Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for June, 2016

Clean Out Your Own House First

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

I don’t know of too many who call themselves Christian who wouldn’t want to have a moral and honest government. I think most all citizens of any country would want that or at least they should. However, is it unethical for those who are called Christian to condemn one sin over another? It is common place for some to condemn abortion and homosexuality as if these were the only two sins in the world. Yet, anyone who knows anything about the bible knows that the two sins mentioned most as a work of the flesh were neither of these two. Adultery and fornication are mentioned more often, and always at the top of the list, as the two abominations God said had no chance of entering into heaven (1 Cor 6:9-10 f; Gal 5:19-21).

So, if some want to make abortion illegal and worthy of prison time, and if they want to ban gay marriages because such are an abomination to God, then why not include all those who are committing and living in adultery and fornicators among those worthy of such (Rom, 1:29-32). Why not ban adulterous marriages and send all who do such to prison? There will be more adulterers in hell come the day of judgment than any other sin under the sun.

To this end, the system of pointing fingers in politics stop. Why? Because not only is congress filled with adulterers, but also most churches. In fact, I am sure most churches have preachers, elders, deacons, or many of its members who are living in adultery. I am equally sure that many of its members are committing fornication in secret.

Hypocrisy is one sin in which Christ condemned the most of the Pharisees. In fact, in chapter 23 of Matthew, Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites no less than 7 times (Matt 23:13-15; 23,25,27,29). They condemned things that they were guilty of themselves. If we are going to point our fingers at sin, and we must, then we also must clean out our own back door first. We must practice what we preach before we can preach to others. Paul said, “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” (Rom 2:21-23).

Many in churches today have redefined adultery to mean that they can marry and remarry for any cause and be acceptable with God. Most in the church itself have added words to the Lord’s commandment on adultery in order to justify their sinful marriages. It is true you may be able to fool mankind by such actions, but come the day of judgment you will have to pay with your very soul for committing adultery. Christ and his apostles were much too clear about adultery for anyone to cry come the day of judgment that they didn’t know such was written (Read carefully again and again Matthew 5:32; 19:9 ff; Rom 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:10,11; 1 Cor 7:39).

It is not enough to condemn the sins of the wicked, but we also must condemn our own sins and repent of them before we can lay claim on any righteous judgment upon others (Jn 7:24). Paul’s most harsh condemnation to hypocritical judgment was written to the Romans. “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom 2:1-5). This doesn’t mean that Christians are not to judge such matters. If not, then how can we teach a person that such sins they are committing, to be a sin? How could the infallible Word of God be preached by fallible men if one had to live a sinless life? No one was sinless except God (Lk 18:19). Anyone who claims to be sinless is a liar (1 Jn 1:10) Yet, we must of necessity live a good and moral life before God and man before we condemn the sinful actions of others. Therefore, if we want to clean house, let us first clean out our own house and then let us clean up the church itself, before we attempt to condemn the evil world around us (Matt 7:1-5).

Let Freedom of Religion Ring!

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

We hear a lot about religious freedom these days. It was once thought that America, the land of freedom, would always have religious freedom. Suddenly, we have a candidate who is willing to deny immigration based upon one’s religious beliefs, and even cast them out of the country though they were born in America. This infringes upon the religious right of every American citizen.

While all of us desire liberties, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion as to what “religious freedom” means. It certainly does not mean that a man can go to heaven believing and practicing anything he wants to believe and practice in religion. It simply means that I do not have the right to force you to believe what I believe, or accept my faith. One certainly should not work a hardship on or persecute another so as to deprive him of his right to worship as he pleases. It does not mean that his faith is acceptable to God, or that his worship is pleasing just because he has the liberty to do as he pleases. One certainly should make up his own mind about a religious matter, but should remember that God will hold him responsible for the decision he makes. God has given His Word, the Bible (1 Cor. 2:7-16). He expects us to read it, study it, and be directed by it alone (2 Tim. 2:15 ff; Eph. 5:17; Matt. 7:21-23).

When one argues that we cannot see the Bible alike, he engages in verbal quibbling. Such will not be tolerated by God. Would God give us something we cannot understand? Did not the Christians of the first century understand the Word of Christ and His Apostles? Those who refused to walk after the apostles’ teaching were considered “disorderly” (Rom. 16:17). They were marked (1 Tim. 1:19-20). We have today the same teaching that first century Christians had, and if they could understand it, abide in it, be of one mind regarding it, we can too. Religious freedom, or tolerance does not mean that God will condone anything that men want to do in the name of religion. It does mean that in our dealings with one another, one man should not attempt to force another to do what he does in religion. Force has been exerted in the past, resulting in death and confinement. Even now, some of our own brethren are using force of all shades to make people accept their beliefs. Settlers from the old country set the stage for “religious freedom,” but this only means that no ruling power has the right to force a man to worship or serve God a certain way. Our government may let us do as we please in religion, but God does not grant that same privilege. When we believe that others are violating Scripture in religious practices and attempt to set them right with the Bible, we should not be accused of intolerance. Error should be condemned and persuasion to accept truth should be made. When this is done, no principle of religious freedom is violated.

Some men do not want to be disturbed in their religious practices. They like what they are doing, and they are afraid that if someone proves from the Bible that they are in error, they will have to give it up. So they excuse themselves and ease their consciences on the basis of religious freedom. They think that man ought to let them do as they please and that God will do the same. Can we not see that man tolerates many things in religion that God will not tolerate?

Jesus said, “In vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt. 15:9). This is still true today. Our government does not interfere with those who want to worship God after the traditions of men, but before God their worship is vain. When we attempt to point out the error of those who err we should not be accused of religious intolerance.

Let’s face it, there are those who are “religious” for “filthy lucre’s (money) sake”  (Tit. 1:11 f; 1 Pet. 5:2). They cry “religious freedom” because they do not want their “trade” to “come into disrepute” (Acts 19:27). We all know that people do not study the Bible as they should and depend on the clergy to give them ready-made answers, consequently false teachers take advantage of their ignorance. Some false teachers are wedded to their false doctrines while others find it an easy route to “big money.” There is just enough truth mixed with the error to deceive and they should be exposed. Yes, they will cry, “persecution,” under a false concept of religious tolerance.

The sentimental, sick idea regarding “religious freedom” has produced a weak and sickly type of preaching all across the land. In turn, it has produced a weak faith in the hearts of the people. The same is true among those who are our brethren who are caught up in the mania of “free men,” or “free churches.” Faith in the hearts of religious people in denominationalism is all but destroyed. Only a vigorous type of preaching will produce a vigorous faith in the people. Brethren, you can be no stronger than the teaching you receive.

Conclusion: We should never interfere with a man to worship God according to the truth. We should not fail to teach mankind the right way, condemn error in every man in the hope that he will correct himself. This is not religious intolerance. Men should not attempt to justify themselves by hiding behind a false concept of “religious freedom.” Hopefully, no one in this country will force anyone in religion, by threat of death or imprisonment or deportation. Even the infidel may disbelieve and preach his opinions without fear of persecution. All this does not mean that men may exercise the same privileges with reference to God’s Word. Religious freedom does not guarantee that every man is right in what he does in the name of religion. Our only standard of what is right and what is wrong in religion is the Word of God. No man is right who does not follow that Word. If this is not true then we should throw the Bible away, or burn it! If we are not going to respect God’s Word as revealed in the Bible, then how will we ever know what is right and what is wrong? Why not stop serving God altogether? This is why so many have gone astray and no longer serve God. This ridiculous, false idea of “religious freedom” will eventually destroy every ounce of faith in the heart of mankind. The abuse of “freedom of religion” should be condemned and destroyed by faithful men of God. When people yell for tolerance, what they really want is special privilege. They think more of tolerance than of Truth. Therefore, let us use our “religious freedom” to teach the world of God’s “religious intolerance” when it comes to our salvation.  Let freedom of religion always ring! And may God’s unchangeable gospel always prevail in the hearts of every man (Gal 1:6-9).

Political Pulpits

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

While I am personally highly committed to a certain political philosophy, and though I have been known to vigorously express my political beliefs in private discussions, I do not believe “the pulpit” is the proper arena for partisan issues. I do not believe that society can legislate morality.

I do not believe God called politicians to preach the gospel of Christ, the doctrine of Christ, or morality in general. I do believe that God called his servants to preach and teach the Word of God and that to all the world (Eph 3:10).

Though it has become a political issue, I am not guilty of preaching politics when I teach that homosexuality is wrong. God, long ago, made it a moral issue by describing homosexuality as a “perversion” (Rom. 1:27). His “righteous judgment” declared that “those who practice such things are worthy of death,” and even warned against the temptation to “approve of them who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).

If I teach that only homosexuality is abomination and ignore all those who commit adultery or fornication, then as a preacher of righteousness, I am not doing my job.

Another moral matter that has become an equally volatile political issue is the practice of killing unborn babies. Using the euphemism, “Pro-Choice,” advocates of abortion are merely ratifying the actions of men like Pharaoh and Herod who killed babies shortly after they were born. They simply did not “do the job” before the babies were born. Had Planned Parenthood been on the job at the time, I suppose they would have offered Mary the option of removing the “fetus” in her womb. Even at the risk of being accused of preaching politics, the faithful gospel preacher must sound forth the truth that “hands that shed innocent blood” is listed as one of the things that the Lord hates (Prov. 6:17).

Yet, I know of an assurance that even the Republican party could care less if you or someone else had an abortion. No! If that were the case, Ronald Reagan during his administration would have banned abortion permanently. He did not and neither did G.H. Bush or his son ban abortion. To be fair, Reagan only had the Senate for his entire term, Bush Sr. had a Democratic Senate and House. However, George W. had a Republican in both the House and Senate (2003-2007). Yet, we still have abortion. Why? Because the Republicans hold abortion hostage in order to get evangelicals to vote for them.

Immorality is not eradicated by a bill in congress, but rather by gospel preachers who are unashamed to preach against it. Instead of preachers preaching against immorality, they are embracing it. The Pope even asked its members to apologize to gays and lesbians. Many denominations embrace immorality in order to gain members. Shamefully, even some churches of Christ defend gays and lesbians as being born that way. No! They were not born that way. They chose to be a homosexual! And it is high time those who stand with God stand up and and condemn immorality of all kinds.

Bottom line? I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but I am going to tell you that as a Christian you must stand against evil of all kinds. No! Politics is not the way to fight against sin. The only way to fight against sin is to preach the unadulterated Word of God in our assemblies, in our homes, to our friends, to anyone who will give an ear to hear it. Just like a qualified elder begins in a godly home, so does a godly nation. No, we as Christians can’t make an ungodly nation obey God, but we can teach them right from wrong. And if we do our job correctly, who knows, perhaps the people we elect to public office will be just and moral and do the right thing once they are elected.

Endless Genealogies

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Every family has this morbidly curiosity to know where they come from and who preceded them in life. Seemingly, we all take a little pride knowing why we look the way we do and act the way we act. My great uncle was the keeper of such facts in our family and he passed down all his information to me and a few others. My great aunt on my mother’s side passed down all the information on my mother’s side. And, like most families, we all would have been blessed not knowing some of it.

It was the apostle Paul who warned us about such matters. “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Tim 1:3-8).

The doctrine Paul is concerned about maintaining is that of the Gospel. “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself” (1 Tim 6:3-5).

We know from history that apocrypha was a popular style of writing during this era. People would create documents that imitate the sacred writings and often used pen names of famous biblical characters to give a feel of authenticity to their writings. Both the Jews and Gentiles collected teachings and argued at length over their meanings. However, the problem is that such treated all works equally and the teachings of the Scriptures are not on the same plain as fables. “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim 6:20-21). The Talmud of the Jews is a collection of such stories. Paul’s focus on fables of Jewish origin can be seen in: “This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth” (Tit 1:13-14).

The Jews were heavily into ancestry since they saw themselves as superior because of their lineage. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Luke 3:8). The apocrypha writings were filled with such genealogies, supposed that these gave more credibility to the things they wrote. “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9).

False teaching has always been a problem because it offers people what they want to hear and not what they need to hear. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim 4:2-4). Such continues to be a problem.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond servant of Christ” (Gal 1:6-10).

Conclusion: The only genealogy you need to be interested is the family of God. God, the father of Jesus Christ, sent him to earth to die for the sins of the world (Jn 3:16). Jesus died and paid for his church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). We become the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ when we obey the gospel of Christ (2 Cor 6:18). If we continue faithfully in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles we shall be saved (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). Now, that’s a family tree to whom we can all be proud to belong.

How God Inspired His Word

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds (Heb. 1:1,2). Paul told us “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Tim 3:16)  How? God reveals his mind to man before he can know it. This is done by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).

All revelation comes from the mind of God. Jesus said, “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, hath one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (Jn. 12:48-50).

God the Father has exalted Jesus Christ at his own right hand and made him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:33,36). He gave him all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). God speaks to us now only through or in his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1,2). Christ speaks to us through the apostles whom he had chosen for that work. Before he ascended into heaven, he told the apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but to “wait for the promise of the Father, which, says he, you have heard of me” (Acts 1:4). He said to them: “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

God gave all authority to Christ when he ascended to his right hand in heaven. Christ speaks through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26 cf; 16:13). After he had ascended into heaven, he gave commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen. Luke wrote two books of the New Testament: the gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He addressed both to one named Theophilus. In both treatises he was under the power of the Holy Spirit who gave him the words that he wrote. The gospel concerned “all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up.” Acts begins, “After that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:1,2). After Christ was taken up, he gave commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.

I want you to notice that God “speaks” by or in his Son to this age. He used “words” when he spoke by his Son. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit gave the apostles “utterance” to make known the mind of God.

As Christ “speaks” with the authority given to him, he must also use words. He said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). He said the words he spoke to the apostles while he was with them were not of himself, but of the Father (Jn. 14:10). Then he said: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (v. 15). Jesus teaches the relationship of his disciples to him in the parable of the vine and the branches (Jn. 15:1-6). Verse 7 says: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Finally, he said those who reject him, and receive not his words, will be judged by his words in the last day (Jn. 12:48).

The word which the Father has spoken by his Son is revealed by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus said to them: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until he be endued with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49 f; Acts 1:8). Jesus told his apostles that the Comforter, “which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn. 14:26). He also told them that when the Spirit of truth came, “he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit does not speak of himself: from his own mind; whatsoever he hears, that is what he speaks. Someone speaks to him with the message to give to the apostles, just as Christ received his words from the Father.

In Acts 1:2 the inspired record tells that Christ, who has all authority, gives commandments unto the apostles “through the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:1-4 reveals that the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Christ gives the commands, the Holy Spirit reveals it by words in the mouths of the apostles. They spoke and wrote it (1 Cor. 2:13 ff; Gal. 1:11,12; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Cor. 2:13; 14:37; Eph. 3:1-4; 2 Pet. 3:15, 16). It’s up to you to hear it and obey it (Mk 4:9 ff; Lk 8:21; Jn 14:15).

Do Apostles Exist Today?

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

“What’s the difference between a disciple and an apostle?” The word apostle doesn’t even appear in the gospels of Matthew and John, and even there the terms seem to be used interchangeably. And though there are no “apostles” in Matthew and John, the twelve “disciples” clearly have a different role than the crowd of disciples who followed Jesus across the countryside. So, what’s the difference?

The word disciple simply means pupil or learner. Disciples were later called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Today, all Christians are pupils and learners of God’s Word. However, some arise to the be teachers or preachers. Some are called to be elders or deacons of the church. Therefore, all Christians are learners, but not all are preachers, elders, or deacons. Even so, not all disciples became apostles in the time of Christ, though all apostles were disciples. Today, none are called to be apostles.

Jude wrote, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). There is certainly a great deal written in the New Testament concerning these men known as “the apostles of Christ.”

The apostle Paul describes the work of Christ’s apostles in the following manner: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).

The apostles of Christ were sent to carry out the work of edification among the churches of our Lord in order to bring about unity among God’s people through proclaiming God’s word. However, it is important to note that this work was only conferred upon a few select individuals. The Scriptures teach that there were certain qualifications that one had to meet in order to be able to serve as an apostle of Christ. In order to qualify, a man must have been:

1. A witness of Jesus Christ. Shortly before his death, Jesus told his twelve apostles, “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:27). The apostles were a special group of messengers sent by Christ to spread the gospel message throughout the world. These men must have been with Christ during his ministry in order to qualify as his witnesses. This point is made clear in Acts 1 where we are told that the remaining eleven apostles sought a man to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle in order to fulfill the prophecies concerning Judas. The apostle Peter pointed out on that occasion that for a man to qualify to serve he must “have accompanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us” (Acts 1:21-22). Even the apostle Paul was a personal witness of the resurrected Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-9).

2. Chosen by Christ. All of Christ’s apostles were personally called and chosen by Christ himself. Luke writes that Jesus “called unto him his disciples; and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:13). Christ carefully selected twelve men from all of his disciples to serve as apostles. Paul refers to himself as, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)” (Gal. 1:1). No man had the right or authority to take it upon himself to become an apostle of Christ. According to the Scriptures, only those who were personally chosen by Christ could qualify to serve as apostles.

3. A personal student of Christ. The apostles were also personal disciples of Jesus (Luke 6:13). Therefore, they were constantly learning the truth of the gospel from their teacher during their time with him. They were able to teach others the same truth that they had learned directly from the Lord. Not only did they learn from Christ, but they were guided into a further and more complete disclosure of the truth through the Holy Spirit after the resurrection and ascension of Christ (John 14:26; 16:7-15). Even the apostle Paul learned the truth directly from Christ, for he says, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12).

4. Able to perform miracles. In Acts 2 we are told that “many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43). While these miracles confirmed the truth of the apostles’ message, they also proved that a man was qualified to serve as an apostle. Paul made this clear to those who questioned his own right to apostleship when he said, “For in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:11-12). Not only were the miracles themselves proof of apostleship, but the ability to confer miraculous gifts on others through the laying on of hands was also exclusive of the apostles. While Philip the evangelist enjoyed much success in preaching the gospel and performing miracles (Acts 8:5-13), he had to wait for Peter and John to come and lay hands on the converts so that they could receive the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). Simon the Sorcerer rightly observed, “that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8:18).

Conclusion: Yes, the apostles in the time of Christ were all disciples, but not all disciples were apostles. The apostles were a special group of carefully selected messengers. Only those who meet the qualifications given in the New Testament can rightly serve as apostles of Christ. No one today meets those qualifications. Therefore, let us guard against those whom Paul warns are “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13). We would do well to follow after the example of the Ephesians whom the Lord commended because they “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and has found them liars” (Rev. 2:2).

They Walked No More With Him

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

“From this time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him” Jn. 6:66). Whatever opportunity they might have had for sharing His suffering, they forfeited. Whatever blessing might have come to them as ‘a result of following Him, they gave up. Their materialistic minds could not grasp the meaning of His teaching concerning the bread of life; their faith in him was not strong enough to overcome their ignorance until they might be taught the meaning of what He had said. So they turned away. And I think it is significant that the Bible says, “they walked no more with him.” Here is an air of finality. They never came back. This is the way it happens more often than not. How many people have you ever known who walked with the Lord, enjoyed the forgiveness of sins, felt the protecting arm of love about them, and then turned back to walk in sin and indifference, who ever came back to stay? I am not referring to the person who is temporarily overcome by some weakness of the flesh. This happens to most people sometime in their Christian life. I am referring to the man or woman who knowing the truth turns back to the weak and beggarly elements of the world because he prefers the world to the company of Christ and His people. They seldom come back to stay.  These are they who marry into adultery. These are they who cohabitate in fornication. These are they who fall for same sex marriage. They will tell you that they are in love, they are happy, only God can judge me, that’s your opinion, I will lead my own life, go preach to yourself and leave me alone!

They may make a feeble effort or two, but generally they will grow more and more indifferent and cynical, until they simply cannot be touched. This is the person the Hebrew writer refers to when he said, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . .” (Heb. 6:4-6). Paul does not say that it is impossible for them to repent, but that it is impossible to get them to repent, that is, to bring them to the frame of mind required in one who repents.

The Bible says that repentance is brought about by godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10). “Godly sorrow works repentance . . .” Until a person is brought to a realization of the nature of his sins against Almighty God, and finds in his heart a genuine regret and sorrow for those sins, he has not repented. A man might have any number of reasons to be sorry for the way he has lived, but that is not the sorrow that leads to repentance. Repentance is not something you do when it is convenient. Repentance is born in a human heart only when that person is convicted of the damning, blighting, ugliness of sin in his life, and when this conviction produces a sorrow so deep and real that he determines to forsake sin and place his aching and bleeding heart in the hands of a merciful Savior.

The person who thinks he can live in sin and plan to repent at some future date either does not know what repentance is or he thinks that God is a fool. Consider the presumption of a man who says, “I am having so much fun living in sin now, that I simply will not give it up; but some day in the future I will decide to be deeply sorry for what I am now doing.” The man who sets a future date to repent will find when that time comes that “there is no place in his heart for repentance.” And this applies to the man in the world who has not obeyed the gospel as well as the one who is a backslider. God is not a lackey that He should stand and wait for you to eat your fill at the devil’s table and throw Him the scraps. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7).

We All Need To Possess The Faith Of Abraham

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Abraham is described as the “father of all them that believe” (Rom. 4:11). Paul admonished all men to “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Rom. 4:12). Let us examine the nature of the faith of Abraham.

A Faith Of Trusting Obedience

The Lord called Abraham to leave his kindred saying, “Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). The Scriptures record, “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him” (Gen. 12:4).

Abraham left his family, friends, any business opportunities, etc. in order to obey the Lord. He did not put off into the indefinite future his obedience, as some do who say, “One of these days, I am going to start back to church.” Rather, he immediately obeyed the Lord at great personal sacrifice.

Abraham’s obedience was based on his trust in God’s promise. The Lord said to go to a “land that I will show you.” If Abraham had looked on a map to find that land, where would he have looked? He obeyed the Lord by going out, although he did not even know where he was going. His traveling would be different than our travels in America. As we move from state to state, we are protected by the laws of our land. One who moved from one country to another in Abraham’s day was a vulnerable stranger. Yet, Abraham had enough trusting faith in the Lord’s promise to go.

A Faith Which Worshiped

When some people move, they leave their faith behind. As they move from one city to another, they seemingly forget to take their faith with them. Members of the body of Christ who worship the Lord regularly in one area move into another area and never begin to attend worship.

Abraham was not that way. Wherever he moved, he worshiped. He built altars at Bethel (Gen. 12:8) and Hebron (Gen. 13:18); he paid tithes to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:20). Indeed, Abraham was a man who worshiped the Lord wherever he went.

A Faith Which Put The Needs Of Others First

Abraham was not a selfish man who thought only of his own needs. When conflict developed between his herdsmen and those of Lot, he said, “Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself, I pray you, from me: if you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; and if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Gen. 13:8-9). When Lot chose the better land, Abraham did not become bitter and resentful.

A Faith Which Laid Down His Life For Others

Rather than becoming bitter toward his nephew, Abraham continued to love him. When the northern kings invaded the south, plundering the region and taking many captive as slaves, Lot was among those enslaved. Abraham could have said, “Now there is plenty of room for me to expand my operations without Lot getting in the way.” Instead, Abraham risked life and limb to save his nephew, Gathering 318 trained servants, he led a night raid against the invading kings and rescued his nephew Lot. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). “. . . and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn. 3:16). Abraham was willing to lay down his life for his brethren.

A Faith Which Practiced Hospitality

Abraham “sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I pray you, from your servant: let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort you your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are you come to your servant” (Gen. 18:1-5). The example of Abraham is cited for our emulation. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2).

A Persistent Faith

Abraham’s faith did not wane through the years. When God called him, he was seventy-five years old (Gen. 12:4). When Isaac, the promised son, was born, Abraham was one hundred years old (Gen. 21:5). He had looked to the gift and the Giver for twenty-five years. Many who are baptized give up or give out long before twenty-five years have passed. Abraham, by contrast, persevered in his faithfulness to God.

A Faith Which Put God Above Everything Else

In his later years, Abraham showed that his love for God excelled his love for the son of promise. God told Abraham to offer Isaac in sacrifice to Him on an altar. By faith Abraham went to Mount Moriah and proceeded to obey God. The Lord intervened, preventing Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. He said, “. . . for now I know that you feared God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me” (Gen. 22:12).

Abraham demonstrated obedience to what Jesus described as the greatest commandment – “You shall love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).

A Faith Which Hoped

When the Lord appeared to Abraham, He promised him a land (Gen. 12:7). Later the Lord explained His promise:

Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age (Gen. 15:13-15).

In these words, the Lord explained to Abraham that the land which had been promised to him would not be given in his lifetime. He wandered about in the land of promise as a stranger and sojourner. “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. . . ” (Acts 7:5). When his wife died, he had to purchase a place to bury her. Even then he manifested faith in the promise of God, for he did not take his wife to the home grave plot in Ur to bury her; instead, he buried her in the promised land.

Abraham never ceased to have faith in the promise of God, although he knew he would never see the promise fulfilled during his lifetime (Heb. 11:9-10,13-16).

Conclusion: May the Lord give us all the strength to walk in the steps of the faithful Abraham. May he protect us from the temptations of youth, give us the wisdom to devote the strength of our manhood to His service, and walk with us to our graves with the hope of the promise of Heaven to sustain us.

Exposing and Confronting Error

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Exposing error is as much a part of preaching the gospel as is presenting the positive precepts of divine truth. This is undeniably proven by the following Scriptures:

Jeremiah 1:10 “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, to pull down and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” In this verse, are found four terms: three negative (“root out,” “pull down,” “destroy,” “throw down”), and two positive (“build” and “plant”). Two thirds of Jeremiah’s preaching was to be negative, and one third positive.

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Three terms are used in this passage: two negative (“reprove,” “rebuke”) and one positive (“exhort”). Hence again, two thirds is to be negative.

Those non-combative soldiers of the cross who have more sympathy for the espouser of error than for its exposure had better spend more time taking inventory of their own preaching and less of it trying to determine if the combatant soldier is complying with their judgment in the battle.

The apostle Paul confronted the apostle Peter face to face concerning hypocrisy. “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.  And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy:. (“Gal 2:11-13). If we don’t confront sin head on, others will follow that error and cause many to fall away. The church of Christ is the pillar and ground of the truth which must reveal the manifold wisdom of God to the world (1 Tim 3:15 f; Eph 3:10). Therefore, we must prove (1 Thess 5:21), defend (Philip 1:15-18), and contend for the faith (Jude 3).

If we learn anything from the above passages it is that more of our time should be spent in exposing error than in imparting the positive truths of the word. It takes more time to clear new ground of the trees and noxious weeds than it does to plant the seeds once that is done. The same is true in the spiritual realm. It is much harder to undo false teaching than to teach them correctly in the first place.

All my ministry I have had to fight error with a mass of compromising brethren about my neck. They usually say they are behind me, but when I investigate, I find they are so far behind me that nobody can tell whether they are supporting the truth or the error! They usually have a lot to say about how sound they are, but generally I have found them to be more boisterous than sound! They think they have to tell everyone how sound they are, otherwise, they might not find out about it! One would never guess it from their actions. Remember, lightning kills, not thunder! Actions speaks much louder than words.

It is strange how some brethren think they can convince others they are sound when they fellowship error, and fraternize those who espouse it while destructively criticizing those who expose it! They are so afraid of being accused of having a judgmental attitude and being politically correct, that they forget their God given responsibility to reprove (reprimand) and rebuke (scold) as well as exhort (encourage). Christians need to stop trying to be the friend of the world and start being the friend of God. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he who does the will of God abides for ever” (1 Jn 2:15-17). We can only be the friend of God by preaching the unchangeable, uncompromising, and never yielding Word of truth!

What Will You Give in Exchange for Your Soul?

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

“For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  (Matt 16:26) There is no physical thing with which a man may buy back his forfeited soul. While there is indeed no physical thing that a man can give in exchange to purchase his soul, there are several physical things that we do give in exchange to forfeit them (Heb 3:12).

We Exchange Material Needs and Desires for our Soul

In Luke 14:16, Jesus told a parable where the offer of salvation is compared to “a big dinner” to which many had been invited. Notice that the first invitee exchanged the invitation (for the salvation of his soul) for the need he felt to look at land he had purchased, v.18.  How often the needs we feel for material things (possessions) are exchanged for our soul’s salvation! Jesus warned against this in Luke 12:15, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” It is so easy to become wrapped up in the pursuit of the material things of life, things moths and rust destroy or that thieves steal (Matthew 6:19-20), that we wind up exchanging the priceless value and eternal permanence of our souls for them.

We Exchange Business Pursuits for our Soul

Back in the parable of Luke 14:16ff, the second invitee exchanged the invitation to his soul’s salvation for the opportunity to try out ten oxen he had recently purchased. The Scriptures certainly teach that we should be industrious rather than lazy when it comes to providing for ourselves (1 Thess 4:11-12), our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and even others (Ephesians 4:28).  However, the Bible also teaches that we have to keep our priorities straight, and always “seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33.  “Work” is a physical necessity, but not to the exclusion of the spiritual needs of our souls!  Don’t exchange “the bread which comes down out of heaven” to feed and save your soul for the “manna in the wilderness” of this world  (Jn 6:48-51).

We Exchange Family Connections for our Soul

Look one more time to Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:16.  The final invitee to the feast excused himself from the benefits of attending because he had “married a wife,” v.20.  Marriage is certainly honorable (Heb 13:4), and our families certainly deserve our love, respect, and attention (Eph 5:22-32; 6:4).  However, even they cannot be allowed to take precedence in our lives over our God and our souls. Jesus plainly said that “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me,” Matthew 10:37.  Luke’s gospel extended this to mean our spouse as well and even our own self (Lk 14:26). And yet, how many people have exchanged their souls for the love of their families? How many precious souls are forfeited for “family ties”? Some forfeit their souls by following a spouse away from God and into sin. Many men commit adultery by marrying a woman who has a living husband (Rom 7:2,3 f; 1 Cor 7:39). Many women commit adultery by marrying a man who didn’t divorce his wife for fornication (Matt 19:9). Some take the advice of their parents or other relatives over the Word of God. We are supposed to love, respect, and obey our parents, but never more so than we love God, for in so doing we exchange our souls for family connections.

Conclusion: There is truly nothing that we can give in exchange for our souls in the sense of buying them back. Jesus alone is that redemptive purchase price, (1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).  However, there are many things, including the “passing pleasures of sin,” (Heb 11:25), that we may and do give in exchange for our souls in the sense of forfeiting them. Your soul is the most precious thing you will ever possess. Jesus died to buy it back (redeem it) from sin. Don’t make that sacrifice worthless by exchanging anything for your soul!

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