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Take Heed

Take Heed

     “Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1Tim. 4:16)
     To say that there are warnings given in the gospel of Christ is to state the truth. The above passage is one example. Every Christian ought to give the most earnest heed thereto.
     In the first place, the teacher, preacher or saint of God is warned to “take heed unto thyself . . . “. It is altogether possible to focus attention upon other people or things and forget our own personal lives. It is of little or no value to teach the truth if the one teaching it does not practice what he preaches. The apostle writes: “Ye are our epistles . . . KNOWN AND READ OF ALL MEN.” (2Cor 3:2). People read us far more then they do the Word of God.
    Next, let me point out that purity of life and conduct is not all that the Lord requires of His servants. He says: “UNTO THE DOCTRINE”. How many men have you known who lived a rather good life but perverted the doctrine of Christ? How many friends and neighbors do the same? When it comes to the point of friendship, neighborliness, they can’t be beat, BUT, they know little about the doctrine of Christ. (Note that the doctrine of Christ is always in the singular.) DOCTRINES of devils indicate that Satan has many doctrines. So he does. From 2John vs 10,11: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” This statement alone should be sufficient to cause the preacher to stick strictly to the book of books. In Gal. 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ACCURSED.”
     If the preacher stays with the BOOK he shall SAVE himself and THEM THAT HEAR thee. Jesus said something about the “blind leading the blind” and He declared they’d both fall into the ditch. It is lamentable that men who can scarcely read and write attempt to preach the gospel. The souls of men, whether preacher or hearer, are too important for such. We are commanded to “study to shew thyself approved unto God. . . “ God does not call or invite men who are unprepared, in any sense, to represent Him in the most important and eternal things of all. TAKE HEED.

    The above article was written by my wife’s father, O.D. Wilson, in a church of Christ bulletin in July 15, 1962. The message is plain and the warning is clear. The same applies in the same way today as it did sixty-two years ago as well as over nineteen hundred years ago when it was originally handed down by the Spirit by inspiration and recorded for the church.
     When Linda, my wife, found this article of her dad’s and gave it to me, it occurred to me that folks often fail to “TAKE HEED” because they lack the PROPER MOTIVATION. When you think about it, most folks are motivated in some way to do something. When they lack motivation or have improper motivation to do what God Commands, they are either ignorant of God’s Word, lazy, or are doing wrong and evil things and refuse to change.
     This causes me to ask: “What is needed to MOTIVATE someone? First, you must love them, and care enough about their souls to help them. It is not enough to only help one’s physical needs, as this leaves the soul without that which can sustain it forever. Secondly, there is the need to educate them (evangelize), to equip them with what they need that they ‘might’ do something about their souls. Rom. 10:14 makes it abundantly clear that man needs someone to bring them the soul saving message. Most are not “self-starters” when it comes to matters of eternal things. Nor can man do what is needed for his soul as God’s Word tells us in Jer. 10:23b – “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps”. Thirdly, provide these new brethren the support they need after they obey the gospel and become a fellow member of the body of Christ. This is much needed as the Word of God tells Christians in 1Thess. 5:14 to “support the weak, be patient toward all men”. The Christian can and will fall if they aren’t properly motivated by the Word of God. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:12)
All these are equally important, because every child of God has an evil antagonist that is against them and against all that is good. 1Pet. 5:8 tells us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” In fact, as the Spirit had the apostle write to these ‘scattered strangers’, the Words “be vigilant” are the same as “Take Heed”. The unmotivated Christian that fails to take heed is described in the sad picture of 2Pet. 2:20 because they have become entangled again in the pollutions of the world from which they had once escaped when they obeyed the gospel. The final part of the verse says: “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Take heed to yourself and to the Word of God. Your soul is at stake.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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