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

Archive for August, 2016

The Scriptures Are All Sufficient

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

The apostle Paul reminded a young Timothy…”And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:15). Truly, the scripture is all sufficient to save a man from all unrighteousness. Allow the scriptures prove it.

One can be saved by reading the Bible only. If he never reads the creeds or catechisms of men, he can find what he must do to be saved by reading the Scriptures. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30,31). “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37,38).

John wrote “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn. 20:30,31). Are the Scriptures sufficient to that end, or did John fail? Further, Peter said that God “Has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). So, one can be saved by taking the Bible alone. One can be saved without ever hearing of Joseph Smith or Ellen G. White. Can the same be said about the Bible?

The apostle Peter tells the Christian to add to his faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. He then commands him to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall (2 Pet. 1:5-10). The Scriptures, therefore, are complete; they are all that is essential for the child of God to continue in a saved condition.

The scripture can’t make you a Catholic, a Baptist, a Methodist, an Adventist, a Mormon or any other denomination. The scripture can only make you a Christian and sufficiently make you prepared to be added to the Lord’s church, the church of Christ (Acts 2:37-47). The scripture is truly all sufficient. Notice what Paul continued to say to Timothy on this subject:  “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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16,17). There is nothing any preacher could or should add to this scripture to make it more plainer than that!

Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

There have been many conscientious men who lived the gospel they preached and preached the gospel they lived as they sacrificed to serve their Lord. We think of them just as John wrote, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13). While we miss them and their contribution to the Lord’s work, we are confident that they are among the blessed dead because they died in Christ. We pay our tribute to them for a well run race and a hard fought battle. We commend their good example.

Yet, we are left to wonder, “Who will rise up to take their place?”

We are confident that the providence of the Lord will continue to watch over his people. Every time there has been a need for a great leader, he has raised up the man for the job. He raised up Moses to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage, Joshua to lead them in the conquest of Canaan, fifteen judges to deliver his people from encroaching enemies, the kings, and the prophets.

In the church, he raised up twelve men to serve as apostles through whom the word of God was revealed. We admire the faith of Peter, James, and John and the others. We read in the New Testament of outstanding men of faith in addition, such as Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, and many others.

As we leave the pages of inspiration and turn to our memories of men who have served in our country, we think of several spiritual leaders: Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, Jacob Creath, and many others whose names go unheralded, although their contribution are not insignificant. We have witnessed in our lives how God has raised up men for the occasion needed who are willing and able to do his service.

We have complete confidence that the Lord will raise up leaders for his people today, just as he has in past times. Mordecai expressed such confidence when he exhorted Esther to step forward and do her part to deliver the Lord’s people from Persian destruction. He said, “Think not with yourself that you shall escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth. 4:13-14). Just as God raised up leaders in the past, so will he today. The more relevant question is this, “Am I willing to make myself available to his service?”

Conclusion: The question is that asked by E.E. Hewitt in the song, “Who Will Follow Jesus?”: Who will follow Jesus, Standing for the right, Holding up His banner In the thickest fight? Listening for His orders, Ready to obey, Who will follow Jesus, Serving Him today?

Who will follow Jesus? Who will make reply,
“I am on the Lord’s side; Master, here am I?”

As Isaiah wrote, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isa 6:8).

I cannot fill the shoes of any one of these men who have departed, but I can put on my own shoes and make them available to the Lord. There is a place to serve in the kingdom, a place left empty by those who have gone before us. Are you ready to step forward to make yourself available to his service? Are you ready to make a difference?

Understanding The Only Church Christ Built

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Jesus promised to his disciples to build his church (Matt 16:13-19). There is no question, after reading these passages, that it was the intention of Jesus not to build any church but to build his church. The greatest problem to mankind today is to determine if he really did and, if he did, which one is it? Perhaps one way to determine what the church of Christ really is is to determine what it is not.

1. The church of Christ is not a material building constructed of perishable materials such as brick, wood, etc. (Acts 7:48; 17:24). Fear may come upon the church (Acts 5:11); from this fact it is clear that the people are under consideration. The church has ears to hear (Acts 11: 22). Again, people are under consideration, not a building. From these facts, we are forced to the conclusion that the church of Christ is not a building of anything material but is composed of people.

2. The church revealed in the Bible is not a continuation of the Jewish tabernacle, temple, or synagogue. The Bible points out that in entering Judaism one simply was born into it, but into the Christian era (i.e, into the church of Christ) one must be born again (John 3:3-5). Since the law of Moses has been blotted out and nailed to the cross of Christ (Col. 2:14), it follows that the institutions utilized under that law are no longer useful to the man who would please God.

3. The church is not a purely social organization to be used for the betterment of society, or for social change, not even for social activities among its members. Although many good social actions follow the deeds of dedicated Christians who may make up the local church in a given community, their primary function is spiritual. The social benefits are simply by-products of a spirit of Christ possessed by the membership. When the building where the church meets in a given community is misused for social functions, the nature of the church in its function and ownership is misunderstood.

4. The church is not a political organization any more than it is a social organization. Those who make up the local assembly in a given locality are encouraged to be good citizens in their community and in their country, but the purpose for the church’s existence is not to change the political status of a nation or of the world as such, but to change the life of the individuals who inhabit this globe (Matt. 28:18-20). From this, we know that the church is not a political institution at all. Christians are citizens of heaven  and as such dwell not in the cares of this world but in the world to come (Philip 3:20 f; 2 Tim, 2:4).

5. The church is not a denomination. Denominations are founded by men and women. The church which Christ built was built by Jesus Christ (Matt 16:18). The Roman Catholic Church is the first false religious organization having come into existence about 606 A.D., Boniface III becoming the first “universal bishop.” In 1520, Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church. In about 1534 Henry VIII founded the Church of England which became in America the Episcopalian Church. In 1536 John Calvin founded the Presbyterian Church. In 1550 Robert Browne founded the Congregational Church. In 1607 John Smythe founded the Baptist Church. In 1739 John Wesley founded the Methodist Church. About 1830 Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church. About 1830 William Miller founded the Adventists. About 1866 Mary Baker Eddy founded Christian Science. About 1872 Charles T. Russell founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses. About 1907 a merger of several smaller groups formed the Nazarene Church.

We could go on and on with this list until we would have named literally hundreds of different religious bodies, yet not one of them is the church you may read about in the Bible. Why? Because the church of Christ is not a denomination; it was not founded by man and is the only church found in the New Testament.

After establishing some facts relative to what the church is not, let us examine the Bible to determine what the Church is.

1. The church is a spiritual institution composed of saved people (Acts 2:37-47 ff; 1 Cor. 10:17; Eph. 1:10; 4:4-5; Col. 3:11).

2. The church of Christ is an assembly. The word church occurs 23 times in Acts, 62 times in Paul’s letters, 2 times in Hebrews, once in James, 3 times in the third epistle of John, and 20 times in the book of Revelation.

The word as it refers to Christians means either, a “local assembly” or the “universal church” (i.e. the body of Christ). As we look to the teaching of the Bible in this regard we may see how the words are used and translated in their contexts. Notice the following:

A. In the following passages the word is used to describe a local assembly (i.e. congregation): Acts 5:11 cf; 8:1,3; 9:31; 15:22; 20:28 ff; Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; 4:17, etc.

B. In the following passages reference is generally applied to the universal church: Matt. 16:18 ff; Eph. 1:22; 3:10,21; 5:23,24,25,27,29; Col. 1: 18,24; 1 Tim. 3:15, etc.

The church of Christ is a building not made with hands, a building composed of saved people. When we fail to appreciate these features of the church we simply are failing to appreciate the relationship which we sustain to Christ who has purchased it with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

3. In the third place the church of Christ is an institution that Christ, its founder, adds the saved to (Acts 2:47). That being true, only the truly saved belong to it. In its local sense anyone may palm themselves off as a member, but in the universal sense only the saved belong to it. This difference is understood when we have properly understood the differences between the church in its local sense and the church in its universal sense.

How Christians Combat Violence

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Martin Luther King murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. Senator Kennedy killed in a Hotel by Arab extremist. George Wallace severely wounded in Maryland Crowd. President Ford was shot at by a woman who was a Manson follower in Sacramento California. President Reagan was nearly assassinated by a deranged man outside a Washington Hilton hotel. Every American President since Reagan has been threatened and many attempts have been made on their life.

How long could we go on with this bloody litany from the front pages of our daily newspapers? Assassinations, race riots, looting, burning, college student revolts, bombed churches, airports, banks, homes, and public buildings. There have been riots and civil disorder in every major city in America. Mass murders, senseless violent crime, and rape have increased at an alarming rate. The annual sale of guns is in 2015 was 15.2 million. There have been more deaths from handguns in the U.S. in its history than all the combined deaths of all involved combatants in all of the wars the U.S. has ever fought. All major violent crimes: murder, forcible rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault etc. are rising out of all proportion to our population. This is not from outside terrorism, but from natural born Americans.

Subversive and extremist organizations that advocate violence strive in every way possible to disrupt law and order. They breed hatred and bigotry which feed violence.  Extremist reactionary groups like the Neo Confederate, White Supremacy, White Nationalism, Alt-Right, Neo Fascism and Neo Nazism and others have advocated and used violence to further their bigotry.

People have lost respect for law and authority because of corruption, and prejudicial enforcement of the law. The media has encouraged violence by its glorification of violence and those who resort to violence. At times it seems as though we are surrounded by violence. America could build a wall, remove every Muslim extremest, every Mexican extremest, every African American extremest, every Asian American extremest, and every Native American extremest from its borders and still violence would remain. More white Americans kill than all other nationalities combined. Psst, psst, let me tell you a secret, violence has nothing to do with color or nationality. It has everything to do with the lack of knowledge of God and His Word!

Some Responses Made by Christians

Christians have made some bad choices when it comes to dealing with violence. Many have purchased weapons and have full intent to use them if threatened in any way. The homes of some followers of the Prince of Peace look like armed camps, with firearms of all descriptions, and sufficient ammunition to fuel a short war. Guns beside the bed, under the pillow, in the glove compartment in the car, in a rack in the truck, in the desk at work reflect brethren desperately afraid of what men may do to them. Some, driven to the point of paranoia, have installed elaborate burglar alarm systems costing thousands of dollars, barred windows, hired killer dogs, and erected high fences. This close contact with violence has prompted some to lose their spiritual bearings. Did you ever hear the comments made by some brethren at the assassination of Kennedy and King? These brethren actually gave “God-speed” to the bloody murder of these men with young families as if it were a deed approved by God. Some today when they hear about assassination attempts made on President Obama make comments  just as bad. God does not approve murder, even of sinners. Anyone who take vengeance on their enemies steal not from man but from God (Rom 12:19).

What Can I Do?

We live in the midst of a wicked and perverse world. Violence will be a part of our reality as long as we remain on this earth. Violence did not start with the race riots of the sixties. Terrorism did not begin on September 11, 2001. It did not begin with ISIS or the Hezbollah. It did not begin in this century. The history of the U.S. has been checkered since its beginning with violence-since the first slaughter of the innocent Native American and their enforced slavery by Columbus and those who followed him. The wilderness was taken from the aborigines by force, the beginnings of the U.S. were bred in violence, civil war, riots, the wild west, are all part of a long history of violence. The world of man began with the violent murder of the righteous by the wicked (Gen. 4).

The presence of violence has always been a dark shadow upon creation. As long as there is a devil and wicked men, there will be bloody hands. We will not preserve ourselves by might and weaponry, but by the care and providence of God. We may decry men’s wicked deeds; notwithstanding, our faith must not stand in ourselves, but in God.

(Please Read Psalms 94)…

“O Lord God of vengeance; O Lord to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Lift up yourself, judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. Lord, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces your people, O Lord, and afflict their heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, you brutish among the people: and you fools when will you be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastises the heathen, shall he not correct? He that teaches man knowledge, shall he not know? The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom thou chastens, O Lord, and teaches him out of thy law; that you may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright of heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had quickly dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slips; your mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with you , which frames mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness, yes, the Lord our God shall cut them off”.

To the Christian with little faith this answer does not provide an answer. But, it is the only answer God gives. The authority of law-its institution, interpretation, and application-belongs to government (Rom. 13). The government is God’s minister to us for good, to protect us from the evil-doer, and to reward our good behavior by permitting us to participate in the service government provides. But even if government fails, God is still faithful who promised us protection. God hasn’t promised complete freedom from violence, quite the contrary. As Christians we are told to expect persecution and unfair treatment, maybe even death (Matt. 10:16-28 ff; Mk. 13:9-13; Luke 6:22, 23; Jn. 15:18,19; 2 Tim 3:12).

What has the Christian to fear from violence? “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom. 8:17, 18, 35). Jesus was a victim of violence, as were His apostles and saints. Throughout history “they had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were cut asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. . .being destitute, afflicted, and tormented” (Heb. 11:36-40). What was the conclusion of the Holy Spirit? If those in times past persevered in faith, without the end that is so evident and appealing to us, what should our attitude be towards the violent deeds of men? We must lay aside all the garbage of faith in worldly power and protection, and follow Jesus Christ and His example. Even the Son of God endured violence, trusting God to raise him up. He did not carry a weapon, nor would he look to violent means to preserve his life (Matt. 26:51, 52, 53). This does not mean that we give ourselves over to complete pacifism to evildoers. Government “carries not the sword in vain” and it exists as our protector from the evildoer. Paul appealed to law and the protection of law in his battle against the forces of bloody minded men (Acts 22:25ff; 23:12-35; 25:11). “But if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Pet. 4:16).

How Christians Combat Violence

Christians combat violence by striking at the roots of violence-the emotions that lead to violence. Jesus told us that the man who committed no violence was not justified before God if he harbored hatred and violent thoughts in his spirit (Matt. 5:21-26). Violence stems from anger, and hatred. As Christians we must put away wrath, evil speaking, gossip, and backbiting. We must demand the positive virtues of love, affection, humility, and regard among our brethren and in ourselves (Eph. 4:29-32). We must not permit the sun to go down upon our wrath but seek reconciliation with those we have wronged, and those who have wronged us (Matt. 5:23, 24 f; Matt. 18:15-17). We must stem violent words by conciliatory, loving, and tender conversation (Prov. 15:1; 25:15). We must set forth a personal example of a peaceful, law-keeping citizenship (1 Pet. 2:12-17).

We must maintain a healthy home life, free from the hatred, violence, and corruption of the world. This means turning off the T.V. set once in awhile, choosing proper reading matter in the home, and directing the musical and literary tastes of our children (Eph. 6:4). We must speak out individually or in social groups against those parts of our society that breed violence. Taking the Gospel seriously in our lives means that we will use it to change the world. We need to become the reconcilers, the peacemakers, the crusaders against social injustice and corruption (Matt. 5:13-16).  After all, did not Jesus instruct us: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). Attention all Christians! Love your neighbor (all colors and nationalities) (Gal 5:14), love your enemies and all who hate you (Matt 5:43-47) love your fellow brethren (even as Christ also loved us) (Jn 13:34), put down your guns (Matt 26:52), pick up your bibles (2 Tim 2:15), take up your cross and follow after Christ (Matt 16:24). Put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11-18) and become good soldiers of Christ, who doesn’t take on the affairs of this world that he may please God who has chosen him (2 Tim 2:3-4). If you do these things brethren, you do well.

Was Instrumental Music Used or Commanded In the Church?

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Was instrumental music ever used in any New Testament church? Was instrumental ever commanded by Jesus or his apostles? Actually, the New Testament gives us definitive answers to these two questions.

We must first realize that we today live under the New Testament and not the Old Testament. As one discusses the question of instrumental music with those who use it, they soon turn to the pages of the Old Testament for their authority in using it. We, today, do not live under the authority of the Old Testament, but of the New. Paul said that Jesus abolished the law. “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances . . . .” (Eph. 2:15). Other passages teach the same thing (Matt. 5:17-18 ff; Rom. 7:6; Gal. 2:21; Col 2:14; Heb. 7:12; Heb. 10:9-10).

There are only two kinds of music – vocal and instrumental. That is all there is! Ask, “Which has Jesus commanded to be used? Vocal or instrumental?” Then read and see what the Lord has authorized in the New Testament for us to engage in. By reading the sum total of the passages that deal with music in the New Testament you will find that the only kind of music used was vocal music. (Matt. 26:30 ff; Mk. 14:26; Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; Heb. 13:15; Jam. 5:13). To use the words of the Apostle Paul, we learn that each one is to sing, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19).

The First church did not use instrumental music in worship. As one reads the pages of the New Testament after the Lord’s church was established in Acts 2 only vocal music was used. Read the New Testament to see if you can find a church in the New Testament using instrumental music in their worship. There is no example and no commandment to use instrumental music in the New Testament in the church. The apostle to the Hebrews summed it up when he said, “. . . in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto you” (Heb. 2:12).

I leave you with these two verses regarding how the Lord wants us to sing praises to Him, and the latter explains you all you need to know on how to read the Word of God. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (v17) And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Col 3:16-17). In other words, if the Lord had wanted the church to worship him with the use of instrumental music, ‘he would have told you so’ (Jn 14:2).

Defining a Disciple of Christ

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

The name Christian was taken from a biblical source: “. . . and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Most don’t even know what a Christian is or even yet, how to identify one. This I do know, that if anyone follows new testament doctrine, they will become a Christian. Therefore, all faithful Christians have obeyed the gospel of Christ and continue in the apostle’s doctrine.

There is nothing in the word to denote of whom the person is a disciple. The New Testament refers to disciples of John the Baptist (Mt. 9:14), the Pharisees (Mt. 22:16), Moses (Jn. 9:28), and Jesus (Mt. 12:1). Our interest lies only in the last of these. Sometimes the word “disciple” is applied to the Twelve; all apostles were disciples but not all disciples were apostles.

The person who is a disciple acknowledges his ignorance and his need for a teacher who he is willing to follow. The disciple of Jesus recognizes “that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Discipleship breaks down into four categories: Learner: Follower : Teacher: Leader.

Christians are Learners

Anytime a Christian ceases to be a learner, he is in danger of falling from grace. God has never been pleased with a Christian’s quitting his study of God’s revelation. The author of Hebrews rebuked some with these words: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for some one to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Heb. 5:12). Paul warned that those who lost their love for the truth were inevitably headed toward apostasy. For this reason, Paul wrote Timothy saying, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13). Paul also commanded a young Timothy to “Study to show himself approved of God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). The disciple is a learner.

Christians are Followers

Secondly, a disciple is a follower. The man who knows the Christian religion revealed through Jesus is not necessarily a disciple; he must be an adherent to it. Jesus left a perfect example with the expectation that we should try to follow it (1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pet. 2:21-25). “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mt. 16:24). The redeemed in heaven will be those “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4). The disciple of Christ will try to imitate the life of Christ in his daily living.

Christians are Teachers

Thirdly, a disciple of Christ will become a teacher. Christian men become preachers and teachers in order to instruct the church and sinners who are without (2 Tim 2:2 f; 2 Tim 4:2-5). Christian women will become teachers of their own children (Eph 6:1,2) . Faithful aged women become teachers of younger women, teaching them to love and submit themselves to the authority of their own husband (Tit 2:3-5). The very nature of learning and following leads us also to become teachers. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:12-14). “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). Unequivocally, the very reason for learning and following is for the disciple to eventually become a teacher in the capacity God commanded.

Christians are Leaders

A few good Christian men reach the elevation of becoming an elder or a deacon of the church of Christ. If they desire the office of a bishop, and if they meet the qualifications, they can become such leaders of the church. These men must be leaders of their own house and very adept in teaching the Word of God. These are their full requirements: “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim 3:1-7). Similar requirements are also made for deacons (1 Tim 3:8-13). A church without elders is a church without protection against false teachers (Acts 20:28-30).

Conclusion:
Jesus summed up these aspects of discipleship when He said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). If you profess to be a disciple of Jesus, you need to study God’s Word; You must follow the doctrine of Christ; Once mature in the faith, you need to become a teacher of His Word; and a few will become leaders of the local church. If you are a Christian, you are disciples of Christ.

Identifying The False Teacher

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

The apostle Peter had a great concern about the influence of false teachers (2 Pet 2). Consequently, he described the characteristics of false teachers so that God’s people could recognize one when they saw one. They are the characteristics of false teachers for every generation.

They Bring in their Doctrine Privately

“There shall be false teachers among you, who privily bring in damnable heresies” (2:1). False teachers do not operate above board. Rather, they work in secret, from house to house. What they preach from the pulpit is ambiguous and tenuous. These men work secretly among the members, spreading their damnable heresy. When enough members have been “converted” to their false doctrines’ the false teacher will take over the church.

They Bring in Damnable Heresies

“There shall be false teachers among you, who privily bring in damnable heresies” (2:1). The false teacher does not merely bring in poor judgment; he brings teaching which, when obeyed ‘ brings a person into damnation because it causes a man to sin or leads to a rejection of biblical doctrine. “These heresies destroy the soul; they bring ruin both to those who are led astray and to the false teachers themselves.” These are doctrines which destroy the soul, leading to eternal damnation.

Their Doctrines Appeal to the Flesh

“And many shall follow their pernicious (sensual) ways” (2:2). They “walk after the flesh” (2:10), have “eyes full of adultery” (2:14), and “allure through the lusts of the flesh” (2:18). Peter reminds us that false doctrine has an appeal to the flesh.

False teachers preach a doctrine which allows mixed swimming, social drinking, gambling, divorce and remarriage for any reason, church sponsored recreation, etc. They “tickle the ears” of the worldly church members, preaching a message which they want to hear (2 Tim 3:3,4).

They are Covetous

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2:3). “An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right Way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam. the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” (2:14-15). The false teachers accommodate their message to the audience – preaching what the audience wants to hear rather than what they need to hear. Because of their love for wealth, they preach a non-offensive message.

False teachers are attracted to the larger churches where the salaries are greater. False teachers usually do not hunt for small churches of 20-30 members to live on menial wages. They are in search of greater gain, being greedy and not contented with their wages (1 Tim 6:3-10). Therefore, the larger the congregation, the greater the danger for churches to have false teachers among them.

False Teachers Despise Authority

Peter said that false teachers “despise government.” The word “government” (all forms of authority). They manifest a disrespect for authority and those in positions of authority (such as elders).

We see this in the political world this election year. There is a political movement from Breibart dot com (Steve Brannon), who hates government, who has been hired as the CEO of the Trump campaign. His plan is to destroy all forms of government, all political parties, kill its opposition, deport or destroy all the non-white population, and begin what he described as a dictatorship (e.g. Russia’s Vladimir Lenin) <Source: Glen Beck>

False teachers also seek out to destroy the eldership in a congregation. They prefer a congregation lead by a group of unqualified men. This way, they can slowly take over the congregation from men who are most often biblical illiterates or weak in the faith.

False Teachers are Arrogant

“Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed speak evil of the things that they understand not” (2:10-12). False teachers manifest an arrogant spirit. They know more about how to preach than any who have gone before them, even when they have had less than five years of experience. They show no respect for the men who have served the Lord’s cause before them, not hesitating to speak disparagingly of them.

They constantly challenge the “traditional” manner of doing things. Such challenging of tradition is born of arrogance, a disposition that says, “I know better how to do things than all of the wise men who have gone before me, believe me.” The false teachers who kick against the boundaries of authorized traditional practices usually go beyond tradition to kick against the boundaries of inspired law.

False Teachers are Self-Willed

A man cannot serve as an elder if he is self-willed (Tit. 1:7). A self-willed man is a man bent on having his own way. False teachers will destroy a church in pursuit of their own way. I have known men who disrupted churches, running off brethren, over matters which they themselves label as “judgment” (such as whether or not the name “church of Christ” should be placed on a sign in the front of the church building).

False Teachers Use Rash and Flattering Speech

They “speak evil of things they understand not” (2:10) and use “great swelling words of vanity” (2:18). They flatter brethren for a purpose – to promote themselves. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16:17-18).

They Promise Liberty

“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2:19). False teachers have always operated under the banner of freedom and liberty. Abortion leaders call themselves “pro-choice”; homosexuals promote “gay liberation”;  “Adulterers claim they are “Free to marry”; Fornicators seduce by saying they are “Free spirits” . Those who redefined the role of women described their movement as the “women’s liberation movement”. Those who are greedy desire a “Free market” system. Racists and hatemongers will cry out their “Freedom of speech”. Others will insult others and condone such by saying they are not “Politically correct”. We live in troubled times!

What is true with these more conspicuous examples of “promising liberty” is also true of the more subtle forms of false teaching. They want to “free” God’s people from “Church of Christ tradition” and brotherhood watchdogs who are “guardians of the party.” While promising their followers liberty, these false teachers lead brethren into damnable heresy, into subjection to the devil.

The Condition of These False Teachers

Peter described these false teachers in these terms: (a) they deny the Lord that bought them (2:1); (b) they are under judgment of God (2:3); (c) they shall perish (2:12); (d) they are cursed children (2:14); (e) the mist of darkness is reserved for them (2:17); (f) they are in worse condition than the alien sinner (2:20-22). Hence, these false teachers are lost, doomed to everlasting hell.

The Threat to Souls

The danger which these false teachers posed was not confined to themselves. They also posed a danger to others. Peter was concerned that “many follow after” (2:2) their damnable heresies. He knew that false teachers “beguile unstable souls” (2:14) and “allure through the lusts of the flesh” (2:18). He was concerned, not only for the souls of the false teachers, but also for those who might be influenced by them.

The reason an epistle such as 2 Peter had to be written was the danger these false teachers posed to other Christians. Good, honest and sincere Christians can be deceived and led into damnation.

Conclusion: Those who think that all of the false teachers died in the first century are mistaken. Those who think that false teachers are no danger to their local congregation are naive. We need to be aware that false teachers are still busy spreading their damnable heresies which lead men into eternal damnation. May we never forget the danger they pose to the church and our very soul.

Ignorance of the Law of Christ is no Excuse

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Hosea, a prophet of God, voiced the word of the Lord by saying, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you” (Hosea 4:6).

The penalty for ignorance is often disastrous to man. In fact, it can steal your very soul. Ignorance is not a excuse the Lord will accept (Acts 17:30). This is the reason we are commanded to “Study to show yourself approved of God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

Paul instructed the Ephesians, “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). And he instructed fathers to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

The apostle Paul speaks of a generation who professed themselves to be wise, but became fools. The women of that day practiced lesbianism and the men practiced homosexuality; they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the created rather than the Creator. These did not like to retain God in their knowledge. As a result, God gave them up to the way of life they had chosen and thus they passed into eternity without God (Rom 1:21-32). Regardless of what scoffers may say, God is our only hope. Let us then seek to know what his will is and then make application of it.

In man’s law, one can violate the law ignorantly and not be treated like a criminal. For instance, one can shoot an intruder and kill them not knowing that they were not there to harm them, and be forgiven. It is possible to have merchandise in your shopping cart that you overlooked to check out, and it not be counted to you as theft. Many such instance fall under the veil of ignorance and such will be forgiven under man’s law.

However, under God’s law, there is no such luck. If you ignorantly forget to obey the gospel of Christ and you die that way, you will spend an eternity in hell (2 Thess 1:7-9). If you ignorantly do not read your bible and you obey for doctrine the commandments of men and you die that way, you will spend an eternity in hell (Matt 15:7-9). If you commit adultery, not knowing your spouse was not eligible for marriage, and you die in that condition, you will die in your sins. If you ignorantly neglect the warnings of well informed saints and heed not unto them, you will be lost in hell (1 Tim 4:16 f; Jam 5:19,20).

Therefore, read your bible, study it, seek out knowledge diligently and obey it as if your life depended upon it, because it really does. Ignorance of the law of Christ is no excuse.

The Only Sure Way

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Nothing in this world will last forever. All animals will die. All humans will die. Everything made by man will rust, rot, or be destroyed. We are not even assured how long we will live or in what condition we will die. We are living in a world of constant changes and uncertainty. Only God’s will or way is the same day in and day out. “For I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3: 6). “The foundation of God stands sure” (2 Tim. 2:19).

Jesus is the Sure Way

Jesus speaking of himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). You may travel other the world in various ways, but if you get to heaven you’ll have to travel this “one” way. This is a “narrow way with a “strait” gate (Matt. 7: 14). False teachers and false religions speak evil of this way of truth (2 Pet. 2:1-2). Some are not satisfied with this way and forsake it. Of them it is said, “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray” (2 Pet. 2:15 ). This sure way leads to the city of God. “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).

The Sure Church

Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The only true and right church is the church which Christ built. This church is the wife of Christ (Rom. 7: 4). Christ only has one wife. “I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9). This church was paid for with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Christ is the head of this church (Col. 1:18). Christ is the foundation of this church (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the Savior of this church (Eph. 5:23).

The Sure Entrance

On the day of Pentecost, those who were gathered hearing the gospel being preached by the apostles ask, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter answered them, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Anyone who believes with their heart and confesses with their mouth that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (Rom 10:9,10), and repents and is baptized shall be saved (Mk 16:16). When one obeys the gospel of Christ are added by none other than Jesus Christ himself. “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

The Sure Worship

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” “WORSHIP GOD!” (Rev. 22:9). This worship must be in SPIRIT and in TRUTH (Jn. 4: 24). The Lord’s day worship in this church consists in “breaking bread” (Acts 20:7); giving as prospered on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1-2); singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord in the midst of the church (Eph 5:19 f; Heb. 2:12); and praying (Acts 2:41). Of course in such worship the truth is also preached (2 Tim 4:2-5).

The Sure Destiny

If one has obeyed the gospel and continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles unto death, they have the assurance of salvation (2 Jn 9 f; Rev 2:10). We also have the assurance that if one rejects the gospel or if they do not continue in the Lord’s doctrine, they shall be cast into the lake of fire (2 Thess 1:7-9). “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal”, thus saith the  Lord (Matt. 25:46). We have this full assurance of the Lord by his oath and his promise from a God who cannot lie (Heb 6:13-19). In other words, if heaven is your goal, obeying God is they only sure way to achieve it!

Baptism Is A MUST For Salvation

Biblical Proof Dec 20 2015

Is it necessary for one to be baptized? Is baptism essential to one’s salvation? For what purpose is one to be baptized? From Acts 2:38 it was seen that the purpose of repentance and baptism was “for the remission of sins,” and Mk. 16:16 said that faith and baptism were in order to be saved.

What Must One Do To Be Saved?

There are three separate accounts of the events relating to the conversion of Paul recorded in the book of Acts. One account is in the ninth chapter, one in the twenty-second chapter, and the other account is in the twenty-sixth chapter. Paul and his company were on the road that went to Damascus, when a great light appeared unto Paul, a light which he described as being “brighter than the noonday sun.” Saul was blinded and fell to his feet, and a voice from heaven called out, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And Saul answered, “Who are you Lord?” And the voice of heaven answered and said, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.” Saul was then aware of the fact that he had been fighting against God, and so he cried out, “Lord what will you have me do?” Jesus answered him and said, “Go into the city of Damascus, and there it will be told you what you must do.” Having been blinded by the great light that he had seen, the men in Saul’s company led him into the city of Damascus.

In the meantime God had appeared unto Ananias and told him to go and tell Saul what he must do. Ananias, having heard of the terrible acts of persecution wrought by Saul, was rather reluctant to go to him, but nevertheless, at the command of God, he went. When he arrived he found Saul, just as God had said he would be found: praying. Paul himself told of his conversion, and spoke of it like this: “And one Ananias, a devout man, according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews that lived there, came unto me, and standing by me said unto me, Brother Saul, receive your sight. And in that very hour I looked upon him. And He said, The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. For you shall be a witness for him unto all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:12-16). Marshall Keeble once said, “A man is not saved and then baptized. A woman doesn’t wash clothes because they are already clean. I’ve seen a lot of smart women, but not that smart. She washes the clothes because they’re dirty. Man is baptized because he’s dirty and needs to be cleaned.”

In answering the question, “Is baptism essential to one’s salvation?”, let us notice the statement made to Saul by the Lord. Christ told Saul to go into the city of Damascus, and there it be told him what he must do. Those things to be told him in Damascus, were not a group of needless commands, but they were things that he must do. When Ananias came to him, the very first commandment that he gave him, was to arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins. Certainly, this was a necessary commandment. It is a must command.

MUST COMMANDMENTS

BELIEVING is a “must” command. Paul (if he be the writer of the book of Hebrews) said, “and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Heb. 11:6). Should someone argue that faith is not necessary, every denominational preacher would use this passage, and stress that the writer says that one must believe. REPENTANCE is a must command. Jesus also said: “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish,” or you must repent or perish (Lk. 13:3). Could one be saved without repenting?  Jesus said, you must repent, and therefore it is indispensable to one’s salvation. BAPTISM is a must command. Jesus also said, you must be born again, or as it is stated in His words, “Except one be born of water, and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). In each of these instances, faith, repentance, and baptism are “must” commandments and definitely necessary for salvation.

All the passages in the New Testament that instruct us as to why we should be baptized teach the same thing, even though they may be differently worded. Jesus said in Mk. 16:16 that it was to be saved; Peter said on Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:38 that baptism was for the remission of sins; Ananias told Paul that it was to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16); Peter later said that it was to save one (1 Pet. 3:21); and Paul said in Romans 6 that it was to be made free from sin. There is no man that exists that can show that the Bible teaches baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is for any other purpose than to remit one’s sins. Sinners cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9-12 f; Gal 5:19-21) Thus baptism is necessary. Thus baptism is a must in order to be saved.

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