Tag Archives: spiritual

PEOPLE’S POLITICAL PLATITUDES


PEOPLE’S POLITICAL PLATITUDES 

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Every four years, the country suffers the deluge of political platitudes in sufficient quantity to ensure voter weariness. But, it is expected, and among those who actually think, most of the grand promises are taken with a grain of salt. However, in this context, it is troubling to note an apparent lack of understanding about the history of the nation and its relationship to God. It is oft heard that “America needs to return to God!” or some similar statement of the same import, except in recent political rallies where He has been booed. Really?
Looking back, in the early days of this country, Baptists were imprisoned for nothing more than preaching Bible truth. They were taxed against their will to build church houses of Protestant denominations. To be sure, the Lord’s churches have enjoyed a tremendous degree of freedom here, and flourished therein, but most of those freedoms came about because God blessed the consistent, pressing efforts of His people. Moreover, this also was not without undesirable repercussions.
So, in the general context of religious life, America is noted as a “Christian” nation. However, the persistent rejection of foundational ethics of Judeo-Christian origin, moral, ethical, and religious standards have been in more of a nose dive than on a slippery slope.
The bottom line is that as a nation, America has never been in step with God. The platitude of “America needs to return to God” would better be stated, “America needs to turn to God.”
It is still true that Satan is the god of this world. His power is such that he offered the kingdoms of this world to Jesus if only He would worship him. Was the offer legit? Surely it was, and had to be in order for it to be a temptation.
But it is demonstrably true that God had and has much to do with this country, much more than the country has to do with Him! It is lamentable, but Bible students have read the last chapter of the Holy Book. The sinking of nations into the cesspools of sin is a precursor to the return of Jesus. Meanwhile, how nice it would be if leaders would learn that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people!” Prov. 14:34 Still, it is not recommended that anyone hold his breath until this happens. When the voting is done reality continues until the next four year period. Truly, those who know God should pray for our country.

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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “ABBA” 


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “ABBA”
In contrasting Old Testament and New Testament covenantal life, notice how Paul details it quite clearly in Romans Chapter Eight. The possibility of saved people walking after the flesh is real and warned against in strong terms. The warning begins in Verse One which restricts the “no condemnation” status to a spiritually correct walk. The possibility of that occurring is underscored in Verse Fifteen, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” What is the significance of “Abba?” Think with me for a moment!
“Abba” is a Hebrew term which translates as “Father” in English as indicated in the text. This is a new term for first century church members who were largely Jewish. They formerly called upon the Creator as “Lord God” and that always in fear as they learned their sinfulness in contrast to the total righteousness of God. They had a long history of learning the severity of the Law, and the punishment associated with breaking it. So, the term “Abba” or “Father” is new and peculiar to the New Covenant.
The spirit of the Old Covenant was one of bondage. The Spirit of the New Covenant is one of loving endearment, and an understanding of the Lord God of the Old Testament now as “Our Father.”
This reality is directly attributable to the Spirit of adoption so noted in the text. But to the English reader, “adoption” is a legal term which denotes admitting one to a family as a legal heir who is not such by birth. This is NOT what is meant by the text. The term “adoption” here is a translation of the Greek word “Huiothesia” which mean to place in the position of a mature son. That position of maturity in spiritual matters is intricately linked to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the pillar and ground of the truth, even the same body on which the Holy Spirit came to take up tutorial residence on Pentecost, Acts 2. Therefore, the term is not a term of relationship, but a term of position.
How blessed are modern, dedicated, members of New Testament Churches! Here, they are led to spiritual maturity by which they are enabled to make correct decisions and judgments as the bride of Christ in the absence of the bridegroom. We do not cower before Him as the stern Lord God, but humbly bow before our loving Heavenly “Abba!”

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 5


5. The Fundamentals of the Church

We do not hesitate to say that the doctrines taught by the churches of the New Testament days are identical with the doctrines taught today by true Baptist churches. These constitute their distinguishing marks by which Baptist identity has been known across the centuries back to our Lord’s day on earth.

Across the centuries Baptists have believed and taught all the fundamentals of the Scriptures, thus making the Bible the man of their counsel. In sum, these teachings include:

  1. Salvation by grace without any admixture of meritorious works (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; Titus 3:5).

  2. Congregational form of church government, as already discussed in this message.

  3. Immersion in water as the Scriptural mode of baptism (Acts 8:38, 39; Rom. 6:4).

  4. Christ as the sole head over His church (Mark 12:10; Eph. 1:21-23).

  5. The Bible as the sole written guide and standard of authority in religious affairs (2 Tim. 3:16,17; John 5:39).

  6. The right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15: John 5:39).

  7. Freedom of worship, of conscience and of speech. The early Christians avowed and taught religious liberty. Tertullian, a Christian writer of the second and third centuries said:

Every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is accuredly no part of religion to compel religion.”

Justin martyr, a Christian writer of the second century, said:

Religion cannot be imposed by force; the matter must be carried on by words rather than by blows.”

It is an honor to Baptists that, while they have endured persecution for truth’s sake, they have never persecuted others for their faith. Indeed religious freedom is a trophy of Baptists.

  1. Separation of church and state (Luke 20:21-25).

Baptists in every century have championed the cause of religious freedom. They have contended for separation of church and state, but not the separation of God and the state: that the one should not control the other, but both church and state should work harmoniously for the betterment of each. There can be no absolute freedom of religion where there exists a union of church and state. God is over all.

  1. Individual priesthood of all believers (Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 5:10; John 14:13).

Every believer has a right to approach God for himself. He is his own believer-priest, going to God through Christ alone for himself (I Tim.2:5). It is a sin to pray to any saint living or dead.

In addition to these nine points of fundamental tenets, Baptists believe and teach the doctrines of inherent depravity (Eph. 2:3); the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the word of God (Acts 16:14); the security of the believer (John 5:24); a restricted Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; I Cor. 11:17-20); the blood atonement of Christ (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9) as essentially related to His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23); our Lord’s resurrection from the grave (Matt. 28:1-6); His ascension back to heaven (Luke 24:51); His personal and visible and premillennial second coming (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:37-39); a bodily resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:51-53); and eternal hell for the incorrigible wicked (Luke 16:19-26); and an eternal bliss in heaven for the children of God (Rev. 21:1-14

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 4


4. The Form of Church Government

Baptists are backed by the Scriptures in their claim of a congregational or democratic form of church government, all the members having an equal voice in the administrations of the church’s affairs. This form of church government is proved by the following facts:

  1. A whole church voted in the election of an apostle to succeed Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26).
  2. 2. A whole church acted together in the election and ordination of the first deacons (Acts 6:2-6).
  3. A whole church acted together in sending forth missionaries (Acts 13:1, 2; 14:26, 27).
  4. A church as such is authorized to receive members (Romans 14:1).
  5. 5. A church as such is authorized to dismiss members for bad conduct (I Cor. 5:13; II Cor. 2:6; II Thess. 3:6).

The Corinthian church expelled from her membership an incestuous man by majority vote. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many” (II Cor. 2:6). The word “many” comes from an original word meaning “majority.” This shows beyond any reasonable doubt the church maintained a democratic form of government.

  1. The congregational form of government is supported by the fact a church is complete within itself and is independent. Other congregations are not necessary for the being of a church, but they may contribute to its well-being. In Acts 16:5 we note that members of a church went abroad and established like churches: “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
  2. The fact Christ recognizes a church as being the highest ecclesiastical tribunal on earth supports the congregational form of government, Matt. 18:17a, 18: “And if he shall neglect to hear them (the one or two witnesses) tell it unto the church…Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This authority was committed to a local congregation as a whole, thus showing that all the members should have a voice in any transaction

That is the Baptist system of church government – all members of a church being equals in a perfect democracy. They may not be equals in material possessions, or talents, or resourcefulness, but in authority under the Lord.

Other forms of church government, as taught by certain denominations, include the episcopal and presbyterial forms. By the episcopal is meant a church governed by bishops; and by presbyterial is meant a church is governed by presbyters or elders. These teachings arose after the close of the apostolic period, hence not taught in the Scriptures. They take away from the churches adopting such such systems their autonomous rights, whereas the congregational form of government necessarily implies three things: first, equality of the members touching their voice in the governing affairs of the congregation; second, independence of each church, as already mentioned; and third, each church is amenable only to the Lord in the conduct of its affairs.

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LABOR AND LIGHT


LABOR AND LIGHT

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
It is the Labor Day weekend. A foreigner might get the wrong impression from the way our phrases and titles are framed. It is not a special day to labor, but a day to rest from labor and reflect on the blessings of labor, and the God-given ability to do it. There are similarities between labor and light that come to mind. Think about it!
God’s people are to labor, in fact with much difficulty, to have and to walk in light, letting the light of their spiritual life shine in a darkened world. But we do not have a specific day set aside to just reflect on our Christian labor. Perhaps there is a reason for that. Perhaps it is because like resting from labor on Labor Day, we tend to cease from our Christian labor every day. Presently, the hourglass of time is fast running out of sand, and it is so important that spiritual labor be renewed. And just what might that be? Simply put, it is receiving light and walking in light. After all, “There’s a call comes ringing over the restless wave: send the light, send the light!” Jesus is light, and He is life. The repetitive biblical admonition to all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is to walk in light. It is there that we have fellowship with Him. It is there that our life reproves the darkness of sin and rebellion toward God. Moreover, we are not left to guess how such a walk is to be accomplished. David of old said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. John put it this way in I John 1:6-7: “If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
To walk (manner of lifestyle lived) necessitates action. Too many church members have made a profession of faith, but are doing little to nothing as a labor to advance in the light Jesus brought to men, and in which He continues to walk. How appropriate then it would be to not only be thankful for the ability to labor on this holiday, but to be thankful for the opportunity to labor spiritually; to walk in the light of truth as a workman who needs not to be ashamed, but who is able to rightly divide the word of truth.

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BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND


The following excerpt was copied from the “American Thinker Blog” for which I believe they clearly captured how many “Christians” and many “churches” view God’s Word today. They stated, “In America today there is a new fad called ‘Designer Christianity’. Cherry-picked Christian ideology has zero to do with God’s Word and everything to do with the moral relativism that now pervades modern philosophy. It is a pick-and-choose brand of religion where a person selects exactly what they want to believe, misinterprets and takes Scripture out of context, and then labels those who object to that sacrilege as mean-spirited, un-Jesus-like, and anti-Christian. It’s a mentality that says a personal interpretation of Scripture trumps the canon of God’s Word and anything can be justified because God is much bigger than small-minded, fundamentalist-style thinking. Rather than align with truth, designer Christians mistakenly believe that God is eager to conform to public opinion and expectations.

But should we really be surprised? For centuries, there have been individuals and churches that have cherry-picked and chosen pet verses from Scripture to justify their behavior. Yes, even churches have been just as guilty for taking God’s Word out of context – just to push their own agenda or new fad; which has nothing to do with Christianity. We see it in the music that is sung in the congregation, fables and life stories that are taught instead of Scripture, books that are pushed behind the pulpit, and doctrines / teachings that God’s Word never endorsed – let alone trying to force God’s Word to conform to public opinion and expectation. God stated that His Word is true and every man a liar.

Romans 3:4,

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

God’s Word also states that we [whether individuals or churches] are to be transformed – not conformed to this world; to be renewed in our mind.

Romans 12:2,

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

God’s Word harmonizes without error – and man has a responsibility to see the harmonization in the Scriptures; and then to believe it, accept it, embrace and live it. For, if an individual or a church chooses otherwise, they will fall back and be broken.

Isaiah 28:13 states,

But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”

The apostle Paul stated the following to Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:1-4,

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Paul also wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1-5,

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

You might choose to be a “Designer Christian” or “church”; however, it will be God who will ultimately judge you for your actions. He isn’t swayed by public opinion and expectations – [because] He is GOD.

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THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN


THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN
Parson to Person
Much ado fills media nowadays about how all of us ought to simply be forgiving and love one another for who, and whatever, each one is. After all, many proclaim, “we are all brothers in this banquet of life.”
It is not my chief joy to upset the applecart, but this simply is not true. It is the devil’s lie, and it is being bought in total by wholesale numbers not excluding many “churches.” The truth of the matter is that the brotherhood of man is real and true only “in Christ.,” and that phrase does not stop at the new birth experience, but is inclusive of submission to and activity in “the things of, the teachings of, the Anointed.”
Many today run to and fro, seeking to enlist the children of the world into the church by reducing the church to the world’s level and understanding; hence, no change is required, just a warm body being present. Has it been forgotten that the things of God are possessed by, and only through, the medium of faith, and understanding of, and submission to “the faith once delivered to the saints?”
People of the world, lost in sin, and happy to be that way have as much desire and appreciation for spiritual things as pigs have for a necklace of expensive pearls. When enlisted into the church through worldly efforts of material, social, or business perspectives, the church can only cease to be the Lord’s church. It’s candlestick removed, its blinded members and leadership exult in the great numbers and filled coffers of a religiously oriented social club. So, where is the brotherhood? It is hinged upon a philosophy of “I am O.K., you are O.K. because we love one another although diverse in understanding. Certainly, God must be happy with this arrangement, because we want Him to be.”
Let there be no misunderstanding. There is a very real brotherhood of man which some enjoy and others reject. That brotherhood exists only in Christ, and no one may solicit you into it. It is personal, and those who find it realize its treasure. Unfortunately, great numbers of people have been sought by less than biblical standards which serve to disintegrate the true brotherhood, even as water added to gravy dilutes and destroys it. The world demands the church to change to suit them, and the church runs after the world in ways that can only be described as spiritual whoredom, even as God described Israel through the prophet Ezekiel in Chapter Sixteen (it should be read).

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The Church That Jesus Built 3


3 The Foundation of the Church

Christ is the foundation and cornerstone of the church.

  1. He declares Himself as the Rock on which the church is founded. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The church was not founded on Peter, nor Peter’s confession, nor upon truth as such, but upon the immovable Rock of Ages. “Thou art Peter,” from the Greek petros, meaning a stone that can be moved, used in a metaphorical sense of Peter whom Satan threw around yet was he never crushed. The Greek word for rock on which the church was founded is petra, meaning a large and immovable rock.

The apostle Paul declares that Christ is the foundation, I Cor. 3:11 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” This should settle all cavil forever.

  1. Prophecy designates Christ as the foundation of the church, Isaiah 28:16: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The apostle Peter alludes to this prophecy in his message to the Jewish Christians scattered abroad, and also applies it to Christ (I Peter 2:6). Furthermore, Christ is not only the foundation of the church; He is also its cornerstone, thus tying all the building and its foundation together.

  2. The apostle Paul testifies that Christ is the foundation, Eph. 2:20: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” Christ was the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on which foundation the church was founded. He was their foundation, and He is the church’s foundation.

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 2


2. The Founder Of The Church

Christ as founder of His church is proved by the following facts:

  1. As the Shepherd Christ gathered unto himself a flock, which is said to be the church. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock…to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

  2. Christ declared He had a church, Matthew 16:18 “…upon this rock I will build my church.” While on earth He called His company of followers “MY CHURCH.” However, the clause “will build” does not point to His founding the church, but to strengthening it, or building it up in numbers, power and usefulness. In this sense He is still building His church, and will continue doing so until He shall come again.

  3. Christ testified that He had a kingdom while on earth, hence He was the founder of it, John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world,” that is, not of this world’s system to wage carnal warfare, levy taxes for support of a political government, etc. The point is: Christ established a kingdom in person while on earth. The churches are the executives of His kingdom. When the first church was founded, Christ’s kingdom came into existence on earth.

  4. In founding the church, Christ became its headstone, Matthew 21:42: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

  5. The material prepared by John the Baptist (Luke 1:16, 17, 77) was used by Christ in founding His church, as David prepared the material for the construction of the temple which was built by Solomon (I Chron. 22:5).

    Incidentally, since Christ used the ones whom John baptized in founding His church, this identifies His church with the baptism and teaching of John. If you were to go to a Mormon, for instance, and be baptized of him, would you not be known as a Mormon? Then, since the first disciples of Christ identified themselves with John the Baptist and were baptized by him, why were they not Baptists also? And being organized into a church by Christ, why was it not a Baptist church? The name “Baptist” came from God (Matt. 3:1). If John could wear it with honor, why cannot we? And as John was a missionary sent by God (John 1:6) and was divinely called Baptist, why was he not a missionary Baptist? That’s what we are?

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT


This sermon by D. N. Jackson will surprise some, challenge others and there will be those that will reject it out of hand without thought or study. An honest comparison of scripture will challenge those desiring the truth of God’s Word.

THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT

By D. N. Jackson

Presenting

The Founding

The Founder

The Foundation

The Form

The Fundamentals

The Future of the Church

The Six “F’s” of the Church

By D. N. Jackson

(Summary of a sermon preached Sunday evening, December 31, 1961, at Calvary Baptist Church, LaVerne, Calif.)

Tonight we are here by invitation to preach a sermon on the CHURCH. I am sure you appreciate the fact that in the short time customarily allotted to a sermon it will not be possible for me to elaborate on this subject. So we must be brief and pointed.

As a basis for our message, let us note the Master’s own words: “… upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

We shall deal with the six “F’s” of the church after this order: 1. The founding; 2. The Founder; 3. The Foundation; 4. The Form; 5. The Fundamentals; and 6. The Future.

1. The founding of the Church

Broadly speaking, the church was founded during the personal ministry of our Lord on earth.

TESTIMONY OF CHRIST: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Jesus testifies while on earth He finished the work which the Father sent Him to do. The establishment of the church being part of the work which He came to do, it stands to reason He established His church before His death.

TESTIMONY OF APOSTLE PAUL: “And God set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (I Cor. 12:28). These were gifts the Lord put in the New Testament churches. Mark explains when the gift of apostles was made: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:13,14).

That was done during the personal ministy of Christ on earth. As the apostles were ordained by Christ in person and placed in the church, it stands to reason there must have been a church in existence, for you cannot put something into nothing. Incidentally, the gifts of healings, miracles, tongues and apostles were done away at the close of the New Testament canon, and this took place when John wrote the book of Revelation.

But the point is; the church must have existed while Christ was on earth, else He could not have placed apostles in it.

Specifically speaking the church came into existence during our Lord’s first year’s of ministry and before John the Baptist was imprisoned. The first disciples to follow Christ were John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael (John 1:29-51). These were with Him at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1). His disciples were soon increased in number (John 2:23; 3:1-7). This company was authorized by their Lord to administer baptism (John 3:22; 4:1-2), and it was called the bride of Christ (John 3:29). This company , while tarrying at Jerusalem after Christ’s ascension and before the dawn of the day of Pentecost, selected as Judas’ successor one who had companied with them “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John” (Acts 1:21, 22).

To this company were added about three thousand converts on the first day of the Pentecostal feast (Acts 2:41). And the same company is called a church, Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” that is “such as were being saved.” This proves the church was founded even before John the Baptist was imprisoned and that it had been perpetuated from that day until the day of Pentecost. This church to which the three thousand were added was the company that began in John’s day, saw the ascension of Christ, and waited at Jerusalem for the coming of the events at Pentecost (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:14, 15).

Next Post – The Founder of the Church.

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