This article begins a new series by respected brethren dealing with the challenges facing assemblies as we enter a new century.
“Forever, 0 Lord, The Word is Settled in Heaven” (Ps 119:89).
As the 21st Century dawns we are impressed with tremendous technological, social, and moral changes. In the next century we can anticipate even more changes if the Lord doesn’t come (2 Tim 3:13). This is unsettling to many. The Christian, however, can turn to the holy Scriptures which provide reliability, strength, and infallible guidance in his personal, family, and assembly spheres.
As individuals in this new century, we will need to read the Scriptures more frequently and study them more systematically. This will mean giving greater attention to meditating upon, memorizing, and applying them to life’s day-by-day circumstances. Only in this way will we have courage in the midst of troubling trends. Only in this way will we be stable and preserved in our testimony for God. “By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer” (Ps 17:4). Are we definitely prepared to give the Scriptures greater attention?
As families, we need the Word of God to regulate our homes. Husbands and wives must bring the unchanging Word of God into every aspect of their relationship. At a time when marriages increasingly fail, the Scriptures are our source of hope and preservation. Similarly, children will need to hear the Word of God read regularly and see it consistently practiced at home. “From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures” (2 Tim 3:15). In this way, they will grow up knowing God’s principles in a world that creates disillusionment by its lack of principles. Is the Word of God being read and revered in your home? Will it be in the year 2000?
Finally, assemblies gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ will need to cling tenaciously to the Scriptures in upcoming years. In religious circles today, practices are based on compromise and “moving with the times” – doing that which is “politically correct.” Our principles and practices, however, must be like the Word of God itself, always the same. The gospel will need to clearly delineate man’s ruin and the sufficiency of Christ’s work to meet that need. The distinctive principles of gathering will need to be taught to a new generation of believers. Teaching, Bible readings, and care for one another will need to be based on the Word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit. The truth will need to be spoken in love (Eph 4:15).
If the Lord does not come in the near future and we are spared to live ten or twenty years into the new century, what will we be like in the sight of God? Will He be able to say, “Thou hast kept My Word and hast not denied My Name?” (Rev 3:8).