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

Archive for March, 2018

The Kind Of Preaching God Demands

What kind of preaching does God want? There are many in the religious world who are not that concerned about wanting to know what pleases God. People just want to feel good about the message they hear, and they don’t want to hear what they need to change things in their lives to be right with God. Man’s liberal attitude in pleasing God isn’t new to society.

“Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll, that it may be for time to come, forever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us” (Isa 30:8-11)

These people would rather have lies told to them than the truth and this is the same problem that many are guilty of today. We also have an example of this in the New Testament and comes as a warning to a young Timothy from the apostle Paul.

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering 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. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:1-5).

Sometimes people don’t want God’s truth taught, instead they want the preacher to preach sermons that will tickle their ears, even if what they are preaching will lead many down the wide road that leads to destruction.

So as Christians, we must stop asking what we desire to hear preached and instead we need to open up our Bibles and find out what God wants preachers to preach.

God’s Word should be the main thing that is taught. Those preachers who get up and tell stories and only briefly mention any Scriptures are certainly not preaching the Word. When preachers do it their way instead of God’s way it causes congregations to lose respect for God Word and it opens the door false doctrines to enter in. This is why Paul warns Timothy that if the Word is not taught then people will go astray. In fact, Paul tells Timothy at least 12 times in his letters for him to keep the doctrine and teach other to keep the doctrine of God.

“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Tim 4:6).

A good minister is one that instructs the brethren with the Word of God. When this is done, this will help equip the saints with what they need to hear and not necessarily what they want to hear. God wants a preacher who will convict people of sin through His Word, so their hearts will be pricked and they will realize that they need to repent and change their ways. This is not something that a preacher enjoys doing, but if he is preaching the whole council of God, he will preach on topics that will eventually touch everyone because we all have our different weaknesses and strengths and God’s Word covers them all as Peter says, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:2,3).

Another thing we can learn about doctrinal preaching is that should be preached in such a way that everyone can understand what you are talking about. Some preachers like to show how intelligent they are and their lessons will be full of difficult terms and terminology that most people cannot follow. God doesn’t want His Word preached this way because He wants people to understand what His Word is saying and He wants it to be clear and plain (2 Cor 3:12).

Another thing we learn about God’s doctrine is that is to be taught with love for the brethren. If a preacher’s main goal is to belittle and make people feel low, then they have the wrong attitude. God wants preachers who have a love for brethren and who wants them to be right with God. They should not gloat in the sins of others instead they should rejoice in the righteousness of others. When a preacher speaks out of love for a person’s soul, he is going to do his best to reach that person at their level just as Paul did (1 Cor 9:19-23).

Now Paul is not saying that he would engage in sinful activates to reach these people, but that he would relate with them and come down to their level so that he might get them to listen to the Gospel. Again this shows how a preacher should preach with love for the lost and for the brethren.

The first thing preachers need realize is that if they offend someone while preaching the truth then they didn’t offend that person, God’s Word did. Preachers and teachers need to realize that we are a vessel for God’s Word and if we don’t preach or teach it than we are neglecting our duty. Notice what Paul says about this in Galatians 6:1-12).

Paul emphasizes twice that there is only one doctrine and we must not teach the doctrines of men (Tit 1:14), but he also is teaching us that God’s Word cannot be watered down to please other people. This is an area that all preachers and teachers need to understand. We don’t preach to people for the sole purpose of being pleasing to them, instead, we must be bold and preach the Word of God. Jesus told His disciples to fear God and not man, for only God can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28).

We can see that His disciples took this advice to heart because when Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus and when the Jews threaten them they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19,20)

This is the attitude that every preacher and teacher should have. We have to learn to set aside our own personal thoughts and desires and simply preach the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11).

Preachers must practice what they preach (Rom 2:21,22). They must be an example worthy of following (1 Tim 4:12). If a preacher isn’t living his life according to God’s Word, yet he teaches others that they must, then they are no better than the Pharisees of Jesus time because that is exactly what they were guilty of.  Concerning the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matt 23:3).

This is not just a lesson for preachers and teachers, but it also a lesson for every Christian, because in one way or another we are all representing God in our lives. If we call ourselves Christians then we must also be willing to live like Christians so that we can all be good examples to those around us and so that people can see that we are practicing what we preach.

Conclusion: The kind of preaching that God wants is preaching that comes from His Word and He wants all of His word preached, not just the parts we like. He wants it preached with clarity and by people who are motivated by love for the lost and for the brethren. He wants preaching that is pleasing to Him and that is not watered down to please others. Finally, he wants those who preach His Word to live by it and to be good examples to others.

Scriptural Singing

When the apostle Paul told us, “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. 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), it is the phrase “do all in the name of the Lord that governs the contents of the songs we need to be singing. First and foremost, songs must be in accordance with the Lord’s authority. They have to be accurate to the teachings of God found in New Testament Scripture.

Secondly, songs must have a purpose. They are to teach and admonish while at the same time directing the hearts of the singers to the Lord. Entertainment is not in the standard for songs that we sing.

Thirdly, the types of songs are psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. A proper song of worship can be based on one of the poems in the Bible (a psalm), it can be a song based on the text of the Bible (a hymn), or it can teach spiritual principles found in the Bible (a spiritual song).

In the fourth place, the medium in which the songs are delivered must be by voice only. We are commanded to sing songs, not play music. Such makes sense given the other criteria. Songs are about the words, not the music. Music helps emphasize the words, sets the tone, and helps our memory, but it is the words being delivered that is the focus of what we sing.

Therefore, the determinant of whether a song is acceptable to God is whether it expresses what God requested. That is done by comparing what a song teaches to what the Scriptures teach. Even an accurate song can be delivered in an unacceptable way. Too many song leaders give little to no thought about what they are teaching at a service. Many congregations follow the lead of song leaders with little more than lip service. Without our hearts accompanying what we are doing, it is not pleasing to the Lord, given what God has said in the past.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23-24).

Spiritual Malnutrition

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him has God the Father sealed” (Jn 6:26-27).

Spiritual food is those things which we receive from the spirit which promote growth spiritually, i.e. our becoming more like Christ. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Are we being fed those things which promote our growth spiritually (2 Pet 3:18)? Are we studying God’s Word to be approved of God (2 Tim 2:15)? Are we reading God’s Word (1 Tim 4:13)? Are we truly listening to godly teachers and preachers and comparing what we are taught to the Word (Acts 17:11)?

Spiritually Feeding the Flock

Consider Jesus’ exhortations to Peter in John 21:15-17: “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep”.

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Peter was told to promote the spiritual welfare of the church. Consider Paul’s exhortation to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:28: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”

Consider Peter’s instruction to the elders in 1 Pet. 5:1-4: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.”

The above passages raise some interesting and important questions: What happens when the church is not fed, i.e. how do we recognize spiritual malnutrition? What was Peter and the elders to feed the church in order to make them healthy spiritually?

The Problem of Spiritual Malnutrition

We do not need to search very hard before we find examples of Christians suffering from Malnutrition: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men” (1 Cor 3:1-3).

They could digest milk but they could not digest meat: Even after a fair amount of time. (3:2) Evidence that they were carnal: Envy, strife, contention, division, disunion:

“Mark those that cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine: They deceive by good words and fair speeches” (Rom. 16:17,18). Paul’s commands that there be no divisions (1 Cor 1:10), but this is only possible when the members are feeding on the proper meat: (There is no unity in diversity- Unity is revealed in Truth).

Let us briefly note that divisions do serve at least one practical purpose: They show people’s true colors:
For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor 11:18-19).

The Babes In Hebrews 5:11-6:6 were suffering from a spiritual lack of meat (of their own doing).  “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:11-14).

Hard sayings are beyond explaining to the dull of hearing: Strong meat belongs to those who have used the word enough to develop sound judgment as good and evil. They lacked the foundation of repentance from dead works (flesh), i.e. they remained in their sins (Heb 6:1-6).

The Cause of Spiritual Malnutrition:

The Bible often speaks of food and drink which does not help us or make us strong: “Come! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without a price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (Isa 55:1-2).

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13).

In this case, the water represents the object of their trusts: They choose to trust in man-made sources of water rather than what God supplies: No water, versus fountain of living waters. Some desire religious instruction which does not reveal God’s will, but instead satisfies their own personal appetites:

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa 30:9-10).

The apostle Paul warned a young Timothy this way: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering 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. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:2-5). People don’t want to hear the hard truths of God. They want to be fed baby food though they need to be fed meat. They desire junk food over nutritious food.

Recognizing  Spiritual Food

We must first develop a taste for the truth: Without truth, there can never be any true spiritual nutrition! “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abideth forever…” (1 Pet 1:22-25)

What is the TRUE Bread and Water we need? IT IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD! The Living Bread from Heaven is Jesus or His Words: “Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (Jn 6: 27) “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn 6: 51). “It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. ..(Jn 6: 63). “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:67,68).

Jesus plainly explained the only bread we need was the Word of God: “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4).

The Word of God is living and powerful, judging the thoughts and intents of our hearts! It seeks to rebuke and reform us into the image of Christ! Not always a pleasing meal, but a very nutritious meal.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12)

Conclusion:  Nothing but the preaching of God’s Word can provide truly satisfying, nutritious spiritual food for true spiritual feeding! Even so, you can present the Word of truth before a man, but you can’t make him obey it! Some people are spiritually starving to death in congregations full of spiritual meat and drink! Hearing and Studying God’s Word is not all there is to feeding Spiritually: One must Obey It! Live It! Teach It! and Defend it!

Many today are not willing to receive the food (Word) God has laid down. They consider it unclean, unfair, unloving, etc.! Are We Satisfied with our Diet or are we murmuring and complaining about what God has given us, craving other “food” which God has not supplied? The doctrines and commandments of men may sound good or appear good, but it is not nutritious for the soul. Such kind of food (doctrines) will turn us from the nutritious Word of truth (Tit 1:14).

Be Sure, Your Sin Will Find You Out!

In Washington politics, the cover-up is almost always worse than the crime of which they are accused. Such is the case of those who attempt to hide their sins from God. Covering up sins does not favor well with anyone.

Such was the case of David’s cover-up of his adultery with Bathsheba. King David saw Bathsheba bathing and desired to be with her. He ended up having sex with her and impregnating her. Bathsheba was a married woman and David didn’t want to be blamed for the adultery or the pregnancy. Thus, he covered up the sin.

Firstly, David brought Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, back from the battle of war so he could have sexual relations with his wife. This didn’t work because Uriah refused to have pleasure with his wife while his fellow comrades in arms were engaged in battle. Thus, plan B.

Secondly, David had Uriah placed on the front lines of battle so that there would be no escape. Once Uriah was dead, David could take Bathsheba to be his wife and all would be fine. This worked in the eyes of men but not in the eyes of God, for God sees all things (2 Sam 11).

Thus, God sent to David the prophet Nathan who spoke to David a parable. This parable was about a rich man with large flocks and herds and a poor man with only one ewe lamb. The rich man had planned a banquet for a traveler, but instead of killing one of his flocks or herds, he took the poor man’s one ewe lamb. Now, David thought this to be unforgivable and said, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! (v15) ! “Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Sam 12).

David wept bitterly because now he knew his sin which he had so meticulously covered-up now came to light. Despite many who use this example of David’s adultery as proof that God winks at such a grave sin, God punished David greatly. The newborn child of David and Bathsheba was killed by God (2 Sam 12:14). Secondly, the promise that the sword would never depart from the house of David (2 Sam 12:10). Thirdly, David’s wives would be given to others (2 Sam 12:11).  God spoke of David by saying, “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun” (2 Sam 12:12).

We cannot ever profit by hiding our sins (Pro 28:13).  In 1 John 3:4, God defines sin as transgression of the law. All of us are guilty of sin (Rom 3:23). As a result, we will face the consequence of death (Rom 6:23). Even so, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins (Col 1:14).

Many will stubbornly persist and try to cover their sins, in an attempt to justify their sinful lifestyle and hide from God’s judgment, instead of obeying the commands of the gospel of Jesus to be saved (2 Cor 5:10 f; Jn 12:48). By not obeying the gospel of Christ, they will lose their soul in hell (Mk 16:16).

Hiding your sins will never avoid God’s judgment. Just because God delays judgment until the end of life doesn’t mean one got away from sinning. “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him” (Eccl 8:11-12).

Another way others try to cover up their sins is by professing some religion or some denomination that is not authorized by the Holy Scriptures. There is only one true religion or church (Matt 16:13-18 ff; Gal 3:27-28; Eph 4:5). These individuals may be sincere but scripturally wrong and need to come to the obedience of the truth (Matt 7:21-23 cf; 15:7-9).

Others try to hide their sins and escape God’s judgment by perverting the scriptures to justify what they are doing to their own destruction (2 Pet 3:16 f; Gal 1:6-9). They either add to or subtract from God’s Word and by doing so secure God’s wrath (1 Cor 4:6 ff; Gal 1:6-9; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19).

Jesus verily spoke of those who attempt to hide from the light of His Word when he said to Nicodemus, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (Jn 3:19-21).

Many think that they are in the clear by hiding their sins, but by hiding their sins they guarantee their eternal fate in hell. The apostle Paul gives those who hide their sins a great awakening when he wrote, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later” (1 Tim 5:24). Jesus truly said, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17) “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2). At the end of all things it comes down to the words of Moses who wrote, “Be sure, your sins will find you out!” (Nu 32:23).”

The Destruction Of Immorality

Christian immorality has grown rapidly over the past few decades and it continues to grow daily. We see the results of such immorality in the local churches of Christ and Christian homes. It’s devasting! It is immoral to lie, cheat, steal, and a host of other things opposed to righteousness. The term is often used of illicit sexual intercourse, including incest (1 Cor. 5:1), adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9), homosexuality (Jude 7), and cohabitation of the unmarried (1 Cor. 7:2).

Immorality was a common problem in the first century, especially among Gentiles. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (1 Pet. 4:3). This had been a pattern of life among some of the Corinthians before their conversion. “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Our bodies belong to God who made us and not we ourselves, “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19,20). Paul said that sin is not to rule over us. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lust thereof. Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:12,13).

Immorality devastates marriages: — Jesus said that fornication is the only reason one a man can put away his wife and marry another (Matt. 19:9). It is the ultimate betrayal of trust and vows made before God and man. The husband’s body belongs to his wife and to nobody else. The wife’s body belongs to her husband and only to him (1 Cor. 7:3,4). Adultery is in every local church. Home many times do we see elders, deacons, and teachers and preachers committing adultery and leading their membership to follow in their wicked ways. The scripture teaches us about the one exception and many today have lied their way into adultery. Many are divorcing for whatever the reason may be and to please church members or family, claim that their spouse cheated on them. Brethren, we can deceive mankind, but we can’t deceive God! “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Gal 6:7). Remember, the “Cause” for the divorce must be for fornication. This can’t be a supposition or suspicion on your part. It must be a proven FACT because divorce affects not only you and your future mate but also affects your children, your former mate, and her new husband.

Homosexuality plagues the nation and many homes and churches. In almost every facet of society, we are witnessing gays and lesbians. They teach your children in school, they are judges, law officials, congressmen, senators, and if history is any indication, even the Whitehouse. They have been granted an equal part of society. They entertain you, they work beside you, they are a part of the military, they are given in marriage and rear children. However, in the Lord’s church, they have no part to play because homosexuality to God and to every true Christian is an abomination. Paul spoke of them on this wise: “For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Rom 1:26-27). In the old testament, when homosexuals and adulterers were discovered, they were put to death (Lev 20:10,13). In the new testament, this is what Paul had to say about them: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom 1:28-32). Unlike the old law, we are not allowed to put them to death, but as Paul stated, they nevertheless are “Worthy of death” and also those who approve of such evil practices.

Fornication is practically everywhere today. We even have generations who actually believe that cohabitation should be a prerequisite to marriage. It is commonplace for a couple to have lived together for many years, have several children before considering if marriage is the right thing for them. What is the old rhyme? “First comes love, then comes marriage, then come “____” with the baby carriage”. Not these days! They have the cart before the horse. You would think that they would blush for having done such and making their children bastards. Jeremiah must have been writing about this generation when he wrote, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall” (Jer 6:15 cf; 8:12). Fornication was listed right along side of adultery and homosexuality as an abomination to God. Sex was made for a legal marriage before God and mankind and not for fornicators. Remember the warning of the Hebrew writer? “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4).

Pornography plagues society, the home, and the church: Pornography is rampant in our culture, especially in recent years. The viewing of pictures and images of people engaged in every form of sexual activity has spawned a huge industry in this country and around the world. “Adult” bookstores and video houses are springing up, not only in seedy neighborhoods but up and down the interstate highways. The computer age has brought it into homes all across the world. Businessmen and women, housewives, husbands who stay up late and surf the web, children in their own bedrooms, or at the family computer when they are unsupervised, and sometimes preachers have been caught up in this immoral trade. Homes have been broken up because of it. One would have to physically blind not to accidentally run into it this day and time, and it is as lethal as alcohol and illegal drugs.

The works of the flesh include “fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness” (Gal. 5:19,20). Peter described those who have “eyes full of adultery” (2 Pet. 2:14). Can there be a more accurate description of this sin? Jude describes them as “filthy dreamers” (Jude 8). Jude also said, “But beloved, remember you the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own lusts. These are they who separate themselves sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 17-19). Paul warned Titus of those to whom nothing is pure “but even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Ti. 1:15,16).

The trouble with pornography is that it arouses passion, distorts reality, creates false and unreasonable expectations in marriage, causes women to be seen as objects rather than persons of worth, and reduces people to the level of the brute.

When a husband (or wife) is found to have such an attraction for pornography, it is time to sit down and have some soul searching talks. It is not a time to scream and yell and sharpen sarcastic tongues. Talk frankly about your sexual life. It may be that one has unrealistic expectations or that one has not been satisfying or neglecting the other. The pressures of daily work and life may contribute to it. One may tend to be cold, prudish, or unresponsive, and sometimes there are much deeper problems. Some are just given to sensuality. They have allowed their minds and hearts to be corrupted.

When children are found to be caught up in this sin, it is time to have some no-nonsense education about sexuality, keeping it within the bounds of dignity and casting it in a context of what the Bible teaches on the subject. Children caught in this snare may have a hard time ever being realistic about their own expectations in marriage. Parents need to supervise what movies are seen, what television shows are watched and the use of computers must be monitored. Again, yelling will not solve the problem.

Like Job, we need to “make a covenant with mine (our) eyes” (Job 31:1). “The lust of the eye” (1 Jn. 2:15-17) is a powerful force leading us in the wrong direction. The images we see have a direct influence on what we think. and “as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Pornography corrupts the heart and so corrupts the person, preventing him from being fashioned in the image of Christ.

Immorality is destroying this society and most everyone contained therein. Nations that forget God will be destroyed. Souls will be cast into an everlasting fire who repent not of their wicked ways. “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 19:7).

 

Who Won’t Be Going To Heaven?

Let’s face it, most everyone in the religious world believes that they are right and everyone else is wrong. However, considering the contradictory factions who profess that they know God, most all are absolutely wrong, and only a few are right. All those who profess that they are a Christian go by the Holy Bible as their proof. That being true, let’s go to the Bible and seek out those who will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

All Those Who Know Not God

Most every census report of the world’s religions estimate that those who believe not the God of the Holy Bible to be two-thirds of the population. This would include but not limited to Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and of course all atheists and agnostics. All these have no chance in their present estate because they believe not in the God of the Holy Bible.

All Those Who Obey Not The Gospel

All who obey not the gospel would also include those who know not God but would extend this number to the Christian world. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). All Christians believe this to be true. However, to obey the gospel takes more than belief only (Jam 2:24). It takes confessing such belief before men (Rom 10:9,10). It also takes repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Faith only will not save anyone from their sins and neither will baptism alone save one from their sins. Thus, all who practice infant baptism is just as wrong as those who profess faith only. They are wrong because babies can neither believe or confess and absolutely have no sins for which to be forgiven.

All Those Who Continue Not In The Doctrine Of Christ

Even those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ can come short of the glory of God (Rom 1:23). One of the ways a baptized believer can be lost is to not continue in the same doctrine of Christ and His apostles (2 Jn 9). Many churches of Christ members are lead astray by teaching and abiding in the doctrines of men which lead them from the truth (Matt 15:7-9 f; Tit 1:14).

All Those Who Commit Works Of The Flesh

Both sinner and Christian alike can and do commit works of the flesh. Namely, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and the such like. Also including among the most heinous would be murder, rape, and incest. Lying and stealing will also get one omitted from the book of life. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 and Galatians 5:19-21 list a few more of these works of the flesh which war at our members daily, attempting to take away our very soul.

Who Will Be Saved?

Those who will be saved will have obeyed the gospel of Christ (Rom 10:17 ff; Jn 8:24; Matt 10:32,22; Lk 13:3; Rom 6:3,4). They will have continued in the doctrine of Christ and His apostles (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). They will have overcome the works of the flesh (Jam 1:12). They will have endured persecutions which have been promised to every faithful Christian (2 Tim 3:12). These and only these will be saved if they are faithful unto the end (Rev 2:10 cf; 3:11).

Why Not Instruments of Music In The Church?

You can search the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find even one verse that authorizes the church which Christ built to worship God with a mechanical instrument of music. There is no example that the church you read about in the Bible ever worshiped God with mechanical instruments of music. The supposition of the church worshiping God with a mechanical instrument of music in the New Testament church was absent from the Word of truth.

It may also surprise many to know that when the various religious denominations were formed, many of their leaders opposed the use of mechanical instruments in worship. “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews” (John Calvin, founder of the Presbyterian Church). “I have no objections to the instrument in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen” (John Wesley, founder of the Methodists Church). “I am an old man and a minister; and I declare that I have never knew them [musical instruments – RD] productive of any good in the worship of God; and I have reason to believe that they were productive of much evil. Music as a science I admire and esteem, but instruments of music in the house of God, I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity who requires his followers to worship him in spirit and in truth” (Adam Clarke, Methodist scholar and commentator). “The organ in the worship of God is an ensign of Baal” (Martin Luther, reformer and founder of the Lutheran Church). “Staunch old Baptists in former times would as soon have tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries, and yet the instrument has gradually found its way among them with nothing like the jars and difficulties that arose of old concerning the bass viol and smaller instruments of music” (David Benedict, foremost Baptist historian). Charles Spurgeon, one the greatest Baptist preachers ever, quoted 1 Corinthians 14:15 and added, “I would as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery.”

It can be readily seen that the church of Christ is not alone in its opposition to the use of mechanical instruments in worship to God, and that history shows without a doubt that instrumental music is an addition to the worship of God. Church fathers, encyclopedias, scholars, commentators, reformers and historians all agree.

All of the passages that deal with music in the worship of the church use the words “singing”, “sing”, or “fruit of our lips”, except for Ephesians 5:19 which reads, “making melody”. Instrumental music in worship is an addition to the word of God. If instrumenatal music had been commanded, all churches of Christ would use them. From passages such as Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32 and Revelation 22:18-19 we learn that God would not have us to add to His word. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:6, “Learn not to go beyond the things which are written”. In 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul admonishes, “teach no other doctrine”.  Remember, “Whosoever goes onward and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God”.

Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church is:

Not taught by Christ (Mat. 28:18 ff; Col. 3:17; 2 Jn 9). Not taught by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13; 14:26 f; Rom. 8:14). Not taught by the Apostles (Matt. 28:19-20 ff; Acts 2:42; Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 6:3-4). Not in the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Not helpful (Acts 20:20). Not a good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Not of faith (Rom. 10:17 f; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:7). Not of truth (Jn 4:24 cf; 17:17). Not of righteousness (Rom. 1:16-17 f; 1 Jn 5:17). Not as the oracles of God (2 Tim. 1:13 f; 1 Pet. 4:11). Not bound in heaven (Matt. 16:19). Not pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).

It is clear that there is no authority from God for the church to worship with a mechanical instrument of music. Such worship would be based on the teachings of men and not the teachings of God. Jesus warned, “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat. 15:9).

Unauthorized Worship 

 Nadab and Abihu took their censers to burn incense in worship to God, but on this occasion, they offered “profane fire” before the Lord. What was profane about it? Just this, God had not commanded it! They had no authority to do what they were doing. (Lev 10:1-3)

There is some today who offer profane music to the Lord. What is profane about it? God has not commanded it! God’s commandment is to sing! We have no authority to worship God with any other kind of music!

If God killed Nadab and Abihu for presumptuously offering profane fire in the tabernacle of old, what will He do to those who presumptuously offer profane music in His church today?

In an effort to please God, the churches of Christ seek to follow His word without any addition or subtraction. We call all men to give up their human traditions and innovations, to come out of man-made churches and simply be Christians, members of Christ’s church you read about in the Bible. According to Acts 2, it began when about 3,000 souls having heard the gospel of Christ, repented and were baptized for the remission sins. When we hear that same gospel and respond in that same way we are added to that same church. According to Acts 20:28, Jesus redeemed this church with His own blood.

If Today Was Your Last Day On Earth

How often we are reminded of the brevity of life. We awake to find out that a family member or friend has passed away unexpectedly. Sometimes people will go to the doctor for some tests and they are informed that they only have a few months to live. The fact of the matter is that today may be our last and there is nothing we can do about it. God gives life and it’s God who takes it away (Job 1:21). Though we may not have a terminal disease, none of us are promised our next breath. We can die from nothing at all being wrong with us.

Scripture proves this fact – Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth”. This is also seen in – James 4:14 “Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away”.

It is an unchangeable fact that we could die today, at this very moment in time. Likewise, we live with the reality that Jesus could return at any moment. We say that we believe these truths, but do we really? If we truly believed that today could be our last we would do things completely different.

We should live in a way that if we knew for a fact that we would die tomorrow we wouldn’t have to change one single thing. This is possible, and this is exactly how every child of God should live.

If Today Was Your Last Day

Where Would You Go?

If you could go anywhere you wanted, where would it be? Would you go to a ballgame or a concert? Would you take a long vacation? Would you go hunting or fishing? Would you visit another part of America or another country? There is nothing wrong with any of these destinations, but nowhere is better than being in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

The Psalmist said “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps 84:10). It was clear where he desired to be, and his desire was honorable. David said in Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

Would You Go To A Worldly Place?

“The tents of wickedness”

The psalmist goes on to say that he would rather be a doorkeeper in the “House of God” than to dwell in “the tents of wickedness”. Notice the contrast: Tents are a temporary place a house is considered permanent. Anything this world has to offer is like that tent… it is temporary, but those things that God offers His children are permanent… better yet they are eternal.

Unfortunately, there are multitudes of people who choose the temporary over the eternal. Some people who receive a terminal diagnosis and decide that they are going to “live it up” during the time that they had left. As hard as they try, they never find that joy that they are seeking in the things of this world. They don’t find happiness or peace in alcohol, illegal drugs, or illicit sex. The wise of heart when they hear they have a terminal illness prepare to meet the Lord God. They do this because there is no place any better than being in the presence of the Lord.

If Today Was Your Last Day

Would You Surrender?

The Psalmist David was a man who had surrendered to the Lord. Notice that he addresses Him as “My God”. Surrendering to the Lord is the most important decision a man can make. If today truly could be your last day then no choice is more important than choosing to surrender to God. If you know that you have surrendered to Him then you have an obligation to spend all your days serving Him.

If Today Was Your Last Day

Would You Serve?

The Psalmist says that he would rather be the lowly doorkeeper in God’s house than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin.

As Christians, we are slaves to our Master. A slave can not choose to serve only when it was convenient for him. A slave does not reserve the right to refuse a task that is handed down from his Lord. A slave can not go off and do his own thing and then return to his master when he feels like it. A slave’s life is a life of consistent service to his master! “

“Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness” (Rom 6:16-18).

Jesus said in – John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commandments.” – As slaves of Christ, we are required to serve Him! Many people today want to profess Jesus, but they want to continue to live life their way. They want to go where they want to go and they want to do what they want to do. They only want to serve Jesus when it is convenient for them. That is not how it works! We must spend our days faithfully serving the Lord. If today was your last day would it be spent serving your Master? If so, who is your Master? God or this World? “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24).

If Today Was Your Last Day

What Should You Do?

Foremost, even before your last day, you should have already obeyed the gospel of Christ and done your utmost to be faithful in every way. We should have already prepared for our last day upon the earth because that day can come upon us like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2 f; 2 Pet 3:10).

Jesus instructed us concerning the temporal and the eternal in – Matthew 6:19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”. Let us first seek the kingdom of heaven and all the things we need to exist in life will be provided (Matt 6:33).

Each day of our life, let us study to be approved of God (2 Tim 2:15). Let us preach the Word of God in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2-5). Let us prove all things and hold firm that which is good (1 Thess 5:21). Let us earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). Let us put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11-18). Let us help all who are in need, especially the saints of God (Gal 6:10). Let us do all the Lord asks us to do each and every day of our life, and come our last day we shall rejoice in the full assurance of our salvation is come upon us. Then can we utter with confidence the words of the apostle Paul: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim 4:7,8).

Ways To Defeat Temptation

Temptation is around every corner these days. It is not only in our communities but in our own houses in which we live. We find it on T.V., Radio, magazines, and that ever growing internet. No person is exempt from temptation. We know the Devil has his role to play in our temptations. The Bible calls him “the tempter” (Matt 4:3). He is our enemy, who like a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet 5:8). Satan tempts all men through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16). He is powerful, but we know that first century saints were able to overcome him: “. . . you have overcome the wicked one” (1 Jn 2:13). With God’s help, we can overcome him as well. Just what can you and I do to overcome his temptation?

A Strong Desire to Overcome Satan

If we are going to overcome the Devil, then we must first possess the desire to do that. The Bible says, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never fall” (2 Pet 1:10). Diligence to overcome comes from your desire within.

Resist Satan

Overcoming the devil does not happen by accident! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jam 4:7). Some Christians fail to overcome temptation because they never really try to resist the tempter. How can we resist him? “Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Pet 5:9). What else helps in our resistance? “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11-18).

Fill our Heart with God’s Word

If our heart (mind) is filled with the Word of God, then we will know what is right and wrong in the sight of God and this will help us be prepared in advance when the devil tempts us. The Psalmist David wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps 119:11). Christians are instructed, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16).I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (1 Jn 2:14). If we will follow this instruction, then we will be better prepared to overcome the evil one.

Imitate the Example of Jesus

What did Jesus do when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness? Each time He was tempted, He said to Satan, “It is written,” then He quoted the Word of God. Like Jesus, we should use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph6:17) when we do battle with the tempter.

Flee from Sin

Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on” (Prov 4:14,15). The New Testament says, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity . . . Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:19,22).

   Look for a Way of Escape

“. . . but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13). God promised an avenue of escape but it’s up to us to take it.

Watch and Pray

Jesus told His weary apostles, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41).

The devil does not want any of us to go to heaven. He uses every means at his disposal to get us off course. If we are serious about overcoming him, then each of the seven things that have been noted above is essential in our fight against him.

Taking God At His Word

Do you remember coming up as a child and having your mother say to you, “Mark my word young man”! It got your attention, didn’t it? It was her way of saying, “I mean what I am about to say, so pay attention to me.” As an adult, several things get our attention fairly quickly but none quicker than the law itself. We obey man’s laws because of the police and the courts which back them up. If we don’t, eventually we will pay the price. It’s not that much different with God and His law. The only difference is God has the power to throw both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28).

There are many approaches to God’s Word among men these days. The atheist says it is just a production of man and that there is no God. The agnostic sees enough evidence to doubt the atheist but not enough to believe that the Bible is the product of an all-powerful God. The denominational world twists, misinterprets, and misapplies God’s Word. The liberal-minded sees it only as a love letter and lives by only those Scriptures they deem relevant. The radical reads more into the text than what is actually there and binds what God has not. One thing is for certain, it is absolutely essential that all men take the word of God seriously if they intend to enter into the Promiseland!

The Word of God will be accomplished, regardless of how men view it. Jesus said that the Word of God is what will judge us on the last day (Jn 12:48). He told his disciples that while heaven and earth would pass away “My words shall not pass away” (Jn 21:33). It is interesting that Jesus speaks these words immediately after his prophecy of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

When Jesus used the phrase, “Verily, verily I say unto you”, he was emphasizing the imperativeness of what he was about to say.  The word “Verily” or “Amen” in the KJV appears 129 times. In other words, the Word of God is saying to us, “Mark my words,” “I tell you the truth,” or “Most assuredly”. God is trying to convey to us in the most urgent way that I am not playing with you when it comes to what I am speaking to you. Yet, despite God’s Word trying to gain our utmost attention,  we seemingly are not taking God seriously. Question for us spiritually, what does it take for God to get our attention? Will it take hell itself or will we take God at His Word?

The Word of God made it plain when it proclaimed, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:16). It is just as plain when Paul warned, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:7-9). The Word of God was described by the Hebrew writer like this: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:12-13).

How many will continue to ignore the warnings of Jesus and be lost? Will we be faithful to our calling and responsibility to know, live, and spread God’s word? Or will we hear the saddest words known to mankind, “…I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matt 7:23).

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