All AUTHORITY is in Christ

The

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 2

All AUTHORITY is in Christ, and His commands are written in the New Testament.

[Mat 28:18; Luke 6:46; 1Cor 14:37].

This single subject is actually the KEY subject on how to answer every question, objection and error you will face. A firm understanding of how to determine Scriptural Authority will arm you against all the fiery darts of the devil. [Eph 6:10-17]

There are two fundamental differences that separate truth from error.

ERROR: “We are at liberty to do anything not specifically forbidden.” This is the approach liberals and modernists use towards the Bible that leads to death.

TRUTH: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” [Deut 4:2; 12:32; Jos 1:7; Pr 30:6; Ec 12:13; Re 22:18-19]

As you can see, God limits our actions to what is contained in the scriptures. We cannot go beyond the word of the Lord. This is easily understood in our everyday communication. The easiest example is seen when one places an ORDER for a pizza.

We communicate our wishes when we place an ORDER, by Telling, Showing or Implying. If you can communicate your wishes without Telling, Showing or Implying, please explain it to me without Telling, Showing or Implying. [Luke 6:46; Col 3:17]

It is understood by our specific request that no REPLACEMENTS or alterations are allowed. If one orders a pizza, chicken wings would not be acceptable. If you wanted wings you would have Ordered them. [1Sam 15:22-23; Acts 15]

The person receiving our order understands they may only DELIVER what is Specifically requested, Shown or Implied. To add or remove any item is to go beyond the permission (authority) given. To say, “you didn’t say I couldn’t add black olives;” would be unacceptable to any logical thinking person. [2Sam 7:7; Heb 7:11-17]

It matters not what the server ENJOYS, likes, or otherwise wants. It’s not about them, it’s about the one placing the Order. They may say “But I really ENJOY black olives on my pizza,” or, “The majority of people ENJOY smoked oysters and pineapple.” None of these are legitimate reasons to alter the order. They are limited to the specific request.

The following words from Jesus should make it plain.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Matthew 7:21-23]

Any alteration to the given command under specific authority is to be REJECTED regardless of how good it may feel, what good we think it may do, or how popular it may be.

[Matt 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 26:9]

How do we use this? “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.” [Col 3:16; Eph 5:19] Instrumental music is an addition because it is not commanded nor is it necessary to complete the command. Song books (or other scriptural source material) are accepted under GENERIC AUTHORITY because we need something from which we could all sing. Generic authority is the liberty given to us to choose the means by which we complete a specific command. ie. Noah was commanded to build an ark, under generic authority he had liberty to choose the necessary tools. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” [1Cor 14:40]

To say that instrumental music makes things better, or more enjoyable is irrelevant. It’s not in the command. To say David used instruments is also irrelevant because he lived under the Law of Moses (more about that in Lesson 6). David also used incense and sacrificed bulls; would you suggest we do those too? [Gal 5:1-4]

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God.

One thing that keeps us from talking to others about the Gospel of Christ is the fear someone will challenge us with something we don’t know how to answer. We are also afraid of steering anyone in the wrong direction, so we do nothing.

What if I told you that the vast majority of challenges you will encounter could be traced back to just a few simple principles? What if I told you that if you learned these handful of principles you could answer most OBJECTIONS to the gospel? How would that affect your confidence?

We need not study the teachings of denominations. If we study these few truths, we will be equipped.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] 

How would you like to learn just a few biblical truths and be able answer all these errors…?

COMMON ERRORS taught by denominations.

Saved by Faith only, Grace alone, Eph 2:8-9 only, There’s Nothing man can do to be saved, Baptism does not save, John 3:1-5 is physical birth, The Jailor was told to just believe, What if you’re in a desert without water, Infant Baptism, What if you’re on the way to be baptized and die, What’s in the water, It’s a good idea to be baptized but not necessary, The Bible Doesn’t say we can’t do ___, We have liberty to do whatever is not spoken against directly, We don’t have to be accurate with the word of God, You’re a Legalist, The End justifies the means, We draw people in with Bands, brews & burgers, varying Worship activities & practices, varying days of corporate worship, Tithing v giving, Rapture, TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the saints), Racial Prejudice, Men & women roles, women preachers / pastors, Popes, Cardinals & Priests, “God spoke to me,” Predestination, “I’m too sinful to be saved,” Marriage Divorce & Remarriage, Marriage perversions, Holy Spirit gifts, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mormons, Speaking in tongues, “God called me,” Seeing visions & dreams, Premonitions, mediums etc, Hardening pharaoh’s heart, Why does God allow evil, God is not good because of evil & pain, God isn’t good if He doesn’t end evil, God is not good if He can’t stop the evil, God has a plan for you, Demon possession, Direct operation of the Holy Spirit, Instrumental music in worship, David used instruments, Sabbath keeping, Feast days of the Old Testament, the 10 commandments, “What about the Thief on the cross,” “John 3:16 is all I need,” It’s just love, Love not Legalism, “You hate people because you judge them,” “there are Many ways to Christ,” God’s Love is so big that He has Many drawers (one for every denomination), Denominationalism, division in Religion, “God called you to your church and He called me to my church, Many churches, There are many ways to Christ, “many ships headed to one destination,” Institutionalism, Herald of Truth, In Search of the Lord’s way, Missionary Societies, church sponsored institutions, the sponsoring church, clothing rooms, general benevolence, “Christians aren’t supposed to debate,” “Let’s agree to disagree,” Once Saved always saved, Emotionalism, Gnosticism, “you think you’re the only ones going to heaven,” “You’re closed minded,” and more.

Yes, you can. By thoroughly learning a few foundational biblical truths, you can answer all of the above errors.

8 Foundational Truths

  1. Everyone MUST obey the Gospel to be saved.

[2Thess 1:8-9; Heb 5:8-9]

  • All AUTHORITY is in Christ, and His commands are written in the New Testament.

[Mat 28:18; Luke 6:46; 1Cor 14:37]

  • God is NO RESPECTER of persons.

[Acts 10:34; James 2:1-12]

  • The INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit is complete.

[John 20:30-31; Eph 3:3-4; 1Cor 13:8-13; 2Tim 3:15-17]

  • The FREE WILL of man is never infringed.

[Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15; Mat 15:14; Philemon]

  • The Old Testament Law has ended.

[Hebrews 7,8,9,10; Col 2:14]

  • LOVE does not mean the acceptance of sin or that repentance is not required of us.

[John 13:35; 14:15; 15:14; Luke 6:46; 1John 5:3; 1Cor 13]

  • 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]

These 8 truths, if learned well, will aid you in facing nearly all of the challenges you will face in your personal evangelism.

May God Bless you all.

Understanding what God Wants

Scriptural Authority in Acts.

One of the biggest questions of life is, What Does God Want? Along those lines comes the question, how do we find out?

Acts fifteen contains an event that will show us how God communicates, whereby we can know today what it is that God wants.

As we begin this study, we must recognize a few facts.

  • The New Testament was not yet written.
  • Miraculous gifts were to confirm what God wants. Heb 2:4; cf. Deut 18:21-22; 13:1-5.
  • Once the Written Word was completed, the signs and miracles were no longer needed. John 20:30-31; 1Cor 13:10; Eph 3:3-4; 2Tim 3:15-17.

These facts being established, we can learn how to determine what God wants by examining this passage.

God communicates in the same manner as we do with one another. We communicate our desires by TELLING, SHOWING, & IMPLYING. We also trust that our SILENCE on a matter is prohibitive. We can easily see these four concepts being utilized in Acts fifteen. The question the disciples wanted answered was, Are Gentiles candidates for the Gospel of Christ?

And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” [Acts 15:1]

Some claim that this was a council to vote on the question. This is wrong. The Apostles already knew the answer, as will be shown by their looking at God’s method of communication (Telling, Showing, Implying & Silence).

FIRST, Peter rose up and reminded them about the first Gentile converts (Acts 10 & 11). How the Holy Spirit fell upon them as He had them “at the beginning.” [Acts 11:15]. Peter Necessarily Infers (inescapably concluded) that God had implied, both through a vision and the falling of the Holy Spirit upon them, that God is accepting Gentiles. He closes by saying, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples…” [Acts 15:10] “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” [15:11]

NEXT, Paul and Barnabas “declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” [15:12] This is God communicating through SHOWING. Another way this is stated is Approved Apostolic Example. This testimony agrees with Peter, and with what was said about miracles. (see opening statements). “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4]

THEN, James answered. His appeal is to the revealed written word from God. He quotes from Amos nine, verses eleven and twelve. His appeal is to the DIRECT STATEMENTS of God. From this command of God, he concludes that God had already planned and authorized for Gentiles to be included in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James connects the testimony of Peter with these verses in Amos. Who are we to fight against God? He begins by saying, “as it is written.” [15:15] We know from both Old and New Testaments not to go beyond that which is written. [1Cor 4:6; Deut 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18; Prov 30:6]

LASTLY, a letter is written and from it we find this statement about the prohibitive nature of SILENCE. “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:” [Acts 15:24. emph mine seb]

From this we learn that if there is no command, there is no permission. It is to speak presumptuously, something God has already condemned. [De 18:22; 13:2; 18:20; Jer 28:9] Silence is prohibitive is logically understood and demonstrated in at least two other places. Read & Study 2Samuel 7:1-7; Hebrews 7]

In conclusion, we see that the Apostles already knew what the Lord had commanded. They were guided into all truth [John 14:17,26; 15:26; 16:13]. They then declared to those in error the truth of the matter by appealing to God’s Direct Statements, Approved Examples, Inescapable conclusions along with the prohibitive nature of Silence.

We can do the same today utilizing “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:15-17]

Here are some questions to ask ourselves and of any who still believe that miracles are happening, revelation is still being received.

  • We know that Gentiles that obey the Gospel are accepted by God. What further evidence beyond the scriptures do we need to prove this?
  • We know that Baptism is commanded by God, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know what moral behaviors are accepted and which behaviors God abhors, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that there will be a judgment day, what additional miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and that we are to do whatever He commands [Luke 6:46], what additional miracle do we need to show this?

Ad Hominem & Personal Attacks pt 4 Campbelite

We’re addressing how to answer Ad Hominem ATTACKS; Ad Hominem means; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Christians are to expect ATTACKS both personally & physically. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

We must always remember not to respond in kind with our own personal attack. This would not be the example that Jesus gave when He responded to His attackers. [1Peter 2:23; Isa 53:7]

The fourth ATTACK sounds like this: “Your method of determining AUTHORITY (Command, Apostolic Example, Necessary Inference and the prohibition of Silence [CENIS]) are made up by Alexander Campbell who is the founder of the church of Christ.”

I’m blending 2 separate attacks into one as they’re related. 150 years ago, until about 30 years ago, the attack focused on calling members of the Lord’s body, ‘CAMBELLITES.’ (this is why we’re putting this as an ad hominem attack) The attack was an attempt to show that the church of Christ in America was founded by Alexander Campbell. This is easily refuted noting that Campbell never sought to START a new denomination, rather that he sought to RESTORE the church we read about in the New Testament. Evidence exists that shows the church of Christ was small but already present in America before A. Campbell was even born!

In more recent years, this argument still exists but focuses on the fourfold pattern of how to determine Scriptural Authority (Command, Apostolic Example, Necessary Inference and the prohibition of Silence [CENIS]). The objectors say that Alexander Campbell invented a new Hermeneutic (a method or theory of interpretation). This short article will show that CENIS is the way people communicate.

HOW WOULD YOU ORDER A PIZZA?

COMMAND. A direct command is to give an authoritative order of what you specifically desire. “I want a pepperoni pizza.” This direct command eliminates all other variety of toppings. When specifying a thing, you automatically eliminate all other unstated options.

EXAMPLE. “one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated.” Miriam-Webster. Another way of saying example is with the word “show.” When ordering a pizza, I can show you a picture or description of it from the menu. This becomes the “approved example.” There may be other examples on the menu, but those are unconnected to the command.

NECESSARY INFERENCE. To infer is what we do when another implies (to express indirectly) in their communications. It’s implied in my ordering a pizza that it will be a round bread, with Italian style sauce and cheese baked in an oven. The remaining toppings to be specified by direct statement. We Necessarily Infer when we have only one option available from the indirect command. We necessarily infer bread, sauce & cheese unless otherwise indicated.

SILENCE. That means absence of direction. When you order a pepperoni pizza, your silence about soup, salad or other items prohibit their inclusion. Would you pay a bill, charging you with extra items for which you didn’t order nor desire? You would very likely REFUSE them altogether. Silence is not a blank check to do whatever you want. “You didn’t say not to” is not a viable excuse.

Some argue that we can do whatever God hasn’t specifically prohibited. Try ordering a pizza by listing all the things you DON’T WANT. People communicate by stating, showing & implying what they DO WANT. Silence prohibits.

If this is wrong, please educate me without Telling me (command), Showing me (example), or Implying (we infer).

Alexander Campbell didn’t invent this, God did. He created humans and communication, therefore He created this logical reasoning on how to know what He wants. What He orders is much more vital to our life than pizza. [Matt 4:4]

Objections pt5

Objection PNG and Objection Transparent Clipart Free Download ...

 

OBJECTIONS #8; Appeal to the Old Testament for doctrine.

This objection sounds like this; “David used a harp and wrote about it in Psalms.”

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Col 2:14

I met a person once that was starting a new denomination based on all the feast days in the Old Testament Law of Moses. This is just one example of many where people look to the Old Testament to find doctrine or practices today. It becomes a buffet of picking and choosing based on personal taste, or in this case, a BBQ buffet.

How come nobody ever goes back and brings forward stoning of the disobedient? (there was one guy that wrote a book about trying to live under the Law of Moses. He carried small pebbles around and flicked them at folks.) Yet, they’ll go back and grab any number of things from the Old Testament.

The easy answer is in Galatians chapter 5:1-4; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

As you can see, the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and if you intend to appeal to any part of it then you’re obligated to keep the entirety of it. This drops you from Christ.

Here are a few more points about why we don’t appeal to the Old Testament for authority, doctrine or practices today.

First, the Old was, well… OLD. Hebrews 8:13 speaks about the better New covenant in Christ rendering the first old.

Next, the OT was given because of TRANSGRESSIONS, “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” [Gal 3:19] Once the one promised came, fulfilling the Old Law, why would you go back and bring anything forward?

We should then note that the OT was LIMITED in that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [Heb 10:4]. Christ’s sacrifice did what the Law of Moses only foreshadowed [Heb 9:12]. The New Testament writers also calls it, ‘faulty’ [Heb 8:7], and ‘weak’ [Gal 4:9].

Continuing on, we find the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED at the death of Christ. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:15; “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

Finally, the Holy Spirit says that the Law of Moses WAS A SHADOW of good things to come [Heb 10:1]. If there was something good coming, and the real thing is in life of Jesus, why would you want to go back to the shadow?

There are several places in the New Testament that explain the shadows from the Old Testament and their application to Christ;

  • 1COR 10:11 EXAMPLES.
  • Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come;
  • Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah, Isaac; GAL 4:22-31.
  • Moses; Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22; Heb 3

We find our authority in Jesus. God said, “Hear ye Him.” [Mark 9:7]. The Hebrew writer opens the book with; “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” [Heb 1:1-2]

We find our authority from those who were given the revelation of the Lord’s will and wrote it for us in the New Testament writings. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” [1Cor 14:37]

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.)” [Eph 3:1-4]

 

–Spencer

7 Titles of Jesus in John 1 pt2

Image result for titles of jesus

 

The first chapter of John’s gospel is powerful in that it delivers 7 titles of Jesus. Last week we noted 4 of the 7 (THE WORD, GOD, LIFE, & LIGHT). This week we continue with three more titles of Jesus in John chapter 1.

7 Titles of Jesus in John chapter 1:

CHRIST: (v17)

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

This title, “the Christ,” carries great significance.

Stong’s definition; anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus:–Christ.

 

It is used over 300 times in the New Testament and means “the anointed one.”

Andrew, the brother of Peter, went to him telling him that he had found the MESSIAH. [v41]

By divine revelation Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ [Mat 16:16]. Prophets foretold of His coming as the Messiah.

From “Christ” comes the name Christian,” and “Christianity.” By calling ourselves Christ-ones we are seeking to do His will by keeping His commandments.

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

What a sham it is when people call themselves ‘Christian’ without obeying & serving him.

 

LORD: (v23)

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”

Lord is a name expressing His sovereignty. [cr. 1Tim 6:15] Is it any wonder then that Jesus asked; “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]

I can’t tell exactly how Jesus is asking this. Is He saying it as if they’re acknowledging Him as King? Or, is He indicating that they’re calling on Him with much pleading for help? The context indicates the latter as He is discussing those lost in the final judgment. [cr. Matt 7:21-23].

In either case He is indicating how ridiculous it is to call on Him in your time of need after living a life rejecting His authority & position as the Son of God and the creator! [John 1:1]

 

LAMB OF GOD: (v29)

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

This last one drives home the point about who Jesus is to us.

He is the only worthy sacrifice, sent by God, to take away the sins of the world, you and I.

The Hebrew writer reminds us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” [Heb 9:22].

He also reminds us that there are no worthy sacrifices found on the earth, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4]

Paul wrote that no human is worthy either, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” [Rom 3:10].

All of this being true, there was no hope for mankind because of their sin. What is impossible with men is possible with God.

And so, the only remedy for our disobedience is the LAMB of GOD.

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”       [Heb 9:12]

God’s love is so great for us that He gave Himself for us.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” [Rom 5:8-10]

TRULY AMAZING! Let us consider these Titles of Jesus and walk worthy of wearing His Glorious Name.

—Spencer

4 Signs of a DEAD church

Image result for dead church

A previous post noted 4 shortcuts we THINK are Bible study but really are not, they are…

  • LOOKING over the text but not studying it.
  • Reading AUTHORS other than God.
  • CLASS attendance without studying at home. I
  • KNOWLEDGE in Social media memes which sound right but are very wrong.

Are our Study Habits Killing the Church? God warned the LACK of knowledge was destroying His people. [Hosea 4:6] It was true then and remains true now.

John was told to write the church at Sardis about this very thing. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” [Rev 3:1]

Taking Bible study shortcuts may leave us also spiritually DEAD. Malnutrition of the bread of life will weaken us spiritually, making us unable to discern between good & evil.

 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:14]

 

Is it any wonder that many congregations claiming to be the Lord’s church are ‘progressing’ into many strange activities? When the church becomes spiritually malnourished, they’ll begin to die, or worse be called DEAD.

What Is A Dead Church? A church isn’t dead only when it no longer has any members. Nor is it dead when the young people are no longer present. A DEAD church is one that is no longer faithful to its Founder, Christ Jesus [Rev 3:1]. A church can be growing numerically, having lots of fun, have plenty of money and doing all types of works, but still be dead spiritually because they’re no longer following their Leader [Rev 3:17]. Our country is full of spiritually dead mega-churches.

Appearances can be deceiving. What matters is when every part of the body does its share, “causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” [Eph 4:16b] Note 4 signs that a church might be DEAD:

4 SIGNS a church is DEAD:

DOCTRINE gets replaced by TRADITIONS. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Mark 7:7]. Paul warned Timothy that the time would come when they would not endure ‘SOUND DOCTRINE’ [2Tim 4:3]. When tradition becomes doctrine, then the church of Christ becomes a denomination rather than the church built by Christ at Pentecost [Mat 16:18, Acts 2].

EDIFICATION replaced by ENTERTAINMENT. Paul asked, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” [1Cor 11:22] So many churches are moving from biblical Edification, which is based on education [Eph 4:11-12], toward FOOD, FUN & FROLIC. The church is not in the entertainment business, it’s the ‘GROUND & PILLAR of the TRUTH.’ [1Tim 3:15, cr. Eph 3:10]

AUTHORITY of the word is replaced with FEELINGS. These feelings come from their own belly, not from the word of God. [Phil 3:19, 2King 5:11]. Children do what ‘FEELS GOOD,’ whereas the mature do what IS GOOD. [Eph 4:14]

DISCIPLINE is replaced with TOLERANCE. Toleration of sin is sweeping across this country like the whirlwind that destroyed Job’s family. We are told, ‘to just love,’ ‘to not judge,’ and ‘let people live as they are.’ These are false teachings from confusion about the love of God. God does love us, but He also requires us to repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” [2Peter 3:9]

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to DISCIPLINE an adulterous man [1Cor 5:1-2]. When they obeyed the Lord, they rescued the one in sin, for he repented (the whole church did) and was restored [2Cor 2:6-11; 7:9-10].

Let us be on our guard with the sword of God [Eph 6:17] to fight the good fight of faith [1Tim 6:12] so that our lampstand remains and shines bright in this dark world [Rev 2:5].

—spencer

Declaration of an ATHEIST

When you meet an Atheist, you’ve met a person with a serious problem. Atheism is declaring that there is no God. For this to be an honest statement, one must first have complete knowledge of LIFE, the UNIVERSE & EVERYTHING. If you don’t know everything, perhaps God is in that missing knowledge.

Here are a few questions for the Atheist…

  • What happened at the beginning of everything? Were you there?
  • Do you know everything about the bottom of the ocean?
  • Do you know everything about what happens to the soul at death?
  • Do you know everything about deep space?
  • Can you explain how we have consciousness?

These are only a few of the 72 questions God asks in Job 38-41. Several of the questions have multiple parts. Man is still searching for the answers to these questions and more. Yet, the atheist declares with certainty, “THERE IS NO GOD!” That’s arrogance.

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

Psalm 53:1

Pride is at the center of atheism. I’m not impugning anyone’s motives, God is, for He knows the motives of us all. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” [Psalm 10:4; cr Heb 4:12]

Atheism searches for answers without a Divine source, but it’s an exercise in futility. Every time they introduce a theory stating a natural beginning, the question remains, “who / what created that?” Ad infinitum. Whereas the Christian doesn’t have this dilemma. We believe in a self-existent God who has always been and will always be. It’s the more logical conclusion.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

[Rev 1:8]

Above is a ‘DECLARATION of an ATHEIST’ for the next time you meet someone claiming to be one. The intent is not to mock, rather to help them see the futility of atheism and to encourage looking at the possibility there is a God.

 

–spencer

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULDN’T NEED TO ASK?

Ok, I got it, the only stupid question is the one not asked. However, I did come across a question that shouldn’t have needed to be asked.

At a local eatery, I asked, “can you make sure the egg on my sandwich isn’t burnt?” This is a question no customer should have to ask, but then the clerk asked the cook, “Do we have any GOOD EGGS to serve?” Had I not just written last week about asking questions, I may have never noticed, but this question immediately made me chuckle. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A STUPID QUESTION. There are questions people shouldn’t need to be asked. It should have been the SOP that there is “GOOD FOOD” to serve.

Disclaimer: When you have a new hire, or beginning a new thing, you may need to ask these questions. However, after you’ve been trained, the answer should be automatic. If you need to ask, then you may not have understood the instructions.

SOME EXAMPLES

A person should never need to be asked, “are you going to work today?” Work is a basic function of life, whether you are of working age, retired or a child. Work is good, commanded and profitable. Taking care of your home is work.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

[2Thess 3:10]

A person should never need to be asked, “are you going to stop at red lights?” (obey the laws of the land?) Most human laws are there for organizational reasons. Not many will make you deny your faith. We follow the laws of the land as much as they don’t interfere with living faithfully. [Acts 5:29]

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [Romans 13:1]

ARE YOU GOING TO WORSHIP GOD OR MAN?

Hananiah, Mishael & Azariah were faced with this dilemma, and they didn’t need to be asked this question, although someone went ahead and asked. You see, they were given the command to worship a golden image set up by the Kings decree. When they would not, they were brought before the king and given the option to worship a gold image or remain faithful to God.

They responded to this question by saying, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.” NKJV [Daniel 3:16-18]. What happened next is astounding, they were thrown into a fiery furnace that was seven times hotter than normal AND LIVED!!! As amazing as that was, what happened next is also truly amazing.

I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” [Daniel 3:29]. Did you see it? The king that had once decreed that worship only be done to his gold image reversed and commanded that no ill word be said of The One True God of the Bible. Wow! Such a great example of how a few faithful followers of God can influence a nation.

IF WE KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT, WE SHOULD NEVER NEED ASK AGAIN.

  • Did the Apostles need to ask, “Should we keep preaching?” Acts 5:40
  • Did Joshua need to ask, “Who am I supposed to serve?” Josh 24:15
  • Did Noah need to keep asking God, “How many arks am I to build, how many doors?” Gen 6:14

QUESTIONS WE SHOULD HAVE ALREADY ANSWERED.

Are we going to worship on Sunday? Are we going to worship while on vacation? Are we going to give thanks for our meals? Are we going to cancel evening services Super Bowl Sunday?

WE KEEP ASKING.

Naaman asked, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?” Maybe, but who cares, the instruction from God was to dip 7 times in the Jordan. That was it, no other river, no other way, no other method.

People read the Bible and ask, “Can I not be sprinkled, or skip out on baptism?” Or they might ask it another way, “What about the thief on the cross?” It’s the same thing, asking a question which ought not be asked. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” [Mark 16:16] If you love Him, if you want to be called His friend, just do it. [John 14:15; 15:14]

QUESTIONS WE OUGHT TO ASK.

  • What must I do to be saved? – Acts 16:30
  • What wilt Thou have me do? – Act 9:6
  • What doth hinder me from being baptized? – Acts 8:36
  • What shall we do? – Acts 2:37

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 2:38]

 

WE LOVE QUESTIONS.

As said before, when a person is learning there are no stupid questions. We love questions. If you have a question, feel free to ask it and we’ll do our best to answer it with scripture.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION?

Have you ever had a question but were too afraid to ask? You’ve already been told that there are no stupid questions, so ask. If you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask, ask it (privately or personally) and I’ll do my best to offer a biblical answer. Below is a sampling of questions people should be asking but aren’t…

  • Why is attendance of religious services falling around the world?
  • How do I join the local church of Christ?
    1. Variation: Do I have to identify with a local group of Christians?
  • Are all churches of Christ the same? Does it matter?
  • What is the most important aspect of our Assemblies?
  • How come the churches don’t have crosses in their buildings?
  • Can we eat in the building? How come we don’t eat in the building?
  • How come we don’t have community benevolent programs?
  • What is the work of the church?
  • Why does the evangelist get all bent out of shape when someone calls him ‘pastor?’ Or when I use “church” as an adjective?

Future articles in 2019 will be dedicated to answering, with scripture, many of these questions.

CAN WE EVEN QUESTION THE BIBLE?

Jesus was asked a bunch of questions by folks. He never rebukes us for asking, unless we’re asking to justify ourselves or refuse to be honest with the answers.

In one such encounter, the Pharisees asked Jesus about His authority, “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” [Mat 21”23]

Jesus’ reply was not a rebuke for asking, for He said He would answer them, “if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?” But they refused to answer, as either possible answer would rebuke themselves. It was then that Jesus refused to answer their question, because they weren’t being honest about the truth.

In another place, the Apostle Paul went about preaching and came to some folks who took what he preached and searched for some verification. The Berean’s, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [Acts 17:11] You see, they took the preaching of Paul and compared it to the scriptures. Oh, if more people in denominations would do that!

Paul also told the Galatians, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” [Gal 1:8] He was ok with them verifying what he or anyone else preached. The problem was they had stopped following God’s word in favor false teaching.

He also told those in Thessalonica to, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” [1Thess 5:21].

In another place, John wrote to the saints and told them to, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” [1John 4:1]

The moral of the story is that it’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK and even encouraged to verify whatever anyone teaches or preaches.

There are just a few criteria…

  • Be honest with yourself, even if it means you may be wrong,
  • Be willing to search for the truth and
  • Be willing to accept the truth and to follow it.

We here in this local body of Christ want to know the truth and to obey the truth. We don’t mind it when someone asks questions and we often invite folks to visit with us after services to ask questions. Just be honest and be willing to accept the truth. If you’re unwilling to listen to God’s word for the answer, don’t bother asking us, because that’s the only qualified answer. The Bible is our only Guide. If you don’t want a bible answer, don’t ask any of us.

There are many false places to which people appeal for the answers to their questions….

  • False teachers – 1Tim 4:1
  • Yes men – 2Tim 4:3
  • The book of ‘opinions’ & ‘I think so’ – Mark 7:7
  • “that’s how we’ve always done it” Mark 7:8

None of these are the source of sound doctrine, and there are many more. Jesus warned the Sadducees, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Mat 22:29] We must be careful from where we get the answers to the questions of life and eternal life. God’s word gives us all we need for life & godliness [2Pet 1:3].

Would you like your question answered, and do you want it to be from God’s divine word? Then you’ve come to the right place. Come, let’s reason together.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” [Isaiah 1:18]