Author - William Andrew Dillard
Parson To Person
God is so wonderful! He has done everything necessary for sinful men to be eternally saved spiritually, and to achieve salvation of the mind-life (proper maturity in understanding and employing biblical instructions) as His will is so plainly expressed in I Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Somewhere along the long line of history evangelism has taken on a new, but manmade, reduced meaning. Still, the true meaning of the term must be understood from the biblical presentation of it in action, and there is no shortage of that.
A few select instances are herewith cited. New Testament work is built upon repentance from sins in obedience to God, followed by receiving heaven’s authorized baptism. This was begun by John the Baptist, and placed in His church by Jesus Himself. All the disciples of Jesus received it, including our Lord Himself. From that point forward one may note the baptism of Cornelius (Acts 10); the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8); Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9); the Philippian jailer (Acts 16); the group improperly baptized (Acts 19), et., etc.
Deep water immersion of each professed believer was administered as the consistent biblical pattern for that time, and throughout the age. It is still God’s approved method of evangelism.
However, what is now largely assigned to the term “evangelism” is simply leading one to profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At that point, the person is dropped to join whatever may exist under the broad banner of “Christianity.” whether such movement is scriptural or not or even if they do not practice baptism. This is the injection of man into the Word of God, and that is iniquity. It will not stand in the Day of Judgment. Some will be shocked to learn that they have been led astray, and others will be shocked that their “good” intentions were the source of leading others astray.
Folks, it should be known that “evangelism” is a Greek term that has been transliterated into English rather than translated. The translation of the term is “good news” or “good announcement” Contrary to what many want to believe, the good news or announcement is not simply that men can now be saved. That has been going on since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Rather it is that lost men may continue to be saved, but now be added to the Lord’s church, the executor of the kingdom of heaven, and achieve a high degree of spiritual maturity under the tutorial leadership of the Holy Spirit given to it. Such will enable those so exercised to rule and to reign with Christ in the upcoming millennial reign. To short-change true, biblical evangelism is to cheat men out of this grand opportunity.
Clothing makes the man. May we be clothed in the righteousness of the Lord and not found in our own tattered and torn righteousness.
Addressing the ever-increasing propensity for redefining salvation and the gospel nowadays, no teaching is more prevalent today (or throughout history) than the one that insists that salvation is either wholly, or at least partly, the result of human merit or works. There is perhaps no more graphic verse in Scripture that speaks to the contrary, however, than Isa_64:6 : “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Rags is begeḏ (H899), which is the most common OT word for clothing and by itself refers simply to any kind of garment, as in its first appearance in Gen_24:53, where a servant brought jewels and “raiment” to Rebekah. When coupled with a qualifying word, however, it is used to refer to specific types of garments, from something as common as a widow’s clothing (Gen_38:14) to the specialized, holy garments of Aaron (Exo_28:2-4).
Our text, therefore, adds a very unique qualifying word to begeḏ. (We do not wish to offend any reader’s sensitivities, so we will say this as delicately as possible.) Filthy is beged (H5708), which appears only here in the OT and refers to a woman’s menstrual period, and therefore, the cloth that accompanies it when coupled with begeḏ. Does this not clearly demonstrate what all our good works are, what any “righteous deed” we might perform really is? All of them are as filthy and repulsive as begeḏ.
No truth is clearer in Scripture than that salvation is apart from any merit or works of men. Scripture repeatedly declares man’s uncleanness and depravity (Job_15:14-16; Job_25:4; Job_40:4; Psa_51:5; Rom_1:21-32; Rom_7:18; Rom_7:24; Eph_2:1-3) and that works cannot save (Job_9:20; Rom_3:20; Rom_3:28; Rom_4:5; Rom_9:11; Rom_9:16; Rom_9:30; Rom_11:6; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:16-21; Eph_2:8-9).
Sadly, every false religion, cult, and human philosophy teaches that enough works will result in salvation, “renewal,” “enlightenment,” or whatever concept they choose as their goal. Even some today who call themselves evangelicals are diluting salvation by insisting that works have a part in salvation. James makes it clear that works are the result of salvation (Jas_2:14-26), but it is grace (April 6, 7) alone through faith (April 9) alone that is the cause. Let us rejoice this day in God’s power, for that alone can save us.
Scriptures for Study: Read the verses cited above about depravity and the insufficiency of works, and then rejoice in God’s power (and willingness) to save.
yāša‘ [and] yešû‘āh
One of the key themes of the Bible, of course, is salvation. Nevertheless, despite not only the prominence of this theme but also the clarity of what it is and how it comes, there seems in our day to be much confusion about it. An understanding of these words, however, along with yesterday’s study of sin, clears up all question.
As most Hebrew nouns come from a verb, the verb here is yāša‘ (H3467), which appears about 200 times and means “to save, help, deliver, or defend.” The “underlying idea of this verb is bringing to a place of safety or broad pasture as opposed to a narrow strait.” This idea actually comes from the same Arabic root that means “to make wide or sufficient,” since “wide” implies freedom from stress and encumbrance. Such change, however, demands deliverance, and such deliverance must come from outside the individual. The Septuagint usually renders yāša‘ as the Greek sōzō (G4982), “to deliver or preserve from danger or destruction.”
A vivid example of yāša‘ is Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exo_14:30), accomplished, of course, solely by God. Even when deliverance came through some human instrumentality, it was still only by God’s power, as when Gideon saved God’s people from the Midianites only because God empowered him (Jdg_6:14-16).
From what, then, does salvation deliver us? What is its substance? Salvation is deliverance from spiritual death. Because of Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden (Gen_2:17), “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze_18:4; also Rom_5:12). It is, therefore, Christ alone who came to “save his people from their sins” (Mat_1:21).
Further, no verse of Scripture is clearer on the source of salvation (yešû‘āh, H3444) than is Jon_2:9 : “Salvation is of the LORD.” From beginning to end, and everything in between, salvation is all from God. It is not because of our partial merit or good works (Tit_3:5), not because we “said a prayer,” not because of our own “foreseen faith”— even the faith to believe the gospel is God-given (Eph_2:8-9; Joh_6:65; Php_1:29; Act_18:27). Rather, “Salvation is of the Lord,” writes Spurgeon. “The Lord has to apply it, to make the unwilling willing, to make the ungodly godly, and bring the vile rebel to the feet of Jesus, or else salvation will never be accomplished.”
Scriptures for Study: God continues to deliver us on a daily basis. Read Psalms 20, noting God’s deliverance from enemies.
šagāh [and] āwōn [and] peša‘
Is the issue of sin really all that important? Yes—it is mentioned approximately 900 times in the Bible. In addition to the most commonly used Hebrew word, chātā’, we find several others used to picture the seriousness of sin (see July 11 for another).
One such word is šagāh (H7686), “to go astray, to deceive, to wander, to make a mistake, to reel.” It’s used primarily to express the idea of straying or wandering and frequently describes a wandering or aimless flock, both figuratively and literally (Eze_34:6). Isaiah used this verb to suggest “swerving, meandering, or reeling in drunkenness” (Isa_28:7, “erred”). It also describes moral corruption (Pro_5:23, “to go astray”). It is also translated sin in Lev_4:13, “sin through ignorance.”
Another word is ‘āwāh (H5753), which is equivalent to the Arabic ‘awaya, “to bend or twist,” and so reflects not only those ideas but also to “distort” and “pervert,” whether intentional or not. Men pervert what is right (Job_33:27; Jer_3:21) and commit “iniquity,” which is to bend God’s revelation (Psa_106:6). The word ‘āwōn (H5771), which appears more than 230 times, speaks of Israel choosing to return to the “iniquities of their forefathers,” that is, twisting and perverting God’s Word to “[go] after other gods to serve them” (Jer_11:10). This word is also translated sin in 1Ki_17:18, where a widow speaks to Elijah in fear that her son died because she bent or distorted some requirement.
One other word for sin is peša‘ (H6588), which appears over ninety times to indicate “willful deviation from, and therefore rebellion against, the path of godly living” (e.g., Isa_58:1; Isa_59:12; Amo_5:12).
Is there now any doubt as to the answer to the question, “Is the issue of sin really all that important?” Indeed, sin is the problem, salvation is the provision, and the Savior is the path. After salvation, however, is sin still a problem? Positionally no, but practically yes. While we are freed from the bondage of sin as the rule of life (Rom_6:1-7), “the flesh” (“our selfish properties,” sarx, G4561) still rears its ugly head and wars within us (Romans 7). Thankfully, we can have victory over this by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8), and we have the assurance of forgiveness through confession when we do sin (1Jn_1:9).
Scriptures for Study: Read David’s prayer of confession and restoration (Psalms 51). Note the words for sin in Psa_51:1-4 : “transgressions” (peša‘), “iniquity” (‘āwōn), “sin” (chattā’t, a derivative of chātā’), and “sinned” (chātā’). Praise God today for His forgiveness (April 16).
A Slave who was free
1901 – On this day, the “Onesimus of Colonial America”, John Jasper, went to be with the Lord Jesus, whom he loved with all of his heart. John was a black man, born into slavery on July 4, 1812, and though never able to attend school, used his God given gift of oratory to see multitudes, both black and white, brought to eternal salvation. His father, a slave Baptist preacher, died before John was born, but his Mother, Tina, dedicated him to the Lord with this prayer, “Lord, if dis chile you’s sendin’ me is a boy, doan’ let him do nuthin’ else but sing de praises of Jesus!” His mother’s prayers brought him to conviction and his testimony was, “I was seekin’ God six weeks – jes’ cause I was sich a fool I couldn’t see de way.” On July 25, 1839, John was gloriously saved at the tobacco stemmery where he worked for “Mars’ Sam – Mr. Sam Hardgrove, the owner of the stemmery and a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. He had belonged to the Widow Mary Belle Peachy, but upon her death, her son John sold him to Mr. Hardgrove. Jasper’s love for Mars’ Sam and Dr. William Hatcher, a local Baptist pastor was beyond question and Mr. Hardgrove allowed John time off to preach whenever he wished. Almost immediately after his conversion he began to preach the funeral of slaves, and God’s power was evident upon him. It wasn’t long until both whites and blacks were flocking to his orations. He became used in pulpits and open air meetings all over. After Praying to learn to read, another slave, William Johnson, labored for seven months with a tattered copy of the New York Speller and John became an avid Bible reader. John Jasper founded the 6th Mount Zion Baptist Church which had two-thousand members when he died.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 126.
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“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen,” Revelation 1:7.
One, hot, August day Joe sat on the porch looking down the dusty road—waiting. His dad had gone on a business trip but was due home any moment. Joe did not act very nicely while his dad was away. He disrespected his mother, terrified his sister and his mom had warned him many times to behave politely—he did not listen to the warnings and now he knew the consequences that faced him. Suddenly, he saw a cloud of dust rising from the road—daddy is coming home.
Many people are like Joe. The gospel has been preached, and they have turned a deaf ear. The Bible is made available in every form possible and yet, they do not read it. A witness of His salvation has told them personally but they mock and laugh. They must face the consequences of their choice. The clouds are gathering—Jesus is coming.
My friend, do not be like Joe. This is your warning—Jesus is coming again. Do not turn away from the message of salvation. Do not spend your Sundays, leisurely, as you please. Come to Jesus as He pleads. Do not laugh or mock when family, friends, or even strangers tell you about the only begotten Son. Believe. He is coming again, and that day will not be a happy day if you do not heed the warning.
Jesus is coming in the clouds on that day. It will be a sad, sad day for many people when their loved ones are gone and they alone remain.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass,” Zechariah 9:9.
Jesus came exactly as planned and prophesied. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [Prince of Peace] come; . . . binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes” (Gen. 49:10, 11).
On the fourth day of the month of Nisan, the people of Israel were to bring the Passover lamb to their houses. On the fourth day of Nisan, Jesus, our Passover Lamb, entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey, coming in peace (shalom). On the fourteenth day of Nisan, the Passover Lamb was to be killed. Jesus was killed on the fourteenth day of Nisan, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7). That evening He was buried with the rich. “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (verse 9). Three days and three nights later, on the day of the Feast of First Fruits, He arose from the grave, the first fruits from the dead, never to die again. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10). Every prophetic prediction of Jesus’ sacrifice was fulfilled. If all the prophecies of His first coming that were made thousands of years ago and have come to pass, there’s no reason to doubt that the prophecies of his second coming will come to pass.
What a great inheritance! No matter what the world does, we have a more sure word of prophecy; the Day Star has arisen in our hearts.
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” Luke 2:29, 30
When Jesus was eight days old, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the Temple for the ceremony of circumcision, which officially placed Him under the Abrahamic Covenant, making Him a bona fide civil Jew. Also, He must be officially named and dedicated as the firstborn son. Simeon was justified and devout already, saved under the old Jewish Temple economy, but always by faith. He had believed that God was going to send a Savior. When he saw Jesus, God’s Spirit let him know that Jesus was the long awaited Savior who would be the glory of Israel and the Light to the Gentiles promised by Isaiah.
For all who look upon Jesus and trust His sacrifice on the cross as covering for their sins, God is pleased to give them His salvation as a gift, bought and paid for by His Son.
Just like Simeon, no human being is prepared to die in peace until he has seen, by faith, that Jesus is the Son of God, God’s Savior through sacrifice of His body, as the one and only Savior, who came to save men from eternal damnation in hell. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
God’s Christmas gift to the world grew up and completed God’s plan for our salvation.
He baptized over 3,000 converts
1802 – D.R. Murphy was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee. His father William, had served in the Revolutionary War and was a nephew of the famous “Murphy Boys” who were Baptist ministers during the struggles of the early Virginia Baptists. D.R. was a wicked young man but had a glorious salvation experience, and was immersed and united with the Mill Spring Baptist Church on Sept. 3, 1832. He began preaching immediately and was ordained in 1834, and then spent the next five years preaching in Tenn. He married Lucy Carter in 1822 and they had ten children, then hearing of the great spiritual needs of the west, he moved his growing family to Missouri in 1839, and began his itinerant ministry. He established a church in Enon, Missouri in April of 1840. In August in the same county he had enough converts to found the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. In July of 1841, he organized the Coon Creek Baptist Church in St. Clair County. In thirty-five years he started thirty churches. When you consider the scattered population his feats were amazing. Families lived in small log cabins with dirt floors, a side door with wooden chimneys, often ten miles apart. Amazingly he baptized over three-thousand believers. In the last seven years of his life Mrs. Murphy became very ill and after her death he remarried a widow, Mrs. L.A. Cedar who labored with him until his death on Aug. 28, 1875 at 73. Her testimony follows. “My husbands death was a most triumphant one. He suffered intensely for four months, and was patient and meek…The last song we sung was, ‘I am going home to die no more…” [R.S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri (Saint Louis: Scammell and Company, Publishers, 1882), p. 604. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 643-44.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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