Nov 21

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (4)

On what day is the Lord’s Supper to be taken, according to NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY? Of course, all who read this article will answer: “On the first day of the week.” Now where did you and others get your authority to answer in this manner? Is there a text that says, Christians are to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week? No! So, the question remains, where did you get New Testament authority to take of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week – Sunday? Can you read the passage, that says so? No!
We need to understand, that the manner that is used to arrive at the conclusion, that there is New Testament authority for taking the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, is arrived by properly using the method that is used for other things as well. How is that? We study and see what the church did, under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, and understand this is New Testament authority for it. It is not true, as Martin Luther and many others today, would tell us that New Testament authority is found in that it does not “forbid” something. Over the years, I have said, “If God had to tell us all the things we are not to do, and to tell us when a thing is to be done, we would need U-Haul truck to carry the New Testament. God in his perfect wisdom, avoided all that, by revealing what we are to do and when we are to do it! This is true of the Lord’s Supper and when Christians are to partake of it. God simply had Luke record the history of the New Testament church; thus, revealing for us, both the things authorized, and the things not authorized.
Therefore, we are able to read the inspired history of the church and in doing so, we read these words: “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). Now, let us notice a few things that gives us the event under study. First, we notice, that some of Paul’s company, went before him and tarried at Troas. Luke even gives us the names of those who departed from Paul and waited for him in Troas: “And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus” (verse 4). Luke, desiring, that his readers understand, what was taking place, filled us in; as he wrote: “These going before tarried for us at Troas” (verse 5). There are things going on here, that are important to our understanding of the text and the event that took Paul and his company to Troas. Something that was important to Paul; thus, important to the Holy Spirit who guided Paul.
What was it? Paul desired to worship with the Lord’s people in Troas! But, in so doing, Luke, guided by the Holy Spirit and as the historian, would write: “…where we abode seven days” (verse 6). Why did they “abode seven days?” Let Luke tell us why they “abode seven days.” The next verse reads: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, …” (verse 7). This would be Paul’s last time to see these good brethren on this earth! The phrase, “to break bread,” is not a common meal, though they would have such a meal following their worship; this is seen in the events, as Luke put it: “Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, ..” (verse 9). But we have overlooked the event which has our attention; that being, that Paul and company waited seven days, so he could “break bread” with these brethren, whom he loved! In this assembly of worship, Paul preached, as Luke put it: “Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; …” (verse 7). We do not know at what hour the church “came together,” but we do know that Paul preached until the midnight hour.
So, I ask you again, “Where do you get New Testament Authority to take the Lord’s Supper, here described as “to break bread,” on the first day of the week?” If we are reading Luke’s words with an honest mind/heart, it is right here in this historical event, written by the inspired Luke! We have not looked for a “thou shall take the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week,” but we have searched the historical record and found what the Lord’s people did! We have not looked for a “thou not take the Lord’s Supper on Friday;” we have not searched for what is “forbidden” but we have searched to see what the Lord’s people did under the oversight of the apostles of Christ!
When you read the New Testament, what are you looking for? Are you looking for: “If it is not forbidden, that is authority for it?” Or on the other hand, are you looking for what the Lord’s people did under the oversight of the “ambassadors for Christ?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-4/

Nov 13

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (3)

“I propose that in the Lord’s Supper, that we use cornbread and buttermilk!” Yes, not many would agree to use these two items for the Lord’s Supper, but I ask why? If as Martin Luther proposed, that if the Bible does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it. No where in the New Testament does it forbid the use of cornbread and buttermilk in the Lord’s Supper! Do you get it? Yes, I am using the absurd, to prove the fallacy of the idea, that if the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it!
The real question before us is how we ascertain New Testament authority. This question is as old as the church of our Lord. Paul used the absurd to prove New Testament authority when he wrote his first letter to the church in Corinth. The context is Paul’s statement: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). In the body of Christ, the church of our Lord, there is to be no divisions! Period! Therefore, Paul arises questions: 1) “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” (1 Cor. 1:12). If there is to be no divisions, and there is not, how is it that some of you, say “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos,” I am of “Cephas,” then, finally, some rightly said, I am “of Christ.” Only one of these is correct, it is “I (am, frw) of Christ.” Of course, this comes on the face of his words, “that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” There is no room in Christ for divisions! How is it then, that ye say, I am of Paul, I am Apollos, I am of Cephas, or I am of Christ? This is division clear and simple! But the absurdity of their state is in the following, as Paul wrote: 1) “is Christ divided?” 2), “was Paul crucified for you?” 3) “or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (verse 13). The state of the Corinthians was totally outside the realm of logic! Here the apostle puts forth two questions: 1) “Is Christ divided?“ and 2) was “Paul crucified for you?” If you do not know the answer to Paul’s questions, then, there is need that you be taught the gospel of Christ!
What is all the above about? It is about “absurbity!” Using it to show how foolish people can be! Using “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper is foolish, but no more so than saying “I am of Paul!” But the question is: 1) “Why is it foolish?” and 2) How do we show that there is no New Testament Authority for “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper? Do we have a passage that “forbids” it? If we think like Martin Luther and an ever-growing number of our brethren, we can use “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper. I challenge you to find the text that “forbids” the use of “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper! Did you find it? Of course, you did not find a text that “forbids” the use of “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper. What we do have is Paul’s inspired words as he tells us what the Lord’s Supper is; here are his words: 1) he gives his authority: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, 2) That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed…” 3) he now gives the first item in the Lord’s Supper: “he took bread: “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (verse 24) and; 4); it is here that the apostle gives us the second item in the Lord’s Supper as he wrote: “after the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (verse 25). There is the Lord’s Supper, and it is nothing else! Please note, that Paul said that Jesus prayed: “when he had given thanks (This is the prayer, frw). The Lord’s Supper as revealed in the New Testament, is the only authority which we have for it! The fact that the Lord’s Supper has been revealed, removes everything else from being part of it! This is how we ascertain New Testament Authority, for all things! We search the scriptures, to ascertain, what we are to do. If the church under the oversight of the apostles did a thing with approval, then, we have authority for doing the same thing!
Yes, it is extremely limited! We do not look for a “thou shall not,” but we search for what is revealed. This same method, must be used in other areas, as we ascertain New Testament Authority! How do we ascertain New Testament Authority? We search to see what the church did under the oversight of the “ambassadors for Christ,” (2 Cor. 5:20) did with approval, then we may do the same!
Look forward to ascertaining. how we know what day to take the Lord’s Supper, as this will be the subject of the next article on “New Testament Authority!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-3/

Nov 07

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (2)

“If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it!” Have you ever heard this? Well, think about it for a while; no, really give some thought to it! More than likely you have never heard anyone ask this question. Sometimes it is not put forward in this strong a statement but a growing number of brethren, no, they do not say it, but they believe it.
How far reaching is this kind of authority: “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, this is authority for it?” It has an exceedingly long arm. Let us take a subject that is dear to our hearts, the Lord’s Supper. Let me ask four questions, while numbering each one:
1) Do you know what the Lord’s Supper is?
2) Do you know when the Lord’s Supper is to be taken?
3) Can you name the elements that make up the Lord’s Supper? And,
4) Do you know who is to take the Lord’s Supper?
Now, let me answer each question in the order listed.
1) “Do you know what the Lord’s Supper is?” The answer to question number one is, it is the remembrance of the Jesus’ death.
2) “Do you know when the Lord’s Supper is to be taken?” The answer to question number two is: the Lord’s Supper is to be taken on the first day of the week.
3) “Can you name the two elements that are the Lord’s Supper?” The answer to question number three is: the Lord’s Supper has two elements: 1) Unleavened bread and 2) fruit of the vine.
4) “Do you know who is to take of the Lord’s Supper?” The answer to question number four is: the Lord’s Supper is to be taken by the saints.
Now, that was not ridiculously hard, was it?
However, is there a bigger word, a word that has more in it, than the word “however?”
Putting that aside, let us get to the point of this article: New Testament Authority. Would it surprise you to know, that each of the answers given, is a subject of debate? Most people would answer that simple question, “no!” In this article, number two, we will not try to debate each question and each answer given above but each one will be noted. The first question, “Do you know what the Lord’s Supper is?” Is often misspoken, the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of Jesus’ death and is not a memorial of his resurrection, as is so often stated. If you desire to follow through a series of the events, and end it with the Lord’s resurrection, or even his ascension into heaven, at the “right hand of the Majesty on high,” there is no problem, as it ends in the victory! However, here is that “big” word again; using the point of this series of articles, New Testament Authority, does the New Testament “forbid” the use of something other than, unleavened bread and fruit of the vine? The answer is, No, it does not! Using the test of: “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it!” If a person desires to use “cornbread and buttermilk” and call it the Lord’s Supper, where is the New Testament authority that condemned it? You cannot find where “cornbread and buttermilk” are forbidden! Now, take this question, where in the New Testament is it forbid for a congregation, for taking the Lord’s Supper on Friday night? You got it, no where in the New Testament does it forbid taking the Lord’s Supper on Friday night, are for this matter, at any other time, day, or night! Now, look at the fourth question: “Do you know who is to take of the Lord’s Supper?” Well, do you know? Of course, we would answer, the saints. Do you know any place in the New Testament where it reveals, someone other than a saint took of the Lord’s Supper? No! But do you know where in the New Testament it forbids someone other than a saint to take the Lord’s Supper? Once more, the answer is no.
Now, you are beginning to understand the problem, that some bring with them when the subject is “New Testament Authority!” If we ascertain New Testament authority by the rule of Martin Luther and the denominational world on the subject and there is a growing number of our brethren who would try and get their New Testament Authority the same way: “Where in the New Testament is it forbidden and the list of subjects just goes on and on!
We are beginning to see why there is so much division in “Christians.” It is my hope as I continue to write on this subject: New Testament Authority, that our eyes will be opened to the problems.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-2/

Oct 30

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (1)

Every generation questions those who have gone before them, and how they ascertained authority. In America, it started with those who were seeking the church they read about upon the pages of the New Testament; as there was much division in the denominational world; just as there is today! It needs to be clear in our minds, that in the denominational world, there is never a question of ascertaining New Testament authority for what the church of the New Testament has authority to do. The denominational world makes their own rules and bylaws to suit themselves! Just look at the names of many, too many to name, that appear on the signs of their buildings. Not one of them would put on the sign in front of their building, “The church of the New Testament meets here.”
Huldrych Zwingli (January 1484 – October 1531) of whom you hear little, preached reform in the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland as early as 1519 A.D; while Martin Luther (November 1483–February 1546) who you have heard much, preached reform in Germany. Luther was convinced that the words of Christ had to be interpreted literally as to the Lord’s Supper, meaning that Christ was somehow physically present in the bread and the wine. This is called the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Zwingli believed, Christ’s words were to be understood symbolically as the verb form “is” means that the bread and the wine “symbolize” or “represent” the body and blood of Jesus! Thus, the two disagreed on what was authorized in the New Testament for the church. Luther’s view may be expressed as follows: he excluded those things which were expressly forbidden by Holy Scripture, this is the normative view; Zwingli on the other hand: only accepted that which was explicitly stated by the Word, this is the regulative principle. Thus, the debate between Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli. They met in 1529 to debate the issue of the Lord’s Supper but could not reach agreement on what Luther believed in. To Zwingli, the cornerstone of theology is the Bible. He appealed to scripture constantly in his writings. He placed its authority above other sources! I have often expressed the view, that if the church did something under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, then the church today may do the same thing! Thus, the debate then and now! Somethings never change, they are just dressed in new robs of the same kind.
One hand, it is most surprising, that this debate is still going on within the churches of Christ today. It has been said many times, “That if we do not know the mistakes made in the past, we are doomed to repeat them;” and so it is! This is the case within many local congregations of the Lord’s people! It was back in the late 1970’s that I first heard of a congregation of the Lord’s people, taking the Lord’s Supper on a Friday night. Then, it was learned that the “Lord’s Supper” was taken as part of a wedding. If we were following Martin Luther’s view of the authority of Christ, as related in the New Testament, there is nothing wrong with either of these two acts, as the New Testament does not expressly “forbid” such action! Then, look at baptism. Where in the New Testament did the apostles of Christ expressly “forbid” sprinkling for baptism? One might say, it is forbidden in the Greek word translated “baptism,” which is “baptizo,” and means: “to immerse, to submerge, to cleanse by dipping or submerging” (Thayer) and Strong gives this: “to make whelmed (that is, fully wet).” Thus, when I have baptized people, I look to make sure the whole body is under water! I want no hand sticking above the water! Paul gives this: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). This is one of the most striking views of what baptism is, as “we are buried,” The word “buried,” means: “to bury together with, in this, with Christ. Was Jesus “buried,” or was he just sprinkled with a little dirt? Well, this is all good but where in the New Testament does it “forbid” sprinkling? Nowhere! Let us not forget the words, “like as Christ was raised up from the dead … even so we also should walk in newness of life!”
If we take one step “out of the teaching of Christ,” it is one step too many. As John wrote: “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” (1 John 9). There is no fellowship with God or Christ, outside “the teaching of Christ!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-1/

Oct 23

LOVE (6)

Yes, it is true, that I was only going to write five articles but I have decided to write one more thus article number six. In this last article about love, this question is before us: “What is love?” For all the married folks, go back to the time you were dating your present mate. What was it, that you called love? What caused you to give a second look at the girl or boy, that was so great in that person, that made you desire to see her or him a second time?
As we try to answer the question, “What is love?” Was it the good looks of the other person, that made us “fall in love?” Was it only looks or was there something deeper? I guess, before we really get to answering our question, we need to know, if we can actually remember that far back. If we try hard enough, we will be able to take that look, that made us give a “second look” at the one we finally married. Many times, it is only the “good” looks of the other person, that caused us to give a second look; that made us go on that second date.
So, what is love? Were you “in love” at the first sight of the other? More than likely, looks did play apart in our making the decision to go on that second date. After all, most of us were young at this time in our lives. As we look at our mates today, we understand neither of us look like we did when young. We may look at photos of the two of us, and say, “I don’t remember you looking so young!” Therefore, we still have the question before us: “What is love?”
Here we will notice once more the words Paul wrote on love; first Paul covers the negative part of love: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Here the apostle gives us some very striking information. If I, at the time the letter was written, could “speak with the tongues of men and of angels (messengers), what good does it do for me? I am only like “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” Let us understand just here, that speaking in “tongues,” the languages of men, was very desirable. Yet, Paul says, “nothing more than “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Maybe just a “blowhard!” The apostle takes us to “the gift of prophecy,” and being able “understand all mysteries, and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, … I am nothing.” Third, even if, I gave all “my goods to feed the poor;” which is truly a good thing; nevertheless, “it profiteth me nothing.” Then, if for some “reason,” that I perceived as good, “it profiteth nothing!” So, what is the qualifying thing that is missing in these points? It is “charity!” Did I hear someone say, so love is most important in all our deeds! There may be many reasons that a person does something that is “good” but if love is not the motivating factor, I may receive the praise of men, but not of God! What did you do to get the attention of your “first love?” It may have really impressed him or her, but did it impress God?
Now, looking at Paul’s positives, here taking them one by one; as he wrote: 1) “Charity suffereth long,” Now many of us are old and have many needs, which we cannot do for ourselves? Is it not good to know that our mate will endure them. That is how our mate is forbearing with us! But not only so, Paul added, “is kind!” What is this “kindness?” It is understood in the words, “act benevolently.” Is it not a joy to know that our mate is “benevolent” toward us when we cannot help ourselves? 2) “charity envieth not;” that is to have warmth against us, as we become more and more helpless. 3) “charity vaunteth not itself;” that is to say, our mate is not a braggart. When we are near helpless, just think of what we would have to endure, if our mate was a “braggart!” I can just hear one say, I don’t need you but you are dependent on me! Of all the things we might need, to hear such words just makes it harder to endure! 4) “is not puffed up,” and these words mean: “sense of blowing; to inflate.” Here you are, after many years of marriage, and now you are so dependent on your mate, and all you hear, day after day, in your mate “inflate” their importance to you!
Let us here conclude this series of articles on love, with Paul’s last words: “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth!” As you read these words, please think of your mate and what he or she may think of you! The good looks are gone, and what we have left, is love! So, what is love?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-6/

Oct 17

LOVE (5)

At times, our words deceive us! What is meant by this? Think about the word “love” under which we are writing. Have you ever heard, or said, “I love my dog?” Then, later you say, “I love God.” This has never seemed to be right to my feeble ears! How about your ears?
Let us look back at the three Greeks words translated “love.” First recalling the three Greek words, they are: 1) “agapao” 2) “phileo,” and 3) “storge”. First, looking at the verse which everyone knows, “For God so loved (agapao) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This “love” coming from God is the highest kind of “love,” and used here to embrace the greatest number of people. Here John wrote, “God so ‘agapao’ the world,” and the Greek word for “world” is “kosmos,” here meaning all those who live upon the earth. Second, the Greek word “phileo” is used when Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me more than these?” The change of words in the text is lost in English but is important in the Greek. You see, the Lord did not use the same Greek word three times, as Jesus said in verse seventeen: “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me?” Here Jesus used the Greek word “phileo;” it is clear in the Greek text that Jesus changed words from “agapao” and it appears that Peter is very upset. Strong gives this as the meaning of the Greek word “phileo:” “to be a friend to (fond of that is, have affection for.” “Phileo” is clearly a lesser word the “agapao,” which Jesus had used the first and second time he spoke to Peter. To which Peter replied: “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Now, which word did Peter use in his reply? The text will answer our question as it has the Greek word “phileo.” Here is a question that I have never heard nor read from anyone; is Peter “grieved,” as the text says he was, as it reads: “Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?” So, what is my question? It is, was Peter “grieved” because Jesus said unto him, “lovest thou me more than these?” Or was he “grieved” because Jesus changed words, and used a lesser word than “agapao?” You can study on this for yourself! The third Greek word translated “love” is “storge” and is used in these words: “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection (astorgos), implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:31). The “a” at the beginning of the word reveals that it is used “as a negative particle” (Strong). We will not study this word, as it has nothing to do with our study.
Now, when you say: “I love my dog” which of these two Greek words: 1) “agapao,” or 2) “phileo’”would you be using if spoke Greek? I trust that you and I would use the Greek word “phileo,” as we would be expressing I “have affection for” my dog. But, we speak English, so how do we express a difference, that is expressed in the Greek but not in English? Maybe we should say, “I like my dog” but “I love God!”
Of course, the greatest passage which expresses the true meaning of “love” are in Paul’s words to the Corinthians; when he wrote: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13: 1-3). Now, just how is love truly expressed: “Charity (agapao) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: …” (verses 4-8). Love cannot be defined any better than in the words the Holy Spirit gave to Paul. Each time the word “charity” is used in these two texts (1Cor. 13:1-3 and 1 Cor. 13:4-8), it is the Greek “agape.” Thus, the apostle is using the greatest Greek word for “love.”
In the above two texts, Paul has given us a lifelong challenge! How are you doing, in everyday life, in measuring up? It is hoped that we all are improving! I trust that in these five articles on “love,” that I have taken you into everyday life as we deal with our fellows! It is understood that some people, appear to have been born in the “negative” mourned; thus, making it hard to follow Paul’s words. Yes, but let it not be us, that makes others have a hard time loving and living with us!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-5/

Oct 09

LOVE (4)

How “much” must a husband love his wife? Paul will answer our question, as he wrote: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). Husbands really need to think deeply, as they study this verse. The love the husband is to have for his wife, “even as Christ also loved the church.” How many husbands even think about this as the preacher stands before the man who will be the husband and the woman who will be the wife, who is getting married? Many a man has said to the woman he desires to be his wife, “I love you!” But he is not even aware of the words Paul wrote: “even as Christ also loved the church.” Just how much love was that, that Jesus loved the church?
Paul, when addressing the elders of the church in Ephesus, said this: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). This is a beautiful verse, but it is more than beautiful! It has the “blood” of Jesus within it. He, in his “love” for the “church” “purchased” her “with his own blood.” There is the love that Christ had for the church; thus, this is how much love the husband is to love his wife! Maybe the preacher, or whoever is joining the man and woman is marriage, should stop his words and ask the man, “Do you love this woman you are taking in marriage enough to die for her? How many men might turn and walk away from the woman? No, few if any men whould turn and walk away. Why? Because they have never thought about such love; they would just answer the question with a “Yes,” having no idea to what they have really said. If the preacher, would stop and ask the man this question then, before the man could answer, the preacher would give a short lesson on this kind of love. Then, tell the man, if you do not truly love this woman, that much, you are not ready for marriage!
You know, Paul never said that the woman, who is the wife, is to love her husband. No, he said about the woman: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). The Greek word translated “submit” is “hypostases” and means: “to subordinate; reflexively to obey: – be under obedience” (Strong). Before continuing, it is my thinking, that this whole idea of the wife being “subordinate” to the husband is most objectional in today’s world. What was common a hundred year ago, sets the “world on fire” today! Do you know why the “wife” will “submit” to her husband? Because she loves him! One more verse just here; as Paul continued: “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (verse 24). Why would any woman be willing to “submit” to the man who is going to be her husband, it is because she loves him? Many a woman who is getting married, has never even had one thought about “submitting” to the man she is getting married to. Oh, she has said to him, “I love you,” and has done so many times. I do think the women, more than likely, have given more thought about loving this man who she hopes will be her husband than do men. It may be the nature of women to do so! She is even more prone to say, “I love you,” more than the man. On the other hand, some men use the word “love” almost as a threat! As in, “I love you,” therefore, you had better obey me! Those words never are an expression of love!
As the family generally has a child or more, let us turn our attention to parents and children. Noting first, Paul’s words: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). It is a matter of authority, that a child is to obey the parents! Authority must be viewed as what is for the betterment of the child, however. Never is “love” used tyrannical; as a man may do, who has no right to even be a parent, father! There is something radically wrong with a parent, be the parent male or female, who does not love the child. There is no human more helpless and lovable than a baby, a child. But the world has set their attention on perverting the child today. If the child can be perverted, as in leading them away from respecting and loving the parent, then, they are ready to be turned into a radical, who will rebel from the parent and also the government. Just look at the streets in America!
Yes, “love” always looks at what is best, be it the husband, the wife, or the child, who is being loved! Love is demanding, love is obeying, love is willing, and love always looks for the best! If we can see these points in God’s love for mankind, we should be able to see it in mankind!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-4/

Oct 02

LOVE (3)

Love does not mean approval nor acceptance! We do not have to look any farther than God himself! The “golden text” expresses this very clearly: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is not one word of approval nor acceptance on the part of God in this text! On the other hand, it does express God’s unconditional love for all mankind. There is no greater love, than is found in the words, “For God so loved the world.” We have the greatest being loving the greatest number of mankind, “the world.” At the same time, Isaiah expresses God’s view of sin and what it does; as he wrote: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). Did God love those of whom Isaiah wrote? Yes! Was it unconditional love? Yes! At the same time these words show clearly that those who were “sinners,” those who have sin as a manner of life, those who live in a state of sinning, were not acceptable to God.
Paul wrote: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The Greek word translated “commendeth” is “sunistao” and Strong gives us, as one of the meanings to this word, as “to constitute.” Therefore, “God constituted his love toward us, while we were yet sinners.” How did God “constitute” “his love toward us, while we were yet sinners?” Four words answer this question: “Christ died for us!” No greater love, no greater act, for no greater number of people, and no greater forgiveness was ever “constituted!” Now, get this point! We, moral humans, learn from God! We learn about love from God! We learn what love is at its highest level, and we learn how to deal with those who are sinners! Yes, we learn from God how to deal with family members who live in sin! We never stop loving, but we let it be known, that sin is unacceptable and that it has consequences! Do you remember what Isaiah wrote? Here are part of his words: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear!” Dealing with family and close friends who are “sinners,” is one of the hardest things that we, as Christians, must do. Do we learn from God and his love for us, or not? Whoever said, “Loving is easy?”
As we think on the last thought of the above paragraph, we need to recall the words of Jesus: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Who ever said, “Being a Christian was easy?” As we interact with others, do we keep these words in mind? If not, why not? No, I know for sure, to obey Jesus’ words are not easy! We humans have a way of making it hard, for others to even like us, let alone “do ye also to them.” Oh, we like doing unto others, but not so much, “as” we would that they do unto us! Here is a good question: “Why do we make it so hard for others to obey Jesus’ words? This is a good time to write about a story, true story, that was told to me. A certain preacher was “holding” a gospel meeting in a place that he had done so several times before. In fact, before the nights meeting was to take place, he was eating with a family, which he had done several times before. The father of the family was sitting at one end of the table and the preacher at the other end. As they were eating, the preacher looked at the man at the other end of the table, which he had done a number of times before; he had tried everything he knew, to convert this father. This time, as he by now knew the man well, said unto him,” You are going to hell!” Have you ever been so bold? More than likely not! But, here was a man, who in fact, “Was going to hell, if he died in his present spiritual state.” So, how far would you go, if you sat where this preacher sat, facing a man in such a spiritual state? You know you have been and may in fact, be in such a state as you read this article! Do you know what happened to this man? Of course, not; that is until now. Would you believe it? This man obeyed the gospel that night! Granted, before you ever say the words this preacher said, you MUST know the person well. We do not go around telling people they are going to hell. However, there is a place and time for such, or nearly such! Over the fifty some years of preaching and dealing with people, both Christians and non-Christians, I have learned, that you must deal with people differently. Some people I have learned, that I could be very blunt with but others, I could not! Sometimes, your actions, if true, say all that need be said.
Who ever said: Being a Christian is easy? Keep in mind, “Love is demanding!” The world does not generally understand this point and some Christians do not understand it either!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-3/

Sep 25

LOVE (2)

In this second article on love, we need to learn what kind of love is more demanding of us! We have looked, ever so briefly, at the three Greek words translated love. Just to refresh your memory, they are: 1) Agape, 2) Philia, AND 3) Storge. There is a fourth Greek word (Eros) translated “love” but it is not used in the New Testament; therefore, we will not look at it.
In my search, I found this that might be helpful in our understanding of the three Greek words; 1) Storge – empathy bond, 2) Philia – friend bond, and 3) Agape – unconditional “God” love. You can see why we tend to lean toward “agape” – love, as it is said to be “unconditional.” But, we must never forget that “unconditional love” does not mean the one who is so loved, never means acceptable! It is easy to prove that God loves humanity “unconditionally and desires that all humanity is saved. Here read these words: “Who (God, frw) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). No question, God loves all mankind! The words in Romans, also shows this: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). As we read these words, it is clear that God’s “unconditional” love, never means that we are acceptable to God, only that he loves us!
Let us now move to the hard area! So, you are saying, what do you mean, “the hard area?” The “hard area” is our love for each other. You see, we are far from being “perfect” in our actions toward each other. In fact, we sometimes make ourselves hard to love! However, before continuing this thought, let us notice a few things that are inseparable. One is that love obeys. Jesus said, and this is a universal truth, as it never changes; here are Jesus’s words: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). These words were true in the “garden of Eden,” they were true throughout the Mosaic age, and it is true in the age of Christ. John wrote: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). But, John did not stop here but wrote these “hard to accept” words: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (verse 4). The person who “twists” the word of God to fit his own desires, is one that does not love Christ! Even if the things written by inspiration are “hard” to understand in places, it is no excuse for us to cry, “It is too hard for us to understand!” Here let us turn to Peter’s words about some of the things Paul wrote, they are: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (1 Pet. 3:16). The Greek word translated “hard to be understood” is “dusnoetos” and means: “difficult of perception” (Strong). Being “difficult” does not mean impossible! Here is a good place to call attention to Luke’s words about the Bereans: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). It is the responsibility of the individual to study, to study hard enough and long enough, in an effort to “search” the scriptures daily to see the truth! This is true of our subject, “love,” as “love” is a requirement, if we are to be acceptable to God! There is no greater goal
So, Jesus said: “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). It is easy to do unto others, but it is hard to do unto others as you would have them do unto you! This is a quotation from Leviticus 19:18 and it is called “the golden rule!” This would not be so hard, if we were always easy to get along with but we are not! Therefore, the “golden rule” requires us to do unto others, even when they are not acting as they should. Is this not what we would like others to do unto us? This is what love calls for; not only in others but in ourselves toward others! We might say it this way, “How would we like others to react toward us, when we are less than “good?” Are you ever less than good toward others? Be honest now!
Let us take a look at what Paul wrote: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Eph. 5:21). The Greek word translated “submitting yourselves,” is “hupotasso” and means: “reflexively to obey: – be under obedience.” (Strong). Have you ever thought about this requirement? This is to be done, “in the fear of God!” This comes in a context of: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (verse 22). Yes, it is the same Greek word as in verse twenty-one, “submitting” and “submit.”
Who said, “loving one another was easy?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-2/

Sep 18

LOVE (1)

What a subject! How many sermons have you heard, and how many articles have you read about love? You do not know, and I do not know the answer to this question. It is a great subject to study and to gain a deeper understanding of love. I ”Googled” in my search on the Greek words translated love and here is what I found: “Ancient Greek has four main words for love. Two of them are used often in the New Testament: agapao and phileo. Therefore, we will look at the three Greek words that are used in the New Testament.
First, the word is “storge.” It is used in the following verse: “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:31). It is the English words “without natural affection” that is the Greek word “Astorgos” and means: “hard hearted towards kindred;” here the “A” at the beginning of this word shows the negative” (Strong). It is used with reference to family “love;” thus, also the spiritual family of God. It is used in Romans 12:10 and is translated “kindly affectioned.” It is a compound word, philo-storgos.” You can see the Greek “philo,” then, “storgos” in the Greek word used here.
Second, the Greek word “phileo” which means: “that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment) as a matter of sentiment or feeling.” It is used more naturally of intimate affection. It is used of Jesus and his love for Lazarus; as it is written: “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3). The word “lovest” is the Greek “phileo.” Therefore, it is used of the love that Jesus had for Lazarus.
The third Greek word is “agape” and means: “highest and noblest form of love which sees something infinitely precious in its object” (Google). It is used to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, and humanity. As John wrote: “And I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved (agape) me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. Love is greatly misunderstood! Love does not mean acceptable, that is love does not mean that the person loved is pleasing to the one who loves! God’s love for man, does not mean that mankind is acceptable to him. Paul wrote, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Why does God “will have all men to be saved?” Let John answer this question: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In respect of “agapao” as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being toward entirely unworthy objects, in our case, mankind! Before leaving this part of our study, we need to notice Paul’s words: “But God commendeth his love (agapao) toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Now, turning our attention to “love” of each other. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love (agapao) one another” (John 13:34). Here we have now reached “where we live!” Jesus said to the apostles: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). This is one of those universal truths! It is never acceptable to God that we do not love one another! This is one of two, highest callings! The first being loving God, the second being, loving each other! With all our failings, our weaknesses, and our bad attitudes, it is hard for us to love each other as we, not should, but must! Love is very demanding! Sometimes, it is so hard from a human point of view, that we just fail.
Here is our challenge! Let me just say, we must live so as we are easy to love! Are you living so you are easy to love? Do we have some work to do?

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/love-1/

Older posts «