Faulty reasoning about worship

Faulty reasoning abounds about worship. This devotional thought centered on Psalm 149.2-3 from a denominational pastor is a prime example of it. This is the entire piece:

This is fascinating because the tambourine and harp were created by other cultures. From the beginning of worship music, the people of God took the instruments that were available in their day and used them for the glory of God. This means that the Biblical picture of praise is one that can incorporate the contributions of any culture, any style. Since that is the case, what do you have today in your culture that you could use to praise His name?

Men choose elements and features of worship thinking that God will like it. They justify it by twisted logic. Gone is any idea of God authorizing what can be done or under what covenant. Culture trumps covenant. Personal preference wins over worship given to God by faith—that faith that comes by hearing the word of God, Rom 10.17.

Man has often sought “an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion” Col 2.23 ESV. And he even uses the Bible to do it. Continue reading

#biblical-authority, #new-covenant, #new-testament, #worship

Get it directly from the source

sourceNothing like getting it directly from the source. In matters of the spirit, we can be content with nothing else.

Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, unmediated by human interpretation. A happy result of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman is this word of the townspeople to her: Continue reading

#faith, #hearing, #new-testament, #word-of-christ


4-19-2016 Salvation And Prayer

In the New Testament, there is no record of a sinner being saved by prayer alone.  When the church of Christ began, sinful Jews asked, “what shall we do?”  Peter told them to, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 NKJV).  The first Gentile sinner, Cornelius, was praying, but was told to send for Peter to tell him saving words (Acts 10:30; 11:14 NKJV).  Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48 NKJV).  Saul of Tarsus saw Jesus, Who sent him into Damascus where he prayed, and was told to “be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16 NKJV).  None of them were told to pray, claim their salvation, or join the church of their choice.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptized, #new-testament, #saved-by-prayer


12-2-2015 Salvation Finally Revealed

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4 NKJV). “Our learning” must come from studying the events written in the Bible. God’s plan to save both Jew and Gentile through Jesus Christ, and add the saved to the church of Christ, is in the New Testament, not the Old Testament. Paul wrote that God’s Plan, “in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5 NKJV). Peter commanded Jews, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 NKJV); and Gentiles “to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48 NKJV). Jesus saves “from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#church-of-christ, #new-testament, #old-testament, #saved

Hugh’s News & Views (New Testament)


The New Testament is the capstone of God’s revelation to man. Without it the story of redemption is incomplete. Everything set forth in the Old Testament in prophetic predictions, promises, types, and shadows comes to majestic fullness and fruition in Christ, the gospel, the church, and the New Testament as they display in radiant splendor God’s “eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). Continue reading

#hughfulford, #new-testament

Thought # 3 – In Him We Have Redemption Through His Blood

Text: Ephesians 1:7-10

There are many reasons why Christians should praise God. One of the reasons is for the work of the Son of God in redemption. In Eph. 1:7-10, Paul expresses his praise for the great redemption through the Lord Jesus.

We all need the forgiveness of our sins! All of us are in spiritual bondage and imprisonment, whether we know it or not. Paul wrote in Col. 1:13-14, “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.”

Most of us, I’m quite sure, prefer light to darkness. Without Jesus, all of us were in darkness, members, although we may not have known it, in the kingdom of Satan. Our heavenly Father desired that we all come to a saving knowledge and has provided the means through His Son, the Lord Jesus. We are glad that we can share in the inheritance He has for us (Col. 1:12).

The Word of God describes this transformation as changing kingdoms. We have been brought out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel. The terminology used here by Paul is a military illustration. It pictures Rome going into a free country and as a result of waging war and winning they subdue that nation and take them into captivity. But in the spiritual realm, we are the ones in bondage and when we accept The Lord Jesus and obey the Gospel, we are “transferred” (NASV) or “translated” (KJV) or are “conveyed” (NKJV) out of that bondage into the light of the Gospel. But it does not end there.

Paul tells the Galatians that we were bought with a price (Gal. 3:13). Our freedom cost Jesus His life. What should be our response to His redemptive work? We should pour out our hearts in praise. We should love Him greatly because of what He did for us. The Psalmist said in Psalm 1:30:3-4, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness.” (NLT)

Jesus lavished grace on us. “O, the love that drew salvations’s plan, O the grace that brought it down to man. O the mighty gulf that god did span—at Calvary” ! It is truly amazing grace. We do not have the words to express His grace.

Since we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Col. 1:14) we must put our new found faith to the test. We have been called out of that dark kingdom, changed by the light of the Gospel and now have the privilege to go back into that kingdom, now empowered by the Holy Spirit and utilizing the Whole Armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) to help others find their way out. We can never work our way to heaven, but upon salvation, we are to be the best workers the Lord has. Let’s be found letting our light shine for Jesus (1 Peter 2:10)!

-Larry Miles, April 18, 2015

#bible, #ephesians, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-form-ephesians, #word-of-god

Thought #2: We Have Been Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing

Text: Eph. 1:3

The Apostle Paul is writing this epistle to the Christians in the city of Ephesus. He has talked about grace and peace in Eph. 1:2. We know that the “grace of God” was manifested in the person of the Lord Jesus. That grace was also an action, whereby God showed forth His love for lost mankind and the Lord Jesus was the Redeemer who came down to Earth to die for the sins of man­kind. Since we are now “in Christ,” we can claim the blessings in the letter also.

In Eph 1:3, Paul stresses first of all that we need to praising the Heavenly Father above all things. God wants to bestow, yea, even lavish his love and blessings on His children. He is not up there in Heaven blessing us sparingly. Jesus said that He came that we might have an abundant life in Him. We must desire all that He has for us. We must want to live the Christian life to the fullest, learning more about Jesus every day. We strive for this because we want to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus,” as well as encouraging our fellow believers in their walk and reaching the lost with the message of salvation.

He has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST.” The same Greek words rendered here “heavenly places” are translated heavenly things” in James 3:12. Since we are “citizens of Heaven,” (Phil. 3:20) we must look to the things above and not things on the earth. Our spiritual mindset must be honed in on Jesus at all times. We are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We sing “this world is not my home…,” and rightly so. But we are as John says in I John 2:15-17 “in the world but not of the world,” we have to have a heavenly perspective in life. That perspective comes from believing the words of Paul here in Eph. 1:3.

Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and worships with the Cherry St Church of Christ in New Albany, IN

#bible, #ephesians, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-from-ephesians, #word-of-god

Thoughts From The Book of Ephesians (Thought #1)

I have  been  working on  a  new series of   articles based on the  book of Ephesians– I have  12 “Thoughts”  done so far.  These  will take the  reader  through Eph. 2:10


Thought # 1: The Writer and the Recipients

Text: Eph. 1:1
When people wrote letters back in Biblical times they put their name at the beginning of the letter. We do just the opposite. This is called the “salutation.” The Apostle Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, lets his readers know who he is, what his credentials are for writing the letter and to whom he is writing the letter.

All of this is included in Eph. 1:1. Verse 2 is his greeting. Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles. His Apostleship is by special appointment from the Lord Jesus. He received this as­signment to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Thank the Lord that he took this privilege and honor seri­ously. If he and others whom he reached with the Gospel had not, then we would not be here today en­joying the blessings of salvation.

“…By the will of God.” It was and is God’s will that all mankind be saved and He has provided a way through His Son that all may be saved. But we all know that the majority of mankind, both past, present and future will not accept that way of salvation. Paul was faithful in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

Those whom Paul is writing to are named in the latter part of Eph. 1:1. The primary audi­ence of the writers of the Word of God was locally those in the first century, but we can share in these titles that Paul used for the Ephesian Christians on the basis of our faith and obedience to the Gospel.

The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul gives at least 2 names, perhaps 3, for Christians in verse 1. He calls them (1) “Saints; (2) faithful, and (3) in Christ Jesus.”

A “saint” in the New Testament, is not a sinless person, but a saved sinner. Faithfulness to the Lord is required if one wants to enjoy all that God has for him or her. Paul stresses that Christians are “in Christ.” As I said earlier in this devotion: Christians are saved by grace, through faith, in bap­tism, for good works. Let all of us strive to dedicate our lives to the Lord and His Church and help others find their way out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

-Larry Miles

Louisville, KY


#articles-by-larry-miles, #bible, #ephesians, #faithfulness, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-from-ephesians, #word-of-god

The purpose of the New Testament

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr — “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).

The New Testament tells us of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of the coming of Christ, and the establishment of the church that provides salvation for us. Prophecies and the teachings of the New Testament show us that the message of the Bible is about Christ and the salvation He made possible for us. Continue reading

#bible-teaching, #new-testament, #salvation


“Were Adam and Eve Real Or Just a Story?”

There is an article answering this question to be found at:


#adam-and-eve, #bible-study, #credibility-of-the-bible, #faith, #new-testament

The New Testament

A good summary statement on “The New Testament as Scripture” by Francis Van Tate, in New Testament Survey, by Don Shackelford, ed.

The New Testament was given by inspiration of God and has been transmitted down through the ages and restored in a trustworthy fashion; therefore, when it is correctly translated and properly interpreted, its message is the exclusive doctrine of Christ and God’s required moral standard” (p. 39).

Are there any parts you might tweak?

#inspiration, #new-testament, #scripture

It’s True – There’s Such a Thing as False Teachers and False Doctrine

To some in the religious world it’s not a popular topic; but it’s not a topic that the Bible shies away from talking about. As a matter of fact, there’s not a single writer in the New Testament who didn’t warn about false teachers or false doctrine in one way or another.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude all speak up, and they speak the same thing! Watch out for liars:

Coincidental warnings? I think not!

In a “Christendom” so full of confusion and conflicting stories and beliefs that have no basis in the scriptures the focus must be put on what Jesus and his apostles and prophets said through the light of God’s word. For therein is the safe path for our spiritual feet, and therein is the safe way to identify those who speak by any other spirit than God’s (Psalm 119:105, 2 Peter 1:19-21). It’s true – there’s such a thing as false teachers and false doctrine, and it’s the truth of God’s word that reveals it.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

#bible, #christianity, #false-doctine, #false-teacher, #new-testament, #truth

The Back Page isn’t a part of the Bible

My family and I went to one of the local county fairs last week. My daughter got a big kick out of the lights and out of a couple of the kiddie rides that her mom took her on…I’m glad mom was there because rides that go round and round and round aren’t for me or my equilibrium.

Along with the rides the fair also provides agricultural events (including the animals that my daughter also got a kick out of seeing) and the ability for local civic and commercial booths to be set up in various buildings. We decided to walk through these areas to see what was being offered. There was everything from vitamins and supplements that “heal and prevent” ailments (I guess the fair will always have its snake oil people) to air conditioning companies to local photographers and vendors of other crafts.

The booths of particular interest to me were the ones that were religious in nature. And there were plenty of them with one major exception (I think I may say more on that next time after I get a little more clarification). One of the booths in particular was set up by the members of the Gideons International group. I can honestly say that I appreciate their efforts. As usual they were giving out free New Testaments with the addition of the Psalms and Proverbs located in the back. I eagerly took one and told the man handing them out thank you; it’ll make a good addition to my desk at work.

As you open the book, other than the scriptures themselves, you’ll see the usual things. There’s place to put your name and date. Contact info for the Gideons. After that there’s a good reminder about how “righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:3), and then you can read some info about the Gideon’s themselves. After that there’s a quick intro to the Bible, a good quick-reference-guide about various topics and a neat section that has John 3:16 translated into a lot of different languages including Portuguese…but the only one I can vouch for is English.

I can appreciate all of these things that can be found on the front pages of the booklet form of the Bible, but something I cannot appreciate is the back page. On the back page you’ll find “instructions” on how to be saved that simply comes down to signing your name and placing a date under some simplified version of the sinner’s prayer. It really is a shame that an organization that is so diligent in getting the word of God out into the hands of the masses fails to rightly divide the same exact word when it comes to salvation (2 Timothy 2:15). Not one time in the New Testament can anyone be found reciting any form of the so-called “sinner’s prayer” to find his or her salvation in Jesus, but yet people, and organizations such as the Gideons, continue to promote it as a legitimate way to be saved.

What people need to keep in mind is that a back page that has been inserted may rest between the covers of the book, but that’s not where one’s salvation is found. Salvation is found in the heart of God’s word! It’s found in believing the gospel, and submitting to the grace of God in the same way that you find those whom you read about in the book of Acts. People who believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 18:8). People who repented of their sins (Acts 2:38). People who were willing to confess Jesus (Acts 8:36-37). People who were baptized for the remission of sins by the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16). And people who desired to live out their life in a way that glorifies God (Acts 26:28-29).

Many things may be found on the back page of the Bible, but remember, more often than not the back page isn’t a part of the Bible, the word of God which is able purify the soul through the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-25).

#bible, #christianity, #gideons-international, #new-testament, #salvation

The Fallacy of Rejecting “Paul’s Words”

For various reasons of self-interest and faulty theology there are those in the religious world who believe and teach that the “word’s of Paul” should be rejected.

If one were to reject the “words of Paul” then they by default have to reject basically every other letter that makes up the New Testament.

Don’t like “Paul’s words” huh? Well I guess you can’t like Peter’s words either since he endorsed what Paul taught and considered him to be a brother in Christ (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Don’t like “Paul’s word’s” huh? Well I guess you can’t like Mark’s words either since history/tradition teaches that Mark wrote through the guidance of Peter who, again, endorsed the “words of Paul” and due to the fact that Mark was very familiar with Paul and considered him a brother in Christ who taught the truth (2 Timothy 4:11).

Don’t like “Paul’s words” huh? Well I guess you can’t like Luke’s words either since Luke greatly supported Paul and due to the fact that they labored together on missionary trips teaching the same thing to others who were coming to Jesus through their preaching (Colossians 4:4, 2 Timothy 4:11, Acts 21:1-19…notice how many times “we” and “us” are used).

So I guess that leaves a person with the words of John and James and Jude…except for the fact that both John and James endorsed Paul’s preaching (Acts 15:6-29) and Jude is just too judgmental!

So you still want to reject the “words of Paul” huh? I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds a whole lot like, “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.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Failing to listen to “Paul’s words” is a failure to listen to the word of God.

If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:37)

#apostle-paul, #christianity, #false-doctrine, #false-teachers, #new-testament, #new-testament-canon, #rejecting-pauls-words, #religion, #theology, #unbelief

Along Other Avenues

Yesterday, at the occasion of the “adversarial dialogue” conducted by the Warren Apologetics Center, I had a brother express his opinion to me that I quickly interpreted as unfortunate. I was ready on that occasion to engage in verbal combat; I restrained for appropriate reasons, but I was disappointed in what I heard from him.

The brother is a professor at one of our (smaller) universities (I say “our” because it is tied directly with “churches of Christ”). He is well educated and tries to pass along his knowledge to students, especially preacher students. It sounds like he is doing much good.

“I discourage men from attending preacher schools” he said to me. He explicated a bit: “If one wants to further his education with accredited schools, preacher schools are not the way to go. We only take half of the accumulated work and each transfer student starts out as a sophomore in that particular field of a Bible major.” This is the sense of what he said to me (the first sentence in quotes is nearly an exact quote, with the remainder being rather close).

He probably intended no disrespect, but if so, I did not hear it. I do remember hearing, on the other hand, stories along the line of farmers taking their NT and at the end of a row they were plowing, stopping, reading a particular passage of their NT, then committing it to memory as they plowed the next row (or rows).

In my biased opinion, men who do such things as that, with that kind of training like many of our pioneer preachers actually did – have all the accreditation the Lord wants! On the other hand, if a person wants to attend a school that has some accrediting qualities, then that is fine; I hope, however, the student who so attends is not dismissive – in any way – those who are educated along other avenues.

#accreditation, #farmer, #new-testament, #preacher-schools