Jan 15

DID JESUS HAVE SUPERNATURAL HELP IN FASTING (3)?

This third article, on the subject of the different kind of fasts; they are: 1) The Absolute Fast, 2) The Partial Fast, and 3) The Normal Fast. The type of these “fasts” can be seen in the words by which they are identified, by how they are described. the key words are: 1) Absolute, 2) Partial, and 3) Normal. Lets get our “thinking caps,” on about this question: what type of “fasting” did Jesus do as recorded by Matthew. The text reads, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred” (Matt. 4:1-20). Did you note that there is nothing to identify what kind of “fasting” Jesus did and this is also true of the other “fasts.”
With the above set in our minds, let us get to the third of the “fasts,” identified by “The words “The Normal Fast”. One would except to read more of this type in the scriptures than the other two “Fasts.” Here are a few of them. First, 2 Samuel 12:16-20, which reads: “David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted (the Hebrew word: tsoom or tsome), and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread (Notice here the words, “they set bread before him.” The “fast” ended. The word “bread” may be a synecdoche, where the part is put the whole’, a complete meal.), before him, and he did eat.” Nothing is said about not drinking water, or otherwise. This “fasting” would fall under the words, “The Normal Fast.” Here we will note the Hebrew word “tsoom or tsome” which means: “to cover over (the mouth), that is, to fast” (Strong).
Second, let us read the following: “Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? (Joel 1:14-16). Notice the words, “Is not the meat cut off before our eyes.” Here too is the Hebrew word “tsome” is used in the text and still means “to fast.” This also would be “The Normal Fast.” This brings us to Jesus and his “fast.”
Mathew recorded the event, so: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit (Allow me to point out the word “Spirit,” though it is capitalized, this is only the work of the translator of the King James Version. However, when looking at Luke chapter four, the word: Holy Spirit appears; therefore, the conclusion could rightly be perceived that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. Yet, this is something that one should study.) into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” Matt. 4:1-2)
For the sake of honesty, and we must always be so, I call attention to the fact that J. W. McGarvey (A Bible scholar known round the earth in his day.) argued that Jesus’ temptation fast was an example of a super-natural fast.” McGarvey played on the words, “afterward he was hungry.” Of course, would you not be “hungry” if had you fasted for forty days and nights? Yes, of course, you would and so would I; and so did Jesus!
We are now set for the next article: “DID JESUS HAVE SUPERNATURAL HELP IN FASTING.” My objection to McGarvey is that, if Jesus was aided by the Holy Spirit to endure the fast, what about the rest of us? Even in the time of miracles, between now and next article, study Matthew and Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation. Was it then, and is it now, impossible to go without food, without food and water, without water for forty days and forty nights!
This will be the subject of the next article on the fasts!

— Frank R. Williams

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Jan 07

DID JESUS HAVE SUPERNATURAL HELP IN FASTING (2)?

If Jesus used the aid of supernatural power to aid him in getting through the “fasting” of Matthew, four, verses one and two, which reads: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered?” This is a most interesting point to ponder!
If Jesus had supernatural power to aid him, in time of temptation, and we are to go through the same type of “temptation,” without the aid of “supernatural powers,” does this make us stronger than Jesus when facing temptation? Now, really give some thought to this question!
With the above thoughts in our mind, let us notice a second type of “fasting,” than was noted in the first article. There are at least three types of “fasting’ and they are: 1) The Absolute Fast, 2) The Partial Fast, and 3) The Normal Fast. In the first article we covered, maybe in an incomplete manner, but it was written with the hope the reader would come away with a better understanding the fasts in the Bible.
In looking at the “Partial Fast,” we will look at Daniel, chapter one, verse 8, which reads: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore, he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Now read with me verses 9 – 12: “Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.” Now, why would we call this “fast” a” Partial Fast?” It might be, in the simple answer, it fit the circumstances! It was not too much nor was it too little for the occasion!
Continuing with Daniel, attention is called to Chapter ten: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (verses 1-3). The circumstances called for this type of “fast,” the “Partial Fast!” Here a longer time was called for. This also helps us understand that it was not the number of days and nights, but the circumstances which called for what we are calling “The Partial Fast.”
You may have heard of someone making a vow, to drink no coffee for a week. This would be a “partial fast.” A person may vow to give up chocolate for a whole month. At which time the person would eat enough chocolate, as though he would have eaten during the month, had they were not been in a “partial” fast. If this were done as a religious act, would we call it an honest “fast”? No!
Now, we are not writing on the subject of “fasting, just to fill space in our bulletin. No, as the subject of “fasting” comes up in the religious world in general but also at times within the Lord’s church but to have a better understanding of the subject. To this point, we have briefly covered the “Absolute Fast,” and now “the Partial fast.” This means that we have one to go, which here is being called “The Normal Fast.”
As we bring this article to a conclusion, the question often comes up among Christians who believe in “fasting” as a religious act, or should we say, non-religious act? We do know that the early church, the church revealed upon the pages of the New Testament. I have pointed out in the past, that the early church at times did fast, while we eat “pot-luck” meals together! Is the church today better off in this act of eating? While I do not know this about the church, but the waist line has gone to “pot,” as in “potbellied!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/did-jesus-have-supernatural-help-in-fasting-2/

Jan 02

DID JESUS HAVE SUPERNATURAL HELP IN FASTING (1)?

The question under which I write, comes from the fact, that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights, and that so many defy these great facts! There we will allow Matthew to give us the record: “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred” (Matt. 4:2); then, Luke recorded these words: “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days, he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered” (Luke 4:2). Men love to question this great biblical truth; just as they do the rest of the inspired record!
The first thing, is to inquire into just what kind of “fast,” did Jesus do? Here you might not be aware that there are more than one kind of “fast,” but there are at least three kinds of “fast: 1) “absolute Fast;” 2) “the “partial Fast” and 3) “normal Fast.” Yes, these are terms given by men, but this does not give us reason to reject them! As we need some way to identify the different “fast!” Did I hear you say, “I did not know there were kinds of fasting?”
Second, the New Testament, in the two records above, sets forth this truth: that Jesus did in fact “fast. But, just what kind of “fast” did Jesus do during those “forty days and forty nights” given in the accounts? We have at least three kinds to choose from, as they are given above. Which one did Jesus do, and was he given supernatural aid? Thus, we have two questions before us, as we study the subject of “fasting!” In this first article on the subject of “fasting.” Here we will study one kind of “fasting:” the Absolutes Fast.”
With above in our minds, let us proceed to study the first kind of “fasting.” The record is seen in Jonah, the third chapter and verse seven. The text reads: “And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water,” but let us not stop here; as the record in Jonah was life or death for the city of Nineveh! The text reads: “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hand.” Why is this so important? This is the great city that God was going to destroy, unless they repented into the preaching of John; the text continues as we read the text, “For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.” If we read the text with just a little wisdom, we will know that this was an “Absolute Fast.” How do we know such? As the text reveals: “… Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.” This sums up the type of “fast;” as neither man, nor beast, “herd, nor flock; drink nor eat;” thus, the “Absolute Fast.”
Just use your head for more than having a cap or hat on it. Does “fasting” have as its end, its aim; that the people just go hungry and that they desire to drink? No, it is to get the mind/hearts of the people to turn to God and have man to understand, it is the intent that man obey him! Go without food and drink for as long as you desire, but if there is no spiritual intent, then, you have just gone with food and water, and when you decide to stop the “fast,” then, it is over and has no spiritual point to it!
With the above in mind, what kind of “fast” did Jesus do, as recorded by Matthew, four and verse two reads: “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” Let me here change the word just a litte, without changing the text. How long did Jesus “fast?” The “forty days and forty nights,” may read six weeks! Does this give your mind a little more understanding of the “forty days and forty nghts?” I was not able to find in the Greek words, translated into: “afterward he hungered,” the idea of doing without water.
So, you may conclude this question for yourself. Did Jesus engage in the “Absolute Fast,” which means he neither ate nor drank “for forty days and nights!”
We will contune with the study of “fasting” in the next article: ”DID JESUS HAVE SUPERNATURAL HELP IN FASTING?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/did-jesus-have-supernatural-help-in-fasting-1/

Dec 24

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (9)

As promised at the end of the last article, written under the above title, we will tackle the day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken! First, there is no commandment that says, “You are to take the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week.” It just is not there! So, is there a day authorized by the inspired writers of the New Testament, that reveals the day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken? The simple answer, “Yes!”
When we, the Lord’s people, understand that the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16) today, have no more authority to do things, than the churches of Christ did in the first century, under the oversight of the apostles, with their approval, we will stand upon sound ground! Just here, let us call your attention to Paul’s letter to Timothy, they are: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth…” (1 Tim. 3:15). It is my opinion, that a period should be place after the words “the church of the living God.” Otherwise, we have the “church” as “pillar and ground of the truth,” but Paul wrote: “the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness :” This as the reader can see, is the end of verse 15 and the start of verse 16. Why is this so important? Let us look at what is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” It is: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: …” (1 Tim. 3:16). Question: “Does it make more sense, that what follows these words is “the pillar and ground of the truth?” The answer is, yes! So, just what does Paul identify as “the pillar and ground of the truth?” Here is what Paul wrote: “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (verse 16). This makes Christ and all that he was, and is, as Paul wrote: “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” There is “the pillar and ground” of the truth! The church stands or falls on this subject and it deserves more attention but space will not allow it here!
The church under the oversight and the approval of the apostles, the “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20); whatever they did, the churches of Christ today may do the same things! At the same time, the churches of Christ today, have no, and I mean no, authority to do anything else! Yes, they use different methods to do the same things, such as preaching on the radio. In doing this, is the church doing something the church of the century did? No!
With the above thoughts in mind let us get back to our subject! Here we recall the words Luke wrote: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, …” (Act 20:7). The context, as is true elsewhere, must be marked and studied! Here the apostle and his companions, waited, that is “where we abode seven days.” Why the “seven days?” It was so the apostle could be with the church in Troas on the “the first day of the week.” Question: “Do you know of a passage of scripture that says the Lord’s Supper was taken on any other day, than, as Luke wrote: “And upon the first day of the week, “when the disciples came together to break bread, …?” Certainly, all involved here, ate many common meals during their time in Troas, which was at least seven days!! Did I hear an “Amen?” Question: “Why did the apostle and those with him, not take the Lord’s Supper on their first, second, or sixth day, before “the first day of the week? Was there something special about “the first day of the week?” Yes!
Let us conclude this series of articles, by going back to the birth of the church. Luke’s writing put it this way: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” What did those, who were “baptized,” do as their first act of being a child of God, a saved person? They worshipped God, and in doing so, upon the first day of the week (Pentecost was always upon the first day of the week) they did, as Luke put it: “breaking of bread!”
There we have it! Two passages where the disciples of the Lord, did “break bread” upon the first day of the week and never did they do it otherwise! What did we learn? We have learned that the early churches of Christ did take the Lord’s Supper upon, during, “the first day of the week,” and no one can speak otherwise and speak as the word of God! In both passages, Acts 2:42 and 20:7, we can see the church under the oversight and approval of the apostles, that the church did in fact, take the Lord’s Supper on “the first day of the week.”
It is the hope of this writer, that the reader of these nine articles, is able to see that the only correct way to know what “the churches of Christ” may do today, is by knowing what the early church did under the oversight and approval of the apostles, is the only correct way, to gain New Testament Authority, for what we must do, while remaining in the acceptable approval of God! Can you speak with authority and speak of another day? No!
However, I desire to close this last article with Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (2 Cor.14:37)

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-9/

Dec 19

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (8)

For those who desire to be saved, what question is more important, than “How do we ascertain New Testament Authority?” Understanding, that the New Testament is “the teaching of Christ;” therefore, let us note the words of John the apostle of love: “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 danger of being outside “the teaching of Christ,” is seen in the words, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the teaching of Christ;” and what is their spiritual state: “hath not God.” The person who “hath not God” is in the state of being lost! Thus, the importance of “abiding” in “the teaching of Christ,” is abiding in the “Authority of the New Testament.”
Learning what the church did, under the oversight of the apostles, with their approval, are the only things that the churches of Christ may do today! Question, what would any saved person desire to do, other than obey by doing what the churches of Christ did under the oversight of the apostles? Here we are addressing the things the church must do, to continue to be saved! The idea of Martin Luther and authority was, “What is not against Scripture is for Scripture, and Scripture for it” (Newman 1902, 308). Newman then wrote: “How tragic it is that Luther’s course of doctrinal digression is now pursued by so many today.” These words state Luther’s view of authority! The wording is different from our earlier words. What I have being writing is, “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it.” This does not mean that I was incorrect the first time, but that he may have said it differently at a different time!
Just what would be allowed, or shall we say, what would be authorized, if the church operated under the Lutheran view of authority? Let us go back to my favorite, “cornbread and buttermilk” for the Lord’s supper, is there a place, is there a scripture that condemns “cornbread and buttermilk” for the Lord’s Supper? No, but if we have the right understanding of “New Testament Authority” and how we ascertain it! We have taken a giant step forward and make it clear, that in the authority of Christ, the New Testament, we know what makes up the Lord’s supper. Paul to the Corinthians: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper” (1 Cor. 11:20). These words may appear puzzling at first, but when we get the context, Paul makes it clear, understandable! So, why did Paul write such? It was because some in the Corinthian church, “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken” (verse 21). These folks had made what should have been a time to take the Lord’s Supper, they had made it a common meal, and even here they revealed their “un-Christ spirit.” Paul asked a declarative question: “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not” (verse 22). The Lord’s Supper should never, I mean, never, be made into a common meal; but even more so, a common meal should never, I mean, never be done in an “un-Christ” spirit! Here is the “forbidden” Martin Luther was looking for!
Paul now goes on with the subject of the Lord’s Supper. He wrote: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed 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. 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” (verses 23-25). Here the Lord took Paul back to the introduction of the Lord’s Supper, and yes, Paul does call it the “Lord’s Supper.” It is Matthew that recorded the event, wherein Jesus introduced to the disciples, who would be his apostles, his “ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20) the “Lord’s Supper.” Matthew wrote: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28). Paul, of course, was not present at this time; thus, his words, “For I have received of the Lord.”
With this, we know what the Lord’s Supper is and we know that nothing else, and I mean, nothing else, is the Lord’s Supper! But, if we are working with the view, “that if it is not forbidden,” then, that is scripture for it; even though we know what the Lord said what the Lord’s Supper is, my “cornbread and buttermilk” is not forbidden! Do you now see what a real problem things become, when we use the Lutheran doctrine of authority?
This brings us to the question: “When must the Lord’s church take the Lord’s Supper?” There is no command that directly reveals the answer to this question, but there is New Testament Authority for the day when the Lord’s Supper must be taken! We will get into this subject in the next article.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-8/

Dec 11

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (7)

Yes, here we are once more, writing under the same heading! The question still remains, how do we ascertain New Testament Authority for what the church of our Lord is required to, and allowed to, do? Let me simply state, that the church today is required to do some things the first century church did and may do some things the first century church did. If this is not confusing, good for you.
What is the difference between: 1) what the church was and is required to do and 2) what the church was and may do? How do we tell the difference? The obvious place to start our search is at the birth of the church. Let us remember, just here, that Jesus promised to build his church, Matthew wrote in quoting Jesus: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). While we are looking at this verse, we will cover a point that is often missed in the denominational world. The point here is that many people believe that Jesus is saying, he will build his church upon Peter, but the Greek text reveals the truth on this point! The Greek word for Peter is “Petros,” and means: “a rock or a stone” (Thayer) and “a (piece of) rock” (Strong). Now, for the word “rock,” as used by Jesus; the Greek being: “petra” and means: “a (mass of) rock” (Strong) and Thayer gives us this: “a rock, cliff or ledge.” First, one can see that Jesus used two different Greek words: 1) “Petros,” or Peter and 2) “petra” or “rock.” I have often used the South Dakota great mountain, that the four faces of Presidents are carved out. If you were to see the “rocks” that have been blasted off the mountain, and I have seen them, you might think it is a “big” rock, but when the same “rock” is seen at the base of the mountain, it appears as it is, a small rock. This is the idea of Jesus’ words, Peter, and rock. It was upon this massive rock (petra), like the mountain with the faces of the Presidents carved upon, that Jesus said he would build his church. The “rock” is the truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!
Just when did Jesus build his church? This took place in Acts chapter two, and verse forty-one, which reads: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). It required the preaching of the gospel of Christ, to build his church; thus, the preaching of the apostles. Now, what is the first act of the church? Let Luke tell us: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (verse 42). The most natural act of those who have been saved from past sins, is to worship God who make it possible! This was done under the oversight of the apostles; therefore, it is required of the church today. It is unthinkable, that those who are saved, would fail to worship God who made their salvation possible! Did those who were baptized, just happen to worship God, or did they do so at the teaching of the apostles? One must keep in mind, that the worship of the saved on that Pentecost day, was not like what was done before Acts two, and verse forty-two. Prior to this day, they all had worshipped according to the Law of Moses; but now, a new time had arrived; it is now the age of Christ, and all actions would be done according to the authority of Christ, or as we have stated, “New Testament authority!”
Now, let us notice the difference between what is required and what is allowed. Both actions are recorded on the same Pentecost day. Following the worship of verse forty-two, these words appear in the text: “And all that believed (These are the ones who had been baptized in verse 41) were together and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:44-46). Here, Luke is writing of activity of those who were saved; outside of the worship done in verse forty-two. These activities were done, as Luke wrote: “continuing daily.” May the church worship daily? Of course, she may and the saved would desire to do just this but, as we shall see in future articles in our study, those who were saved also did other things. Let us notice what the saved did; they “sold their possessions and goods and parted to all men, as every man had need” (verse 45). Of course, the selling of their “possessions and goods” took place outside the assembly of worship. This is also seen in these words: “breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (verse 46). The apostles did not tell the saved to do such, but it was done as their heart directed! Just how long did these actions take, we are not told but it was not done in a day, as Luke used the word “daily.” This action is an act of love for each other! Might the saved today need to do such? Yes! There may come such a time but let us hope not!
With this, we see the saved in worship and outside of worship! This was a joyous time, and it was shared by all.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-7/

Dec 04

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (6)

One point before getting into this article. There is one text, that needs our attention. Here is the text: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). Something does not have be put in the form of a “command,” for it to be a commandment! Paul said, “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord!” When writing about the Lord’s Supper, he wrote: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, …” (1Cor. 11:22). This is not in the form of a commandment, but it is the authority about the Lord’s Supper. May I point out, that these words rule out “cornbread and buttermilk” in the Lord’s Supper! Nothing else is the Lord’s Supper, other than that which the apostle wrote in the following text which followed.
So, we are going in search of what day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken! Is there a commandment given, as to what day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken? The answer is no! Not one of the inspired writers of the New Testament stated what day the Lord’s Supper is to be taken! This being true, how do we determine when we have authority to take the Lord’s Supper; that is if we have any authority. If we should follow Martin Luther’s method of knowing what we have authority to do, we are free to take the Lord’s Supper any day we please! Remember his view was: “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it.” However, let us sweep the floor, of what we have been doing, clean it, so that nothing is on the page of authority! Here we will then add only what we see, through the writings of the inspired men who wrote the New Testament; thus, giving us examples of the activities of the church which operated under the oversight of the apostles. What the church did, with the approval of the apostles, then, the church today has the same authority!
Yes, it is true that the church did things which the apostles condemned; thus, even though the church did these things, as they were not approved by the apostles of Christ, then, there is no authority for us to do the same things! Someone may point out, that the church during the first century did miraculous things, this does not mean, that we can do the same thing! Why, you ask? Simply because there are no apostles to lay hands on us to impart these gifts. As there are no living apostles of Christ, then, it is impossible for us to have these gifts! You cannot do what you do not have the power to do! If we were to say, we want such gifts, an apostle would reply to us: “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:21). Yes, there is much that was done in the first century by the church, that we have no power to do! It is a disgrace, to see churches who would have us believe, that they have such power, but when the real test is made, the evidence comes up empty! Therefore, in learning what the church did, with the approvel of the “ambassadors for Christ,” (2 Cor. 5:20), let us keep our minds on that which the church may do today!
Let us now see what those activities were! Let us go back to the beginning of the church. This takes us back to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter two. This is the birth of the church, the called out of Christ. Having been baptized by the authority of the apostles (Acts 2:41); we see them doing, as Luke wrote: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). So, what was the first thing the church did; she worshipped the God who had saved them! This is the first activity of the church today! All other things the church may do, with the approval of the “ambassadors for Christ,” flow from this! The apostle Paul wrote this: “Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26). Edifying the church is the first “work,” if it may be called a work, is to “edify” the church! Here we are speaking, as the apostles spoke, as to what the church may do under the oversight of the apostles.
As we think on these things, let us remember, that the apostle Paul wrote: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). We are not in the guessing game but into the authority of the New Testament! We are searching the scriptures to learn what is true!
Here we have searched to learn what was the first thing the church did under the oversight of the apostles of Christ! May we do anything else and be pleasing to God? Therefore, the church today has New Testament Authority to worship God, while edifying each other!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-6/

Nov 27

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITY (5)

By this time, you may be wondering, well, just how do we ascertain “New Testament Authority,” as there are no commandments? This is true even with the Lord’s Supper, which we will continue to use as an example. There are no commandments: 1) thou should take the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week; 2) there is no commandment as to the elements that make up the Lord’s Supper, such as the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine; and 3) who is to take the Lord’ Supper?
Remember, we are using Martin Luther and his view of authority: “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it!” We have seen just how wide open this view is; as it would allow, “cornbread and buttermilk,” as the elements that make up the Lord’s Supper. Of course, no one is using “cornbread and buttermilk,” but we could as there is no place in the New Testament that says, that they are forbidden! Just think how wide-open Luther’s view of authority really is: “If it is not forbidden!
Throughout this series of articles, I have written: “If the church did it under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, then, the church may do the same things today.” This needs one qualifying point, as some people, who are always looking for some “new thing” that the church did not do, under the oversight of the apostles. Allow me with approvel to simply add to my statement, calling attention to the words: “with approval.” I have read, which church are you talking about, the one in Corinth? You see, the church in Corinth did, or allowed several things which they did without “approval of the apostles!” Just so you can understand what I am writing about, allow me to point out what is meant. The church in Corinth allowed a man to have his father’s wife: “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife” (1 Cor. 5:1). Just here, allow me to put before you, is there anywhere in the New Testament, other than the passage we just quoted, and even here, the words, “forbidden” do not appear; thus, the Corinthian church was within Luther’s view of New Testament Authority! Common sense, would tell us that what was allowed by the church in Corinth was truly forbidden! But, “common sense,” is truly lacking in some people! Paul corrected the Corinthian church, in these words: “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (verses 2-5). I was once teaching First Corinthians in a Bible class, and made the point, that such a person, as written by Paul, that the Corinthian church was here commanded “To deliver such an one unto Satan.” Of course, I followed with Paul’s words, “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved.” There was in the class, a man who had been a preacher of the gospel (By “had been” is meant that he was no longer preaching.), who became so full of anger with me, that for months he would not speak to me! Therefore, the point of this paragraph is to show, that yes, it might be said there were “two churches in Corinth;” the one who obeyed the words of the apostle and the one that did not; however, it is easy to see, that one was approved of by the apostle and one was not! It is a shame that some within the churches of Christ would dare to use such a foolish question: “Which church are you talking about?
Therefore, the qualifying words, “with apostolic approval!” Less we forget the statement under review: “There is New Testament Authority for the church today to do what the church in the first century, under the oversight of the apostles, with approval did. If we read the New Testament with this view in mind, we can reach the right conclusion about New Testament Authority!” We can also see, clearly, that this was the “view” of the early church, as they looked to the “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Before concluding this article, let me to show the Greek word translated “for” is the Greek, “huper” and means: “for the sake of, instead, regarding;” thus, the apostles, not every Christian,” spoke in the place of Christ! The apostles had such authority; thus, my words, “with approval under the oversight of the apostles!” Meaning, the church today, may do what the church of the first did, with the approval of the apostles of Christ!”
In concluding this article, let me say, most Christians understand my point, even when they do not express it, in so many words! So, do you view the church of today in this manner?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-testament-authority-5/

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/

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