NOT HAVE A BIBLE?
Tommy J. Hicks
Session” of The General Conference of The United
Methodist Church was held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis,
Missouri. This “Special Session” met to decide if
The United Methodist Church would strengthen or end its prohibitions
regarding same-sex marriage and the ordaining of gays and lesbians into
its clergy? The “Special Session’s” final
vote was 53% to 47%” in favor of strengthening the
prohibitions “against” same-sex marriage and
ordaining gays and lesbians into its clergy. This may lead to a
wide-open break in the United Methodist Church.
Matt Miofsky, a
“Special Session” attendee, said about the
Methodist Church where he preaches, “We fully embrace LGBTQ+
people into the whole life of the church.” Further, Miofsky
added, “Jesus loves queer people for who they are”
and that the “scriptures welcome queer people into the
Kingdom of God through faith in Christ (and not through a renunciation
of their gender or sexual identity).”
Kevin Young, the
“Senior Minister at St. John’s United Methodist
Church,” in Lubbock, TX may or may not have attended the St.
Louis meeting, but he, like many other Methodists did not like the
“Special Session’s” outcome. Young made
it known that as far as he is concerned, the general conference of the
United Methodist Church has decided to stay on the side of
discrimination. He said he thought that it is tragic, “to
send a signal to our culture and our world that somehow that
discriminatory posture against LGBTQ people is approved by
God does love those
involved in LGBTQ+ immorality (John 3:16). He wants them to be saved (2
Peter 3:9). Still, if the Bible is true, and it is, God cannot accept
them as long as they engage in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-sexual,
and queer lifestyles. Perhaps, it should be asked, “Do
Methodists (and others) who claim the ‘scriptures welcome
queer people into the Kingdom of God through faith in Christ (and not
through a renunciation of their gender or sexual identity)’
actually have a Bible“? If so, have they not read Paul
saying: “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” (1 Cor.
6:9-11). Other translations use the words, “sexually
immoral...men who practice homosexuality.”
In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul
identifies such conduct as “works of the flesh” and
sounds the warning, “that those who do such things will not
inherit the kingdom of God.” God turned “the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an
overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live
ungodly” (2 Peter 2:4-6).
The LGBTQ+ folks and their
allies may try to deny it, but the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah we read
about in Genesis 18:20, Isaiah 3:9, and Lamentations 4:6, is a
reference to the sin of homosexuality (cf. Gen. 19:4-9; Jude 7).
Condemning homosexuality in the Mosaic Dispensation, God said, “Thou
shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is
abomination” (Lev. 18:22). God, according to the
Law of Moses, commanded, “If a man also lie with
mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an
abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be
upon them” (Lev. 20:13). The Law of Moses is no
longer of force (i.e. men do not live under its laws today, Gal.
Now, under the Law of
Christ in the New Testament Dispensation, God still condemns
homosexuality and lesbianism, but He does not have them harmed
physically as a punishment. He will dispense to them their due on
Judgment Day. However, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 warns that “the
unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
These include the sexually immoral... adulterers... and those who
practice homosexuality (cf. 1 Tim. 1:10).
Supporters of the
“LGBTQ+ Community” need to read Romans 1:26-29, 32.
God has rendered His decision about all forms of sexual immorality
(including homosexuality) and made it known in His Word. He has not
changed that decision (Malachi 3:6). So, if the Methodists and others
have a Bible and believe what God says in it, what is the point of
having a “Special Session?” They cannot change what
God says about the matter.
PO Box 64430
Lubbock, TX 79464
Table of Contents
CHRIST DEMANDS #4
Garland M. Robinson
BARRIERS TO UNITY
There are many barriers to
unity. We must avoid them at all cost.
Not accepting the
Scriptures as the divine Word of God is a barrier to unity.
The Bible is the all-inspired word of God. It has no equal. It is
without flaw or error. It is consistent with itself. No other book or
document can lead mankind to eternal life. “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” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “...His
divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory
and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
Not knowing the
Scriptures is a barrier to unity. Since the Bible is the only
acceptable standard on which unity is based, we cannot have unity
without knowing what the Scriptures require. Even as a young boy of
twelve, Jesus knew the Scriptures. “And it came to
pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in
the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and
answers” (Luke 2:46-47). We are told to “Study
to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2
Tim. 2:15). Not knowing the Scriptures brings God’s wrath
upon us. “My people are destroyed for lack of
knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject
thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten
the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children”
the Scriptures is a barrier to unity. God demands respect to
his word. We are forbidden to alter it in any way, either by adding to
it or deleting from it. “For I testify unto every
man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man
shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that
are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words
of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the
book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are
written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19). To respect
the Scriptures is to recognize their authority. “And
whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col.
3:17). To do something in “the name of the Lord”
means to do as the Lord has authorized. We must have Bible authority
for all we say and do. To act without authority is to act apart from
the Scriptures which ignores the Lord’s commands.
Not obeying the
Scriptures is a barrier to unity. God will only save those
who obey Him. “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” (Matt.
7:21). Jesus is “...the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). He said,
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not
the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? “Then
said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my
word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
that others follow the Scriptures is a barrier to unity.
It’s not enough for some to obey the Scriptures while others
do not. Everyone must obey the Lord’s Word. The Bible “...is
the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew
first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Those
who “believe” are those who obey. Jesus said, “If
ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John
14:15). “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I
command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant
knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all
things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto
you” (John 15:14-15).
standards God did not authorize is a barrier to unity. Many
accept what men say and count it equal or even above what God says.
Laws and doctrines are accepted by councils, synods, conferences,
catechisms, creeds, and manuals. The Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great
Price, Doctrine and Covenants and Science and Key to the Scriptures are
but a few standards accepted by many. All will perish with the using
for they are not the Word of God. There is but one holy divine Word
— the Bible. Jesus said “This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their
lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”
Making laws God
did not make and binding them upon others is a barrier to unity.
This is taking upon one’s self the liberty to speak in place
of God. This is binding where God has loosed. Jesus revealed to the
apostles that God alone had the right to “bind” and
“loose.” “And I will give unto
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind
on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on
earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). The
pont of this verse is the fact that the apostles would only bind and
loose what God had bound and loosed in heaven. They did not have power
to make laws for God. That would be going beyond the inspired Word and
brings condemnation. “If any man shall add unto
these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in
this book” (Rev. 22:18). “Add
thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a
liar” (Prov. 30:6).
Ignoring the laws
of God is a barrier to unity. When one ignores or refuses to
obey the Scriptures, he is not respecting what God said. He takes
liberties with the Scriptures and says God does not mean what He says.
This is “loosing” what God has
“bound.” We must not go beyond that which is
written. “And these things, brethren, I have in a
figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye
might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that
no one of you be puffed up for one against another”
(1 Cor. 4:6). Man has no right to ignore God’s word.
Conclusion: Unity does not
come about by accident. It is a deliberate action upon the part of
every member of the Lord’s church. It requires a lot of work.
The words of Ephesians 4:1-6 tell us what to do and gives us the
standard upon which to stand. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
Paul wrote: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are
called, With all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering, forbearing one another
in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and
one Spirit, even as ye are called in one
hope of your calling; One Lord, one
faith, one baptism, One God and
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you
Table of Contents
WHAT IN THE
PROMISED TO ABRAHAM?
It was not the property of the
world that was promised to Abraham. His seed received all the earthly
property they were promised. Abraham desired “a
better country, that is, an heavenly” country.
Some renewed earth
advocates suggest there is support for their doctrines where Paul
wrote, “For the promise, that he should be heir of
the world, was not to Abraham, or his seed, through the law, but
through the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13). To
them, “heir of the world,” means,
“heir of a renewed earth.”
This is one of the dots they connect to draw their idea from the
Scriptures. To get this dot, they lift a phrase from its context and
read their supposition into the text. They have thee big problems.
First problem: they
cannot find the promise. God made promises to Abraham, but
God never promised Abraham a renewed earth. God did promise land for
Abraham’s seed (Gen. 12:7): “northward,
and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou
seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever” (Gen.
13:14); “the length of it and the breadth of
it” (Gen. 13:17); “from the
river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates”
(Gen. 15:18); “all the land of Canaan”
(Gen. 17:8). God delivered on these promises. “The
LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their
fathers; and they posessed it, and dwelt therein”
(Josh. 21:43). “There failed not ought of any good
thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to
pass” (Josh. 21:45). “Not one
good thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God
spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing
hath failed thereof” (Josh. 23:14).
The seed of Abraham
received all the land they were promised, but they did not receive all
the property on the earth, therefore they were not promised all the
property on the earth. A renewed earth advocate recently recognized
this problem. He said that Paul was “expanding”
the promise, but Paul did not say he was expanding the promise. Paul
was explaining, not expanding. If Paul was expanding the land promise
to include a renewed earth then a renewed earth was not promised to
Abraham. If it had been given to Abraham, then Paul would not have had
to expand it. That is enough to show that the promise made to Abraham
and his seed (that they should be “heir of the
world”) was not the promise of a renewed eternal
Second problem: a
renewed earth is not in the context. The promise made to
Abraham that applied to the world was not a promise for the property of
the world, but for the people of the world. “In
thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed”
(Gen. 12:3). “I will make thy seed as the dust of
the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then
shall thy seed also be numbered” (Gen. 13:16).
“Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able
to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be”
(Gen. 15:5). It was in this context that Abraham asked, “Whereby
shall I know that I shall inherit it” (Gen. 15:8)?
The use of the word “inherit” in
Genesis 15:8 related directly to the use of the word “heir”
in Romans 4:13. In this context, Abraham was not asking
about being heir to the land, or to the property, but the people.
Further, God said, “Thou shalt be a father of many
nations” (Gen. 17:4), and “In
thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”
(Gen. 22:18). This is the promise Paul referenced in Romans 4 when he
said, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father
of many nations)... who against hope believed in hope, that he might
become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken,
So shall thy seed be” (Rom. 4:17-18). Paul was
referencing both Genesis 17:4 (“father of many
nations”) and Genesis 15:5 (“so
shall thy seed be”). Paul’s point is that
the promised blessing comes, not upon the circumcision only, but upon
the uncircumcision also (Rom. 4:9). “That he might
be the father of all them that believe, though they be not
circumcised... and the father of circumcision to them who are not of
the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of
our father Abraham” (Rom. 4:12). Abraham would be
heir of the people of the world, not of the property of the world, and
the people would become his because of their faith, not because of
Paul taught the same thing
in and about Galatia. When Paul first preached in Antioch of Pisidia he
said, “We declare unto you the glad tidings, how
that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled
the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised him from the
dead... And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts
13:39). When the Gentiles understood that this salvation was for them, “they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord”
(Acts 13:48). They rejoiced over the salvation of their souls, not the
salvation of their property. Paul followed with a letter to the
Galatians, saying, “Know ye therefore that they
which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the
scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,
preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the
nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with
faithful Abraham” (Gal. 3:7-9). “And
if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and
heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Paul
did not say anything to the Galatians about saving, redeeming, or
renewing their property.
Third problem: Abraham
wanted to go to heaven. God had told Abraham that he was a
stranger in the promised land, “I will give unto
thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a
stranger” (Gen. 17:8). In the New Testament we
read that Abraham “...sojourned in the land of
promise, as in a strange country... for he looked for a city which hath
foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb.
11:9-10). When the body of a loved one is lowered into the grave, our
hearts ache, and our affections turn from the passing vanities of
earthly things to eternal blessedness —heavenly things. We
walk away from their buried dust feeling like strangers in the land.
The pleasures of earth loose their charm and our desire to follow those
we have loved to a better place grows fonder. David comforted himself
upon the death of his infant son, saying, “I shall
go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel
12:23). My father-in-law spoke these words of David to comfort in
David’s words after the death of his little girl in St. Jude
Hospital. So also, after Sarah died, Abraham remembered the words of
the Lord from Genesis 17:8 and confessed to the sons of Heth, “I
am a stranger, and a sojourner with you” (Gen.
23:4). The Holy Spirit who searches the deep things of the heart
revealed to us more fully the mind of Abraham on this occasion, saying,
“They that say such things declare plainly
that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of the
country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to
return. But now they desire a better country, that is, an
heavenly: wherein God is not ashamed to be called their God:
for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb.
11:13-16). Note the words, “an heavenly.”
Look it up in the Greek text. It is not the common word for “heavenly,”
After Abraham left his Sarah in the tomb, he was looking for a country “above
the heavens,” a place that is better than the
In context, it was promised
to Abraham that he would be “heir of the
world” (Rom. 4:13) when it was promised, “Thou
shalt be a father of many nations” (Gen. 17:4;
Rom. 4:17), and “So shall thy seed be”
(Gen. 15:5; Rom. 4:18). It was in this context that Abraham asked, “Whereby
shall I know that I shall inherit it” (Gen. 15:8)?
It was not the property of the world that was promised to him, but the
people of the world, “...that he might be the
father of all that believe... who also walk in the steps of that faith
of our father Abraham” (Rom. 4:11-12). His seed
received all the earthly property they were promised (Joshua 24:14),
but Abraham desired “a better country, that is, an
heavenly” (Heb. 11:16). We do too.
647 Finger Bluff Road
Morrison, TN 37357
Table of Contents
Jon Gary Williams
The roots of Calvinism extend back to
the 16th century during the early days of the Reformation
Movement in Switzerland. John Calvin, a
theologian, became a part of the growing wave of Protestantism.
He, like Martin Luther in Germany, was troubled
over the corruption he found in Catholic doctrine and practice.
One thing Calvin found
especially disturbing was the emphasis on works in order to reach
heaven. In contrast, he began emphasizing the grace of God. To him it
was the grace of God versus the works of man. In
his zealous opposition to Catholicism, it never occurred to him that
the scriptures taught a happy medium —a combination
of grace and works. So, in the formation of his position
against the extreme works of Catholicism, he created another extreme
teaching —extreme grace.
focused on the nature of man’s redemption. He taught that all
men are born inheritors of Adam’s sin (a carryover from
Catholic belief) and that man plays no part in his redemption and that
the atonement for sin is limited to the elect. He felt there was
nothing for man to do to be saved, that man’s salvation was
solely in the hands of God.
In the mid to late 1500s
Calvin’s views became the standard among reformation efforts
throughout Europe. Hence, the term “Calvinism” came
to be the identifying label of reformation theology and continues to
this day; practically the entire denominational world adheres in some
way to Calvinism. Calvin’s efforts eventually led to the
formation of the Presbyterian Church.
Actually, there are five
parts to the Calvinistic doctrine, hence, it is often addressed as,
“The Five Points of Calvinism.” Unraveling this
five-point system can become complicated but it can best be understood
by remembering the acrostic “TULIP,”
which designates the titles of the five parts. They are:
of the saints.
But what, exactly, are these five points and what do they mean?
CALVINISM IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURES
This is the teaching that
all men are born guilty of Adam’s sin and is sometimes
referred to as the doctrine of “Original sin” or
“Adamic sin.” It is the belief that man enters the
world totally depraved with an inherited sinful nature which is passed
on from one generation to the next. It teaches that man is incapable of
doing any good and his condition is so sinful he can do nothing to
correct it. However, if man is born in such a sinful state and if he
can do nothing to aid himself, how then is he to be saved? This leads
to the second point.
Unconditional Special Election
Calvin taught that since
man is totally depraved it is impossible for him to choose to serve
God. Therefore, it is God alone who determines who will be saved. He
believed that God, through his grace, elects those who will be saved
even before their birth. This means that man’s salvation is
entirely unconditional, hence, “unconditional special
election” or sometimes merely “unconditional
election.” This doctrine is also known as
“predestination.” Since Calvin taught that
God’s grace predetermined those who would be saved, this
meant also that the atonement for sin would only apply to them. This
leads to the third point of Calvinism.
Since the only atonement
for man’s salvation is the blood of Christ, and since Calvin
taught that only whom God has selected can be saved, this means the
atoning blood of Jesus is limited to those who have been selected.
Hence, all outside that group are excluded from redemption. But if
salvation through the atoning blood on the elect has been
predetermined, is it possible for them to refuse redemption? This leads
to point four of Calvinism.
Calvin taught that
redemption through God’s grace is so certain, it is
impossible for the elect to resist it. He believed that God
accomplishes his redemptive work of grace through a direct,
supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart. Hence, the
elect have no choice in the matter. If, however, the elect cannot
resist God’s redemptive grace, does this mean they can never
be lost? This is answered in the last point of Calvinism.
Perseverance of the Saints.
Since Calvin believed
salvation is entirely in the hands of God and that the elect could not
resist his grace, he was forced to further teach that the elect cannot
lose their redemption. This was the logical conclusion to his overall
salvation theology. Hence, the elect will persevere to the end. This
view is sometimes called the “impossibility of
apostasy” or “once saved, always saved”
Sin is not inherited. Man
is guilty only of his own sins (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 3:23; 14:12). Man
will be judged for his own evil works (Matt. 16:27; Eccl. 12:14; 1
Peter 1:17). Little children are not sinners (Matt. 18:3-4; Luke
18:16). They have no knowledge of good and evil (Deut. 1:39). Death,
not sin, is passed to all mankind (Rom. 5:12).
Unconditional Special Election.
God is not
a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9). There is
something for man to do (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Heb. 5:9; 2
The atoning blood of Christ
is for all (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). Salvation is for all
men (Acts 2:21; 10:35; 17:30; Rom. 10:13; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:3-4;
John 3:16; Rev. 22:17).
This takes away
man’s free will (freedom of choice). He becomes nothing more
than a robot. Man is free to choose or not choose God (Josh. 24:15;
Matt. 11:28,29). Man can choose to resist the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit inspired the prophets to bring God’s message. The Jews
rejected this message and Stephen said that in doing so they were
resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51).
Perseverance of the Saints.
Christians can depart from
God (Heb. 3:12).
Christians can fall from
grace (Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:12; 2 Peter 1:10; 3:17; Jude 24).
Christians can deny the
faith and become worse than the lost (1 Tim. 5:8).
Christians can turn away
from the faith (1 Tim. 1:19).
Christians can perish (1
Christians can be spewed
out by Christ (Rev. 3:16).
Christians can err from God
and be in danger of spiritual death (James 5:19-20).
Christians can be servants
of sin which leads to spiritual death (Rom. 6:16).
Christians can sow to the
flesh and lose eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
Christians can wither away
or be choked (Matt. 13:5-7).
Christians will stand in
judgment along with the world (2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 4:17).
Even the apostle Paul said
that he could be a castaway (rejected) (1 Cor. 9:27).
Calvinism is a drastically false set
of teachings. From beginning to end it abounds with beliefs contrary to
the Scriptures. Once the first step is accepted, all the other steps,
of necessity, fall into place.
Table of Contents
YE STEADFAST, UNMOVEABLE,
Marvin L. Weir
It has always amazed me that so many
profess to read and study the Bible and yet believe that salvation is unconditional.
Far too many people (including many brethren) have bought into the
devil’s doctrine of salvation by “faith and grace
One must have faith to
become a child of God, and it is only by the grace of God that such is
possible. Without faith and God’s grace, one cannot
successfully live the Christian life. God has always
set forth conditions to which one must comply in
order to be a recipient of His grace. Even God’s only
begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is a case in point. The Scriptures reveal, “...though
he were a Son, yet learned he obedience ... he
became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”
(Heb. 5:8-9, emph. MLW).
The apostle Paul rebuked
the Galatian brethren in saying, “I marvel that ye
are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ
unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that
trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ”
(Gal. 1:6-7). One can move away from
God’s grace after having Scripturally received it. This point
is made absolutely clear when Paul tells the Roman brethren, “What
shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God
forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer
therein” (Rom. 6:1-2)? One should then not be
surprised that Paul would plead with the Corinthian brethren, “Therefore,
my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in
vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Let us learn
several lessons from this passage of Scripture.
First, Paul is
speaking only to members of the Lord’s church (New Testament
Christians). The Corinthians that Paul addresses are his
beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. A non-Christian may be kind and
do many good deeds but his labor is in vain as far as spiritual matters
are concerned. Jesus’ words still ring true today: “Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
(John 3:5)! One who seeks to worship God but has not obeyed the Gospel
worships in vain! If a person reacts by saying this is a harsh
statement, he needs to carefully listen to our Lord. Christ says, “Ye
hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their
lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt.
No matter what a person
does, he can never attain Heaven unless he obeys the Gospel, becomes a
Christian, worships according to the Lord’s will, and walks
according to the rule of Christ. “And as many as
walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the
Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). One must be a member of
the Lord’s church in order to lay up treasures in Heaven (cf.
Christians are to be steadfast and unmoveable in sacred matters.
The “hope of salvation” (1
Thess. 5:8) is rooted and grounded in the precious Gospel (Col. 1:5).
There is only one legitimate “hope” (Eph.
4:4) and all people are “called” (2
Thess. 2:14) and “saved” (Rom.
1:16) by the Gospel. But one can drift and move away from the Gospel
—his only hope! Paul warns the Colossian brethren, “If
ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away
from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was
preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am
made a minister” (Col. 1:23).
The God-given Gospel does
not change or move. Neither God
nor Christ changes (Malachi 3:6; Heb. 13:8). It is men who seek to
change the Gospel to please themselves and others! The words that
Christ spake are the words that will judge each of us in the Day of
Judgment (John 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10).
A faithful child of God
will absolutely refuse to move away from
Lord’s commands. It is sad that many brethren who knew “the
way of righteousness” have turned back (moved away)
from God’s Holy Word (2 Peter 2:20-22). As Paul said of some
brethren, “For the time will come when they will
not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away
their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2
Tim. 4:3-4). More and more people have deliberately chosen to do just
that! One cannot move away from God’s
truths and expect to go to Heaven!
Christian will abound in the work of the kingdom. This is not
one doing only what is necessary to get by, but one who goes beyond and
richly abounds (overflows) in his work for the Lord. One will also
notice that he must “abound” in
the “work of the Lord.” To
“abound” in the work of men that follow man-made
creeds will doom one to failure. Many sincere people sacrifice and
labor hard in man-made denominations, but doing so does not make it
right or acceptable to God!
Fourth, it can
only be said that labor for the Lord it is not in vain. The
wise man declared, “I have seen all the works that
are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of
spirit” (Eccl. 1:14). And again, “Then
I saw all labor and every skilful work, that for this a man is envied
of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after
wind” (Eccl. 4:4). All we do in this world will one
day be left to someone else, and who knows whether he will be wise or
foolish (cf. Eccl. 2:18-19). Thus, let us abound in the
Lord’s work and lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven “for
where [our] treasure is, there will be our heart
also” (Matt. 6:19-21).
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A WHOLE LOT
MORE THAN WE
Roger D. Campbell
In most of the New Testament epistles
penned by the apostle Paul, near the end of the letter he will express
greetings from those who are with him at the time, and he often
requests that special greetings be given to specific people
“on the other end” of the letter. We could benefit
greatly by slowing down to pay attention to some of the details about
the people in Paul’s life. What I want us to note now,
though, is not the specifics in those greetings sections of
Paul’s letters, but some of what we do not know (that is,
what is not stated in the Bible text).
For instance, consider the
message of Titus 3:15, where we read, “All that are
with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be
with you all. Amen.” When Paul referred to
“all that are with me,” whom did that include? We
do not know. When he said, “Greet them that love
us....” who were those people there with Titus on the island
of Crete? We do not know. We do know that Paul expressed a desire for
grace/favor to be with all of them.
Think about Philippians 4:3
where it is written, “And I intreat thee also, true
yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with
Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the
book of life.” Who was that “true
yokefellow?” We are not sure. Who were the women in Philippi
who “labored with” Paul in the Gospel? We do not
know for certain. Who were all of those other
“fellowlabourers” who had their names written in
the book of life? We are not told.
Fast forward to the
present. Can you and I name all the people living in the world today
who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life? Of
course not. How many faithful servants does the Lord have in the state
of Tennessee? What about in Georgia? What about in the Philippines? In
Brazil? In Italy? In Africa? We have no clue, right?
The truth is, most of
God’s faithful servants are people we will never meet or even
hear about in this life. Let that reality sink in. At one point, Elijah
was convinced that he was the only faithful servant of God remaining.
The Lord reminded him that He still had seven thousand who had not yet
bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:10,18). Do not get hung up on the
number 7,000. It simply meant a whole bunch of folks —a great
number known only to God.
There are members of the
church throughout the world who are doing great things in
God’s Cause. There are elders in multitudes of places who are
doing a wonderful job of shepherding the flock of God among them (1
Peter 5:1-3). There are an untold number of deacons who are serving
diligently (1 Tim. 3:8-13). I am blessed to know a number of sound,
zealous Gospel preachers (2 Tim. 4:2). The overwhelming number of
faithful evangelists in the world, however, are unknown to me. In an
enormous amount of places, in various ways, brothers and sisters are
seeing to the needs of widows, caring for children with no parents,
helping the needy, training other saints, and teaching the lost. Thank
God for every faithful Christian!
When it comes to all the
faithful members of the church in the world, the great majority being
people whom I do not know from Adam (whom I also do not know!), I need
to remember some things.
First, my lack of knowledge
of their existence or activities in the Lord’s work does not
minimize their value or faithfulness. Not everyone who is faithful to
God is in my pee-wee circle of human acquaintances. As a matter of
fact, they don’t know me either.
Second, those who are
serving faithfully did not become followers of Jesus by accident.
Someone taught them the Gospel. Go back to the first-century city of
Colosse. Paul spoke about how the Gospel “came” to
the people there (Col. 1:5-6). How did that happen? Someone took it
there, meaning somebody taught it to them. Thank God for the
Lord’s people today who open their hearts and mouths to teach
the Gospel. As you are reading the words of this sentence at this very
moment, somewhere in the world our brethren are teaching the Gospel.
Finally, let us not get
hung up on numbers. Going back to where we started, when Paul told
Titus to greet those who loved him, how many people did he have in
mind? Does it really matter? Today, just because I do not see some
action taking place before my eyes, that does not mean it’s
not happening. On a more local level, just because I do not see or hear
about members of our own congregation actively doing the
Lord’s work, that does not mean they are not doing things
behind the scenes.
Thank God for His faithful
servants, whomever they are and wherever they might be serving. Perhaps
I know them. Chances are, I’ll not meet them until we are
joined together forever in heaven.
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Table of Contents
A NOTE OF THANKS. As this issue closes out 2019 we wish to thank you
for your interest in the saving Gospel. Many have contributed
financially to this work making it possible for multiplied thousands to
read and learn. Our goal is to help men obey the Gospel and be grounded
in the faith. It is a blessing to be able to work with you in the
Lord’s vineyard. —Editor
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believe that our English speaking brethren will benefit immensely from
your publication as I personally have. To God be the glory and may He
bless you” ...Mary Estrada. “L.
M. Dover has passed away” ...Magnolia, AR.
“The Oct/19 issue was great. Contending for the faith is so
wonderful. Send me another one. I love it and am giving one to a
neighbor. You’re doing beautiful things for the inner
man” ...Doris Ingram, Memphis, TN.
“Please remove my name from your send list. I do not believe
only church of Christ people are on God’s good list of
Christians. Let God decide that and let’s let God’s
Word lead and guide each one of us on this wonderful world that He
created. Seek Him First, Right? We are not the judge, God is.
Thanks” ...Julia Kosters, Memphis, TN.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: God is certainly the judge (Christ,
Rom. 2:16; Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10). And, Christ expects people to
respect his judgment. Jesus clearly said, ’Why call
ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say’
(Luke 6:46)? ’Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever
I command you’ (John 15:14). We are so thankful
that the Lord is the judge and not men (Matt. 25:31-46).
Christ’s judgment is perfect because he knows everything
(Heb. 4:12-13). Also, concerning the matter of judgment, we are
expected to examine whether one is in ‘the faith’
(2 Cor. 13:5). How would we go about determining whether someone is a
Christian or not unless we examined their life to see if they have
obeyed and are obeying God’s Word? For example, parents judge
their children and when they do wrong they discipline them accordingly.
School teachers judge students test exam to determine if they gave the
right or wrong answer. When one fails the test, can the teacher say,
‘We’re not suppose to judge anyone so I
can’t give you a score.’ As a matter of fact, Jesus
actually tells us to judge others. In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus said, ’Beware
of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by
their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of
thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a
corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. ... Wherefore by
their fruits ye shall know them.’ We are
commanded to be ‘fruit inspectors,’ that is, we
inspect other’s actions. We are to apply the Lord’s
standard, the Lord’s judgment, and make our decisions
(judgments) accordingly. Those whom the Lord accepts, we accept. Those
whom the Lord rejects, we reject. This is not based on ‘our
opinions.’ It’s based on the Lord’s
judgments. We know what the Lord’s judgment is because he has
told us in the Scriptures. We can’t judge a
person’s motives or their heart, but we not only can, we must
judge their actions. Otherwise, we would not know who to fellowship and
who not to fellowship. We follow the Lord’s Word, not our
feelings. —gmr]. “I am thankful
for the soundness of your perodical, S.T.O.P. May God continue to bless
all connected with its distribution. Thank you” ...Joe
C. Turbeville, Dresden, TN. “Please accept this
check in support for your Seek The Old Paths
publication. We consider this publication to be one of the most
beneficial in the work of His church in this age. Thank you” ...Smyrna
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Harris, Falls of Rough, KY. “Virginia Kee has
passed away” ...McKenzie, TN.
“I would like to receive Seek the Old Paths
which inspires me to search for the truth” ...Beverly
Davis, Henrietta, NY. “Thank you so much for the
wonderful work of Seek The Old Paths.
Sharon Higginson was a strong supporter of this publication for well
over 25 years! I showed a copy to the men of my congregation, Central
Church of Christ, Naples, Florida. All supported the distribution of
STOP. Please send us 20 copies” ...Clark Dyer,
Naples, FL. “I am so very proud of you and thankful
for the Leoni congregation for Seek The Old Paths.
I look forward each month in reading every article” ...Sue
Neal, Baxter, TN.
an everchanging world that is destined to be annihilated when Jesus
returns, the unchanging Jehovah is the only constant. It is the
pinnacle of spiritual folly to reject the truth that God is and that He
is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 5:8-9). As
depicted in Psalm 14, such foolishness has several alarming
characteristics and consequences. Consider the hideous portrait of a
fool that David paints on the canvas of Scripture: A spiritual fool is
morally corrupt in his character. He is abominable at heart. ’The
fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they
have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good’
(Psalm 14:1). A spiritual fool is misguided in his pursuits. He is
carnal in his desires. ’The LORD looked down from
heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did
understand, and seek God’ (v.2). A spiritual fool
is rotten in his soul. He is an evil doer. ’They
are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none
that doeth good, no, not one’ (v.3). A spiritual
fool is bankrupt in his head. He has no genuine knowledge. ’Have
all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they
eat bread, and call not upon the LORD’ (v.4)? ...John
Chowning, Algood C/C, Algood, TN.
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