I insist on it in the Lord

Paul makes this statement in Ephesians 4:17.  Paul says, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in their futility of their thinking.”  By the inspiration of God Paul is telling the Christians in Ephesus that they must no longer live like the rest of the world.  In fact he says they must give up even thinking like the world thinks.  This was a great teaching moment for the Ephesian church.  These were words they needed to hear.  The message is just as valuable for us today as it was for the Ephesian church in Paul’s day.  Instead of the world determining standards God sets the standard.  Our direction in life is determined by who gets our attention God or the world.

Paul gives five points of advise we would do well to heed.  Consider the things outlined in the remainder of Ephesians chapter 4.

  1. Don’t speak evil of one another.   v. 25-27   Wouldn’t it be a great life if we never spoke evil of one another?  Paul says you are members of one body.  He went on to say if you get angry don’t let the sun set on that anger.  When we let anger dwell in our hearts we give the devil a foothold.  All Satan needs is a place to get a start.  Just think how much trouble could be averted if we made it our practice to never speak evil of one another!
  2. Steal no more but rather work.  v 28.  There was a purpose in their work.  The Ephesian Christians were to work so that they would have something to give to  those in need.  Is it possible that much of the world’s problems are centered around the concept of trying to get something for nothing?  I fear that in today’s world the concept of an honest days pay for an honest days work is being lost.  This country did not invent the concept of work God did.  We would do well to heed God’s law!
  3. Control your tongue.  v 29-30.  This is a difficult command to implement in our life.  Paul said there was to be no bad out of the mouth.  Instead we speak only that which builds up.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be around people who only spoke words that built us up?  If I want to be torn down I can get that anywhere.  It is only under the influence of God I can receive words that build up my soul.
  4. Do away with bitterness, rage and anger. v 31  It is hard to lay these things down.  Sometimes we pride ourselves in holding to the anger.  God is telling us that the world holds on to these things.  We don’t need to go there.  Lay this down at the feet of Jesus.
  5. Replace the bad with the good.  v 32  When you lay the anger and bitterness down you must replace it with good.  Instead of being angry and bitter replace it with kindness and compassion.  Just as the Lord has forgiven you, forgive others.  I remember an experiment that was done in a third grade science class many years ago.  My teacher in that class was Barbara White.  In the class she took a metal can.  Mrs. White put a rubber stopper in the can.  With a hand pump she removed the air from the can.  As the air was removed the can crumpled due to the pressure from the outside.  This is how we will be if we attempt to remove the bad without replacing it with the good.  We can’t take Satan out unless we let Christ in.

God intends churches and Christians stand out like a light on a hill.  We stand out because we are different from the world.  The drawing power of the Gospel is not found in dynamic worship or even magnificent buildings.  The power that draws is through individual Christians as they walk in the footsteps of Christ.  Actions will always speak louder than words.  Paul has told us this, no, he has insisted on it in the Lord.

Pepperdine /2

I am now waiting for the last keynote speaker.  It has been a great lectureship.  I have heard great men such as Rick Atchley, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, and Don McGlaughlin proclaim Jesus as Lord.  There have been so many good speakers and so many great lessons.  All lessons had a common theme, Jesus was proclaimed as lord.  Never was a religious system proclaimed as more important than Jesus.  My greatest desire is to see the world view Jesus as their hope.  This has been a good week, my prayer is that Jesus can be the common ground for Christians throughout the world.  May God have mercy on all as we trust Jesus as  Saviour!

Pepperdine!

We arrived here yeasterday.  I heard two great lessons last night.  Monte Cox from Harding delivered the main address.  He really set the stage for a fine week.  I then heard Buddy Bell do a really good job on maturing the church.  It is going to be a great week.  I wish you were all here as well.  Have a great week!

When Do We Stop Learning?

This Post Has Been Removed.

No implication was intended in this post toward any individual.  For any misunderstanding I deeply apologize.  It is understood by most who teach God’s Word that we are responsible not only for what we say but for what we are percieved to have said.  For that reason this post will no longer be available for viewing.

 

Should the “Law of Silence” Divide the Body of Christ?

For more than 150 years Christians have divided over what we call the “rule of Silence.”  The following problem has divided us over a multitude of aaaaabible2differing things.  One group says, “Since God is silent on the subject therefore God forbids it.”   The second group says, “Since God is silent on the subject therefore God allows it.”  As a result of our difference on how we deal with this “law” brethren have continued to divide and go their separate ways over a multitude of differences.

What does Scripture say about the “law of silence?”  Honestly, God does not address this subject at all.  As a matter of fact, God does not even mention the “law of silence”.  This law has been devised by man to  prop up the arguments we make in determining our interpretation of Scripture. 

If one holds the prohibitive view of the “law of silence”, then one would use this view of the “law” to prevent anything they did not approve concerning interpretation of Scripture.  If one holds the  acceptance view of the “law of silence”, then one would use this view to allow particular views they wanted approved when interpreting Scripture.  If this sounds confusing there is more.

It is difficult to apply this man made law with consistency.  Those who hold the prohibitive view of the “law of silence” find it a convenient law when disallowing such things as clapping or instruments in worship.  This law has been used to prohibit spending money out of the church treasury for such things as the support of institutions not authorized specifically by Scripture.  This has prevented church support of colleges and even orphan homes.  God did not authorize it therefore we cannot do it.  Yet it has been difficult to apply consistently.  We have no authorization for paying the bills for utilities, song books, or for that matter a church building  from church funds.  For even the most stringent prohibitionist  we readily accept that the above mentioned items  are necessary even though they are not specifically authorized or addressed in Scripture.   The prohibitionist has used this rule to prohibit clapping and instruments in worship but allows singing with  four-part harmony, a song leader, and announcements even though there is no example, command or inference for these items.  Our problem with the “rule of silence” is in application.  How do we decide if our determined understanding is an aid and when our determined understanding is an innovation?

Let me ask a few questions I consider to be   more basic along these same  thoughts.  Should the church divide based on the application of a rule made by man?   Should rules made by man determine fellowship?  Should Christians divide?  Maybe we should ask, “Does Scripture allow or authorize the withholding of fellowship based on the law of silence?  All of this brings us back to the original question, “Should the Law of Silence divide the body of Christ?” 

Can Salvation Be Found in Human Wisdom?

man_studying2In 1st  Corinthians 1:17 Pauls says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”  As we continue we find these words in verse twenty three, “but we preach Christ crucified:  a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Verse twenty-five says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”  Where do we find salvation?  Is it in man’s intellectual ability and wisdom to interpret Scripture?  Is salvation found in man’s ability to search Scripture and draw  lines of fellowship  by his wisdom or is salvation found in faith that Jesus is the Son of the living God?

For many years men have prided themselves on their ability to read and interpret Scripture.  Lest anyone misunderstand, I believe fully one should study Scripture.  I firmly stand in the position that it is important to search the Scriptures so we may know  the things being taught are truth. That being said, knowledge of Scripture does not guarantee eternal life.  In John 5:39  Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  Knowledge of the Scripture does not produce eternal life.  Our willingness to come to Jesus produces eternal life.

We have produced rules by which one is to study scripture that have become almost as important to us as Scripture.  We call these rules hermaneutics.  I do not question the value of the hermaneutical process.  What I question is our placing such value on our human reasoning and wisdom in regard to salvation.  Human reasoning cannot produce salvation.  Faith in Jesus as the Son of God produces salvation.  I fear that we sometimes place so much trust in Scripture that we fail to know the Word,  Jn. 1:1.  There is only one name that brings salvation and that name is Jesus.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile if we placed our trust in the Christ rather than our ability to understand and apply Scripture.  A big dose of humility before God would be very beneficial because our salvation can never be found in human wisdom.