I was baptized in 1958. Since that time, I suppose that I have heard over 100 sermons based on I Corinthians 13:4-7. So have most of you. However, I want you to try something different.
Please open your Bible, and turn to I Corinthians 13:4-7. Now, as you carefully read these familiar verses, with an open mind, think seriously how you can apply each phrase to your own marriage. God is never wrong. If you use these verses as a template for your marriage, you will be surprised at how much difference it can make.
What say ye?
Apparently, the new password for our more liberal brethren is, “That is not a salvation issue.” They use this to seek support for any issue they wish to espouse. I beg to disagree.
In John 12:48, we find the words of Jesus: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My Words has One who judges him; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Shortly thereafter, in John 14:26, we have record of Jesus saying: “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” Seems pretty plain to me! The words in the New Testament are there because they were spoken by Jesus or they were reminded to the apostles by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus’ Word is to judge us in the last day, it seems obvious that everything we find in the New Testament is a salvation issue.
After all, who decides what is a salvation issue? Jesus answered that question in John 12:48. When someone tells you, “That is not a salvation issue,” you can pretty well guess that it is!
What say ye?
Mic 2:6 “Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us. (Revised Version)
Mic 2:6 Prophesy ye not, thus they prophesy. They shall not prophesy to these: reproaches shall not depart. (American Standard)
Preach? Prophesy? Regardless of the word used, Strong says it means “to speak by inspiration.” Obviously, today we cannot speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit except when we are quoting what He inspired in the men who wrote the Bible. However…it would appear that the main thrust of this verse is that some–the “they” in the verse–would like to silence the Word of God. So, today, when we speak from God’s Word, there are many who will tell us that we should not warn of things which do not please God because these things will cause shame to those who espouse them.
Wake up! Do you remember Hosea 4:6…”My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge:” Therefore, we, as Christians, have a responsibility to speak out against the open sins that have overtaken out society today. When was the last time you spoke out against some of the things which are prevalent in America today? When will you speak out?
What say ye?
Okay. Here I am again. And again, I am saying that we ALL need to rely on what the Bible says instead of some brother. We are indeed blessed that we have men in the brotherhood who are learned in the Scriptures…men like Moses Lard, Guy N. Woods, Franklin Camp, and others. BUT, brother, no MAN is always right. What has upset me this time?
Some learned brother has decided that Luke 22:44 means that Jesus shed actual drops of blood, and now, most of our brethren are going to great lengths to try to prove that idea. Even to the point of asking non-Christian scientists to verify this…even when the scientist dearly wants to prove the Bible wrong. I ask you to think back to high school English! Remember the teacher trying to teach you what a simile is? A simile occurs when you compare two unlike items by saying one is LIKE the other, or is AS the other. It is a comparison, not a statement of absolute exactness. Luke 22:44 says And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. Please note: as it were. Jesus did not sweat drops of blood. Instead, he sweated so profusely that the sweat dripped like drops of blood would have fallen.
I may be wrong, but Thayer agrees with this interpretation. English poetical devices agree with this interpretation. If I am wrong…prove it, please. We just need to look at the Scripture and not always depend on Brother X.
What say ye?
I suppose every Christian has memorized Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, right? We all know we are to sing as a past of the worship service, and to do so without the use of mechanical music. That is a given … I hope.
But, have you also memorized James 4:10 and I Peter 5:6? What do these two verses have to do with the first paragraph? Well, think about it. I have heard many say, “I don’t sing because my voice is bad,” or “I don’t sing because I can’t carry a tune,” or maybe even, “I don’t want to torture those in front of me.” Yes, I have actually heard all of these … excuses. They are excuses, not reasons.
Now look at I John 2:16. (I am not quoting these five verses because I want you to be sure I am using them correctly.) Pride is a common sin, also maybe known as “the pride of life.” I don’t think I know anyone who has never had pride as a sin. So think about it. God said sing. He never said you had to have a beautiful voice. He never said the song service had to sound like a professional choir. No! God said sing. Of course, we want to offer God our very best. No question there. But if my very best voice is a rough croak, and I am singing from the heart because I want to please God—not myself nor my fellow Christians—then my voice is pleasing to God. Isn’t that what really matters?
What say ye?
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
I don’t remember a lot about William Cullen Bryant, the poet who wrote Thanatopsis, but I did memorize these lines. It amazed me that a mere poet could grasp the essential tenet of a Christian life. Isn’t the above exactly what we are taught in the Bible? To live our lives in such a manner that we do not fear death, but rather have faith that after death we shall be in the arms of Jesus with the rest of the blest?
What say ye?
Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
How many preachers have read this verse? How many elders? How many Christians? I once wrote an article explaining why I feel “political correctness” is a sin. And it is far to prevalent in today’s church. How long has it been since you have heard a sermon on Hell? On how God is a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)? A plain teaching on the fact that God will punish sin? In fact, any sermon which does not deal generally with the goodness, forgiveness, and love of God? Those things are certainly important. HOWEVER…
You cannot appreciate the goodness and forgiveness of God if you fail to understand the consequences of not obeying God. That is why the “whole counsel of God” is so very important. In a time when few really study the Bible as they should, it is even more important that preachers warn the congregation of the wrath to come if they are not obedient. I am not saying that is all they need to preach; I am saying that there is a place for the preaching of judgment.
The problem is this: Elders and preachers are hesitant to preach the whole truth because it might “offend” someone. Brothers, if the Scriptures teach it, you should preach it! What good is it if 1,000 people leave your service feeling good if they are all lost because they truly believe that such a “good, kind” God as you preach will never let anyone go to Hell, but will ultimately forgive everyone?
What say ye?