Clarion Links

The Clarion Herald
(Part I)

    The apostle Peter has urged that the people of God should "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear", (I Pet. 3:15). We need to have a REASON for believing and acting as we do -- a scriptural reason.
    The Lord Jesus Christ has not left the matter of church membership to our consciences, whims or carnal reasoning; it is a matter of LOYALTY and OBEDIENCE to Him who has purchased us with His own precious blood. Conscience is never a safe standard of right and wrong for ANY man; it is a creature of education and needs teaching.
    Designated "the house of God" and regarded as being "the pillar and ground of the truth", the church is of tremendous importance. Under the Spirit's direction, she is the custodian, guardian, mainstay, preserver and divinely-appointed teacher of the divine word which is able to make us "wise unto salvation" which is "in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory", (I Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:l0).
    The Word of God is the standard

by which all men will be judged in the last day. Conscience is never right until it is in perfect agreement with the Bible. Thus, the Word of God, and that alone, must be our absolute rule of faith and practice. More specifically, the New Testament is the authority for such religious belief and practice as is acceptable with God.
    It is of tremendous importance, therefore, that we search with diligence -- that we may discern Gods own ORDER for our times; then we must devote ourselves whole-heartedly to DOING His will.
    The Greek "ekklesia" (translated "church" in the English New Testament) is used some 117 times. It is derived from two Greek words: (1) "Ek", meaning "out"; and (2) "Kaleo", meaning "to call". Hence, "ekklesia" -- a called-out assembly.
    Thayer defines the word as "a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place: an ASSEMBLY". Theologically, it may be defined as: "A called-out assembly of scripturally baptized believers who are covenanted together, under the Spirit's direction, for mutual edification and the fulfilling of the Great Commission".
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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald


    Following the imprisonment of John the Baptist, Jesus entered Galilee "preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:14-15).
    For centuries the covenant nation had awaited the coming of Messiah and the restoration of the Davidic throne and kingdom. The implication of Jesus' Galilean message was that it would not be necessary to wait any longer PROVIDED the people of the covenant would meet the condition on which the kingdom was offered.
    The expression "kingdom of God" refers to Messiah's rule, with a rod of iron, from the throne of David on Mt. Zion -- a rule that will be characterized by righteousness, justice, equity and peace, (Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 2:27; l2:l0; Isa. 11:4-5, 9-10). It will arrive in the

coming (parousia) in power and great glory of Him Who is to be "King of kings and Lord of lords". It will be on this earth, and everlasting.
    Both John the Baptist and Jesus announced this kingdom as "at hand" or "near", (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). It was also the message of the twelve, (Matt. l9:7); and of the seventy, (Matt. 10:9). It was proclaimed until Israel, through her representative leaders, refused to enter or permit others to do so, (Lk. 11:52). Jesus upbraided their unbelief and failure to repent, (Matt. 11:20-30; 21:43). The parables He spoke, in Matthew 13, were designed to show the necessity of "delay" in the establishment of the kingdom.
    Apart from the Kingdom message, its rejection by the Jews, and our Lord's turning to deal with the Gentiles there can be no adequate explanation of our Lords ministry, or of the Gospels. And the Kingdom was NOT proclaimed as "at hand" following our Lord' s ascension -- though it IS still the basis of our "Blessed Hope".
    From the message of Jesus it is evident that Israel had a two-fold responsibility, (John 4:46-54). They must "repent, and believe the Gospel".
    The Old Testament prophets had repeatedly called upon the nation to change its mind and attitude toward the faithful covenant-God and His Word, (Ezek. 19:30-31; 33:11; Joel 2:12). Their sins were no less atrocious than those of the despised Gentiles, (Luke 13:2-3). And, following Jesus' resurrection and ascension, Peter once again

called his Jewish brethren to repentance -- with particular regard to the Christ Himself, (Acts 3:13-21). Now ALL MEN everywhere are called upon to repent, (Acts 17:30- 31).
    In the context there can be little doubt about what our Lord meant by "the Gospel". We have just read that "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM". Thus, they were to believe the "good news" concerning the kingdom. The time had arrived when the long-desired reign of Messiah would begin IF THEY WOULD REPENT and believe, (comp. 2 Chron. 20:20; John 6:28-30; and contrast: Isa. 7:39; 5:24; 8:6-8; 30:12-14). Unless they were willing to yield their hearts, in faith, to the sovereign authority of the rightful KING OF ISRAEL, they would "die in their sins", (Jn. 5:36-47; 5:23-24).
    Jesus' right to make such an offer to Israel was verified by His authenticating miracle in healing the son of a Capernaum nobleman. This man had no doubt of Jesus ability to heal; thus, his petition. But, to the nation in general, the Master said "Except ye see signs and wonders, YE WILL NOT BELIEVE". It was this unwillingness, in faith, to submit themselves to Jesus' lordship, that ultimately resulted in their forfeiture of the kingdom-offer". No one has any legitimate claim to the blessings of God's kingdom apart from a faith-yieldedness OF THEIR ALL under the benevolent mastery of the coming King.
    Who is master of YOUR life? Only Jesus is able to fashion it into a vessel of honor. LET HIM!!   E.G.

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    "But the goal of our instruction is LOVE from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith", (I Tim. 1:5, New ASV). Is not this what every true servant of God desires to see manifested in the lives of those to whom he ministers?
    Straying from these principles, brethren sometimes turn aside to "fruitless discussion" -- to such vain, carnal and presumptuous prattle as is shamefully contrary to the glorious gospel of the happy God that has been entrusted to them.
    Genuine spirituality and concern for the cause of God and truth is never manifested in such things as: conceit without understanding, a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about "words" -- out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, constant friction and the ultimate ruin of those who hear, (I Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:14).
    The true man of God must learn to avoid such foolish, ignorant and quarrel-producing speculations as are contrary to a pursuit of righteousness, faith, love and peace. A true bond-servant of Jesus is never quarrelsome. He is kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged and gentle in correcting those who oppose -- trusting God to grant them such repentance as will lead to the knowledge of the truth, (2 Tim. 2:22-26).
    It is sad when brethren reject the Word of God for their own philosophies -- on either side of a
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    In Acts 19:32-41 this word is used of a Greek "town assembly". It is used 113 times in reference to Christ's special people -- 37 times in the plural, and at least 55 times in referring to a SPECIFIC local assembly. It is sometimes used in an abstract, generic or institutional sense, (Matt. 18:17; Eph. 3:10-11).
    As to its NATURE: the church of Jesus Christ is local and visable.
(To be continued)

THE GOAL IS LOVE ... Continued
disputed question. It is always an evidence of satanic ensnarement. In such a situation PRAYER is a far more potent weapon than politics. And patient love will evidence far greater spirituality than an attempt at dividing the brotherhood or destroying one for whom Christ died. A carnal "victory" is nothing less than spiritual defeat, in disguise.
-- Eugene L. Garner


    Due to circumstances beyond our control it was not possible to publish the CLARION HERALD scheduled for October 22. We hope that you missed it!
    It is good to be able to come into your home again this week, and it is our intention to maintain a regular bi-weekly schedule in the future.
    Pray with us that the Lord might direct and use this ministry to His own glory.             -- the Editor


    Brethren from various areas have called or written during the past two weeks to make known their intention of being present for the Thanksgiving Fellowship Meeting at Landmark on November 27-28.
    We anticipate a time of positive fellowship and blessing in the Word of the Lord. Let us all pray for such a fellowship as will result in "glory to God" and the furtherance of the Gospel.
    Welcome to Rockford -- and to an unforgettable spiritual experience!