This Word of Exhortation : Introduction to Hebrews

by Keith Sharp


The author of the book of Hebrews chose not to identify himself. From the second century until the Protestant Reformation the overwhelming consensus of opinion was that Paul was its author. Since Martin Luther tentatively concluded that Apollos wrote Hebrews, scholars have increasingly agreed with his assessment. References to chains, Timothy, and prison seem to point to the apostle (10:34; 13:23). But scholars appeal to the elegant, polished Greek of Hebrews in contrast with the rough Greek of Paul’s known letters as evidence that the evangelist known for being “eloquent” and “mighty in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24) penned Hebrews. I accept the fact the author chose to be anonymous. Continue reading

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The Autonomy of the Local Church (2)

by Keith Sharp

I possess a legal document entitled, “Amended Constitution of Church of Christ – Nigeria.” This document was adopted by many churches of Christ meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State (where I taught 111 preachers in classes on the authority of the Scriptures in January, 1992), Nigeria in 2003 . While declaring, “The Church shall uphold the Supremacy of the Bible in all matters of doctrine as the standard of her practice and faith,” the document nonetheless declares, “WE THE MEMBERS of Church of Christ – Nigeria, …DO HEREBY MAKE, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES the following Constitution.” I thought the Bible was the constitution of the church of Christ. The Constitution declares the organization to be composed of churches of Christ in Nigeria. It provides for the selection of a board of trustees and states, “All landed property of the Church shall be registered in the name of the Registered Trustees.” The document decrees a “National General Meeting” of the church at least annually. It claims for the organization the power to deny any congregation the right to bear the name “Church of Christ” if they are not approved by this national organization. Continue reading

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by William J. Stewart

Someone recently pointed me to an article claiming to expose the falsehood of the Church of Christ. We will be responding to the content of the article over a period of several months. The original article, by James L. Melton, can be found at

Mr. Melton begins by quoting a single sentence from a Delton Haun tract, and concludes from it, “The Church of Christ people fail to realize that the ‘true church’ is a spiritual organism, NOT a physical organization.” The citation says no such thing. Haun acknowledged the Lord’s promise to build only one church (which He did, Matthew 16:18), and that it is identified in Scripture as His body (which it is, Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18). Continue reading

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The Autonomy of the Local Church

by Keith Sharp

There was a time all gospel preachers at least gave lip service to the principle of congregational autonomy. For example, Brother Lewis G. Hale, Bible professor at Oklahoma Christian College, wrote over 50 years ago:

We are all in agreement that each local church is separate and independent in organization from all other local churches. All of us are opposed to the destruction of autonomy. (77)

Today many have quit even giving lip service to the principle of the independence of the local church. In a 1985 publication, Brother Alvin Jennings wrote:

To sum it up, the church, the treasury and elders will be one in the urban area. Elders will allow and encourage assemblies anywhere and everywhere that men gather in the name of Jesus. Congregational autonomy will begin to fade within the city…. (71)

Continue reading

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Peaks & Valleys of Faith

by William J. Stewart

Peaks and valleys in life are a common thing. Whether we are talking about our relationships, career, health, finances, emotional well being, or faith, there will be high and low moments.

A survey of what we know about the apostle Peter’s life shows that he experienced these peaks and valleys in the faith, just like you and I. It is interesting to notice that most of the low or difficult times came on the heels of a spiritual high or occasions of growth. Let’s notice this pattern from Scripture. Continue reading

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Does God Hear and Answer Prayer Today?

by S. Leonard Tyler | via The Preceptor, April, 1985

This is a very fundamental and potent question. It strikes at the basic thoughts of whether or not there are divine blessings granted to Christians today through prayer. If God does not hear prayer today, why pray? If He hears but will not answer, what reason is there for prayer? Prayer stems from the desire of one’s heart to be heard and answered. Therefore, if there are no reasons to believe that God will hear and answer, can there be any confidence in prayer? If God hears but will not answer, to me, makes void every divine reason and kills every incentive to pray. Hearing alone kills prayer just as faith alone is dead (James 2:17, 20). It takes reason to believe that God will hear and answer prayer, to have reason to pray. And faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). What does God’s Word say? Continue reading

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For to This You Were Called


The writer identifies himself in the first verse of the book: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:1). Thus, for the Christian there is no doubt the apostle Peter is the author. This assures us the book of First Peter is inspired Scripture (cf. Ephesians 3:1-7), written with full apostolic authority (Luke 22:28-30), and is thus “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) and authoritative for our guidance to eternal life (2 Peter 3:1-2). Continue reading

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Things to Which Salvation Is Attributed

by Keith Sharp

  • God – 2 Timothy 1:8-9; Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:1
  • Grace of God – Ephesians 2:5, 8; Titus 2:11
  • Mercy of God – Titus 3:5
  • Power of God – 1 Peter 1:5
  • The Longsuffering of Our Lord – 2 Peter 3:15
  • Christ – Matthew 1:21; 18:11; Luke 9:56; 19:10; John 3:17; 10:9; 12:47; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 7:25; James 4:12
  • Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5
  • Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ – Romans 5:9-10
  • Name of Christ – Acts 4:12
  • Grace of Christ – Acts 15:11
  • The Gospel – Romans 1:16
  • The Word – James 1:21
  • Words – Acts 11:14
  • Preaching – 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:16
  • Preachers – 1 Timothy 4:16
  • The Scriptures – 2 Timothy 3:15
  • The Love of the Truth – 2 Thessalonians 2:10
  • Calling on the Name of the Lord – Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13
  • Belief – Luke 8:12; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:8-9; Ephesians 2:8
  • Repentance – 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • Confession – Romans 10:10
  • Baptism – Mark 16:16; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21
  • Work – Philippians 2:12
  • Obedience – Hebrews 5:9
  • Church Discipline – 1 Corinthians 5:5
  • Losing Our Life for Christ – Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33
  • Hope – Romans 8:24
  • Endurance – Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; 1 Corinthians 15:2
  • One Who Converts a Sinner – James 5:20

Salvation is not only by anything!

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God Only Needs One Stone

by William J. Stewart

Goliath, the Philistine giant, challenged Israel to produce a champion to fight him one on one. The loser’s people would serve the victor’s nation (1 Samuel 17:8-10). Israel did not send out a man, rather they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11).

David was too young to be in the army, but his oldest three brothers were there. Jesse sent David to his brothers and the captains of the men with provisions (1 Samuel 17:13-18). The giant issued his challenge again after David arrived in the camp, and the young man heard it. He was enraged that this “uncircumcised Philistine … should defy the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26). Not long after, he was before the king, and confidently declared, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:32). Continue reading

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The Importance of Prayer

by H.F. Sharp, Sr.  | from The Preceptor, April, 1985

In writing on the subject of the importance of prayer, let us first observe that prayer is the avenue by which we make known to God our petitions and our thanks. The Christian’s request, of course, stems from a heart that is filled with adoration and love of God: requesting the things that he needs, thanking God for the things that He has already given him, recognizing how little and insignificant we are in the sight of God.

Prayer is important first of all because God commanded it. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to pray without ceasing. Prayer is a very important thing because as the result of it our sins are forgiven. In 1 John 1:9 we read “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Continue reading

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