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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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How Does the Gospel Grade You

A little boy, burdened with a number of challenges at home, was praying in Bible class. He poured out his heart for his family and then, at the close of the prayer, he declared, "In Jesus' name, two men." Gently the teacher encouraged, "No, son, it's Amen." The boy replied, "I thought that since I was praying for such big things, I needed more than just one!" When was the last time you said, "Amen?" Roughly 3,500 years ago, on the plains of Moab, Moses instructed the people of Israel, once they were in Canaan, to divide themselves into two groups. One group was to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, and one on Mount Ebal to curse (that is pronounce aloud the curses contained in the law for different acts of disobedience.). Deuteronomy 27:15-26 contains a list of 12 specific curses to be read to the assembled congregation by the Levites. Check it out in your Bible and you will find that after each curse was read, the people were to make a united response: "And all the people shall say, `Amen!' " When was the last time you heard all the people say, "Amen?" When was the last time you heard any of the people say, "Amen?" Years ago I ran across an excellent article entitled "Say `Amen' Brethren" by John Simpson (included below in its entirety). When you get through reading it, say "Amen!"

The church of the New Testament had her background, establishment and growth in a largely unsophisticated society. But most of our pews would be empty today if these good people had been inhibited in shouting "Amen' at the reading and preaching of God's Word We are not the people our ancestors were. We have been buttoned down by the restraints of middle-class good taste, and our worship frequently is a mirror of good taste, non- involvement, and sitting on our hams. We have not rejected saying "Amen" because it is scripturally unsound, but because it might commit us. Our ancestors could say "Amen' during a sermon but we do not want to get that involved — especially not in public; it demands too great a risk of commitment. When Nehemiah stood before Israel calling for commitment, all the congregation said, "Amen' (Nehemiah 5:13). Ezra read the book of the law to Israel and all the people answered, "Amen, Amer,' (Nehemiah 8:6). David instructed Israel when they worshiped to let all the people say, "Amen" (Psalm 106.48). Paul insisted that the congregation say Amen' at the giving of thanks (1 Corinthians 14.:16). "Amen,' meaning "so be it," is used 27 times in the Old Testament and 48 times in the New Testament in praise or worship to God. Say "AMEN' Brethren!!

Dan Gulley
church of Christ
Smithville, Tennessee