Archive for September, 2017

Should Preachers Avoid Controversial Topics?

September 27, 2017

Many of us have heard of the preacher who decided to skip the controversial I Cor 11:2-16 when the congregation was doing a class textual study of the book of I Corinthians, and we can easily see how this is a violation of the Acts 20:27 requirement to preach “all the counsel of God.” But why can’t we see the same thing when a preacher shies away from teaching on I Cor 11:2-16 in regular sermons at his home congregation, or when preaching gospel meetings at other congregations?

Either of the above three cases is a violation of our Acts 20:27 approved example, and ignores passages like Ezek 3:18 which require us to warn those in sin. Would we be loving our Mother properly if all we did was tell Mom how good she was doing by getting plenty of rest, but left off trying to persuade her to take a medicine she had to have to overcome a fatal disease (Eph 4:15)?

And God’s covering requirement is not the only needed instruction that is being regularly avoided. I suggest there are several other Bible topics that are getting the same “hands off” treatment. Congregations are heaping to themselves teachers, having itching ears; turning away their ears from the truth (II Tim 4:3-4).

One of the worst things about this situation in the brotherhood is that some of those same preachers who limit their preaching of the truth (in order to maximize opportunities?) encourage congregations to ostracize those who are determined to preach the whole counsel as they have opportunity. In this case, the courageous are called troublemakers in the same sense that Elijah was called a troublemaker in I Kings 18:17-18.

Faith Which Worketh By Love

September 21, 2017

Galatians 5:6 reads “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Notice this verse teaches it takes at least three things to avail with (to be pleasing to) God.

First is faith. If there is anything the New Testament teaches, it teaches faith is necessary to our salvation …

· Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

· John 8:24 “I said … unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

· John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The second thing listed by Gal 5:6 as being necessary to pleasing God is works. Did you notice that none of the above faith passages say that we are saved by “faith alone”? Gal 5:6 says that “faith which worketh” is what avails, not faith alone. Other passages confirm this …

· I Pet 1:22a “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth …”

· Heb 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

· Matt 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

And lastly, love is required. I suppose it is possible for a person to have a faith which works, but not have love. Gal 5:6 shows that doesn’t avail in the sight of God either. We must have the right motivation for whatever we do in our service to God and man …

· John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

· I Cor 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (NKJV)

· Eph 4:15a “But speaking the truth in love …”

Conclusion: So Gal 5:6 makes it clear that all three traits (faith, works, and love) are necessary to us being pleasing to God, our salvation.  We know many people around us who only have faith. They talk about their belief in God, but their daily life is like anybody else in the world.  Some of those even have love for others. They are good at helping others in need, but they are not careful to follow God’s word in many of its particulars (John 8:31-32 – “Then said Jesus … If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”).  And we all know some who have faith and works, but don’t do it out of love (Eph 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”).  I think the song “Trust And Obey” sums it up pretty well.

The Vicarious Atonement Proof Texts All Say The Same Thing In Essence

September 15, 2017

The following passages prove conclusively Jesus died “rather than” us:

· Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us …

· Isaiah 53:6c the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all

· II Corinthians 5:21a for he hath made him to be sin for us

· Matt 27:46 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Why not just believe those texts as is and let the chips fall where they may? There is really no need to try to explain them away.

Our iniquities were laid upon Jesus. That’s equivalent to He was “made to be sin” and Him being “made a curse.” All three are talking about Jesus taking the responsibility / consequences / punishment / penalty for our sin (Isaiah 53:5). So because our sins were laid on Him, Jesus had to be forsaken by the Father, that is, treated like a sinner so we wouldn’t have to be.

This lesson preached by Jeff Smelser April 12 is by far the best I’ve heard on the “Vicarious Atonement” subject – way better than I could hope to do. If you are not fully convinced, I especially urge you to hear him out.

We Are Under New Testament Law Exclusively

September 7, 2017

The following scriptures establish the fact that today we are under New Testament law exclusively, not the New Testament law plus the Patriarchal law, or the New Testament law plus any principle, precept, ordinance, commandment, statute of any part of the old law:

· The law of Christ is what we are under (Gal 6:2, I Cor 9:21), not the law of Christ plus anything previous (such as the Patriarchal law)

· Jesus is the mediator of the “new testament” (Heb 9:15, 7:22), not the New Testament plus anything previous

· II Cor 3 contrasts the “new testament” with the “old testament” as our law for today, not the “New Testament plus other” vs. the “law of Moses”

· Heb 8:8-9 contrasts the “new covenant” with the “old covenant” as our law for today, not the “New Covenant plus some principles of the Old Covenant” vs. the “Old Covenant”

· Rom 7:4-7 says we are dead to and delivered from the law (all of it), even including the principle “thou shalt not covet”

· Gal 3:24-25 teaches we are no longer under the law (not just part of the law)

· Gal 4:21ff shows events that occurred in Genesis (the Patriarchal period) are part of the law that was to be “cast out” (4:30), that we are “no longer under” (3:24-25), that has completed its purpose (3:19)

· Since circumcision represents every old law (Gal 5:1-2, 2:16), then Gal 5:3 teaches if we bind even one rule or principle of the old law, we are obligated to keep all of it

· Eph 2:14-16 teaches the law period (that’s every bit of it) has been abolished

· Heb 7:12 only makes sense if it is arguing that if one part of the law has changed, then the whole thing has changed

· Heb 10:9 teaches Jesus took away the first covenant, not just 99% of it

· and wouldn’t Matt 5:18 teach that whenever the old law passed, all of it did – every jot and tittle?

Conclusion: The Bible never teaches we are under any laws or principles that preceded the New Testament. No instruction (in any form) taught in Genesis to Malachi is any more binding upon us today than the command given to Noah to build an ark. If we try to bind even just one principle of the old law, Gal 5:4 teaches we lose our salvation; that’s how serious this issue is. The 7th Day Adventists have no business picking and choosing what rules of the old law we still have to keep, and neither do Christians!