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.

That You May Know

We have started a podcast site for those who prefer hearing a short message on the go.

It’s called, “THAT YOU MAY KNOW.”

Many of the podcast will be about 12 minutes long, divided into two 6 minute sections. (Except the first episode, which was the test run to learn how the website worked.)

The first half will be about a particular Bible text.

The second half will be applications drawn from the text.

Our aim is to provide an additional method for you to discover more of God’s word, THAT YOU MAY KNOW the truth and that the truth shall set you free.

When God’s Children Take a Stand

The language of the bible is clear, we are to take a STAND for the cause of Christ, for the Gospel.

We can and must be KIND…

Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

We can and must have LOVE…

1Co 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

Today, the Christian must STAND…

against SIN. 1Peter 1:16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

for the TRUTH. Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

in AGAPE Love. Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

NOTHING wavering. Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

Proclaiming the Lord’s DEATH til He come. 1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.

Letter to a friend (3o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).

Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.

It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…

Your Friend

Letter to a Friend (2o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 2o3)

The church is to be subject to Christ in all things (Ephesians 5:23,24). Jesus is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,23), not any representative on earth. The church that belongs to Christ requires a “thus saith the Lord,” a scriptural reason for everything that it says and does (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1Peter 4:11; 2 John 9; Revelation 22:18,19). The church cannot go beyond that which is written. If a man teaches something other than the truth he is to be cut off from the church (Galatians 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11). That means the church will do what Christ has authorized; no more, no less (Colossians 3:17; Acts 4:7). There must be a “thus saith the Lord” before the church can act. As the army of Christ, composed of soldiers of Christ, it cannot advance unless given the command of Christ.

The commands of Christ are found in the New Testament, Jesus took the Old Testament out of the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:12-14; Ephesians 2:14-17; Galatians 3:1-5, 17-29; 4:21-5:5; Hebrews 8:1-28; 12:18-29; 13:11-12; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18). We are not under the Old Testament, for Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

The conditions for pardon and fellowship are given in the New Testament. Those who receive pardon and are accepted into the fellowship of the church are:

  • those who, having HEARD the word of God, and have FAITH (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1,6);
  • those whose faith causes them to REPENT (Acts 17:30; 2Peter 3:9);
  • those who CONFESS their faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:36,37; Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32,33);
  • those who are IMMERSED in water in order to obtain the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:26,27; 1Peter 3:21);
  • those who REMAIN FAITHFUL in obedience, for those who walk disorderly are rejected John 15:1-6; 2Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 3:15,16). Any other conditions are commandments and doctrines of men.

The church is subject to Christ in organization. There is no organization revealed in God’s Word larger than the local congregation. The local congregation is to have a plurality of men who watch over that congregation who are known as elders, overseers, bishops, and pastors (Acts 14:23; 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; Ephesians 4:11). This is not one individual, but a group of individuals. These men must meet all of the qualifications set forth to serve (1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). There is no record of a singular pastor over a congregation. The local congregation also has deacons who meet the qualifications (Philippians 1:1; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). 

The local congregation also has preachers, or evangelists (Acts 21:8; 2Timothy 4:1-5). The church no longer has living apostles or prophets (Acts 1:21-26; Ephesians 2:20).  There is no separation of clergy and laity, for all are priests unto God (1Peter 2:5,9). A congregation can exist without elders, deacons or a preacher.  But no man has the right to assume the eldership without the correct credentials.  We cannot make up our own government for the church.

The church is to be subject to Christ in its worship. The local church meets together in one place upon the first day of the week, every week, and partakes of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-30; 1Corinthians 11:17-34). The church as it gathers together sings without instrumental music nor specialized singers (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). The worship also includes prayer (Acts 2:42; 12:5), preaching (Acts 20:7), and a free will contribution (1Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6,7). During the assembly the women are to keep silence (1Corinthians 14:34,35; 1Timothy 2:11-15).

  • Friend, do the “churches” that you are attending realize and teach that the church is the saved, and since it is that which Christ shed his blood for, and is the Savior of, you must be a part of the church to be saved?
  • Do the “churches” that you are attending teach and practice that Christ is the head of the church, rejecting all creeds and councils for the church, and accepting the New Testament as their only creed book?
  • Friend, Do the “churches” that you attend justify their actions from the Old Testament? or do they abide by the doctrine of Christ?
  • Do the “churches” you attend teach and practice the conditions of pardon and fellowship that the apostles revealed by inspiration, or do they have other conditions?
  • Friend, do the “churches” you attend have the organization found in the New Testament? or do they have a state, regional and/or national organization?
  • Do the “churches” you attend follow the New Testament plan for worship in partaking of the Lord’s Supper every week, having congregational singing without instrumental music, praying, preaching the word, and having a free-will contribution?

Ask the preachers if they have a creed book. Ask them if they have a ruling council. Ask the preachers if they justify their actions by the Old Testament. Ask them what it takes to become a member of their denomination. Are the answers to these questions the answers which are given in the New Testament? Are they the church you read about in the New Testament?

(continued next week)

MANIFOLD wisdom pt8, the DOCTRINE of Christ

There is a DOCTRINE of Christ to be followed.

This last lesson is about the Doctrine of Christ. Some would have you believe the error that there is no law under the New Testament. They will claim that there are no commands to be followed, worship is personal and that Jesus accepts you as you are without repentance. This also includes that a person cannot so sin as to lose their salvation. This is wrong.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9]

Since there is a DOCTRINE of Christ, what is it and what are we to do with it?

As we begin this study, let’s be reminded of the words from Jesus;

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

[Luke 6:46]

This article is unable to give you every point about the Doctrine of Christ, nor shall it be a creed. The Doctrine of Christ is the New Testament scriptures. I will address 8 key points about the Doctrine of Christ.

Doing some of Christ’s Doctrine would not do if we haven’t completed the primary part. That is to obey the Gospel for salvation. The gospel is the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Jesus [2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-5; Heb 5:8-9]. How do you obey the DBR? Our Baptism is the culmination of our Faith in Christ. When we’ve Heard the Gospel, Believed it with all our heart, Repented of our sin, and Confessed that Jesus is the Christ, we become eligible to follow Christ into His Death, Burial & Resurrection [Rom 6:3-4]. God working through our faith [Col 2:11-12].

It then follows that OBEDIENCE to the Doctrine becomes the way of life for the Christian. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1Tim 4:16; cr. Rom 6:17-18]

Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Mat 28:18]. What this means is that CHRIST has all authority. We as the created have no authority to make up a law of requirements for other men to follow. CHRIST, as the Head of the church, has that authority. He has given us all thing pertaining to Life & Godliness and we are to do our best to follow. [2Peter 1:3-5]. This is not limited to the ‘words in red.’ The entirety of the New Testament are His commands as given to the Apostles & inspired writers through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. [1Cor 14:37; John 16:13; 1Peter 1:20]

After Jesus commanded that we obey the gospel, He then said that His doctrine was to be TAUGHT to these new creatures. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” [Mat 28:20; cr. 2Tim 2:2] It would not do for the Christian to remain in their former understanding of morality [1Cor 6:9-11]. The Christian is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” [2Pet 3:18; Heb 5:12; 1Peter 2:2; 2Tim 3:15-17].

The Doctrine of Christ teaches that it’s possible to neglect, sin, and shipwreck our faith [Heb 2:3; Gal 5:4; 1Tim 1:19]. Therefore, we are to be on guard and REMAIN Faithful. This would be easy if our faith wasn’t under attack [1Peter 4:12; Eph 6:10-17]. Christ calls us to remain faithful even if it causes our death. [Act 2:42; Rev 2:10]

Christ, through His Doctrine, also expects us to INCREASE our faith, to abound in Love, Good Works and thanksgiving [2Pet 1:5-12; 1Co 15:58; 2Co 8:7; Php 1:9; Col 2:7; 1Thess 4:1; 2Thess 1:3; Rom 15:13]. Christians grow, mature, and produce, each according to their ability & opportunity.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” [1Thess 3:12]

Throughout the Old Testament we see warnings for the people of God not to revert back to their former sinful ways. It should come as no surprise that the Doctrine of Christ has this same warning and admonition. We are to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Turn Back! The Apostle Peter said it in a very descriptive way; “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” [2Peter 2:22] When you understand that a Christian has their sins “washed away” [Acts 22:16; 1Cor 6:9-11] then this verse makes perfect sense. Do you suppose that a Christian that quits the faith, “turning to his own vomit” “a sow wallowing in the mire” is going to heaven? There are so many passages warning us to NEVER turn back. [Heb 6:4-6; 10:29; the Book of Galatians; Lu 9:62]

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” [Heb 12:25]

The Doctrine of Christ teaches us to perform a self-EXAMINATION as to whether we’re even in the faith. This self-EXAMINATION is to be done daily, and weekly in worship [1Cor 11:1; 2Cor 13:5]. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

When we recognize that there IS a Doctrine of Christ, it follows that it is to be kept & obeyed. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” [Titus 2:7]. The doctrine also recognizes our weaknesses & failures. It gives instruction, hope, and assurance about that as well. [1Joh 1:5-10].

There is only one DOCTRINE of CHRIST and we are not to change it by adding to it or taking from it. [2John 9; Rev 22:18; De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6]. Neither do we blend it with the Law of Moses. [Col 2:14]

Manifold Wisdom pt 7; LOVE defined biblically

Biblically defining the LOVE of God and our Love of Him.

“It’s just about love.” This statement is used in attempt to stop any who suggest repentance from sin as a step to salvation or toward anyone preaching obedience to the Gospel of Christ. This statement is also used when one points out denominational error.

It may also be used as the pièce de resistance rebuttal toward anyone that shows what the New Testament teaches regarding unity through the doctrine of Christ or the one true church of Christ.

Another way some misdirect the definition of love from its true meaning is when they say, “God loves us as we are.” We are to love a person’s qualities not their corruption. Love the sinner not the sin.

For most, the worldly definition of love is to tolerate sin, live and let live, and salvation has nothing to do with change. “God loves you the way you are.”

When they say, “God loves people the way they are,” it implies He also loves their corruption. This is wrong. God loves corrupt people, but He requires them to put off that corruption. [Col 3:5-7]

The Love of God is amazing and powerful, but the biblical definition is so different than the worldly definition. The Bible says…

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.” [1John 2:15]

As we approach this subject, let’s state what we’re NOT saying.

  • We are NOT saying to be hateful or mean to the lost or those engaged in sin. [1John 4:8]
  • We are NOT saying that we are perfect and without sin, that would make us liars. [1John 1:8]
  • We are NOT saying that God hates people who are in sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]. The Bible teaches that God is love. [1John 4:16]

Here is what we ARE SAYING about the biblical definition of LOVE

Love was demonstrated first by God when He

LAID down His life for us.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” [1John 3:16; cr John 3:16; 15:13; 1John 4:9]

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Rom 5:8; Eph 5:2,25]

Biblical Love is LAYING DOWN your life.

OBEDIENCE is LOVE demonstrated on our part. Without Obedient Godly active participation, then true LOVE is not present.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15,21,23; 15:14]

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.” [2John 1:6]

Biblical Love is OBEDIENCE to God.

Loving God is

VOLUNTARY and not coerced. If Love only occurs because the direct operation of the Holy Spirit then there is no Love at all. This is one of the lessons taught at the beginning of the book of Job.

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” [Job 1:9; 2:4-5]

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” [1John 2:5]

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” [Mark 12:30]

Biblical Love is VOLUNTARY toward God.

Sometimes Love is seen when the one who loves us

EDUCATES, Rebukes, Disciplines, Chastens us. Love without discipline is Enabling. Discipline goes beyond just delivering pain. It includes EDUCATION and training. God’s written word Educates us.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Heb 12:6]

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” [Prov 3:12]

Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;” [Psalm 94:12]

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” [1Cor 11:32]

Biblical Love is EDUCATION & DISCIPLINE from God.

The children of God are called to LOVE Him. Before we can truly LOVE Him, we must first FEAR him. Once we know the “terror of the Lord” [2Cor 5:11], then we can appreciate His LOVE for us and come to LOVE Him. It’s then that our True, Biblically Defined, LOVE for Him casts out fear. It casts away terror for love. It casts away fear of what man can do for the reward God will give to His children [Mat 10:28; Heb 11:6].

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:18-19]