"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
When those who claim to be God’s preachers teach things that are contrary to His word, they are either ignorant of His word or dishonest in their teaching. There is no middle ground — no third alternative.
For instance, when a preacher tells you that, “One church is as good as another,” he is either ignorant of what the Bible teaches about the church, or he is deliberately dishonest in what he says. He is either ignorant of the consequences of his statement or he is deliberately deceiving you. The church of Christ is Christ’s bride (Eph. 5:22-23). To say, “One church is as good as another” is to say “one bride is as good as another” and that makes Christ a spiritual adulterer! He has only one bride or church — not many.
Your preacher may as well tell you that “One God is as good as another.” The same passage which states that there is only one body, or church, also says there is “One God” (Eph. 4:4-6). The man who teaches that “one church is as good as another” needs to be consistent and teach that “one God is as good as another.” If not, why not?
It is either ignorance of the Bible or blatant dishonesty that prompts preachers to say, “God accepts all faiths.” The Bible teaches there is only one faith. That is also found in Ephesians 4:4-6. There is no more damnable doctrine taught than the one which says, “It makes no difference what you believe, just so you are honest,” and the man who teaches that is either ignorant of the Bible or is himself dishonest. Can that concept be applied to eating and be safe? Does it make no difference what one eats, “so long as he is honest?” Can one eat rat poison and live, “just so he is honest?” Can one put a loaded gun to his head and pull the trigger without harm, “so long as he is honest” in believing it isn’t loaded? Those who preach that kind of eternally fatal falsehood are Satan’s servants, whether they are ignorant or just plain dishonest — and they are one or the other. It isn’t eating that nourishes. It’s what one eats, and it isn’t believing that makes one right, it’s what one believes.
It was either ignorance or dishonesty when Max Lucado said, “I want to encourage you to be baptized... But I don’t want you to do any of that so you will be saved. I want you to do all of that because you are saved.” (Radio Sermon, KJAK Radio, Lubbock, Texas, Dec. 1996). Like other denominational preachers, Lucado teaches that baptism is because of salvation, rather than what the Bible teaches — that baptism is for, or “in order to” the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Lucado and others are either ignorant of what the Bible teaches, or they are deliberately dishonest in leading people into damnation. The Bible says, “...baptism doth also now save us...” (1 Pet. 3:21), but Lucado, Billy Graham, and all other false teachers have changed the “now” of that verse to “not.” In so doing, they are either ignorant of Bible teaching or deliberately dishonest. But whether they are ignorant or dishonest, they are absolutely wrong and are leading men to perdition.
Most of us have not experienced the kind of suffering endured by early saints as they lived their faith among faithless men and women. The apostles of Christ stand as one such example of courageous faith:
“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men… To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” (1 Cor. 4:9, 11-13).
Not many among us have faced such an onslaught from ungodly people.
That is not to say that Christians to the present hour do not also face challenges to their faith or persecution for righteousness’ sake. They do. Perhaps your faith is being put to the test at this moment of your life. Whether now or later, every Christian can take courage and be strengthened in the sure knowledge that our Lord suffered at the hands of sinners but is now exalted on high (Heb. 12:1-3). Most of us have “not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4). So take heart and be renewed in your faith. Endure your present trial, being assured of everlasting glory, for Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven (Matt. 5:11-12).
The apostle Peter wrote, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (1 Pet. 3:13-14). When worldly people threaten and harass you because you are living your faith, how do you keep from allowing it to hinder your faithfulness to Christ? Peter goes on in the verse to tell us how:
1) Sanctify the Lord as God in your heart (1 Pet. 3:15). That is, firmly set up Christ as Master of your heart and life; fear God rather than men (Matt. 10:28). People may hurt your flesh and wound your feelings, but they cannot touch your soul!
2) Defend your faith with the faith (1 Pet. 3:15). The truth of the gospel of Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:18-25). Trust the message of God’s word to answer those who question (or renounce) your faith and hope. And by all means, continue to obey the word of Christ, or the adversary will have gained his objective over you (1 Pet. 5:8).
3) Keep a good heart (1 Pet. 3:15-16). Do not allow hate to well up within; maintain a meek and God-fearing conscience in the face of defamation and character assassination.
4) Keep doing good things (1 Pet. 3:16-17). Do not render evil for evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17, 21). Your good conduct will shame some for mistreating you. And if not, you will have kept your integrity and faith in the face of evil, and with that, the Lord is pleased. “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3:17).
Who will be saved?
“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).
Shouldn’t we just “preach Jesus”?
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:35-36).
Isn’t it legalistic or pharisaical to teach baptism?
“When all the people and the tax
collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized
with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers
rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized
by John” (Luke 7:29-30). “The baptism of John was from what source,
from heaven or from men? And they began reasoning among themselves, saying,
“If we say, ‘From heaven’, He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe
him?’” (Matthew 21:25). Here is it clear that the chief priests and
the elders were being very evasive and legalistic in trying to get around
answering Jesus’ question about the authority behind God’s baptism. They
knew that if they admitted that this command to be baptized came from
heaven, then they were without excuse for not submitting to it. People
who seek to evade the command to be baptized and make arguments why they do
not have to be baptized are acting like the enemies of Jesus in the first
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box Jan 2004
Scripture Reading: Genesis 16:1-6
Why did God allow polygamy among His people in the Old Testament?
1. Why study what the
Bible says about polygamy?
I. MONOGAMY: GOD’S DESIGN FROM CREATION – Gen. 2:18-24.
A. Woman was Created as
a Helpmeet for Man – 2:20-22 (Mk. 10:6).
II. POLYGAMY IN THE BIBLE & ITS CONSEQUENCES.
A. It Began in
Worldliness - Gen. 4:19.
III. WHY DID GOD ALLOW POLYGAMY TO EXIST AMONG HIS PEOPLE IN OT?
A. God Permitted Polygamy but Never Gave His
Approval – Eccl. 7:29.
IV. POLYGAMY IS ADULTERY – Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:2; Acts 26:20 (19:18-19).
A Modern-day Daniel?
Man Enters Lion's Enclosure, Survives