"Sound Doctrine" - (Titus 2:1)

Before You Click "Forward"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Before forwarding that next e-mail, consider the following:

Is it morally correct? Inasmuch as "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance" (Proverbs 15:13) it is nice to send and receive jokes and humorous stories, but care must be exercised in doing so. The scriptures describe "coarse jesting" as behavior that should "not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (Ephesians 5:3-4). If it contains sexual humor, thus trivializing sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4), it is coarse and should not be forwarded. If it contains "filthy language" (Colossians 3:8) it is likewise coarse and should not be forwarded. If the joke itself is harmless, but contains gratuitous profanity, just delete the offensive words before sending it.

Is it factually correct? Remember that "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight" (Proverbs 12:22). If you are less than certain that the information received is accurate, then verify it before sending it on. Websites like snopes.com exist for the single purpose of vetting rumors and urban legends. Information that cannot be validated is not worth sharing. This is especially important when the content is critical of another because "whoever spreads slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18).

Is it scripturally correct? If the message on your screen mentions God, prayer, miracles, or the antichrist, do yourself and everyone else a favor: back it up with book, chapter, and verse (2 John 9; Revelation 22:18-19). Otherwise, don't send it because what you share may lead others astray (James 3:1).

Just Two Percent Matters

Author Unknown

One time, I had trouble with mice, so I bought some d-CON. I noticed on the package that only two percent of its contents was actually poison. The rest was edible.

Now if some educated mouse could read, he might reason: "But there is so much good in it, a little bit won't harm me, and besides, I'm hungry". Yet all that good food didn't do that poor creature much good because the little bit of poison either killed him or gave him some mighty nasty indigestion. The ninety-eight percent nourishment was useless if that two percent killed him! The ninety-eight percent was not enough to offset the two percent. The makers of d-CON know they have to put much good tasting food in before mice will be tempted to eat that little bit that kills them.

This is parallel with a situation we often find in religion. Many feel that if there is so much good in their doctrines, a little bit of error won't hurt them. However, the devil is smart enough to give people enough of the truth to make his lies appear wholesome, but just enough error to condemn. No one will benefit from ninety-eight percent truth if there is two percent error mixed in with it. Man won't go ninety-eight percent to heaven and two percent to hell; he'll go to either one place or the other. Did not James say, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10)? The person who rejects two percent of the truth of God is guilty, just like the person who rejects all. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).


Greg Gwin

The word "acappella" is defined by the dictionary as: "music without instrumental accompaniment". It comes from a Latin word which literally means "as in the church". Interestingly, this proves that originally, in the church, the music was singing only, without instrumental accompaniment.

An Invitation Spurned

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Jesus' parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22) is a familiar one to many of us, wherein those bidden to the wedding feast spurned the gracious invitation of the king.

While many in the assemblies of the church have, at one time or another, affirmatively responded to the invitation we regularly present, to "Arise and be baptized calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16), the very same souls may frequently spurn the invitation as it is offered to others. That invitation is spurned whenever it is treated contemptuously or refused due consideration by anyone present.

Do not spurn the invitation by failing to sing the song selected for that purpose. The song director has selected that hymn because its contents promote self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5). In singing it, you and I are to be "teaching and admonishing one another" (Colossians 3:16), with the intent that, if needs be, one of us will respond to the invitation.

Do not spurn the invitation by hastily obtaining the hymnal. A very distinct sound is heard from the pulpit as an entire congregation reaches for their songbooks, sliding those hardback covers. Perhaps you've grown accustomed to the manner in which the speaker segues from the sermon to the invitation, but until he bids that all stand and sing, remain seated with the hymnal in its place. You'll be rewarded no prize for being first to grab a songbook. You may, however, disturb the mental process of the unlearned as he contemplates the impact of the invitation.

Do not spurn the invitation by leaving once the speaker commences to offer it. It may be that you've heard it literally thousands of times, but this may be the first occasion a visitor has heard it - please refrain from distracting him. It may even be that you must respond to the invitation. If you'll remain seated another moment; giving genuine attention to that which you've accustomed yourself to ignoring, under the mistaken assumption that you're already saved, in no further need of such an offer; you may just find the words pricking your heart (Acts 2:37)!

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