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Tongues – by Dennis Corle

TONGUES

TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK

Study By Dennis A. Corle

“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world,

and none of them is without signification.

Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice,

I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian,

and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”

(1 Corinthians 14:10-11).

In chapter fourteen of 1 Corinthians, the term “tongues” appears fifteen times. We have been programmed and conditioned to assume that this term refers to ecstatic utterances such as those associated with the Charismatic confusion of today. This is a passage of Scripture that is so misunderstood and misused by today’s Charismatic movement. Tongues in the New Testament were never ecstatic utterances, nor were they always miraculous, as was true on the day of Pentecost. In most instances the term “tongues” is used in the same way that we use the term “languages”. This was a very relevant subject in New Testament times, and especially at this particular church to whom the letter was written.

Corinth was a major trade center which meant there was a constant flow of believers from other countries passing through. Many of these visitors did not speak or understand the native dialect of Corinth, yet they would be invited to speak or pray, even without an interpreter, without regard to the fact that no one was able to understand. This caused great confusion in the church services.

By the same token, some of the believers at Corinth were bilingual or multi-lingual, especially those who were well educated. “The gift of tongues”, or the ability to speak and understand multiple languages was considered (and is) a special gift. Those who had this ability were set up on a pedestal and admired as great spiritual leaders. Many people in our churches today are considered spiritual super-heroes because they are gifted in music or some other area, even though they may be very carnal and unspiritual people. These carnal church members took advantage of every opportunity to “demonstrate their gift” and speak in tongues even though it was sometimes unnecessary and chaotic to the services. The entire epistle of 1 Corinthians was a rebuke for carnality and sin, and this chapter dealt with their abuse of tongues and disorderly conduct in the church.

There are several other key words in this chapter that are important in understanding it. “Prophesying” is mentioned ten times. “Edify” is mentioned no less than seven times. This word indicates “to build up or strengthen.” “Understanding” is mentioned nine times. “Order” is mentioned once. It was these things that were lacking in the Corinthian church. I wonder why the Charismatics ignore all these other key words and emphasize only the word “tongues.”

Our text verses occur right in the midst of one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible that the Charismatics twist to justify their unscriptural practices. It clearly refers to people speaking in different languages who are unable to communicate and understand one another otherwise. “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” (v. 10-11). There are many different languages, and none of them without significant, understandable meaning. Paul said that if he did not know the meaning of what was said it did nothing to help him, even though it may be a very helpful and needed message.

1 Corinthians 14 breaks down into four basic sections:

Tongues and Public Preaching

Tongues and Public Prayer

Tongues and Prophecy

Tongues and Public Worship

*Note: This chapter has nothing to do with a private prayer language. Everything in the chapter deals with a public gathering.

TONGUES AND PUBLIC PREACHING

(1 Corinthians 14:1-13)

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” (v. 1). There are different kinds of spiritual gifts that the Lord may bestow upon people to be used to serve and glorify Him, and all of them are good, important, and desirable. But God has put a premium on preaching, and He sets it up from the others in importance. “…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

It is not by “tongues-speaking” that God has chosen to get the Gospel message to the world, but by the preaching of His word. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy was to “preach the word”, not to speak in tongues. Time after time we see in the scriptures that God has placed a premium on preaching. “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (v. 2). If a Chinese man praises God in the midst of English-speaking people who are not bilingual, the only one who understands him is God.

Verses 3-6 talk about the purpose of preaching. “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?”

Paul told them it would be good if they spoke with tongues, and it would be better if they “prophesied” or preached. The purpose in preaching is to “edify”, to build up or strengthen the church. If people do not understand what is said, it matters not how great or needed the truth may be, they leave in the same condition in which they came. The three main purposes of preaching are:

1) edification – to build up or strengthen,

2) exhortation – to instruct or train, and

3) comfort – to encourage or uplift.

None of these purposes can be accomplished if the message is given in a foreign language without an interpreter.

Not only is it important to speak in a language that is understood by the people, it is also vital to use simple, down-to-earth terms. “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air” (v. 7-9).

“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” (v. 10). Every language in the world is a distinct, significant language: German, French, Chinese, English, Latin, Greek, etc. Tongues in the Bible never referred to ecstatic utterances. Even on the day of Pentecost, when speaking in tongues was a miraculous event, people from all over the world heard the message of the Gospel in their own native tongue. This is speaking ONLY of literal, known languages. “Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me” (v. 11). If I am unable to understand the language spoken, there is no communication. When God confounded the languages at the tower of Babel, the result was confusion. (Genesis 11) The result of unlearned or unknown tongues being spoken in the church was confusion, as well.

The overall rule of church procedure is “Do All To Edify”. If what you are going to say or do is not going to build up and strengthen God’s people in the faith, then sit down and be quiet. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (v. 12). We are exhorted to EXCEL in everything that we do for the Lord, to be the very best that we can be, to give our all. “Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret” (v. 13). Let that person of another dialect pray that God will help him to communicate a Bible message to the people in their own language.

This is what took place at Pentecost. As the result of a ten day prayer meeting, the Spirit-filled Galileans spoke to people of 16 different languages, and God caused them to hear and understand in their native tongue. There were no ecstatic babblers there, and I might add, no interpreters, just Spirit-empowered soulwinners sharing the Gospel with those from foreign lands. Throughout this passage, no one is encouraged to speak in tongues, but rather the emphasis is on preaching the Gospel in a known language.

It is a shame that the passages of scripture the Charismatics refer to the most are the ones that they understand the least. The tongues in the Bible had nothing to do with what is going on in these assemblies today.

The carnal Corinthians sought to be recognized and exalted, so they “showed off” if they had special ability in the area of languages. There were people in the services who understood very little of the preaching and praying because of the disorderly, carnal confusion that reigned. After Paul dealt with Tongues and Public Preaching in verses 1-13, he proceeded to address the Corinthian church concerning Tongues and Public Praying.

TONGUES AND PUBLIC PRAYER

(1 Corinthians 14:14-20)

“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (v. 14-15). Paul knew several languages because of his extensive education and travels, but he said “Why should I pray in another language? My own spirit speaks to God, but the understanding of my prayer is unfruitful to those around me. They are unable to agree with me in prayer, or to be edified by my communication with the Lord. Therefore, I will pray in the language understood by the people so that my spirit can pray and their understanding can be fruitful as well.” In a preaching service, prayer ought to be understandable to the people, and in the Corinthian church foreign visitors were often asked to pray publicly in spite of that fact.

I had a dear friend from Ghana, Africa who roomed with me in college, and because of his difficulty with English he often prayed in his own language. Jonathan knew what he was praying, and the Lord knew what he was praying, but I was left out in the dark!

In verse 15 Paul said he would pray with the spirit AND with understanding. He would communicate with God in a language that was understandable to himself and those around him, too. The Charismatics would have us to believe that ecstatic babbling is a sign of the Holy Spirit, and if you haven’t received the gift you’re not saved. This passage is clear that it is not the lack of salvation or the lack of the Holy Spirit that is the hindrance from speaking with other tongues, but the lack of training. These are literal languages that are learned.

“Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified” (v. 16-17). Again the explanation is given as a lack of training. “He that occupieth the room of the unlearned” is someone whose limited education has not given him the opportunity to learn to communicate well in more than one language. Prayer should be understandable because Spirit-empowered prayer will edify those who hear.

A close friend of mine, Joe Hampton, is now in Heaven, but he used to have a prayer meeting at his house every Saturday morning. I have never prayed with Joe about anything that it didn’t strengthen me and draw me closer to the Lord. He loved the Lord with all of his heart, and when he prayed that spiritual fervor was communicated to those around him as well as to the Lord.

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). It is impossible to agree or “symphonize” in prayer when one is praying in a language that the others do not understand. Hence, a very important aspect of group prayer is cancelled when one prays in a foreign or “unknown” tongue.

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (v. 18-19). Paul was an intellectual person and knew many languages but he used only what was necessary to communicate the Gospel. This is well illustrated in Acts 21 and 22. In chapter 21 the soldier said, “Canst thou speak Greek?” In chapter 22 it says, “When they saw that he spake in the Hebrew tongue…” He said that he would rather speak five words in a known tongue than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. Perhaps these were the five words he had in mind: “Ye must be born again!”

It would be useless and vain for even the most oratorical preacher in America to get up and preach his greatest message in English to a church full of Spanish-speaking people. It would be equally foolish for a preacher to speak in English but to use words that his crowd does not understand. God does not give any kind of “gift” for people to glory in their flesh. Every gift from Him is to be used to minister to others and to bring glory to God.

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (v. 20). Spiritual understanding is something that we are to seek, rather than abilities or gifts to be demonstrated before the multitudes. God’s power is not a plaything for the immature, carnal church member, but a resource to be used for the glory of God and in communicating the Gospel to a lost world.

TONGUES AND PROPHECY

(1 Corinthians 14:21-22)

“In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe” (v. 21-22). God said that tongues were a sign to unbelieving Jews. Men from other nations who spoke other languages would prophesy or preach to the Jews about the Messiah the Jews awaited and the grace of God, but God told us in advance that the nation as a whole would still reject the message.

Isaiah 28:11-12 also prophesies of this. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” This text is not speaking of miraculous tongues or ecstatic languages but Gentiles giving testimony of salvation in their native tongue.

Two instances are recorded in Acts which signify the fulfillment of this prophecy. When Peter went to the house of Cornelius, the centurion of the Italian band, they believed on Christ and magnified God in their native language. These were Gentiles, and to the Jews this was a shocking new phenomenon – that God would save a Gentile. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the words… For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:44, 46). The key here is not the word “tongues” which means “languages” but it is the magnifying of God for salvation by the Gentiles.

In Acts 19:1-7 Paul met some men who had repented under the preaching of John the Baptist, but knew nothing of the Holy Spirit or doctrines of the New Testament church. “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:4-6). Again, these men were located in Ephesus, which was Gentile citizenry and they spoke a different tongue than the Jewish missionary team with Paul. The Jewish nation as a whole disregarded this prophecy and fulfillment just as God said they would.

After reasoning with them about Tongues and Public Preaching, and Tongues and Public Prayer, Paul moved on to teach the church at Corinth about Tongues and Public Worship.

TONGUES AND PUBLIC WORSHIP

(1 Corinthians 14:23-40)

Paul had already instructed the Corinthian church that they were not to use multiple languages in the church unless there was an interpreter present to repeat the message in a tongue that was understandable to everyone present. He is giving an explanation for this instruction in verse 23. “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

There is a tongue-speaking church on the corner of the street where I grew up. When I was a kid I would ride my bike down there and sit out on the sidewalk in the summer when they left the windows and doors open. I thought they were all crazy, and whenever one of them would invite me to come inside I would take off as fast as I could pedal my bike. They scared me to death!

How does the Charis-mania Confusion affect lost people in their attitude toward the Gospel? A good friend of mine, Evangelist Stewart Payne, was exposed to the Tongues Movement shortly before he was saved. Here is his reaction:

“I knew I was going to hell, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I was searching and I felt the answer would be in the Bible, but I wouldn’t read it. I was raised in the Lutheran church and in the United Church of Canada, so the Bible was virtually a closed book to me. In my search, never one time did someone witness to me or hand me a gospel tract.

During this time a lady whom I had dated found out that I was thinking of spiritual things, and she suddenly became very religious. She invited me to a Kenneth Copeland meeting. Nothing that was said or done in that service did anything to bring conviction to me or make plain the way of salvation. It was all flesh and emotion and foolishness.

Later she invited me to a Full Gospel Business Men’s Association meeting where Demas Shakarian was speaking. Before the meeting even started, I heard a voice off to one side of the crowd saying something over and over, as well as louder and louder, but I was unable to distinguish any understandable words. I thought it must be someone who had escaped the mental hospital or who needed to go to one. I was wondering if I ought to go help the man out of the service when silence came and the man on the platform issued a short prayer. I learned later that this had been my first encounter with the devil’s “tongues movement” and so-called interpretation.

I don’t recall any Bible being quoted or used during the service. Shakarian said he went to the hospital to visit someone and God was in it, because the patient was so happy to see him and then he wept for 10 minutes. (When I was a lost man in the hospital with a broken leg ANYBODY could have come to see me day or night, and I would have been glad to see them!)

Then he reminisced about a time when he was in need of money. He opened his mail and there was a check for $10, and then he wept for a while longer. I wasn’t a church goer, and I knew that I sometimes received money in the mail. When I did attend a dead church service I could make more sense out of what was being said than all this emotional hype.

The next thing I knew, all the men were getting out of their seats and going to the front. There was no clear invitation or Bible message, no Holy Spirit conviction. I’d had enough of this foolishness, so I just remained in my seat. But when I looked around I was surrounded with women, and it was very evident that I was out of place. So I rose to my feet and followed the men to the front. While I was up there in that line, I experienced the scariest time I had faced in my entire life. I already knew I was on my way to hell, and I didn’t know what to do about it. In this huge line of men they were talking, chanting, pulling, even frothing at the mouths. I couldn’t think; it seemed to be coming at me from every direction. The closest thing I had ever known to this was the heathen discos where the strobe lights are flashing and the music is loud and it seems to be just a mass of bodies and noise and flashing lights.

While I was in this line, I began to feel angry at God for getting me into this mess, and when I realized what I was thinking a great fear swept over me. I wondered if, perhaps, this kind of carrying on really could be of God. I broke into a sweat and silently prayed, “God, if You’ll get me through this night, tomorrow I’ll go to my friend at work and see if this is really from You.” I knew that he would show me the Bible, and I was sure I could trust the Bible. After I’d settled this in my heart, a peace came over me and I was able to watch and listen until the whole mess of confusion was over. The next day I did ask him, and he showed me enough from the Bible to satisfy me that this kind of thing was unscriptural. But still he never showed me how to get saved.

This same lady whom I had met at the dance, who drank and partied, got me to go to one more meeting with her. It was a regular service in a Charismatic church. The service had hardly begun, and they started their wild music. I was accustomed to the beat, since the disco had been a big part of my life. They were chanting and running down the aisles. Again, no Bible, no message, just confusion and madness. I determined that this was my last time to have any connection with churches of this sort. I had been to 3 different services. I had been scared to death. I had been disgusted with the emotional outbursts, the wild mass of confusion and noise, and the senseless gibberish. And the one thing I had come for I never received. No one ever gave me a clear message of how to be saved.”

As before stated, this passage in 1 Corinthians is not speaking of ecstatic utterances as Charismatics today insist. They were known languages spoken by travelers and well-educated believers in this busy seaport. The result, however, would be the same among the uneducated if they were to come into a church service where people were standing up preaching or praying in many languages with which they were unfamiliar. They would feel out of place, leave without any spiritual help whatsoever, and probably think that everybody in the place had gone crazy. Paul explained this as support for his teaching that the services of the church should be conducted in the tongue of the common people – only.

“But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” (verses 24-25). On the contrary, if the same person were to come in and hear the truth of the scripture in a language he could understand, it would bring conviction upon his heart and help him. For all to prophesy does not necessarily mean that each person gets up to speak publicly. They may prophesy by saying “AMEN” to the preaching. This will bring conviction to the unbeliever as he realizes that the preacher is not the only one who believes what he is preaching. The more “amens” he hears, the more conviction it brings, and the more credible the message is to him.

“How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” (verse 26). If everyone insists on being before the people in every service, all having something to do publicly, it results in chaos. It also points out the fact that some people must be “doing their thing” for show and self-exaltation rather than for the edification of others.

“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God” (verses 27-28). Paul left instruction for the exception when it might be necessary for someone to speak in the service who is unskilled in the language of the people. He said there should not be more than two, and at the very most three in a service. They must speak one at a time, with an interpreter to relay the message to the congregation. If there is no one present who is capable of interpreting in that language, the messenger must remain silent, no matter how needed he may consider his message to be.

For example, if a person who speaks only Portuguese comes to a service, he can understand himself and God can understand him, but no one else can. So he is instructed to “speak to himself and to God”. He is not to speak publicly unless an interpreter can make the message understandable to the assembly.

Paul also gave guidelines for the number of preachers to deliver a message in a service. “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (v. 29). Let the preachers do the speaking, not the whole congregation. Even the preachers should limit themselves to two or three speaking per service. The statement “let the others judge”, does not indicate they are to critique, but to come to a conclusion or verdict as would a judge in a courtroom from the evidence and testimony presented to him.

“If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted” (verses 30-31). All the preachers may preach one by one, (but only two or three per service) and the result of their preaching will be that all learn and are comforted.

“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (verses 32-33). This does away with the popular excuse for misconduct in the church – “I just couldn’t help myself. The Spirit took control.” The Bible says clearly that the spirits of the preachers are under the control of the preachers, so they can’t blame their unscriptural practices on the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is not a seducing Spirit. He does not seize control, but accepts what we yield. When the Holy Spirit is in control of my life, He will bear His fruit in my life; one of which is “temperance”, or self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) If a spirit does “take over” then it is not the Holy Spirit. That does away with “getting slain in the spirit”, and about 99% of the testimonies of ecstatic tongues. “This warm feeling came over me and I had no control.” If the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it, I wonder what kind of a spirit is in control? This is not of God.

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (verses 34-35). Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for all sorts of unscriptural practices in the church, and one was female dominance in church services and church government.

God NEVER calls a woman to pastor a church or to assume authority over the men in any way. As only Joe Boyd could say it, “God never called a rooster to lay an egg, and He never called a hen to crow.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). For a movement that claims to have a special handle on this passage of scripture, the Charismatics have certainly missed the high points of 1 Corinthians 14! The Charismatic movement has scores of women preachers who don’t seem to notice that they are in direct opposition to the Word of God.

Women are commanded not to teach the congregation when men are present, and since 1 Corinthians 14 is dealing specifically with the Tongues issue, it is plain that where scriptural tongues are needed (the use of other languages with the help of a qualified interpreter), “it is not permitted unto them to speak”. Even if they were not so terribly mistaken about what Tongues are in the Bible, they would still be guilty of error because a very high percentage of tongue-speaking episodes are experienced by the women rather than the men. This is not Biblical, and therefore the Holy Spirit could not possibly have anything to do with it.

“What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (verse 36). Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you people think that you have a corner on the Word of God?” I have met hundreds of Charismatics at the door while soulwinning, and they all seem to be sure that if you aren’t what they are, you aren’t anything. They are convinced that they understand the Bible and no one else does. “Does your church have the Holy Ghost?” they always ask. Yes… we are seeking to follow the leadership of the real One!

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (verse 37). Paul is reminding and reaffirming that he has, as an apostle, the God-ordained authority to rebuke the church and set matters straight as he does throughout this entire epistle. He rests his case as having settled the tongues issue scripturally.

“Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (verses 39-40). Paul’s final exhortation is to “covet to prophesy”, since God has placed His premium on preaching. He said not to forbid speaking in foreign languages, provided that it is needed and practiced in accordance with the rules laid out in verses 18, 19, 27, and 28.

The key to the entire chapter is the closing verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” The word “decently” means “gracefully, becomingly, in a seemly manner”. The word “order” means “an arrangement, to draw up an order, due order which is in direct contrast to confusion”.

A missionary from another land was in the United States on deputation, and visited a church whose members had been swept up in the modern tongues craze. While the people thought that they were glorifying God by their practices, he clearly understood at least one of them cursing God profusely in a language that he had learned on the mission field.

To surrender one’s self to a seducing spirit that masquerades as the very Spirit of God and yet is clearly in defiance to the truth of scripture is at best unwise and most likely much more dangerous than we could begin to understand.

Tongues – To Speak Or Not To Speak? For anyone that is honest and allows the Bible to decide for him, the answer is clear. Today’s ecstatic tongues-speaking movement has nothing in common with the scripturally directed use of foreign languages in the church. May God’s Word be made plain to expose the falsehood being propagated in the name of Christ in our day.

Used With Permission

From the book:

How To Explain The Modern Day Tongues Phenomena

By Dennis A. Corle.

Copyright 1992. Used with author’s permission.

Dennis Corle Evangelistic Association

This book can be ordered from:

Revival Fires!

RD #1, Box 940

Claysburg, PA 16625

(814) 239-2813.

Cost for this book is $4.00(Am.) plus postage and handling.

A Christian’s Purpose

A REVIVAL IN SOUL WINNING

By Dr. Len G. Broughton
(Long Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth souls is wise.
Prov. 11:30

 

Soul winning is the work of the church. Jesus Himself said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The aim and object of every church authorized of God is the salvation of the lost; and if we are not accomplishing this, we have no right to claim to be, in any sense, performing our duty as the church of God.

Some time ago in an association I heard a church letter read something like this:

Members received, none. Dismissed, none. Died, none. Married, none. Given to missions during the year, nothing. Paid pastor, nothing. Brethren, pray for us that during the next year we may hold our own.

Can anybody dare say that such a church is the church of God? It makes no difference what its name may be the church of Christ should be constantly leading souls from darkness into light. It is a band of believers, not keeping house for Christ, but multiplying in Christ.

The question now is: How can a church or an individual, powerless to win souls, be revived and set on fire with the soul-winning spirit?

This is a big question and one we cannot begin to answer in short space; yet there are some fundamental principles which we may lay down and which, if studied carefully, may bring forth much fruit along this line.


A CLEAN HEART

A clean heart is necessary.

David says in Psalm 66:18, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me – not that He cannot hear.

Many Christians have been praying for soul-winning power and all the time remaining powerless, wondering what was the matter, when God simply had His ears closed against their cries because of their unclean hearts. Sin harbored – just holding it fast and unwilling to surrender it-how contemptible in the sight of God!

My friends, this is the secret of failure in many of our efforts to lead souls to Christ in our churches.

Look at Israel. They had just won a great victory at the fall of Jericho. God had told them not to take any of the treasures of Jericho; and so far as they knew, this command had not been violated.

Shortly after this victory God sent Joshua and his men up to capture Ai. They had no anticipation of anything but victory. But to their astonishment they were totally defeated, and Joshua, returning, fell down and began complaining.

Then God came to him, saying, "Israel hath sinned."

Joshua was ignorant of it, but God was not.

Finally Achan confessed his sin, that he had disobeyed the commands of God not to take spoils of Jericho. Now the host of God is ready for service. Another attempt to conquer Ai, and victory is upon their banners!

Brother, would you be a soul winner? Look deep down in your heart. Are you clinging to sin, one sin, a little sin, even the smallest sin? Are you unwilling to surrender it? Then cease your praying, for the Almighty ear will not hear you.

Would the church have soul-winning power, such power as God Himself is willing to give? Then let the church cleanse its membership and its methods. Is she clinging to unworthy men and women, afraid, perhaps, for social or financial reasons, to deal with them fearlessly in the sight of God? Or is she clinging to methods or forms or ceremonies that are not strictly in keeping with the will of God? Is she unwilling to listen to the voice of God and the Holy Spirit? If so, she need not expect to get the ear of God, and without the ear of God, power for soul winning is impossible.

Oh, that the church would heed at this point! Souls are perishing, and we are starving, yet God is ready to grant us the blessing.


THE JOY OF SALVATION

If we would be soul winners, there must be a joy in our hearts.


David, in Psalm 51:12,13, prays, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

He was not praying for salvation then-he had that; he was praying for the joy of salvation. It is no use talking to other people about religion unless we ourselves are rejoicing in Christ. The happy, cheerful face of the child of God impresses the world with its need of a Saviour. Graveyard religion has no place in service.

Hear me, my friends. Christ Jesus never came into the world to bring any such religion. His is a religion of joy and happiness and peace. God help the church to realize this great truth, that it may lay aside its graveclothes and put on the garments of life.


SINNERS ARE LOST


The church or individual, to have power in soul winning, must have a realization of the fact that sinners are lost.

In John 3:18 Christ says, He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed – not going to be lost then, but lost now. We all seem to have a kind of knowledge concerning this sad fact, but knowledge is not sufficient. There must be a keen realization on our part of the fact.

Some years ago I received, very unexpectedly, a telegram that my mother was dead. I shall never forget how it struck me. I knew it must be true because Father had said it, yet somehow I could not realize it. All the way home I felt there must be some mistake about it.

Upon arriving, I began to realize more and more what had happened. I entered the room of our house and met the loved ones who were weeping and sobbing. Then I entered the parlor where the coffin was. I took my stand by it and looked down through the glass lid upon her dead face.

Those lips that only awhile ago had kissed mine good-bye, were now white and cold. Those arms and hands that had only a short time ago encircled me, were now folded across her breast, as white and cold as marble. Those beautiful deep-blue eyes that had always sparkled with such joy and sweetness, were closed against me.

As I stood there and looked for a moment, it all came to me: "Yes, Mother is dead!"

Oh, my friends, what the church needs today is to be so filled with the Spirit of the Master that its great heart will see with Him that the soul out of Christ is dead.

May God grant that we may get a glimpse of all the lost souls away from Jesus; that we may be willing to sacrifice anything to rescue them and bring them to Him.


BRING THEM TO CHRIST

We have the power to bring sinners to Jesus.


James 5:20 says, Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. What a great honor and privilege conferred upon us!

During the World’s Fair thousands and thousands of people every day would crowd around that magnificent diamond of Tiffany’s. It was the one great attraction, at least to the ladies. But oh, my friend, think of it. One soul rescued from sin is worth more than all the diamonds of the earth! We will see this in eternity, when we wake up and see what we are saved from and what we are saved to. When we see some soul that we have rescued and brought to Christ, when that soul is rejoicing with us in the presence of God in Glory, then we shall know, as here we have never known, the value of an immortal soul.

Oh, let us be stimulated to the work of soul winning! Do it any way you can. Write a letter and pray the Holy Spirit to accompany it. I have known many souls saved as a result of such work. Pay a visit. Distribute tracts. Speak a word. Go and have prayer. Do not wait for people to come to church: go after them, and in every way possible try to impress lost souls with your interest and zeal in rescuing them from sin and bringing them to Jesus.

People often ask me to give them a rule for soul winning. I always say, "Make your own rules, after prayer and Bible study; then you will find that you will make them only to break them."


AN AWFUL RESPONSIBILITY

God holds us responsible if we fail to try.


When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:18-199

Oh, what an awful responsibility this is!

Dear Christian friends, have we been faithful? Have we done our part? Can we put our hand upon our heart today with these words ringing in our ears, look God in the face and not tremble?

Suppose it costs us sacrifice to do the work.

Think of the blessing upon us and upon those whom we may lead to salvation.

A farmer in North Carolina once drove with two high-mottled horses into town. Stopping in front of one of the stores, he was about to enter when his horses took fright. He sprang in front of them and heroically seized the reins.

Maddened by strange noises, the horses dashed down the street, the man still clinging to the bridles. On they rushed, until the horses, wild with frenzy, rose on their haunches and leaping upon the man, all came with a crash to the earth.

When people came and rescued the bleeding body of the man and found him in death’s last agony, a friend, bending tenderly over him, asked, "Why did you sacrifice your life for horses and wagon?"

He gasped with his breath, as his spirit departed, "Go and look in the wagon." They turned, and there, asleep in the straw, lay his little boy.

As they laid the mangled form of the hero in his grave, no one said, "The sacrifice is too great."

Some years ago in the Northwestern University near Chicago, a rescue crew was organized. Their purpose was the rescue of the drowning on the lake.

One day the news came that a magnificent vessel was wrecked just off shore. The young men hurried at once to the scene of the disaster and plunged into the angry waters to rescue those who were going down.

Soon all returned but one. Finally he came in bringing one man with him. Immediately he returned and soon brought another, then another, and so on until he had rescued ten.

During this time his mates had built a fire and were warming themselves, all the time trying to persuade the young hero against his conviction of duty. By the time he had brought the tenth man, he was completely exhausted and had to rest for awhile. Regaining sufficient strength, he again plunged into the water and brought another man. Now he was completely overcome.

It was a sad scene around his bed that night. While friends stood around weeping and his fellow students were regretting that they had not forced him to do as they had, he called one of them to his bedside and said in a low, subdued tone, just before he died: "Did I do my best?"

Instantly his friend said, "Yes, I should think you did do your best. You saved eleven, but you have lost your life."

"But," said he, "did I do my best, my dead level best?"

"Yes, you did your dead level best."

Then a smile seemed to come over his face as if to say, "Then I am satisfied to die." During the night he died from exposure.

O my friends, this will be something of our experience when we are in the presence of God in eternity: "Did I do my best, my dead level best?"

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:18-19

Scriptural Tests for Modern Dilemmas


Scriptural Tests for Modern Dilemmas

How Can I Decide What is Right?

Original Author Unknown
Edited and preached by Pastor Claude Madle
People’s Baptist Church,
Kelowna, BC, Canada
June 2003

 

1. The Definite Command Test.

a. Is there a command or principle of Scripture that clearly and definitively addresses the issue in question? If so, the issue is settled once and for all.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48 

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  Romans 15:4 

b. Where there is no direct reference to the issue in question, the issue should be put under the scrutiny of the following tests listed below.

 

2. The Glory of God Test.

  1. Can I do it to the glory of God?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23 

    b.  Can I do it in the name of Christ with His approval?

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17 

 

3. The Love Test.

    a. Does genuine concern for others predominate over rationalization – (intellectual justification)?

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 1 Corinthians 8:1 

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:8 

    b. Will love for others prevail over my own personal desires?

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16 

 

4. The Testimony Test.

    a. Can it easily be construed to be evil or wrong?

Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.  Proverbs 22:1 

    b. Will it cast a negative shadow on the good I am doing?

Romans 14:16  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

 

5. The Identify Test.

    a. Will it reflect adversely on my identity as a child of God?

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29 

    b. Is it identified in the minds of others with that which is evil or wrong? Does it communicate a wrong message about me?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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. Romans 12:1-2

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8:29 

How about my music? What does it sound like at a distance? (ie. When you can’t understand the words.)

 

6. The Clear Conscience Test.

    a. Is it doubtful?

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23   

    b. Can I do it without reservation of conscience?

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16

 

7. The Total Commitment Test.

    a. Is love for God the ultimate basis of determination of every issue?

But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 1 Corinthians 8:3 

    b. Is God’s approval more important than anything else to me? (Am I selling out?)

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21  

 

8. The “Temple” Test.

    a. Does it result in harm to my physical body? (examples: drugs, alcohol, junk food, medical drugs, not getting enough sleep, etc.)

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 

    b. Does it give due reverence to this “dwelling place” of the Holy Spirit?

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 

 

9. The Stumbling Test.

    a. Will it offend the conscience of a sincere Christian brother?

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13  

    b. Will it cause someone, whether saved or unsaved, to stumble?

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.  If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:25-33

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 

Concern for the other guy. Does my example help others walk to or away from Jesus?

 

10. The Edifying Test.
 

    a. Does it contribute positively to my own spiritual upbuilding and strength?

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23 

    b. Does it contribute positively to the upbuilding and strengthening of others?

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Romans 15:2

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 

 

11. The “Others First” Test.

    a. Is it pleasing (helpful, inoffensive, acceptable) to others?

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. Romans 15:1-3 

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:3-5 

    b. Does it consider the feelings of others first?

Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. 1 Corinthians 10:24 

Example: Sunday is viewed as a “Holy Day” to the lost. What do I do on that day?

 

12. The Enslavement Test.

    a. Is it addictive? It can be a good thing, but am I addicted to it? (Food, entertainment, internet, computer…..What or Who really has first place in my heart?)

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12 

    b. Will it bring me into bondage?

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19 

 

13. The Heart Motive Test.

    a. Does it come out of a pure (unmixed) heart?

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:18-20   

    b. Does it come out of pure motives?

 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15 

 

14. The Fruit Test.

    a. What is the product of the proposed course of conduct?

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23 

The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. Proverbs 10:16 

    b. Am I willing to put aside the immediate for the sake of the permanent?

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26 

 

15. The Defrauding Test.

    a. Am I taking for my own pleasure that which really belongs to another?

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 

    b. Am I taking for my own pleasure at the personal expense of another – his or her purity, sanctity, testimony, or life?

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 

 

16. The “Garbage In” Test?

    a. Am I willingly participating in my own temptation or in the corrupting of my own mind?

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. Psalms 101:2-3

Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Psalms 119:137 

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

    b. Am I protecting my own heart and mind in a responsible manner?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28 

I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? Job 31:1 

 

17. The Intrinsic Value Test.

    a. Is it good, worthy, of significance or of permanent value?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10 

    b. Is it a waste of time and effort in the light of real needs and eternal valued?

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 

 

18. The Wisdom Test.

    a. What is the wisest thing to do in light of God’s will and considering the future vs. the present?

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:5-7 

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16 

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. Proverbs 19:8 

    b. What is the counsel from wise, godly people over me?

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Proverbs 8:33 

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15 

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20 

 

If there’s any doubt, lean to the conservative side!

 

That which cools down or hinders my zeal for God is sin!

50 Reasons a Saved Person Can Never Be Lost

Fifty Reasons Why A Saved Person

Can NEVER Be Lost.

By: Timothy S. Morton

(Used With Permission)

1. ETERNAL LIFE IS ETERNAL! John 3:15; 10:28; Romans 6:23; 1 John 2:25; 5:11; 5:13; etc.; By definition eternal means never ending. Once a believer has eternal life it can never be taken away. If it could be it would not be eternal!

2. EVERLASTING LIFE IS EVERLASTING! Daniel 12:2; John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40; 6:47; Romans 6:22; etc.; Likewise, everlasting life can never end. It is everlasting regardless of the believer’s behavior.

3. IT IS GOD’S WILL! John 6:39; It is God’s will that Christ lose none of those who come to Him.

4. HEAVEN IS RESERVED FOR HIM! 1 Peter 1:4; An inheritance in Heaven is reserved for the believer.

5. SALVATION (INHERITANCE) IS INCORRUPTIBLE! 1 Peter 1:4; No one can corrupt something God has made incorruptible.

6. SALVATION (INHERITANCE) CANNOT BE DEFILED! 1 Peter 1:4; No one can defile something which God says cannot be defiled.

7. HE IS SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT! Ephesians 1:13; No power in Heaven or earth can break God’s seal.

8. HE IS SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION! Ephesians 4:30; The believer is sealed until the day God redeems his body.

9. HOLY SPIRIT WILL ABIDE FOREVER! John 14:16-17; The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is permanent.

10. HE IS PRESERVED FOREVER! Psalm 37:28; God preserves the saint forever.

11. HE IS BORN OF GOD! John 1:12-13; The believer actually becomes God’s child and cannot be “unborn.”

12. HE IS A NEW CREATURE! 2 Corinthians 5:17; God has made the believer a new creature and no one can “uncreate” him.

13. HE IS CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS! Ephesians 2:10; The saint was created in his Saviour.

14. HE IS PRESERVED UNTO THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM! 2 Timothy 4:18; The believer is preserved like Paul since God is no respecter of persons.

15. HE IS KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD! 1 Peter 1:5; Since God is keeping him, the believer cannot fall from salvation.

16. CHRIST HAS PRAYED FOR HIM! John 17:11; Jesus prayed that God would keep all who He had given Him.

17. WORKS CANNOT AFFECT HIS SALVATION! Romans 11:6; Salvation is not gained by works, so it cannot be lost by works.

18. HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS! Romans 4:5; It is faith which brings salvation to a believer.

19. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE HIM FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST! Romans 8:38-39; Nothing material, immaterial, past, present, or future can separate a believer from Christ’s love.

20. SALVATION IS OF THE LORD! Jonah 2:9; Salvation is all God’s work. He bought it and provided it.

21. GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP HIM! 2 Timothy 1:12; The believer’s salvation rests on God’s omnipotent ability to keep him.

22. HE IS PROMISED NOT TO COME INTO CONDEMNATION! John 5:24; This promise would be broken if even one believer fell into eternal condemnation.

23. HE IS PROMISED TO NEVER PERISH! John 10:27-28; Every saint has an unconditional promise to never perish.

24. HE WILL NEVER BE CAST OUT! John 6:37; Under no condition will any believer be cast out from Christ or Heaven.

25. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO HIM! Romans 8:28; It would not be good for one to lose his salvation.

26. HE IS IN CHRIST’S HAND! John 10:28; The believer is in his Saviours hand.

27. HE IS IN THE FATHER’S HAND! John 10:29-30; The saint is in his heavenly Father’s hand.

28. HE IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE, A SHEEP! John 10:27-28; A sheep represents a saved person and cannot change from being one.

29. GOD’S MERCY NEVER ENDS! Titus 3:5; The believer is saved by God’s mercy and it endures forever (Psalm 136).

30. GOD CANNOT LIE! Titus 1:2; Once God has saved a believer, He cannot go back on His word.

31. HIS SINS ARE GONE FOREVER! Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19; Isaiah 38:17; 44:22; Hebrews 10:17; The saints sins are gone.

32. HE SHALL BE LIKE CHRIST! 1 John 3:2; It is a certainty that the believer will be like Christ.

33. GOD SEES HIM AS ALREADY GLORIFIED! Romans 8:30; The saint is as good as glorified in God’s sight.

34. HE IS BORN OF INCORRUPTIBLE SEED! 1 Peter 1:23; The Christian’s new birth was from incorruptible seed.

35. HE WILL APPEAR WITH CHRIST IN GLORY! Colossians 3:4; The saint is promised to appear with Christ when He returns.

36. HE IS HIDDEN IN CHRIST! Colossians 3:3; The believer is dead to the world and alive in Christ.

37. HE IS DEAD TO AND FREED FROM SIN! Romans 6:2-7; Sin can no longer affect the saint’s destiny. He is freed from it.

38. THE LORD IS NOW PRAYING FOR HIM! Hebrews 7:25; The Lord is presently interceding in the believer’s behalf.

39. GOD WILL FINISH WHAT HE STARTED! Philippians 1:6; God began the work of salvation and will finish it.

40. HE HAS ETERNAL REDEMPTION! Hebrews 9:12; Every believer has been eternally redeemed from his sins.

41. HIS LIFE IS CHRIST’S LIFE! Colossians 3:4; The saints life is Christ’s very own life, so how could it be lost?

42. HE HAS AN EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH GOD! Hebrews 13:20; God made a covenant to give the saint everlasting life.

43. HE IS KEPT FROM FALLING BY CHRIST! Jude 24; A Christian cannot fall from grace because Christ is keeping him.

44. SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT! Romans 6:23; A free gift is given with no conditions.

45. HE HAS IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS! Romans 4:6-7; The righteousness the saint has is Christ’s perfect righteousness.

46. HE IS A PART OF CHRIST! Ephesians 5:30; Every believer is a part of Christ’s body. “Bone of His bone….”

47. CHRIST IS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF HIS SALVATION! Hebrews 12:2; Christ began and will finish his salvation.

48. HE HAS BEEN PREDESTINATED TO BE CONFORMED TO CHRIST’S IMAGE! Romans 8:29; After salvation the believer is predestinated.

49. CHRIST’S BLOOD HAS MADE PEACE FOR HIM! Colossians 1:20; The saint has peace with God through the blood.

50. THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN SO HE COULD BELIEVE AND KNOW! 1 John 5:13; The saint can know he HAS ETERNAL SALVATION!

Note: While we believe this study is sound and well worth passing on, we cannot endorse all this particular author teaches – especially in regards to his hyper-dispensationalism. He is sound in regards to salvation during this age of grace, but he believes that salvation is different in different dispensations. I believe that clearly contradicts the plain teachings of the Scriptures. Two excellent articles on this theme are:

SALVATION IS THE SAME IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW

Follow Up Article

The Deity of Christ

The Deity of Christ

Since the Deity of Christ is such a fundamental and foundational doctrine of Biblical Christianity and essential to our salvation, I felt it was very important to include this study on Earnestly Contending.

It all boils down to one of two options: Either Jesus Christ is God or He is not.

Consider the following:

If He is not “God manifest in the flesh” (as the Bible clearly teaches), then the Bible is a lie.

If He is not “God manifest in the flesh”, and we worship Him as the Bible says to do, then not only is the Bible a lie, but we are committing idolatry.

If He is God and we do not worship Him as God Almighty, as the Bible commands us, then we cannot be saved the Biblical way, for Christ said “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I Am He, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24

If we don’t accept the Bible as absolute truth and our sole authority, then we have no final authority at all, and how can we be sure of anything?

If the Bible is our final authority, then we must accept what it says in all matters, including the Deity of Christ. We must learn to apply 2 Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This study is not meant by any means to be a complete exposition on the fact that Jesus Christ was God “ come in the flesh ”, but I hope that it will be a help to all who seek to understand this truth, or to get a better grasp on this important doctrine.

Index

1. Old Testament And New Testament Comparisons

Old Testament Titles For God Applied To Jesus Christ

2. The Old Testament Prophets Foretold The Messiah Would Be God

3. Christ Was Proclaimed To Be God At His Birth

4. Jesus Claimed To Be God, And He Accepted Worship From Men

5. The New Testament Writers Said Jesus Christ Is God

6. Every Man And Angel Will Worship Jesus Christ

7. He Is Called “LORD” 663 Times In The New Testament

Who Says Jesus Christ Is God?

They Worshipped Jesus

Jesus Christ Accepted Worship

What About Verses Which Seem To Say That Jesus Is Less Than The Father?


Excerpted from Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity,

David W. Cloud Way Of Life Literature

The fact that Jesus Christ is fully God
is proven by the following Bible passages:

1. Everything Said About God In The Old Testament

Is Also Said About Jesus Christ In The New Testament:

Old Testament Titles For God Applied To Jesus Christ:

Title:

1. Stone of Stumbling

2. Creator

3. Only Savior

4. King of Kings

5. Alpha and Omega

6. Good Shepherd

7. Every knee bow

8. Judge

9. Reigning Jehovah God:

1. Isaiah 8:13-15

2. Isaiah 44:24

3. Isaiah 43:11

4. Psalm 95:3

5. Isaiah 44:6

6. Isaiah 40:10-11

7. Isaiah 45:23

8. Isaiah 24:20-21

9. Isaiah 24:23

Jesus Christ:

1. 1 Peter 2:6-8

2. Colossians 1:16

3. 2 Timothy 1:10

4. 1 Timothy 6:14-15

5. Revelation 1:7-18

6. John 10:11

7. Philippians 2:10-11

8. Colossians 1:17

9. Matthew 25:31

2. The Old Testament Prophets Foretold

The Messiah Would Be God:

Compare:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

3. Christ Was Proclaimed

To Be God At His Birth:

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Luke 1:17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David:

Luke 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


4. Jesus Claimed To Be God,

And He Accepted Worship From Men:

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.

Matthew 9:18 While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.

Matthew 15:25 Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.

Matthew 20:20 Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him.

Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.

Matthew 28:17 And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted.

Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him,

Luke 24:52 And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

John 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him.

John 10:30-33 I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.

John 8:56-59 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.


5. The New Testament Writers Said

Jesus Christ Is God:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:)

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

1 Timothy 6:14-16 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

6. Every Man And Angel

Will Worship Jesus Christ:

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hebrews 1:8-9 But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.

If Jesus were not God He could not receive worship:

Exodus 20:3-5 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.

7. He Is Called “LORD” 663 Times

In The New Testament:

The Greek word kurios is the equivalent of the Hebrew adonai and is so used by Jesus in Mt. 22:43-45. The great use of kurios is as the divine title of Jesus, the Christ. In this sense it occurs in the New Testament 663 times. That the intent is to identify Jesus Christ with the Old Testament. Deity is evident from:

Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Psalm 118:26 Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Matthew 22:43-45 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He His son?

Luke 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am.

John 14:8-10 Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.

Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee.

“All divine names and titles are applied to Him. He is called God, the mighty God, the great God, God over all; Jehovah; Lord; the Lord of lords and King of kings. All divine attributes are ascribed to Him. He is declared to be omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, and immutable, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is set forth as the creator and upholder and ruler of the universe. All things were created by Him and for Him; and by Him all things consist. He is the object of worship to all intelligent creatures, even the highest; all the angels are commanded to prostrate themselves before Him. He is the object of all the religious sentiments; of reverence, love, faith, and devotion. To Him men and angels are responsible for their character and conduct. He required that men should honor Him as they honored the Father; that they should exercise the same faith in Him that they do in God. He declares that He and the Father are one, that those who had seen Him had seen the Father also. He calls all men unto him; promises to forgive their sins; to send them the Holy Spirit; to give them rest and peace; to raise them up at the last day; and to give them eternal life. God is not more, and cannot promise more, or do more than Christ is said to be, to promise, and to do. He has, therefore, been the Christian’s God from the beginning, in all ages and in all places” (Charles Hodge, quoted by John Walvoord, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, p. 31).

Who Says Jesus Christ Is God?

David called Him God (Matthew 22:43-45).

Isaiah called Him God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6).

Jeremiah called Him God (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Matthew called Him God (Matthew 1:23).

Christ called Himself God (John 5:17-18; 8:58-59; 10:30-33; Revelation 1:8).

The angels called Him God (Luke 2:11).

John called Him God (John 1:1; 1 John 3:16; 5:20).

The blind man called Him God (John 9:35-38).

Thomas called Him God (John 20:28).

Peter called Him God (Acts 10:34-36).

Paul called Him God (Acts 20:28; Philemon 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13).

God the Father called Him God (Hebrews 1:8-10).

They Worshipped Jesus:

The Bible teaches that it is idolatry and wickedness to worship any one or any thing other than the one True and Living God.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.

The Fact That Jesus Christ Accepted Worship Is Indisputable Evidence That He Is Almighty God:

The elect angels refuse to accept worship (Rev. 19:10).

The Apostles also refused worship (Acts 14:11-15).

The Lord Jesus Christ, though, was repeatedly worshipped by those who approached Him, and not once does the Bible record that He corrected or refused worship. He accepted the worship, because He is Almighty God, the Creator of all things, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.

Matthew 9:18 While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

Matthew14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.

Matthew15:25 Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.

Matthew 20:20 Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him.

Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.

Matthew 28:17 And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him : but some doubted.

Mark. 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him,

Luke 24:52 And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

John 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him.

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father .

Hebrews 1:6-8 And again, when He bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.

What About Verses Which Seem To Say That Jesus Is Less Than The Father?

Mark 13:32 is a key example of this: But of that day and that hour knoweth no man no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

1) The Lord Jesus Christ did not necessarily say that He did not know the hour of His coming. He might have been referring, rather, to the completeness of His union with and submission to the Father. “Our Saviour does not deny that the knowledge of that day and hour dwells in fullest measure with the Son, but He mysteriously intimates (in conformity with what is found to have been His practice on many other occasions), that the Son Himself does but know because of His oneness with the Father, the Fountain-head of all knowledge and of all being, who had reserved that secret from the holy angels themselves. He knows because the Father knows. He would not know, if not (ei me) the Father knew” (John William Burgon, cited by Edward Goulburn, John William Burgon: Late Dean of Chichester, 1892, II, pp. 171,72).

2) This verse is connected with the Lord’s “kenosis” spoken of in Philippians 2:7. In the incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ “made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7). The Greek word is “kenoo,” meaning also “to empty, to abase, to make of none effect” (Strong’s). “Kenosis is the Greek word which Paul used in describing the act of Christ in ‘emptying Himself of His infinite powers and heavenly glory out of place or too great to be used in the finite limitations and local form of the human life into which He came. In His kenosis, the Eternal Son dropped for the time being THE EXERCISE OF certain powers and attributes, but He remained Himself. He who lays these aside, is not Himself laid aside. He was still God the Son in holy will, divine desire, righteous purpose, and immaculate love. The infinity of powers not needed or suited within the narrow scope of a human life, He laid aside. Jesus himself taught this doctrine before Paul did. He referred more than once to His personal preexistence. Concerning His kenosis He said: ‘And now, 0 Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was’ (John 17:5). And again, ‘What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?’ (John 6:62)” (John Champion, The Virgin’s Son, 1924, pp. 88,89). Modernists have misused the Philippians passage to claim it in support of their view that Jesus Christ is not God. We would again emphasize that the Lord Jesus Christ in no sense gave up His Deity in His incarnation. Philippians 2:5-8 says He was in the form of God and took the form of a servant. It was merely the form that He changed, not His Deity.

3) This verse is also connected with the Son’s submission to the Father. The Bible reveals the one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All are God and are co-equal, but there is an order within the Godhead, so that the Son submits to the Father. This is what we see in Mark 13:32. See the comments on 1 Corinthians 15:28. “The reference is perfectly clear when one bears in mind the purpose of Mark’s Gospel – to portray Jesus as the faithful Servant of Jehovah. Christ says in John 15:15, ‘The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.’ How significant that Mark, who presents Jesus as the perfect Servant, should record this statement about the hour of His return as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Matthew also makes a similar statement in Matthew 24:36; likewise, Luke, in Acts 1:7). In the aspect of His ministry as a Servant, our Lord made a voluntary surrender of certain knowledge, in order that He might walk the walk of faith, and thus be an object lesson to all believers. While He ever remained the eternal Son of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father; yet as a Servant, He chose a limitation of His knowledge, bounded by the Father’s will” (Louis Talbot, Bible Questions Explained, p. 38)

Christian Universities Anthem!

“If only the originals were inspired and without error what was the purpose of God giving us a perfect Bible and then losing it?”

When asked this question by a King James Bible believer (as a critique of the other’s position), a modern version proponent answered in this way. This is an actual post at one of the Bible clubs the writer (of the anthem) belongs to: His answer was this: “It was not lost. God simply did not preserve it in the way that you demand that He should have. Why do you question the will of God? It is preserved in 5000+ mss, 12000+ ancient versions, and 12000+ ancient witnesses.” In other words, God didn’t preserve His Word in a particular text or version, but in all extant manuscripts. To which the KJB believer posted this great little song:

Christian Universities Anthem!

Tune: from “An American Tale”

Somewhere out there, the Word of God exists;
Somewhere in those manuscripts all the words consist.
Somewhere out there in parchments worn and rare,
Lies a text that could be the next That would prove beyond compare!

Somewhere out there, the Word of God is true;
Somewhere in those pyramids it waits for me and you.
Somewhere out there beneath the sands of time,
There’s a scroll that could yet unroll And reveal God’s Word sublime!

Somewhere out there, the Word of God is sure;
Somewhere in old languages it rests so very pure.
Somewhere out there in variants so vast,
There’s a reading that we’re still a needing,
So we have God’s Word at last!

Refrain:
Oh just imagine what a wonder it would surely be
If we could have the Word of God completely error free!
If we believe our dreams can really come right shining through
hen we shall ever have our wish — the Word of God come true!

Somewhere out there the Word of God is found;
Somewhere in those autographs all the words are sound.
Somewhere out there if only where we knew,
We could cope with a ray of hope Out there — where dreams come true!

Song Written by Timothy D. Fellows, Jr.
Dedicated to my alma mater,
Bob Jones University,
which inspired its writing.
(Used With Permission)

By the way, we do have the complete inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God for us in English – the King James Bible! Why settle for a dream, when you can have the reality in your hands – the living Word of God! Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Isaiah 59:21 As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

The Comfort of the Scriptures

 

The Comfort of the Scriptures

A sermon delivered by T. T. Shields July 10, 1921

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." – Romans 15:4

I sHALL SPEAK TO YOU for a little while this morning about the use of the Bible. It is represented in the above verse as a Book that has been Divinely produced, with a view to effecting certain Divine purposes. It is not the product of evolution, of the evolution of man’s religious consciousness, nor is it the result of man’s blind search after God; but It is written for a special purpose: "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning."

Thus, human need has been fully anticipated and provided for in the Scriptures of truth. It is a remarkable fact that the Bible does not wear out. You have bought many books, and you have read more than you have bought. Very few of them have you read the second time, and some, perhaps, you have not been able to complete because of their want of interest. But the Bible is as a well that is never dry, a light that is never extinguished, a banqueting-table that is never exhausted of its dainties; It is always ministering and never wearing out.

And the reason is this: It has been especially prepared for our use; the things that are written here were "written aforetime for our learning." How reasonable it is that this should be so! How inspiring it is to read the record of Divine grace! How beautifully, how fully, how elaborately our gracious God furnished this earth for human habitation, so that when man was at last created and put in the garden, every possible provision had already been made for his every need. And even now, if I may dare to say so, we have not finished unpacking the trunk. It was long before man learned that God had stored away a supply of coal in the cellars of the world; and little by little, all through the centuries, men have been discovering how fully God has provided for human need.

After all, that is the function of true science – not "science falsely so-called" to go through this great house we call the world and discover its treasures which God has laid up for those who love Him. Once we thought we were very clever when we wired our houses and were able to talk to our neighbors without going out-of-doors. We considered it an extraordinarily clever thing to send the voice along a copper wire-but now we have learned that all that was provided for long before we knew anything about it, and we are almost ashamed of our wires now; for we have discovered that God has provided a medium through which we may talk thousands of miles without any wires at all. And by and by, when we have learned to articulate more clearly, we may be our own broadcasting machine and may be able to talk from continent to continent, and who knows but from planet to planet? Thus richly has this world been furnished, so that nothing we need is lacking.

Would it not be strange if He had made every provision for our need in the material world and yet had made no provision for our spiritual requirements? The mariner has something by which to guide his course: He has the pole star. There is also that mysterious something which no one understands and which we call the magnetic pole, by which the compass is directed, making it possible for men to make their way across the trackless deep. In fact, in every realm of life God has set up standards by which man may be guided and his life directed. I say, how strange it would have been had He not provided for the requirements of the soul! But just as our gracious God has furnished the world and provided for all our material need, so in the Scripture He has stored away everything we require for our learning in order that we may be the men and women we should be. It was written "aforetime" by Divine order, and by Divine prescience every possible requirement of the soul has been anticipated and provided for in this wonderful Book.

The Scriptures, then, were written for "our learning." The Book is to be our Teacher; the Book is to judge uswe are not to judge the Book. There is a world of difference between these two attitudes of approach. Nowadays it has become common for men to attempt to teach the Book. They turn to Genesis and go through every page of it and say, "I do not believe that … and I do not believe that … and I do not believe that." Poor blind souls they are, how little do they know that the Bible was written for our learning! It was intended to be our Teacher, and no man will ever get the wealth of wisdom and of grace here laid up for the believing soul who approaches it in that critical attitude. "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." And it is equally true of the Word of God, that if you would get out of It that which God has put into It for you, you must come to It as to the Word of God: you must surrender your will to It; you must yield your intellect to It; you must let It search your heart; you must sit at Its feet as at the feet of a teacher.

That is perfectly reasonable, it is not? It is useless for me to go to a doctor and tell him how to heal me. If I were a doctor he would say, "Physician, heal thyself." If you will be your own adviser, do it yourself. If you are a master in any particular realm of knowledge, you do not go to anyone else for instruction; you go rather to a man who has specialized in some particular branch about which you yourself know little or nothing; and though you were a college professor or the author of an encyclopedia, in the particular branch of knowledge of which you are ignorant, you must go to a master and bow at his feet and say, "What shall I do?" The Bible is the Master. It is the word of Divine Wisdom; It tells of Him in Whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside. It is, indeed, the record of Him in Whom "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." And all that is written herein is written for our instruction, that you may come to the Book as a humble pupil that you may learn therefrom that which He would have you know. It was written "aforetime for our learning"; but we shall learn from It only as we come to It in this teachable attitude.

If’ there are any here this morning who have never learned anything from the Scriptures. it is because you have never gone to school to the Scriptures. The Book is designed to teach us.

It teaches us, first of all, about ourselves. You will never learn what you are until you come to the Book. Here your portrait is properly drawn. The Bible will pay you no compliment; It will humble you in the dust. I remember somewhere reading of a young man who went to college. He was taken into the president’s office, and the president said to him, "What do you know?" The young man replied, "I do not know anything, sir. I came here to learn." "Well," said the president, "that is very good in general terms; I suppose you mean that, but what schools have you attended? What credits have you?" "Nothing of which I am proud, sir," he said. "I have done such poor work that it is not worth mentioning. I have come here to learn." "But what have you read?" he was asked. "Oh, nothing worth speaking about." "Well, but have you read nothing at all?" "Of course, I have read a little, but nothing to what I ought to have read or should like to have read," was his reply. "And you know nothing?" "No, sir, nothing worth speaking of. I supposed the college existed to teach, so I have come to learn." The president took him by the hand and said, "Let me congratulate you, sir. You are three years in advance of the average student. It takes the average student three years to learn that he knows nothing."

Many people come to the Bible with the idea that they know everything -, but if you let It talk to you, you will discover what a great sinner you are. No one else will ever tell you that you are a sinner. They may tell you that you are not perfect, that there is something wrong; but the Bible will go right to the heart of the matter and leave you stripped, standing before God as a poor, helpless, bankrupt sinner. It was "written for our learning."

That is the one thing you and I need to learn first of all: how sinful, how utterly helpless we are. It is only because people do not know the nature of the disease called sin that they try to heal themselves. They think it is just a little human imperfection, something that can be sloughed off. But the Bible tells you there is something wrong with the heart: "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" -, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked", that the will is corrupt: "We have turned every one to his own way"; that the intellect is against God: "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the will of God, neither indeed can be"; that the memory is evil and retains that which is evil and not good; that the "whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." That is what the Bible tells us, and that is what we need to learn.

Further. the Bible will teach us about others. It is more important that we should know about ourselves. There are some people who know a great deal about other people. I knew a man who said he was always rather suspicious of people who were supremely concerned about other people’s sins. There are people who are expert in judging other people’s sins; but the Bible will tell you what you are, and then It will tell you that you are just one of a class, and that all have sinned. It will cure you of a hundred evils to which men give themselves who do not believe the Bible to be true.

Then we shall learn from the Bible of God Himself, who He is. The Scriptures "were written for our learning." We shall learn that He hears the cry of the human soul, that He gave His Son to die for our sins, that He comes to the help of the helpless, that He has compassion on the poor, that He gives energy to the one who is being defeated. We shall know something of His holiness, something of His mercy, His grace, His power. It was written "for our learning."

Certain people say, in effect, "It is no longer possible for us to unite on the Bible, but we may unite on the person of Christ"! But what does anybody know of "the Person of Christ" apart from the Bible’? This, my friends, is the record, from Genesis to Revelation, that God has given us of His Son; and "whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning" that we might learn of God. And you cannot learn about God anywhere else. The only God we know is the God who is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the only record we have of Christ is in this inspired Book, so that we are shut up for our knowledge of ourselves and of our fellows – yes, and I think, had I time to develop it, I could show you that you are shut up to a knowledge of the world about you as well as to a knowledge of God, to the Scriptures of truth. I do not believe that any man can be a true scientist – I do not believe any man can discern the ultimate truth in any realm – unless he approaches the study of that subject through the light of the Scriptures. The message of God in nature is really known only to those whose minds are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, just as truly as the message of God in the Book can only be known by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we know nothing – we have no knowledge of truth in the absolute in respect to any realm – apart from the written Word. We are dependent upon God to tell us the truth for time and for eternity, written in this Book for our learning.

Let us now observe why the Scriptures were written: "That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." The Bible is given to us that thereby, or therefrom, we may learn patience and receive comfort. Is there anyone here who does not need to learn patience? The fact that the days of our years are three score and ten and that we are subject to the limitations of time and space inevitably makes us impatient. It is not possible for a man to be patient who sees only temporal things. Patience, in the true sense, is possible only to one who gets the perspective of eternity. You can never be patient until you learn to look at things through God’s eyes. The little boy to whom his father says, "Not today, my son, perhaps tomorrow," says, "Will tomorrow ever come?" "Not this Christmas, my lad, perhaps next Christmas." "Next Christmas! Why, that is an eternity!" I remember when I was a little boy I used to feel that the day after Christmas was the nearest thing to nothing that anything could possibly be because the next Christmas was so far away! For a child to be told to wait is to inflict upon him a hard discipline because he looks at things from a child’s point of view.

We can get a glimpse of this truth through the things that come to us through the years. There are men and women here this morning saying, "When I was young I wanted things done now-Now-NOW; but as the years multiplied, I learned how to wait." But it is the hardest thing in the world to wait-wait-wait, and be patient.

Why were the Scriptures written? Why were they given to us? That we might learn to be patient, that we might come to look at things from the standpoint of One who, in respect of time, is a Multimillionaire. God always has plenty of time; He never is before His time, and He never is too late. Let me tell you what I think is wrapped up in this simple text. Take the case of Abraham. He was a man subject to like passions as we are, subject to all our limitations. He is told to leave his country and go out to a land that he has never seen. He obeys, and when he is brought to that land, God tells him that He will give him the land but that He will give it to him in his seed, saying, "I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice." God makes him a great promise, and already the promise involves a miracle, for Abraham has reached the evening-time of his life and has no son; and then after He has made the promise, for perhaps over twenty years, he is kept waiting. Do you not suppose Abraham became impatient? But he had to learn how God fulfills His own plans and purposes, and in due time Isaac was born. And God told Abraham a strange thing in that period of darkness – you remember the thick darkness that came upon him? – the Lord told Abraham that his seed should go down into Egypt, that they would be there four hundred years, and after that He would judge that nation and bring them out into liberty. Only when we get the Divine standpoint can we count in terms of centuries and millenniums. Men say, "I have only a few years to live. It must be now or never; let me have any good things I am to have now." The Lord said to Abraham, "Be patient, and I will fulfill My plan to you by and by; by and by, My word will be fulfilled."

We come into Exodus, and there we see Moses eager to get at his work, just like some young men who cannot wait for preparation. He wants to get into it at once, "for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them." But the Lord said to Moses, "You need a college course that will occupy you forty years. Go back to the wilderness to school"; and He sends Moses back forty years to get that impulsiveness corrected and to learn to have patience to await God’s time.

So I could take you all through the Book, but I must be content with but one other case. It is written of David: "And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains – I will build God a house, and I will do it at once.’ ” And Nathan replied, "Go, do all that is in thine heart." But when the preacher got home, the Lord talked with him and said, "Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build Me an house for Me to dwell in? … I will appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as beforetime.’ ” Go and tell David that I do not want him to build Me a house: tell him that I am going to build him a house. And then the Lord drew the curtains, and David looked down through the centuries and said, "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house that Thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord God; but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?" And instead of praying for this house of cedar that he had wanted to build, he began to pray that the purposes of God might be fulfilled in that great while to come.

David, like Abraham, learned something of God in those experiences. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it and was glad." It was as though God said, "Patience, Abraham, patience. It is not Isaac of whom I speak; certainly it is not Ishmael; but look down through the years, let the centuries unroll and can you not see it?" At last Abraham got a glimpse of Christ, and he knew that when God said, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," He was really selecting Abraham as the progenitor, after the flesh, of the Messiah. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."

Can you be patient a little while? "And comfort" – for you cannot have patience without comfort. The word comfort is an old word. It did not mean, as used here, what we mean by that word today. We think of a comforter as one who comes to allay one’s grief, exercising a tender, compassionate ministry; but the word here really comes from the same root as the word Comforter, the Paraclete, one who comes to stand by or alongside, "that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." We can have comfort only as God is alongside, to comfort. Go back through the Book, begin with Eve when the promise of the Conquering Seed is given, and come on down through the Book, and you will see that to every soul to whom God spake, bidding them to be patient, He gave the promise that He would stand by to gird them with His strength.

You must think this through for yourselves. Had I time I should like to inquire of every one of you: In what sphere of life do you need patience and comfort’? In your family life? You will find it in the Book. In your business? You will find it here. In any other realm of life? You will find it here. In the national sphere? In the international realm? You will always find the example in the Book of how God wrought patience and comfort in the hearts of His people; and it is written there for our learning, that what God has done for others, He can do for us, "that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."

Some of you have what you call a "promise-box." I confess that I do not share your enthusiasm for them, this taking out a promise in a hop-skip-and-jump fashion. God’s Word is always true. Someone says, "My verse today was so-and-so." Well, what did the verse do for you? "It inspired me; it was a kind of motto. I put it up before me, I turned it over in my mind, and it helped me." And so the Scripture was to you something objective, a sort of idea, or ideal, and had a certain psychological reaction upon yourself. Then you say, "If the Lord said, ‘I will never leave thee,’ well, I say that over to myself, and then I believe it." Is that all? The Bible says, "Through patience and comfort of the Scriptures" – how do the Scriptures work patience and comfort in the believing heart? There is something vastly more than a psychological effect; there is a direct spiritual action on the soul of man if we properly use our Book. As for example, when Jesus Christ said to the leper, "I will, be thou clean," did He give him a motto so that the leper said all day, "The Lord said, ‘I will, be thou clean,’ and I will believe it"? No! The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I will, be thou clean," and that word conveyed power, and instantly he was clean. It was the same word that commanded the worlds from nought; it was the same voice that said. "Let there be light," and there was light; it was the same word that said, "Let the earth bring forth," and it did as it was told. When we receive the Scripture, are we merely to hang Scripture text mottos on the wall? Or, are we to believe them for what they really are, the very Word of God, and to receive instantly all that God wants us to have and all that He promises to give us?

Think of that great promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee." I read of one years ago being in his study in great distress, in the face of some difficult situation. He cried, "O Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me." He lifted his eyes, and the very text he had been pleading was hanging on his wall; and he said, by the touch of God, that one little phrase seemed to blaze like an electric sign; and God said, "My grace is sufficient for thee." And that preacher was able to rise from his knees with an accession of power, for God had given him His Word. What do we need? Forgiveness of sin? Then take it; claim it. It is conveyed; it is conferred to us through His Spirit. Do you need sanctifying power to break the chains that bind? Expect that God will exercise that power to break the chains and set the prisoner free. The "exceeding great and precious promises" are given us that by these we might be able to follow after the Divine ideal, that with these great promises before us we might aspire to endeavor to approximate God’s purposes for us – is that what it says? No! – "that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Hence, patience becomes, not something that is superimposed, but something that is wrought in the soul, as an inherent quality of the soul; not a crutch or a prop, but a new power in the heart. Even as Moses endured "as seeing Him who is invisible," man begins all over again. The Scripture says, "Ye must be born again," and he is born again; patience and comfort become a part of him; and in the measure in which he appropriates the promises, in that measure will he grow up into Christ in all things.

That we "might have hope." When hope departs, the man is dead. "We are saved by hope." There are men and women here this morning facing certain things tomorrow, or finding themselves in a particular condition today, and if you believed that condition would continue indefinitely, you could not live; but you are living in hope that the cloud will be lifted, that the winter will pass and that the springtime will come again into your life. "We are saved by hope." I do not know where to find hope apart from the Bible; I, at least, apart from that Book, am utterly hopeless, for I have tried myself so often. And I know there is no human hand that can help me, but "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures" I have hope that some day I shall be without fault before the throne of God. I do not know how it can be, that is the miracle of all miracles; but I know that it will be because it is in the Book. And I have hope of being like Him some day.

There are a great many people round about me for whom I have no hope. Please do not ask me to nurse them; I do not know how to do it. There are some people who are very difficult to help. I have no hope for them apart from God; but I know "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures" they can be changed.

We live in dark days for the Church. I read an article some years ago in The Forum, written by a Chinese on the Chinese situation, in which he said that Christianity had reached an end in China-absolutely the end. It had done good in the past, but, like other religions, it had to give place to other systems. Among other things, he said that this was due to the wave of rationalism that had spread from the Chinese universities. In other words, while there are Christian missionaries that have stood for the faith, there are other religions that have built schools in China and have sent out men who have taught China to reject the Word of God and, in the name of the Christian religion, almost the very foundations of the work in China have been destroyed by this accursed Modernism for which Christian people are foolish enough to pay.

Everywhere you find it. Somebody comes to me and says, "I am going to a certain city; can you tell me where I can go so that I may hear the Gospel of salvation?" Someone asked me that of a certain American city the other day, and I had to answer this: "I do not know; I have no doubt the Lord has His witnesses, that there are groups of people, smaller churches perhaps, where faithful witness is home to the truth; but so far as the outstanding Baptist churches in that city are concerned, you had better stay away from them." Frankly, in that city I do not know of one that is not a disseminator of poison. Any man who says it is not dark is a blind man and has never seen the light of God’s Word. It is easy to put your head in the sand like the ostrich and say things are progressing. Something called religion is progressing, but the pure unadulterated Gospel of God’s grace is not very generally preached. What shall we do? "Through patience and comfort of the Scriptures" we may have hope. I remember that a nation of slaves was born into freedom in a day; I remember that while they sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion, and hung their harps in the willows, yet in the midst of it all there came a time when the ransomed of the Lord returned; there came a great revival, and Israel was restored. All down through the centuries there have been dark days, but God has shone through. Someone says, "But what if this be the darkest and the last?" Well, the darkness will be dispelled, and "the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings." So we can live in that glorious hope. "We are saved by hope" – hope for ourselves, hope for the Church of Christ, hope for everybody, because the whole creation is some day to be "delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God." It is all in the Scriptures. May God help us to use them more.

NAME DROPPING AND MAN PRAISING

The following is by Pastor Buddy Smith of Malenda, Queensland, Australia <smiletex@bigpond.net.au> —

Brother Joe was one of a kind. He only ever pastored one church. It was the church he started when he moved to a town near us in 1939. He never received a salary from his church. He said he would simply trust God for his needs to be met, and he did, and they were. He never asked for anything, but God heard his prayers and blessed his faith, and he never did without. He taught all the way through the Bible at least three times in a pastorate that lasted more than fifty years. He preached on the radio everyday for all those years and wrote a book that is a classic on raising children. He sent all his children to Bible college, and his son Tim now pastors the church his dad started almost 70 years ago.

One thing about Bro. Joe that puzzled me was the way he would quote preachers or commentators without telling us their names. He would say something like this, “A dear brother in the Lord once wrote…” or he would say, “A godly old commentator once observed this about our text…” I can’t ever remember him telling us who he was quoting. Later on, as I became a bit more familiar with writers and preachers I would stumble across the quotes he used and wonder why he never told us who said them. They were not heretics, nor were they involved in entangling and compromising alliances. They were men like Harry Ironside or A.W. Tozer or Harry Rimmer. But he never told us who he was quoting. Oh, he made it clear that the quotes were not his. He was never guilty of plagiarising. He just didn’t tell us who he quoted.

It was through his wise and discreet use of truth that I learned an important lesson on worship. Bro. Joe avoided name dropping because he sincerely desired for God and God alone to have all the glory. He very carefully and wisely used the truths that fell from the lips and pens of godly men, and he did so in ways that directed the worship of his hearers away from those men and toward God. As the years passed I heard of God’s blessings on Bro. Joe’s ministry, of the people who loved him and asked him to preach in their Bible conferences and churches and colleges, but it wasn’t Bro. Joe who told me about it. He simply had no desire for the praise of men. Certainly, we should thank God for those He uses, and thank them in person, but the crowns can wait till the judgment seat.

The apostle Peter speaks of the wisdom God gave to his dearly beloved brother Paul, so it is obvious that it is not inherently wrong to name preachers that we quote, but Peter avoids heaping upon Paul the lavish praise we hear so often given to mere mortals (2 Peter 3:15-16).  Bro. Joe simply desired that men should praise God and Him alone.

Giving praise to men is a very subtle form of hero worship. God has spoken ever so clearly on the subject of who is worthy to be worshipped. We all swim in a sea of pagan, materialistic, hedonistic, sensual, and rationalistic culture. Our culture genders in us visual, auditory, and olfactory failures. We do not see that we are worshipping idols. We do not hear the warnings of God’s Words, and we are totally unaware that swimming in our culture leaves us smelling like dead fish. Every culture thrives on the praise of men. Name dropping is the name of the game, in the world and in the church. “Dr. Flutesnoot said this,” and, “Rabbi(t) Warren said that,” and “The gospel according to Jack is this…” I attended a conference some time ago in which the main speaker could hardly finish a sentence without dropping the name of some well known Christian leader who is is his friend, or dropping the name of some famous church or college he had preached in. I got the impression that we were all expected to say, “Oh! Do you know him?” and “Wow!, did you get to preach there?” We just love to drop names, don’t we?

Why do we do this? Do we really believe that the gospel of Christ is enhanced by someone who has attained to celebrity status in our stagnant little cultural puddle? Does God need the endorsement of a megachurch guru or a supersalesman soulwinner? Will it count for eternity and for the glory of God that you or I were feted by the ringmaster of the religious circus that he calls a church? Or that you had a 30 second revival meeting with the pastor who jumped a Sunday School bus over a dozen tricycles? All our glorying in man is idolatrous and an abomination in the sight of God. It doesn’t really matter whose signature is at the bottom of your Bible college diploma. It doesn’t really matter whose endorsement is on the back of your book. What has eternal value is whether we have gathered up all the glory and praise we can find and given every bit of it to God.

Consider a few of the Scriptures that speak of the worship of God,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

“I am the LORD, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory to another” (Isaiah 48:11).

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1).

One last thought: whether we realise it or not, our praise of man tends to have a hidden agenda. We tend to praise men so that they will praise us back. There is in every one of us enough Devil to crave the praise of men. And so we give it to get it. We need to read John 5:44, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” Our craving for recognition, for praise, for honour and glory, according to our Saviour, is an impediment to faith. “How can ye believe who receive honour one of another……..?”

One of my favourite evangelists lived to the ripe old age of 87 years. He preached for over 70 years and is sometimes described as the “best loved evangelist of all time.” When he was very old it was decided by his friends that he should be honoured publicly. Many were invited to come and give testimonials as to his usefulness in the Lord’s work, and they came in droves. One speaker after another sang the praises of the old preacher until finally the speeches were done, and the moderator turned to invite the aged preacher to the lectern to receive the award. To everyone’s surprise he was nowhere to be found. The guest of honour was not on the platform, or even in in the building. He had absented himself some time during the meeting. He had chosen to turn a deaf ear to the sweet words from his admirers! They searched high and low, and eventually they found him, outside the great hall, in the street, speaking to a cabbie about his soul. He knew all about the priorities if godliness and he knew about the emptiness of the praises of men.

Only God is worthy of worship!

Someone may ask, “Who was Bro. Joe?”

I don’t think he would want me to tell you.

We could be guilty of stealing from God the glory that belongs only to Him.