Dec 06

DOES GOD EXIST? (6)

No “leap-in-the-dark” will do when dealing with the eternal important question: “Does God Exist?” Of course, there are some, if not many, who hold the Bible itself as a “leap-in-the-dark;” however, a careful study of the Bible has proved it true! Whatever the subject, history, prophecy, and yes, even in the field of science when addressed. Each of these fields of study, go together in proving that God does exist!
At let us look at the blood system. In simple terms, humans have a two-circuit circulatory systems: 1) one circuit is for the pulmonary circulation (circulation to the lungs; pulmo = lungs), and 2) the circuit is for systemic circulation (the rest of the body). As each atrium and ventricle contract, blood is pumped into certain major blood vessels, and from there, continues through the circulatory system. Now, here is the question: “Can the human body live without both being present at the same time?” Then, just for fun, this question: “Which came first, the human body or the two-circuit circulatory systems?”
Other questions: 1) Could the human body live without the “pulmonary circulation” system?” 2) Could the human body live without the “systemic circulation (the rest of the body) system? 3) Could the human body live without the lungs? And 4) Could you have a circulatory system without the human body? The point being, the human body is dependent upon the two-circuit circulatory systems! But, the two-circuit circulatory systems have no use of being without the human body!
The question of the day: “Which came first: 1) the pulmonary circulation system or 2) the systemic circulation (the rest of the body)? Could the human body live without either one of these? No! But, as per the theory of evolution, it was one part at a time, but this means death to whichever evolved first! Did you get that? Simply stated, the human body is inter-dependent! Moses wrote: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). God created a complete body, with all the inner parts working in harmony with each other!
Then, there is the question of procreation. Per-the theory of evolution, how do you have one gender without the other? One writer put it this way: “The evolution of sex (and its accompanying reproductive capability) is not a favorite topic of discussion in most evolutionary circles, because no matter how many theories evolutionists conjure up (and there are several), they still must surmount the enormous hurdle of explaining the origin of the first fully functional female and the first fully functional male necessary to begin the process.” Question: Can you have a male without a female, and can you have a female without having a male and reproduce? God’s answer: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Gen. 2:21-22). You see, God fully understand this dilemma! Male by himself cannot fulfill the command given by God himself; neither can the female fulfill the command of God by herself. God having made them “… in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26); gave this commandment: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, …” (Gen. 1:28). The superiority of the male and the female over all other living thing, is seen in these words: “subdue it (the earth, frw): and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28). God was not so foolish, to have created the male, and having commanded, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth;” nor was he so foolish as to have created the female and commanded” “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth!” No, God created man and woman, male and female created he them, then, he said to them, “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth!” Just a word about the word “replenish” as it appears in the King James Version, it comes from the Hebrew “maw-lay” and is a “A primitive root, to fill” (Strong). There is no suggestion of a former creation!
How beautiful is the human body; how perfectly is works together each part and system working together in harmony! Does the human body prove that God exists? You answer!

Frank R. Williams.

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/does-god-exist-6/

Nov 30

DOES GOD EXIST? (5)

This is the fifth article in this series and the question is: “Have we proved that God exists?” Before answering, read the words of the apostle John: “No man hath seen God at any time. …” (1 John 4:12). Here is another question: “How do you prove a Heavenly, eternal, being that no one has seen?” You do it by logic, reasoning, and implication.
Let us look at this question a little more. If there is design to the universe, then the implication is that there is a Designer. If there is order to the universe, then the implication is that is one who ordered. Both points help us understand how we prove that God exists! This is how we prove that, He, that no man has seen exists! In Hebrews, it reads: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” (Heb. 6:4). Clearly, we as human beings, have the obligation to believe that God is; that God exists; as it is impossible to please God without it! But this obligation comes through implication! Such as: 2+2=4, 1+3=4; therefore, 2+2 = 1+3, as both equal the same thing! Or design demands a Designer and order demands there is one who ordered it!
That there is order and design in our universe is easy to see! But, does this prove there is a designer? Let us take something as simple as a shoe. When you pick up a shoe at the store, the idea that it just made/created itself never enters your mind. Why, because you know the shoe did not and cannot make itself. The shoe itself implies a designer and maker. You never saw anyone design it, you never saw anyone make it; but you know that someone did design it, and someone made it. These two things are not unreasonable. In fact, they are totally necessary! The person who says that the way the shoe looks, and the fact that it is on their foot, does not prove both a designer and a maker is a person who rejects the facts, the proof!
The above paragraph is also true of the universe and all things within it! Yet, the person who stands and says that the design of the universe and the fact that it exists, is proof that it has a designer and a maker! This is just as true as the shoe; it had a designer and maker! However, you never saw either the one who designed or made it. The fact that it is on your foot is all the proof any reasonable, rational, person needs! So, here we are standing on an earth that has design and the fact that it exists is proof that it had a designer and maker.
When I was in school, we talked about a universe, but now we know that we were thinking too small; as it has been discovered that there are many universes! Back in article number three, I wrote that what is out there, all the universes, is too large for any “Big Bang!” As we continue to learn, by our exploration, of “outer space,” that it continues to get larger. It is too big for any “Big Bang,” as any “Big Bang” requires something to start with, as it is still and will always be true that “something never comes from nothing!” What went “bang,” requires that something was there before the “bang!”
The Bible, like it or not, gives us the answer to the whole universe, no matter how large it turns out to be as we discover more; keep in mind as you think on these things, when we discover more and more, that it has always been there. The first verse in the Bible gives both the designer and the maker, as Moses wrote: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The Hebrew word used by Moses translated “beginning,” as he was given it by the Holy Spirit, is “ray-sheath’,” means, “the first, in place, time, order or rank” (Strong). The only thing before “the heavens and the earth” is God and Moses wrote it!
When you put your shoes on, remember the universe, and know just as surely as those shoes had a designer and maker, so did the universes yet unknown to us! Therefore, it is totally reasonable and logical, for you to hold a shoe and ask the person who challenges you, by saying “That God does not exist,” by asking, “Did this shoe design and make itself?”
Then, tell such a person that he did not see the designer or the maker of the shoe, but he knows by implication that it both has a designer and maker!

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 23

DOES GOD EXIST? (4)

In January 1977, I departed the United States of America for the nation of India. This trip was to preach the inspired word of God to the people of India. The first thing I noticed was the mass of people. People were everywhere! Solitude was non-existent! Yet, this very fact gave rise to the great opportunity to fulfill my mission (2 Tim. 2:2) of teaching the lost the beautiful soul saving gospel of Christ!
The second thing that got my attention was the fact that this nation was wholly given to idolatry! Hardly was there a place that I could look and not see a “god;” be it in the fields, in the squares, in the buses, in the taxis and of course, in the homes! It was then that I was reminded of Paul’s words in Athens: “spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). What was my answer? It was the same as Paul’s, having studied his answer: “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). At times I was in such a location, that I could point to the fields where such “gods” had been placed and say to my hearers, that they did not take very good care of their handmade “god” as the grass was as high as their “gods” were tall!” I pointed out that every “god” that I saw was nothing more than dead; that there was no life in any of them; and that all of them were made by their hands. Think of this; man making with his own hands his own “gods!” Make the “god” or “gods” that make you happy! By the nature of the God revealed upon the pages of the Bible, that which is worshipped by man, is greater than man! Why would any man desire to worship that which he has made with his own hands?
The God revealed upon the pages of the Bible, beginning in the first verse, God is declared unto us: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Then, this most revealing verse, as it relates to our subject: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (Gen. 1:11-19). Where does everything come from? God!
The above words are then followed with: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:20-24). Here is the beginning things and their continuance, as seen in the words “bring forth!” This is followed with these words which reveal the beginning of mankind: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that crept upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). There is God and man, in the proper order: first, God and then, man. God created man; man did not and cannot truly create God!
Yes, man can with his own hands, make whatever he so desires, call it a “god,” bow down, fall upon his face, and worship that which he hath made! But his words of worship will get no higher than his voice may travel. But, one thing for sure, the “god” made with his hands does not hear one word of his adoration, as his “god” has no ears to hear with (Isa. 59:1-2), no voice by which he can response to his request!
It was never, something from nothing, as it can never be such! Wherever and with whatever, man must start with “something” when addressing the beginning of things! Truth says: it was “in the beginning God!” Friends, don’t let anyone fool you, into believing that “nothing” can create “something!”

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 16

DOES GOD EXIST? (3)

Is there a greater question? If the God revealed upon the pages of the Bible exists, and he does, then, all humankind is answerable to him! On the other hand, if the God of the Bible does not exist, then mankind is free to do their own will, follow their likes and dislikes, to commit every kind of evil the human mind can conceive. The result would be as Moses wrote of the people just before the great flood: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). America has not reached this point yet, but we are on our way!
The above serves as evidence that our question must be answered! When the universe is considered, I have long stated that it is just too big for there not to be, God! Here is how one writer put it: “The universe was born with the Big Bang as an unimaginably hot, dense point. When the universe was just 10-34 of a second or so old — that is, a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second in age — it experienced an incredible burst of expansion known as inflation, in which space itself expanded faster than the speed of light. During this period, the universe doubled in size at least 90 times, going from subatomic-sized to golf-ball-sized almost instantaneously.” (Charles Q. Choi, June 17, 2017 – Our Expanding Universe: Age, History & Other Facts). It surprises me that writers are still, after all these years, referring to “the Big Bang,” as a simple question puts an end to it; the question: “What went BANG?” There was something before “the Big Bang!” Something must have existed before “the Big Bang,” but just what was it? Answer if you have understanding!
Here is one answer to the question, what existed before “the Big Bang?” Answer: “Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, gravity pulled a cloud of dust and gas together to form our solar system. While scientists aren’t certain of the exact nature of the process, …” (The writer’s name was lost in my search, frw). Did you notice the words, “a cloud of dust and gas?” Just where did and how did this “dust and gas” come from? The total of the efforts to explain the universe’s origin, is an effort to try and prove that the God of the Bible does not exist! Yet, all such efforts must begin with something, and the question remains: “Where did that something come from and how did it exit?” Man, in all his worldly wisdom has no answer to these two simple questions! One spokesman answered the question: How much did that which went Bang weigh; he responded, “About twenty-five pounds!” Which does not tell us where the “twenty-five pounds” came from!
Moses answered the overriding question, where did the universe come from, in these words, the opening statement of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Give thought to these words: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” (Psa. 53:1). Now, read the words which followed: “Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” Nothing has changed, the person who declares, “there is no God,” is subject to: “Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity!” Remove God, and mankind is free to his own iniquity; so “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Friends, there is a continuing need to address the question: “Does God exist?” While doing so with scientific facts, not “a leap in the dark,” coupled with the Bible.
In Stephen Hawking’s final book, he wrote: “I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science, …” (Brief Answers to Big Questions, the under lining is his.). Think of this now, “according to the laws of science” he was trying to scientifically prove, that something came from nothing! How “scientific” is that? He also wrote in answer to the question, what happened before the Big Bang: “there was no time before the Big Bang.” Well, just what was there? According to him, time also started from nothing, but God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night …” (Gen. 1:14). Friends, “day” and “night” is time! There is another good question, just where did “day” and “night” come from in the “Big Bang” guess?
God gives the best evidence of his own existence! “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa. 19:1). The Hebrew word used for “declare,” expresses: “to score with a mark as a tally or record, that is, (by implication) to inscribe, and to enumerate” (Strong). God does exist!

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 08

DOES GOD EXIST? (2)

The question is far from being new, but it still needs continually to be addressed! However, never in my lifetime has there been a greater need that attention be given to it. Once the gospel was taken from the Jews of the first century, in that, the Jews having rejected it; the apostles turned their attention to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46). The Gentile world was mostly pagan, having many so-called gods. Luke describes Paul’s reaction: “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). Our spirit should/must be “stirred” within us as we see America today; they too are “wholly given to idolatry!”
What was Paul to do seeing such? Before answering the question, allow me to point out just a few things. First, Paul fully believed in the power of the gospel; as he wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Second, Paul viewed himself as “debtor” to all; as he wrote: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (Rom. 1:14). That covered the whole of humanity in his time! Third, there was not a place that Paul was not willing to go, as he wrote: “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Rom. 1:15). If every Christian had this same attitude; working through local congregations in which they are members; then, the churches of Christ would be able to say: “Which (the gospel, frw) is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:6).
Now, let us return to Athens and see what Paul did, his “his spirit” being “stirred” within him. First, let us notice that we might be prone to conclude, there is no need to preach the gospel in such a place as no one will be ready to receive it! Isn’t this what we so often think? Years ago, I was preaching a gospel meeting in a small area of Arkansas; where there was a man, who with his wife had given land so a building for the local church of Christ could worship. This man was not a Christian, he saw no reason to obey the gospel, even though he was in every worship. In this meeting, I used an old type of preaching with a flannel board to aid my preaching. One night I preached on the first steps of obeying the gospel and how it worked. The man, who was eighty years old, came forward at the end of the sermon and humbly obeyed the gospel to the saving of his soul. There was total silence, his wife could not speak a word; as no one could believe that this man, after nearly twenty years of being present for worship, hearing sermon after sermon but he never gave any indication of obeying the gospel but on this night he did. Afterward, when the good folks had gotten themselves together, asked him why he now had obeyed the gospel. His answer was one of simplicity: “I never saw the need before!” By using the physical aid of the flannel board, he was able to see clearly what baptism did! What he had never seen before was the purpose of baptism! Question: after all the sermons, all the efforts before, that had gone by, this man showing no interest in obeying the gospel, would you have thought that he was a good person to study with? Be honest now!
Well, the above was a man who did believe in God, but we are addressing the subject of those who do not believe in the existence of God. The Gentile world of Paul’s day was just such a word! Yet, this fact, never stopped the apostle from preaching the gospel to them. Let us return to Athens and see a little of what Paul said. Luke wrote: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious” (Acts 17:22). He addressed right where they were, spiritually speaking. They were without God and had no hope of life in the hereafter! They were not without “religion,” as Paul said, “ye are too superstitious,” and this word is the Greek, “deisidaimonesteros” and means “more religious than others” (Strong). Like those of today, they are not without “religion,” as our English word expresses the idea of “beliefs.” Get this now, even the person who says that he does not believe in the existence of God, has a “religion.” His “religious” beliefs are largely self-formulated. Many such people stand ready to individually debate you. He/she will stand by their self-made “religion” while laughing at you for being “religious!”
Question: What is the “god” of the America? It is largely the “god” of materialism; the “god” without mind, having no rights and no wrongs, other than what they believe today and is subject to change tomorrow. Paul’s answer to such, is right even for today: “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23).

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 01

DOES GOD EXIST?

Today, the question under which we write needs to be answered! Facts, no “leap in the dark,” will do here, as those who are known as, “the Millennials,” who were born between the years of 1981 – 2000, need to hear and read true scientific answers! These scientific answers need to be coupled with biblical proofs! Not being the most learned scientific person, I generally like to keep it simple. That is not to say, that with a little “deep” study, that I cannot go “deep in the well” to get information and to write about such.
One of the things I like to do is look up at the stars at night. I can remember as a young boy, 8-10, looking at the stars. It does seem that I could see more stars then, than now. However, before the seafarers headed out into the far seas, the unknown waters, they kept close to the land. This was the first navigation, as it followed landmarks. It might be a large rock near the coastline, or they might use other things along the sea-land areas.
As the sea farers determined to venture out beyond the coastline and into the unknown waters of the deep; they needed other means of navigating. But what would it be? It was here that the North Star became so important. You might think the most famous star in the night sky is the brightest, but it isn’t. It is but about the 50th brightest! It sits almost directly above the North Pole; therefore, it is a very reliable gauge of North. Question: “How did the North Star find its way nearly above the North Pole?” Did it, with all the other thousand upon thousands of stars, just one day appear in the heavens so navigators could use it? Or does it fit within the words of which Moses wrote: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so” (Gen. 1:14-15). Speak if thou hasn’t understanding!
One of the questions that comes to mind, just here, is how do you locate the North Star (Polaris)? Here is the answer; all you must do is find the Big Dipper pointer stars, Dubhe and Merak. These two stars outline the outer part of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Then, draw a line from Merak through Dubhe (as seen below), and just continue this line and it will take you right to the North Star. Did it just happen this way, or did God make it this way, knowing that navigators would need it?
You can measure latitude where you are:
1. Use a string and weight (plumb line) to put a vertical stick in the ground (A in drawing);
2. Align a second vertical stick with the first stick and the North Star (B in drawing);
3. Use your thumb to sight down stick “B” until the North Star is aligned with the top of stick “A;”
4. Mark the spot (C in the drawing) and stretch the string between “A” and “C,” and then, back to stick “A” in a level line (As seen in the drawing);
5. Measure the angle – that’s the degree of latitude (not to be confused with longitude).

6. The two stars, Merak and Dubhe, outline the outer part of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Thus, all you must do is draw a line from Merak through Dubhe, and just continue this line and it will take you right to the North Star. Thus, if you have trouble seeing the North Star, here is a way to locate it! Was it God or did it just happen? No “leap in the dark” here!

So, what is this all about? It is about the words of the Psalm: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa. 19:1). These simple words reveal the perfections of God, and that God is; God does exist! Therefore, look up into the heavens and believe! The heavens are scientific!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/does-god-exist/

Oct 24

SOUND, AS IN BIBLICALLY SOUND

A follow up article about the word “sound” is in order, as it relates to the articles: “Are you looking for a sound church, don’t go to Corinth.” The churches of Christ have the solemn duty to be one of soundness. After all, what is a local church of Christ, if not sound but unsound? Somewhere along the way, of becoming unsound, and staying unsound, the Lord removes the “candlestick” that is the relationship between Christ and the local church! It is like, Christ saying to the local church, you are no longer my people!
The word “sound” means several things, depending on the area of study. For instance, a congregation may be “healthy,” as not have any spiritual “disease;” free from error, as in adhering to the teaching; and this is to identify the three areas of soundness. We could also address the structural soundness, referring to the spiritual structure of a congregation. In the New Testament there are but three areas addressed in what might be called the “spiritual structure” of a congregation. They are: 1) worship, is the worship of the congregation in line with authorized worship revealed in the New Testament for “the churches of Christ; 2) benevolence, as in helping those in need of the basic things of life; and 3) is the local church evangelic, as teaching the lost? If a congregation is doing more than these three, then, there is no way that such a congregation can, according to “the teaching of Christ,” be viewed as sound! At the same time, if the local church is doing less, than, any of these three things, can it be said that she is “structurally sound?”
Then, what about the spirituality of a congregation? This is an area that is not addressed very much but should be! Just how would you go about to measure the “spirituality” of a congregation? What would you hold up as the standard? It would surely not be the church in Corinth! Once more, let me use the words of John, “the teaching of Christ.” If spirituality is missing from “the teaching of Christ,” then, this teaching is incomplete; yet, Paul wrote of the word of God: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Is spirituality to be found in Paul’s words? If not, then Paul by the Holy Spirit wrote an untruth! For the “scripture” is incomplete; if it is not capable of making “perfect,” as Paul used the word, as complete! If spirituality is not in “the teaching of Christ,” just where would we go to find “spirituality?” Speak, if thou hast understanding!
If the churches of Christ, have authority to act outside “the teaching of Christ,” then, just what is that body of teaching? While you are thinking on this, just what is the purpose of “the teaching of Christ?” Oh, let us not forget, the soul shanking words, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). Do you know what the word “abideth” means? Well, if comes from the Greek, “meno” and it is “A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy)” but this is not the end, as Strong went on to say: “abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry.” If these words do not describe a congregation’s relationship to “the teaching of Christ,” then, she does not “abideth” “in the teaching of Christ!” Why is this so important? Hear John once more: “hath not God!” On the other hand, he continued to write: “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” A congregation’s relationship to the Father and the Son, depends on her “abiding” in “the teaching of Christ!” There are no second or third ways to “hath both the Father and the Son,” but to stay within the limitations of “the teaching of Christ!” It is to be sound to abide in “the teaching of Christ!” It is to be unsound to not abide within “the teaching of Christ!”
Let it be known, that behind all of this, “If you are looking for a sound church don’t go to Corinth,” is that we cannot really understand “the teaching of Christ;” therefore, we do not really have a way of knowing when a congregation is sound or not! Can we understand “the teaching of Christ?” If not, then, John gave us no way of “abiding,” in fact, John gave us no way of even starting to abide in “the teaching of Christ;” for no one is sure just what “the teaching of Christ” really is!
It is more than amazing to this writer, that old false doctrines/teaching never die they just fade away for a time but wait for such a time as brethren are weak in their knowledge of the word of God to arise once again. Hosea wrote in the long ago, speaking of the priest: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” Hosea 4:6). If not for ourselves, then, for our children, be sound in the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints (Jude 3)!

Frank R. Williams

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Oct 17

I CAN, NO, I CAN NOT

One of the greater dangers in reading the Bible is taking a “text out of context!” A text out of context” is nothing more than a pretext; that is, making a text teach what it never taught and was never intended to teach! This means that it is now a false teaching.
One such text is: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). We have been taught, and correctly so, when studying the Bible to ask certain questions as a starting place. Such as: 1) who is talking or writing; 2) to whom are the words addressed; and 3) when was it said? Why, even some of the best among us, fail to apply these simple rules is unknown to this writer!
Using the three rules above, let us look at the text of Philippians, four verse thirteen. The word is “I.” Just who is this pronoun referring? The apostle Paul is the writer; therefore, the pronoun refers to him! This one fact changes the whole meaning of the verse, as it is so often used today. You see, so many take the “I” and apply it to themselves, or someone elses like themselves; meaning they themselves or others, “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth” them. Missing applying the pronoun, makes this text into a pretext. Meaning, the text has been used to teach what Paul was never teaching! Does it surprise you, that you are not the apostle and that words applied to the apostle do not mean that we, you, can do what he could do!
On one occasion Paul was stoned. Here is the report made by Luke: “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead” (Acts 14:19). More than likely, not one of us has been stoned, just take this to start with. But, notice that those who stoned Paul, “supposing he had been dead,” as in no life in him! At least generally speaking, stoning was for the purpose of putting one to death! It was not just to put bruising on a person! What would happen to you today, if you were stoned, to the point that those doing so, thought you were dead? Would you just get up and walk away as did Paul? No!
Well, what did Paul do? Luke continued to write: “Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (verse 20). Is this what you would do after being stoned to death? Of course, not! You would be dead, or so near death, that you would not be able to get up and go into the city. You and I would have to be carried to the doctor, who might be able to bring us back to health; but more than likely, we would just die! Say, what happened to that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me?” Paul needed no doctor or anyone else to help him; “he rose up, and came into the city.” Not only so, but Luke wrote: “the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” In all honesty, if you were stoned, as Paul was, would you be able to get up and go into the city, then, travel to another city, and this without ever seeing a doctor! No, of course, not!
Looking at another event in the life of Paul, we see Paul on a ship. Here is what Luke wrote as Paul was in the midst of a shipwreck: “But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21). Is there any reason for me to believe that I should give ear to what you would say as the ship we were on is nearing a shipwreck? No! What power to you have? Oh, I forgot, you “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth” you! Let us continue with the text in Acts as Luke wrote of Paul: “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship” (verse 22). Amid a shipwreck, is there any reason that I should hear your words? Would you have the power, to say in honesty, “I exhort you to be of good cheer?” Next, Paul said: “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve” (verse 23). Should I believe you, if you were to tell me, in the midst of a shipwreck, “there stood by me this night the angel of God?” No!
Friends, I am not Paul and you are not Paul; and neither of us can do what Paul did and say what Paul said! Therefore, when Paul writes: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The pronouns, “I” and “me” in this verse do not refer to me and you! We must be oh so careful to keep a text in its own context and please, notice the pronouns!

Frank R. Williams

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Oct 12

POSSIBILITARIAN

No, I did not make the word up, under which I write, but it really is a word. Have you ever seen it, or used it? Do you have any idea what it means? Before continuing, allow me to give you a quote, as it relates to this word, as one writer put it. Here is the quote: “I’ve learned that yes, pigs can fly!” Well, in real life, I am not willing to go that far! You maybe!
The word itself is a good word. It looks at what may appear to be impossible and sees that it may in fact be possible. In life, this is a good and necessary thing! How many inventions have come about, when someone looked the “impossible” right in the eye and did it anyway! Well, yes, a pig can fly! Just put one on an airplane and watch it take off; then, look up and see it soar overhead! With all the rain the Houston area has gotten over the last few months, it may have been seen that a pig was flying overhead, as it hung from a helicopter. Yes, there goes another pig flying overhead! If those who invent things, had not been “possibilitarian,” where would we be day?
Laurie Hunt wrote this: “Being a possibilitarian is an attitude. Being open to possibility allows the space for opportunities to show up.” There are those who never look up, they only look down at what they have done; never at what might be done! You remember the parable of the talents; wherein Jesus said: “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods” (Matt. 25:14). These are the words of introduction to what follows. So, just what did Jesus say next? Here are his words: “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” (verse 15). As the “man” is preparing to travel into a far county, he desired that his goods be taken care of; therefore, in wisdom, he divided his “talents” up between three men. Knowing that they had “several ability,” he divided the “talents” accordingly. No man was given more than he was able to handle. But, the question before us, could each man see the possibilities of the “talents?” In other words, were they “possibilitarians?” Let us read on and see!
Jesus next reveals what each of the three did with the “talents” given him. The words are: “Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents” (verse 16). Here is a “possibilitarian!” He looked and saw the possibilities of the “five talents” he had been given. They could make more “talents!” The same thing is true of the second man, as the records reads: “And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two” (verse 17). Here we have a “possibilitarian!” He was not fearful! But, what about the third man? Let us read of him, as he said: “Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed” (verse 24). Did this man have more wisdom than the other two? No! He is fact had less wisdom! His head only looked down and could not see the possibilities that were before him! Shame on him and all others of the mindset! Just what did this man do with the “talent” given him? Let the Lord speak for himself: “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine” (verse 25). Here is this depth of fear; the epitome of no vision; and here is the revelation of a man who was not a “possibilitarian!”
Now, what was the end result of each when their lord returned? Jesus will tell us, as the man’s lord speaks to 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” (verse 21). To the second man, his lord said unto him: “Well done, 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” (verse 23). But, what was said to the third man? Once more, we will let Jesus answer: “Thou wicked and slothful servant, …” (verse 26); but this is not the end, his lord continued: “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” (verse 28)!
Have you changed your mind? Do you now desire to be a “possibilitarian?” If not, you should have! By not desiring to be a “possibilitarian,” you are seeing things as impossible! Lift your eyes and see the possible! See the “pig flying!”

Frank R. Williams

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Oct 04

IT’S THAT WORD AGAIN: IMPLICATION (4)

The reader might be wondering why we are spending so much time gathering for worship on “the first day of the week,” well, it is because most denominational churches and the churches of Christ all gather to worship on “the first day of the week.” This would appear to make this a settled question. However, the question we are addressing is one of authority; where is the authority to gather to worship on “the first day of the week?” This is not a settled question!
Seeing that there is no commandment for God’s children to gather on “the first day of the week,” just how does God establish authority, that is binding upon his children today? How does God, through Jesus Christ, establish authority for something, when there is no commandment authorizing it? I submit to the reader, that the denominational folks do not have a clue! Other than, it just has always been this way! Well, tradition is good, when there is authority for it! But, just because denominational churches have always done it, and they do it because those before them get it, as in the Roman Catholic Church did it! Get this now, there is no authority in the fact that the Roman Catholic Church did/does something! They are not, the church the Lord Jesus Christ said, “… I will build my church; …” (Matt. 16:18). So, this being true, where is and how do we get authority for “the first of week” assembly of worship?
Friends, it is by implication! The church of the first century, under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, did in fact, gather to worship God “in spirit and in truth,” upon “the first day of the week!” Luke wrote this: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). But this is not the only place such evidence is seen. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, even so as I have given order to the churches of Galatia do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Here Paul gave a commandment concerning the collection and it was to be done on “the first day of the week.” The Greek words used here should be translated, “on each first day of the week” (Meyer, New Testament commentary) and the Expositor’s Greek New Testament also reads, “the rule previously laid down for Galatia: “On every first (day) of the week.” Then, there is this: “Κατα has a distributive force, every first day” (Vincent’s Word Study). Thus, the church in Corinth had a commandment but notice that Paul wrote: “even so as I have given order to the churches of Galatia do ye.” Therefore, the commandment was not limited to the church in Corinth! However, this is not all!
We must not forget the action of those who first obeyed the gospel on the first Pentecost after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus! What did they do? Luke wrote: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Taking the words, “breaking of bread” and putting it with the action of the church in Troas; as Luke wrote: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).
There we have one of the ways authority is seen by implication. Let it be known, and attention is here called, we as children of God, do not establish authority! No church on earth has the right to “establish” authority! No, we simply recognize it as God’s established authority! As to his children gathering to worship “upon the first day of the week,” we submit to his authority! Yes, it is true, that such authority in the case of what day God’s children are to gather for worship, God has established that his children gather to worship him today, do so “upon the first day of the week!” He did this, not because he gave them a commandment, but he did so by implication, approved action of the first century church, under the oversight of the apostles of Christ!
If this is not so, then by what authority do we gather to worship God “upon the first day of the week?” Seeing there is no commandment, the authority must be seen by some other means! Keep in mind, the authority must come from the New Testament, of which Jesus said: “For this is my blood of the new testament;” as he gave the fruit of the vine to the disciples, introducing unto them the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:28).
In conclusion, keep in mind this old saying: “If the church under the oversight of the apostles did it, then, the church today can also do it by the same authority!” This being true, it means that this is also true: “If the church under the oversight of the apostles did not do it, then, the church of today may not do it!” This is not addressing method! As that is a totally different subject! Finally, let it be understood, that any implication found in a New Testament statement; being implied by the inspired writer, is just as true, as the statement that implies it!

Frank R. Williams

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