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

“The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matt. 21:25).

The chief priests and elders questioned Jesus concerning the authority for His work, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? and who gave You this authority?” Jesus did not dispute the need for authority. In fact, he asked them a question about authority concerning the baptism of John, promising to answer their question if they answered His question.

Jesus’ question tackled the foremost issue in any study of authority – its source. Jesus identified two, and only two, sources of authority – heaven and men. “Heaven” has reference to divine authority, that which is provided by God. Such authority is found in God’s revelation to man. God’s word to man today is the word of Christ in the New Testament (Eph 3:3-5 ff; Col 1:5; 2 Tim 1;13; Heb 1:1-2; Jude 3). When we do what God has revealed in the divine pattern of His word, we are acting by heaven’s authority!

On the other hand, man’s authority is just that, human authority – that which stands in contrast to divine authority. This human authority can be manifested in several ways:

  1. Preachers and scholars – following what men say.
  2. Creeds of men – religious doctrines of men.
  3. Majority opinion – what most people believe.
  4. Personal opinion – what I think is right.
  5. Emotions – what I feel is right.
  6. Sincerity – what I really believe is true.
  7. Results – the end justifies the means.

Each person must decide which authority he will ultimately and completely follow or submit to – man or God. As Joshua declared, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15). God’s word is truth (Jn 17:17). If most people choose to follow man, division and confusion will continue in our world. Choose to follow Jesus and His divine authority. He is the only true way to eternal life (Jn 14:6).

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What causes people to turn from God and turn back to the world? Many of Christ’s disciples walked away for fear in John 6:66. The brethren in Galatia were wooed by another message (Gal. 1:6-8). Paul warned Timothy that many would turn aside to lies (2 Tim. 4:1-5).

Those who left Jesus must have believed someone else had the truth.  The Galatians must have believed that something other than the “gospel” was the truth. Those mentioned by Paul as leaving the truth for lies, in the future must be those who grow weary of the truth and attempt to seek their own idea of truth. All of these examples are of people who were influenced by the truth of God’s word, and then for some reason came to believe that the truth had changed.

In all these cases we see a divergence from the truth of God’s word and an acceptance of some “alternative.” Is that how truth works? No, according to the Bible, it doesn’t. Truth, as pictured by God, is absolute. Titus states plainly that God cannot lie. That means that every word of God is truth (Tit. 1:2). Jesus declared the same in his prayer recorded in John 17. Verse 17 resounds his words of “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

God’s word is the truth — the only soul-saving truth. The plan of salvation made available by Jesus Christ is the only plan. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6). Knowing these things, how important is it for every one of us to search out, know, and do the truth of God’s will? Why then do so many walk away?

We need to consider some real-life reasons we have seen others use to justify their leaving. Perhaps, we have had them cross our minds as well.  These thoughts need to be exposed for what they are: lies. We need to know more about these thoughts so that we might “reject” them and “exercise ourselves toward godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

The reality of this article is: we have one hope of heaven (Jn 14:6). We cannot afford to let anything distract us from that hope. Knowing that in heaven we will live in perfection forever and we will not be in hell — suffering forever (Rev. 14:11). Even when things go wrong, the truth of God’s word, and your personal responsibility to obey it does not change.

The Truth Does Not Change If You Reject It

Many people have come to know the truth — through reading and studying the source of truth: the Bible. Everyone who comes to the knowledge of truth is faced with a decision — he must choose to flee or follow. Of course, choosing to follow the truth will set him free (Jn 8:31-32); and the doing of God’s will results in his rewards (Matt. 7:21 f; Heb. 10:35-39). On the other  hand, when people refuse to follow God’s way they will reap the wrath of God’s judgment (2 Cor. 5:10-11).

Why would someone reject the truth? Some reject it for worldly gain — social acceptance (Matt. 7:13-14). Others, because they do not want to give up what they already have (Matt. 18:8-9 cf; 19:20-22). Many reject the truth because the truth condemns a loved one (Matt. 10:32-39).

Whatever reason one might give for leaving, the fact still remains — the truth is still the truth and it will always be the truth. When one rejects the truth, he rejects his only hope. Consider what Jesus said on this matter: Accept my words of truth and be set free by the truth (Jn 8:31-32). “Reject” my words of truth and be judged by the truth in the last day (Jn 12:48).

The Truth Does Not Change If Our Brethren Err

How many people have left the Lord’s church over another brother or sister’s error? The battle cry of “Hypocrite” rings out and another soldier turns on their heels and runs from the church. This reason has been worn out by overuse — brethren leaving the church because of brother or sister “so and so” is a hypocrite. The one who leaves sees the hypocrite as one who did wrong, or one who hurt his feelings, or one who sinned. This may at first sound like proper grounds for leaving. However, if you leave, was there any corrective measures taken? If you leave, have you allowed sin to continue without proper rebuke?

There is only one church (Matt. 16:18 f; Eph. 4:4). If you leave are you not also doing wrong, hurting your brethren and sinning (Heb. 10:35-39 ff; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; Rev. 2:10)?

When one of our brethren errs, what should we do? We must seek to resolve this problem according to the truth of God’s word. We need to correct the error quickly and get back doing the Lord’s work. There is a list of procedures found in Matthew 18:15-17. Many have wrongfully believed that these words contain the rules of kicking someone out of the church. Look carefully at this passage. These words are clearly focused on “gaining back” not “kicking out.” Yes, when all else fails, if the one in question will not return, he is to be no longer recognized as one of the brethren. This is when all attempts to “gain back” have been exhausted. When you have left the congregation, how can you work on gaining back one of your brethren? Does it say, “Moreover if your brother sins against you. . .” leave the church? No! Seek to correct the problem, now! Seek to gain your brother back so that together you might hold firm to the truth and find your hope of Heaven.

Truth Does Not Change If EVERYONE Refuses It

Another reason that we have heard is, “How can this be right when so few people accept it?” There are two ways of looking at an answer to that question: First, Jesus said, “Few there are that find it” speaking in regard to God’s will (Matt. 7:13-14). Second, this answer points the finger back at you. It is our work to share the truth with everyone else so that more will hear and obey the gospel (Matt. 28:19). Perhaps there are so few because we have not been evangelistic enough.

To God, a few faithful is far better than many faithless (Heb. 11:6). God was willing to spare Gomorrah for the sake of ten souls who would not reject him (Gen. 18:32). Jesus died on the cross at a point where only eleven chosen men and the disciples totaled one hundred and twenty (Acts 1:13-15). One hundred twenty faithful out of the entire population of the earth and Christ still went to the cross to save them from sin. Few or many makes no difference with regard to the price that was paid (Heb. 10:22-28).

The world cannot be allowed to set your standards. We must obey God’s truth, not the world’s popular decisions (Jam. 4:4-8 f; 1 Jn 2:15-17). We must obey God’s truth even when our “friends” mock us (1 Pet. 4:1-4). We must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). If the whole world rejects God  — “they will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Pet. 4:5).

Conclusion: Your only hope is this book — the Bible: God’s revealed will for your life. Do not reject your only hope. Rejecting the Bible is the same as rejecting a rope that is thrown out to save you from drowning. In our case, God is holding on to the other end, and his rope will save your soul from utter destruction. For you to get to Heaven, you must obey the truth and worship God in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:22-24). To succeed, you must rely on your brethren; be patient with them and they must be patient with you. Every one of us must trust and do the truth no matter what. For any congregation to be what it needs to be, we must pull together, never running away from the battle. When a brother or sister enters into error, we must work to gain them back until they absolutely refuse to return. Then we must move on in our battle without them. We cannot walk away from problems. Problems must be resolved. Sin must be corrected and the Lord’s work must continue to be done. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye 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).

Have you ever noticed that most can accept positive comments about themselves, but utterly reject anything negative about themselves. Oddly enough, it is negative comments about us that can lead us to grow and become a better and productive person. In fact, people who constantly brag about themselves or surround themselves with people who idolize them are never respected very much in life. As the wise man wrote, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov 27:2). James wrote, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (Jam 3:14). “But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (Jam 4:16). If we must boast, let us boast in the Lord (Jer 9:23,24) even as our beloved Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. Contrary to the thinking of many today, it takes both negative and positive preaching and teaching to get the job done! A careful reading of the Bible will indicate that God requires both negative and positive teaching.

Thou Shalt And Thou Shalt Not

From God’s first instruction to man to the end of New Testament teaching, God has put his instructions in the form of “Thou Shalt” and “Thou Shalt Not.” The first man had positive things to do: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Then came the negative instructions: “But the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). A reading of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 will show us that God divided these commandments into two parts. Some positive things to be done, like, “Honor your father and your mother. . .” (Ex. 20:12); and then some things were of a negative nature. “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15). A lot of preachers need to re-study this concept today.

God’s Instruction to Jeremiah

When God gave instructions to his prophet Jeremiah, he uttered, “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10). As God called upon Jeremiah to deliver a fiery message, he divided the message into the negative and the positive. God used six terms in his message to Jeremiah. Four of these terms were of a negative nature: “root out, pluck up, destroy and throw down.” Then God used two terms to suggest the positive aspect of the message: “Build and to plant.” This is the same process we need to use in teaching the truth and dealing with error. We have far too many preachers who want to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,” to borrow some words of an old song. Four to two, may not be such a bad idea in gospel preaching!

To A Young Gospel Preacher

More evidence for the need of balanced preaching can be seen in Paul’s advice to the young gospel preacher, Timothy. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). Two elements of Timothy’s preaching were of a negative sort and one was a positive view. Two to one! So both the negative and the positive type of preaching is necessary to carry out the Lord’s orders. Preachers who are too timid to preach both negative and positive sermons should not be preaching.

When discussing forgiveness, do we have the ability to punish the person who wronged us? Oftentimes, when making the case for the ability to forgive with conditions, we quote Bible verses where God’s forgiveness included a punishment. It is true, there are examples of God forgiving and then punishing those He forgave. We find an example of this in the Old Testament when God forgave the Israelites, but still punished them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

While this statement is true, God does not give us the authority to punish someone we forgive. There are many reasons for this, with the most obvious reason being, we cannot judge someone’s heart. If we could properly judge someone’s heart, we could be trusted to understand his or her motive and true intentions. There are two key differences between God and us; He judges the heart and all of His actions focus on saving souls. Our punishments are based on preconceived notions and the desire for self-aggrandizement. We do not like being wronged and believe an apology is the least someone could do to earn our forgiveness.

Romans 12:17-21: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Christians are not encouraged to punish the actions of others. Instead, they are commanded to leave the wrath to God. James explains why, as the wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness of God (Jam 1:20). Even if someone only required an apology to forgive another… are they not seeking to avenge their mistreatment? Whether the person apologizes or not, Scripture makes it very clear we are to treat everyone (friend or foe) with love. The Apostle Paul states, any action completed without love does not benefit us (1 Cor 13:3). We are to forgive others in love because God loves and forgives us for much more. If we require some form of penitence, how did we determine what was required? By compelling an apology, can we be certain someone has repented? Since repentance is a change in one’s heart and mind, only God is able to determine matters of the heart (Jer 17:9-10). We can only judge by outward appearance, which is unreliable because we are judging based on our personal dispositions (1 Sam 16:7). Bottom line is this, we must rely on God’s vengeance and not our own because vengeance belongs to God.

Christian Maturity

Paul wrote, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). Many translations put the word “complete” here as “perfect.” It means mature, complete, or full grown. The apostle said that in proclaiming Christ and “admonishing” and “teaching” each of them, that he would “present every man complete in Christ.” Paul was the agent in the hands of Christ and the “tool” was the gospel to make men perfect or complete, or mature. At the judgment, it is our desire to be what Christ would have us be. We constantly strive for perfection.

As children are not expected to be full-grown (in body or mind); so is the new-born babe in Christ. But as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, he wants us to “mature.” Some of the Hebrew Christians had not grown sufficiently (Heb. 5:12-14). They were still spiritual babes and had to have “milk” instead of “solid food.” But the solid food was for “mature” (full-grown) men who by reason of exercise were able to “discern good and evil.” The mature person not only must “know” the word of God, but he must be able to use it profitably.

Mature Christians must be constantly “adding” (2 Pet. 1:5-11). As the Christian starts with strong conviction, he then supplies or brings in besides these attributes which Peter mentions. But notice the “bottom line” – an entrance into the everlasting kingdom. From baptism until death we are constantly growing or “supplying” the many attributes or characteristics which a Christian needs to serve God, self, and fellow man. Too often we see the elderly giving up, and quitting – quit growing, quit helping others, quit studying. Just when they should be able to use their great influence and maturity out of many years of study and experience to best advantage, they give up.

The mature Christian is not easily moved away from the gospel. While it is true the devil never sleeps (1 Pet. 5:8-10), the Christian has matured to the point he knows what he wants, and he knows who he is. He is a child of God with his eyes set on the goal, and he knows that if he looks away he is likely to fall. He realizes the devil is trying every “trick in the book” to distract him (knowing if he can, he can make him fall), but the mature Christian refuses to let things of the world attract his attention away from Christ. Too many Christians let worldly pleasure, money, family, and business take so much of their attention and time, they have little time left for Christ and his work. You see, Satan is clever enough to know that he does not need to get everyone to “quit the church” but if he can get them to put most of their attention elsewhere (even on the things of life that are not of themselves sinful) he knows that God will not accept such service (Matt. 6:33).

Let’s notice two groups who fall away as described in the parable of the sower.

First, those who fell away because of “tribulation or persecution” because of the word. Those in the “stony places” received the word with joy, but when objections came because of the word, they could not endure. Teachers need to prepare new converts for the inevitable – we will have rocks thrown because we became Christians. This idea that “everything in the life of a Christian is just peaches and cream” is an absolute lie. “Yea and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12) has to mean something. But some are not ready to suffer for his sake. It may not be death as some in the past have suffered, but it will not always be easy. In the next place, the seed that fell among thorns represents those who heard, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choked it out. I do not understand this to mean that the “cares” of this life were of themselves sinful things. But some get so busy with the “business of living” that they fall away, or if they don’t quit entirely, they become unfruitful servants.

A mature Christian is not attracted by the things of this world. His interests lie in spiritual directions. Paul wrote, “If then you were raised together with Christ seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For ye died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3). Occasionally I hear one speak of a godly person, “His whole life is wrapped up in God (or the church).” Well, why should it not be? All mature Christians’ lives are. If not, they are not growing as they should. When we get to the judgment, it will matter little who was president of the United States, or whether your favorite baseball team won on Saturday, or how large your bank account had become. Paul continues, “When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall you also with him be manifested in glory.”

A mature Christian is not easily offended.- He is not prone to feel mistreated, neglected or left out. He is not looking for something for which to take offense. He will hasten to correct sin not only in himself (Matt. 5:23) but also in others (Matt. 18:15-17). If he does not get his way about incidentals, he will not be offended. He is not selfish about unimportant things and if brethren don’t like his way of doing things, he will work as hard to do it their way . . . as long as it is in harmony with the Word of God. He is not childish about these matters, but is a “man.” “Brethren, do not be children in understanding, however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). Too many congregations have those who (in the absence of elders) want their way about everything, and if they don’t get it, they pout and rob God of the service they could otherwise give him. And such an attitude is a form of selfishness and selfishness has no place in the kingdom of God. Furthermore, a mature Christian will receive correction with grace and profit. “Whoso loves correction loves knowledge but he that hates reproof is brutish” (Prov. 12:1). This is why the wicked hire expensive lawyers to prevent them from being punished for the laws they have broken. Mature Christians will not refuse the constructive criticism which is given in the proper manner, but will, regardless of who gives it, give it serious consideration. “Give instruction to a wise man and he will yet be wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Prov. 9:9). An open mind is a learning mind.

A mature Christian is dependable. Paul could depend on Timothy (Phil. 2:19-20). “Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say” (Phil. 21). A Christian is dependable in speech. When he says something, one can depend on his words as being honest, and when he makes promises, he will keep them. To do less is dishonest. He must be dependable in his work.

There are many other marks of maturity, but these will give us food for thought. Am I growing? A child that never develops physically is a pitiful sight; a Christian that is no larger than when he “came up out of the water” is much worse. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Pet 3:18). “Increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles– when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
(1 Pet 4:3-4)

When we take a stand for morals and principles, it is inevitable that there will be a clash of interests when Christians and non-Christians come together in a social atmosphere. Alcohol is often served at company gatherings and social events and celebrations.  A college football game will throw together a variety of people, many of which think that alcohol is the natural drink, and if you do not drink, they think you are not natural.  No, the fact is that those who drink are doing something to their brain and body that is not natural. Drinking purified water is natural. Drinking an alcohol-based drink is an invasion of the body’s normal and right functioning.

It is amazing if you do not drink, “they think you are strange”. A straight guy in a homosexual bar is “strange”. He is out of his normal environment and has nothing in common with his new set of associates. In a setting where drinking is the normal and expected, then the Christian will be thought strange for not drinking. The Christian is not “strange” in that he is just “weird” and possesses little judgment ability. He is “strange” to an environment that thinks drunkenness and revelry, lusts, and drinking parties are normal and good. The Christian is “strange” to certain people who have no moral compass and have never tried to gauge their actions by the holy standard of the Creator.

They will think it strange if you think you must “assemble” with the saints (Heb 10:25) at every opportunity. They will think it strange if you think that a percentage of your income should go toward helping the Lord’s church and the encouragement and spread of the gospel.  The fact of the matter is that “sin” is strange to God. It is not His environment. Sin is the foreign and strange invader. Those who choose sin over God are really the “strange” ones. They are strangers to God and what holy standards He has commanded. They were earlier described as having been living from “aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers”. Don’t you think it is “strange” to God that people would just move with the flow of human tradition rather than try to find out about the Creator and His will for us?

So, there are people who will think me “strange”. I’m glad for them to think so.  Better that they think I am strange than for God and his people to think me strange. I want to be “strange” to homosexuals, adulterers, drunkards, and greedy people. I want to be strange to those who go for the drinking parties and revelry. I do not want to be strange to a sinless and holy God. Let the world “speak evil of us”. Let them say that we think we are better than them. While we are not better than them, our standards of moral discretion must be better. God’s standards of moral judgment are better than the worlds’ standards. Whatever the insult, it is better to be insulted and rejected by them, than to be rejected by God. Better to be a stranger to the world of lawlessness than a stranger to the Holy God. If the people of the world think we are just like them, then we have some major adjustments to make. Only when we have sincere convictions about God’s holy standards can the world ever think us strange. There is honor in being strange by principle and loyalty to God. There is no honor in being just like the world. Basically, it comes down to who we want to please. Please man and enjoy this life for a season (Heb 11:25), or please God and gain the world to come (Gal 1:10). That concept may seem strange to the world, but to Christians, it makes heavenly sense. The world thinks Christians are strange, and if we are doing the will of God, we are!

We have lost most of our traditional loyalties. Everywhere we turn we are confronted with this breakdown-not merely in the marketplace, but in the family, the college, the church, and in the very seats of government.

How can you be loyal to something that keeps changing all the time? How can you feel you belong to something that keeps changing every year or so? Loyalty pales and dies under such hectic conditions. Business has a tendency to say: ‘Let’s hire two young men to replace the 60-year-old man we are firing. Labor has a tendency to say,’ Let’s goof off for the afternoon. Who cares if we are doing an inferior job? Everything seems temporary, tentative, short-viewed, expedient. What is there left to feel loyal to or about? Hardly any manufacturer can rely upon a stable group of customers to stay with him year after year. When this bond of loyalty is broken, the whole industrial enterprise is shaken to its roots. Products are defective and no one seems to care too much or too soon. Services are perfunctory or worse and no one seems to care too much. Companies dissolve.  Old valued employees lose their jobs overnight, and no one seems to care. What all have failed to grasp I think is that loyalty is a two-way street. It must be rooted in mutual trust or it is nothing at all. If the workman is to be worthy of his hire, then the employee must play fair with him, with his products, and with his customers. No one must expect more loyalty than he is willing to give.

Christianity and Loyalty

Loyalty is a virtue of Christianity. The “golden rule” demands it. The Christian who is an employer must treat his employee as he would wish to be treated. The employee who is a Christian must treat his employer in the same manner.

Family ties demand loyalty of a Christian. There is the husband-wife relationship, the parent-child relationship, and then the child-child relationship. If one member of the family suffers, all suffer.

Citizenship demands the loyalty of a Christian. There is only one exception to this demand – a conflict between government demands and that of the Lord. As long as schools stand for principles upon which they were founded, a Christian must be loyal. Our educational system has the responsibility of standing for principles to which Christians can be loyal.

Church membership demands loyalty. Older people need to be loyal to the young. That loyalty demands proper teaching and wholesome opportunities. The younger need to feel loyal to the older (those who have made a congregation what it is). Sometimes there is a movement to discard old elders who may be cautious, but to whom the very existence is indebted. There should be some way to be loyal to old soldiers of the cross and yet considerate of the younger. Both are needed in the church and neither ought to be ignored. Additions could be made to an eldership without disrespecting the old bishops. Loyalty should be shown as an expression of appreciation.

Friendship in Christianity demands loyalty. “A friend sticketh closer than a brother.” Such a one deserves loyalty. He who has been the recipient of the deeds of a friend will never forget him. He will be loyal to that friend. Sometimes a friend is discarded when he is no longer needed.

The church has the responsibility of promoting Christianity. Christianity is made up of principles taught in the Bible. To expect loyalty, the leaders of a congregation must stand for these principles and must give the members something to be loyal to. Loyalty is essential. Most church members are looking for divine guidance, and all the innovations will have a tendency for members to feel that there is no absolute truth.

Thus, that attitude will develop a willingness to change the church to suit the times, as opposed to being loyal to the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9). As long as we heard the teaching, “Speak as the oracles of God,” we had something to which to be loyal___God’s Holy Word (1 Pet 4:11). As long as we knew Christ died for our sins, we had someone to be loyal to___the man Christ Jesus (Jn 25:13,14). As long as heaven has been promised to all who obey God faithfully unto the end, we have all had an incentive to be loyal to God (Mk 16:16 f; Tit 1:2).

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