement. Authorities are looking for the dogs' owner. The animals are being held at an undisclosed location.” What a sad story! We surely need to pray for this family. I know they are devastated. Is this what Paul meant in Philippians when he wrote, “Beware of dogs?” (Philippians 3:2)
“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” It is a strong term of contempt to call someone a dog. Goliath felt insulted, because he thought David was treating him like a dog. “And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.” (1 Samuel 17:43) The Jews called others, especially Gentiles, “dogs.” (Mark 7:2-28) The term dog denotes a person who is contentious, snarling and shameless. That is the way Paul used the term in Philippians 3. He, no doubt, referred to those Jewish teachers who were troubling the church and causing a disturbance among the people of God as dogs. He used this strong language because of the spiritual danger that comes with false teaching. A few versus after Paul wrote, “Beware of dogs” we read a very strong and stern, rebuke to false teachers. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Philippians 3:17-19) The Jews regarded Gentiles as “dogs.” By their belief these Jews had ceased to be the true Israel of God and had themselves become spiritual dogs.
Jesus spoke of dogs. In His great Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6) “That which is holy” refers to the gospel or doctrine of Jesus Christ. Dogs refer to those people who would abuse that doctrine. These unbelievers would bind human opinions and human doctrine, instead of following the will of God. The wicked men who had a part in crucifying Jesus were also called “dogs.” “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalms 22:16)
Peter spoke of dogs. To be a Christian and then fall away from Christ is a very serious matter! Peter wrote, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22) Those who fall away from Christ are a terrible influence on other people. They are like a dog returning to their own vomit. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
Isaiah spoke of dogs. In Isaiah 62:6 we read, “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence.” These men, that God set on the wall to watch His people, His work and His work were worthless watchdogs. They cared only about themselves and did not even bark or speak up against that which was false and evil. Does that describe any so-called gospel preachers of our day? “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” (Isaiah 56:10-11)
Our Bible closes with this sobering contrast, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Revelation 22:14-15) The word "without" means, that the dogs or the evil ones will not be admitted into the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. The blood of Jesus has opened the gates of heaven. However, those gates are not open for evil men who act like spiritually, rabid dogs. Are you doing God’s commandments? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God and He will bless you. (Revelation 2:10)
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Ricky Bagents, Douglas Butts, Janie Chance, Terry Claunch, Johnny Cole, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Tim Croley, John Curry, Nell Daughtry, Nelson Daughtry, Haley Fortune, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Betty Hobbie, Sue Hunt, Allan Jackson, Orene Johnson, Charlie Jones, Katherine Myers, Barley Newton, Bill & June Perry, William Pierce, Jesse Mae Powell, Elnora Ray, Linda Reynolds, Peggy Scribner, Nathan Simmons, Johnny Sims, Evelyn Smith, Andy Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Alice Thompson, Leroy Waller, Renford Whittington, Cleo Wilson, Barbara Woods, and Betty Young. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Betty Garlock, Davis Hester, Ruth Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Alice Padgett, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue
2. Our Lord’s Invitation: Please remember Sharron Shappley in your personal, private prayers. She need our prayers as she has struggled with life.
3. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: March 9th Donald and Nell Davis and March 13th Joel and Sue Hunt.
4. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: March 10th Dixie Black, March 11th George Lewis, March 12th Dot Killingsworth, and March 14th Joseph Crysell.
5. Reorder of “Muscle & a Shovel” by Michael Shank: If you would like to order copies of “Muscle and a Shovel” please let Deborah Stallings know. The order will be made on Monday, March 10th. You will pay when you receive your books. Price is determined by the number of books we order.
6. School Bus Driver of the Year: Johnny Cole was awarded the School Bus Driver of the Year for 2013-2014 in Butler County. Congratulations Johnny!
7. Employee of the Year: Beckie Tindal was awarded the Employee of the Year at Stabler Hospital for 2013. Congratulations Beckie!
8 Religious Debate: The University of North Alabama Christian Student Center is hosting a religious debate on April 4th beginning at 6 PM. Bart Ehrman will affirm the proposition, “The pain and suffering in the world indicates that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle Butt will deny that proposition. For more details visit www.unacsc.com.
9. Vacation Bible School: Happy Ever After…The Salvation Story is the theme of this years’ Vacation Bible School. This is exciting! We hope that you will see its potential and join with us in our excitement. We need your help; there are jobs for everyone! See the bulletin board in the foyer.
10. Immediate Needs For Our Mission Work In Annai: We need, (1) Cement to finish Building -- $360 more is needed. (2) Moving fill-dirt to building in Annai -- $500. Total Amount Needed: $860. Thanks to all who are helping!
11. Thanks to Secret Pals: Our thanks to the Secret Pals for providing a wonderful night of food and fun for our widows and widowers on last Friday night. Thank you ladies for your hard work.
12. Area Events: (a) March 9th – 12th – Gospel Meeting – Luverne Church of Christ – Speaker Dennis Sanders – Time weeknights 7:00, (b) March 16th – 19th – Gospel Meeting – Grady Church of Christ – See bulletin board for speakers – Time 7:30 pm, (c) March 22nd – Ladies Day – Lay Lake Church of Christ – Speaker Mallory Baker – Time 9:30 am to 1:00 pm, (d) March 23rd – 26th – Gospel Meeting – County Line Church of Christ – See bulletin board for speakers – Time 7:30, and (e) March 23rd – 28th – Gospel Meeting – Georgia Road Church of Christ – Theme Evangelism – See bulletin board for speakers and topics – Time 7:00 pm.
Are You Living For Christ?
A million things could have been going through Paul the apostle’s mind as he sat in his prison cell around AD 61. But as he penned a letter to some faithful brethren in Philippi, he had hardly finished his greeting when he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) One might ask, “How does one become as fully devoted to God as Paul was, even in the face of such adversity?” Let’s look together at some aspects of Paul’s life that might help us better understand why he clung to the cross of Christ with such zeal.
Paul was poor in spirit, realizing how lost he had been without Christ. He said, “...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (I Tim 1:15) He didn’t think more of himself than he should have, but gave the Lord all the credit for any good that was in him or was done by him.
Though he realized where he lacked, he didn’t allow his past mistakes to hinder him from doing what he could for God. Paul endeavored to forget the past and press on towards his eternal goal of heaven. (Phil 3:13-14)
Paul did not place too much importance on the things on earth. Paul wrote, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1-3) He sought heavenly things because he knew that true life is with Christ!
Can you honestly say that Christ lives in you? Can you say that if you live on in the flesh, you will be living for Christ? Are you assured that if you die, you will go to be with the Lord forever? Paul gave himself completely to God, and served Him fully because God sent His Son to die for him. Paul knew what his horrible fate would have been without Jesus…the same dismal fate that you and I would face without Jesus. There is nothing on this earth that is worth your soul. Please turn to God and live for Him today.
- - - - Darrell Powell