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Bible Study 10:00 am
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Bible Study: 7:00pm
TO HEAR SERMONS, or VIEW SERMON VIDEOS, CLICK ON “FROM THE PULPIT” ABOVE
July 5, 2015
A.M. Is America Independent from God?—Proverbs 14:34
P.M. Facts to Face in the Family—Psalm 127:1
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
CAPTIVATES THE SUPREME COURT
Our nine Supreme Court Justices have been captivated by the homosexual agenda in America to the extreme extent that June 26, 2015, they legalized same sex marriages in the United States. Their ruling showed flagrant disrespect for States’ rights because no State has approved same sex marriages by a vote of the people. Just as their ruling in 1973 legalizing abortion on demand has not been reversed, this ruling is now set in concrete too.
What’s next? The Supreme Court in Canada ruled biblical speech opposing homosexuality as a hate crime (see online Christian News, Wednesday, July 1, 2015). The defendant, William Whatcott, was fined $7,500 and obligated to pay court costs which is an unspecified amount ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Initially, that may likely be how those who teach what the Bible says against homosexuality are attacked here in the States. Also, those churches that do teach against homosexuality will be putting their tax exempt status in jeopardy. Further, once the news stories on the ruling subside and the apathy of everyday life settles back in with this issue like it has with abortion, those who continue to teach on the sin and shame of homosexuality may be viewed as a radical element in American society.
The prophet Daniel reminded the people of his day that “God rules in the kingdoms of men” (Daniel 4:35). In Old and New Testaments God has let humanity know that He will “bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10). He has shown His displeasure with homosexuality in the both the Old Testament (Genesis 18-19; Leviticus 18:22) and the New Testament (Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Something for everyone to be reminded of that has the hope of heaven is “and there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
In the early church, the political and religious rulers ordered the apostles never again to preach or teach in the name of the Lord Jesus. And, shortly before their arrest and subsequent beating for continuing to preach and teach what those political and religious rulers called “your doctrine,” “Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). May their attitude and actions be ours in striving to edify the saved and teach the lost. Luke tells us following their beating, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:41-42).
WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM ME
An interesting observation in the New Testament is a contrast between Jewish audiences and Gentile audiences as they listen to the presentation of the gospel of Christ. Specifically, those Jews gathered on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9, 22, and 26 as contrasted with those Gentiles Paul encountered at Mars’ Hill in Acts 17. The interesting observation is the disposition with which they listened to the gospel message. Upon hearing of their sin of crucifying Christ, according to Luke the Jews were so moved they interrupted the sermon to ask, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Saul upon meeting Christ on the road to Damascus asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). Perhaps the fact that “unto them were committed the oracles [word] of God” (Romans 3:2) ingrained in them an understanding of God’s expectation of man’s obedience to His revealed will. On the other hand, the Gentiles were disadvantaged without that understanding.
The Gentile, Cornelius, had a very good appreciation for obeying the commands of God and wanted to hear the gospel message from that standpoint (Acts 10:33). But, those at Mars’ Hill were in ignorance (Acts 17:30).
It seems people of our day and in our culture are more like those Gentiles at Mars’ Hill to whom Paul preached that had little or no inclination toward the concept of yielding their lives in obedience to God Almighty.
Paul’s lesson to them provides us with a good way to approach people around us today with the soul saving gospel as we look at “what God expects from me.” Here’s the summary of his sermon:
THE SHARPEST SWORD
Surely a surgeon’s scalpel is one of the sharpest blades known to man. The laser is even sharper. But, the sharpest sword isn’t made by man but by God. “The sharpest sword” is the Bible, the word of God. The writer of Hebrews affirmed, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). This spiritual sword, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), is super sharp in ways many haven’t considered.
It is sharp enough to cut out sin without killing the sinner. An example of this is present in Acts 2 when the Jewish multitude was hearing the first gospel sermon. Peter’s lesson was convincing them of their heinous sin of crucifying the Christ. Luke tells us, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37a, NKJV). Yet, they were not past feeling nor speechless because they “said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The message they heard appealed to their rational minds. They could understand and obey the solution to their sin problem. Those who “gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about 3,000 souls” who were then able to continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.” Their old man of sin was crucified with Christ, and they were raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4, 6). It takes a sharp sword to cut out the sin without killing the sinner.
Also, it is sharp enough to cut out religious error without slicing the truth. The church at Ephesus was challenged, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15). “Wholesome speech that is above criticism” enables the refutation of error and exaltation of God’s truth. Paul wrote, “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8).
Finally, it is sharp enough to cut out indifference without damaging confidence. It is remarkable that a Christian who has grown indifferent to Christianity, of which he is a part, can be strengthened by the Bible so he can return to serve God enthusiastically without any loss of confidence from his former apathy. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:11-12). Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). The word of God is “the sharpest sword.”
DOES 1 JOHN 2:19 TEACH “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED”?
A lady from the community who receives the “House To House” paper we send out called to thank us for it and commented on how much she enjoys and benefits from reading it. She was raised in the Church of God but is attending a Baptist Church in Cleveland with her children to encourage them to get into church. She visited here 20 years ago and hopes to be able to visit with us regularly soon. She commented in the Bible class at the Baptist Church recently that the “once saved, always saved” doctrine does not harmonize with the Bible because 2 Peter 2:20 says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” She was impressed with this verse from reading “House To House”.
However, the Baptist preacher gave 1 John 2:19 as his proof text for the “once saved, always saved” doctrine and said no other passage of Scripture disproves it. Although the Baptist preacher would not accept it, the lady who called me and I agree that 2 Peter 2:20 clearly disproves the erroneous doctrine.
“Does 1 John 2:19 teach ‘once saved, always saved’”? No. And, here’s why. The verse says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Look at the center of the verse where John said, “If they had been of us they would no doubt have continued with us.” Had their belief and behavior remained consistent with the truth “they would no doubt have continued with us.” The Baptist position is that they never were saved, but as you see here, they were in a right relationship with God at one time or they never would have been able to “continue with us” if they had retained their faith in Christ. This passage to the contrary of what the Baptist preacher said teaches that people can indeed apostatize or fall from grace.
The lady who called told me that in her youth her father came to believe the “once saved, always saved” doctrine and subsequently became absorbed with “wine, women, and song” to the point their family disintegrated. The pain and suffering the family experienced from their father believing one could never so sin as to be finally lost caused irreparable harm. False doctrines like this carry with them destructive consequences here and now and in eternity and not only should be avoided but challenged and refuted.
“WHEN FOR THE TIME…”
Years ago on television there was a game show called “Name That Tune.” Contestants would give the name of a song in only 3 or 4 notes! Their familiarity with music was amazing. Perhaps when you read the title of this article—“When for the time…”—you identified the words as coming from Hebrews 5:12-14:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (emphasis added).
May I share 2 quick observations with you about this Scripture? One, regression is possible. Since these early Christian had gone backward, not forward, in their knowledge and understanding of the Bible it stands to reason that Christians in subsequent ages might fall prey to the same weakness. Their need for the milk of the word instead of the meat of the word graphically illustrates their spiritual regression.
Two, progression is needful. Even when it means going back to the “milk of the word” or the first principals of the oracles of God, the Christian who has been inattentive to spiritual development simply must get back on the strait and narrow way. Applying the teaching of Scripture will yield a deeper understanding of God’s revealed will.
In closing, may I urge you not to let pride, practice, or procrastination keep you from spiritual maturity? Pride: it may be hard for some people to admit to themselves they are babes in Christ although they have been Christians for a long time. Practice: something has crowded out time for spiritual development and it may even be something very essential for the family, like earning a living. The Bible says, “I am crucified with Christ” not “I am lounging around at home on my day off.” Altering comfortable practices is admittedly challenging but genuinely worth it. Procrastination: Without reservation, this could very well be the most important article you’ll ever read but only if in ignites within your heart a burning desire to cease spiritual regression and start spiritual progressing in your life and by starting today.
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". . and upon this rock I will build my church . ." -- Matthew 16:18.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.