Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked (KJV). The English translation of the Greek Old Testament reads this way, The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just: but untimely grief shall cover the mouth of the ungodly (Brenton). Another English reading goes like this: Blessings are upon the head of the righteous; but the mouth of the wicked concealeth violence (Jewish Publication Society Translation). The thought seems clear enough, which is those who are righteous will be blessed, but those who are in rebellion have hidden within a violent, conniving heart. None of this escapes the Lord. Proverbs 15:26, The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure (ESV). The one who loves the Lord and obeys, the Lord blesses him. The one who looks on the Lord and turns away has nowhere to go to hide from the Lord. RT
For the benefit of clarity, the word “Christ” means anointed. Thus, to speak of Jesus as the “Christ of God,” is to speak of Him as the anointed (chosen) of God. When Peter declared to Jesus and others around him that he (Peter) believes Jesus is the Christ of God, he had come to recognize what God promised through Moses, David and Isaiah was before him as he looked at Jesus. Jesus was pleased with his answer (Matthew 16:16-17). Many of us can answer similarly, but with the academic answer, does our life reflect the answer made as it did with Peter? To say, as Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ of God is to speak something that is in the heart of emotions, not just in the mind of knowledge. Without the latter the former wanders all over the place; without the former, the latter is sterile information. Perhaps you are desperately trying to have both. Many of us are trying to do the same. Stay the course, allow Jesus to be the Captain of your soul, the one you call Lord (cf. Hebrews 5:8-9; Luke 6:46). Doing so means, at the end of the day, you will arrive at your destination. RT
This is the second song on the list I have that is considered unscriptural. In what way is it unscriptural? The unscriptural phrase is alleged to be “You ask me how I know he lives: he lives within my heart.” I candidly ask, what in the world is wrong with this? Does not Colossians 3:16 teach this sentiment when Paul writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (NKJV). Yes, there is more to the idea of knowing Jesus lives than that He only lives within one’s heart. Jesus is a historical figure; the New Testament is a historical document. The historical figure and the historical document can be investigated (as it has been through the centuries) whereby one can know, not only believe, that Jesus is the Christ of God. That said, is it really a troublesome thing for a person to speak in a favorable way about Jesus living within the heart of the believer? If you have been around for any length of time as a Christian, then you know well that some people are very academic-oriented, and some are not. Some who are overly academic-oriented want to be exactly right; others who are not so academically-oriented still want to know that which they believe, that which they are doing and in that which they are participating is right (I am not speaking, not even a little bit, about people’s intellectual ability to understand deeper things, or to be less academic and more emotional).
“I serve a risen Savior…” is based on knowledge of God’s word. “…the day of His appearing will come at last” is based on knowledge of God’s word. “Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus the King” is based on the knowledge of God’s word. Thus, when one says he (she) knows Jesus lives because He lives within the heart, one is saying this based on knowing God’s word. RT
My son, forget not my law; But let thy heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and years of life, And peace, will they add to the (Proverbs 3:1-2, ASV). A mother in all her years tries to give counsel to her children in such a way her counsel will not only be helpful in navigating the difficulties of life, but counsel that will help the children live a long and prosperous life. Parents like these can say they truly love their own children. This is not always the case, however. Some recent headline: “Police: Parents starve, bind, cage, 21-year-old disabled son” (7.11.2018), “’Faith healing’ parents plead guilty in newborn’s death” (7.10.2018), “Man convicted of attempted homicide in spiking of girlfriend’s drink with abortion pill” (8.2.2018). It is possible the second headline will generate more sympathy and/or understanding with these parents who were deceived by false religion; not likely one will say these parents did not love their child. This is hardly the case with the other two headlines. The problem with all three is their source of philosophy in life: man! With the Lord, however, the guide in life is His way. There is NO CHANCE a child, an adult or anyone will be hurt morally and or spiritually by the Lord’s way of thinking, for He gives guidance in life to instruct people away from moral failings, away from the pitfalls of life that others find themselves in. It is true, it must be admitted, some who have refused the Lord’s way will feel threatened by this way of thinking and seek to administered punishment to the others living in accordance with the Lord’s way. They did this to Jesus should be expected by those who love Him that will be done to those who love the Lord. Nevertheless, as one applies the Lord’s way, before him or her is understanding, moral protection, prosperity and long life. In place the Lord has set the components of life that is best for each.
United Church of God (Seventh-Day Adventist, Portsmouth, Ohio)
Below is RT’s summary of a television transcript, including direct quotes. Participants are Steve Myers, Announcer, Darris McNeely, Gary Petty.
Steve Myers leads in with a series of questions, asking whether one can know if what is being taught by the various churches is the truth of God. “Do most churches really follow Jesus? How can you know whether the variety of teachings and customs faithfully represent the way Jesus taught and lived?”
Steve said the reason why division prevails among the church is because “only a weak understanding of what Jesus taught” is possessed by these churches that are divided. In observing this, a following question is asked, “Is any church just as good as another?” He answers this question with no, one church is not as good as another. Why is this the case, Because Jesus taught people must follow Him, not some teaching of a particular church. Referring to Matthew 7:21, “Christ Himself said: ‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The application of this, as in Luke 9:23, is one must take up the cross of Jesus and follow Him.
All of this leads to a question whether one is following Jesus in keeping the Sabbath. Here is how this is approached. 1) if one does not follow God’s commands, the one who says he/she loves Jesus is a liar and does not in truth love or follow; 2) the Sabbath is one of God’s commands; 3) therefore if one does not follow (observe) the Sabbath, that one is a liar and does not love God. This argument is based on 1 John 2:4-6.
From this, the following remarks are made: “Did you know that you cannot find anywhere in the Bible that Sunday is the day of worship? Search the Old and even the New Testament and you’ll find the biblical Sabbath is not Sunday. History and Scripture show that the New Testament Church worshiped on the true Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Shocking as it may be, most are surprised to realize there is no other day of worship mentioned from Genesis to Revelation.”
RT – This is simply false. Notice the Scripture: “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7, ASV). What day of the week? The first day! Was it called “Sunday”? It was not called “Sunday” in the New Testament, but that particular name, moniker or nomenclature is of no substance because, in the Scripture, it was on the first day of the week the Christians came together. Just to support the point of this being false, note the following:
- The Expositor’s Greek Testament Commentary says: “We must remember that 1 Cor. had been previously written, and that the reference in 1 Cor. 16:2 to ‘the first day of the week’ for the collection of alms naturally connects itself with the statement here in proof that this day had been marked out by the Christian Church as a special day for public worship, and for ‘the breaking of the bread’.” (E-Sword).
- Robertson’s Word Pictures says, “Either the singular (Mar. 16:9) sabbatou or the plural sabbaton as here was used for the week (sabbath to sabbath). For the first time here we have services mentioned on the first day of the week though in 1Cor. 16:2 it is implied by the collections stored on that day. In Rev. 1:10 the Lord’s day seems to be the day of the week on which Jesus rose from the grave. Worship on the first day of the week instead of the seventh naturally arose in Gentile churches, though John 20:26 seems to mean that from the very start the disciples began to meet on the first (or eighth) day.
To support their point of Sabbath-keeping, five translations are used to show the rendering of Mark 2:27. These translations all speak to the point of fact that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and the Sabbath was made for all people, not just the Jewish people. “It’s certain that Jesus taught that the Sabbath was not made for the Jews…It’s not an Old Covenant thing made just for Moses and the Israelites—it’s actually a New Covenant thing—established at creation and continuing as true worship in the New Testament Church.”
RT – Really? Notice what Scripture says:
“Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD; whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.” (Exodus 31:15-17, Jewish Publication Society). Notice the following points:
1) The Lord said the command to observe the Sabbath was for the Israelites.
2) Those who work on the Sabbath are to be killed (that is, the death penalty is rendered for violating the Sabbath command).
3) It is a sign between the Lord and Israel, no one else. Moreover, with these words, the death penalty is applied if one does not observe. Will it be applied?
Tie this in with the words of Nehemiah, “You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant” (9:13-14).
1) From Exodus, it is a sign to the Israelite people
2) In Nehemiah, it was made known unto them at Sinai.
3) Made known by Moses.
Before the words of Exodus 16 there are no exhortations to observe the Sabbath, not even at the time of creation!
Then they declare, “Even after the crucifixion the apostles and the New Testament Church continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset as the day of true worship.” RT – This is a lie; nothing in the pages of the New Testament teaches this is what they did. Neither is there any exhortation from any of the apostles this is what one should do! On the other hand, as one reads in Acts 20:7, they did meet on the first-day of the week to break bread, that is, to fellowship with the saints in the Lord’s Supper.
“Nowhere in the Bible can you find the Sabbath changed to some other day. Imagine if it were changed, there would have been a huge discussion on it, and recorded for us—especially in the New Testament.” RT – No, one can’t find “The Sabbath has been changed to the first-day of the week” in Scripture. Nevertheless, one can find where the disciples did worship on the first day of the week (as mentioned above), led by apostolic authority. Moreover, to the saints in Corinth, Paul said they were to lay aside on the first day of the week, each week, every week that which the Lord prospered them. Why the first day? Because it was the day when the saints would gather together to worship the Lord. Thus, at best the remark is misleading; at worse, it is plain deceptive. The assumption there would have been a “huge discussion” if it were to have taken place is nothing but presumptive.
There is then a brief discussion concerning what people think relative to the Lord nailing the Sabbath on the cross. “Now there are multitudes who have been told and who honestly believe, that worshipping on the seventh-day Sabbath was abolished at the cross.” To address this perspective, they reply the Lord has a day, that day is the Sabbath day, and this was instituted at the time of creation. Confidently they assert the Lord’s day is not Sunday. This is maintained because of the 4th commandment in the Decalogue, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”. Moreover, it is declared that God is the same today, yesterday and forever (Heb. 13:8). Therefore, since the Lord does not change, then He did not change His day from the seventh to the first. “To claim to be Christian means we must follow Christ. To follow Jesus means we must observe the Sabbath!”
RT – This speaks much of their failing to understand Scripture. There are two points worth notice from Ephesians and Colossians. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:14-15, ESV). The context of Paul’s words is the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. What separated them was the law of commandments God gave the Israelite people at Mount Sinai, otherwise known as the Law of Moses. According to Paul’s words in Ephesians, the Lord nailed that teaching to the cross, thereby removing the wall that separated the two peoples from spiritual fellowship. How do I know this is the context? Paul said it is it in 2:11-13.
Again, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:11-14). The initiation into the old Covenant was for the male via circumcision; this is no longer the case since Jesus was nailed to the cross taking the “hand-writing requirements” (NKJV) with him. As Albert Barnes said, “The word rendered handwriting means something written by the hand, a manuscript; and here, probably, the writings of the Mosaic law, or the law appointing many ordinances or observances in religion” (E-Sword).
If Hebrews 13:8 is applied, as they apply it, then the Lord’s directive of animal sacrifices given in Leviticus still is authoritative for Christians today, as is circumcision for the males at eight-days of age. If they say a portion of the Law of Moses has been nailed to the cross, let them declare what portion that is.
At this point, two others participate in the discussion (Darris McNeely and Gary Petty). Darris said since the Sabbath day was at the point of creation, “Sabbath has been in effect since creation.” By this he means that Sabbath day observance goes back to the time of creation. Gary supports this thinking when he says the “Sabbath is for all humanity, not just Jews, for all humanity. You put those two things together and it is obvious the Sabbath was created for everyone, and it hasn’t been done away.” Steve then gives his support to this also.
R T – What can be said about the Lord resting on the seventh day, after six days of creative work (since this is relative to the conversation of sabbath day observance)? This is all that can be said, nothing more. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made (Genesis 2:2-3). God finished His work in six days; He rested on the seventh day; God blessed the seventh day, that is, He made it holy. From this man draws what? There is no decree from the Lord that man is to observe and rest. A person can reasonably draw a conclusion that one should emulate the Father in heaven and thereby rest on the seventh day. But there is nothing from the Lord that speaks to this being a matter of obligation. The first obligation set forth by the Lord does not take place until Exodus 16, to Moses and the children of Israel.
Also, was it not the case the apostles took on the authority of the Lord when they preached the Gospel message to the lost in the world (1 Cor. 14:37)? If that is the case, and they worshiped on the first day of the week, then they established the pattern of worship in a New Testament context. The alternative is they disobeyed the Father of glories by not observing the Sabbath.
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Sent to the television program on 7.20.2018
Your heart is a faithful instrument your body needs to live from day to day, in fact, it is a faithful muscle that allows us to live from moment to moment. The other day I heard John Shannon make a remark along this line; it impressed me a great deal. On Wednesday, when it was my turn to give the invitation, I did a pitiful job at trying to convey what he said. So bad was it, I thought I might do better in a brief bulletin article.
Without a faithful heart meeting the task the Lord designed for it, no one would survive. It is a muscle that pulls it weight and then some! With the heart, life is maintained because the heart pumps the blood of life throughout the body, the blood carries the nutrients necessary for health and oxygen for the body to survive. According to one source, the heart is about the size of a fist, weighs less than 15 ounces and beats about 100,000 times a day. When you are sitting down it is beating. When you are asleep it is beating. When you are exerting much energy it is beating. When you are resting from that exertion it is beating. The heart is a faithful muscle the Lord gave to each of us for the physical life we have. If the heart is overworked one has high blood pressure, and that brings to one its own physical complication. Is there such a thing as an underworked heart? If so, it can’t be good! A heart that is underworked or overworked is not one that places us in the best position for a long life. A properly working heart, however, is a benefit we can’t live without.
Consider our walk with the Lord. Are we as faithful to the Lord as our heart is to us? I suspect, that each of us can say to some degree, “I have failed in that area.” If that is so, then consider the Lord’s mercy toward us as we have opportunity to read these words and reflect on that. If our walk with the Lord is as faithful as our physical muscle (heart) is to the body, think how strong each of us would be spiritually, and then add that number to the whole of the congregation, considering how spiritually strong the congregation would be! I can only imagine. Our heart is not strong when our anger issues surface, when our minds wonder from loyalty to a spouse to another person, when one gives little to the Lord in time and means, when one talks out of turn (talking about another to a third person), and when our attendance lags.
Our heart is strong, on the other hand, when one is able to suppress the anger that boils to the top, when loyalty to a spouse is never challenged by an outside source, when the words that come from our mouth are biblical and build up people, when you give of your precious time to the Lord’s body and generous in your support to His cause and you walk alongside others in attendance.
I may not be as strong as a farmer, construction worker or a mother, but if my heart is strong, then I am in a good position to live a productive life. In the same way, spiritually, if my heart (mind) is faithful (strong) to the Lord and His ways, then my life is blessed and His reward is waiting for me because my reward is His holiness. RT
- Part of God’s eternal plan (Eph. 3:1-12)
- To gather together into one body (Eph. 1:10)
- Subject to Christ in all respects (Eph. 1:22-23)
- All who are saved are within (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23, 26); there are no unsaved people in the Lord’s church.
- Pillar and Ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15)
- Name? Church of the Lord (Acts 20:28), Church of God (1 Cor. 1:2), Churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16), Church of the First-born (Heb. 12:23) – Acts 4:12
- What is wrong (sinful) about another name? a) The Holy Spirit condemned division (1 Cor. 1:10), b) To wear the name of a man is to be carnal (fleshly, worldly) thinking (1 Cor. 3:3-4), c) Would it be wrong for a man’s wife to wear the name of another man, not her husband? d) The church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-27).
- How to be a member of it? a) One must believe the gospel after having been taught it (Romans 10:17; Acts 18:8), b) With that belief in place, one must repent (turn away from) sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31; Luke 13:3, 5), c) Confess (acknowledge) Jesus as Lord in life (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9-10), d) Be baptized (immersed) into the Lord, by the authority of the Lord (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-7) for (with a view to) the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16; 2:38).
ESV – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
ASV – Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.
WEYMOUTH – “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has placed you to take the oversight for Him and act as shepherds to the Church of God, which He has bought with His own blood.
WILLIAMS – Take care of yourselves and of the whole flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, so as to continue to be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.
Elders in the New Testament – so very important
- Paul spoke to Ephesians elders (also called bishops, presbyters, pastors and overseers).
- It was the Holy Spirit who put these men in position of responsibility; in the early church, as they were getting started, this was a miraculous endowment.
- As the church matured (Eph. 4:11-16), the Holy Spirit gave instructions pertaining to men qualified to serve in this God-ordained role (1 Tim, 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9).
- They were to shepherd, that is feed, the church that belongs to God, taking care of those souls “within,” resisting all error, making sure to pure word of God is taught by themselves and those in position of responsibility. The feeding in this context has nothing to do with physical sustenance, but spiritual.
- The church of the Lord belongs to no man, thus there is no man-made name given to the church; these came many years later.
- The Lord’s church belongs to the One who paid for it, and the price He paid was with His life (cf. Eph. 5:23, 25, 27).
1) If Scripture teaches God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, then any teaching which teaches God chooses only those He desires (limited atonement) to be saved is false. 2) The Scriptures teaches that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4; 4:10), thus, 3) any teaching which teaches God chooses only those He desires (those to whom He limits His atonement) to be saved is false.
Calvinism teaches this
The First Amendment to the Constitution reads this way: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
2 Timothy 3:12 reads, Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (ASV).
It appears to me we live in a time when the First Amendment is less about freedom to worship and more about taking the freedom, such as the freedom of speech. There are some in our country who do not like certain words, phrases and ideas to be expressed. Rather than the community shaming vulgar speech, some make laws (such as “hate” speech) to prevent others from speaking words with which some might disagree. This is called political correctness, otherwise known as PC. The amendment speaks against the government endorsing a religion, that is a religion of the state, this is what is prohibited, nothing more. Courts, however, afraid of many things and people expanded this phrase to mean much more than that. Now, there is the notion of “separation of church and state”, something not found in the Constitution, but in a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Connecticut Baptists in 1802 (www.allabouthistory.org). Because of such a perverted interpretation of the phrase, the moral foundation of our country, exhibit in our government, is all but gone. John Adams wrote to a Mr. Warren that our government can only be “supported by pure Religion or Austere Morals. Private, and Public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics” (America’s God and Country, p.12). A moral standard comes from one of two sources: God, not God. There is no third option available. Since many in our community reject God, the only alternative is not God. Look where this has led us. Since we, as a country, are confused morally, the internal moral decay that destroyed Rome has already begun its destructive force against ours. It’s only in the Lord’s mind concerning how long He will allow us to stand as a Nation on this earth. We are we to do?
The only thing godly people (Christians) can do is live the life of Jesus Christ. For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:21-23). For the Christian, there really is no other alternative. As the opportunity is ours, let us redeem (make the best use of) time (Col. 4:5). In the end, while our country is being destroyed, those who live in accordance with the Lord Jesus will be saved. RT