Marching Orders: 3

Part 3 of 4

In the first post I gave three orders given by the Apostle Paul to the Church at the end of the Church age (Hebrew 10:22-25).  Each order begins with the words “let us”.

1. Let us draw near.

2. Let us hold fast.

3. Let us consider one another.

In part two of this series, we looked at the first of these orders.

In part three, let’s look at the second order.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).

Photo by Ben Fredericson

Jude 1:3 …ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Every generation (and each individual) has a responsibility to the Truth; a responsibility to seek Truth, a responsibility to contend for Truth, and a responsibility to hold fast to Truth.

I am going to be very hesitant any time someone decides that we don’t need something that was preached and taught by the generations preceding us.  I have to believe that if a doctrine/teaching was accepted and practiced by the majority of a generation, there must have been a good reason behind it.  Like anyone else in my generation, I want to know “Why?” but I start from the position of believing there is a reason.

Buy the truth, and sell [it] not…

The Bible is the inspired and preserved Word of God…Hold Fast!

There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).  He has revealed Himself to humanity as the Father (Creator), in the son (Savior), and as the Holy Ghost (indwelling Spirit)…Hold Fast!

All men are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)…Hold Fast!

Man must repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sin’s and receive the promise of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:38)…Hold Fast!

We are called to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12) and empowered to do so by the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8)…Hold Fast!

Jesus Christ is coming back to earth in bodily form, just as He went away (Acts 1:11). He will catch away a holy people (His bride, His church) who have accepted redemption through His blood, by birth of water and of the Spirit, and who are found faithful when He comes…Hold Fast!

To these and every Truth of the Word of God…Hold Fast!

Warriors of Morning Hold Fast to the Faith!

Pay It Forward

Read this…

John 4:37-38 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

As we read this Scripture, we naturally insert ourselves into the role of the reaper as this was the intent of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples.  He was telling them that they were going to reap what someone else had sown.  But consider for a second that if we will reap where another has sown, then someone is going to reap where we have sown.  What sort of seed are you sowing for the future?

There is a mysterious brand of cafe that has recently begun to appear throughout Japan.  They look like any other cafe, but there is a surprise in store for each patron.  In a nutshell, you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets what you ordered.  So you have to decide, are you going to be generous or are you going to be cheap.  Either way, the person after you gets what you paid for.

The Church is presently enjoying the fruits of the labors of a generation that paid the price for Truth in blood, sweat, and tears.  As I enjoy reaping these blessings for which I never labored, I am overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude to those who have preceded me in this wonderful Gospel.  I am also incredibly challenged by the fact that someone will reap what I sowed.  I hope that when they step up to reap what I have sown that they are as blessed as I have been.

One Generation From Extinction

Former President Ronald Reagan on Freedom:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

There is quite a bit packed into those three sentences!  Each generation enjoys the fruits of the generation preceding them, yet each generation must determine the value of that fruit and the cost of its seed if it is to last.  This is not just true of freedom, it is also true of the Truth.

Photo by psychbird

Just like freedom, Truth is always one generation from extinction!  (Caveat: Truth will prevail and God will always have a Church, I am applying this to a particular group whether that be church, family, etc.) 

There were 10 generation from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5).  However, there was only 1 living generation separating the two!  Noah’s father, Lamech, would have been 58 when Adam died.  It is very likely that Noah’s father spent time with the man who walked in the garden with God.  Afterall, Adam was his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.  Yet one (living) generation later, Noah is the only man found righteous in God’s eyes!

Judges 2:7,10  “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel… and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

This is another startling example!  The generation of elders had witnessed all the miracles.  They were there when God made passage through the Jordan River.  They were there when the Jericho walls came crashing down.  They were there when Joshua prayed and the sun stood still.  But the generation after them did not personally know of these great miracles, let alone the God who did them.

We must diligently pass this Truth on to the next generation! (Deut. 6)

The Danger of Mining Foundations

This month’s issue of Wired Magazine includes an interesting article about a little town in Oklahoma called Picher.  The article is titled Welcome to Armageddon, USAIt tells the incredible story of a once thriving city; a city that died because of its hollow foundation.

“Picher sprang up as a 20th-century boomtown – the “buckle” of the mining belt that ran through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  The earth underneath it produced most of the lead for US bullets in World Wars I and II.  The population peaked at 14,000 in 1926.  But when the lode ran dry in 1970, the mining companies moved out. 

Downtown Picher, OK by Sooner4Life

One-third of all houses in Picher are undermined by massive voids.  Sinkholes are a major problem; the city is literally swallowing itself.  “The water pumps were shut off when the mines closed; their subterranean chambers refilled with groundwater and leaked acid into nearby Tar Creek, threatening the town’s drinking water.  Kids started coming home from swimming in ponds near the mines complaining of what they thought were sunburns, never realizing that the pools were full of caustic chemicals.”

The police department has disbanded.  The schools have closed.  The government has dissolved.  Picher is a dead city.  Very few people still live in Picher, and they are considered radicals.  One of these radicals, John Garner, says that he will continue to live in Picher and keep the town alive.  All of this despite the dangerous levels of poison in the air and water and the dangers of looters who come to disrupt the peace.  But even Garner recognizes the biggest problem is that “there is no next generation…looking to carry on the fight.”

As I read this story, I thought of the spiritual implications of mining our foundation.  If we do, we will find ourselves in the same situation as Picher, OK.  We will be full of sinkholes.  People will leave by hundreds and the thousands.  Our children will be poisoned.  And ultimately, we will find ourselves fighting for something that has no chance to live because there will be no next generation looking to carry on the fight.

I Want To Be A Berean

Not much is said in the Word of God about Berea or the people who lived there.  The people of Berea are only mentioned in one chapter of Scripture, Acts 17.  This is all we know about the Bereans:

(1) They were considered noble people because…

(2) They received the Word preached to them by Paul and Silas with a ready mind.  And…

(3) They searched the Scripture daily to see if the message Paul and Silas preached was true to the Word.

I really like what verse 12 of Acts 17 says happened as a result of the Bereans doing these three things; “therefore many of them believed.”

These Bereans were so hungry for Truth!  And they knew that there was only ONE source to which they could turn.  It wasn’t their opinion, it wasn’t (just) tradition, it wasn’t (just) the preacher.  It was the Word of God!

They were considered noble because they received the Word with readiness of mind.  This speaks of the presence of eager interest and the absence of prejudice.  They had a sincere desire to be taught, and to know, the Truth.  When they were taught, they went to the written Word to be sure what they had been taught was true.

It seems to me that the Bereans must have believed in absolute truths, and that these truths are knowable.  A lot of today’s “Christians” would do well to spend some time with the Bereans!

Notice what happens when people get hungry for Truth and search the Scriptures…“Many Believed.”

I want to be a Berean.

The Truth: According to Wikipedia

This is something I wrote WAY back in February of 2009.  I was reminded of it while reading a post on Jordan Parnell’s Blog.  He is in the middle of a series of posts themed around the concept of Wikipedia.  I highly recommend his blog.  Please take a moment and check it out.  I’m sure you will enjoy it.
  
Now for what I had to say about Wikipedia and Truth back in 2009.
 
 
 
What is Truth? What is Ignorance? Which are we closer to? Clive Thompson, in his article, “Manufacturing Confusion”, in February’s issue of Wired Magazine touches on these questions.

Agnotology is the subject at hand. The word, coined by Stanford’s Robert Proctor, means “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.” In other words, truth is suppressed by cultural ideas, beliefs, practices, ect. According to Thompson’s article Mr. Proctor says, “when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion.”

One of the examples argued; evolution. Mr. Thompson implies that the rational and educated person would agree that the question of evolution has been “incontrovertibly answered in the affirmative, proven by settled facts.” However, because many church or religious groups have spent much money defending creationism, the truth of evolution has been suppressed leaving many people ignorant.

“Can we fight off these attempts to foster ignorance?” Thompson asks. He seems to think so. His suggestion, “we need…information tools that are designed to combat agnotological rot.” Enter Wikipedia. Wikipedia can be used to eliminate all the ignorance because truth is reached by consensus. Whatever the majority decides is truth. Truth is swayed by the opinion of man.

Interesting idea Mr. Thompson. But the words of one of history’s most famous judges come back to me. “What is Truth?” Pilate asked the broken and beaten man kneeling before him. What he did not know was the the one he would shortly sentence to horrific death by crucifixion was THE TRUTH.

I have heard many times in my life (thank you Bro. Mooney) “God is God and I am not”. My opinion and your opinion and the opinion of the majority will never have one ounce of effect on Truth. So when it comes to doing a bit of research for this rant, thank you Wikipedia. But when it comes to knowing Truth, no thank you. “For I know whom I have believed.”

“I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” -Jesus

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment!

The Anatomy of a Movement

In his book Tribes, Seth Godin (quoting Sen. Bill Bradley) writes that a movement needs three elements:

(1) A Narrative: A story about who we are and the future we’re trying to build.

(2) A Connection: Between and among the leader and the tribe.

(3) Something To Do: Action!

Mr. Godin goes on to say that “too often organizations fail to do anything but the third.”

As I read this, I asked myself which element(s) the Church was missing (or in danger of missing).  I am sure that it varies from church to church, but this one thing I know, we cannot afford to leave any one of these three out.

(1) Our Narrative: We have a story about who we are, how we got here, what our purpose is, how to see our purpose fulfilled, and the future that we are trying to build.  It is the Word of God.  It is Truth.  If we lose this, then we have no purpose.  All of our action and interaction with each other and the world makes no difference.  The Word is our foundation, our guide, and must be our treasure.  Hold on to the Truth!

(2) Our Connection: We must have a strong connection with our leader (Jesus) and with each other.  It is not enough to be able to quote Scripture, we must Know the Word, we must Know the Truth (“I am the…Truth” -Jesus).  We need to have a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must also have a strong connection with each other.  Over and over again, the Apostle Paul exhorts the church to Unity and Love.  And I think I remember the leader saying something like, “by this shall men know that you are my disciples”.  He was talking about loving one another.

(3) Our Action: The Church has something to do.  It flows directly out of our narrative and our connection with our leader.  In fact, if we lack those two, we are like a boxer beating the air.  However, if we embrace our narrative and our connection with our leader and refuse the call to action, we do ourselves and this world a great disservice.  We have been commission to Go, Teach, and Baptize.  If you are full of the Holy Spirit, then you have the Power to be a witness, you have something to do!

I would really like to hear from you, which element do you think the Church is in the greatest danger of neglecting?  Which one do you struggle with the most?

Christianity vs Truth! What?

There is a troubling trend in Christianity today.  Sometimes it is blatantly and brazenly professed and sometimes it comes incognito, made to look like worship.  It is a belief that truth cannot be known.  We can’t really understand anything about Scripture or about God.  As I mentioned some preach (I hesitate to call what they do preaching) this from their platforms whether it be sermons, books, or blogs.  And others try to pass it off as worship, “God is so great and wonderful!  We can’t possibly understand or even really know Him!”

Wait a second!  Christianity is ALL ABOUT TRUTH!  Truth is knowable.  In fact, God WANTS us to KNOW.  That is the purpose of His Word.  Scripture is the measure, the standard, and the TRUTH.  It is God’s all-sufficient, complete, and unchangeable guide and gift for His people.  And while it is true that we cannot fully comprehend God, for His ways are higher than our ways, there is a lot that we CAN know.  He has revealed it to us through His Word.  Yet knowledge of the Bible ranks pretty low, even among “born again” believers.  The preaching and teaching of Bible Truths is disappearing from many churches and is being replaced by entertaining speeches.  The love of God’s Word is waning in the hearts of His people.

There are many that believe that the authority of God functions separately from written Scripture.  They believe that Scripture cannot be fully authoritative at the level of its functioning in the life of the Church today.  There is a dismissal of the importance of doctrine and the assumption that it is neither central, nor important in the lives of the post-modern day Christian.  As a result, we have a lot of murmuring and complaining about Truth, and a lot of shouting and rejoicing about many other subjects.  The Christian Church is distracted!

We have to get back to Bible Teaching and Bible Preaching.  People, our pastors should not have to worry about us getting bored or anxious to leave when they begin teaching us Biblical Truths.  We need to encourage them to teach to us and preach to us, like never before, the Truth of God’s Word.

We need to embrace God’s Word, embrace God’s Truth, and embrace the One at the center of its message.

Without Truth, there is no Christianity!

For more on this, I suggest David Well’s The Courage to be Protestant  from which most of these thoughts were inspired.

What Do You Have To Say About Truth?  Don’t Lie!