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Written by Lee Hanks   

"Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."-Rom. 14:19

Advocate and Messenger, May 1944

Peace is good in the home, in the school, among neighbors, nationally and especially in the church of God. There is nothing gained and much lost by having confusion. It is good to see a well disciplined family. Husband should be kind, good, affectionate and appreciative to his wife and hold her in highest esteem and love her more dearly than any other woman on earth, and that he has forsaken all others for her. The wife should see that she loves and respects her husband and she reverences him above all other men. The husband and wife should be very careful never to speak harshly or unkindly to each other. Labor t make home happy. they should be kind to their children, but firm and see they reverence and obey them. Parents should not obey their children and grant them all of their desires, for parents should know better what is good for their children than the children know for themselves. Children should love, reverence, respect and obey their parents and never visit any place or do anything contrary to the wishes of their parents. They should love home and spend much of their time at home caring for their parents in doing all they can to lessen their burdens and never speak unkindly to them. Should be careful to keep good company or none. If all will live as they should, there will be peace in that home which is sweet and so much to be enjoyed. A girl that will not be kind and obedient to her mother will be unkind to her husband. A good chaste kind upright woman whose life is above reproach, wields the greatest influence for good and upright living and is a blessing in the community where she lives.

Neighbors should be kind and obliging and always ready to go each other a favor when possible. If you will be a good neighbor yourself you will have good neighbors, and apt to live in peace with them. What a blessing I would be for hostilities to cease and universal peace among the nation could be restored! Many precious mother would rejoice to receive the good news from their sons, "Mother, the war is over, peace is restored and I am coming home." There would be national rejoicing to know our nations are all in peace. Peace among nations cannot be too highly prized.

Peace in the church is worth striving for, seeking, praying, walking, and making every lawful sacrifice to obtain. To obtain and preserve this peace, we should be followers of God as dear children and walk in love. We should put off the old man with his deeds, crucify the flesh with its afflictions and lusts, mortify the deeds of the body. When we were burdened down under that great burden of sin and condemnation and saw the justice of God in our eternal condemnation. We were then killed to the love of sin. We were made to hate sin with all its harmful effects. We did not want to get drunk, follow the sinful lusts of the flesh, dances, take the name of the Lord in vain, curse, steal, or commit sin any longer. We then had our fill of sin. Our cry then was for mercy: "God be merciful to me, a poor sinner." We felt to be lost forever lost! The breathings of our poor soul was prayer to God. When expecting banishment from His presence there was and inward peace sprang up in our souls that filled our souls with love, peace, praise and thanksgiving to God for His amazing mercy and grace in saving such a poor sinner. We could now join the angelic host in exclaiming: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men." If all of us could have remained with such heavenly feelings in our souls we would have always had peace in the church. There would have been no malice, no jealousy among preachers, no hate-hunting no bar of fellowship over some little hobby, no saying, "Stand by thyself; come not near to me, I am holier than thou", no strife about words to no profit, no making a brother an offender for a word, no preachers selfwilled and lording it over God's heritage, no wholesale dead lives drawn against innocent churches and associations without one step of gospel labor, no meddling with the internal rights of other churches and associations, none so acting as to divide churches and associations (Rom. 16:17), no recognizing lawfully expelled members, no tolerating immoral or ungodly conduct in one's own church, no introducing unscriptural doctrines and practices that divide the church of God, none so carnal in their walk and conversation that they would have to be tagged to tell they were members, none letting their obligation to the church be a secondary matter. These things are of the flesh which produce death to the child of God that follow its dictates. There are two natures in the child of God, one of the flesh, Gal. 2:15; (I Cor 11:14; Eph. 2:3), the other is the Divine Nature (II Pet. 1:4). There is a warfare in the child of God between the flesh and renewed spirit (Gal. 5:16, 17, 22, 23, 24). Paul describes the warfare as experienced by every child of God. (Rom. 7:15-25). When we follow the promptings of flesh, we fall and leave our first love. This was the condition of the church at Ephesus which had done may things commendable, but the Lord had somewhat against her because she had left her first love. (Rev. 2:4). She was commanded to repent and do her first works. This was for her to do this. No other church could do this for her. The Lord had something against the church of the Laodicians. She was in a condition like, I fear, many are in today-lukewarm-neither cold nor hot, indifferent, careless unconcerned, serve God as a secondary matter, will go to town to picture shows, ball games, birthday dinners, or some worldly entertainment instead of going to the house of God to hear the gospel preached and meet the saints. They can find fault with others, hard to please and can see no wrong in themselves. If he should have made grave departures, he cannot see where he is wrong or has any steps to retrace. This seemed to be the condition of this church: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind, and naked."" (Rev. 3:15-18). This is a sad state for a gospel church!

Even in the Apostolic age each local church, then as well as now, composed of regenerated sinners of Adam's fallen race each of whom possessed sinful natures and were subject to make mistakes. Unworthy characters, all the way, have gotten into the church and caused trouble, discipline has had to be enforced. When the church at Corinth met together they excluded the fornicator which they alone had the right and authority to do (I Cor. 5:1-13). Afterwards he repented and was restored by Corinth Church to their fellowship (II Cor. 2:1-13; 7:8-12). This they alone had the right to do. The Apostle Paul, no other preacher, no other deacon, no other church but the church at Corinth had the right or authority to exclude and restore the offender after he suffered sufficiently and repented. This course was safe then for each local church and it is safe today. No other church each local church and it is safe today. No other church or preacher interfered. Eld. S. Hassell. p. 291 said: "A visible church is always in the scriptures a local body; and every local church, acting by majority of its members is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, disciplining, excluding and restoring its members, and transacting all other necessary business." To this I can say, Amen.

I have seen things in churches that I did not endorse. I could not regulate their affairs. I try to teach what I think is right and labor to keep our people united. I want to have all necessary forbearance as a pastor. Jeremiah 23:1; Ezekial 34th chap. It is good for each preacher and church to obey the command of the Lord to Hezekiah: "Set thine house in order." Isa. 38:1. If each woman will sweep her own house all the houses will be swept. This should be done. If a woman's house is a little filthy, she would not like her neighbor to come over and sweep her house for her. That might cause trouble. This is good and safe: "Take heed unto thyself." "Get the beam out of thine own eye." "Examine yourselves." "Confess your faults one to another." He that saith he hath no sin, he deceiveth himself, and the truth is not in him." (I John 1:8). "There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not." It is safe for us to spend much time in prayer for guidance and meddlest with strife belonging not to him is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." X X X "where no word is, there the fire goest out; so where there is not talebearer the strife ceaseth." X X "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein." (Prov. 26:17, 20, 27). "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (I John 3:14-16). "We ought to love one another." "Love covers a multitude of sins." We should not speak evil one of another. "For where envy and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work. But if ye bite and devour one another take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." "All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword." Whoso keepest his mouth and his tongue, keepest his soul from troubles." "If it be possible, as much as in you is, live peaceably with all men." "Overcome evil with good." "Do not return railing for railing." "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling." (Prov. 20: 3; 9:8). The old year with its many joys and sorrows, heartaches, bitter tears, sad hearts on the account of the loss of loved ones and mistakes in words or deed is now numbered with the past. We cannot recall a misspent day. May the year 1944 be better than the past. May we all live closer to God, may more love be manifested. May we have universal peace among churches and associations, and have sweet jubilee year among all true Old Baptists. I love them all. I can thank all precious brethren and friends for all kindness shown me in gifts, messages of love in letters and Christmas cards and otherwise. If I shall not live to see the close of this year I want to say to all you, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." Amen.

Lee Hanks

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