“What is Right with It?”

Many times when Biblical authority is challenged, it is asked, “What’s wrong with it?” This position assumes that anything not intrinsically wrong is acceptable. Is this a scripturally sound approach? In writing to the church at Thessalonica, Paul said, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). This statement implies a process of “culling out” that which is not good. We know from other Biblical references that this process is not based on man’s resources (Isa. 55:8-9; Jer. 10:23; Prov. 14:12).

Using this pattern of thought, “defenses” would be dissolved. For many years, those in many religious circles have used the “What is wrong with it?” method of ascertaining authority for something or other. Use of instrumental music in worship, the organization of the body of believers and leadership, observance of the Lord’s Supper, and a number of other practices have been included under this process. As people seeking the New Testament pattern, Christians should ask and be able to answer questions concerning that doctrine and practice found in the pages of the New Testament (1 Pet. 3:15).

We must likewise insist that the Lord’s church have authority for things taught and practiced. In ever-increasing circles today, there is an abandoning of authoritative doctrine for purely subjective ideas. New approaches to hermeneutics (methods of interpretation) have “thrown open the doors” for any number of “improved” practices. Female elders, deacons and preachers are no longer something on the horizon to be anticipated, but (in principle, if not practice) are with us today. Some have boldly stated their intentions along these lines. Our question today must not be “What is wrong with it?”.  Instead, we must insist on New Testament authority.  We must not be afraid/ashamed to ask, “What is right with it?”.  Popularity with man has never been a gauge of God’s authority.  We must insist that God’s word be that gauge (John 12:48).  May we all study more diligently in our process of ascertaining authority and seeking compliance with God’s will – His good, perfect and acceptable will.

(from Pat McIntosh, with edits)

Old-time Religion

Many people in the world today claim a religion, or say that they are religious, or that they practice or participate in a certain religion.  It’s very confusing, because there may be as many as 3,000 different religions in the world.  Some worship one god, many worship things, and even a few say that their god is the true God of the universe.  The plain truth of the matter is laid out by the only True and Living God that ever existed, the Almighty God:

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.  Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:26-27, NASB)

The fact is, Christians are called to be caring people and pure from the world’s influence.  If we really are religious, we will care for and attend to widows and orphans, seeing to their needs.  And we will control our tongue, so we will be known as being ‘different’ from the world.  This lifestyle – pure and undefiled religion – will glorify our Heavenly Father for all that He has done.

Christians Must Pursue Righteous Unity

Unity of the believers in the church of our Lord was obvious in the days following Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost.  Those who chose to follow Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah were known by their changed lifestyle, their form of worship, and their belief in the Risen Savior.   “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)

There were no separate groups or sects of believers, following after different teachings within the church.  This is exactly the type of unity that Jesus prayed for, as recorded in John 17:20-21.  The Holy Spirit-led apostles and preachers spoke the same message of salvation, the same gospel of Jesus Christ to all people and in all places they went.  And the Lord added to the church those who took the steps to be saved.

So then, what has happened?  Why are there so many different groups of believers, worshipping in different ways, believing different doctrines, and living different lifestyles?  Man has interjected his own ideas.  Man has substituted lies for the truth.  Man has improved the message of salvation by replacing God’s word with his own.  Man has determined better lifestyles than what God has ordered.  “There is a way that seems right to man, but ends in death…” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV)

The only way that Christians may be unified in Christ is to go back to the truth of God’s word, believe the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, live the lifestyle of true believers and worshippers of God, and teach and preach the same thing.  Seed reproduces after its own kind.  The seed of the word will produce Christians.  True Christians will want no human creed or doctrine, and will want to wear only the name of Christ.  It is our obligation (Romans 8:1-17) to teach others accurately about salvation in the One and Only Savior, to demonstrate the lifestyle of the saved (Romans 12), and the worship and devotion of those who have claimed Him as Lord (Galatians 5:13-26; I Peter 1; Hebrews 4).  The Lord will do the adding to his church.  Won’t you join me in this pursuit of unity?

Christians Must Stand Up for Christ

In today’s modern and humanistic society, it is imperative that Christians all over the world be united for Christ.  In spite of the world’s political leaders claiming that sin is not really sin, that marriage as God created it is outdated, and that following their ideas and lifestyles is worthy and acceptable, God’s Word has not changed one bit. 

We must keep these things in mind as we are assaulted on every side by the forces of evil:

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.  (Genesis 2:21-25)

And also:

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26)

May every Christian in every place stand up for righteousness!

Christians Should Always Be Thankful to God

As Christians, we know that all we have is because of the generosity of our Father in heaven (James 1:5), and that all good gifts are from Him (Matt. 7:11).  So what is our response?  It should be one of joyous thanksgiving!  Continuous gratitude!   Unending humility – that God would do so much for us!  Paul the apostle pretty well sums it up like this:  “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (II Corinthians 15-16).

In spite of our troubles – financial, social, physical, emotional, material – those whose trust is in Christ the Lord must remember to demonstrate the joyous thanksgiving that should fill our lives to the core. 

So…what are you thankful for today?