Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

The Kind of Christian I Am!


 

RECIPE FOR SPIRITUALITY

 

By – William Andrew Dillard

 

Among those who are dedicated followers of Christ Jesus, even extending to those who might be classified as nominal Christians, there is a common desire oft expressed and somewhat diligently sought. It is to be a truly spiritual disciple. Accordingly, men turn to the devices of flesh in the pursuit of greater levels of spirituality. Those things do indeed generate a considerable amount of religious activity: greater offerings, more determination to wear a clean mind and abandon common carnal thinking and doing. Many such activities may be commendable, but it is also possible that in spite of some laudable activity, spirituality is being sought in all the wrong places.
Are you thinking with me about this?
God’s people should be aware of a certain passage of scripture, and they should put its suggested activity into action. I refer to I Corinthians 14:12, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” What a marvelously simple, but profound idea. Look at it more closely:
1. “Zealous” means to be boiling hot as in an obsessive pursuit.
2. “Spiritual gifts” means the possession of recognized spirituality so bestowed by the Lord.
3. “Seek” means to earnestly diligently search.
4. “Excel” means to do excellently, far above the average.
5. “Edify” means to build up, to enhance reputation.
6. “Church” means the saved, baptized, called out assembly of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With an understanding of the meaning of the terms of this precious verse of scripture, we may restate it in amplified terms in the following manner: “Even so ye (you, plural) are boiling hot in desire and pursuit of spiritual gifts that you and others identify as coming from God, earnestly, diligently search out ways and means to do much more than the average disciple to build up the reputation of the called out assembly of Jesus (the church) as a spiritual institution in the community.” What a wonderful, practical way our Lord has chosen to elevate one’s spirituality. Every church member ought to be so engaged. I believe this to the core of my soul because that is the kind of Christian I am!

 

 

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YE ARE THE “WHAT?” OF THE WORLD???


 

William Andrew Dillard

 
The Kind of Christian I Am!
Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14. Matthew 5:1-2 makes it clear that this statement is made to His disciples rather than to the multitudes from whom he had retreated. Think with me about what this means!
The idea of this statement being made to a group instead of to an individual is reinforced by the comparison to a city set on an hill. Moreover, here is something beautiful about the King James Version of the Bible. Some folks don’t like the archaic English, but the translation is distinctly true to the original Greek by distinguishing singular from plural and nominative from objective case in the second person. “Ye” and “you” are plural, the first nominative and the other objective in grammatical case. So what we have here is Jesus referring to a singular group as plural, “ye,” in the nominative form. Hence, it is understood that this reference is to His church which this group of saved, baptized disciples were. So, it is His church, the pillar and ground of the truth; the fullness of Him that filleth all in all that is the light of the world, and as a city set on an hill that cannot be hidden.
The individuals that make up the church are addressed in the following two verses. Men do not light a candle and put it under a bushel, but in the candlestick that the benefit of light may be realized. The candlestick is presented in the Bible as a type or symbol of the church.
Furthermore, such lighted candles are to let their light shine before men. This accomplishes two things: men will behold (be influenced) by that light, and it will glorify the Heavenly Father. The terminology in verse 16 is “Let your light so shine before men…” Here the second person “your” is plural indicating a direct address to everyone who are numbered in the group or church.
“Light and darkness,” indicating opposite states are also used to indicate knowledge as opposed to ignorance, and righteousness as opposed to evil. These latter things are what Jesus referenced.
Make no mistake about it. Men become aware quickly of one who is faithful to the Lord’s church, and who lives in accord with the teachings of Christ Jesus. They also note quickly those who “say but do not do,” and categorize them as hypocrites. This fails to dispel the darkness, and to glorify the Heavenly Father.
The Psalmist David declared, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so….” Psalm 107:2. Redeemed folks should be happy folks. Redeemed folks should jump at every chance to glorify God by relating what He has done for them in providing eternal salvation, and an acceptable avenue of service. If they do this, they will be letting their light shine! I firmly believe every true Christian should be such a light in this darkened world. That is the kind of Christian I am!

 

 

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THE FAR-REACHING, AMAZING GRACE OF GOD


 

Authored by William Andrew Dillard

 

The Kind of Christian I Am!
My friend, the late Dr. C.N. Glover, an able Missionary Baptist minister, and one of three founders of Missionary Baptist Seminary, wrote several books, and in later life penned a song which others set to music and placed it in the ABA Hymnal. The title of the song is “The Grace of God Amazes Me.” Over the vicissitudes of time, disciples of the Lord Jesus have all stood in absolute awe as they studied and contemplated the amazing grace of God. Some have considered that the enormity of their evil deeds placed them beyond the grace of God, and asked, “How far does the grace of God extend?”
Think with me about that!
Men err when they consider that evil and atrocious deeds make them more lost than others who live a good, moral life though estranged from Christ Jesus. The truth is all men are sinners. There are no exceptions. Natural sinners are lost….. even…. as lost as lost can be! The unrepentant men, moral or perpetrators of evil deeds are in the same boat. They are lost. It follows that one cannot become any more lost than…. lost! The good news is that the grace of God extends to all men! The most terrible person on earth may be saved when repenting of sin and trusting Christ Jesus as his personal Savior. God’s grace reaches that far!
Consider that the grace of God extended to John Newton, the captain of a slave ship. He was heavily involved in the capture of African natives, and transporting them to the human auction blocks. God convicted him. He was saved, and became a preacher of the gospel that stirred all England. Moreover he gave the Christian world its most beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” Additionally, the grace of God extended to William Cooper who suffered greatly from deep depression, but in his cry to God was heard, saved, and went on to give us such moving hymns as “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood.” The grace of God extended to Saul of Tarsus who made havoc of the very church of the Lord Jesus Christ as he imprisoned them, and consented to their death. Later, after a,meeting with Jesus, he took the name of Paul, (little guy). He declared himself to be the chiefest of sinners. How he rejoiced in the amazing grace of God!
Millions testify: “The grace of God reached even me.” Indeed, it extends to the far reaches of earth while it is “today.” You are not beyond the grace of God, but you can sin away your day of grace. “Today” the Creator, Redeemer will hear the sinner’s cry of repentance. I am adamantly certain of this fact of God’s Word, and that is the kind of Christian I am.

 

 

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J.R. GRAVES, LIFE, TIMES AND TEACHINGS 17


 

Chapter III

 

TROUBLES AND TRIUMPHS

 

 

A CLASSIC ENGLISH WRITER has forcefully and beautifully said:

 

 

There’s untold power in him who knows a thing’s

 

of God’s own willing; though doubts may shroud

 

in cloud the transient hour.”

 

 

It is the unmeasured power of belief that a soul lives by. Give a man faith – unclouded, heartfelt belief – and though his brain be narrow, and his knowledge small, he will impress and have successes, while the man of great intellect and broad culture, who does not know anything of God’s own willing or purpose, will fail. But if such faith dwell in any earnest soul, a clear strong mind, a trusting, fearless heart, mountain difficulties melt before him, he can tunnel or explode or scale them. He can stand in the very storm center, beneath the black clouds and the thunder strokes with uplifted face and fearless heart, and where that faith is in the reasonable, vital, soul-lifting, sanctifying, God-revealed, eternal truth, he is always irresistible. Fixedness, firmness and fearlessness will mark his course. His spirit will be caught by those with whom he comes in touch and conviction and acceptance will follow, or else opposition and even sometimes hate.

 

 

This kind of faith distinguished J.R. Graves, a modest, quiet, unassuming person, reticent in company and not specially gifted in social conversation. But he flashed forth whenever God’s truth was attacked, or when it was his opportunity to preach the word, or when intelligent converse lay along such lines.

 

 

Here are some of his words, which carry conviction with them to every candid mind, that the loftiest impulses controlled him. When charged with perverse notions he replied: “I can only deny this, because I cannot show my heart to my readers. But to my God I can, without fear of condemnation, lay my hand upon it and appeal to him to believe the rectitude of my intentions. When I obeyed the voice that spoke to my conscience, I gave up all the cherished plans of my life to preach the gospel of the Son of God. Nor did I find the limit to stop at this point, i. e., simply teaching the positive commands of Christ. These words burnt themselves upon my eye, rang with weighty import upon my ear, fixed themselves ineradically in my heart: “Every plant which my Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.” I am conscious of no other motive. I appeal from my accusers to my master and Judge.”

 

 

When he penned these fervid words, he stood before the world as the disturber of religious peace, the foe of Campbellites as well as of Methodists – and other communions whose erroneous teachings he attacked. He stood almost alone, and like Luther before the Diet of Worms, said: “I can do no other, God help me.”

 

 

“Th age,” as wrote Carlyle at that time, with lightening force and glare, too, was called “the age of shams.” The age of heroes, according to him, of real genuine men, had gone, and in their room had come forth shadows, masks, make-believes, unrealities. All this was to a great extent itself a sham – a caricature. Yet there is some truth in it. It cannot be denied that then and now much of so-called Christianity is a form – an image – a masquerade – a sham. Alas, there are sham ministers and sham church members, whose prayers (repetitions of dead men’s) are a sham, whose contributions to the name of Christ are a sham – a show, a pretense, a lie; in short, a wicked mockery. What a sham to call the Roman pope and his priestly hierarchy a church, that is, an assembly of believers in Christ Jesus! What a sham to call the General Conference “the Methodist Church of Christ.” What a sham to call the sprinkling of a few drops of water on the face of an unconscious babe, baptism into Christ’s death, a burial with him by baptism, and then call that babe a member of the church! What a sham to say that the eternal destiny of a soul is conditioned upon the action of a mortal man, who gives absolution at the confessional of the remission of sins in immersion!”

 

 

These shams stared J.R. Graves in the face. He felt called of God to meet them, expose them, and as far as he could do it, banish them from the earth. He had a mission and a message, and steadfast was his aim to fulfill the one and to deliver the other; making no pause, no compromise, whether in the vigor of young manhood or beneath the burden and infirmities of old age. His was a conflict unto death.

 

 

At that time, be it remembered, the Methodists had a chosen champion who lectured from place to place, attacking with denunciations, and misrepresenting with unscrupulous attacks, the principles and ordinances which distinguished the Baptists. These lectures, often mere tirades, were given mainly by an Irishman, of force and sharpness, whose name was Chapman (with several others in different southwestern states). To leave the truth thus perverted and slandered and travestied and shamed was to forsake the truth when humiliated, was to play the smirking coward when God and his cause demand men, real, red-blooded men, stalwart, heroic men who, like Tennyson’s Light Brigade at Balakalava: “Their’s not to reason why, their’s but to do and die.”

 

 

Dr. Graves was everywhere appealed to by his brethren to come to their help in conflict in which they felt themselves no match for those who attacked them, and he went, for “one blast of Rhoderick were worth a thousand.” He did not quit the field until the truth was vindicated. There were so many of these calls that people got the notion that such conflicts were his delight, but he sought not his own pleasure, he was God’s chosen defender and he halted not when God’s cause called for a champion. As we have said, Dr. Graves was frequently called to meet these men, and meet them he did, with sweeping overwhelming force. Indeed the swelling tide of Methodism was checked, and the Baptist cause was strengthened and greatly extended by his discussions. He was “A Sampson amongst the Philistines.” He felt called to this particular work, and he delighted greatly in his calling. Of one of his contest debates we let a competent witness speak: Major Penn, the great lay-evangelist, has left his “footprints on the sands of time.” He was once a successful lawyer of Humboldt, Tennessee, and later an active member of the Jefferson Church, Texas; respected and influential. He abandoned all to become an evangelist. God blessed his work and thousands were led to the Lord Jesus through his instrumentality. In his meetings he preached Christ only – justification by faith, and the Holy Spirit’s work in man’s renovation and salvation. None was any more free from everything like ritualism of church salvation than he. But he was the inestimable friend, and to some extent, imitator (I may say disciple) of J.R. Graves. He preached, as Dr. Graves did, the immediate duty of baptism by every convert; never hesitated to proclaim that “the immersion of a believer in Christ, saved persons, was the only baptism known to, or commanded in God’s Word.” In his early life he attended a debate in which Dr. Graves was the Baptist champion. Describing that debate, some fifty years after, he wrote: “Soon after my conversion I attended for one term the Male Academy in Trenton, Tennessee, and then for a single term the Union University of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of which the distinguished J.H. Eaton, father of T.T. Eaton of Tennessee, was president.

 

 

About this time, while living in Humboldt, we heard of a great debate that was to be in Lexington, a town fifty miles east of us, between J.R. Graves, Baptist, and I.L. Chapman, Methodist. My mother and myself were anxious to attend and at once decided to go, although it was quite a journey and a one-horse buggy was our best means of conveyance. We arrived the morning the debate opened, and heard the first speech.

 

 

“I wish I could describe the grand old hero of Baptist faith. These were his palmiest days. In robust health, eloquent in speech, graceful and attractive in manner, he swayed the multitudes that were in constant attendance during the three days’ debate. Dr. Graves, as I thought, completely demolished the Methodist champion” (Life of Penn, p. 40).

 

 

The debate was adjourned to Canton, Mississippi, and was followed up several times in different places with unvarying results.

 

 

In these debates Dr. Graves was always at ease, and always self-possessed. He could not be thrown off his guard and never lost his temper. His intensity at times was overwhelming. Carlyle says some of Luther’s sentences had Austerlitz battle in them.” The same might be said of the red-hot logic of J.R. Graves. His words were like chain-shot from a rifle cannon, and nowhere, so far as we could learn, but the Baptist cause was aided where these discussions took place. Great revivals often followed.

 

 

But, be it remembered, that in the logical and scriptural arraignment and denunciation, too, of the errors he combated, especially of the unscriptural forms of church government and of the ordinances, he would always announce and repeat that he did not question the true standing of his antagonist as a believer in Christ. In his last great debate with Dr. Ditzler he said (as was usual with him):

 

 

I may unchurch an organization, i.e., deny that they possess the scriptural characteristics of a gospel church and not thereby unchristianize its members. If my opponent should attempt to make the impression upon you that I deny that you are Christians because I deny your society is a church, he will pursue a course both unwarranted and unprincipled” (Debate, p. 927).

 

 

But even if he had not uttered this denial of any such charge, the whole scope of his writings, his known views, and teachings were sufficient.

 

 

That master of pure English, Dr. Channing, has well said: “Human language does not admit of entire precision. It has often been observed by philosophers that the most familiar sentences owe their perspicuity not so much to the definition or the definiteness of the language as to an almost incredible activity (in the heart of the reader) which selects from a variety of meanings that which each word demands, and assigns such counts to every phase as the intention of the speaker, his character and situation require.” If readers would only remember this.

 

 

What meaning does the term kingdom in Dr. Graves’ vocabulary demand? An organization of churches. What does his language demand when he emphatically says: “I may unchurch an organization (that is deny that it possesses the scriptural characteristics of a gospel church and hence kingdom) and not unchristianize its members?”

 

 

His whole life, his character, the drift of all his writings, and his denunciation of any charges, demand in all manly fairness that no such meaning be put on his language or his mistaken view of the kingdom.

 

 

If it had been done during his lifetime he would have denounced it, in his own fiery language, as a malicious falsehood. But he has gone. That eloquent tongue is silent. That wonderful instrument, from which every tone of varied music went forth, is broken.

 

 

He hears not, he heeds not, he’s freed from all pain,

 

He has preached his last word, he has fought his last battle,

 

No sound should awaken him to conflict again.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The True Family of Christ


 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother,” Matthew 12:50.

 

In John 7, the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus’ half  brothers did not believe He was the Messiah and even mocked Him.

 

I have three brothers whom I love very much. We ate Post Toasties from the same box, swam in the same swimming hole and shared our childhood in blissful innocence and ignorance. However, if one of my brothers came to the breakfast table and announced that he was God, I doubt I would have taken him seriously. If he began a campaign to tell the world that he was God, I would be the first one to sign, having him committed for psychiatric help.

 

Jesus’ mother perhaps was worried about His physical health. She and the brothers innocently came to remove Him from public shame and help Him recuperate. It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection and personal visit from the dead (1 Cor. 15) with the next brother in line, that James saw the Light and even became pastor of the church in Jerusalem. He introduced himself as Jesus’ servant.

 

How many grow up so close to the gospel they could touch it and never believe from the heart? That a mere man called Jesus could be God in the flesh, was the stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

 

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

 

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (verse 5).

 

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (verse 6).

 

 

If we obey the gospel, Jesus promised to manifest Himself to the repentant sinner.

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT – Truth will prevail when untruth will not prevail.

 

 

Robert A. Brock

 

 

 

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