"Consider your ways ..."
Volume 2 No. 2
Wednesday, June 14, 1995
IN THIS ISSUE
What Is REALLY Your Bible?
Jesus: The Perfect Teacher
Where Do We Stand?
Delighting In The Law of God
Where Does Faith Come From?
What Is Really Your Bible?
So many people say loudly and clearly that they are
"Bible Believers." They say the Bible is their guide and rule for living. They
say the Bible is the "final authority" for all faith and practice. It is the
standard by which we judge all things - IF we are really "Bible-believers."
Isn't it strange then that so many of these same
people pay no attention to what the Bible clearly says when it disagrees with their
judgment, or assessment of another person's spiritual condition. For example, when
confronted with a Bible truth that is hard for them to accept, they run to some experience
they, or someone they know has had. They try to prove what they believe because of what
happened in that experience. These people base their doctrines of Salvation, chastisement,
and God's attitude toward sin on experience rather than the Word of God, and at the same
time say they are "Bible-believers!"
The Baptists used to raise their voices against the
Pentecostals for basing their relationship to God on their experience. But now the
Baptists have become experts in doing the same thing, except they do it in almost all
areas of Christian living and Salvation itself. For example, most seem to believe now that
a person is definitely saved forever if he can remember a time and a place where he prayed
the "sinner's prayer." Once he has had this "experience," it doesn't
matter if the Spirit of God bears witness with his spirit or not. It doesn't matter if he
ever turns from sin to live a holy life for God or not, because he has that
"experience" to stand upon. In fact, many say that it doesn't matter if he ever
goes to church; he is still saved because of his "experience." He can even hate
the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and everyone in it, and still be saved because of his
"experience" at that one time and place. It doesn't matter anymore that his
whole life is contrary to the Word of God and what it teaches about a child of God. No one
can question his salvation because, after all, he did have that experience.
As a rule, men determine what they believe from what
they see in other people and from their own experience and then they twist the Scriptures
to fit what they already believe. Instead of seeking after the Truth, accepting it as the
authority, and judging themselves and other men by it, the Truth is subject to their
opinions, based on their experience. If you don't understand what we are saying think
about this: Most professing Christians today are very well indoctrinated in situational
ethics. It is the common practice among them to invent situations in which they try every
truth that is presented to them. These situations are usually far from reality, but could
conceivably happen. You have heard it: "Well, what if you were in a situation like
this, what would you do them?" With such thinking the law of God is nullified and the
truth is made a relative thing instead of an absolute. Every man is a god unto himself and
does what is right in his own eyes. With this kind of religion there is a situation for
every kind of sin to be excused and accepted. We live in a day when men have separated sin
from the sinner in order to "love" him. Now he has become a victim instead of a
transgressor of God's law and everyone strives to understand his side of things instead of
God's side, and the reasons why he committed the sin.
Unless the Bible is our absolute authority and we
judge ourselves and others by it's standards, we have a worthless religion indeed. Our
feelings toward those we love must not enter in here. That is where most people stumble
into this error. "I know that person is saved!," they will say, because of the
experiences they have that they consider to be evidence of salvation. Then they proceed to
find a way to explain or excuse that person's ungodly behavior, and in so doing compromise
the Truth of the Word of God. When people do this with their children, which is the most
common case, they forfeit any hope of ever seeing their children saved, and they both are
left in deception. For the only hope for any son of Adam is to realize the Word of God is
the absolute Truth, judge himself by it, and receive it as the guide and law of his life.
The Law of God (the Bible) doesn't conform to us, but we are to be conformed to it. One of
the most sure signs of a real born-again person is that he CONTINUES. To those who are
really born again the Bible says: "But we are not of them who draw back unto
perdition." These people have the assurance of eternal life, but the Bible nowhere
gives that assurance to those who turn back to wallow in sin! If we hope to ever see that
loved one truly come to a saving knowledge of God, we must hold the Truth before them
without compromising. The Truth will set you FREE! If a person doesn't measure up to what
the Scriptures describe as a Christian, then we must treat them as lost sinners. We must
NOT back up and try to make the Bible concur with their ungodly life. Now, you be honest
with yourself; what is your Bible?
- the Perfect Teacher
"And he opened his mouth, and
taught them, . . ." (Mat 5:2)
There are people in the world who make their living
teaching others. Teaching others is a part of life, whether it is our children or a new
person on the job at work. Every one of us has to be a teacher sometime during our lives.
Some people are gifted for the job of teaching and do a good job at it, but they are
influenced by their own opinions and ideas and will invariably inject their ideas into
whatever they are trying to teach. They have their own motives, desires, and goals in mind
when they are teaching others, and it will always affect the way and the content of what
There has never been another teacher like
Jesus. he was not influenced by the things people are. He had no ulterior motivesas
He taught. He said not a single word out of selfishness - with the motive being his own
personal gain. Every word He spoke was full of benevolence toward you and I. There was not
an ounce of deceit or craftiness in his words - his words were PURE words. They are life
and health and strength to those who will drink them down and digest them well. There are
no vain or unnecessary words in his speech put in to fill up space or take up time. EVERY
word is pure and priceless. His words are CLEAN and unspotted by worldly wisdom and
reasoning - they are the words of GOD. They were not tainted with any uncertainty or doubt
- his words are SURE words. HE IS THE TRUTH and his words are completely TRUE. The devil
had "nothing in him." When He gives you a promise you can rest in it forever.
"Therefore, we ought to give the more
earnest heed to the things which we have heard. . ." is plainly referring to the
words Jesus uttered while He walked the earth. Hold on to each word as you realize it's
value and it's worth to your soul's health. As you meditate on them you will find they are
loaded with limitless treasures that most men miss because of their lightness and
hurrying. Let Jesus be your teacher, for there is no man that can teach like Him.
Where Do We Stand?
In our first issue we had an article stating our
reasons and goals in publishing this paper. We feel that we need to say a few more words
to clarify and reassure folks about where we are coming from with our questions and
First of all, we want to make clear that we are not
trying to sow discord or doubts. Every question we put in this paper is only intended to
challenge you to THINK and STUDY the BIBLE and find the basis for every doctrine THERE
instead of from some other source. That source may be a Bible College or some man that you
highly respect, or it might be a book written by some man. We are not against any of these
things, and we are not in any way attacking any certain college or man. If they are doing
their job right they should be pointing people in the same direction as we are trying to
do in this paper. No college or man should want to make people into puppets that only
mimic what they have been told. Such shallow faith can never stand the trials of life and
the fiery darts of Satan.
We don't pretend to know all the answers to the all
the problems in the church today, but we should start somewhere and the place to start is
with ourselves. After all, that is what we tell the sinner he must do if he wishes to be
right with God. Also, that is where we will find the problem. The leaders of the church
should no more cast the blame for the condition of the church than the sinner should cast
the blame for his sin on someone else. When we speak of the church, we are speaking in
general terms, not about a certain camp or clique within the Independent Baptists or any
other denomination. Pastors want all the authority and the glory due to their position,
but they don't want to bear the responsibility when it all goes sour. They do just like
the people in the pew and try to cast the blame on someone or something else.
Again, we are not attacking any certain pastors or preachers and we have no certain people in mind, but we are speaking in general terms. We believe many are good men who love God and holiness and are trying to lead their people in that direction. But the influence of some of the accepted teachings of our day are foiling their efforts to achieve that goal. Among the things that are being taught that we feel are completely wrong are:
There are other things being taught and preached
that we feel are being distorted from the way God meant for us to understand and apply
them. We intend to deal with these issues, but we know how hard it is to admit it and turn
around when you have been wrong, therefore we will do our best not to do so in a
confrontational way. We, like everyone else, don't like to make enemies or offend people.
Our hope is that men will lay these things to heart and consider what we have to say
without being offended or feeling that we are attacking them or their friends. Our primary
concern is to preach and teach the truth, that the people of God would be helped and
Don't try to assume too much from the questions we
ask and don't jump to conclusions. We have not, and are not departing from basic Baptist
doctrine as it has been throughout history, but some of our modern-day teachings are what
we are calling into question. If they cannot be proven and defended with the Word of God,
then they should be thrown out the door. We believe in eternal security of the believer,
but we do not believe that everyone who simply makes a profession of faith is saved
forever - you must really be saved in the first place, and we believe there is much
evidence to prove whether a person is saved or not. We believe that many have been
deceived by a distorted teaching of this doctrine. We believe that a person MUST repent in
order to be saved and that repentance includes turning from sin and a sinful lifestyle. We
are against Easy-believism, not only in their teaching about salvation, but also in their
teaching about sanctification. We believe holiness of life is necessary to please God. If
you have any questions about what we believe, please write and simply ask us, instead of
assuming things and jumping to conclusions and getting upset. We will give you an honest
answer and then you can make a decision.
DELIGHTING IN THE LAW OF GOD
For I delight in the law of God after the inward
man; (Rom 7:22)
So many think that only saved people delight in the law of God. According to the popular interpretation of this verse, even Christians don't delight in God's law except in the inward man. Their outward man despises and resists - even rejects and disobeys God's law. Stop and consider some things with us.
Anyone who will wake up to reality must realize that it is possible for lost people to delight in the law of God at times. Start with Cain; what was his desire? Cain and Abel BOTH presented sacrifices to God. Cain was interested in trying to keep the law of God just as his brother was. He made an effort - a real effort to come to God with his best. Cain's problem was OBEDIENCE to the law, which is the same problem men have today. Cain looked around him and reasoned from his life and experience that his sacrifice would be better the way he intended to do it. Cain was the same kind of person that many are who say they are Christians today. He delighted in the law of God inside, but just wasn't able to comply with it on the outside. The truth is Cain's pride made him UNWILLING to comply with God's law outwardly. He had the same blood as his brother Abel, who DID obey God's law. But Cain was a lost and unregenerate person.
Haven't you ever known a sinner who agreed with God's law? Have you ever seen a lost person acknowledge that God was right and he was wrong, yet remain in their sins? Have you ever seen a lost person long and desire to be right with God, but never come and get right? We have all seen people come and appear to get saved and live for a time in apparent joy of the Lord, only to eventually turn back to their former sins. These people are delighting in the law of God - after the inward man. Inside, they agree; they recognize it's truth; they know they would be satisfied by obeying it's precepts, yet they remain outside because they refuse to obey it. To obey God's law would mean they must turn from what they love most - their sin.
So delighting in God's law is not reserved for those
who have made peace with God.
Contrary to what men think, God is not impressed
with BIG things - men ARE! Men build towers that will reach unto heaven. Men form huge
armies and build great cities to try to make a name for themselves. God created the vast
universe with the word of His lips, so He isn't impressed with the BIG things men do.
Neither does God normally manifest himself in BIG, GRAND ways that take men's breath away.
He works in the quiet stillness. His voice is a still, small voice as He deals in the
hearts of men. He requires men to trust Him by faith, so He isn't always going to part the
sea and stop the sun to convince men He is God. God's ways are not man's ways. Men gather
together - God divides and scatters. Understanding that truth leads one to understand that
such things as large numbers, huge buildings and properties, and good favor with the world
aren't the real evidence of a work of God.
Men are impressed with numbers - or anything BIG.
Most people who claim to be Christians have walked in the counsel of the ungodly so long
that they think any ministry or church that has a large attendance is without a doubt
blessed of God. The numbers prove it! Many men look for these kinds of successful
ministries and try to copy their methods so they can duplicate their success. This kind of
thinking and judgment is entirely worldly and carnal. God DOES NOT think and judge success
in that manner. Some would quote Luke 14:23, saying God wants his house full. It is hard
to understand how this can be so widely interpreted to mean the church house. He is
talking about being saved and in the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest of the chapter is dealing
with the same thing, and the great cost of following Jesus. God doesn't dwell in houses
made with hands. We may call the church house the house of God, but the Bible calls our
bodies the temple of the Holy Ghost. He said He would prepare a place for us that where He
is we may be also.Surely God wants Heaven full, but simply having the church house full
doesn't necessarily honor God. "None of those who were bidden shall taste of my
supper," he said. They made excuses concerning wives, lands, and parents. (Look at
verse 26) THEREFORE, he said to COMPEL them to come in. It means to urge with all your
might and do your best to persuade them of their dreadful and desperate situation; try to
persuade them how foolish their excuses are. We do it for God's sake, and for the souls of
men - NOT so we can see the church house full. How can God be pleased when the church is
full of irreverent, unconcerned, sons of Belial who come and don't listen to the message,
but rather cause a distraction and disturbance. Then they go home with their pockets full
of candy and gum, closer to Hell than they were when they came. And those who brought them
to church go home feeling they have pleased God, too. Then other poor deluded preachers
try to copy churches like this so they can be successful, too. Men may be impressed with
the numbers and the sight of a crowd, but understand that God is NOT the least impressed!
You will search in vain in the Bible to find where
God honored men because they gathered themselves together into large crowds. You will find
instead that God is the one who added to the church, and He did so when men were obedient
to Him. He did it without any man's program or promotion or campaign. Those that He added
to the church STAYED in the church. They went out preaching the Word. Our modern success
stories don't match up to that very well.
Men seem to think in our day that as long as you can
gather a crowd together and have a good time together in a religious way God will just
overlook any compromising or disregarding of His Word that is done. Why do you think the
Promise Keepers is so "successful?" Is it because of their uncompromising stand
for the truths of the Word of God? Hardly! It is because a crowd and excitement draws a
crowd. Everybody wants to jump on a bandwagon, but God doesn't use bandwagons - often He
uses deserts, caves, and dens and sometimes an Isle of Patmos for his people. On the
narrow road the crowd is thin. At the strait gate you don't have to stand in line to get
in. The big crowds in the Bible are always on the broad road. You might contend,
"Well, there is a big crowd in Revelation, which no man could number" of saved
people. Yes, but that is in Heaven, and ye are yet on the earth, my friend. Here we are
pilgrims and strangers and scattered on the earth. One day we will be gathered together in
the Father's house and THEN we can shout the victory in a big crowd.
The word "success" in Joshua 1:8 is
translated many times in the Bible as understanding, being wise, and prospering. David
"behaved himself wisely" is that same word. David was successful in God's eyes
when he was without a country, outcast by his friends and destitute of family, sitting all
alone in 1 Samuel 30 with his own men ready to stone him. Jeremiah was successful in God's
eyes while he sinking in the mire in the bottom of the pit. Micaiah was successful in
God's eyes when he was carried off and thrown in the dungeon for telling the truth to
wicked King Ahab while the big crowd of false prophets got to stay free and keep on lying
to the people. If God measures success by numbers and crowds, how did he count Jesus a
success? How many did Jesus have gathered together and following him when He was
crucified? The answer is ZERO - they ALL forsook him and fled! However, that was not the
end of the story! Why won't men learn the lesson that God works with us in the same way.
Men who pay the price to be holy before God are the ONLY ones who are considered
successful by God. Men who have large crowds and big numbers to boast of in their
ministries are the ONLY ones who are considered successful by men.
If great crowds and numbers are a sure sign of God's
blessing, then we have to say that Robert Schuller in California is a man of God, because
he has them packed in. The Pope must be a man of God, because a quarter of the world's
population is under his ministry. Billy Graham, with his GREAT crusades, surely has the
goods to prove he is a man of God, even though he makes light of sin, kisses the Pope's
ring, and doesn't believe in a burning Hell. Why won't men just admit and acknowledge that
faithfulness to the truth and to the Word of God is real success, whether he has a crowd
following him or not? We all have the desire to see the church house full and a big crowd
honoring God, but remember that God is not honored primarily by men's achievements, but by
Does Faith Come From?
Most Baptist preachers these days seem to be
preaching that faith is a gift from God. You are not able to be saved until God gives you
the faith to do so. To the hyper-grace, do-nothing, no repentance crowd it fits real well
with the rest of their doctrines. It sounds really humble and reverent to say such a thing
as that. But to a student of the Bible it doesn't fit with anything else the Bible teaches
IF GOD GIVES THE FAITH, THEN GOD CHOOSES WHO WILL BE
SAVED AND WHO WILL BE LOST
But without faith it is impossible to please him;
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him. (Heb 11:6)
No one ever has, or ever can be, saved apart from
faith in God. Faith is the vehicle in which we get to the grace of God. (Eph 2.8) Without
faith, we cannot even come to God. Therefore, if God gives the faith, He must choose who
will be lost and who will be saved. Those to whom God chooses to give faith will be saved
and those who don't receive it will be lost and there is nothing they can do about it. The
fact is, the Bible says "faith cometh by hearing," and we learn to
"hear" from the Word of God. The Word of God, once received, will bring forth
faith in the hearer. Therefore, "take heed how ye hear." Also, "He that
hath ears to hear, let him hear..."
HOW COULD GOD COMMAND US TO DO SOMETHING THAT HE HAS
THE CONTROL OVER?
". . . repent and believe the Gospel." (Mark 1:15)
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23)
God commands us to believe. All of God's promises are hinged on our faith.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
Do you have a friend that might like to receive our
Send us his (or her) name and address and we will be happy to add
them to our mailing list.
Pastor Owen OR Bro. Mike Miller
Midway Bible Baptist Church
P.O. Box 419
Fishersville, Virginia 22939
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