Concern for the Church

MEMORY SELECTION: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all things be done with charity.” —I Corinthians 16:13,14

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Corinthians 1:1-3; II Corinthians 1:21-24; 13:10, 11

THE Apostle Paul’s concern for the Lord’s people is manifest in his devoted and dedicated service to them. As he was an inspired apostle of Jesus, his messages of truth have been profitable for the brethren in Christ throughout the Gospel Age. Those exhortations have been a source of rich blessing. Indeed, we may study the admonitions from his epistles today, nearly two thousand years after they were written, and still receive much enlightenment from them.

This week’s memory text is worthy of our consideration, for it is especially applicable to the consecrated child of God who is striving to grow in the ways of truth and righteousness. Those who so strive to develop their characters along the lines of thoughts, words, or actions must heed the admonition to watch, to stand fast in the truth, to mature and to grow in strength in the ways of the Lord. And, Paul points out, all things must be done in the spirit of love.

There are varying degrees of devotion among the followers of Jesus. Some may be less mature in the school of Christ and may therefore need more encouragement than others. Each, however, should be alert to examine his own heart condition and endeavor to make the progress necessary for an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. In his letter to the Ephesian brethren, Paul stresses that Christian grace and knowledge are essential “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”—Eph. 4:13

The privilege of assisting and of building one another up in the most holy faith is one that should receive immediate and close attention by every Christian. As we grow in knowledge and faith we should begin to use that strength for the benefit of others who may, because of inherited frailties, be less developed spiritually than ourselves. God has bountifully supplied the spiritual food of which we freely partake and has also clearly indicated the manner in which that spiritual food is appropriated for our own nourishment and then given for the nourishment of others who may yet be babes in Christ. The Lord’s consecrated people should be constantly growing in grace and knowledge and usefulness in the service of our Lord and Master. We should recognize it as our privilege and duty to be strong in the ways of the Lord—even as Paul says, “Quit you [act] like men, be strong.” The apostle’s exhortation is toward greater maturity.

Our personal progress in the school of Christ depends in large measure upon ourselves, although it was God who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light of truth. He is abundantly able and willing to assist us, but we must seek his guidance and follow his leading. It is our responsibility to use what God has so freely given us that we might have an abundant entrance into his kingdom.

There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to understand. Even after careful and patient study we cannot always be sure about some of the deep and hidden truths. We can be sure about the fundamental truths, however, and should be able to give a scriptural reason for the hope and understanding that we have in regard to them. When it comes to assisting others in the ways of truth, we should stress those fundamentals. Some in the apostle’s day were evidently negligent in this connection. We note this in Paul’s letter to the Hebrew brethren, where he points out that “we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”—Heb. 5:11,12

As we grow in the knowledge of the truth we leave the elementary principles of the doctrines of Christ, not in the sense of abandoning them, but as allowing them to stand as foundation stones of our faith. From there we must press along on our consecrated journey toward maturity in Christ.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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