We all have loved ones that we long to see converted and saved. What will save the sexually immoral homosexual, fornicator and adulterer? That which will forever change man from the power of darkness to light is to see Jesus as did the Apostle Paul. Seeing Jesus will cause the murderer, thief, thug, agnostic, atheist, pessimists, evolutionist, pro-abortionist, prejudice, drug user and alcoholic to repent and obey God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Seeing Jesus will transform the mind from corruption to righteousness (see Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 1:12-14). A mind opposed to Christ will only come to receive Christ by seeing him. Saul of Tarsus was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins because he saw Jesus (see Acts 22:16). Continue reading » Have You Seen Jesus?
Babylon goes down in Biblical history as the great harlot of lust, pride, and vain glory (see Revelation 17:5). A study of her rise to power, sin, and fall yields great lessons for the Christian of every generation. Continue reading » Babylon
Often times the appeal is made for men to attend the church of their choice. While we certainly appreciate the noble sentiment behind this appeal, we deny that such is in harmony with the Word of God. What does the Bible say about attending the church of your choice? Continue reading » Attend the Church of Your Choice
Even casual discussions with friends and loved ones who are outside of the churches of Christ can reveal a very strange mythology that has developed around them.
They are sometimes mischaracterized, maligned, and ostracized on the basis of misunderstood or poorly explained practices. Not all the criticisms, of course, are unfair or false, even if the scriptural basis for the differences among us goes unexplored. It is the mythology about churches of Christ that concerns us now, the kind of thing one hears about them from those operating according to ignorance or malice. Continue reading » Legends of the Churches of Christ
Curiously, the two letters, D. V. are often found at the end of letters written in Eighteenth Century and older correspondence of some very famous people, just after the post script of their hand written correspondence. The “D” and the “V” stand for two Latin words, “Deo Volente” which simply means “if God wills.” By this means, whatever was communicated in the letter, the author trusts, can only happen if God wills it to happen. If this expression is not used simply as a habit with no thought given to its obvious worth, this shows an obvious and faithful subjection to God’s will and the true desire of the one who has remembered to express this to the one being written. The real strength and good that comes from such a thing is that this shows the correct dependence upon God for not just our well-being but also our planned actions in this life. I would like for us to think for a few minutes about what God says about our need to trust and depend upon Him more. Continue reading » Always Trust And Depend Upon God
The denominational world is filled with the teaching and conviction that the Holy Spirit personally and literally dwells within the Christian. Many of these people do not propose to know how this indwelling takes place, nor do they seem to care how it takes place. They are just comforted by the presumed “fact” that it does happen.
This belief in a literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not limited to individuals in various denominations. Some of our own brethren believe in a personal, literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This view is held by some who are sincere and very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, but it is a view with which I do not agree. Continue reading » The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
In Ephesians 2:8-9, The apostle Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
We are saved through faith. That is a wonderful thing to know, and yet it remains that we must determine what Faith is, and further, what our faith will be in!
Fortunately for our soul’s sake, both questions are easy to answer. Faith is simply belief. If we believe something, we are said to have faith in it. So, the second question can be phrased in this way: "What is it that we believe in that brings us that salvation we seek?"
Continue reading » Video Script: The Power of the Gospel (7)
One of the only creed books I have in my library is J.M. Pendleton’s Baptist Church Manual. On page 47 of that little book, Pendleton states: “We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace.” Only one page later, he likewise affirms that justification is “solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood.”
So, we are told that we are saved “wholly” by the grace of God, then in the next breath that we are justified (a word that indicates the very same thing), “solely” through faith in Christ.
Even a small child can understand that salvation can’t be wholly of one thing and solely of another.
Continue reading » Video Script: Are We Saved by Faith Only? (6)
When pressed by unbelievers to defend the legitimacy of their faith, many Christians abandon the objective–and really the debate–by retreating into their feelings and practically admitting that there is no logical reason to believe in God.
To those who have not the same feelings, the opposite conclusion is proven. There must be no God–at least for me–since I don’t feel it. Mormon elder boys are often guilty of this. When pressed to defend their faith in Joe Smith, they abandon their artificial books and century old tradition to contend, “We just feel it deep in our hearts. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to make you feel it, too.” If that’s the best they–or we–can come up with, we are in trouble. We carry around a book with thousands of pages of evidence and dwell upon a planet covered in divine fingerprints, but all we can do to convince others there is a God is to say it’s just a feeling. What is faith–a hunch? An inclination? A sixth sense? A guess?
Continue reading » Faith Is More Than a Feeling
In 1 Corinthians 13, as the apostle Paul concluded his great treatise on love, he wrote “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Setting aside the final statement of the superiority of love, we note that each of the three “abide”, and wish to focus the attention of this article to the first of the three, faith.
What does it mean that faith “abides”? The term can be understood most simply within the context of the passage. Paul was here comparing the spiritual gifts, destined to cease with the coming of “that which is perfect” with love, which is enduring. While the need for and presence of spiritual gifts would one day be no more, such is not so for faith, hope and love. As long as the world endures, and men are upon it, these three things will continue.
Continue reading » Faith
The Old Testament tells us about a preacher (prophet) who lied to a younger man (1 Kings 13). The lie was told in all good conscience. It was told with the intent of helping the young man (1 Kings 13:11-19). The young man believed the lie, benefited in an earthly way, but ended up losing his life (1 Kings 13:20-28). Thus, we know that religious leaders will sometimes tell a lie with the best intentions. We also know that religious followers will sometimes believe a lie.
How could the young man have avoided being killed by the lion? He could have rejected the lie. How could he know the lie was a lie? If he had stopped to consider that he knew what God revealed to him and what the old prophet said was contrary to it — let God be true and every man a liar (cf. Romans 3:4).
Continue reading » Scripture Studies: Does Your Preacher Lie to You?
In a moment of oratory excellence, the apostle Paul wrote, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Christian Paul had an enormous record of history behind that statement; his faith, you see was not blind, but intelligently secured and practiced. The fact is, there are certain things that our omnipotent God absolutely cannot do. One of them is lie and another is fail (Hebrews 6:17-18). The Bible account bears these great truths out and inspires confidence on every page that the faithful will be preserved.
There was the time in the book of Exodus when he sent a single, ineloquent man before Pharaoh to plead for Israel’s release from Egyptian slavery. After nine episodes of ultimate rejection, God carried the cause in the Passover night and sent his people on toward Canaan.
Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Against All Odds
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
“And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).
These two verses show that men and women were created by God. Further, the relationship that resulted from the creation of the two genders is likewise instituted by God. Jesus said, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Continue reading » God in the Home
Christians have faith in God. Basically, we believe that God exists though we have not seen Him. Despite our inability to prove the existence of God by the use of our physical senses, we accept the affirmation of Scripture. We freely admit that this is faith, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
This does not mean that there is no evidence as to the existence of God. Indeed there is. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Romans 1:20). The argument of design is one that cannot be successfully refuted by those who deny God’s existence. If there is no designer, why does structure and organization abound in the physical universe? Why is it "cosmos" (ordered) rather than "chaos"? Design demands a designer.
Continue reading » Editorial: The Faith of the Atheist
“Give Satan An Inch”
On the sign in front of the Baker Rd. Baptist Church, Baytown, TX, the following maxim recently appeared: “Give Satan An Inch, And He’ll Be A Ruler.”
The expressed sentiment is true, for “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16)? However, the message on the sign is contrary to Baptist doctrine. Here is how.
First, Satan cannot become a “ruler” to the lost, to alien sinners, for he is already their ruler, their “father” (John 8:38, 41, 44). Hence, since he is already their ruler, it cannot be said to sinners that if they give Satan an inch he will be their ruler.
Second, since Baptists do not believe that a child of God can fall from grace, it cannot be said that Satan will be “a ruler” of the saved. If he were, the saved would be of Satan. As such, they would be lost, for “He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Continue reading » Short Gems from Larry’s Pen
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:1-8)
There is not, nor can there be successful refutation of the fact that the center of the religion known as Christianity is based on faith.
Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Faith – The Key to It All