Broken Vessels

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“Broken Vessels”
Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The prophet Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, was called to prophesy for God at a young age, but he became known as a major prophet in the Old Testament before it was all said and done. He was sent by the Lord like many before him in an attempt to turn God’s people back to Him. The children of Israel were steeped in idolatry, and had been for sometime, and they had long since forsaken the one who had delivered them. The Lord had never forgotten them, despite Israel’s constant turning to sin. The Lord had grown frustrated with His people’s blatant disregard for the Father; therefore, he sent Jeremiah to plead with them one last time to turn back before they suffered their deserving fate.
Babylon was a rising world power at this point in history. According to Smith’s Bible dictionary, this theme verse occurs around the year 629 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar reigned as king of Babylon at the time and would later take God’s children and the kingdom of Judah into captivity. The Lord used Nebuchadnezzar to decimate Jerusalem and bring God’s people into bondage, because they would not heed Jeremiah’s teachings.
The Lord was willing to deliver His people if they would only change their ways and serve the Him. But there is an interesting comparison that Jeremiah makes in our text. The prophet compares the chosen people to broken cisterns, or vessels that can hold no water. A cistern is defined as—a container used for storing water. A synonym of the word cistern that is commonly used in the scriptures is the word vessel. Jeremiah says that they had committed two evils: 1) they forsook the Lord, who is the fountain of living waters, and 2) they had hewn out cisterns, broken cisterns, that would hold no water. Jeremiah’s reference to broken cisterns or vessels in verse 13 actually referred to the idolatrous gods that the people of Judah had sought after in forsaking the Living God. The prophet says that these broken vessels would hold no water because they did not possess the living water of the one true God. They were idols, fake gods, and they had no power at all! It is unbelievable to me how God’s chosen people fought against every one of His commands, yet they were willing to worship an inanimate object even to the point of offering their children as sacrifices to it!
When I compare our society with the kingdom of Judah, I see similarities. I see people’s lives that are filled with immorality, drugs, alcohol, money, deceitfulness, and many other things. These things could easily be deemed as idols in their lives! People’s lives are literally in shambles because they have ruined themselves with idols that have done them nothing but harm! As a result, their heart is like a broken vessel. As long as people continue to put stock in these false “idols,” their lives will continue to resemble that of a broken vessel. Only the fountain of living water can quench our thirst, and heal the cracks in the vessel of the heart that are created by sin.

Colby Culbertson

When Shovels Break Review by Michael Bolton

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Book Review: WHEN SHOVELS BREAK
WHEN SHOVELS BREAK, is a book written as a sequel to MUSCLE AND A SHOVEL, both by Michael J. Shank. It is a story that takes us more personally into the journey of faith that began in MUSCLE AND A SHOVEL. The following contains my opinion and recommendations about the book.
The reader is enthralled with the struggles of Michael and John, the two main characters of the story, their downward spiral, discouragement, and depression. Mr. Shank sets forth the hard facts of how sin enters and the horrifying danger it brings. One can sense the utter hopelessness and despair as John’s life spins out of control. Further one can sense the dichotomy of personalities as these two characters tread the road of shame caused by sin and rebellion. From extreme zeal to discouragement and disappointment because of fellow Christians lack of zeal, to drinking, marital unfaithfulness, drugs and greed until at the end of his rope Michael comes to himself.
I wept and hurt because of the emotions evoked in this story. Then I wept and rejoiced because of the restorations that are told. It seems that the book can be divided into three sections. First there was the story of darkness to light. In this part we have the joy of a man and his wife who had just found the gospel, and were on fire for the truth, who falls away. He/they fell far and hard. Christians everywhere can learn from this section about the high cost of sin. Christians everywhere should learn from this section to flee sin in any and every form.
The final section is not really in story form. Rather it seems to be Mr. Shanks preaching offering to fallen Christians hope. I think this section is very beneficial for brothers and sisters who have fallen away. It is chock full of encouragement to acknowledge sin, the role the individual plays in falling away, and a call for the church to abstain from the destructiveness of gossip. Here is my first criticism; Mr. Shank seems to indicate that the idea of biblical dis-fellowship should be avoided. The plain truth is that the New Testament clearly instructs that certain people are to be marked and avoided. (Philippians 3:17, 2 Timithoy 3:6) Of course when this type of action is taken the same document (New Testament) also teaches that the purpose of such discipline is to cause repentance (1 Corinthians 5:5), this eliminates the reason that is behind the evil of gossip, which appears to destroy the character of the one who is dis-fellowshiped.
The middle section, (this has been saved till last because it is the most dangerous part) is why it is unwise to recommend too highly, or to have many read the book. This part is very small, about 40 pages. This is where Mr. Shank learns about the divisions that has plagued the Lord’s church due to human innovation. On the one hand in these chapters he denounces the ecumenical mindset of our modern society. On the other hand he categorically encourages it among those who are part of the Lord’s church. It simply can’t be both ways. Mr. Shank in this section slams the scriptural position of correct Biblical worship. He derides those who do not use the Lord’s treasury to support institutions. He calls differences in interpretation ambiguous. He deplores those who dare stand only on a thus saith the Lord.
There Are many good lessons to be learned from this WHEN SHOVELS BREAK. The fact of sin and its high cost, the truth that when a Christian falls away he can be restored. We rejoice in these things. But in all I have to urge extreme caution when reading Mr. Shank’s WHEN SHOVELS BREAK. His plea for unity without regard to the plain teachings of the Bible and its examples are dangerous.

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

Dressed For Battle

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Every day of their lives Christians are faced with a spiritual battle. This battle involves far more people, brings far more destruction, and causes more confusion than any military conflict.

The apostle Peter wrote of this spiritual conflict in I Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring l ion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the-same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

Because of Satan’s craftiness it is important to identify our enemy and to be aware of the tactics that he uses. Satan desires to render the Christian useless and worthless to the kingdom of God. The Word describes Satan in a variety of ways. He is called a dragon, a murderer, and the father of lies. His spiritual allies engage-Christians in a spiritual battle every day. Satan never gets tired of tempting and harassing Christians. – – The activities of Satan seem to be more open today than at any other time. A few years ago you heard very little about the church of Satan or about witchcraft or the occult. This seems to be a pressing problem in some segments of our society today.

Satan tries to distract us from spiritual things. He wants us to focus on things that are material and on selfish desires. The world is full of things that can draw us away. Satan is the father of lies and his strategy is to deceive the believer. In Genesis, Eve told God, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” Satan misled her by giving her some false information. He told her she would be like God, “Knowing good and evil.” Each time we are tempted, Satan tries to deceive us with false information. One of Satan’s favorite means of deception is to try to minimize the consequences of sin. Sin always has consequences. When the Prodigal Son left his home of love he had to pay the consequences of his sins. God tells us that we will reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). Satan wants us to believe we can pursue the world’s value system and remain pure. Adopting the world’s system only separates us from a holy God. Satan is the prince of this world system. When we make decisions based only on the world’s principles they are usually disastrous. Yet, Satan never talks about the hurt, pain, broken hearts, and devastation that result from decisions made apart from God’s truth.

A spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons. We must realize the seriousness of this battle in which we are engaged. In Eph. 6: ll-18, Paul describes the spiritual armor of God:

1. We must gird our loins with truth. This is an essential part of the soldier’s equipment. It keeps the other parts of the armor in place. The girdle of truth protects us from Satan’s deception. Truth equips the saint for the spiritual battle against Satan.

2. When we are dressed for battle we have on the “breastplate of righteousness.” We are able to counter the temptations of Satan with the truth of God. If we are familiar with God’s word, then we know how God wants us to deal with the temptations that arise in our lives. If we do not know God’s word, then we are left to handle the assaults of Satan on our own.

3. We are to shod our feet with the “preparation of the gospel of peace.” The Christian must have a good foothold. Preparedness is the thought expressed here. When we put on the “sandals of the Gospel of Peace” we are given courage and are ready for the battle against evil.

4. We are to take up the “shield of faith.” Shields are used to protect a soldier from the weapons of the enemy. The shield of faith covers us from the fiery attacks of the enemy. No matter how ferocious the attack, the shield of faith provides safe cover for the child of God. The shield of faith defuses two of Satan’s most deadly weapons — (I) unbelief and (2) doubt.

5. We are to take the “helmet of salvation.” The helmet of salvation is something that we receive. The only way the Christian soldier can take the helmet of salvation is to receive it from God. He receives it from God by obeying the rules and regulations that He has set forth to gain it.

6. The soldier must also take the “sword of the spirit.” The sword of the spirit is the Word of God. It can be used offensively and defensively. The Word is the wisdom and power of God. It is a weapon that God has armed his children with. The powers of darkness will flee from it. The Christian finds this to be true in his individual experiences. It dissolves doubts, drives away fears and delivers one from the power of Satan. In our struggle and battle against Satan’s attempts to destroy our effectiveness for Christ, it is essential that we know our enemy. Look earnestly into your life, and you may recognize things that are keeping you from gaining victory.

We need to be prepared and able to stand against Satan. We have everything to lose if we are defeated and everything to gain if we win. Are you Dressed for Battle?

 Rick Martin

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

Symbolism in the Lord’s Supper

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Symbolism in the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s supper, or communion as it is also called, has marvelous design. Just like the Old Testament tabernacle and temple contained symbolism in almost every detail, so does the communion of our Lord Jesus Christ. First, read Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians where he recites Jesus’ instruction on the communion. Not all the details are given in this passage, but other scripture will be provided to fill in the blanks.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

This communion service has been sorely misrepresented and abused by denominations throughout the ages. Because everything in this supper represents the death of Christ in all its splendor and glory, to partake of His communion by distorting the symbolic items in any way would be to put Christ to an open shame.

Here is a list of all the items in the communion and what they represent based on scripture.

• The Bread = Body of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11 vs. 23-24)
• Unleavened Bread = The sinless life of Christ. We find that unleavened bread was used in the communion by looking back at the Passover ceremony of the Old Covenant. The Passover was symbolic of the Christ’s redemptive death and parallels the communion very closely. During the Passover no leaven was allowed in the house. We find in Matthew 26:17 when Jesus instituted His Supper, it was also during the Feast of Unleavened Bread when no leaven was to be in the house. Leaven is representative of sin and false doctrine in the scriptures (*see Matthew 16:6-12). Just as Christ Jesus had no sin, so the bread which represents his body should have no leaven. Read 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, a very good passage to supplement this discussion.
• Cup =The New Covenant (vs 25), this is the covenant we now live under in contrast to the Old Covenant that Moses and the prophets lived under. Paul states that the Old Covenant (handwriting of requirements) was nailed to the cross in Colossians 2:14.
• The Fruit of the Vine = Blood of Christ (Luke 22:17,20)
• The First Day of the Week (Sunday) = The day Jesus arose from the grave. In Acts 20:7 we find the disciples took the communion on the first day of the week. In John 20:1 we see that Mary Magdalene found Jesus’ tomb empty on the first day of the week.

All of this symbolizes the great sacrifice that Jesus gave on the cross so that we might have our sins washed away. This supper is sacred, and to teach or observe Jesus’ supper in any way that would distort the symbols involved makes one a liar (1 John 2:4).

Aaron Battey

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

Is Your Home Church Strong?

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Is Your Home Church Strong?

The following article appeared in the July 1959 issue of the Old Paths Advocate. It was written by Brother Homer L. King. Brother King needs no introduction to the readers of this paper. – Rick Martin

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (16:13, 14), saying: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” If you, the individual, are not strong for God and the church, try the remedy given by Paul above. Can you not see the need of being watchful, standing fast in the faith, quitting all the evil, sinful, and childish practices like men, of drinking deeply and freely of the word of God “that ye may grow thereby,” in order to become strong in the Lord and the power of His might? Then, let all that you do, practice, or teach, be done in love. Brother, the above admonition from Paul will make you strong, and that will make you able to stand against the wiles of the devil; you will be able to face the enemy. Too, being strong, you will be able to work in the Lord’s vineyard, yes, and you will be able to run in the Christian race without fainting by the wayside.

Now, apply the above from Paul to your home congregation. If the whole church will do as Paul says above, the church will be strong and able to do all the above things. Furthermore, the church will be strong enough to be the “Pillar and ground of the truth”-it will be able to hold up and support the truth, thus saving souls and developing the talents of the members. The need of developing the singing, the ability to direct the singing, that we all may more happily and efficiently praise God in spirit and in truth, is urgent. We can never have good singing as long as brethren encourage boys and men to try to lead the singing, when some of these have neither ear nor voice for singing. Talk about leading a song, when one cannot even make a tone, much less a succession of tones! It is high time that we stop and think just a little. The same is true, when we use no better judgment regarding the teachers of the word. The men who teach need to qualify for this important duty. They need to study and train so that they can impart knowledge to others. Unless they know something to teach, they will not be able to edify the hearers-”let all things be done unto edification” -Paul to Corinth. if we expect the church to grow and be strong, we must do something to develop the talents in the church. Prayer and the ability to pray in public intelligently, from the “heart and the understanding,” so that the church will be edified in prayer, needs to be stressed, as well as in all that we do. Just here, I think of some appropriate, well spoken words by that noted gospel preacher, Benjamin Franklin via The Restoration Herald as follows:

“Well spoken Words-We must have living churches. The members must be living members, active, energetic and persevering. There are some churches complaining that they ‘cannot get the right kind of a preacher,’ when the trouble really is, that they are not ‘the right kind of churches.’ Preachers, if they had the power of angels, could not make interesting churches, where no advice that they give can be received, but where members remain inactive.

What can a preacher do for a church where he cannot prevail upon the members to meet to commemorate the saviour’s dying love more than once a month or where he cannot induce them to meet for prayer once a week or where old members cannot be induced to enter the place of worship until a half-hour after time or where old and prominent members take so little interest in the worship that they fall asleep while he is preaching to dying sinners to save them? What preacher can do anything for a people who will take so little interest in public worship that they will not practice singing the praises of God enough to enable them to sing with any spirit and understanding? If some of our churches that cannot get a preacher who can draw out an audience would apply themselves to their own improvement in singing, exhortation, and prayer, and thus make themselves interesting and useful, they would assist mightily in drawing out an audience, and make it infinitely easier to preach when an audience is out.

How Does the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same Sex Marriage Affect the Church?

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How Does the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same Sex Marriage Affect the Church?

Having been asked on a couple of occasions about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the Constitutional rights of same sex marriage and the decision’s legal effects on the Church, i thought it useful to write a brief article about the Church’s legal obligations toward same sex marriage and toward government and the Church’s spiritual obligations toward same sex marriage and toward God. May I say for the benefit of any who may read this article who are not members of the body of Christ that I hold and advocate no ill toward anyone as to the dignity of their person, being made in the image of Almighty God. I extend only a heart of love and compassion for the salvation of every man’s soul; however, may all who believe that two men or two women can join together as a married couple be kindly warned of the judgment to come (rom. 1:18-32; Ga 5:19-21; l Co.6:9,10). but then again, may all who believe that a man and woman can live together outside of a divinely sanctioned marriage also be kindly warned of the judgment to come.

To answer the question directly, the decision has no direct effect at this point on the Church as to the Church’s legal obligations toward same sex marriage. The Supreme Court’s decision in no way obligates any member of any Church to perform the ceremony of, to sanction the union between, or to acknowledge the validity of same sex marriage in religious or spiritual matters. The Church’s spiritual obligation toward God supersedes its legal obligation toward Government. As the law currently stands, the First Amendment of the Constitution of these United States still protects our Faith and the “free exercise thereof…” Be forewarned; however, that this landmark decision will have a dramatic effect indirectly, (which may of course consequentially bring to bear more direct effects in the future.) Indirectly the current decision will embolden assaults and attacks, both legally and socially. Don’t be surprised if some of us become targets. Also know, that such First Amendment protection may not always exist. This Court decision has put the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants equal protection on a collision course with the First Amendment, which grants freedom of religion – the very scenario of which certain civil liberties groups and social activists have dreamt. Sadly, more change will come. These changes may be in the form of increased regulation and stricter and more scrutinized registration requirements for Churches. The change may be in revoking tax-exempt status of faith-based organizations. The change may be in the enactment of “hate-speech” legislation, forbidding the targeting of any “group” or “class.”

Whatever form these changes take, we already know that the increasing ungodliness and immorality in the world will make the world less tolerant towards religion and the free exercise of religion. Religion is officially in the minority. too, darkness hates light (Jn.3:19-21; Jn. 15:18). Therefore, we should prepare our hearts and the convictions of our minds for the fact that we “must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29) and for what eventually lies ahead for all who live godly in Christ Jesus. Paul said, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Our true allegiance, however, belongs to Christ (Ga . 1:10) and our citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20). As strangers and pilgrims (lPe.2:11) we seek a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). The writer of Hebrews continues, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16) So beloved, we are “in this world” but we are not “of this world.” (Jn.17:15,16). As being “in this world” we have certain legal obligation to Government, but as being “not of this world” we have certain spiritual obligations toward God. As you see, the two don’t always agree and conflicts do arise. Jesus said to Pilate, “…my Kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn.18:36) Here are some conclusions and observations that I offer regarding these social changes, this Court Ruling, and Our duties to God and Man:

1. the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth – not government (l Tim. 3:15)
2. the Church is a “holy nation” – not the United States (lPe.2:9)

3. God rules in the Kingdoms of men – governments do not rule in the Kingdom of God (Jn.19:11; Dan. 5:21)

4. Christians are to live quiet and peaceable lives (l Tim. 2:2)

5. Christians are to pray for and honor Kings (l Tim. 2:2; lPe.2:17)
6. Christians are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (Mt. 22:21)

7. Christians are not to speak evil of dignitaries (2Pe.2:10,11)
8. Christians are to be subject to the powers that be (1 Pe.2: 13; Ro. 13:1)

9. Christians must obey God and not man ( Acts 5:29; Ga.1:10)
10. Christians are to let their light shine by doing good works (Mt..5: 16)

11. Christians are to reprove the works of darkness by preaching the truth in love (Eph.4:15; Eph.5:11)
12. Christians are the salt of the earth and light of the world (Mt. 5:13,14)

13. Christians should not give men occasion to speak evil (Tit 2:8)
14. Christians are not to strive but be gentle unto all men (2 Tim..2:24)

I can tell you how this court decision SHOULD affect us. This decision should awaken us to the reality of our spiritual war (2Co.10:3-5; Eph.6:11,12) in which we are engaged and alert us to prepare for hardness as good soldiers (2 Tim.2:3). May we all do as Paul admonished in saying “… cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:12-14). Be not shaken in your faith. Be courageous in your life. Let Peter’s admonition be heard: “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.Honor the king. “(1 Pe.2: 13- 17).May God bless his people wherever they are found.

Doug Hawkins

August 2015 Issue of Old Paths Advocate

Making Good Decisions

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Many times in our lives we face decisions that will ultimately change the course of our lives. Whether it is choosing a college to attend,choosing a suitable place to raise a family, or even choosing the one we marry. There are decisions we make that alter the course of our lives. With these decisions we must take our time and choose the correct course of action to take; one that will not steer us away from our foremost duty of being right in Gods eyes.

We read in Genesis of a man named Lot. Lot had a dispute with his uncle and it came down to the two splitting up. Abraham told Lot in Gen. 13:9 “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will take the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” The Bible then records that “Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere,” and “Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;” (Gen. 13:10,11). Lot’s decision caused his family to be torn apart. He was more interested in material things, than spiritual things.

Later, Lot and his family had to be lead out of the city of Sodom by the angels (Gen 19:15,16). Lot argued with the angels on which way to flee (Gen. 19:17-22), and upon fleeing his wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back upon the city (Gen. 19:26). At the end of Gen. 19 another disaster comes upon Lot. His daughters wickedly devised in their hearts that they would have children by their father.

Lot’s whole life was changed because he rashly decided to pitch his tent toward Sodom. He made this decision because of what seemed pleasant. We can learn a valuable lesson from the life of Lot, in that there is great danger in choosing to do something just because it looks pleasant. This is especially true when it involves not only the future of ourselves, but also the future of our family, Prov. 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

God asks of all his children to make decisions based upon the truth of His revealed will and ask that they turn to Him for direction. Solomon said in Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy heart.” Here King Solomon tells us how to make sure that the decisions we make will be pleasing in Gods eyes; He says to trust in Him. We must not lean on our own understanding, but upon God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge.We must acknowledge God in all that we do, and with this God will direct our hearts. Do not take the first option even though is seems pleasant. Trust in God and lean on His understanding and we will make the right decisions concerning our lives, our family’s lives, and the lives of those around us. Tony Robbins said “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” The point is this; we need to take our time when we come down to making life altering decisions, because they will follow us till the day we die and will follow us into eternity. Ecc. 12:14 says “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”

Sean Smith

Robes of White

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“Robes of White”
Revelation 7:13-14
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The Greek word for the English term godliness that is translated here is the term “eusebeia” which is defined as—piety,especially in the gospel scheme; godliness or holiness. In simple terms, the English word “godliness” is deemed an adjective in the English language and is synonymous with the word “god-likeness”. This means that a child of God is to conform himself to the teachings of the Almighty God. The word godliness occurs 16 different times in the New Testament. With that being said, I don’t have the space to discuss every use of the word in this article, yet I believe the way in which I have chosen to discuss this topic heremay seem like an unlikely approach but will be effective. I chose this passage in Revelation as our textual passage for this article, because I believe the topic of godliness can be powerfully understood in a metaphorical sense. For instance, a seemingly ugly caterpillar that etches along the ground with his many legs and grotesque body goes through the process of metamorphosis and is changed into a beautiful butterfly. In similar fashion, a metamorphosis occurs in the process of spiritual salvation. The stains of sin on our spiritual garments have made us detestable in the eyes of our Creator. By washing our robes in the blood of the Lamb, we can again become spiritually beautiful, having then been made pure and white. When I think about the color of white, it brings a sense of purity and cleanliness to my thoughts. My mother bought me a white Polo shirt one time, and I can remember that any time I wore that shirt, I strove to keep it clean. So it should be with our spiritual garment. In a literal sense, it doesn’t add up to think that washing a white garment in blood would cleanse it back to a state of purity. But that’s what makes this idea so important. In a metaphorical view, such as our textual passage uses, washing our spiritual garments in the redemptive blood of the Lamb, cleanses them from the stains of sin that are only seen by the Father’s eyes. Remember fellow Christians, stains are seen all too well on a white garment, and that’s what stands out to everybody and even more so to the Father. So do not defile your spiritual garment, but rather wash your robe in the blood of the Lamb so that the stains of sin can be cleansed and made new; then you will be worthy to walk with Jesus in white (Revelation 3:4).

Colby Culbertson

Legend, Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

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Legend, Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

​Many people have no clue what to do with Jesus Christ? Is He a legend, lunatic, liar, or Lord? C. S. Lewis said the following about Jesus Christ: “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.” However, one thing that C. S. Lewis and this author have in common is antagonism toward the popular idea that Jesus did exist, but He was only a good prophet and nothing more. The verses and thoughts that follow are given in opposition to this ludicrous fairy tale thought process.

​Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, upon putting his own hands in the resurrected Jesus’ pierced side exclaimed immediately, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28). Thomas understood two things about Jesus Christ after walking with him for three years; Jesus was Thomas’ Lord (master) and almighty God on high. This is contrary to the already referenced idea that Jesus was simply a good prophet.

There are an overabundance of Bible verses that attest to the same thing Thomas believed with all his heart. Here are a few passages given for readers everywhere. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” (Phil. 2:5-6). Jesus forgives sin in another account, to which the scribes correctly respond with, “Who can forgive sins but God?” (Mark 2:5-11). An incredible verse in which God is speaking to His Son, Jesus Christ, is in Psalms 45:6 which states, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” This verse in Psalms is also quoted in Hebrews 1:8. In Hebrews 1 the writer is showing how Jesus Christ is superior to angels. This should make any sincere reader suspicious about the idea that Jesus was nothing more than a good prophet. In Isaiah 44:6, God the Father says of Himself, “I am the first and the last.” Jesus Christ also says this of Himself in Rev. 1:17. Jesus could not say this if He was not also equal with God.

Space does not permit a full quotation of all the verses that prove the point of Jesus Christ as Lord and God, but here is an abridged list for further reading: Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1,14, 8:56-59, Romans 9:5, Colossians 2:9, 2 Peter 1:1, Matthew 1:23, and Hebrews 1:3. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but just as God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), so is this list.

Aaron Battey

Truth or Love?

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Truth or Love?

There is a prevailing idea in the religious world that one must choose between truth and love—that to be a Christian you must stand by and teach one only. To some, the command is all that matters, which leads to hollow, monotonous worship (Mt. 23); to others, the heart is all that counts, which leads to nothing more than lawlessness (Mt. 7:21-23). There is no better way to err, and yet, many who profess to be Christians say, “There is no middle ground.” This could not be further from the truth.

Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Love is nothing more than a command—those who elevate love to elimination of all other teaching fail to see that you cannot throw out “law.” In doing so, you also throw out love, which, as a command, is just a piece of the New Law we have through Jesus Christ. However, love is nothing less than a command—those who belittle it have belittled a commandment that came from the mouth of Jesus, denying part of the truth.

Love and truth are inseparable. You cannot choose one or the other. Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6). God is love (1 Jn. 4:16). 1 Peter 1:22 commands, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Love and obedience go hand in hand. Ephesians 4:15 tells us that God intends for Christian leaders (v. 11) to set an example by “speaking the truth in love,” and, that this practice will aid in not only combating “every wind of (false) doctrine (v. 14),” but in the growth of the church in Christ (v.16).

If we take truth out of the equation, we do nothing more than give a “high five” to the lost as they walk the broad way into destruction. Choosing not to confront a sinning brother (“In a spirit of meekness”) does not exhibit love—and, for that matter, choosing to warn a brother of his sin is not judgmental. The church at Corinth, who prided itself on its unconditional acceptance for sinning brethren, was told in 1 Corinthians 5:6, “Your glorying is not good.” If one comes up with his own interpretation of God’s will, apart from God’s Word (2 Pet. 1:20), he not only has no personal relationship with God—he “does not have God (2 Jn. 9).” It is apparent that truth is a “salvation issue.”

If we take out love from the equation, however, we become nothing more than noise (1 Cor. 13:1). If I attempt to diminish the value of love, all my efforts in living the Christian life are null and void (1 Cor. 13:2-3). Love is important—so important my salvation depends on it as well (1 Jn. 3:14; 1 Jn.4:20). If I am without love, I put myself at risk of being nothing more than a know-it-all (1 Cor. 8:1-2), and might never appreciate the love Christ displayed leading up to, and while on, the cross.

You cannot eliminate truth or love from the Christian walk. In doing so, one wrongfully “handles the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).” While others choose one or the other, to compensate for the other extreme, let us “fix our eyes on Jesus” and choose both love and truth.

Joey Hickey