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Archive for the ‘Obedience’ Category

The Principle of Restoration in the Battle for Truth

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Introduction

This subject deals with attitude. Neither restoration nor maintenance of the church of Christ is possible apart from the proper and wholesome attitude toward Truth. Paul wrote of the crucial importance of one's attitude toward the Truth:

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 The. 2:10–12).

Notice that twice in this remarkable passage Paul emphasized the importance of proper attitude toward the Truth in the phrases, received not the love of the truth and believed not the truth. The sentence upon those possessing such blasphemous attitudes is manifold: (1) deception through unrighteousness, (2) belief of error (i.e., "strong delusion," "a lie"), (3) taking pleasure in unrighteousness, and, at last, (4) perishing, being lost, and damned.

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Judgment Day Surprises

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One of the recurring themes of the New Testament is that of the final accounting that all men must make before their Creator—The Day of Judgment. Jesus described it in some detail (Mat. 7:21–23; 25:31–46). The final New Testament book emphasizes The Judgment near its close (Rev. 20:11–15). Hardly a New Testament book fails to mention it. In spite of the emphasis on this theme, it will prove surprising in many ways:

  • It is real: All who deny the existence of the true and living God (i.e., atheists, humanists, pagans, et al.) will awaken—too late—to the fact that the Bible was true after all.
  • When it will occur: No one can know when Jesus will return in judgment (Mat. 24:36, 42). The time of its occurrence will be a surprise to everyone.
  • The purpose of it: It will not be a trial or a day of inquiry to determine guilt or innocence; the Lord will know who the saved and lost are beforehand (2 Tim. 2:19). It will be a day of sentencing—to eternal punishment or life (Mat. 25:46).
  • The standard of it: Judgment will not be according to Protestant or Catholic creed books, the religion of one’s parents, the decisions of church councils, or the words of the pope or Mohammed. God will judge all by the spiritual law under which they lived. Concerning all who have lived since Calvary, Jesus said, “The word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
  • The basis of it: We will not be judged based on our: (1) profession of faith: “Not everyone who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 7:21a), (2) good intentions: “When I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me” (Acts 24:25b), (3) sincerity: Saul of Tarsus was sincere in his belief that he must oppose Jesus (25:9), (4) zeal: Paul said his Jewish brethren had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2), or upon any other bases (e.g., promises, wealth, social standing, parentage, et al.). We will also not be judged comparatively with others.

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Love—A Fruit of the Spirit

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Introduction

Undiscerning and unscrupulous men have “wordnapped,” redefined, misused, and abused several rich and beautiful Biblical words. Among them are grace, faith, miracle, elect, and predestined. Love, which Paul names a “fruit of the Spirit,” is another of these words (Gal. 5:22).1 Unspiritual men have dragged this word through their secular and sensual gutters, effectively stripping it in the minds of the masses of its pure and altruistic meaning. If order of appearance in listing implies relative significance, we infer that love is the premier quality of all lovely character traits, for Paul placed love first in this list of spiritual fruit. One might also consider the implication that love, because of its principal position in the list, is in some sense the root and basis of all the other traits. The apostle Peter also emphasized the primacy of love, but he did so by making it the final and crowning grace of the eight “Christian graces” (2 Pet. 1:5–7).

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From Heaven or From Men?

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            In His immortal Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Mat. 7:21–23).

            This passage teaches a great and fundamental Truth: the vanity, presumptuousness, and danger of doing anything that Jehovah has not authorized. In His sweeping principle, the Lord embraced every item that one might list as an ingredient of faithfulness to God and His Son. If one has his heart set on doing "all in the name of the Lord" (Col. 3:17), he will be faithful in all things.

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Grapes of Thorns?

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In the process of warning about the grave dangers of listening to false prophets, Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Mat. 7:15–16). Jesus made a spiritual application of this general, axiomatic principle, which has been in effect from the creation: Each form of life reproduces after its own kind and only after its own kind (Gen. 1:11–12).

The apostle Paul stated it succinctly: “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7), again applying the principle to a spiritual issue. Just as briars do not produce grapes, nor thistles figs, monkeys do not come from snake “seeds,” and men do not come from monkey “seeds.” God placed the power of life in the seed of each kind and species.

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