But XXX Said…

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?

Singing

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?

#singing, #worship

Thanatopsis

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?

Why?

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?

Horoscope

Did you read your horoscope today?  Well, be truthful…did you? “So what”, you ask.  “What’s the harm?  It’s just entertainment.  No problem.”  Is that right?  Let’s take a closer look.

In Deuteronomy 18:10, we read: There shall not be found among you any who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that used divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch…  In like manner, in II Kings, we read: And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire.  And they used divination and incantations, and sold themselves to do evil in the sigh of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger.  Now, it is obvious that these two verses are from the Old Testament and we are under the New Testament, but the principle given is that fortune tellers and/or witches are not receiving their powers from the Lord God, or He would not have forbidden them.  However, the New Testament continues  the injunction.  In Galatians 5:19-21, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to include “witchcraft” as one of the works of the flesh which will cause one not to inherit the kingdom of God.  In fact, in Acts 19:19, when those were converted there, they brought all of their books and publically burned them, destroying the means of using the power of Satan to ensnare those in the young church.

So…where am I going with this?  Simple.  What do horoscopes purpose to do?  Obviously, they claim to predict the future, to tell you how your life will be today or tomorrow, or at some point yet in the future.  In essence, they are a type of fortune-teller, are they not?  Well, if God has condemned soothsayers and fortune tellers, why would a Christian want to pay attention to them?  They are not able, today, to foretell the future, and, if they could, their power would be that of Satan and not that of God.  Therefore, I maintain that Christians have no business depending on horoscopes or astrology to forecast the future.  In II Peter 1:3, Peter tells us that we already have everything that pertains to life and godliness.  That being so, why deal with questionable sources?

What say ye?

 

Joy

I am afraid that we, as Christian, have misrepresented God and His Word.  It is entirely true that our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:29)  It is equally true that we hear so many sermons on the goodness and mercy of God that many forget that God, Himself, has said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay.  (Hebrews 10:30)  Maybe it is through the influence of these two verses, and others like them, that we have come to believe that God is somber and totally serious, and that His children should be the same.  Somehow, we have forgotten that Christians should be the happiest people in the entire world.

How do I justify this statement?  In at least 26 verses in the New Testament, the word “joy” appears, with the suggestion that it is an identifying mark of a Christian.  Let’s look at just a few examples:

  • Romans 14:17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
  • Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
  • I Thessalonians 1:6  And ye become imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Spirit
  • Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising shame, and hath set down at the right hand of the throne of God

In addition, there are at lest 28 examples of joy given to us in the New Testament.  Let us look at just a few of these:

Given so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), how can we call ourselves Christians and not be the most joyful people in town?  Christians are not called to be exclusively serious and somber. We are specifically taught by

  1. direct command
  2. necessary inference
  3. approved example

all of which portray the Christian as a joyful person.  Please keep in mind that joyful does not necessarily mean happy.  Happy is a temporary state of mind, dependent upon the current circumstances.  Joyful, on the other hand, is that  peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:1), and which is given only to God’s children, the members of His family.

Are you a child of God?  Then, let the world know that by being  basically joyful person.

What say ye?

Ephesians 5:11

Generally speaking, when anything is stated in the imperative voice in the Bible, it is to be taken with the same seriousness as a command.  Therefore, when Paul tells the Ephesians to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,  this is not a mere suggestion, but rather a command that is given to all Christians.  We have no choice but to reprove works of darkness when we encounter or observe them.

So, here is my question:  When was the last time that YOU stood up for the Word of God?  When was the last time that YOU spoke up and denounced something that was wrong in the sight of God Almighty?  When was the last time YOU risked ridicule or a friendship to set the record straight on what God has said was not pleasing to Him?  What do you fear most…society’s disapproval or God’s wrath?

What say ye?