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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Same Old Crowd

In 1969 the Leroy Brownlow published a delightful little book entitled, Grandpa Was a Preacher. On page 12 of that book Brother Brownlow told the following story: 

    It was grandpa's contention that-it takes more than a building to make a church. To back it up, he would tell a story to emphasize the point. One day [Saturday] in the city of Eliteville the town tavern caught fire. In the excitement the tavern's parrot flew out the door and down the street where the window was up in Silk Stocking Church. The parrot flew in the window and made himself right at home. The next morning the congregation gathered for Sunday worship. The old parrot flew around all over the audience a time or two, lighted on the podium and said, "Awk-k-k! The building is different, but it's the same old crowd!"

Anyone who bothers to crack open a Bible and take even the most superficial glance will quickly, discover Christians should not be like the same old crowd they were before they came to Christ.  Christians are called by the Gospel to live a markedly distinctive lifestyle as they grow into the spiritual and moral likeness of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 4:17-21 the apostle Paul began an extended discussion . about the change that Christ brings about in a person's thinking and behavior when true conversion takes place -'This .I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." You can't miss Paul's point. There ought to be a difference as noticeable as daylight and darkness between the moral beliefs and behaviors and of those who are Christians and those who are given to sin. As Paul later says in Ephesians 5:8, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."  Darkness and light — there is nothing similar about the two. One will overcome the other. A question every Christian ought to ask him/herself is this: is my conduct righteous and holy, or more like the crowd that doesn't know Christ? The Gospel is very clear: the Lord's crowd can never be the same old crowd.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ