Mar 17

GODLINESS

The word “godliness’ is a Bible word that is greatly misunderstood! This is hard to grasp as it is so important to one’s standing with God. If a person has no or only little “godliness” in their lives, they have no favorite standing with God. Of course, one of the reasons for this problem is that people have failed through the years to give the necessary time to a study of the word “godliness.”
Now, it is possible for a person to have the qualities of “godliness” without understanding the meaning of the word itself. It is that one may use another word, which has the same meaning as does “godliness.” However, it is good for our education, as it is also good for our relationship with God, to gain the best knowledge we can of the word “godliness.” Therefore, we shall engage in a study of the word “godliness!”
Generally, people believe the word “godliness” means being like God. This is understandable because of the English word itself. The word having the ending of “ness,” which means “the state of being” and in the case of the “godliness” there is the word “god” at the beginning; thus, many have concluded that the word means: being like God. Taking this meaning, a person reads John 1:18: “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). Here the question that comes to mind, why did God, the Father, have Jesus “declared him?” Is it because God desired that we know him in order that we might become like him? This does not mean getting the power of God, doing what God did with his power, but if not these, then what? If is the holiness of God that Jesus revealed in his own life on this earth; wherein he was revealing God to all. First, personally and second, through the written word, the New Testament. Here let us note the words of Hebrews: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Thayer gives the meaning of the Greek word “hagiasmos,” which is: “1) consecration, purification.” Just looking at the word “consecration,” which means: “the action of making or declaring something sacred.” Have you ever thought of yourself as being “sacred?” If a thing, a person, is one who is “following holiness,” then, this person is “sacred!” This person belongs to God! In our case, we have been redeemed to God by “the precious blood of Christ!” (1 Pet. 1:19). With this understanding before us, it is easy to see why many have taken the word “godliness” to mean that we are to be like God!
However, when looking at the Greek word from which “godliness” is translated from, we get something somewhat different. “Godliness” comes from the Greek word “eusebeia” and Thayer gives the meaning as: “1) reverence, respect, 2) piety towards God, godliness.” You can see that at person maybe one who reverences God, one who has piety towards God; therefore, such a person has “godliness” without knowing the meaning of the word itself. For having obeyed the gospel and thereby becoming a servant of God; as Paul wrote: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). It was because of one’s “godliness” that he obeys the gospel! He “reverences” God, as he has yielded to God’s will and is a servant of God! All these things being true, we can see the importance, the necessity of having “godliness” running through the entirety of our being, but we may not have known the true meaning of the word “godliness!”
People who are religious, like to see “piety” in others! Nevertheless, they may not know the true meaning of the word “godliness.” It is because of one’s reverence toward God, it is because of one’s piety toward God, that a person yields his will to God’s will. There is piety! How many times have we thrilled in just reading his words, as Jesus prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39)? However, did we see the “godliness” of Jesus in the words he prayed? Have we ever even thought that Jesus had piety, reverence toward God, the Father? Maybe not, but there it is in the words Jesus prayed: “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” How beautiful is Jesus and Paul wrote: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

Frank R. Williams

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

Mar 10

OPPORTUNITY

One of things we learn from the Bible is to be ready for opportunities! You will remember Jesus comparing the “kingdom of heaven” to “ten virgins.” Here is what Jesus said: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom” (Matt. 25:1-13). At this point, all is well and the “ten virgins” are equal. However, it is not long until this changes as Jesus continued: “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (verse 2). The word “foolish” (Greek – moros) means: “impious, godless.” This makes more difference that we generally think! It tells us about the character of the five virgins. They were without the right attitude toward God, as they were “impious,” that is they did not think of God as they should. They were not reverent toward him. Thus, being “godless” they did not prepare themselves for spiritual things! As a result of this great character failure; Jesus said: “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them” (verse 3). Just think for a moment; they “took their lamps” but did not take the necessary oil the lamps required. In modern terms, it might be said, they took their car but failed to take the necessary gas for the trip! So, in simple terms, they were not prepared to take advantage of the great opportunity before them.
On the other hand, Jesus said of the other five virgins: “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (verse 4). The word “wise” (Greek – phronimos), means: “prudent, mindful of one’s interests.” The “five virgins” here, were “prudent” in preparing for the occasion; as they “took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” They understood, the lamps would be useless without oil. They had their minds on their interests and their interest was in being prepared “to meet the bridegroom!” In this case, the “five virgins” not only took their lamps, but they also took “their vessels with their lamps.” They knew of the time and distance that was before them; therefore, they took other “vessels” full of oil. Their wisdom always said to them, be prepared for the opportunity set before you! But there is more! Being “wise” is their character, as they had spiritual things in their minds; their lives were ones filled with a pious, reverent nature toward God!
The trip was to take them to the point, as Jesus said: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (verse 5). Here there is an equality between the “ten virgins!” But, it was not long until their equality would change. Jesus informs us, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (verse 6). When the “cry” was made, all the virgins heard it, but once more we are able to see the difference. If we did not have the information that Jesus has already given, the text would show equality. Here the words of Jesus: “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps” (verse 7). Notice that all ten virgins were told to “go ye out to meet him (the bridegroom).” We can see them getting up and taking hold of their lamps and moving forward in the direction of the bridegroom, but here it changes. And great is the change!
It appears the five foolish virgins knew immediately that they had a major problem, as Jesus said of them: “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out” (verse 8). But, they did not get the answer they were looking for; Jesus gives us the answer of the five wise virgins: “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (verse 9). This is not the answer we are prepared to hear, is it?
The conclusion is simple to understand. We, personally, must be prepared for the opportunities that come our way! So, what is the opportunity set before us? It is the “29th Annual Oklahoma City Lectures!” A great time to hear, to learn, to accept, to obey, and to have fellowship in the word of God.

Frank R. Williams

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

Mar 03

IN TIME OF NEED

Remember those beautiful and so comforting words of Hebrews: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16). God the Father hears our cries through our High Priest, Jesus Christ! Notice those two beautiful and comforting words: 1) mercy and 2) grace, in the context of “to help in time of need!” Anytime we have “time of need” there is one who hears our words as they go forth through the precious blood of Jesus! Personally, I never want to be seen by God outside the precious blood of Jesus; as my sins are, as Isaiah wrote of sins: are “as scarlet” and “though they be red like crimson; (Isaiah 1:18); but when the “red” blood of Jesus covers our “scarlet” and “crimson” sins they no longer can be seen! No wonder Peter wrote of our redemption; it is not by things of this world, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Just how much time to we give to the “precious blood of Jesus?” As we drink “the fruit of the vine” in the Lord’s Supper, do we stop long enough to think; to recall the events of Jesus’ death? It was by wicked hands that he was physically crucified; but it should be remembered by the pure, having been forgiven of our sins, saints. Who are so described by Peter: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth …’ (1 Pet. 1:22). On one side of Jesus, there are wicked “hands,” but on the other side, there are “purified” souls! You see, the “purified” souls have come through the “red” blood of Jesus and their sins are no longer seen by God; as they have been forgiven! Oh, how we should love the “precious blood of Jesus,” which is so “red” our “scarlet” and “crimson” sins no longer can be seen by him who is the God of all.
No wonder the words of Hebrews are so beautiful and comforting to the thoughtful soul: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16). No matter how many times, we have called our minds back to the cross, looked upon that “precious blood of Jesus,” it is not enough to the child of God. Here the words of Paul: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ehp. 1:7). Do you question why one of my favorite verses is Acts 20:32, where Paul is addressing the elders of the church in Ephesus: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Get this now, Paul “commended” these elders to: 1) “to God, and 2) “to the word of his grace.” Here is a question, “Can we find “grace” outside “the word of his grace?” It would also be good, just here, to recall the words of the apostle, as he was bringing the saints through God’s plan: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Then, he wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through the faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:7-8). The word “For,” the Greek “gar” which is: “A primary particle; properly assigning a reason.” That is here, Paul is assigning the reason that verse seven reveals God plan of: “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” was to bring us to the reality that God’s grace is enjoyed only “by means of the faith!” Grace runs through the words of the gospel, which is, as Paul 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). Then, Paul continued with: “For (the reason) therein (in the gospel) is the righteousness (justification) of God revealed from faith (the once delivered faith) to faith (our personal faith): as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Get this now, our personal faith must be in or it must come from the faith! If not, there is no grace found for the lost soul!! The faith and our faith must walk step in step!
Then, comes the words: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” My friend, whatever you do, don’t miss out on the truth of these beautiful and comforting words!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/in-time-of-need/

Feb 24

HOW MANY WAYS CAN ONE BE SAVED? (4)

In the end, it does not matter at all how man answers the question under which these articles are written! Sometimes we hear of Baptist Doctrine, Methodist Doctrine, Pentecostal Doctrine, and at times someone will speak of the Church of Christ Doctrine. First, when the word “doctrine” is used, we need to keep in mind that the Greek word is “didache” (or some form of this word) and means: “1) teaching 1a) that which is taught 1b) doctrine, teaching, concerning something” (Thayer). Therefore, it is simply a teaching. So, Baptist Doctrine is no more than Baptist Teaching, and Methodist Teaching, and on it goes. It is a teaching that belongs to the church which name goes with it. In which case the church has authority to change the teaching at any time. In fact, we have seen this over the years.
Second, we shall notice a few changes which have taken place in the more resent time. Looking first at the United Methodist Church which has a governing body known as: The General Conference. However, before changes are made there is another body which sends the changes to the General Conference and is know as “The Connectional Table,” which is just one of The United Methodist Church’s governing bodies. It is made up of 59 members which are clergy and lay people that coordinates the denomination’s mission, ministry and resources. In a meeting, April 2014, this group decided to draft legislation that could change church law “to fully include LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), there is a debate as to what the “Q” stands for but generally it stands for queer persons in the life and ministry of the church.” Any decision “The Connectional Table” makes would have to go before the top lawmaking assembly, General Conference. To say the least, this would be a major change in Methodist Doctrine! Nevertheless, as the Doctrine is Methodist, the authoritative body has the right/power to change any teaching that belongs to it. However, the Methodist Church has no right/power to change the teaching that belongs to Christ! John wrote on this subject: “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” (2 John 9).
The above is true of all denominational churches, as the doctrine belongs to them! Each one has the power/right to change any doctrine at anytime! So, what do some of these bodies say about what is necessary to be saved? Here is what I read: “We’re saved by grace alone through faith alone.” If you will recall from the last article (# 3) we gave the way the word “only,” which is the same as “alone.” Both “only” and “alone” removes all other things related to what is required to be saved! You cannot have both “saved by grace alone” and “through faith alone!” It cannot be by grace only/alone; then, add “through faith only/alone!” But, this is not the end of what the Methodist Church has said about how one is saved; they also say: “We’re made whole and reconciled by the love of God as we receive it and trust in it.” It should have come to the mind of some Methodist Church leaders that they have a third requirement to be saved, but it appears that this has never taken place! (This information has been taken from “The People of The United Methodist Church page.)
It has not been the intent of these articles to teach on grace, faith, and love, but it has been necessary as they relate to the question: “How many ways can one be saved?” It should not surprise anyone that each denominational church has its own doctrine and its own teaching as to how one is saved! Thus, from their point of view, the answer to our question: “There are many ways to be saved!” Nevertheless, not any of these denominational churches has any authority to give an answer different than is found in “the teaching of Christ!”
As we conclude this series of articles, let it be understood by all, that there is NO CHURCH OF CHRIST DOCTRINE! The teaching, doctrine, belongs to Christ; it is his and no man, nor any group of men, has any authority to change it in any way! Therefore, we close with the inspired words of one of the “ambassadors for Christ,” John the apostle: “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.”

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/how-many-ways-can-one-be-saved-4/

Feb 17

HOW MANY WAYS CAN ONE BE SAVED? (3)

Just how many questions are more important than those that deal with salvation? You can count on one hand with four fingers missing and get the right answer! Keep in mind the thumb is not a finger. Many people fail to understand what they are really saying when they address the subject of salvation. In this life there is nothing more important than the subject of salvation. With this in mind; let us take look at the question: “How many ways can one be saved?
Some people speak of “grace only,” meaning that salvation is by “grace only.” First, if salvation is by “grace only,” then, would not all people be saved? Grace coming from God to mankind, then, all mankind would be saved. That is, unless one believes in Calvinism. As Calvinism teaches that God predetermined that some would be saved, and all others would be lost. Keep in mind that this would limit the number of people who would be saved to those chosen by God. However, Paul wrote: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). Here the “grace of God” teaches us certain things, as Paul continued: “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (verse 11). Just for learning sake, and we should all be eager to learn. The word “teaching” is the Greek “paideuo” and means “to train children” but there is more. This Greek word is also translated “to chastise” and “chasteneth” in Hebrews chapter twelve, verses five and six. Therefore, the phrase “grace of God” refers to “the teaching of Christ.” So, how does this relate to our subject? It means “the grace of God,” which is “the gospel of Christ,” had at that time “appeared to all men!” Now, what is the point in having “the grace of God” appearing to all men, all mankind, if those who are to be saved by “grace only” and the number had/has been determined already? It is a wasted effort and God does not waste anything!
But, there is another thought just here. If man is saved “by grace only,” and it had/has appeared to all mankind, then, would not all mankind be saved? Yes, indeed! This would also prove the doctrine of “Universal salvation!” However, those who believe in “grace only” do not believe in “universal salvation!” “Universal salvation” would remove the need of teaching/preaching the gospel of Christ to anyone!
It is not uncommon to hear those who believe that we are saved “by grace only” also believe man is saved “by faith only.” The word “only” does not allow for anything else! The word “only” is an adjective:
1) “lone(a), lonesome(a), only(a), sole(a), solitary(a).” “It means: being the only one; single and isolated from others.” Therefore, it is “lacking companions or companionship.” No room here for anything else.
2) “lone(a), lonely(a), solitary (adj) characterized by or preferring solitude,” as in “a lone wolf”; “a lonely existence”; “a man of a solitary disposition”; “a solitary walk.” No room for another!
3) “lone(a), lonesome(a), only(a), sole(a), solitary(a) (adj) being the only one; single and isolated from others, “the lone doctor in the entire county”; “a lonesome pine”; “an only child”; “the sole heir”; “the sole example”; “a solitary instance of cowardice”; “a solitary speck in the sky.” No room for anything else!

Therefore, if salvation is “by grace only,” then, there is no room for “by faith only!” And if salvation is “by faith only,” there is no room for “by grace only!” Therefore, if these things were true, they negate each other!
There remains just a few questions. First, why did Jesus command his apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)? Second, why did the inspired Peter answer the question, by those who believed his preaching: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” in the manner he did: “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 2:37-38)? Neither Jesus nor his inspired aposltes believe nor taught that salvation was “by grace only” nor “by faith only” as a means of being saved!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/how-many-ways-can-one-be-saved-3/

Feb 10

HOW MANY WAYS CAN ONE BE SAVED? (2)

In this second article under the above heading, we shall return to the thought of time and context. The passage under review is: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). The time is the Jewish age and the context is that of Jesus teaching the Jews and addressing their spiritual state, as seen in verse 23: “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” They were lost and Jesus is identifying their present need!
As is the case in much of the four gospel accounts, Jesus is addressing their failure to believe that he is the Christ! They needed to repent and believe! This truth has been confused by many today as they read the gospel accounts. If we read the gospel accounts without understanding the time and context of what is written, we are sure to miss what is being taught. Remember Jesus was born, lived, and died under the law of Moses! No one living today is in such a spiritual state! Once the old law was removed, as God had promised, it can never be restored! Here is God’s promise as written by Jeremiah: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:31-34). These verses are quoted in Hebrews two times: Hebrews 8:8-12 and 10:16-18. With this is mind, let us read, and notice that these words appear as the writer concluded with his quote of Jeremiah: “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13). There is the promise God made with Israel about the end of the old law and the beginning of the new! Why anyone would desire to be under the old, is beyond my ability comprehend! Yet, a good number do just that! When God made the first covenant old, and it was as the Hebrew epistle was written; for God made it old when Jeremiah wrote the words! Thus, as John, the one who baptized, Jesus, and the twelve taught, calling the Jews to repent, into the old law and believe that Jesus was the Christ and prepare to receive the gospel.
This now brings us back to John 8:24! Once the time context and the age context and those to whom Jesus is speaking are identified, then, one is ready to understand the words! It is wrong to take the words of Jesus in John 8:24, and just apply them to those living today! However, having gained the above knowledge, it can easily be seen that it is impossible for one to be saved today without first believing that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ! Therefore, it may be said that the lost must believe that Jesus is the Christ, but no one is saved today by believing that Jesus is the Christ alone! John wrote of some who believed but would not confess: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). It just naturally comes to mind, why would they not confess Jesus? Let John answer the question: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (verse 43). Therefore, believing is not enough to be saved, but no one can be saved without believing that Jesus is the Christ. Hear James: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). So, faith only is not the answer as to how one is saved but without faith no one will be saved!!
Telling one that he must repent and believe is a failure to know the time context in which the words were written; as these words pertained to the Jews who were still under the old law; and this is not the way to be saved today. Folks, we live in the age of Christ, the age when he as all authority (Matt. 28:18); a person today must respond differently than did the Jews of Jesus’ time.
Faith only is not away to be saved today! Neither is repent and believe away to be saved today! So, how many ways are there for one to be saved? There is only one way to be saved today!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/how-many-ways-can-one-be-saved-2/

Feb 03

HOW MANY WAYS CAN ONE BE SAVED? (1)

It is amazing how the mind works for we humans. In the mind of many, and I mean many; it is believed that no one is lost, and everybody will go to heaven at death. In the mind of these folks, there is no way to be lost! Therefore, the question which serves as our title is a most useless question.
Yet, in the mind of others, they believe there are several ways to be saved. Some believe: 1) that there is nothing that a person must do, to be saved; 2) some believe that a person must do somethings, but they are not sure just what; and 3) still others believe there are certain things that a person must do to be saved. Of course, there is no authority in what people believe or don’t believe. This question can only be answered correctly by a study of the New Testament! We must follow the “ambassadors for Christ” of whom Paul wrote: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, …” (2 Cor. 5:19-20). The pronoun is in this verse refers to the apostles and not to us of today! Many make the mistake of taking the pronouns “us” and “we” as referring to “us” today, which is used in several verses; therefore, they come away believing incorrectly. This is one of the problems the Pentecostal people make; but it is not limited to them! This is a problem within the churches of Christ! If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for all of us! The “ambassadors for Christ,” preached the word of “reconciliation” and this is the word of salvation; or in other words, the word of “reconciling!”
“The word reconciliation” is the word that brings the lost to God, through Christ. One of the problems in “Christendom” is that they take one verse, as though it has all the information about how one is saved and they believe it is the total of the subject. It is dangerous to take just one verse on any subject. Look at this verse, as it is one used to teach that all one has to do is “believe.” Before looking, let me ask, do they ever tell us just what one must believe? Generally, it is said: “You must believe that Jesus is the Christ.” But look at one of the verses used: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Did you see it? Did you see the words, “Jesus is the Christ?” No, you did not! This verse says, “shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Also, notice that the verse says: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord.” We have gone, now, from believing to “confess with thy mouth.” We now have two necessary things that one must do to be saved!! Yet, we do not have: “You must believe that Jesus is the Christ!” However, the verse does give us two things necessary, and they are: 1) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” and 2) ““shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead.
Another verse used to teach that one must believe that Jesus is the Christ: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). At least we are getting closer to the words some require that the lost must believe to be saved. The word “he” in the text would appear to imply, that the lost must believe that Jesus is the Christ. These words were spoken before Pentecost and to the Jews. What difference does this mean? Jesus is preparing the Jews, as well did John who baptized, for the end of the old law and the beginning of the gospel; thus, moving the Jews from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ. This never crosses the mind of many, if not most.
Some may never think about “time,” and “context” as they read the four gospel accounts. John, who baptized, Jesus, and the twelve, did their teaching in what I call, “the period of transition,” as the teaching was to call the Jews to repentance as it related to the Law of Moses and prepare the for “the age of Christ,” meaning the time Christ has “all authority (Matt. 28:18). This information, “time” and “context,” can make a difference of knowing what to do to be saved or continuing to be lost!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/how-many-ways-can-one-be-saved-1/

Jan 27

LOVING GOD, WITHOUT LOVING RIGHTEOUSNESS? (7)

Here are a few words I am sure you are glad to read, this will be the last article in this series; “Loving God, without loving righteousness?” The purpose of these articles is to allow you to see that we have some and a growing number who are set out to change the churches of Christ! They play on words, like using “rightness” and not “righteousness!” Please understand, “rightness,” is in “righteousness!”
Therefore, we ask the question: “What is the writer’s purpose in using the word “rightness?” He writes that we are too concerned about our “rightness;” then, he tells us what he means by “rightness.” It is that we, members of the body of Christ, teach too much on points of teaching that make us different from denominations! Of course, if the members of the churches of Christ do not fully know the points of teaching and practice that make us different, we might just become another denomination! This is their aim!
The writer tells us that “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ,” somehow takes us away from Jesus. Get this please, no one can know Jesus without knowing “the teaching of Christ!” It may be that some preachers, do not teach enough on Jesus as revealed in the New Testament, but this would be a failure of some preachers, and not “the churches of Christ!” It is like saying, some members of the body of Christ, have not grown spiritually as they should; but please do not condemn the whole body for the weakness of some! After all, we are a people with failures that we are trying to correct!
One of the points the writer makes is this, when writing about fellowship: “Finally, it looks like an ever-shrinking window of fellowship. The more emphasis we place on rightness, the less room we leave for grace to cover misunderstandings or disagreements on the finest points of the faith.” Allow me to say, the writer has a point here! The finer, we shave off points, in our efforts to get down to a point of teaching, which others do not understand or sometimes which may not even be there at all; we are in danger of dividing the body of Christ. If a point in teaching does not change the nature of the body of Christ, if it does not change us to leave “the teaching of Christ;” it should not be a cause of disfellowship! It is so true today, that the body of Christ may have an attitude like our writer makes a point, as he writes: “As one of my preaching school instructors joked, ‘As far as I can tell, the only people who are getting into heaven are me and my wife – and I’m not so sure about her.” Well, I too have heard this joke, and it is just that, a joke! Next, on the same subject, the writer says: “Making every last issue a ‘salvation issue’ and refusing to fellowship anyone who may believe differently on even the tiniest area of interpretation shows an unhealthy emphasis on or own rightness.” If this is truly done, it should not be so! However, to my knowledge it is not true, but if it is done by some, it only shows their own wrong attitude! Allow me once more to point out, “our rightness” is not the real subject just here. Because the writer is trying to make “our rightness” equal to our efforts to stay within “the teaching of Christ,” for he believes, per his article, that following “the teaching of Christ” somehow is different from having Jesus in our lives! Jesus is in “the teaching of Christ” and if we are following “the teaching of Christ” we have fellowship with Jesus (the Son) and the Father (2 John 9)! The writer fails to understand this point!
Finally, the writers says: “It (our efforts of rightness, frw) keeps us shallow. When we’re constantly covering baptism, the instrument, and the other doctrines that set us apart from the denominational world, growth comes to a halt.” Now, get the following point the writer makes: “As Hebrews 5:11-14 discusses, there comes a time when we need to move beyond the fundamentals and onto the meat of the word.” Here it appears to me that he should have used another text! The writer of the Hebrew letter is addressing weak and immature Christians! In fact, they were near the point of leaving “the teaching of Christ” and going back to Moses (the old law) and it is pointed out that, they were in deed of returning to “the first principles:” “ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Heb. 5:12). Brethren, “first principles,” which some assume are baptism and musical instruments are the “first principles” of the text, this is simply not true! Then, “the first principles” as used in this text, relate to these Hebrew Christians and the reasons they gave up the law of Moses and became Christians!
A lot more needs to be written on the article we are reviewing but as promised in the opening of this article, this is the last article. One thing I trust is true, is that I have been honest in my review of the article. If you would like a copy of the article, please let me know and I will do my best to see that you get one.
Finally, I pray and trust that you will always do your best to grow in “your own rightness!” “Rightness” includes having Jesus in your life, which means in your being, but understand, it cannot be done, if you fail to follow “the teaching of Christ!” There are things in the article in which I agree! But I see in the article an attitude of looseness, that God’s grace will forgive and an attitude that one should not be concerned about the distinctive nature of the body of Christ!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/loving-god-without-loving-righteousness-7/

Jan 19

LOVING GOD, WITHOUT LOVING RIGHTEOUSNESS? (6)

The question may come to the readers’ mind: Why so many articles on this subject?” It is because we have some within the churches of Christ who are leaving “the teaching of Christ;” that is, if they have not already departed from the churches of Christ! In so doing this, they are trying to make the churches of Christ into a denomination!
How are they doing this? First, as the title article of the reveals, they are trying very hard to convince us that we are trying to be “too rightness!” Second, allow me to once more to call attention to the words in the article under review: “What does an over-emphasis on our rightness look like?” Let the writer answer his own question: “It looks like a constant dwelling on the doctrines that set us apart from others, like baptism, music, women’s roles, and the like.” These are some of the teaching (doctrine) that separate “the churches of Christ” from denominational churches. When these teachings are removed, we are fully on our way to becoming a denomination. Here is a thought that some miss when addressing these subjects. No man, who teaches the gospel of Christ or anything else for that matter, knows the mind and the understanding of those who are seated before him. Is it not the case, that some, who were baptized in their youth, have concluded that they were too young and did not understand what they were doing? Yes, we have seen such cases! Then, there are visitors who have never obeyed the gospel and who have never heard the gospel in its truth. It is a same that any preacher, who calls himself a preacher of the gospel, who fails to understand these two points and not give God’s plan of salvation! One more thought just here, just how much time does it take to cover God’s plan of salvation? A minute or two?
When the writer questions: “What does an over-emphasis on our rightness look like?” He continues: “It also looks like condescension toward outsiders who disagree.” First, there is no room for “condescension” in the heart of any Christian! Here is what the word means: “an attitude of patronizing superiority; disdain.” No Christian should have any problem understanding that “an attitude of patronizing,” (Which means: “to adopt an air of condescension toward”) superiority” toward others has any place is the heart of a Christian, or among Christians as they worship God “in spirit and in truth”! But, to teach the truth is not showing “an attitude of patronizing superiority!” If so, then Jesus did it and so did the apostles of Christ! Who can believe such? Certainly not a Christian! Before leaving this subject, let us look at the word “disdain” which is the word “condescension.” It means: “a feeling of strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something you think does not deserve respect.” Once more there is no place in the heart of a Christian for sure. It should be remembered, that God loves all of us, Christian or not! Finally, to teach the truth is not showing “an attitude of patronizing superiority!” Jesus taught the truth and he was not showing “an attitude of patronizing superiority! Though he was superior!
The writer continues the same subject, as he wrote: “Additionally, it looks like unfriendliness and unwelcomeness toward any one who dare to question.” As one who has preached the truth for forty-nine years, I resent anyone who would call my preaching sounding “like unfriendliness and unwelcomeness” toward anyone! But the writer did not stop here, but wrote: “The implication is fairly common in the church today that all of the major doctrines (and minor ones, for that matter) were decided once and for all decades ago and we don’t need to revisit or discuss them anymore beyond a memorized defense.” Let me say here, that the writer did not go back far enough; 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). It may be true, and more than likely is, that some among us stopped their studying and learning at some point! I also freely write, that some preachers are lazy and refuse to learn and all such are a danger to the body of Christ!
In conclusion, all this, written by the writer of the article, is an effort to destroy the teaching that separates the churches of Christ from denominational churches! Call it whatever you like, but the churches of Christ are built upon the truth! We are not perfect, that is, without our faults! But, teaching the truth in love of God and for the lost, is not one of them!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/loving-god-without-loving-righteousness-6/

Jan 12

LOVING GOD, WITHOUT LOVING RIGHTEOUSNESS? (5)

As we continue this series of articles, that we are reviewing an article entitled, “A dangerous trend in the churches of Christ.” In the article the writer is questioning our “rightness,” as though we have too much “rightness!”
Here is the jest of the article, as stated in the writer’s own words: “… but if we’ve come to the place that our rightness outranks Jesus in terms of where we direct our attention (and I believe we have), we have a problem.” Allow me to make a critical point in this whole series of articles: “Just where does this writer and a growing number of others, think we find Jesus?” It is true that some, though not generally among churches of Christ, think they have seen Jesus; let me just say, they are delusional! So we have come back to the question: “Just where do we find Jesus?” The only place we will ever, in this life, locate Jesus, it will be in “the gospel of Christ,” it will be in “the teaching of Christ, it will be in “The New Testament!” Thomas asked Jesus a question: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? (John 14:5). Jesus answers Thomas in these words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (verse 6). Therefore, it is clear that if we are to know “the way,” “the truth,” and “the life,” we must understand it will be through Jesus! Thus, we must know Jesus!
However, this brings us back to the original question: “how do we know Jesus,” or “how and where do we find Jesus?” Friends, if it is not in “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ,” we will never know Jesus! To minimize “the doctrine (teaching) of Christ,” is to minimize Jesus! Here the apostle John: “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” (2 John 9). Just how important does John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, put “the doctrine (teaching) of Christ?” John points out, the person who does “abideth not in the doctrine of Christ,” “hath not God!” On the other hand, John also points out, “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.” Now, allow me to ask, is there one of the inspired writers of the New Testament who minimizes “the doctrine of Christ?” No, no not one!
Most us have sung the song: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me;” the words to this song are most interesting as they relate to the point we are making. Here are the words to the first verse: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity, My His Spirit divine all my being refine, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” (Written by Albert Orsborn). Now, here are my questions: 1) Just where to we learn about the beauty of Jesus? 2) Just where do we learn about his wonderful passion and purity? And 3) Just how does His Spirit divine all my being refine? Each of these questions are answered in the words: “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ!” It is our deepest wish, that the words of the song be true of each of us! But, they never will be true, unless we first fill our spirit/mind with “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ!” No one can be filled with the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5), thus, be filled with Jesus unless, until he is filled with the New Testament; for there is the only place we can be sure we have Jesus!
It is my trust, that each of those who read this series of articles, will understand at least this truth: Jesus is in “the teaching of Christ,” the New Testament! If we are looking elsewhere to find “the mind of Christ,” we are looking in the wrong place! It is truly a blessing to “see the beauty of Jesus” in each of us but it will always be less than the perfect “teaching of Christ!” At the same time, this only shows us how important to others that we be filled with “the beauty of Jesus” let the beauty of Jesus be found in each of us!
Therefore, I ask: “Can others see the beauty of Jesus in each of us?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/loving-god-without-loving-righteousness-5/

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