ESTABLISHING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY
AUTHORITY BY IMPLICATION
Sometimes the Bible tells us what to do or not to do by
making a direct statement. In other cases, it provides us
with examples to imitate. Another method is by
implication. To say that something is implied is
simply to say that it is required by the evidence. For example,
suppose someone had two sacks of grain, each weighing the same,
and having a total weight of two hundred pounds. Given this
information, we could of course know, by implication, that each
sack weighed one hundred pounds. The information provided did not
state this fact, but that conclusion is plainly implied.
AUTHORITY BY EXPEDIENCY
The same logical principles are to be applied in the
study of the Bible. The Bible does not expressly say that the
people who heard Peters sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2)
believed that Jesus is Gods Son. But given the knowledge
that one cannot be saved without that faith (John 8:24), and
knowing that these people were saved (Acts 2:36-47), we can
deduct that they believed on the Lord. We know this by
The Bible does not expressly say that Saul of Tarsus
repented during his conversion (Acts 9), but knowing that one
must repent to be saved (Luke 13:3), and knowing that Saul was
saved (Acts 22:16; 1 Tim. 1:13), we can therefore know by
implication that he repented.
The Bible does not expressly say when Christs
church was established. We know it was not before Matthew 16 and
not after Acts 2, because prior to the events of Acts 2, the
church is spoken of as being still in the future (I will
build by church, Matt. 16:18). But it was established by the
end of Acts 2 for people were added to it on that occasion (Acts
2:41,47). Therefore, by implication, we can know that the
Lords church was established on the Pentecost day of Acts
The Bible does not say that Crispus heard the Gospel
(Acts 18:8), but since the Record says he believed, we
know he was taught the Gospel beforehand, because belief comes
only through learning the Gospel, Gods word (Rom. 10:17;
When an action, fact or teaching is absolutely demanded
by Biblical information, without being specifically stated, then
that action, fact or teaching is an implication. What is taught
by a genuine implication is just as binding as those things which
are taught by direct statement. But much caution must be
exercised to make sure that a conclusion is absolutely demanded
by the facts, otherwise the implication is only an
God expresses his authority through the Bible by making
direct statements, by giving examples for us to
imitate, and in providing clear implications. Bible
authority can also be established by the principle of
expediency. An expedient is anything which
assists in the carrying out of our spiritual obligations without
changing the nature of those obligations or the end results. It
speeds up, or aids, in fulfilling a God-given duty. There is no
expediency where there is no obligation. A matter of expediency
cannot be made a matter of law. It is as great a sin to make an
optional matter required, as to make a required matter optional.
DIRECT BIBLE STATEMENTS
Christians have the obligation to assemble for worship,
but the New Testament makes no requirements as to the place of
assembly. When God does not specify how or when a command is to
be carried out, it becomes a matter of human judgment, a matter
of expedience. Hebrews 10:25 makes assembling mandatory. Other
passages make the first day of the week the day to assemble (Acts
20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). The time on the first day of the
week to meet and the place of assembling are not
specified, thus are matters of expediency. We could meet in a
private home (Col. 4:15), in a public building, or in the open.
The building is an optional expediency which is
authorized by the passages which require us to assemble. We are
commanded to preach the Gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15). Printed
material, radio and television, public teaching, and private
studies are all expedients to that end. We are told to baptize
penitent believers (Acts 2:36-38), thus a baptistery is an
expedient to that end. We are told to teach the church (Matt.
28:20); it is expedient to teach different age groups separately,
hence we regularly study the Bible in classes.
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). In the name of Christ
means by the authority of Christ. We must have
Bible authority for all we believe and practice in spiritual
matters. If we believe or practice an item without Bible
authority, we go beyond the teaching of Christ (2 John 9). To
operate without this divine approval is to invite the wrath of
God (Rev. 22:18,19; Heb. 20:26-31).
The only ways to establish Bible authority for
religious beliefs and acts are by (1) direct statements, (2)
approved Bible examples, (3) clear implications, and (4)
expediency. Anything that is not authorized by one or more of
these ways is an addition, and thus is forbidden.
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). Now these things, brethren, I
have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your
sakes; that in us ye might learn not (to go) beyond the things
which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one
against the other (1 Cor. 4:6, ASV). Whosoever
goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not
God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the
Father and the Son (2 John 11, ASV).
AUTHORITY BY EXAMPLE
The above passages show the fact that Bible authority
must be had in spiritual matters. But how are we to establish
Bible authority? How can we know whether a certain belief or
practice is authorized? There are four basic sources of
Scriptural authority, one of which is the Direct
Statement. These direct statements of the Bible may provide
either generic or specific authority. That is, a statement may
authorize actions without giving the specific detail of how those
actions may be done. This is generic authority. Specific
authority is in the cases where the statement not only authorizes
an action, but specifies how it is to be done.
A Biblical statement containing both generic and
specific authority is Mark 16:15: ...Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature. This
direct statement authorizes evangelism. It is a direct statement
which requires taking the Gospel to the lost. Two actions are
involved: going and preaching.
The command to go into all the world is
generic authority in that it does not specify the manner of
going. It does not require going on foot, by horse, or by boat.
It authorizes going, but does not specify how to go. The command
to present the Gospel to everyone is specific authority in that
it identifies what is to be preached. Followers of the Lord may
go in any honorable manner they choose, but they are
not free to preach anything they choose. That which is to be
preached is the Gospel (Rom. 1:16).
The view that anything not expressly forbidden may be
done, is a false view of Biblical authority and opens the
floodgates for every conceivable error. Rather, we must have
Biblical authorization for all that we believe, practice, and
teach. 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; cf. Matt. 28:18; Acts 4:12; Heb. 1:1-
Most of us regard the Bible as the inspired, authoritative
word of God, and that we are to have the authority of the Bible
for what we believe and practice as followers of Jesus. But how
does the Bible express its authority? One item already noted is
authority by direct statement. To this we add Authority by
Example. An example is an account of an action that was taken
by someone. It is an example for us to follow if it was done by
divine authority and was done to fulfill a God-given duty.
Consider the observance of the Lords Supper. The
Bible reveals the Lords command to eat the Supper (1 Cor.
11:24-25). But the command does not state when it is to be
observed. The early Christians ate it on the first day of the
week: And upon the first day of the week, when the
disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto
them... (Acts 20:7). If the day to eat the Lords
Supper was unimportant, why did the inspired historian even
mention it? The grammatical construction in the Greek text
indicates that this was a continuous, habitual practice.
The Lords Supper is definitely linked to the first
day of the week (Sunday). The example of the early Christians
gives us the divine authority for eating the Supper on the first
day of the week. We have no Biblical authority for eating it on
Thursday night, daily, or on any other occasion. It is to be done
only on the first day of the week. There are some circumstances
in the example of Acts 20:7-8 that are permitted, but not
required. Those disciples met in an upper room, but that is not a
binding circumstance. The place is unimportant (John 4:19-24).
Christians are required to give as prospered (1 Cor.
16:1-2), but the Macedonians give us an example which shows it is
permitted to give more than we have been prospered (2 Cor.
8:1-5). We must not give less than prospered, but we are allowed
to give more than prospered. We know this by their example.
Whether an example is binding in the sense that it is
required, or whether it is simply permitted, must be determined
by considering all the Bible has to say on the subject at hand.
The examples which fulfill permanent commands are
obligatory to us. This is the case with Acts 20:7. Examples which
are unnecessary to the fulfillment of a command are authorized
but not required. This is the case with the Macedonians who gave
more than they were prospered.
The fact that the Bible gives an account of some action
does not mean that example is intended as a binding example. Some
actions were temporary (such as miracles, 1 Cor. 13:8-13), and
some actions were sinful (Acts 5:1-11). These kinds of examples,
therefore, are not to be considered as binding actions for us to
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MAN SAYS, GOD SAYS
Garland M. Robinson
There are different opinions concerning what people believe.
Some say that sincerity is enough. But, the Bible is the proper
standard of judgment. It is the final word. My opinion or your
opinion does not matter. What matters is what God says, not what
we think or feel. There is a vast difference between judging
according to ones own standard (Prov. 14:12) and making
judgments according to Gods standard (John 12:48). As the
Lords people, we are to make righteous judgments (John
7:24)! We are to recognize, respect, accept and follow Gods
judgments. Notice the difference between what man says and what
Man says: The important thing is whether or not one
loves God, not keeping commandments. God says: For this is the
love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments
are not grievous (1 John 5:3). Ye are my friends, if ye do
whatsoever I command you (John 15:14). If we do not keep
Gods commandments, how can we please God? Why did He give
His holy word if it's not to be kept? Man is the one who says we
don't have to keep Gods commandments. God doesn't say that.
Man says: Thank God for the many churches so that man
may find the one that best suits him. God says: There is ONE
body...ONE faith (Eph. 4:4-5). Christ is the head of the body,
the church (Col. 1:18). He will save his body and no other (Eph.
5:23). Those in his body, the church (Col. 1:18), will be saved
and those not in his body (Eph. 1:22-23) will be lost. Are you in
the one body, the one faith, the church?
Man says: Join the church of your choice. God says:
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved
(Acts 2:47). Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not
planted, shall be rooted up (Matt. 15:13). Let there be no
divisions among you (1 Cor. 1:10). The Bible says nothing about
joining a church. It says God adds, man doesn't join. Where does
God give man a choice? This may sound good, but cannot be
supported from the holy Scriptures.
Man says: Each person should follow the way that seems
right to him and that honesty and conscience direct. God says:
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end
thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). ...The way of man
is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps (Jer. 10:23). When man follows his own way and conscience,
he will not be following Gods way. Mans feelings and
opinions are not the standard. Gods word is the standard. We
must accept Gods judgments and honor his commandments.
Man says: Faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and
very full of comfort. By faith only is a man justified. God says:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead,
being alone. ... But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith
without works is dead? ... For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead also. ... Ye see then how
that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James
2:17,20,24,26). For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision
availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh
by love (Gal. 5:6).
Man says: Baptism is not necessary for one to be
saved and has nothing to do with salvation. God says: He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Repent,
and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Arise and be baptized and
wash away thy sins (Acts 22:16). Baptism doth also now save us
(1 Peter 3:21). At water baptism, one is ...then made free from
sin... and becomes a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:3-
Man says: Baptism is an ordinance that can be
administered by sprinkling or pouring as well as by immersion in
water. God says: We are buried with him by baptism into death
(Rom. 6:4). Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are
risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who
hath raised him from the dead (Col. 2:12). They came unto a
certain water...and they went down both into the water, both
Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him (Acts 8:36-39).
Man says: Do not let religion go to your head, make
sure you get enough recreation and do other things you would like
to do. God says: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness (Matt. 6:33). If ye then be risen with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth
on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not
on things on the earth (Col. 3:1-2). We must count the cost
and pay the price of discipleship. Luke 14:26-33 makes this very
plain. That means we put first things first.
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James W. Boyd
While many are interested in church membership, there exists
a mass of unwarranted and unnecessary confusion on the subject.
This, like most other religious matters, is because people
consult just about any and every source for information except
the Bible. People use the words members of the church
so flippantly and unscripturally, with little understanding of
what the Bible teaches about it.
NOT JUST A CHURCH
Are you impressed with the importance of being a member
of the church? Many are not. It is second to none in matters of
importance, and when we learn what Scripture teaches about it, we
cannot escape that conclusion. But so many take it so lightly.
They consider it as something comparable to being a member of
some club, a friendly association, fraternal order, professional
group, or something no more important than that. They do not
consider it to be very useful or necessary in serving God if you
choose not to belong. As a result, they do not make good church
On the other hand, some appear to think that having
your name on some roll that designates who are the members of the
church is all that matters. As some do not give the matter
sufficient importance, others place too much confidence in simply
being considered a member of the church.
Our motive for being a church member must not be simply
to please other people, or for material gain and good business.
What we do in matters of religion must be done with the motive of
pleasing God regardless of what others say, do, or think. We must
be church members from conviction, not just because it may be
convenient, or the accepted thing in some circles of society.
Church membership, according to the Bible, does not mean
being a member of just some church, any church, or a church. It
means being a member of THE church. This point is where many
stumble. They have comforted themselves in the fact that they
belong to something called a church and have concluded that is
what matters. But this is false,. Christ built only one church.
Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt.
16:18). Please note the word church is singular. He is the head
of the body, which is the church (Eph. 1:22,23), and as is true
of all normal bodies, the church has one head and the head is
over one body. There is one body (Eph. 4:4),
made up of many members. We are members of his
body (Eph. 5:30). But now are they many members,
yet but one body (1 Cor. 12:20). Who are these members?
They are not denominations. You read nothing in the Bible
presenting the Lords church in terms of denominations. Paul
wrote to the Christians in Corinth and identified the members,
now ye are the body of Christ, and members in
particular (1 Cor. 12:27). So we, being many,
are one body in Christ, and every one members one of
another (Rom. 12:5). The church is composed of people,
but a very distinct people.
BRIDE OF CHRIST
The church is called the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23). Christ
is the bridegroom (John 3:29). As there is one husband and one
bride, so there is the one Christ and His one church. There are
many churches in existence, but not by the authority of the Lord.
Christ is no spiritual bigamist with many brides. His church
began on the first Pentecost after His resurrection (Acts 2), and
is revealed to us in the Bible. There is only one body for which
He died (Eph. 5:25), and only one that He will save (Eph. 5:23).
Therefore, we are interested in membership in the Lords
church. This truth that there is only one church is a barrier
that many have not been able to overcome. Having been reared in a
denominational context all their lives, they find it difficult to
accept what the Bible teaches about the singularity of the
church. But acceptance or rejection of the truth does not alter
CHILDREN OF GOD
Let us consider now the significance of church membership.
As members of the church, we are the spiritual children of
Gods family. First Timothy 1:15 defines the church as the
house of God. This means the family of God. God is the
Father and we are His children (2 Cor. 6:18). Christ is our elder
brother in this analogy, and we are joint-heirs with Him (Rom.
8:16,17). How important is it to be in Gods family? Can we
be saved and not be Gods child? Certainly not. So the
significance of church membership is obvious.
To be a member of the church means we are in Christ.
Salvation is in Christ (2 Tim. 2:10). Salvation is by no other
than Christ. Neither is there salvation in any other, for
there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we
must be saved (Acts 4:12). There is no way to be in
Christ and outside His body. But to be in His body is to be in
His church because the church is the body of Christ (Eph.
1:22,23). So being in Christ is to be in the church.
IN THE BODY
How does one get into Christ or into His body? Galatians
3:27 teaches, For as many of you as have been baptized
into Christ did put on Christ. We are baptized into
Christ. Again, 1 Corinthians 12:12,13, For as the body is
one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body,
being many are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are
we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,
whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into
one Spirit. By the instructions given through the
Spirit, we are baptized into the one body, the church. Baptism
puts us in Christ. The same one baptism puts us in the church.
Again, it is obvious why church membership is important. We
cannot be saved out of Christ and to be in Christ is to be in His
body, the church.
THE CALLED OUT
The word church comes from the word meaning
the called out. The Lords church is composed of
people who first have been called. We are called by the Gospel (2
Thess. 2:14). We have been called out of a life of sin into a
life of righteousness. We are called to be saints (1 Cor. 1:2);
called to liberty (Gal. 5:13); called to hope (Eph. 4:4); called
into the one body (Col. 3:15). For God hath not called us
unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (1 Thess. 4:7).
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:9).
Wherefore come ye out from among them, is the call of
the Gospel (2 Cor. 6:17). We are called out of the world and into
the realm of the saved. The church is composed of such people.
We must keep before us the fact that to be in the church
means to be one of the saved because the saved is the church. The
Lord adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47). The church is that
body that Christ has promised to save (Eph. 5:23). He offers to
save everyone, but only those in the church will be saved.
To be in Christ means to be in the church, but to be in
Christ also means to be a new creature. Therefore if any
man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed
away, behold, all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).
We are born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom
of heaven (John 3:3-5). When one is born, he is a new creature.
From these verses we see that being in the church, being in
Christ, being in the kingdom, being a new creature, are all the
same state or condition. Could one expect to be saved as the old
man of sin, or as a new creature in Christ? The answer is plain,
We must be born again. Therefore, I see the
significance of being in the church, just as I see the
significance of being in Christ, being in the kingdom of heaven,
being a new creature.
IN THE KINGDOM
Being in the church is being in the kingdom. In Colossians
1:13 Paul told those Christians that God hath delivered
us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom
of his dear Son. Those delivered from darkness are those
in the kingdom. They were the ones who were in the church, or who
were in Christ (Col. 1:1). The necessity of being in the kingdom
is stressed in First Corinthians 15:24, where we learn that when
Christ comes again He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father.
Unless we are in the kingdom, we will not be among those
delivered to the Father. That ought be easily understood. But
being in the kingdom, in Christ, new creatures, one of the saved,
in the church, are simply varying ways of expressing the same
thing. How can one miss the obvious significance and importance
of being a member of the church?
HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER
We now turn our attention to how one becomes a member of the
church. In the book of Acts, a book wherein are recorded several
instances of conversion to Christ, we see that the process of
conversion consisted of hearing the Gospel, believing in
Christ, repenting of sins and confessing faith in
Christ, followed by being baptized into Christ.
Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God
(Rom. 10:17). Except ye believe that I am he ye shall die in
your sins (John 8:24). Except ye repent ye shall all
likewise perish (Luke 13:3). With the mouth confession
is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:10). Repent and be
baptized...for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
BECOME, THEN BE
Those who did the things mentioned above were added to
the church (Acts 2:47). They were not put forward and others
voted whether they would be in the church. They were not made
members by something their parents had done in the days of their
infancy. They were not made members of the church by some kind of
direct operation of the Holy Spirit. They did not do one thing to
be saved and something extra or different to become members of
the church. What they did to be saved is precisely and exactly,
as well as simultaneously, what was done for them to become
members of the church.
Once one has become a member of the church he assumes the
responsibilities that belong to living a Christ-like life. This
includes work, worship, righteous living, being a light in the
world, a city set on a hill, the salt of the earth. He is to busy
himself to continually doing those things that are needful to
grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior (2 Peter
Actually, the matter of church membership is not
confusing nor difficult to grasp when one confines his study to
the Bible and allows his conception of it to be molded by
thus saith the Lord.
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If the Bible is Gods Holy Divine Word, then it is to be
respected as such. That means it is authoritative we are
obligated to follow it. Thats what Colossians 3:17 commands us
to do. We must be able to point to a verse and say, here's
authority for us to do what we do and teach what we teach. On the
other hand, progressives in the church are saying the New
Testament is simply a love letter written from a collection
of notes and interviews. Thats non-sense! It was written by the
inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). Respect for
Bible authority is essential in pleasing God.
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ITS NOT WHAT HE SAID,
ITS HOW HE SAID IT
It is a regular occurrence for a preacher to receive
feedback from the sermons he preaches. Often the comments are
very encouraging. Its always nice to hear when brethren
appreciate hearing the Truth. At other times the comments can be
disappointing. Consider one such event in this preachers
About ten years ago I was preaching a sermon on what
our Lord teaches concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage.
After the sermon one of the brethren came right to me and asked
to see me in a back classroom. He began to chastise me for the
lesson I had brought. My first reaction was to ask him what I had
said that was un-Biblical. He replied, Its not what you
said, its how you said it. He began to emotionally
describe how his son was visiting that morning and happened to be
in an adulterous relationship. I then asked him how I should have
preached this topic. He responded by informing me that I should
not have preached the sermon at all because God will forgive
adulterers without them having to separate from their current
partners. Proponents of the phrase, Its not what he
said... usually have the same mind-set as the aforementioned
brother. In reality it IS what the preacher says that is
despised. Take for example this very situation. To many, the
words of our Lord in Matthew 19 are too harsh no matter how they
are spoken. Its the doctrine that individuals have a problem
with, not the method of delivery.
This attitude reminds me of the words spoken by Ahab in
1 Kings 22. In that chapter Ahab wants Jehoshaphat, the king of
Judah, to join forces with Israel to overtake Syria. Wisely,
Jehoshaphat asks that they first inquire of the Lord. The king of
Judah asks this important question, Is there not here a
prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him (1
Kings 22:7)? At this request Ahab states, There is yet one
man, Micaiah the son of Imiah, by whom we may inquire of the
LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning
me, but evil (1 Kings 22:8). Sometimes people hate hearing
the truth. Was it the way that Micaiah spoke that ruined him as a
preacher for Ahab? Certainly not! It was the message that was
preached that Ahab hated.
Lets not mistake boldness in preaching for
meanness. Jesus, John the Baptizer, Paul and Peter were all bold
in their preaching. Many hated each of these preachers. Was it
the tone of voice that Jesus used that caused His death? Was it
the rhetoric employed by John that caused him to lose his head?
No, it was his courage and boldness to tell a man that it was not
lawful for him to have his brothers wife. Consider this next
time a sermon angers you. What are you really angry with, the man
or the message?
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THE NEED TO ANSWER ERROR
Every child of God has the sacred obligation to be
ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason
concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and
fear (1 Peter 3:15). We are to contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the
saints (Jude 3). Our Lord told us to beware of
false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but
inwardly are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15). Our
responsibility is no less than those Christians of the first
century who were told, believe not every spirit, but
prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false
prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). The
past twenty years have seen an ever increasing defection of
once-faithful, stalwart soldiers of the cross. Men who once stood
in the gap and wielded the sword of the Spirit with skill and
effectiveness have gone over to the enemy.
A once faithful brother wrote: It is not possible
to overemphasize the damage done by perverse preceptors. They not
only cause division (a thing God hates), but the ultimate outcome
of their treachery, whether that treachery be witting or
unwitting, is eternal loss to all who are led astray by their
With regard to our Lords admonition,
beware is a forceful word. It is a warning. It says to
us, Look out, danger, peril, jeopardy, risk, hazard. It
screams at us, Pay attention. Be on guard. We are
locked in a battle with error. Truth will prevail, of that we are
certain. But we must do our part to uphold that truth, moving
neither to the left nor to the right. There is always the danger
that a little compromise will eventually lead to wholesale
apostasy. Hence the need to answer false doctrines forcefully,
faithfully and forthrightly. Time is of the essence; souls are at
stake; the cause of Christ must not suffer!
Unfortunately, the ranks of those who will address the
issues continue to diminish. But if we are to pass the torch to
the next generation, we dare not waver in our sacred duty to
uphold the truth at all costs. The late F. B. Srygley was right
on target: Fighting for the Truth is almost a lost art. Men
who are enjoying the benefits of the Gospel unmixed with human
error, are enjoying these benefits because our fathers fought for
the Truth. Every inch of ground from that mysterious way of being
saved, which was better felt than told, to the plain conditions
of pardon as taught in the New Testament, was fought out for us
by our fathers. If someone before us had not fought for the
Truth, most of us might yet be in the fog of denominational
teaching. This is not the time to temporize or make friends with
error. (F. B. Srygley (Madisonville, KY: In Word and
Doctrine, Oct-Dec, 1992), page 19; originally appeared in the
Gospel Advocate, 1928).
False teachers have been tolerated, ignored, and in
some instances embraced by unfaithful elders, preachers and
members. Far too little has been done in answer to the false
teachers presently assailing the walls of Zion. We only pray that
it is not too late to take our stand and defend the truth.
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Talco, TX 75487
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LOVE, THE ACID TEST OF CHRISTIANITY
Our English New Testament was originally written in
Koine Greek. Our English word love translates
several Greek words. The highest form of love was expressed by
the Greek word agape. The one who possessed agape
love fulfilled the requirements of the Lords will.
Agape love always seeks the very best interest for others.
Therefore, it is imperative that we understand how love,
agape love, is the acid test of true Christianity.
In response to a lawyers question concerning the
first and great commandment, Jesus said, 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... (Mark 12:30). Acceptable Christian service
is always based upon the principle of love. It is significant to
observe, all of our devotion is first to be directed toward God
with such devotion being motivated by love (cf. Gal. 5:6).
As Christ loved the church, so the husband is to love
his wife (cf. Eph. 5:25). Marital discord, which often leads to
divorce, would be entirely eliminated if agape love existed
between husbands and wives. No Christian woman would object to
being in submission to her husband if he always sought the very
best for her. It is when husbands misuse their role as head
of the wife that homes are often destroyed. When there is
genuine love between parents, the children will sense this love
and will have proper role models after which to pattern their
lives. Fathers who love their children will not provoke them to
wrath (cf. Eph. 6:4a). Instead, they will ...bring them
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (cf. Eph.
6:4b). Love is so powerful!
Jesus also taught, ...thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself... (Mark 12:31). Not only must
Christians demonstrate agape love towards one another,
they must also show the same kind of love towards their
neighbors. Biblically speaking, our neighbor is anyone who is in
need of help and we have the opportunity and the means to render
such assistance. In the parable of the good Samaritan,
the occasion and need for help was there, but only the Samaritan
took the time to assist the man who had fallen among thieves
(Luke 10:30-37). Agape love will not allow us to pass
by on the other side (Luke 10:31,32).
The importance of agape love is seen in the
words of the apostle Paul. The Corinthian church was plagued with
many problems, among which was jealousy over the use of certain
spiritual gifts. Paul settled the matter when he wrote,
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and
have not charity, (love, MK) I am become as sounding
brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of
prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and
though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and
have not charity, (love, MK) I am nothing. And though I
bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body
to be burned, and have not charity, (love, MK) I am
nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). In brief, Paul simply tells the
Corinthian brethren they misunderstood the real purpose of their
spiritual gifts. No matter what gift one Corinthian brother may
have had, if his motive for service was not love, his spiritual
gift would amount to nothing.
While today we do not have supernatural spiritual gifts
as did the church prior to the completion of inspired revelation,
we must still be motivated by love in all that we do; else our
service is unacceptable to God. The motive (why we act) is so
very important. While it is true, we must render the
obedience of faith (cf. Rom. 16:26), it is not enough
to just obey our Lords commands. Our obedience must be
prompted by the right motive love. When brethren bite
and devour one another (cf. Gal. 5:15) in disputes over
matters of opinion, and consequently divide the church, they
demonstrate a lack of agape love.
I am almost seventy-one years old. I have been
preaching the Gospel for almost forty-seven years. In all my
experience, I have never seen such lack of genuine love as is
demonstrated by some brethren toward each other as we see in our
There are far too many factions among us. We have
divided and splintered into so many warring factions until
its almost a joke to tell our denominational friends about
the sin of division among Gods people. I fully understand
the need to earnestly contend for the faith (cf. Jude
3), but in some cases I fear that our actions are not out of love
for lost souls, but a desire for the preeminence among brethren.
What do you think?
May the words of the Hebrews writer speak to each of
us, Let brotherly love continue (Heb. 13:1). In
reality, this is our only hope. Think about it.
1336 Spring Lake Rd.
Fruitland Park, FL 34731
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