THE WISDOM FROM BELOW

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Credit: Google Images

Is there anyone in this audience who lacks wisdom? Do we have any who are wise and understanding? James asked these questions of his readers. James is fond of asking questions and then answering those questions himself. He also likes to contrast one thing with another.

TWO QUESTIONS

Let us notice these two questions regarding wisdom from the book of James. Let us first take notice of QUESTION NUMBER ONE:

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
NKJV

All of us can answer the question by indicating that we need more wisdom. Therefore the idea is that we should go to God in prayer and ask him for wisdom. But to pray for wisdom doesn’t mean that God is going to give it to us miraculously. We are taught to pray to God for our daily bread. But God does not miraculously hand us bread like he did in feeding the five thousand. God gives us bread when he provides everything we need from his perspective—seed, soil, and good weather. We however must do our part from our perspective. “If a man will not work do not let him eat.” Continue reading “THE WISDOM FROM BELOW”

BIOGRAPHY OF SIN

By

Shelby G. Floyd

 

Of

Credit: Google Images

This lesson is drawn from the first chapter of James:

“12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:12-16 NKJV).

James speaks of the nature of temptation and sin. The Bible teaches that Christ came into this world to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Satan is the originator of sin (1 John 3: 8). Sin was and is universal or else the coming of Christ was of no purpose: “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18 NIV). Again it is said, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23). Continue reading “BIOGRAPHY OF SIN”

FAITH ALONE NO. 2

By

Shelby G. Floyd

“Faith alone” is not a subject found in the New Testament and therefore should not be considered a biblical doctrine to be discussed. And it would not be discussed were it not for some religionists who are wedded to the Calvinistic Human Creed that salvation is by “faith alone!”

For instance, one of the Calvinistic persuaders writes,

“The benefits of the gospel come to the person who has faith alone in Christ. The blood of Christ is applied to the sinner upon faith alone in Christ and not at baptism.”

The person affirming that proposition could not prove it by any evidence found in the New Testament if his life depended on it. Why? The answer is because it is not a subject found in the New Testament. In search for evidence what the Calvinist would find instead, is the subject of salvation “not by faith alone.” Continue reading “FAITH ALONE NO. 2”

NOT BY FAITH ALONE NO 1

By

Shelby G. Floyd

In almost every standard translation of the New Testament, the phrase “faith alone” or “faith only,” is “only” found one time. And in this case it is preceded by the negative “not!” James writes,

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24 ESV).

Therefore, salvation from sin by “faith alone” is not a New Testament subject for discussion. It has been concocted and invented in the minds of those who have a human creed to uphold. Therefore, lovers of the truth must refute this false doctrine. And that is what I intend to do! But we must not take this text out of its context and make it a mere pretext. Some will deny the plain statement of scripture quoted above, and will affirm that one is justified by “faith alone!” Continue reading “NOT BY FAITH ALONE NO 1”

GOD BLESS AMERICA

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Note: I proclaimed this sermon forty three years ago when I was thirty nine year old. And today I affirm these bedrock truths as strongly as then! Wake up America, and endorse our founding principles before it is too late!

In view of the transformation of the American culture, it is proper to ask, “Will God continue to bless America?” Whatever has made America great in the past and the present will make America great in the future. We love to sing the prayer song, “God Bless America.” Truly that song expresses our fondest hopes and desires that God will continue to bless America in the future like he has in the past. I am quick to tell you that I am proud to be an American. I am grateful to God that I was born in this country and that I have citizenship in this great nation. I don’t think that it is contradictory to be proud to be an American and to be a Christian at the same time. I wouldn’t equate Christianity with Americanism. I believe that a person can be a Christian and live in another country and not be an American. But on the other hand, I don’t think it is wrong to be proud to be an American and also to be a Christian. I believe that you can be both.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

I think all of us love the words of that song, “God bless America.” It is a prayer song.

“God bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
Throughout the night, with a light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America,
My home sweet home.”

We can sing that and we can pray that and I think it is right for us to do that. God wants us to be proud of our country. He wants us to pray for our leaders and he doesn’t think that it’s wrong for us to participate in those things that will help keep America on the road to greatness and God’s providence.

Today I am discussing with you the subject—what makes a nation great? We know that the annals of history are littered with the dust of nations that have risen, have become great, have declined and ultimately they have fallen. There is a reason why they became great; there are causes for their downfall and decline. Today we’re discussing what makes a nation great in the sight of God. As I said a while ago, whatever has made our nation great in the past will make our nation great in the future. We can’t deny that America, even today, is a great nation in the roll call of nations. What’s made this nation great? Let’s try to find out.

You know someone has penned these words describing what makes a nation strong and what makes a nation great. I think they are appropriate right now:

I know three things must always be
To keep a nation strong and free.
One is the hearthstone bright and dear
With busy, happy loved ones near.
One is a ready heart and hand
To love and serve and keep the land.
One is a worn and beaten way
To where the people go to pray.
So long as these are kept alive
Nation and people will survive.
God keep them always everywhere,
The hearth, the flag, the place of prayer.

What makes a nation great? A nation is great when that nation depends upon God and trusts in God for its greatness and guidance. You know in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was God’s people. God raised up rulers, first judges and then kings. Some of the kings were great, some of them were not. During the time that these kings depended upon God the nation of Israel was great. When its rulers didn’t depend upon God, the kingdom declined and ultimately divided and was taken into captivity. I believe those kings that depended upon God should be able to tell us something today as citizens of America and to our rulers of this great nation.

WHY NATIONS FALL

What makes a nation great? When a nation remembers God and his word that nation can be great! What will cause a nation to decline and fall? David was perhaps one of the greatest kings of Israel and yet David said in one of his Psalms, “the wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Psalms 9:17). So if a nation forgets God, it cannot be or long remain a great nation. Also, David said in Psalms 9:20 “put them in fear, oh Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.” When a nation gets to the point that it feels like it is God instead of just men made by God, created in God’s image, that nation cannot long remain a great nation. Sometimes people are lifted up with pride and they think they are God instead of men made in the image of God and under the government of God. So David prayed that men might realize themselves to be but mere men and not to be lifted up with pride.

In Psalms 22:28 David said, “for the kingdom is the Lord’s and he is governor among the nations.” You know, our rulers must recognize that they are rulers under a supreme ruler and that is God. God is the governor of all nations and they are only rulers subject to the ruler of the universe. Then in Psalms 33:12, the Royal Bard of Israel sang a song and part of the words are these, “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.” What makes a nation great? When it doesn’t forget God; when that nation realizes that it is simply men; when that nation has God for its Lord; and when that nation is made up of people whom the Lord has chosen for his own inheritance. That’s what makes a nation great.

What makes a nation fall? Whatever has caused nations to fall in the past, will cause nations to fall today and in the future. There have been 21 civilizations in the annals of history and only three of them have survived. So there is no ironclad guarantee that our nation will continue in its greatness and that 100 years from today our posterity will be celebrating another birthday unless our nation continues in the principles and the ideals that have made it great in the past.
Sin Destroys Nations

Why do nations fall? Let me first give you the answer to that question by the sacred historians of the Bible. The first thing that will cause a nation to fall is sin. Solomon succeeded David to the throne of Israel and the kingdom of Israel reached its zenith of glory and greatness under the rule of Solomon. Solomon prayed that God might give him wisdom to rule over his people, the nation of Israel. God gave him that wisdom and in addition he gave him wealth and riches and glory and honor. Solomon said in Proverbs 14: 34, “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” When people do what is right in the sight of God and they adhere to his commandments and his word, it will cause a nation to be exalted and lifted up to glory, but when a nation of people are sinners and rebellious against God’s will, it will cause that nation to be debased; it will cause that nation to decline. Sin, then will cause the downfall of the nation.
Foundations Destroyed

In the second place, the sacred historians teach us that when we allow the foundations of a country to be destroyed, there is not much that the righteous can do. In Psalms 11:3, David said, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That is still a good question. The foundations of our country such as the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, honesty, integrity, industry, godliness, all of those foundations are being eroded today by sensualism, pleasure, materialism, godless atheism, and many other ways that men are trying to destroy these foundations. We, as God’s people, have a great influence in a nation like this for righteousness and for good and we must do what we can, not only as citizens in the kingdom of God, but as citizens of this nation, to keep these foundations from being destroyed. We are “the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor, where with shall it be salted?” God’s people must not stand by and allow these foundations to be destroyed. If they are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Removing the Ancient Landmarks

Then there is another thing that will cause a nation to fall and that’s to allow the landmarks to be removed. In Proverbs 22:28, Solomon said, “remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Back in ancient times they didn’t have surveyors, nor did they have fences. So to mark off a person’s property, they would simply erect a large stone mark as a landmark for the property. But there were evil and sinful people in that time that would remove the landmark; they would steal and cheat and it was a very bad thing for someone to remove a landmark that had been established by the forefathers. Our forefathers have established great landmarks for our nation and you and I know that there are people today who are removing those landmarks. A nation cannot long survive if its ancient landmarks are removed, which were set up by the forefathers. So we cannot allow these landmarks to be removed.
Nations Destroy Themselves

In the next place, the sacred historians teach us that a nation will fall when it destroys itself. Hosea was one of God’s prophets that he sent out to warn the people that they were going to fall if they continued in their apostasy. Hosea cried out in the plaintiff words, “Oh, Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13: 9). Along this line, we need to remember the words of the great historian, Will Durant, who said, “No great nation has ever been overcome until it has destroyed itself.” Its enemies without cannot overcome America, but its enemies from within can overcome it. We can destroy ourselves and then the enemy can simply take this nation without firing a shot.

What makes a nation great? What causes a nation to fall? One of the great nations in past history was the nation of Rome. We read about the nation of Rome in the Bible. Paul visited Rome and established many brethren in that city. He imparted spiritual gifts to them and he wrote a letter to them, one of the great letters of the Bible. Rome was one of the greatest nations in its glory, in its landmass, in all history. It continued until 476 A.D., therefore, it was much older than our own country, and yet Rome fell. What caused the fall of Rome? It was a great nation and yet it declined and it fell. Edward Gibbon wrote the great history called, The Rise And Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. In that book he listed five contributing reasons or causes for the fall of the Roman Empire. I want to list them for you and ask the question, could the same thing be true of this country today?

Cause No. 1, was the rapid increase of divorce with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.

Cause No. 2, was higher and higher taxes with the spending of public funds for bread and celebrations.

Cause No. 3, was the mad craze for pleasure with sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.

Cause No. 4, was the building of gigantic armaments when the enemy was from within, the decadence of the people.

Cause No. 5, was the decay of religion with faith fading into mere form and losing touch with life and becoming impotent to guide it.

Now you will notice that those five reasons that he has mentioned for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire deal, No. 1 with the home and morality; No. 2, with pleasure; and No. 3, with religion; and No. 4, with the erosion of the tax base for pleasure, bread and welfare. So there are about four areas that brought the downfall the Roman Empire: morality, pleasure, religion, high taxes, and the decadence of the people.

There was another man that has been identified as Professor Kittler. He lived in Scotland; he taught in the University of Edinburgh; he had studied the history of nations. And whether he is the author of this, I do not know for sure, but he has been credited with giving these nine steps in the history of civilizations. I do know that civilizations in the past have gone through the cycle of these nine steps. America may be going through the same steps in its history:

THE CYCLE FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM TO SLAVERY

Step 1, from chains of slavery a people rises to spiritual faith.

Step 2, from spiritual faith they generate courage.

Step 3, from courage they forge liberty.

Step 4, from liberty comes abundance.

Step 5, from abundance arises selfishness.

Step 6, from selfishness it is an easy progression to complacency.

Step 7, from complacency the next move is to apathy.

Step 8, from apathy a people degenerate to dependency.

Step 9, from dependency there is only one logical and one inevitable move back to bondage once more.

That is the very cycle that many nations have followed in times past. You know, a moment ago we listed those five causes for the downfall of the Roman Empire. On January 10, 1961 in the congressional record, one of our Congressmen had recorded in that periodical six goals of the Communist Party for America. They were taken from the book called, The Naked Communist written by Cleon Skusin. He was able to write these things down from over sixteen years of working with the FBI. They were called “Current Communist Goals.” I want to mention those goals and see if they do not involve some of the very areas of the downfall of the Roman Empire.

GOALS OF THE FORMER COMMUNIST PARTY

Goal 1: Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them censorship and violation of free speech and free press.

Goal 2: Breakdown cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television.

Goal 3: Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as normal, natural and healthy.

Goal 4: Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a religious crutch.

Goal 5: Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground it violates the principal of separation of church and state.

Goal 6: Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

You will notice those six goals of the former Communist Party for our nation of America involves morality. It involves the home. It involves the school. It involves our great institution of the press and freedom of speech. So it involves the same areas that Gibbons said brought downfall of the Roman Empire. Do I need to tell you that these goals have been achieved, especially in the last 10 years at an alarming rate? Ten years ago we would not hear filthy language, cursing and obscenity on the radio and television and our motion pictures, but now we do. A few years ago we wouldn’t have seen on our television programs and on our movie screens the degeneracy and immorality that we are witnessing today. Today on the soapbox operas, the movie screens, the television sets, the radio, the picture is being presented of the home being broken down—free love, easy divorce, and promiscuity. All of these things are being glorified as the new way of life. Satan is behind all of this. And if he can bring the downfall of our people, he can bring the nation down. We must realize that a nation falls easier from within than from without.

WHAT WILL CAUSE A CITY TO FALL?

What makes a nation great? What makes a nation fall? The same thing that brings down cities brings down a nation. You doubtless remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Old Testament (Genesis 18, 19)? They were so wicked and evil; their morals were so low, that God said that he was going to destroy them from the face of the earth. Abraham went to that city and tried to get out Lot, his nephew and his family. Abraham appeals to God, and said, “God, if I can just find 50 righteous souls, will you not destroy this city?” God said, “I will not destroy it, if you can find 50.” Abraham cannot find 50! He said, “Will you protect it for 40?” God said, “Yes,” but he couldn’t find 40. Then he says for 30, 20, but he couldn’t even find 20. He made one last appeal to God. He said, “If I can find 10, will you not destroy it for the sake of 10?” And God said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of 10.” But Abraham couldn’t even find 10 righteous souls.

I believe that the difference between Sodom and Gomorrah and America is that there are more than 10 righteous souls in this city of Indianapolis and many, many times that many in this great country. Righteous people are what will keep this nation great. When it comes to the point that there will not be many righteous people in America, America will fall. A city will fall. Look at some of our major cities. In many of them the people have degenerated in their morality to the point that many people are moving out like rats off of a sinking ship. If a city can fall then the same thing can happen to the whole country.

STATEMENTS FROM THE EARLY PATRIOTS

What makes a country great? What makes a nation fall? I want to give you just a few statements from our early patriots and our great statesmen who founded this country.

• First, George Washington said in his first in inaugural address of April the 30th, 1789, “His divine blessing on which the success of this government must depend.” He recognized the success of America and its government must depend upon God and his blessings.

• Secondly, Benjamin Franklin, the great statesman, scientists and philosopher, convened the first floundering constitutional convention in these words, “I have lived a long time, sir, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that in empire can rise without his aid.” Benjamin Franklin was simply saying that America couldn’t become a great nation without God’s help and God’s aid.

• Daniel Webster the great statesman, lawyer and orator of our early history, said, “if we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering, but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and our glory in profound obscurity.”

• The French historian Belluzzo once asked James Russell Lowell how long he thought the American republic would last. James Russell Lowell replied in these words, “so long as the ideas of the founding fathers continue to be dominant.” And yet we know that there are people and movements in our country who are trying to rewrite the Constitution and do away the ideas of our founding Fathers.

• Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg address, had these words, “that this nation, under God, shall not perish from the earth.” As long as our nation recognizes God and recognizes that it is under God, perhaps she will not perish from the earth.

• Grover Cleveland, on March the fourth, 1885, when he was the newly inaugurated president, said, “and let us not trust the human effort alone, but humbly acknowledging the power and goodness of almighty God who presides over the destiny of nations and has at all times been revealed in our country’s history. Let us invoke his aid and blessing upon our labors.”

• Theodore Roosevelt warned our country in these words, “the things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, safety first instead duty first, love of soft living and get rich quick theory of life.” That warning needs to be taken seriously by our nation today!

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE

In 1805 to 1859, there was a man by the name of Alexis DeTocqueville. He was a Frenchman, and he visited America, he traveled throughout our land, and then went back home and wrote what he thought made America the great nation that he found it to be. He said,

“I sought for America’s greatness and the genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers and it is not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her fertile fields and boundless forest and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines and her vast world commerce and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her public school system and her institutions of learning and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America and her democratic congress and her matchless constitution and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great, because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Those are the words of Alexis DeTocqueville, the great historian who visited America.

What makes God bless a nation? A nation is blessed by God when it lives in Liberty and yet Liberty is not an end or goal in itself. Our forefathers came over to America looking for the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience; freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. But they did not conceive of liberty as the freedom to do just anything you want to do—the freedom to trample on the rights and happiness of other people. No, that was not the nature of the freedom our forefathers sought in the early days of America and should not be our conception of freedom today.

THE NEW COLOSSUS

Many people have noticed the Statue of Liberty as they have come to America to find freedom and opportunity. Emma Lazarus wrote these words called, “The New Colossus,” and they are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to be free,
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore,
Send these the homeless, the tempest tossed to me.
I will lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Thousands of people have entered through the New York harbor and found the door of opportunity, the land of freedom, and what kind of freedom was it? It was not the freedom to do just anything you want to, but the freedom to do right, the freedom to worship God, the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. May it always be!

Our founding fathers recognized that liberty could be used for evil as well as for good and that liberty only gave a man the opportunity to pursue the good, but also would give the people the opportunity to pursue the evil. So, when they wrote the Constitution, their idea was that liberty was the freedom to worship God and to pursue happiness and material blessings, but that this liberty did not give people the right to trample the rights of other people.

ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN

Recently we’ve had a man come to America from Russia. His name is Alexander Solzhenitsyn. When he came over to this country, he recognized that a lot of people were not using their freedom for the right thing. Here’s what he said about freedom,

“Freedom is a gift of conditional, not intrinsic, worth, only as a means by which we attain another and a higher goal. If freedom is an end within itself, then we’re losing sight of the nature of true freedom. Freedom only gives us the liberty to achieve even higher goals and those goals must be to serve God and to serve our fellow man as well as ourselves.”

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution, he recognized that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be an individual thing and that all men were only created equal in the sense that they would have this individual liberty and freedom to pursue these higher goals, not that everybody would pursue those goals. And even today we do not find everybody pursuing those goals. Some use their freedom to achieve higher goals in life. Some use their freedom to pursue lower goals in life. It actually depends upon us.

What will make our country great? Not only having inscribed upon our coins, “in God we trust,” but we must have “in God we trust” stamped upon our hearts. What will make our country great? Not only when we pledge allegiance to the flag, but we pledge allegiance to God as a nation, one nation under God, indivisible, with peace and liberty for all. What will make a nation great?

WHAT MAKES NATIONS GREAT?

I can tell you something that will not make a nation great. If commerce will make a nation great, ancient Tyre would not have fallen. If political organization and regimentation would make a nation great and keep it from falling, ancient Rome would never have fallen. If military power alone would keep a nation great and keep it from falling, Germany would have not fallen, nor Japan. If religious ceremony and rituals would keep a nation great, Israel would never have fallen, but she fell, nevertheless. If treachery would keep a nation great and keep it from falling, Japan would never have bowed her proud head in defeat. Those things in and of themselves will not keep a nation great in the eyes of God. What will then make a nation great?

Alexander Blackburn has written these words:

Not serried ranks with flags unfurled,
Not armored ships that gird the world.
Not hoarded wealth or busy wells,
Not cattle on a thousand hills.
Not sages’ wise nor school nor laws,
Not boasted deeds in freedom’s cause.
All these may be and yet the state,
In the eye of God, be far from great.
That land is great which knows the Lord,
Whose songs are guided by his word.
Where justice rules twixt man and man,
Where love controls an ardent plan.
Where breathing in his native air,
Each soul finds joy in praise and prayer.
Thus may our country good and great,
Be God’s delight, man’s best estate.

Those words expressed the sentiment of my heart to you today. A nation can be great when people become Christians, the children of God. If you’re not a child of God, you ought to be, not only for your own soul’s salvation, but also so you can lend strength to our great nation. But I appeal to you primarily, because you need to be a child of God, to have your sins forgiven and have the hope of eternal life. In the Old Testament, the Bible says,

“If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Will you seek the Lord, turn your face against evil, believe in Jesus Christ as the divine son of God, confess your faith, and be baptized for the remission of sins even this very day? *

*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon July 4, 1976, on the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, at the Garfield Heights Church of Christ, 2842 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. The principles are as true today as they were then. Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2006, 2015  2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
– Thomas Jefferson

I AM THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America’s halls of justice. I fly majestically over
Institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up at me and see me.
I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice. I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher,
My colors a little truer.
I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am adored—I am saluted.
I am loved—I am revered.
I am respected—and I am feared.
I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years.
I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appamatox.
I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, in the Argonne
Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy, Guam.
Okinawa, Korea and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam, I was there.
I led my troops,
I was dirty, battle worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me.
And I was proud.
I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have
helped set free. It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my
Country.
And when it’s by those whom I’ve served in battle—it hurts.
But I shall overcome—for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted
frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness to all of America’s finest hours.
But my finest hours are yet to come.
When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades
On the battlefield, When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
At the grave of their fallen son or daughter, I am proud.

MY NAME IS OLD GLORY

LONG MAY I WAVE.

DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN:

LONG MAY I WAVE

MAY I FLY PROUDLY FOR ANOTHER TWO HUNDRED YEARS.

–Author Unknown

POOR MAN–RICH MAN

By

Shelby G. Floyd

A statement in the book of James suggests our topic under consideration:

James 1:9-11
Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
NKJV

The first chapter of James deals with the various kinds of trials that Christians will go through. You may wonder what the words of our text are doing in the midst of that chapter about trials. You will see the reason as we develop this lesson about the rich man and the poor man. Continue reading “POOR MAN–RICH MAN”

WORSHIP AND THE SUNDAY BIBLE CLASSES

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The religion of Jesus Christ must be taught to every person who would be a Christian. This religion is not inherited by a fleshly birth (John 1:11-12; 3:3-5), but it is obtained by faith in Christ Jesus (John 20:30-31). Since faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), the word must be taught. In giving the great commission, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). A person then must enter the school of Christ to be instructed in the gospel in order to be a child of God. Jesus taught that, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:45).

However, this instruction does not end with conversion, but extends throughout the Christian life. After the apostles baptized the disciples; Jesus instructed them to teach the disciples to observe all that he had commanded them (Matthew 28:20). The three thousand on the day of Pentecost who gladly received the word, and were baptized, did not stop their instruction in the knowledge of Christ: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). We have access to the grace of God through the teaching of Christ and his apostles (Titus 2:11-12).

The Sunday school with classes for every age is one of the best ways the church can obey the great commission. The Sunday school contributes largely to the number of persons who are baptized each year. The teachers of each class should realize they have a weighty responsibility to edify the body of Christ. One of the purposes of the Sunday school then is to teach the gospel to those who attend the services, but are not yet members of the church. Those who are members need to attend the classes on Sunday in order to obtain knowledge of the Christian religion:

“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Unless each Christian advances in grace and knowledge there is reason to believe that person will be carnal minded and a detriment to the church (I Corinthians 3:1-3). Each congregation needs to equip and train more teachers and evangelists to preach the word. The Sunday school classes provide an excellent means to do this. Any Christian aspiring to be a teacher of the gospel will not be absent himself from the Bible classes conducted in the church. The teachers can train other teachers by committing the gospel to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Many members of the church who should be teaching others need to be taught themselves, because they have become dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Each Christian is commanded to, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Bible is “…given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is therefore the text book in every class in the Bible School.

Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142
shelby@thefloyds.net