Influencing Lot

The New Testament calls Lot righteous. (2Pet 2:8) However, in that same verse he is said to have been “vexed” day to day. I bet you feel like that too sometimes when you look around and see all the troubles, sins and evil that surround us. Unfortunately, Lot and his family were influenced by their surroundings.

Lot had “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Ge 13:12). He had made his choice of place to live based on earthly reasoning (Gen 13:10). It says that the men of Sodom were “wicked”.

Lesson 1 – If you make your choices about relations, callings, dwellings, being guided by the “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Joh 2:16) you cannot expect God’s blessings or presence.

God had judged the people of Sodom, and therefore sent 2 angels to destroy it. Unable to find even ten righteous souls, they urged Lot to take his family and flee the city. He went to his sons in law, but they looked at him as if he were joking. (Gen 19:14)

Lesson 2 – The influence of our surroundings can draw away our families from a righteous influence. 1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

But Lot lingered. The angels had a sense of urgency about them. They knew that when God gives a command, it’s to be done. (Ge 19:15;) They even grabbed him by the hand and took him out of the city. Then his wife looked back, disobeying the order to not look back. (Gen 19:17, 26)

Lesson 3 – Why do we linger? Why do we delay to obey the Lord? And why do we look back? (Lu 9:62; Heb 11:15)

This is not a lesson on moving out to the wilderness and to create a commune. The main difference between us and Lot, is that the world is pitching it’s tent toward us. Paul warned us in (Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world:) The Lord prayed for us to be kept from evil (Joh 17:15) not to be taken out of the world. And Paul tells us to not keep company with fornicators (1Co 5:9) but not so much that we have to leave the world. This is wise, because otherwise, how would evangelism occur?

We are to influence the world, not the other way around. ( Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.)

What influences us today?

Is it TV, movies, our culture? Are we driven to make choices based on “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”? Yeah, me too.

Let me remind you, if sin were always painful, no one would do it. Sin appears to us as fun, and entertaining. Moses experienced this. (Heb 11:25) Sin can be likened to rat poison. It is 98% corn meal and 2% poison. Why do you suppose it is? If rat poison tasted nasty, no rat would ever eat it! It attracts it’s victim and then it’s influence kills.

There is a remedy to sin. When we remove something from our lives we should replace it with something else.

Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

I’m praying for you, we’re all in this together.

 

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The Faith Formula

The disciples of Christ asked Him to increase their faith. (Luke 17:5-10) His answer is very strange to me. First He tells them that true faith has no size, but then He teaches them about a servant that serves his master. At the end He says, “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.”

How does this increase our faith?

I looked into faith to learn more and found this passage about Moses in Heb 11:24-29

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

As I read this passage, I noticed a formula of faith and it relates perfectly to our Luke passage. The faith formula is this……

F=(R+ C + E) – (F, F) + (S + K + P)

FAITH = (REFUSING + CHOOSING + ESTEEMING) – (FORSAKING, FEARING) + (SEEING + KEEPING + PASSING)

Using Moses as our example, let’s see how his story line is very similar to our own…….By faith, Moses……

Refused to be called son of the devil?
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. (Joh 8:44)
He that committeth sin is of the devil;(1Jo 3:8)
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”( Joh 10:27)

Choosing to suffer for a time than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin?
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,(2Co 4:17)

Esteeming the reproach of Christ as greater riches. The reproach that Christ had to bear in his own person and also in the person of every true believer.
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.(2Co 11:23)
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2Ti 1:8)

Forsaking our lives of ease and waste. Not Fearing the culture around us
the popular opinions.
In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.(1Pe 4:4)

Seeing Jesus, with our eyes of faith. Knowing that He will come to get us.
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(Joh 20:29)

Keeping the faith
But without faith it is impossible to please Him.(Heb 11:6)
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”(Ac 4:20)

Passing through the trials set before us
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;(1Pe 4:12)
Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.(2Ti 2:10)

Do you see how this can help you endure, can increase your faith? Let me say it this way……

Is your faith low? Is your faith weak? Are you sad? Is your faith in man gone? Then let the formula of faith help you…

Serve God
Refuse sin
Choose Christ
Esteem Christ
Forsake this world
Fear God
Look to Christ
Keep the faith
Pass through this life and Endure til the end

Let’s remember one more thing about Moses…….
…having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.(Heb 11:39-40)

spencer

Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

  

What Does it Matter?

no, no, no, I’m not referring to Hillary’s Benghazi testimony so much as using it as a springboard to answer the question. This question comes up a lot, especially in matters of religion. When a person is confronted with a scripture pointing out a seemingly trivial differences in beliefs, that’s when you will hear….

What does it matter?

Though it’s often considered wrong to answer a question with a question, I want to ask this one…..What did Jesus say about a seemingly trivial matter?

Let’s look at the Sadducees questioning Jesus on the resurrection. (Mat 22:23-33) Not believing in the resurrection, they sought to test him with an example of a woman that was widowed 7 times, then herself dying also. They asked Jesus, “Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

Jesus gave a very specific answer, He said, “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Did you catch His answer? He pointed out the reason for their error was because they failed to note the TENSE of a verb. “I AM”, was spoken in the present tense, regarding Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were dead at the time of the declaration. Jesus pointing them back to the time of God calling on Moses to deliver the people from Egypt. (Ex 3:6,16)

What does it matter?

Here are just a few things we learn about scripture from this story……

  1. it’s possible to make an error with the scriptures
  2. It’s possible to underestimate the power of God
  3. The Bible writers were directed by God to use specific words
  4. We need to pay attention to word usage in the Bible

So, what is the answer to “What does it matter?” It’s that we can be mistaken, lose the meaning or otherwise make an error with our studies as we attempt to find out the will of the Lord.

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:17 )

Here’s one more question, if it’s possible to make an error with the scriptures, would it be possible to be mistaken about salvation?

spencer

Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

  

How to goof up relationships in easy 1 step

Everything we do, and everything we have, comes through the activities of people. If this is true, then we should be better than we are with our relationships. With so much practice, you’d think that we would be better at our human encounters.

Over the years I’ve noticed that everyone suffers from the same human condition. Some more than others, but all of us have the same disease. I call it, Big Shot Syndrome. That’s the condition where we show off to people in hopes of gaining new friends or impressing them. The problem is, it seldom works.

Step 1 to goof up your relationships

You see, we all have a deep seated need to be liked. To provide this to ourselves, we think we need to impress folks. It shows up in our conversations. A friend will begin telling us about their day, and instead of listening, encouraging or offering compassion, we butt in and say something like, “You should hear what happened to me!”

It matters not whether a person is speaking about happy events or sad events, we interrupt them with how our lives are better or worse than theirs. Oh stand back if we talk about our children!!

So, to goof up any relationship, talk about yourselves more than you listen to them. It shows how much you don’t really care about what’s happening in their lives. It will show how little you really think of this friend or family member, after all, you’re better than them.

The 1 rule that can save your relationships……….

….and make them like you. To fix this problem, I will offer you a simple single rule that can save any relationship, let people think you care AND it will make them LIKE you, which is the very desire from the beginning.

The Platinum rule

You’ve heard of the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but this is often misinterpreted to mean, do unto others AS they have done unto you. We treat others the way they treat us. Another way this is misinterpreted is by thinking, “I will do unto people what I don’t mind having done unto me.” This never wins friends, it just makes people annoyed.

I recommend, as do the scriptures, that we “Esteem others better than self.” Phil 2:3 The whole passage says this….

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Php 2:3 KJV

Think about it, when we avoid strife, vainglory (bragging), with humility in our hearts, interacting with people by thinking more of them than we do ourselves, they LOVE it. You do to, that’s why you’ve been trying to get it through your bragging!

Here’s how it looks in a conversation, our friend is telling us about their day, life, kid whatever. How do we use the platinum rule? We shut our mouths and LISTEN. That’s it. Simple. Just listen. Then, and this is the advanced instruction, ASK ABOUT THEM! 

When we listen, or ask about them, without selfish commentary, people will suddenly, instantly think more highly of you. They’re gonna like you. People are going to want to be around you, they’re gonna want to get to know you. It’s almost like magic!

Why does this work?

I told you before, folks just want to be liked. They want to feel included. When we allow that to happen for them, you’re giving them a gift that satisfies one of their basic psychological needs. Then, they attach that feeling of satisfaction to the person that gave it to them, YOU. Try it. More magic than I can describe here will happen for you.

Do you want more friends? Be one.

Do you want a happy spouse? Be a happy one.

Do you want great service at restaurants? Be a great customer.

The reason we don’t GET what we WANT out of relationships, is because we don’t GIVE what we CAN.

 

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

  

10 keys to a balanced life

To a workaholic, Balance is equivalent to failure. A sluggard will bemoan the fact that balance includes work. The truth is, if we fail to take time for important things, we get off kilter and fail to enjoy life to it’s fullest.

Regardless of how busy we are, here are 10 keys for a balanced life…

  1. Think: is the beginning of anything. God gave us the ability to reason, to think, and we fail to do it enough.  Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,Ps 119:148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. The trouble with people is that they just don’t think.
    • Adding this to your day;  take 15 minutes everyday to come up with 10 ideas on how to improve your life and those around you.
  2. Work: it’s the price of success. From the very beginning, man has been given work. Ge 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Retirement is not in the Bible.
    • Adding this to your day;  get a job, and treat it as if you were the owner, or better still, as if you work for God. Eph 6:5
  3. Play: – this can only fully be enjoyed after we’ve worked hard. In order for YOU to play, some work had to be done (usually by MOM).  Ecc 8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. Ec 2:24; 3:12,22; 5:18; 9:7; Jesus went to a wedding,  Joh 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.  A Friend of mine uses the opportunity of play to meet people, to get to know them and share the Gospel with them.
    • Adding this to your day; All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. Use it for exercise, use it to meet people, but never let it separate you from enjoying the rest of life. All play and no work makes jack a POOR boy!
  4. Read; I remember commercials back in the 70’s saying, “RIF Reading Is Fundamental.” How many books do you read? Kings – De 17:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God. Jesus asked in Mt 19:4 “Have you not read…”
    A man that refuses to read is no better than the Illiterate man.

    • Adding this to your day; Read a little bit every day. The average person reads less than 1 book a year. Read 1 book a month! (I’m not talking about only reading trashy novels or sci-fi, but include biographies, or I don’t know……..the BIBLE!
  5. Worship; It is for our benefit. It helps to add focus to our lives. 1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
    • Adding this to your day; Pray without ceasing, 1Thess 5:17, Assemble with the saints every Sunday, Acts 20:7.
  6. Help & enjoy friends: our friends ultimately are going to be a major source of comfort and happiness. The cure for most psychological ills come through the company we keep. Consider the friendship of Jonathan for David in 1Sa 18:1-4; 19:1-7; 20:1-42; 23:16-18. Everything we will ever have or enjoy will come through other people. Do you want a friend, be one. Do you want good service, be a good customer.
    • Adding this to your day; Make friends of God’s people. God calls Christians His CHILDREN, If that is so, how should we treat them?
  7.  Love –Though we achieve all success and substance, Without love, we are nothing.  Yet this is the most missed–element in our lives. In 1Cor 13, Love is described perfectly, never failing, never boasts, is kind and patient. Take time to Love.
    • Adding this to your day; Read 1Cor 13 and compare that to your behavior. Are you patient,  kind, do you envy others, are you rude, do you think evil?
  8. Dream: it is the foundation upon which hope is built. Another way of saying this is to set Goals. Little goals, big goals. The average person only plans til the next paycheck.  Before a ship sets sail, it lays in a coarse, it knows where it’s going. Where are you going? How will you know when you get there?
    • Adding this to your day; Do you feel you’re without hope? In Christ we have a hope of heaven. Rev 22
  9. Laugh; did you know it’s in the Bible? Have you ever seen a laughing baby, so cute. Laughter is healthy and all of us love to laugh. In Ec 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh.  Ro 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 1Th 5:16 Rejoice evermore. Php 4:4; Luke 6:21 you shall laugh.
    • Adding this to your day; hang out with your friends, listen to good clean comedians, or look up videos of laughing babies.
  10. Plan: It’s the secret of being able to have time for the first nine things. This is different from dreaming, this is about taking control of your day.  God is a planner – 1Pe 1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
    • Adding this to your day; In the morning, get up just a bit earlier, and after you’ve prayed, map out your day. Include time to work on your dreams. If you take control of your days, your life will take care of itself. Today is the only day you can manage.

Before BALANCE can happen, one must be in Christ. Are you in Christ? If no, then your life will always be out of balance.

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

  

Why do we need instrumental music?

……we’ve god God’s instruments?

It has been said that Mozart considered the human voice to more nearly approach perfection in music than any instrument. As a man, unable to carry a tune in a bucket, I agree.

The arguments for using instrumental music in worship go like this………

  • It enhances the worship
  • the Bible doesn’t say we can’t (note all the “not”ty words)
  • We enjoy worship better
  • We will attract more people if we have a band (the hip hop church http://bit.ly/1mjEhLp)
  • They used instruments in the Old Testament

What is the problem with these arguments? Can you see it? Non of them appeal to the New Testament for their reasoning. Without boring you in this post with the entire study of how to determine scriptural authority, I will appeal to just one.

That which God specifies, automatically negates all other options.

This is a very common explanation for all of us. We use this reasoning every day. If you say to your kid, “Bring me a cup of coffee”, and he brings you a cup of coffee AND a coke, has he obeyed you? If you use the reasoning above, then yes. You must drink both beverages.

  • The coke enhances the drinking of coffee (opinion)
  • You didn’t tell him NOT to bring you a coke
  • You enjoy coke don’t you?

Obviously we would disagree with that. Then why do we fail to see the same line of logic is flawed when looking into the scriptures? Let me prove this point using the Bible. In 2King 5, Naaman was told by Elisha to go and dip seven times in the Jordan river. Look at his response…..

2Ki 5:11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. KJV

What did Naaman suggest he do instead of obeying the words of the man of God?

  • I thought…..come out….stand….call on the name of the Lord…..stike his hand.
  • Are not the rivers of Damascus BETTER?
  • May I not wash in them?

We see the very same reasoning today. “I think”, “Wouldn’t this be better than that?” Would the instrument be better? Sure, if we were appealing to the authority of man, but using the instrument fails in one regard. It disobeys God.

God said………..

  • Ac 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
  • Ro 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
  • 1Co 14:15 ¶ What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
  • Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
  • Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  • Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
  • Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

All would agree that when we worship, we must all sing. The basic command of “singing” is unchangeable. The disagreement and division enters in when we want to include a particular style of instrument. We divide, even within a denomination when the instrument is added. Some desire a “contemporary” worship, others desire a more “modern” worship and still others want a “hip hop” church. What about a cowboy worship singing just country songs? How about blue grass? What about Beatles music? If not, why not?

Your next question will be this, “So, Spencer, you just want worship to be dry and boring right?”

I’ll answer that question when you answer this one…..Will you become angry at the message of God when it contradicts with the way YOU think?

Isa 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

 

spencer

Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

   

I’m unworthy to serve

What do you do, as a Christian, when your life is a shambles?

We attempt to disappear, becoming invisible. By becoming less involved.
We feel we’re unqualified to serve, assist, give aid because we have been such a failure.
We feel we’re unqualified to evangelize. Why would anyone believe us since we’ve failed in so many ways?
The worst is we feel so dejected, thinking our lives should be better now that we’re saved. We begin to think and act as if saying, “What’s the point?”

Is that you? Don’t be shy, because many times it’s me also!

So what is a Christian to do when it seems that nothing is working?
  • We can look at Moses….
    • losing the ability to enter the Promised land, pleading to go in. De 1:37; 3:23-29;
    • yet at the transfiguration of Jesus, Mt 17:3-4
  • We can look at Joshua….
    • He and Caleb had to endure 40 years of wandering also, Nu 32:13,
    • yet entering the promised land to lead the people of Israel to serve God. Nu 27:18-23
  • We can look at David….
    • Committed adultery with Bathsheba, lied, caused another to get drunk, conspired to murder; 2Sam 11
    • yet still called, “..a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” Ac 13:22
  • We can look at Elijah….
    • requested that he might die; and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life;” 1Ki 19:4
    • yet continuing on passing his mantle to Elisha 2Ki 2:1
  • We can look at Paul….
    • made havoc of the church, Acts 8, persecuting, death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. Ac 22:4
    • yet becoming a great evangelist and Apostle, writing 13 books of our New Testament.
  • We can look at Peter….
    • Denier of Christ, cursing & swearing, Mark 14:70,71
    • yet a preacher of the gospel, preaching in spite of imprisonment, Acts 2 & 4

How sad it is that we fail to serve fully because we feel so unworthy, being so imperfect in our lives. I’ve got news for you, we are all unworthy! (Lu 17:10 We are unprofitable servants)

The reality is this, we are BETTER servants because of our failures. We are able to identify, have compassion and empathize with one another. As humans together, we can sympathize with one another, facing the same trials as everyone else.

Paul himself had a major “thorn in the flesh” that he pleaded with the Lord three times to have removed. Look at what the Lord said to him……

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Co 12:9

Paul’s response gives us even further encouragement…..

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2Co 12:10

Let us serve in spite of our troubles. Through Christ, our weakness gives us strength. So let me give you a little PEP talk……(inspired from a talk given by Scott Futrell)

  1. Pray – ask God for strength, boldness, help. In 1Co 10:13, it says; There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  2. Engage – get involved, become a servant of God despite your sorrows and your pains. An incredible thing will happen, you will get strength. From God, from other members, and you just may be able to help someone else. Mt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
  3. Persevere – stick with it. Remain faithful, for a reward awaits you at the end of this life when the Lord comes to receive His own. Re 2:10 …be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

One more thing, we have a sympathetic Savior…..

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:15, 16

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

  

God Wants Unity Too

The other day a man said, “All us protestants need to get together.” Yes, unity would be great. I just have 1 question, How would that look? This is no new issue, men of old have been discussing this for years. So, I turn to a gospel preacher from a number of years ago…….

by Robert F. Turner

There seems to be two general philosophies for attaining unity in religion. One school urges men to find their own middle ground — something on which all can agree — making whatever compromise is necessary on the part of each human faction. The other recognizes Gods truth as the only proper basis for unity; but they find it difficult to agree on what constitutes this truth, so they put their hopes in unity in diversity — seeking a level of understanding acceptable to all human parties, and expecting God to be satisfied with this level.

In each case men seem determined to whittle on Gods end of the stick. All agree that unity demands a common ground, and since we are thinking of unity in religion (before God) it follows that God and man are the ultimate parties to be reconciled. God must be taken into consideration; a ground found that is acceptable to God as well as man. Mans free agency gives him the power of choice, to accept or reject, but when men begin to judge the law and declare this part of Gods law essential, that part non-essential, they are whittling on Gods end of the stick. They act as though God had done nothing — made no sacrifice — to unite men among themselves, and to Himself.

Note: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:19) Jesus said, sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Jn. 17:17) And Jesus prayer for unity among men was a prayer for those who believe on me through their (Apostles, rt) word. (Jn. 17:20) Gods end of the stick includes the means (Christ) and the instructions (inspired word) for unity acceptable to God.

To contend that men can not come to a common understanding of Gods word (of reconciliation) is to argue that Gods part is imperfectly done. To require more, or less, or a substitution for Gods word, is to reject the completeness of divinity. God wants men united — apparently far more than we want to be united. Have we no faith in Gods desire and plan?

When two men understand and act upon a single step of Gods truth, they are united upon that step. It doesnt make them fellow-Christians. but it makes them fellow-learners. If one stops there, while the other continues to learn and obey, they are separated — cease to be fellow -learners.  They can become fellow -Christians by continuing to learn and obey Gods truth (remember God determines this level, not man. This discussed p. ii.) or they can be further separated by the difference in their willingness to trust in God. (Matt. 10:32-f) In all cases God furnishes the means of unity, but it is up to man to use these means.

A divided church is a monument to the shameful fact that men have been and are unwilling to use Gods means of unity. Some may be over—scrupulous (Rom. 14:) (see p. 7) and both sides may err in understanding and practice but THE FAULT lays with those who refuse to continue joint Bible study.

This was from the September 1969 issue of “Plain Talk

 

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10