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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/i-can-no-i-can-not/

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

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

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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/its-that-word-again-implication-4/

Sep 26

IT’S THAT WORD AGAIN: IMPLICATION (3)

Where in the New Testament is the authority to take of the “Lord’s Supper” on “the first day of the week,” Sunday? It is not in any commandment, as there is no such commandment in the New Testament. Clearly, Jesus intended his supper to be eaten in his “Father’s kingdom,” for he said: “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). When was the first time it was done?
Luke reveals the answer to the question, in these words: “And they (Those of verse 41) continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Were these acts of worship done by the authority of Christ? Yes! As the apostles of Christ did none other! Is it right for the churches of Christ today to do the same thing? Yes! And in doing so, the churches of Christ today are doing so by the authority of Christ! Yet, it remains that there is no commandment for such action in the New Testament! This brings us to this question: Is there authority in action, that is done without a commandment?
Search the New Testament from beginning to end, and there is no commandment to take the Lord’s Supper upon “the first day of the week!” There is authority to take the Lord’s Supper, as Jesus himself gave such authority in his words to the disciples in Matthew 26:26-29. But when this was to be done, by way of commandment, is never found. However, we do read: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, …” (Act 20:7). That the “Lord’s Supper” was taken on “the first day of the week” cannot be assailed in honesty! Yes, there are some who do teach, that these words do not refer to the Lord’s Supper, but they are only trying to “muddy the water,” as they have no other authority for when the saved of the first century took of the Supper!
Paul’s words to the Corinthians, uses the words “Lord’s Supper” in chapter eleven: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to (as they were abusing the Lord’s Supper) eat the Lord’s supper” (1 Cor. 11:20). He then continues to write about how it is to be taken, (1 Corinthians eleven, verses 23-29). However, the apostle never reveals a day, upon which it is to be done! He refers back the Lord’s actions of Matthew twenty-six, verses twenty-six through twenty-nine but Jesus never gave a day! Therefore, the question continues: Upon what day of the week is the Lord’s Supper to be taken by the authority of Christ! Upon what day of the week do we take of it with our fellows who are in his Father’s kingdom?
You may be getting tried of reading about this subject, but it is so important to the Christian, that it must be covered, the day must be questioned. If the day cannot be identified, upon which the Lord’s Supper is to be taken, by the authority of Christ, then we are left with no authority on the subject and we are free to take of it upon the day of our choice; be it Sunday through Saturday! All debate is removed as to what day, as any day is acceptable! So, is there a way to determine what day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken? Is their authority for what day the Supper is to be taken? To the child of God these questions are important and needs answers!
Is there any authority in the words of Luke: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, …” (Acts 20:7)? Is the phrase “break bread” the only reason for the disciples to come together? No, but it is certainly one reason but I dare not put one act of worship above another! (a synecdoche) Question: Did “the disciples,” which included Paul, come “together” to sing, to pray, teach, to give of their means; as Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “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. 16:2)? Of course, they did just so!
Is there authority without a commandment? If so, and there is, how is it determined? This question remains unanswered to this point in our writings. To answer the question, when is the Lord’s Supper to be taken, is to be answered by implication! Remembering, no writing of the New Testament is directly addressed to us today but reaches us through impliction!
We are using the Lord’s Supper as our example, as nearly all denominational churches and all churches of Christ, to my knowledge, take the Lord’s Supper in their worship.

Frank R. Williams

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Sep 20

IT’S THAT WORD AGAIN: IMPLICATION (2)

The first thing those who were saved under the authority of Christ, under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, and under the teaching of the apostles of Christ, did was expressed by Luke in these words: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). Now, what day was this? It was on the first Pentecost after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week!
Question: Would the apostles of Christ, of whom Luke wrote: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4); allow those who were the first to be saved under the authority of Christ, have as their first act, do that which was unauthorized by the authority of Christ? God forbid! God forbid that any person who has any respect for Christ and his authority, answer this question, yes! It is true, that no recorded command was given but those who were the first to be forgiven of their sins, by means of the gospel of Christ; thus, the first ones to be saved under the authority of Christ, and under the oversight of his apostles, would never be allowed as their first act after being saved, to be one not authorized by Christ!
Could it be said, that those who do likewise today, are doing so by implication? Remembering there is no command to worship on the first day of the week. Therefore, how is it that churches of Christ gather to worship God on the first day of the week today? We do so by implication! With this in mind, let us here recall the words of Jesus to the woman at the well: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Just when do you think, that time came of which Jesus spoke? Is it not true, that the first time, those who were saved in Acts 2:41, gathered to worship God “in spirit and in truth” did so as written by Luke? Here are his words once more: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). Notice the phrase, “and in breaking of bread.”
Before continuing with our subject, it is necessary that we note, there are some in the denominational churches who regard the words, “and in breaking of bread,” as referring to nothing more than a common meal! And yes, it is so sad to write, that there are some even within the churches of Christ today who have come to believe the same thing! When Jesus instituted this “supper,” Matthew wrote: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26;26-28). Jesus took the occasion of the “Passover meal,” to introduce to his disciples what would be in his Father’s kingdom; once it came to be under his authority! Now, let us notice Jesus’ concluding words: “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). Question: Just when did Jesus, for the first time, “drink” “of this fruit of the vine” in the “Father’s kingdom?” Would it not be when those who were the first to obey the gospel and were “translated” “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13)? Would not this be those who: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). Yes! Just who else would be in the right place, to do so, other than, those who were saved on that Pentecost day?
If you have not noticed, this is all teaching by implication! We are taking the parts and putting them where the apostles of Christ put them! Remembering, there is no command to gather and worship, wherein the Lord’s Supper is taken on “the first day of the week.” Luke, as he wrote “The Acts of the Apostles,” revealed worship, “in spirit and in truth,” wherein Jesus did in fact, drink with the saved “of this fruit of the vine” in his “Father’s kingdom!”
What day was it? It was “the first day of the week;” it is as David wrote in the long ago: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psa. 118:24).
No command in the New Testament is directly given to us today; those all reach us by implication!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/its-that-word-again-implication-2/

Sep 13

IT’S THAT WORD AGAIN: IMPLICATION (1)

Have you ever wondered, or questioned why denominational churches gather to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week? Let’s take this one more step, have you ever wondered or questioned why churches of Christ gather to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week? It is so natural, no one appears to question the gathering of churches on Sunday, the first day of the week.
Before looking into the above questions, the subject of implication, needs to be addressed first. There are some who rejected the idea that Jesus taught by implication, or that other inspired writers of the New Testament taught by implication. This is a very important subject, if we are to understand the subject of authority as revealed in the New Testament. If we, understand first, that no part of the New Testament was written to us, directly! This idea is horrifying to many, as they do not understand how New Testament authority reaches us in the 21st century! Yet, the subject of gathering to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, falls within this subject.
Did Jesus teach by implication? Yes, he did! Here is a case in point. Here is the question that started the subject, were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, alive at the time Jesus walked upon the face of the earth? Are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, alive today? Before reading the text, the over all question started with the Sadducees coming to Jesus with what they thought was an unanswerable question. Keep in mind, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Therefore, after giving their story of a woman, who had married seven brothers, as each did and according to the law of Moses, the next bother was to marry the woman upon the death of her husband (Matt. 22:23-28). With this, here is their question: “Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her” (Matt. 22:28). How could Jesus possibly answer their question? Jesus would teach more than one thing; first he said: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (verse 29). Do not over look these words, as they apply to so many today; as they “do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God!” Second, Jesus said: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (verse 29). In the resurrection we will not have flesh and blood bodies, by which marriage takes place, but we shall all be as “the angels of God in heaven!” Spiritual bodies, not physical. Third, Jesus said: “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (verse 31 – 32). It is here that Jesus teaches by implication! Did you get it? Answer this question: Did Jesus say that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were alive at the time he spoke? Read it again, God had said in the past, after these three were dead: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” No, Jesus never said that these three were alive as he spoke! But, he did teach that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were very much alive as he spoke, for Jesus did say: “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living;” therefore, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive when Jesus spoke. Jesus was teaching by implication. Jesus expected his hearers to reach the correct conclusion on their own, with the information he gave them implication!
Now, why do denominational churches gather on Sunday, the first day of the week to worship; why do churches of Christ gather on Sunday, the first day of the week to worship? First, this question: Is there a command to gather and worship God upon Sunday, the first day of the week? No! Nowhere in the New Testament did any writer every command that the church gather to worship God on Sunday, the first day of the week! This may be a total surprise to some; but nevertheless, it is true! There is no such command!
It is a total surprise to some, yes, even to some members of the churches of Christ, that the reason churches of Christ gather to worship God on Sunday, the first day of the week, is by implication: the church under the oversight of the apostles of Christ gathered to worship God, on “the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
First, the first act that those who were saved did, is written by Luke in these words: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). Is this good enough for you, to gather to worship God on the first day of the week?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/its-that-word-again-implication-1/

Sep 06

WE DON’T WANT YOUR WORDS OF SYMPATHY OR YOUR PRAYERS

Not long after a shooting, a woman was heard saying something like this: “We don’t want your words of sympathy or your prayers!” Just what do these words express? Well, first let us understand that in the moments following a tragedy, people say many things without thinking and would take them “back” if they could. Second, people often express what they really think at such moments! Without trying to prove which motive the words express, let us look at the words themselves.
First, let us take the word “sympathy” Just what does this word mean? Merriam/Webster gives: 1) “an affinity, association, or relationship between persons;” 2) “inclination to think or feel alike : emotional or intellectual according sympathy with their goals;” and 3) “the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another.” In short, sympathy is what one feels for another in time of stress. However, before continuing, let me call your attention to the words of Hastings: “The subject of sympathy, considered in its relation to Jesus Christ, is so large as to be almost co-extensive with His whole life and work. The Incarnation and the Atonement, whatever be the exact theological meaning of the two words, are undoubtedly exhibitions of the intense sympathy which resulted not only in the human ministry of Christ, but in the redemption of the world.” (Hastings Dictionary of the New Testament). With this to reject sympathy is to reject Jesus Christ! The New Testament uses, the King James Version, the word “compassion” and not sympathy; as in Matthew 9:36: “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion (splagchnizomai) on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” The Greek word means: “to be moved in the inward parts, to feel compassion” (Strong). The word “compassion” appears about forty-three times in the New Testament. To express that you are not interested in the “sympathy” of others, is to reject the true heart felt concern of the person/people making a statement! Sad indeed! There are many people, citizens of the United States of America, who are deeply touched by the loss of life, due to a madman taking the lives of others. In fact, what kind of heart would not cry out in dispair? Certainly not the heart of a Christian!
Second, let us here notice three verses that deal with the subject of expressing and showing sympathy: 1) Gal. 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” The Greek word for “bear” is “bastazo” and like most Greek words has several meanings, one is “to take up with the hands.” (Thayer). In the world of the first century, most of the work done was using the hands. It was a very physical world, thus, to “bear” one another’s burdens, which is the Greek, “baros” and means: “heaviness, weight, burden, trouble;” therefore, putting the two words together we are to do our best to relieve the “weight,” and “troubles” of others. This may be grief or physical burdens. 2) Col. 3:12 – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” The Greek word for “bowels” is “splagchnon” and expresses: “the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.).” (Thayer). Thus, from the heart Christians are to reach out to help others from their inner most being that is full of “kindness, benevolence, compassion.” When others are hurt, be it physically or spiritually, the Christian is there with a heart of “kindness, benevolence, and compassion.” And 3) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” Matt. 7:12. These words need no exegesis, as they are self-expressive! It is easy to see from these three verses, that it is the nature of a Christian to reach out to others who are suffering, to express not only words but action! This is true, even if the other person has no interest in such action.
Now, let us turn our attention to the subject of prayer. Just what does it mean with a person says, “I don’t want your prayers?” First, it denies the existence of God. As God is the one who is addressed in our prayers when petitions are made for others. Second, and this naturally follows, that a non-existent God cannot or in the case that God does exist, which he does, will not answer prayer. Therefore, let us take the case, that Hurricane Dorian was first forecast to hit Florida hard. However, let us say Christians prayed that Dorian would make a northern turn and miss mainland Florida. Can anyone, and this includes the God denying atheist, prove that God was not answering the many prayers of Christians as Dorian did move more north and not west? Of course, not!
Therefore, such expression as: “We don’t want your words of sympathy or your prayers!” Is the atheist revealing what they really believe! These words express the true nature of much of the America today. As we, America in general, ask, “What is wrong with America?” The first conclusion should be and must be, that America has turned their back upon God! The Old Testament is full of examples of Israel turning her back upon God, and the result that followed! Yes, Israel is another time, as God did work with them directly and he does not work with America directly today; nevertheless, the result would be the same in today’s world! America should not expect any favors from God.
Finally, the words of Peter fit here: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Yes, even with godless America God is “longsuffering,” “not willing that any should perish.” Nevertheless, America will fall in her own wickedness, unless she repents!

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 30

MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN

Do we think about the fact that our sins have really been forgiven? It may be the case that the person who obeyed the gospel of Christ later in life, that such a person thinks more about the forgiveness of sins, than one who obeyed the gospel of Christ early in life. Why? Well, in a figure of speech, “the more that is in the bucket, the heavier the load,” as in the one who feels the greater relief when the “bucket” is empty, is the one who carried the bucket when full!
Jesus once put a question to Simon Peter: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:41-42). We have Peter’s reply in the inspired record, but what is your answer? The answer given, identifies the difference between the mind of some and the mind of others. Therefore, Peter’s answer is so important to our thinking. So, what was Peter’s answer? He replied to Jesus in these words: “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most” (Luke 7:43). We would be amiss, if we did not note Peter’s use of the word “suppose.” This is the Greek, “hupolambano” which means as used here, “to take up in the mind 4a) to assume, suppose” (Thayer). But according to Plummer, there is a little more in this word; as he wrote, “Here with an air of supercilious indifference.” It appears that Peter was giving his opinion with a little superior attitude. Nevertheless, anyone who has “walked under a light pole” could answer the Lord’s question! But, as often is the case, the Lord did not stop here.
Jesus continued with these words: “Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:43). Jesus’ use of the word “judged,” is also interesting. It is the Greek “krino,” setting aside what might have been Peter’s “superior attitude,” Jesus said that he had “rightly judged.” The Greek word means “to separate”, as in separating the information correctly; which is what one has done when “judging,” if he has done so correctly!” Even if his attitude is wrong!
Now you know that Jesus is not done with the subject, nor is he done with Peter. It might be surprising to read, or as in Peter’s case, to hear what Jesus says next. Here are his words, as he turned to the woman: “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head” (Luke 7:44). Before going on, we must know about this woman, to whom he directed Peter’s attention. Reaching back in the text, the event started when a Pharisees desired that Jesus come and eat with him (Luke 7:36). During this time, “a woman in the city, which was a sinner.” Here Luke gives us the opportunity to note what the word “sinner” means. It is the Greek “hamartolos” and it means: “devoted to sin” and “pre-eminently sinful.” (Thayer). This must be remembered when someone says, “We are all sinners!” To commit a sin, from time to time, does not mean that such a one is a “sinner!” This person is not one “devoted to sin!” Here is what this woman did; Luke wrote of her: “brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:37-38). Keep in mind that the “feet” are the dirtiest part of the physical body. As Jesus allowed this “sinner” to wash his feet, Luke informs us what was in the heart of the Pharisee, as he wrote: “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). Please note that the Pharisee uses the word “sinner” once more!
It is with this background that Jesus has spoken to Peter. Jesus’ words were: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both” (Luke 7:41). It is here that Jesus questioned Peter: “Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:42). But Jesus’ subject is “the forgiveness of sins!” Which one would love Jesus the most? The correct answer! The one who was the greater “debtor!” In other words, the one who had committed the most sins in his life!
Finally, Jesus said: “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). Oh, how precious are the words: “Thy sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). Truly I may say: “My sins are forgiven!” But only when I have obeyed the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).

— Frank R. Williams

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Aug 23

IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” (3)

Well, it has been good to get your minds on the two subjects: 1) “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST?” and 2) “IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” It was hoped that the reader would truly give deep thought to these two questions. Perhaps you had never even thought about either.
In this last article on these two subjects, it is not our intention to reach a conclusion but to get your mind to give the necessary time and attention to thinking and study! If we are studying, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to grow spiritually and come to a better understanding of the New Testament. This should be the aim of all of us!
Here are two things to think about: 1) we know that abiding in “the teaching of Christ” brings fellowship with God, the Father and the Son” (2 John 9) and 2) is this also true of those who are “in Christ?” Paul wrote that we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:17). Therefore, if we have obeyed “the gospel of Christ,” (Rom.1:16), then, we have been “baptized into Christ.” Not only this but Paul went on to write in the same verse, that if we have been “baptized into Christ,” then, we have “have put on Christ.” Therefore, the real question is this: “Is abiding in the teaching (doctrine) of Christ,’ which produces fellowship with God the Father and the Son, equal to being “into Christ” and having “put on Christ?”
Give thought to this, is fellowship with God the Father and the Son, brought about by our being “baptized into Christ” and having “put on Christ?” This must be true! How could one be “in Christ” and not be in “fellowship with God the Father and the Son?” How could one, who has “put on Christ, “not have fellowship with God the Father and the Son?” Let me answer the first question: “How could one be ‘baptized into Christ’ and not be in ‘fellowship with God the Father and the Son?” If a person who was, as in the past, has been “baptized into Christ,” then, becomes unfaithful, thus, having “put off Christ,” and no longer “abides in the teaching of Christ.” However, it is to be noted, that such a person no longer “abideth not in the doctrine of Christ;” whereby John wrote that such a person: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God;” is a person who “hath not God!” It stands, therefore, that such a person no longer is one who has Christ on, as in a “put on Christ” state. One can get lost in this going and coming but if we can see the person who no longer abides in “the teaching of Christ,” taking off his clothes, as he stops abiding in “the teaching of Christ;” then, we are seeing the right action.
This complete subject goes back to “obeying the gospel,” even though some among us no longer view this as important! Here is what happens: 1) a person hearing the report, the word of God, then, believes it is gospel (Mark 16:15, 16): this person believes “that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6), that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), believes that the gospel is God’s power “unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16) (and other things, yes, other things.); 2) now believing the gospel of Christ, he is brought to repent, a change of mind which leads him to a change in life (Acts 17:30-31), as he now believes that he will answer to God in the final judgment; 3) he is now ready to vow in his heart/mind that he is subject to Christ, that his loyalty belongs to Christ, that this loyalty is found only in obeying the commandments of Christ, as Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15); 4) this person is now prepared to follow the commands of the apostles of Christ, who said: “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” (Acts 2:38). Here is the person of who Paul wrote: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Here is the person who “abides in the teaching of Christ,” here is the person who has “fellowship with God the Father and the Son.”
This point must not be missed when covering the subjects of “into Christ” and “put on Christ.” Remember that we are “baptized into Christ,” and at this time we “put on Christ.” Here are Paul’s words: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). As the subject is one of being “baptized,” it is directly related to the remission of past sins, in fact, all the sins that we have committed before this point in our lives. These sins are washed away, they are no longer in the mind of God and will never be in the mind of God again! In this we can see ourselves rapped in the arms of Christ, as we are “baptized into Christ” and “have put on Christ.” Salvation is the subject, that is salvation, as in being saved from past sins!
As we conclude, consider this, is the person who has “put on Christ,” the same person who “abides in the teaching of Christ?” Yes, he is! Therefore, as a person becomes unfaithful to “the teaching of Christ,” he is taking off, as in taking off clothes, “Christ!” Yes, we have gone in a circle, but we have come back to the same place we started, or there is no circle! The full circle equals fellowship with “God the Father and the Son” and this equals salvation! There is nothing greater but heaven; however, being in heaven depends on the completed circle!

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 16

IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” (2)

The question under which this article is being written, is a most challenging one, to say the least! It is one that many have not even thought of. On the subject of questions, questions are a good way to advance one’s study. As questions open areas of thought, that have not come before us before. Questions take us deeper into the subject, whatever it may be. At the same time, there are some people who are fearful of questions, as they are afraid of the what the answer to the question maybe. In other words, some people are happy with the present knowledge, though it is incomplete!
At the same time, some folks believe they know it all, and have no desire to search, even for a better understanding of the subject. This state might be stated in the following; they are quite happy in their “knowledge” of the subject and do not want to be disturbed. Even a question, in regard to a subject, is unwelcome to some, as they have believed it, their parents believed, and if they changed what they have believed, it might mean that they are lost, the parents are lost and this is more than they are willing to consider!
With the above thoughts in our minds, we shall attack the subject: “IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” Having written six articles addressing the subject, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST?;” we have at least gained a little better understanding of what it means to be “in Christ.” In the shortest answer, to be “in Christ” means that we are saved; having our past sins forgiven! At this point in our lives, our hearts/minds are filled with joy! For we have achieved the first goal in life; salvation! This helps us understand Paul’s words to the Roman church; 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). Why would one be ashamed of the gospel of Christ? First, it “it is God’s power unto salvation; that is the forgiveness of the sins we have committed unto this point in our lives. Second, it has brought us to an understanding and reality of a world undivided! For it has revealed unto us, that we must be one in spirit/mind, that all are equal before God: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28); and if one does not have this spirit, such a person cannot enter Christ. Paul also wrote on this subject: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 1213); thus, one is not “in Christ” if he has a superior spirit/mind, as “one spirit” is a requirement to be “in Christ.” So many times, this is not even thought of when we are baptized! Yet, it is like something that one does not think of but is known in the mind.
If we can separate “the gospel of Christ” from “the teaching of Christ,” only for the sake of understanding that “the gospel of Christ” is part of “the teaching of Christ.” (2 John 9). As it is good for the moment, to see that “the gospel of Christ,” first related to forgiveness of the sins that we have committed up to the time we “obey the gospel of Christ.” Having taken part of God’s power unto salvation, then, we move on in “the teaching of Christ” for our spiritual growth! As Peter’s last written inspired words state: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18) Indeed, this is a lifetime work! As we grow up into the fulness of Christ: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Here the total surrender, as in full submission to “the teaching of Christ” is set before us! Christ is the head of his “body,” the church! Thus, all who are in the “body” are those who have enbibed, taken into their spirit/mind the surrender of the total self!
It is “hoped” that the reader is beginning to see that being “in Christ” is being in “the teaching of Christ.” It is totally unthinkable to believe that one can be “in Christ” and not in “the teaching of Christ!” What a grand subject: “IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” Do you think that you can be “in Christ” but not “in the teaching of Christ?” Do you believe that you can be in “the teaching of Christ” but not “in Christ?” As the apostle wrote: “God forbid” (Rom. 6:2)!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/is-in-christ-equal-to-being-in-the-teaching-of-christ-2/

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