June 5, 2016

In this issue: Do Something for Someone Else by Dee Bowman | By Grace Through Faith...But When? by Bill Hall

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Do Something for Someone Else Graphic

by Dee Bowman

The human character never functions at a higher level than when it is involved in doing for others. In what is often described as the Golden Rule, Jesus spoke of doing for others as you would have them do for you. In His great commandment concerning discipleship, Jesus spoke of self-denial as the key element. The so-called greatest commandment of all, says that love your neighbor is like unto the love of God.

Giving is the highest essence of human endeavor. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). The Epistles are replete with charges that Christians should place the good of others before themselves (Philippians 2:4; Romans 12:10, etc.). Selflessness is a fitting description of our Savior who gave Himself for our sins.

Conversely, all sin is in some way connected to selfishness. Commands are disobeyed out of a selfish intention and that results in sin. Selfishness is at the root of all sin.

Care for one another is a sign of love. Looking past warts and imperfections toward usefulness and concern is a sign of love. Love promotes cooperation between those who genuinely care for Christ and His cause and prohibits useless wranglings and senseless quarrels.

Two elderly women suffered incapacitating strokes. One’s left side was paralyzed, the other’s right. Each had before been an excellent pianist, but was denied the privilege of playing on account of the stroke. The director of a nursing home where they were lodged knew of their common interest in the piano and introduced them. Soon they were making beautiful music—together, one playing the left hand, the other the right. Unselfishness promotes unity, makes bad situations good, brings happiness out of adversity.

There is no better way to actualize selflessness than to do something for someone else. It gets you outside of yourself. It projects you into the situations around you and, if motivated by love and concern, makes every circumstance and every situation better. And most of the time it costs nothing. And even if it does cost something, more often than not, it’s worth the expenditure.

I ran across this years ago. Let me share it with you.

“The world is encumbered with sorrow and care,
With longing for happiness everywhere.
If then you could lighten the burden of life
And lessen its toil and its worry and strife,
Do something for somebody else.

We rush madly on in our daily careers,
And each take his measure of smiles and tears.
We flippantly mingle the bad and the good,
Nor seemingly care for the fact that we should,
Do something for somebody else.

Each plays his small part in life’s feverish game,
And scrambles for honor and riches and fame;
Grows selfish and craven and full of distrust.
Yet if we could truly be happy, we must,
Do something for somebody else.

Oh, you who are full of complaining and fears,
Who think but of self through the slow-moving years.
Pray let me describe for life’s fevers and chills,
Its mental and moral and physical ills,
Do something for somebody else.

Do something for somebody else and forget
Your own petty troubles—why worry and fret?
Let love in your heart be forever enshrined;
He loves most who gives most of self to mankind.
Do something for somebody else.” (Anonymous)

And could I add something else? It doesn’t have to be something big. Sometimes just a smile to say “I care.” Sometimes just a hug or a pat on the shoulder to say, “You’re special.” Sometimes just a simple smile or a “hello” or an “I understand” will do. Do something for somebody else. It all adds up. It all adds up to good. ~

By Grace Through Faith...But When?

by Bill Hall

For one to be scripturally baptized, he must allow human hands to lower him into a watery grave and to raise him up from that watery grave in a likeness of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

But while that resurrection is taking place, effected by human hands, a resurrection of far greater significance is taking place, effected not by human hands, but by the hands of almighty God. For the same God who made Jesus alive from the dead, and raised Him up to sit at His own right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:20-23), makes us alive from spiritual death and raises us up together with Christ that we might sit with Him in the heavenly places.

"And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins … but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:1-6).

How do we come to be raised together with Christ? It is by grace (God's unmerited favor) coupled with our faith. "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory" (Eph. 2:8,9).

So many, however, who have come to recognize how we are raised with Christ have failed to recognize when we are raised with Him. We are raised with Him in baptism. A parallel passage, Col. 2:12, says so: "Having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead."

We thus establish a parallel between Eph. 2:8,9 and Col. 2:12. The two passages are not contradictory. They are complementary, Eph. 2:8,9 telling how one is raised with Christ (by grace through faith) and Col. 2: 12 telling when this takes place (at baptism). When one is brought to see this parallel, he will then be able to see that the faith of Eph. 2:8,9 is an active, obedient faith that includes, among other things, baptism. Baptism is essential to salvation! ~

All articles in this issue by way of the Auburn Beacon.

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