Sep 24

THE HOLY SPIRIT (1)

There is no greater subject that gets the attention than that of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is said to do many things, even today. However, the Bible does not reveal such! The greatest activity of the Holy Spirit was seen in the apostles of Christ. But, this is not his first activity, as he was active in the creation. He appears first to us in the opening statement of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). It is not seen in English but in the Hebrew text, in the word “God,” which is the Hebrew word, “elohıym” which is translated God which appears to be singular but in Hebrew it is plural. It is all that is God, as we might say, the Godhead! His activity is seen clearly in creation of man, where Moses wrote “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2) Here is the first action of the Holy Spirit, “And the Spirit of God moved.”
However, this would soon be followed with these words, which once more includes the Godhead: “And God (Elohiym) said, “Let us make man in our (plural) image, after our (plural) 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 creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Notice it was the Moses who wrote: “let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image.” This is followed with: “So God (plural) created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” It is important that we notice this is not the action of the Holy Spirit alone but there are members of the Godhead, acting as one, which the Godhead is one!
With the above information in our minds, let us move to the New Testament as this is the place of much debate! There are at least two major questions before just here: 1) did the Holy Spirit dwell in the apostles personally and 2) does the Holy Spirit personally dwell within the human body? That the Holy Spirit acted in the first century is without debate! Here attention is called to the apostles of Christ as they are prepared to fulfill the apostolic commission. Luke recorded it this way: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). It was the Spirit that gave the apostles “utterance” as they begin to speak on that great Pentecost day. It was unlike any other Pentecost! The gospel of Christ was preached for the first time in the age of Christ. Let me say a word about why I use the phrase, “age of Christ.” It is because it is the beginning of the rule of Christ and he will continue to rule as King over his kingdom until he returns to take his people home! Now to the question, were the apostles full with the literal Holy Spirit or were they filled with what the Holy Spirit gave them? The evidence is that they were filled with what the Holy Spirit gave them to speak, the gospel of Christ! The Holy Spirit does not have to literally dwell within in order to impart the gospel or for that matter, to give the power to do miracles of another nature, such as raising the dead! No, the only thing necessary is for the Holy Spirit to impart the ability to do things of an unhuman nature! The grand scheme of things was the written confirmed New Testament, which was as Jude wrote: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Notice that “the faith which was once delivered,” the idea of “once for all time delivered!” This was the primary work of the Holy Spirit in the “age of Christ!”
To reduce the subject to question, “Does the Holy Spirirt personally dwell within the human body today is simple to miss the mark!” God dwelt within one human being and that was Jesus of Nazareth and no one person is such. As John wrote of Jesus: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

Frank R. Williams

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Sep 17

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT BECOMES LAW

The general pattern of our law today follows the same as the case of Jesus Christ. He lived, he died, and here is where the case of Jesus is so drastically different; he lived again and his モlast will and testamentヤ was put into force, it became law and unchangeable law!
Here we will follow the word of Hebrews, as the writer put it: モAnd for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.ヤ (Heb. 9:15). Before continuing, it is necessary, that we ask, モfor what cause?ヤ You see, Jesus had a greater モcauseヤ than anyone else in all times; モthat by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament.ヤ Without the blood of Jesus, without his death, the sins committed from Adam and Eve, though the writer is not addressing these sins here, as he wrote: モtransgressions that were under the first testament,ヤ Adam and Eve were not under the モfirst testament,ヤ but before it! Nevertheless, the point the writer is makingヤ is that モthe transgressions that were under the first testamentヤ were forgiven by means of the blood of Jesus, just as well as the sin committed during the second testament, the last will and testament of Jesus, may be forgiven by the same blood!
Now, let us return to the text, as it reads: モFor where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator livethヤ (Heb. 9:17-18). Now our writer returns to the normal state of affairs, a man lives and writes a モlast will and testament,ヤ then he dies, the will is read and only then, is it put into force. Many people desire, for some reason of their own, to have the terms of the モlast will and testamentヤ to be enforced before becomes law! It is true, that the person who makes a will, is totally free, to have some of the terms enforced before he dies, as it all belongs to him! He is free to do with it, the things that belong to him, as he pleases! He can give out that which is his at anytime but once he dies, the terms of the will are then law and cannot be changed!
As Jesus when introducing the Lordメs Supper, モFor this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sinsヤ (Matt. 26:28). The New Testament was sealed with the blood as it runs through it from beginning to the end! It covers all those who are baptized into it. Paul wrote: モFor as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christヤ (Gal. 3:27). Some people, denominational people, question the necessity of baptism in order to be saved, while Paul teaches that it is in baptism that we モput on Christ,ヤ that we have our sins forgiven (Acts 22:16) when Paul was told: モAnd now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.ヤ It is in baptism that our sins are washed away and in so doing, we are モcalling on the name of the Lord.ヤ
Oh yes, this is part of the モlast will and testamentヤ of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God! It was not enforced before his death but after his death and no man, nor group of men have the power, the right, to change even one word of it, not now, not ever!
So, you desire to be saved! The blood of Jesus is within the his モlast will and testamentヤ just as his teaching is! Hear John once more just here: モWhosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Sonヤ (2 John 9). One last verse in conclusion: モAnd hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in himヤ (1John 2:3-4).

–Frank R. Williams

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Sep 11

THE WILL/TESTAMENT IS PUT INTO FORCE

The will or testament of the now dead man is to be read but not changed! The terms of the will is to be put into force; in other words, action to see that everything written in the will is now law. The ones in charge of this were at first the twelve apostles as identified by Luke: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. “ (Acts 2:1-4). This is the beginning of the Apostolic Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:20, Mark 15:15, and Acts 1:8).
Jesus had promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them “into the truth.” Let us take the time to make a point that is so often overlooked. Generally speaking, our good brethren has gotten this correct. Jesus told the disciples this truth, before his death: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 15:26). What is my point? The pronouns “You and Your” in this context does not have you and me in it! It is to the apostles and only to the apostles! The Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, starting on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts two, when Peter stood up the eleven and began to speak as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance! Thus things Peter and the other apostle spoke the term of the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! This went on through the history recorded in Acts of the Apostles. Thus, the apostolic commission!
The books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are in part the “last will and testament” of Jesus. Many people have trouble determining what is and what is not part of the “last will and testament” of Jesus and what is not. Generally speaking, it is not all that hard. Clearly when Jesus says, “ye have heard” he is not going to talk about something that is part of the old law, as he concludes with, “but I say unto you!” When Jesus is looking forward, these things are part of his “last will and testament.”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-willtestament-is-put-into-force/

Sep 04

A NEW TESTAMENT

It is good to prepare a will before death, as this is the only sure way to get your life’s belongings parted as you wish! I have reached the age that I need to prepare a will, or in my case, a trust. It is hard to face the fact that is going to happen, and the older we get, it is sooner than later. As we look at what we have to whom we want things to go, we realize that many of these things we have, the things we have collected, and that are dear to our heart, no one really wants them! This is a sad state to think on such things. Time is running out and death will come, like it or not. The document we are talking about may be summed in one word, a testament.
What is a testament? Here is one definition I found and it seems to cover the subject: “a person’s will, especially the part relating to personal property, ‘father’s will and testament’, synonyms: last will and testament – last wishes – bequest(s).” As it relates to the Bible, the following is given: “in biblical use) a covenant or dispensation. a division of the Bible. See also Old Testament, New Testament. a copy of the New Testament.” Almost everyone who knows anything about the Bible, knows there is a both an “old” and “new” testament! They may not handle the Bible with this knowledge but they do know that one is the “old” while the other is the “new.” If I were to write a will/testament, it would be called the first, that is, if I wrote a second one, which would be called the new one. A lawyer might ask, “Is there a new testament?” Does this not remind you of the Bible itself? Yes, right there in bold print are the words “Old” and “New” Testamentss. Do people, in general, give heed to these two words? Not really! Yes, they know that the two words are there, and they may in fact, read them but do not handle the two parts of the Bible in this manner. If you were to tell them to turn to the New Testament and read a passage, they will do so. Let us say, you tell them to turn to First Peter chapter two, and verses two, through five. Then you call upon them to read it, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Oh, such a beautiful passage, so full of meaning, but it relates only to those who follow the New Testament. They would not turn to the Old Testament thinking they would find the passage, that is, unless they know nothing about the Bible. This reminds me of my own earliest years, I knew nothing of the difference, and I would just let lthe pages turn between my fingers. So, I never found out that the writings of Peter were in the New Testament. I truthfully might not have known just where I could find it, as it relates to the other books. In my youth, we had what were called, “Bible quotes” and teacher would call a passage, and those in the class could find it first and would read the passage. Needless, to say, I never was the first one to read the passage. Sadly, there are many today who are much like me in my youth. This is so sad!
Nevertheless, we do have an old and new testament in the Bible; yet, it is one book! Never has any two books worked together as does the old and new testaments. The new Testament puts light upon the darkness of the Old Testament. We sometimes say, and correctly so, that the Old Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. If this were not truth, how would we know who Isaiah fifty-three refers to? How would we know that the kingdom passages found in the Old Testament point the kingdom of the New Testament? This brings us to this point, some people have little to no idea what they are teaching when they say, yes, it is true, the Old Testament promises a new kingdom and the New Testament starts out the view that the kingdom is ready to be established but then, because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Christ, God established the church in its place. Now sadly, these people do not understand just what they have done to the New Testament. They destroyed the inspiration of the Old Testament; thus, the New Testament as well. If God foretold, and he did, that he would establish a new kingdom better than that of David but could not do it mainly because of the failure of mankind! Let man be found a liar and God be true! And so, it is! God did establish his kingdom and he crowned Jesus as king and put him at his own right hand in heaven.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also known, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:22-28). Did it take place? Let Peter answer: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know,”
Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:29-33). It was not David of whom Peter spoke but Jesus! There is the new kingdom, of the New Testament; there is Christ and not David; and there the people of God find themselves after being born again!
Let us here start with the words of Hebrews: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Heb. 9:16). Before you can put a “new testament” in force, the one who wrote it, must of necessity die! Otherwise, he is free to change any part of it, so long as he lives! Now, notice the next words: “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9:17). Upon the death of Jesus, just as Peter preached on the first Pentecost after the death of Jesus, it was Jesus that David wrote and not of himself. It was Jesus who sits at God’s own right hand and from here he rules over his own kingdom! It is here, in the new kingdom, that his servants serve God in Christ.
Yes, there is an “old” testament and there is “new” testament and it is the second one that is is force today! It is the New Testament that we must go to get the answers of life; hear Jesus: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). This is nothing more or less, than saying, New Testament is “the truth, and the life: and no man cometh unto the Father, by it!”

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 27

THE PLAN OF SALVATION

Is the plan of salvation really a subject of debate? Most all members of the Lord’s church are aware of this plan and can give it. True, the words “plan of salvation” are not a New Testament phrase, but it identifies something that is true in the simplest terms. Brethren may give it differently, as some will give the five points as follows: 1) believe, 2) repent, 3) confess, 4) be baptized, and 5) live faithfully; others my say it is: 1) hear, 2) believe, 3) repent, 4) confess, and 5) be baptized; while still others may say: 1) hear, 2) believe, 3) repent, 4) confess, 5) be baptized, and 6) live faithfully. There may be others who express it a little differently, but it all comes out just about the same and when not expressed in the correct terms, when someone gives it in any way, if it is generally agreed upon. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to hear that someone really disagrees with the whole subject!
True the words, “plan of salvation,” are not in the New Testament and we are big on “speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent;” but there are areas that need a means of identification, such as “the five acts of worship,” which the same people do not like. There are some who just do not like anything that is organized. For instance, no one has come up with six acts of worship, of course, we can leave one off, but we would be short is expressing the worship. There are some “highly intellectuals” who are “born in the negative mood” and they have a dislike for anyone to disagree with them!
If someone were honestly asking you, “What must I do to be saved?” what would you tell them? You might say, “Well, you have to believe, in other words, you to have faith.” Would you be wrong? No, not as far as you went. When you teach them and are sure they now believe, you then, tell them the next “step” is to repent of your sins. This could go on through the whole plan itself was given. If I recall correctly, it was Walter Scott who was the first one to hold up five figures and give the plan as he had come to understand it. However, it was not as given today and there are reasons for this. If you have studied history of the churches of Christ in America, who are fully aware that those first preachers were working their way out of denominationalism, and they did so one “step” at a time. They had to change what they taught from time to time. Remember, they were coming out “the darkness of false teaching” and had to study their way out. Earl West said it best, “It was a search for the ancient order of things.” Those who object to the word “order” also object to West’s use of the word “order.” But God is an organized being! With these few words before us, we are now ready to dive into our subject.
It is always best to see how the apostles answered or addressed a question or subject. So, here was the question coming from those who were lost: “Men and brethren, what shall we do? “(Acts 2:37). This is the first time such a question had been asked and the first time an answer had been given; therefore, it is the best place to start our subject: “Is there really a plan of salvation?” As we look at Acts two, and hear the words of Acts two, verse thirty-seven, let us understand they were believing lost people! Therefore, Peter was addressing, he was answering a question, coming from the lips of those who believed what he had just preached. This is seen in Luke’s words, “Now when they heard this….”. Peter was to answer their question as directed by the Holy Spirit which had just been given him and the other apostles as recorded in Acts two, verses one through four. All we must do is let Peter answer ours and their question, which he did in verse thirty-eight: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is the first time after Jesus had given them, the apostles, orders to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Then, Jesus addressed the responsibility of those who heard the gospel: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (verse 16). Was there order to Jesus words? Yes, of course, Jesus had order to his words; he gave a plan, if you will, “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” and no others! Peter gives the same plan in Acts two, though in different words as he was dealing with the reality of the lost; therefore, “repent and be baptized.” It must not go without noting, that Peter said, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (unto) the remission of sins.” The subject was the forgiveness of sins, as they understood, that they were lost! If, we should so find that other words are given in answer to the same question, asked or unasked, does it mean that Peter was wrong in Acts two, verse thirty-eight? Of course, not!
With the above in mind, we shall let Peter answer for himself. In Acts three, verse eighteen, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Did Peter make a mistake? No, not in any way! Once more he was addressing those who understood that believeth came first; therefore, he starts with “repent” and then he threw us a curve. He uses the word “convert.” This is the Greek “epistrepho” and means: “to revert” to a former state, and “turn (about, again) (Strong). Some people have in their mind that “repentance” is a turning but this is not the case! Repent means: “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider” and is the Greek, ‘metanoeo.“ So no, repentance is not a turning but the determination to turn seeing we have been wrong! Once more we ask, was Peter wrong in giving this answer? No, and no, again! In the case of Saul, he was told by the inspired Ananias to “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Here baptism stood by itself! There was no belief, repentance, or confession! Does this mean that Saul did not have to believe, repent, or confess? No, not in any way! He already believed and had repented and would make the good confession. I can just hear some saying, ,”Oh Frank, you have started putting things into the text that are not there!” To which I say, Once there, always there! God did not play with us about the “plan of salvation!” We must not over look Lydia, as she: “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul:” And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized,…” (Acts 16:14-15). She was “baptized” and not one word is said about her believing, repenting, or confessing! Did she do these things? Of course, she did! One more case! He is referred to simply as the jailer: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). Here it is! Just “believe” and you are saved! No, this is no different than the other cases and if we should read of a hundred more cases, they would all be of the same kind!
Let the “intellectuals” spew forth their wild venom but it will not change what the inspired preachers said in the first century and what faithful gospel preachers say today! Just think of this way. What greater question is there, than the one about the salvation of our souls? Preachers today sure do not stand above those inspired preachers of the first century! What is the answer to the simple question: “What must I do in order to be saved?” Will the “intellectuals” speak where the New Testament speaks or not, that is the question!
No, in the above we did not cover the confession! Let Paul handle this problem, that is if it be, a problem! Paul addressed this subject: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10). Please, notice that “confession” is made “unto salvation!” This is not a confession of our sins, but that Jesus is Lord, Lord of my life! With this I am prepared to put on the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism! Confession is an announcement to all the world, “Jesus is Lord of my life and I bow before him, and his will is supreme in my life!
So, is there a “Plan of salvation” given in the New Testament? Yes! Can it be found? Yes! It is if binding on us today? Yes! Get yourself in a place so you can hear the gospel!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-plan-of-salvation/

Aug 20

HELL

After having written on heaven, it seems only natural to write on “hell!” There is some misunderstanding on this subject to say the least! Part of this confusion comes from the King James Version of the Bible. It translates three Greek words, Hades, tartaroo, and Gehenna, into the one English word. My computer recognizes the Greek word Hades Gehenna but not tartaroo, with this it is much like the general public. A “little” light on the subject is, therefore, in order!
Let us take up the word Hades first. The word appears eleven times and is translated “hell” ten time and the grave one time. The use of the word helps us understand the meaning, better. Allow me to start with the Greek “hades,” as it is used the most. The King James Version would have served us better had it transliterated the Greek into the Greek “hades”; thus, we would have read “hades” and not “hell.” This would have separated the two Greek words! We have often heard that Jesus went to “hell” and gave those within the opportunity to leave. Now really, how many souls would have stayed in place fill with treatments?
The best place to get a better understanding is Luke sixteen, where the story, not a parable is told. It is not like something; it is really something! As you read the story of the “rich man” and the “beggar” and where they went following death. All Bible readers have come across these events. The “rich man” was really a man” of much and the “beggar” was also really a man but of “nothing!” Both die, but here, the story changes, as the “rich man” is in “torments,” while the “beggar” is comforted. The difference being the way they lived while on earth. To keep it simple, the “rich man” does not share his riches with those in need. While the “beggar” would eat the things that fell from the “rich man’s” table. He ate with the dogs and who do you think got the best of this food that tell from the “rich man’s” table? However, all this would change upon the death of each. The “rich man” would find himself in “torments” while the “beggar” was “comforted.” Get this now, both were in “hades”, but they were not together. In this reality, the “rich man” would learn that there was a “gulf” between the two which could not be crossed as they had no such freedom! The “rich man” desired that Abraham would allow the “beggar” to come across this great “gulf, a divide which no soul could cross! This was not within Abraham’s power! The “rich man” upon learning this, having brothers yet on the earth, he desired that the “beggar” be allowed to go back to earth and tell them of the “torments” he was in and warn them. He would also learn that this was also impossible. Here is a point that is often overlooked, even though the “rich man” was totally aware of his own “torments” and aware of his brother’s spiritual state but in there was nothing he could do to change this; no, it was up to them! Is there any reason to believe that the “rich man’s” brother would change while they remained on earth?
Now, the place that the “rich man” and the “beggar” were located was “Hades!” Yes, that is right, both were in “hades” but in totally difference parts of it! Hades is not the final place of the dead; neither the righteous or the unrighteous! But it is the place all the dead go upon death! If we can understand this, it will help us understand what Peter says about Jesus being in Hades! Jesus being the perfect righteousness, would have gone to the same place the “beggar” went upon his death, which was Hades! Peter quotes the Old Testament in Acts chapter two. Peter starts with the command, which each person would be totally aware of; as he said: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). Next, he reveals what they all knew to be the truth: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: ”Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (verses 23-24). Then, he moves to the one man, the one king, which they all believed; and he said: “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (verses 25-26). Here is Peter’s answer: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” What was that? Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” There it is! Jesus, who is the subject of David’s words, Jesus’, soul was not left in hell, but the word here is “hades.” Now you tell me; being in “hades” what part do you honestly think Jesus’ soul was in: “the paradise part! It helps us, just here, to recall the words of Jesus to the man who was sacrificed with him, to who Jesus said: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Yes, Jesus went to the place of “comfort,” and known as “paradise!” Yes, Jesus went to Hades but to the part of “comfort!” This being the same place of the “beggar!” To conclude this part of our article, let us return to the words of Peter: “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28). From here Jesus returned to earth and competed his work as he talked with the apostles! (Mark 16:14 and Acts 1:8).
Finally, we must recall that Peter in Second Peter two, verse 4, wrote this: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Does this not sound like hades, as it is a place where souls are waiting for the final judgment?” The Greek word is “tartaroo.” Please note, that those who sinned (and who did not obey God) were “cast down to hell” (Tartarus) to wait for the final judgment!
The third and final word Greek word translated “hell” is the Greek “Gehenna.” It is most interesting that Jesus is the one who used this word each time it appears in the New Testament. It is also most interesting that the one who speaks of “Gehenna,” is the one who loves us and gave himself for us! This is the final place of those who do not obey the gospel and is “Gehenna” ( 2 Thess. 1:9). You might make this point about eternal hell and everlasting heaven they are the same Greek word and mean the same thing! (Matt. 25:46). The Greek word is “aionios!”
Therefore, in reading the New Testament keep in mind that there are three Greek words translated “hell” know the difference and know where the different Greek word is used. It will help you better understand the New Testament!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hell/

Aug 13

HEAVEN

How sweet the word, how beautiful the thought, of heaven. As the old song rings out, “How beautiful heaven must be;” then the words of another song comes to mind: “Sing To Me Of Heaven!” As the old preacher had reached the end of his sermon, he walked across the podium and as he did so, he talked about heaven and as he spoke so gently of heaven he looked up and it was as though he was actually looking into heaven itself! I also heard L. O. Sanderson preach on heaven and concluded that such a subject should be left to older preachers. L. O. Sanderson was such when I heard him. The words of the songs just written fit well into brother Sanderson’s sermon.
Another song addresses heaven, in these words: “Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely — I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound — I’m just a pilgrim in search of the city — I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.” It is a song of encouragement. We may not have much of this world’s good but we are just passing through. As a pilgrim I am truly in search of that city that Jesus told the disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2).
Years ago, I went to India to teach the word of God to them. The last thing we did was visit the Taj Mahal and saw it’s beauty and it is truly a thing to see. There are a number of stories about how it was built as it was built for a burial place of the king’s wife. It is one of the ten wonders of the world but it falls to ashes when put beside heaven. The wall of China is nothing to behold when put beside heaven! The beauty of heaven has yet to be told because words we have nothing that truly can compare with heaven! God has given us word pictures but words can only relate to things of this world and heaven is not of this world!
Sometimes we use the Book of the Revelation of Christ to tell us about heaven, but many times words have no relationship to heaven. For instance, many times these words are used: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 20:4). But these words are describing a victory for the church over the Romans. How welcome it must have been when the church that had been battered first their countryman, then, by the Romans; how sweet at taste the words of Revelation twenty-four must have sounded when they first heard them from the pen of John, the apostle. It does not take away from the beauty, nor, the sweetness, of heaven. No, heaven is above and no man, nor, any army of men can touch heaven and what we have waiting for us!
Between now and heaven is the place called Abraham’s bosom, which is “paradise” part of Hades. Even here we are blessed. Hear the word of Jesus to the “rich man,” who desired that the poor man touch his lips with drops of water; Abraham said unto him, there was no way to have the “begger” to cross “great gulf” between them. However, in the end of time, Paul lifts our hearts with these words: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:13-17). Heaven is on the other side of these words. Let us notice what the apostle pointed out for us. First however, allow me to point out that believing is absolutely necessary. Here is what Paul wrote on this: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” Now to our points: 1) we are not to sorrow as others, 2) Jesus will bring with “them which are asleep”, 3) “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,” 4) this will be done “with the voice of the archangel,” 5) also “with the trump of God,” and 6) “the dead in Christ shall rise first;” and secondly: 1) then we which are alive “shall be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds,” 2) then, we shall “meet the Lord in the air,” and finally, 3) the grand conclusion “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” How many times have we read and heard read these beautiful words?
But, Paul had one more verse for us. In verse eighteen he wrote: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” And this we have done! Heaven, beautiful and sweet, and on and on we could go but we can never get better than the inspired word.

–Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/heaven/

Aug 06

WHY DO MEN KILL EACH OTHER?

The above words are fully above my “pay” scale but just a little light that shines on it might be helpful. I am sure, that you have thought about this major problem in today’s world. There is not a day that goes by, that someone has not killed another. First, is there a reason for this badness, for this insanity? Why does a ‘man’ murder another?”
We live in a world that is filled with murders, with homicides, which are in every “news” report; it may even be a family member but it is reported where someone has killed another. Many times, this news report is of someone they know, or someone that they work with. lt is in the evening news where someone has murdered a “friend,” In other words, no one, no relationship is beyond the age of being too old or too young, to be murdered. Now, get this, one or two men go into a house and kill the whole family which includes a baby! Not all of these murders use a gun though many times it is a gun! But we need to be aware that other items are used to murder!
Second, let us now address the subject: “Why do men kill each other?” murder is a much better word than “kill” as in some cases the “killing” is justified. If someone breaks into your house, you have the right to kill them and it should not be called “murder.” The word “murder” is used when the killing is not justified! It generally helps any study to use the best words in such a study! It is also best to use Bible words when addressing a Bible subject. This is the case of God’s words on the subject as used in the ten commandments, where Moses wrote: “Thou shall not kill” as in what is generally called the “ten commandments” as though God only gave ten commandments to Isreal. Nevertheless, the state has the right to put a person to death who has murdered another. Such action is not murder!
So, why do some people murder another human being? It is not all the case that so many murdered so many others. Every weekend brings on more murders than is reported during the week. Such murders included babies who have not done anything to anyone. The simple answer to why some people murder others is that they do not respect human life. Human life is not the same thing as bug life! We step on bugs nearly every day and such a person would never even think of murdering a human being! However, some people have grown to think that killing a human is no more than murdering a bug! Why such thinking?
May the “reason” be that so many humans are murdering others, because they have been taught that all life is of equal value? If we came from the same thing that “monkey” came from, if we would kill a “monkey,” then we can murder a human being. After all, just look at “monkey” and the likeness to humankind! They are, after all, related to us, they just did not grow into humans! Yes, this is what has been taught in our schools for years. Of course, such teaching is not done by all teachers but some.
This is called evolution! In the animal world, it is the “survival of the fittest” The stronger the animal, the bigger the creature, more likely is it to kill the smallest. We see this all the time in the animal world; the bigger or the fastest may kill the slowest, the biggest may kill the smallest. If evolution is true then this is the way humankind would also be! Just look at our streets and cities is this not what we see and hear of every weekend? There is no guilt, no tears, it is just the one who is willing to murder and who has the biggest gun, or who has the largest gang murdering the smaller gang!
It may also be the case, that evolution has taken the reason for living out of the equation. The Christian believes that all human life is equal; no one person is more important than another; that is, unless we are looking at “money” and “power” are our rule for living. As sad as this may sound, I fear that some humans think in such terms!
If a person would abuse another, would this person think, that he has the right to take the life of another? We may be seeing the results of teaching evolution!! This article is written to produce thought in the mind of the reader!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/why-do-men-kill-each-other/

Jul 31

Bible Lesson on Time

You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all.…..
And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams… But, here it is, the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise.…. How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?
I remember well….seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like. But, here it is..…my friends are retired and really getting gray.…they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me.…but, I see the great change.…Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant.…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore.…it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will….I just fall asleep where I sit!
And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did…..
But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last.…this I know, that when it’s over.…its over….Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done….things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime….
So, if you’re not in your winter yet.…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!!
Life goes by very quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!
You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life.…so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember.…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past.
“Life is a gift to you from God. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.

(Author unknown)

LISTEN TO GOD
A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native American said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all this noise!” “No, I’m sure of it,” the Native American said, “I heard a cricket.” “That’s crazy,” said the friend.
The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes beneath the branches, and sure enough, there was a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed. “That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!” “No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.” “But that can’t be,” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in all this noise.”
“Yes you can,” came the reply. “Here, let me show you.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed that every person’s head within twenty feet turned and looked to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs. “See what I mean?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what’s important to you, and what you’re listening for.”
What’s important to us? What do we listen for? Are there times that we fail to listen to God, because we are focused on other things that are more important to us? Regarding the Jews, Jesus said, “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” (Matthew 13:15-16; cf. Isaiah 6:9-10; Acts 28:26-27).
Brethren, amid the distractions of the world all around us, may our ears always be open, not only ready to listen for, but to hear and be obedient to God’s voice as He speaks to us through His word (1 Samuel 3:9-10; cf. John 8:47; John 10:4; John 10:27; 1 John 4:6)

By Mike Riley Montana St. church of Christ, El Paso, Texas

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/bible-lesson-on-time/

Jul 23

DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT MEAN THE SAME THING TODAY— – AS IT DID IN THE FIRST CENTURY? (4)

Is the New Testament true or is it an ever-changing book? This is an important question to all who believe the New Testament and who live their lives according to it. What if you are one of those who believe that it is true from beginning to the end, from Matthew to the end Revelation, just what are we to do? What about it, are you one of those who believes that the New Testament is the inspired word of God? These questions need an answer!
Let us start answering these questions by going to the words of Jesus. He said to those Jews who believed in him: “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). First, Jesus starts with those who “believed on him” and this is a most important point. Jesus is not addressing the Jews who did not believe on him; Jesus was not telling them that they would know the truth, which would make them free.
Second, this is before the revelation of “the truth” was made known to the twelve disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). At that time, Jesus made known by the Holy Spirit, “the truth,” that would have the power to make those who believed on him free. He did so by the preaching of the twelve. At that time, they, those who believed, had the opportunity to obey it and be free from their sins! How beautiful are the words of Peter as recorded by Luke; Luke wrote of these who did believe on Jesus: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Truly they were searching, and they were ready to hear the words that would make them free! Luke continued to write: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” How soul/spirit striking are the words of the apostles!
Third, those who did believe were allowed to hear and obey the inspired words; as Luke wrote of it: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (verse 41). What did they now do? Luke will answer this: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (verse 42). They were now free from sin, and they worshiped God!
Now, Jesus having told the lost Jews who did believe on him and they having received and obeyed the truth, which Jesus had said they would “know;” salvation belonged to them! However, we have the question before us, is that truth which these who heard and obeyed the truth on the day of Pentecost, which is over two thousand years old still truth today? They heard the apostles preach it and we read it! Is it still truth, or has it changed over the years? Can we today preach what the apostles preached and get the same salvation? If not, just what can we preach to the lost?
But this is not all we have before us. Jesus said to the men who would be apostles, that they would receive the truth. Here is what Jesus said to them: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). Did Jesus tell them the truth, or not? Who would dare say, “no!” Who would stand against Jesus? Who would say, that the apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit, who in turn gave them the “truth,” which “truth” they preached on that day of Pentecost; which truth those on the day of Pentecost heard and obeyed it; would jump to their feet and it was truth then, but is it not truth today?
At some point, those who say that the New Testament was truth, but it has changed; owe us an answer. If it was truth but it is no longer truth; just what is the truth?? If the New Testament is no longer the truth, what part of it is not true today. Who has the wisdom to know what is true and what is not true? I have no such wisdom; therefore, just like you, I need for those who think they have such wisdom to stand up and speak? But they had better prove to the rest of us, that they now have the Holy Spirit, for there is no other kind of person who would have the power to reveal the “modern day truth?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/does-the-new-testament-mean-the-same-thing-today-as-it-did-in-the-first-century-4/

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