Those that will RESIST your progress

Stephen made this statement about the Jews of his day; “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:51)

This is an astounding claim, that some resist the Holy Ghost. As astounding as that is, we all can attest to this fact.

Not only are there those who resist the Holy Ghost, but there are those who try to resist YOU as you seek to obey Him.

The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem. Who are those who RESIST our progress?

People that will RESIST us seek to obey Christ.

First, there will be those who attempt to deceive us and rob us of our reward. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6; cf. Col 2:4,8,18)

Second, there will be those who will be mockers of our enlightenment in Christ. “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” (Acts 24:26; cf Acts 17:32)

The third kind of people who will resist us are the selfish & superficial people. They will often misquote Matt 7:1, “Judge not…” as they resist the commands of God against sin. This type of person appeals to stories & situations as they attempt to draw us away after their own lusts & desires.

The fourth type of person resists us accidentally. They may be hindering us inadvertently because they are living their lives free of concern for the moral principles of God. These have an affect on the world around us, vexing our spirits. (cf. 2Pet 2:7-8)

The fifth person is personal. It is us. Sometimes our biggest resistance is from our own Sowing & Reaping. We can sow sparingly, sow to the wind, sow to the flesh, sow spiritual things, sow iniquity and sow wickedness. (Gal 6:7-8; 2Cor 9:6; 1Cor 9:11; Hos 8:7; Prov 22:8; Job 4:8). We reap what we sow.

Lastly, there are those who, for whatever reason, are just trouble makers. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Rom 16:17) Some people are just mean; Meddlers, Egotistical, Accusers, and Negative.

Whoever it is, we can RESIST them & draw near to God. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

It’s Up to You

God gave you this day to do just as you would

You can throw it away – or do some good.

You can make someone happy, or make someone sad.

What have you done with the day that you had?

God gave it to you to do just as you would,

You could do what is wicked, or do what is good.

You can hand out a smile, or just give ’em a frown,

You can lift someone up, or push someone down.

You can lighten a load, or some progress impede.

You can look for a rose or just gather some weed.

What did you do with your beautiful day?

God gave it to you; did you throw it away?

Author unknown

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:35-40)

Does it MATTER what we Believe pt2

Part Two:

Part one in answering our question 3 points were made in the last article…

Now we will offer three more points as we answer the question…

Does it MATTER what one believes?

When someone tells you to “choose the church of your choice,” what they’re appealing to is YOUR wants & wishes and NOT GOD’S. This is not an appeal to authority of God; it is an appeal to THEIR BELLY. This is not my opinion; this is what the bible says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Phil 3:19)

Another way we usually see this is when people try to defend unscriptural practices. They often make an appeal to an emotional situation. Instead of looking for a ‘thus saith the Lord,’ they will give you a ‘thus saith my feelings.’ What they fail to realize is that they have made THEIR BELLY THEIR GOD. Feelings are subjective and can be deceived. Did you know that it’s not possible to know through just feelings if God is with you? “And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (Judge 16:20)

The way to know is by searching the scriptures. The Bereans were called NOBLE because they were Not Gullible (Eph 4:14; 5:6), had Opened their hearts while they Opened the scriptures (Prov 2:1-5), had Belief based on Looking through the scriptures daily (Rom 10:17), and this Earnest Endeavor made it possible for them to know the truth.

If it doesn’t MATTER, then all the little ‘g’ gods are EQUAL to the One Omnipotent God of heaven. Did you know that the bible says it’s possible to hear another Jesus, another gospel, by another spirit? Paul wrote warning us about a perverted gospel.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2Cor 11:4)

Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal 1:7)

None of these false teachers were trying to win you over by convincing you of doing some harm. Paul said that they appeared as “the ministers of righteousness.” Satan himself using the mask as “an angel of light.” (2Cor 11:13-15) If it’s possible to be deceived by a false gospel, spirit, or Jesus, then it DOES MATTER what one believes.

An extension of the last point, since it’s possible to follow a false Jesus, it must then be concluded that it’s possible to be RELIGIOUS and wrong.

Paul warned the Colossian Christians against false RELIGIOUS practices. “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Col 2:23) “Will Worship” refers to self-developed RELIGIOUS practices. We see this all the time, people deciding on man made RELIGIOUS practices foreign to the scriptures.

This is nothing new, we can read about it in Leviticus 10. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

Nadab and Abihu had just been trained on what God wanted. They altered the pattern and were immediately struck. While God doesn’t demonstrate His disapproval in this way today, it doesn’t mean He is pleased with our altering of the pattern for New Testament practices.

CONCLUSION:

If it doesn’t MATTER what one believes than any and all beliefs, even one’s contrary to the others is ok.

  • Does it MATTER that one religion to deny Christ, while the other says that He is the way the truth and the life? (John 14:6)
  • Does it MATTER that the bible calls out sin, while man-made doctrine says it isn’t a sin? (1Cor 6:9-11)
  • Does it MATTER that the bible says “baptism doth also now save us,” while man says that baptism has nothing to do with salvation? (1Peter 3:21)
  • Does it MATTER that some will say we’re saved by faith alone when the bible says we’re not? (Jas 2:14-26)
  • Does it MATTER that some say you can never lose your salvation when the bible says you can? (Gal 5:4; Heb 2:1-3)

It does MATTER what we believe. Your eternal soul is at stake.

Does it MATTER what one Believes?

Does it MATTER what we Believe? part one.

Toward the end of nearly every discussion about the divisive state of the religious world, one will usually say something like this…

“You can’t tell me my sweet grandma (could be neighbor, friend or relative), who never went to church (or did go to a denomination ‘religiously’), who was kind to people and animals, who never said a bad word or did a bad thing, who helped anyone that asked, is lost. She was so very sincere in what she believed.”

Instead of approaching the idea of whether sincerity saves, let’s ask the question:

Does it MATTER what one believes?

Usually in these discussions we can agree that certain very wicked people are lost (the Hitlers and the pedophiles of the world). Are the kind and the sincere who didn’t follow the bible totally saved because of their sincerity and goodness?

We’ll set aside the fact that those who say this are suggesting a ‘works based’ salvation, which they would normally condemn. We will just look at the Bible and ask, does it MATTER?

Does it MATTER what we believe?

Most would agree that we ought to obey GOD rather than MAN. (Acts 5:29). Jesus was critical of those that created doctrines contrary to the doctrine of God.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:7-8a)

Usually, they will agree with this point that you have to believe in God, in Christ and in the Bible. But when it comes to saying that the non-Christian religious people are lost, they stop short saying; “I’m not the judge.” This is the fallacy of equivocation. We’re not judging their hearts, we’re making righteous judgment with the Word of God. (cf. Mat 7:1-2)

Paul had ‘judged’ that the Jews of his day were not saved; “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom 10:1-2). He had discerned from the Truth of God’s word that they had not obeyed the gospel and therefore were not saved.

Which brings us to our next point about “does it MATTER,” does your belief AGREE with the Doctrine of Christ?

In both Old and the New Testaments, one had to have a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for their beliefs and actions. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) When King David desired to build a Permanent Temple for God, he was prohibited because he didn’t have a command from God, there was no scriptural command to do this good thing. Therefore, it was a wrong thing. (2Sam 7:1-7)

Here’s the point, God’s word is Objective Truth. It is transparent, researchable, universal to all, for the thinking person, and it is heavenly (cf. James 3:17). Compare the objective Word of God to the subjective, shifting sand of a person’s heart. (Mat 7:24-29) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14)

David appealed to the subjective standard of his feelings. He was pointed toward the OBJECTIVE, fixed standard of God’s Word. We’re told not to go beyond what is written (2Cor 4:13), speak as the oracles of God (1Pet 4:11), the commandments of the Lord (1Cor 14:37), the inspired Scriptures (2Tim 3:16-17), using the words chosen by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:9-13), and not to add to nor take away from the Word (Rev 22:18-19).

Then, in this 3rd point, when we have an objective standard, called the TRUTH (John 17:17), we have an ability to search the scripture to find out if what we feel is true (Acts 17:11).

Did you know it’s possible to feel secure and not know the Lord has departed from you? (Judges 16:20) Did you know it’s possible to believe a lie? (1Kings 13:18; cf. 2Thess 2:9-12)

By reading & studying God’s word, we can Know the truth and be set free from the bondage of lies, sin, and the corruption of this life. (John 8:32; 12:48; cf. James 1:25; 2:12)

6 Verses that COMPEL me

When speaking about being compelled, we often think that someone is forcibly moving us to do something we don’t want to do.

God doesn’t do that. We obey God because of our love for Him, and because of our reverential belief in who He is, and what He can and will do.

We do this willingly because we believe Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

We’re willing participants.

Another way of saying compelled is with the word motivation. I am emotionally motivated by God’s word. We know the will of God only through His divine word. The Bible has many motivating passages, but I wanted to look at just 6 passages that COMPEL (motivates) me to be a better child of God.

The first is what CHRIST said He will say on the judgment day. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46; cf. Mat 7:21-23)

Another equally compelling passage is about OBEYING the gospel. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2Thess 1:8; Heb 5:8-9). False teachers claim that there’s nothing a person can do to be saved. But that’s why they’re false teachers.

Moving on to living Godly in Christ, this next passage compels me to do better. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5). To MORTIFY your members is to kill off sin in your life. That’s serious language. He’s not advocating self-harm, rather he’s illustrating the seriousness of sin.

Within this same chapter, Paul adds details that continue to motivate me to living Godly, “PUT off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” “PUT on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:8-17)

Some wonder why I’m so vocal about the Bible. When we realize our helpless condition, and the salvation only through Christ Jesus, we are compelled to obey the Gospel. Then comes the realization that people you love are lost if they die in their sins. Therefore, I’m compelled to EVANGELIZE to the lost world. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:9-11; cf. Mat 28:18-19)

The last, but certainly not the least passage that compels me is actually several; those passages about LOVE. It’s best to read them and let them be their own commentary…

  1. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37)
  2. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3)
  3. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1John 4:7-8)
  4. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” (Luke 6:27)
  5. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1John 2:15-17)

Which bible passages compel you?

4 Wise Little Creatures pt3/4 Locusts

the UNITY of the Locusts.

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

This article looks at another wise creature, the Locusts; “The locusts have no king, Yet go they forth all of them by bands;” (Prov 30:27)

The wisdom of the Locusts is about UNITY. Today, our society has a perverted view of UNITY. It’s being defined as having conflicting goals, conflicting agendas, and conflicting beliefs yet calling ourselves one. Is that what the Bible says?

While there’s something to be said about being kind to people with different beliefs, biblical UNITY is about so much more.

We are to be kind and to live in peace with all; “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18) However, biblical UNITY stretches far beyond just living at peace with folks. Unity could be explained on a spectrum…

UNIVERSALLY, we’re all living creatures, but are we in unity just because we have existence? Let’s ask the wolf & the lamb.

We often times define unity on a NATIONAL level, but we all recognize that this kind of unity is fleeting.

Unity can be seen by the INSTITUTIONS people agree together to support. This gets us closer to understanding unity.

TRUTH has the best chance of bringing about unity, but we have trouble unifying when everybody has their own truth.

A final approach to unity can be defined as two or more YEARNING for the same goal, agenda, or purpose. This is where we will learn the wisdom of the LOCUSTS, Unity through a desire for the same thing.

Calling for UNITY requires those unifying to come together under a set of core values and goals. What are some unifying qualities found in the scriptures?

A great place to start is with the words of Paul found in Ephesians 4; “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Here we see that unity is UNITY of the Spirit. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul writes about the ONENESS of the body, the Spirit, hope, Lord, Faith, Baptism and One God and Father of all. Here we learn that UNITY of the Spirit is more about God and less about self.

We try to define UNITY through our own agenda, but this would lead to as many agendas as there are people in the world. Biblical Unity is UNITED with the purposes of God.

This brings us to a second idea about how to find UNITY; we will never find unity through NARCISSISM. Biblical UNITY is seen in selflessness not selfishness, Christ being the best example. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

A third passage that clearly defines UNITY is 1Cor 1:10; “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” This UNITY only works IN Christ.

Building on these three we realize the need for this fourth piece of UNITY. An orchestra cannot be in unity while everyone plays from a different sheet of music, so too the church cannot be united without the TIMELESS Word of God, His Scripture. “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160).

Lastly, People coming together with varying levels of maturity can achieve UNITY if we all have a YEARNING to do the Will of the Lord. “Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” (1Peter 2:1-2). May this wisdom of the Locusts can help us to develop Biblical Unity.

4 Wise Little Creatures pt2/4 ROCK badger

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

This article looks at another wise creature, the ROCK Badger; “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” (Prov 30:26)

While we may not readily recognize this animal, we do know that they are considered weak, yet make their houses among the rocks.

It is these qualities that will be the focus of this article.

The obvious lesson has two elements. The first is easy, we are the “feeble folk,” “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom 5:6).

The second element is a little bit trickier, but all relate to one another. The ROCK in the New Testament is spoken of in 3 ways; 1) Christ is the ROCK, (1Cor 10:4), 2) The sayings of Christ are also called a ROCK (Mat 7:24; Luke 6:48), and 3) The good confession that Jesus is the Christ, as made by Peter, is a ROCK (Mat 16:18). Any one of which works to understand the wisdom of the Rock Badger. Let’s begin by using the reference that most closely matches the illustration, that of “BUILDING OUR HOUSE ON THE ROCK” as used in Mat 7:24-29.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Mat 7:24).

From this passage we see the first part, RAISE you house upon a Rock. Every builder knows that every building needs a firm foundation to protect it from shifting sand, torrential rains, tempestuous winds and crashing flood waters. The conies found protection for their weakness in the strong rock homes. The sayings of Christ offer us protection from being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14).

Our world is full of error and sophistry. By building our spiritual house upon the sayings of Christ, we can find protection from these troublesome winds of false doctrine.

The next thing we see is the necessity of being doers of the word and not hearers only. The builder that lost his house was like one that heard and did them not. True followers of Christ are OBEDIENT to His word. In this is our love for Him demonstrated; “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3; John 14:15). Before speaking about building on the Rock, Jesus had asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

It still amazes me every time a supposed follower of Christ tells me it’s unnecessary to keep the commands of God.

Third, CHRIST is our spiritual ROCK. “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1Cor 10:4). In another passage, CHRIST is called the CHIEF CORNER STONE of God’s holy temple, (Eph 2:19-22). “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Building on the CHIEF CORNERSTONE is to build on His teachings, His doctrine, His sayings. (cf, 2Jno 9)

The fourth thing to note about building our house on the ROCK, is that we are to KEEP building. We are to continue to build, mature, and to grow. Paul wrote the church to take heed how we build, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1Cor 3:9-15).

Let us learn from the wisdom of the ROCK Badger, although we are weak, we can be safe and secure on the ROCK which is Christ, His sayings and the good confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.                                                       Amen.

4 Wise Creatures Pt1/4 the ANTS

Wise Little Creatures pt1/4

ANTS

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

In Proverbs 30 there are several lessons being taught using nature. This article and the next 3 will look at “four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.”

(Prov 30:24-28)

The first little creature in the text are the ANTS (25; cf. Prov 6:6-11).

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;”

The ANTS are among 4 little creatures that are called exceedingly wise. What makes that so? Here are at least 4 lessons from the ANTS.

ANTS are ALL in ALL the time. Not only do they gather enough for their current needs, they also gather for the coming winter. “Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 6:8)

What are the lessons for us? There are two types of lessons, physical and spiritual. First the physical lesson; We ought to be working while we can and while we’re able more than our present needs. The scriptures point out a few physical needs. 1) Needs of others. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph 4:28; cf. Ac 20:35; 1Th 4:11) and 2) Needs of our family when we can no longer work, the winter of life. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Tim 5:8-16). The spiritual lesson is in the third point.

The second lesson from the ANTS is that they NEVER give up. If you try to block the way of a line of ants, they will climb over, go around, he’ll go under, or move whatever is blocking them. They NEVER quit. That’s a great lesson for us. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Eph 5:15). They press on, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). They fight the good fight, they run and they strive for their purpose.

A third lesson from the ANTS is they THINK ahead in the summer. (I don’t know what an ant thinks, but the proverb tells us what they do) “…they prepare their meat in the summer;” “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 30:25; 6:8)

The spiritual application is what’s important. Man doesn’t live forever on the earth and must make arrangements for eternal life. We can’t be so naïve as to believe that summer lasts forever, neither does our physical life. The Hebrew writer wrote, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb 9:27). Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” (2Cor 5:10-11). The wisdom from the ANTS instructs us to be reconciled to God through obeying the gospel of Christ before it’s too late. (cf. Heb 5:9; 2Thess 1:8-9).

The fourth lesson from the ANTS is they START immediately. On the first warm day of spring, they’re out working. At the first opportunity, the ANTS go marching on to find their food. The proverb writers contrasts those that slumber too much with the diligent effort of the ANTS. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Prov 6:9). In the NT, sleep is a metaphor for those that are dead spiritually (1Cor 11:30) and for those that aren’t watching (1Th 5:6). “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom 13:11).

You can easily tell which denominations believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation; THEY SCHEDULE BAPTISMS. That is completely opposite to what the scriptures teach. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33). The Eunuch, upon hearing about Jesus asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” When your ‘pastor’ teaches about salvation, will his hearers have the same response as the Eunuch? The lesson of the ANTS is that they START immediately. When is the best time to obey the gospel? TODAY! “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2).

SHOULD, WOULD, COULD & OUGHT

Do the words SHOULD or OUGHT mean God is giving us a Hall Pass for sin?

Someone recently asked me about the word “SHOULD” in the Bible. It’s being claimed that if there are commands we SHOULD do, then God is giving a recommendation, and that we have liberty NOT to do it and suffer no penalty. Is that the proper understanding of this word? Nope, you SHOULDN’T view it this way.

I can see where the confusion lies. In our culture of free love & do whatever feels right, we can see how some might think God is just recommending we do stuff, if we want to do them. If it’s convenient.

Additionally, in the error riddled world of denominations, and the false doctrine of “once saved always saved,” it’s easy to think that God is making recommendations because we’re all going to heaven anyway.

Both of these views are completely out of sorts with the biblical use of the word and a complete misunderstanding of free will.

How that they told you there SHOULD be mockers in the last time, who SHOULD walk after their own ungodly lusts.” [Jude 1:18]

First, let’s define terms. As you can see in the above verse, SHOULD is usually replaced today with the word WOULD. The word means, “SHALL Come to pass.” It’s usually used in front of a verb to express ideas such as necessity, possibility, intention, and ability. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;” [Heb 11:5] Enoch DID NOT die. [Gen 5:22,24], it came to pass that Enoch did not see death. In Galatians 1:10, Paul wrote, “…for if I yet pleased men, I should not (WOULD NOT NKJV) be the servant of Christ.” SHOULD is a modal auxiliary verb, as are can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would. If you seek to please men over God, they you WOULD NOT be a servant of Christ. The use of SHOULD is not giving you a hall pass of disobedience.

Next, HAVING a choice in no way means you will be rewarded for choosing not to do what you SHOULD do. Free Will is not freedom from consequences. God has always given us the choice to do good or to do evil [Deut 11:26,28]. Just because we HAVE a choice, doesn’t mean God approves when we choose what we SHOULDN’T. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?” [Rom 2:21,22] Would you say that God will give us a pass for theft just because He said we SHOULD not? In another passage, Christ gives a command to the Apostles: “…commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,” [Acts 1:4]. Are you suggesting they could wait elsewhere and have the same results found in Acts 2?

Third, OUGHT is another word confused by rebels. They will focus on this word in much the same way as they do the word SHOULD. In Acts 5:28-29, we see both words being used. Read these carefully and see if we’re being given liberty to go against what we SHOULD do and OUGHT to do. “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” OUGHT we and SHOULD we obey God? (cf. 40)

We need to remember that UNITY with God comes from doing the things we “SHOULD” & “OUGHT” to do. “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” [2John 6] Are you suggesting we can be UNIFIED with God and NOT do what we SHOULD do?

LANGUAGE may have evolved over time, but God’s word endures forever (cf. 1Peter 1:25). This is nothing more than a LAME attempt at wresting the scriptures to their own destruction [cf. 2Peter 3:16b]. An example of the evolution of a word is found in Genesis 1:28. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” Replenish today means: “to fill again or anew. to make full or complete again, as by supplying what is lacking, used up.” In 1611, the meaning of Replenish meant to fill, accomplish, furnish. Biblical context clearly shows it means to fill something that is empty. SHOULD might appear today as having been given a recommendation or a choice, but that’s not how God uses the word. To fail to understand correct original LANGUAGE usage is to be in jeopardy of wresting the scriptures to your own destruction.

If you DON’T do that which you SHOULD do, you’ll get what you DIDN’T want. The Hebrews writer uses the word SHOULD to show who DIDN’T do what they OUGHT to have done; “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” They DID NOT enter His rest. [Heb 3:18; cf. Num 13 & 14] Do you suppose that they had a choice about entering God’s rest? Sure, and they SHOULD have crossed the Jordan, but they DID NOT do what they OUGHT to have done and they SHOULD NOT (DID NOT) enter His rest.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul wrote, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” They WEREN’T obeying the truth, obeying the truth had come to pass [Gal 5:7, 3:1]. Are you suggesting that the Galatians or we SHOULD NOT obey the truth and get away with it? Are you saying that we have a choice to not DO what God has commanded us to DO, to obey the truth? Are you implying that those who refuse to do what they SHOULD do, like obeying the truth, will enter heaven? I wouldn’t put my trust in that line of reasoning. Consider what Jesus will say on the judgment day…

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]

If obey we SHOULD, then obey we COULD, and obey we OUGHT.

If obey the Gospel we DON’T, when obey the Gospel we OUGHT, then entering heaven we SHOULD NOT. (cf. 2Thess 1:8-9)

From the mouth of Babes

“When it’s thundering, that’s just God bowling.”

“When it’s lightening, that’s God taking pictures.”

“When it’s raining, that’s God crying.”

Perhaps many of us have heard these as children from our parents trying to comfort us. While their intentions were good, the doors were opened for more errors.

I remember hearing a little girl refer to spirits, witches, demons, devils & ghosts to explain sickness, troubles and strange events in her young life. She said, “that’s what my mom told me.”

And this mom is a church goer!!

This little person continued to describe other things she was taught from her parents. “The devil has horns, a red face and a long tale.” Truly sad.

You think that these lies will leave the heart of an imaginative child and not follow them into adulthood? Nay, Nay. An acquaintance of mine spoke about the loss of an adult son; “he had demons.” They weren’t speaking figuratively. Truly sad.

These lies continue to be taught through movies, songs, and YouTube videos. All of which our children are given unfettered and unsupervised access without giving them access to the truth, God’s word.

These stories illustrate a problem we have, people know more that isn’t so than they know about the comfort from the truth. They don’t know the truth, because they are too busy to read it.

A LITTLE MAID.

In second Kings, we hear of a little maid who offers comforting hope to the man that had stolen her from her home in Israel [2King 5:1-4]. What can we learn from a little girl, a little MAID?

The story begins with the description of a MIGHTY MAN of Valor that had stolen a little maid during a raid on Israel. He is not a friend; he is an enemy to the little maid. However, he had a problem, he was a leper.

Rather than withhold from her enemy the hope of a cure, she ADVISED her mistress, Naaman’s wife, who then told Naaman. Naaman believed and was willing to go to the land from which he stole, and went to the land for help! This all began because of the faith of a little maid. This speaks volumes about her more than it does of the others.

What was it about her that she was willing to tell of a cure to her enemy? Perhaps it was the teaching about love for an enemy… “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” [Lev 19:18; cf. Mat 22:35-39] This command is connected to Loving God Himself! When a person has love for their enemy, the desire for vengeance will evaporate. Love changes our actions toward another, even toward an enemy.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]

What Advice did she give her captor?

IF ONLY my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She told of a cure, not half-truths or falsehoods. She told of actual hope, not the mythological fairy tales we tell children to give them false hope. AND THEY BELIEVED HER.

We have to turn to hear Jesus to complete the story

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:27] Did you catch it? She told them of a cure that She DID NOT HERSELF SEE!! She knew it because of her faith in God, her trust in the Almighty. She had more faith than the king of Israel [2King 5:7]. Jesus uses her example to illustrate Himself being rejected by his own people.

What’s the moral to the story? Children can learn the truth and be comforted by it during their time of need. They don’t need to be told myths. They can handle the truth. The truth will make them free from fear [John 8:32]. And not only that, they can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and share their faith with others in their time of need.

Preaching the Cross

Some will argue against the preaching of obedience to the gospel by crying, “PREACH THE MAN, NOT THE PLAN.” They may also say, “THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A LOVE LETTER NOT A LAW BOOK.”

How does one answer such charges? Are they correct in their assertions? Is preaching about baptism, the one church, and against the errors of liberalism & denominationalism opposed to preaching the Cross of Christ?

What does the Bible say? If our speech and preaching needs any revision, let us hear it from the revealed word of Jesus the Christ. Philosophies of preaching from liberal professors will not suffice. We shall appeal to the word of God for all things in word or deed [Col 3:17].

 As this article begins, we are reminded to ‘season our words with salt’ [Col 4:6]. We are not mad any anyone. Our desire is that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. It’s to that end that we “Preach the Cross of Christ.”

To preach the CROSS is to preach “CHRIST CRUCIFIED” [1Cor 1:23]. Preaching the cross is to preach the gospel [1Cor 1:17,18]. It is not “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which has been revealed by the Spirit of God in the book of God, the Bible [1Cor 2:1-13].

Those that heard the preaching of the Cross RECEIVED the gospel [Acts 2:41; 8:14; 1Cor 15:1]. To receive the gospel, through the word, is to receive the ‘grace of God’ [2Cor 6:1; Titus 2:11-12]. To preach the cross is to ‘testify the gospel of the grace of God’ [Act 20:24].

Until one is OBEDIENT to the word of his grace, he has not been saved by the preaching of the Cross [1Pet 1:22; 1Cor 1:18]. Whenever and wherever one is obedient to the gospel he is saved by grace [Acts 10:48; 15:11]. When Paul preached the cross to the Corinthians, they were obedient in baptism in the name of Jesus the Christ [Acts 18:8; 1Cor 1:13]. This is how they were “washed” [1Cor 6:11]. Baptism is “in the name of the Lord Jesus” [Mat 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5], and baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5].

Then, as Paul rebuked SIN found in the church at Corinth, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ When he spoke against division, immorality, marriage, and the perversions of the Lord’s Supper, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ [1Cor 14:37]. The entire letter is the command of the Lord, the wisdom of God, the Gospel.

When the elitist tells us to ‘preach the man, not the plan,’ without condemning the antichrist teachings of denominations, they have missed the mark regarding the connection of Jesus to His plan. To preach the Man without His plan is to miss the SYNONYMOUS terms spoken of salvation.

  • “Baptized into Christ” [Rom 6:3,4; Gal 3:27]. “Baptized into one body,” the church [1Cor 12:13, 20; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18, 24].
  • Reconciled unto God “in Christ” [2Cor 5:18-20]. Reconciled unto God “in one body by the cross,” the church [Eph 1:22,23; 2:16].
  • Saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ [1Peter 1:18-19; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14]. Church purchased with the blood of Christ [Act 20:28].
  • Christ “gave himself for me” and tasted “death for every man” [Gal 2:20; Heb 2:9]. Christ “gave himself for it,” the church [Eph 5:25].
  • “In Christ” – “made nigh” – “by the blood” [Eph 2:13]. “In one body” – “reconciled” – “by the cross” [Eph 2:16].

It is not off balance, nor out of focus, to speak about baptism into the body or church of Christ, to speak of reconciliation in one body, the church, to speak of Christ having purchased the church with His own blood. To speak of one, Christ, is to speak of the other, the church. Paul once “persecuted the church” [Act 8:3; Gal 1:13; 1Cor 15:9], but when the Lord appeared to him, He said, “why persecutest thou me?” [Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14]. To preach Christ, to preach the Cross, is to preach the church. If to persecute Christ is to persecute the church, then to preach Christ is to preach the church. It stands to reason, anyone against the doctrine of Christ, is against Christ [2John 9].

Let us therefore, speaking the truth in love, Preach the Cross.