Antipodean59's Blog

Restored New Testament Christianity

Archive for the category “Church”

There is no Biblical defense for the consumption of alcohol

I’m back from the holidays having relaxed and recharged for a new year that hopefully will be better than last year’s disasters.

As it happens, I viewed some interesting blogs and commentaries that issued forth some poignant thoughts especially of a Biblical nature. However, in printing or referring to such articles or thoughts doesn’t mean I endorse the faith of the author for such may go beyond that which is written (I Corinthians 4:6) or may be in fellowship or endorse the fellowship of those that abide not in the doctrine of Christ and therefore share in their evil deeds (II John 7-11).

One such article that caught my eye comes forth from Martin Johnson, a church of Christ minister who served as a missionary in Indonesia. He presents a position on the consumption of alcohol that I, personally, can relate to when I first became a Christian back in 1985.  Here is a snippet:

When I first became a Christian I thought it was okay for Christians to drink alcohol socially or recreationally as long as they didn’t get drunk. I based this decision on the following reasons:

  • In the first century they couldn’t have prevented grape juice from fermenting since they had no refrigeration.
  • Jesus made wine.
  • Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine.

However, after I began to hear others say that Christians couldn’t drink socially I began to study the issue secretly hoping that they were wrong. But, I’m now convinced that my reasoning was wrong and that Christians have no business drinking alcoholic beverages socially or recreationally.

Read the article and let your heart react to some good, practical advice.

Graham

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The truth; i.e., God’s word will set you free from sin


A preacher back in 1958 had the following to say about the truth of God’s word that changeth not over the years in much the same manner as God Who declares: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. [This in order that] In the exercise of His will He brought us [that is those who have obeyed his word] forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18).

Let us sit back and hear what Melvin Vaughan had to say all those years ago.
Of all those things which are important and essential to man’s spiritual welfare, there is no single item that can affect him more significantly than his attitude toward the truth.
The truth, in a special sense, was made known by the coming of the Lord: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). It is not surprising that the Lord had so much to say about the truth and what it can do for men. The Lord pointed out that the truth leads men to the freedom most needed: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 31,32). The truth revealed and applied is the means by which God “sanctified” or sets man aside in His service as the Lord indicated in His prayer: “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth”3 (John 17:17). So important is the truth to men that the major function of the Comforter or Holy Spirit was to remind the disciples of the truth Jesus had taught them during his ministry (John 14: 26), and to guide the apostles “. . . into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Truth Shall Make You Free

( Melvin L. Vaughan – 1958)

Those to whom the Holy Spirit was sent emphasised the importance of truth. James writes of the “word of truth” as the means by which his readers had been “begotten of God” (James 1:18). Paul reminded the Ephesians that the salvation they enjoyed was the end result of their response to the truth delivered to them (Eph.1:13). Peter points to the truth as the means by which man becomes justified before God: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the unfeigned love of the brethren see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Pet. 22, 23).

Even though the importance of the truth has been emphasized and its source clearly identified with the will of God; it has been denied, ignored, ridiculed, and misrepresented by men. Those who have sought to uphold the truth have been persecuted, oppressed and even put to death because of their devotion to the truth which they held to be unalterable.
The word of God renders to man an invaluable service by pointing out to him the truth with regard to his state, the limitations of his ability, his great need, and the solution to that need. Paul in examining the spiritual state of the people apart from Christ concluded that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sin is identified in the Bible as including both the “transgression” of God’s law (1 John 3:4), and the failure or refusal to fulfil a known duty to God: “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

To recognise the fact of sin and its existence, even in one’s self, is of little significance until it is known that sin is the barrier that separates man from God. “Behold,” the prophet has written, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy that he cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1,2).
Here is the truth about man’s state and need. He becomes guilty of sin because he has violated Divine law. Because he is guilty of sin he is alienated from God and should he die in this condition he is forever and eternally excluded from the joys of heaven. A disagreeable picture, to be sure. and unfortunate indeed is the person whose knowledge of the truth goes no further than this!

Man does not have within himself the means or knowledge by which he can free himself from these sins and become reconciled to God. Jeremiah had long since reminded Israel of this: “The way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jer.10: 29). To provide the means, God sent His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the world; to provide the guidance, the Son brought the truth. In the Son is revealed the truth by which alone it is possible to have access to God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus had said: “. . . if ye continue in my word . . . ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The truth does provide freedom from ignorance by making both knowledge and understanding available: “The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). The truth provides freedom from uncertainty by making the pathway visible: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my pathway.” (Psalm 119:105.) The truth makes known the possibility of attaining freedom from sin by showing how the barrier between man and God can be removed: “. . . if ye continue in my word . . . ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31,32). The truth provides this freedom from sin in reality as man obeys the truth: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obedience to the truth . . .” (1 Pet. 1:22, 23).

The good news of freedom from sin through the sacrifice of Christ and obedience to the truth is called “the gospel” (1 Cor.15:1-4).

For the truth to become to you what it can, and what the Lord desires it to become, it must be sought in the words of the Lord and His apostles (John 8: 31,32). This truth must be approached reverently, respectfully, and open-mindedly that it might produce faith. (Rom. 10: 17; 2 Thess.2:10-12). The response of which a believer involves the turning from sin and error to truth and righteousness inspired by gratitude for His mercy and the desire to please him (Rom.2: 4). The removal of the guilt resulting from sin is to be found where the Lord placed it in His death where His blood was shed. According to the truth the penitent believer is “baptized into his death” (Rom.6:3,4), “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). It is here that he is made “free from sin” (Rom.6:18), has his sins “washed away” (Acts 22:16), enters Christ (Gal.3:27), and becomes a “new creature” (2 Cor.5:17).
The church, which is composed of the saved (Acts 2:47), is to be the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim.3:15). The ‘disciple indeed” is to “let his light so shine before men that others may see his good works and glorify his Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16). The teacher must uphold the truth at all times in its purity and fullness as revealed by the Lord (2 Tim.2: 2; Jude 3).

Love and devotion to the truth leads the new creature to walk in the steps of him who “. . . left us an example. . . .” That he might “draw near with full assurance of faith having his heart sprinkled from an evil conscience and his body washed with pure water” (Heb.10:22).
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed in Him: If ye continue in my word then are ye my disciples indeed and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 31,32).

  • Will you recognise according to God’s standard that you are caught up in sin and need to rectify it?
  • Will you follow the steps provided by the unchangeable word that leads to freedom from sin?
  • Will you enter the church that is Christ’s body where the truth that sets you free is a “pillar and ground”?
  • If you are willing to follow, let it be known to Christ’s church that gathers in your neighborhood or reply to this post and let “us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).

A logical look at what killed the dinosaurs

The atheist/evolutionist clambers around devising theory after theory to explain the extinction of the dinosaur rather than look at the obvious answer God supplies in Genesis.
The recent discovery in Mongolia of parrot beaked dinosaurs heaped together in a mass grave should stir the mind to look at the atheist/evolutionist argument and logically compare it with the creationists’ alternative.
Be honest with yourself for it doesn’t affect my standing with the Maker upon Judgement Day, just you according to Romans 2:6.

Graham

God Defines Who Is A Christian

There are various definitions given of a Christian. The only one that is worthwhile is God’s definition. The only kind of Christian worthwhile is the one as defined by God. The reason for saying this is God’s definition of a Christian is because of the meaning of chrematizo, translated “called.” It is not a nickname, claimed by some. “And it was in Antioch that the disciples first received the name Christian.” Weymouth).

The Greek word rendered called implies a divine source. It is “to be divinely instructed, to receive a warning or revelation from God” (Green’s Greek-English Lexicon). “To give a response to those consulting an oracle, to give divine command or admonition, to teach from heaven; to be divinely commanded, admonished, instructed; to be the mouth-piece of divine revelations, to promulgate the commands God” (Thayer).

The word is found nine times in the New Testament (Mat. 2:12; 2:22; Luke 2:26; Acts 10:22; Heb. 8:5; 11:7; 12:25; Rom. 7:3; Acts 11:26). In all of these instances it has reference to divine revelation, unless Acts 11:16 is an exception. The meaning of the word fits Isaiah 62:2: “Which the mouth of Jehovah shall name.” Compare Romans 7:3: “She shall be called an adulteress.” Who calls her an adulteress? Compare “defer not, for thine own sake, my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name” (Dan. 9:19). In Israel, we have the root of Elohim, the Hebrew name for God, which supplies an explanation for the statement, “Thy people are called by thy name.” Amos 9:12 and Acts 15:17 are equivalents. Thus the subject: “God’s Definition of a Christian.’

Why was not this name given at Pentecost? We may not know, but I can think of a reason. Christian is the sum of Christianity. Christianity is not Jewish, not peculiar to Jews. This is implied in the very fact that the term that most describes Christianity was not given until Gentiles were brought in. Thus, those who think of Christianity offering something yet for Jews in a special way have not properly understood Christianity.

A Christian is one who heard the Gospel and believed it (Acts 11:19-21). Why were there no Christians in Antioch prior to this time? There were not any that had heard the Gospel and believe A Christian is one that assembles (Acts 11:26; Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42). The Christians at Antioch assembled. The Christians in every place assemble.

A Christian is one that accepts responsibility (Acts 11:29). Note the words – every man – determined – according to his ability. They did not seek to do as little as they could but as much as they could. Many seem to think today that a Christian is one who does as little as he can.

A Christian does not shirk responsibility. A Christian is one in the Lord’s church (Acts 11:26). There were no Christians in Antioch that were not members of the church. There were no Christians in Antioch that were members of any other church. “I give in mine house and within my walls…a name” (Isa. 56:5). The church is God’s house (1 Tim. 3:15; Acts 2:42; Gal. 3:26-27).
The question is: are you a Christian defined by God?

Franklin Camp
(1915-1991)

The Restoration Movement

Have it your way; God will not be there!

The onus is on you to prove it

The apostle Paul said to make sure that one “Prove all things” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Just because something is widely accepted as being true and is therefore the supposed starting point i.e., an axiom, doesn’t prove anything. If it is true then you are under obligation to “prove” it.

The apostle Peter told the 1st Century church to do as much regarding their faith. He said they were obligated to give a “reason” for their “hope” (I Peter 3:15).  For instance the axiom “God is love” needs to be proven with valid reasoning if it is to be convincing. After all faith in such, according to Paul, can only come about by hearing God’s word (Romans 1:17; 10:17) which implies a reasoning mind.

The axiom that is widely accepted as being true is that of organic evolution. That is life somehow started from a single cell and grew to the complexity of life we see before us today.  If that be true then the adherent must prove it to be so.

Here is an excellent article that might help to explain why I say such and help you as well (that is, of course, if you have the willingness of mind to indulge:)

Graham

How to answer the hackneyed objections to a young Earth

The following link gives ammunition to those who want answers to the hackneyed objections raised by the evolution fanatics.
Geology and the young Earth article will be of assistance to genuinely wanting well constructed answers.

Graham

Be careful you do not skew the Bible message by your ommission

An excellent article regarding fundamental Bible understanding where the author says “One must take the “sum” of truth on a

particular item (Psalm 119:160) — not “some” of the truth.”

Go to the article and build your faith.

Graham

So, you think you know what faith is, uh?

Check out what my friend Dub McClish says about Biblical Faith

Importance of Pentecost

The day of Pentecost as referenced in Acts 2 was a result of fifty days from the Passover Sabbath (πεντηκοστή pentēkostē fiftieth from Passover, Strong’s Dict.). This day was counted from “the morrow of the Sabbath” (Lev.23:15) when the omer of barley harvest i.e. “wave sheaf” was first cut.  The count of these weeks was to start the day the sickle cut that first wave offering (Dt.16:9). This barley harvest was to be over and done within 7 weeks i.e. 49 days from which the “Feast of Ingathering” (Ex.23:16) or “Day of First Fruits” (Num.28:26) as they were known under the Old Testament could begin. This day of Pentecost marked the beginning of the wheat harvest, hence the term “first fruits”.  It is no coincidence, in my humble opinion, that the two different corns represent the Old (i.e., barley) and the New Testaments (i.e., wheat) [any crop farmer will attest barley always precedes wheat in harvest times].

 

A simple count of 49 days beginning “the morrow of the Sabbath” will, without exception, bring one to the first day of the week that we call Sunday.  This day marked the beginning of the church, of which there is, without exception, only one (Eph.4:4).

 

It goes without saying this church needed entry conditions explained i.e. the plan of salvation given by Peter upon request of those who crucified Jesus (Acts 2:37—41).  In addition, this church was instructed via the “apostle’s doctrine” regarding fellowship and worship (Acts 2:42-47). It is important to note that the “breaking of bread” in verse 42 differs from “breaking bread from house to house” found in verse 46. The former concerns the immediate context with the Lord’s Supper memorial for “the breaking” is tn klasis i.e. the fracture, the specific act of breaking the specific bread [the Greek places the definite article tn before breaking and tov before bread indicating specificity] that Adam Clarke points out: “Breaking of bread was that act which preceded a feast or meal, and which was performed by the master of the house, when he pronounced the blessing – what we would call grace before meat”. The word is employed by Matthew in chapter 26:26 where Jesus, the Master, “took the bread, blessed it and broke [klasis] it” because it represented His body upon the soon to be realised cross, a solemn and shameful (Gal.3:13) event.  This in contrast with the latter “break” is klaō i.e. to generically break which the immediate context of the remainder of the verse says “they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart”. They were simply breaking the food apart to eat it with gladness of fellowship together with people of common salvation.

 

This having been said indicates the absolute importance of the first day of the week for the church to assemble for authorised worship and fellowship.

Graham

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