WHAT DID APOLLOS DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard

The array of Biblical characters is as broad as life in any generation, this one notwithstanding. They are presented unshielded, fully depicting the depravity of man, and they are also presented in the marvelous glory of sinful men serving the Lord in righteousness through the grace of Christ Jesus. One such character that stands in the biblical spotlight is Apollos, introduced to us in Acts 18:24-19:7. Think with me about him.
One outstanding attribute of Apollos was his educational level. He was an Alexandrian Jew. This meant he was native to the thriving city of Alexandria on the northern African coast. The city was commensurate with Carthage and Rome. It was especially an educationally motivated city with the best libraries of the world, and renown teachers. Consequently, Apollos excelled in arts. He was a polished speaker commanding a large vocabulary and great skills in debate.
It is to the credit of Apollos that he had received Christ Jesus as his personal Savior, and answered the burden to preach the Word. However, his understanding of much of Christianity was incomplete. Consequently, he did not preach or practice correctly. Paul discovered the error of Apollos as he came upon a group presenting themselves as a New Testament church, but without the obvious blessing they should have had. The error of their baptism previously administered by Apollos was corrected, but neither the spiritual salvation of this group nor the baptism of John was questionable.
About that time, two of Paul’s faithful helpers, Aquila and Priscilla heard him preach. Noting his lack of information, they took him aside and expounded the way of the Lord more perfectly. Perhaps it was over a fried chicken dinner on Sunday afternoon.
How did that work out? The truth which Aquila and Priscilla shared fit perfectly with the incomplete information Apollos had. He received that truth, and he was thankful for the spiritual help afforded him. He went on to become a respected minister by Paul who recommended him, and used him to confound the Jews, and to edify the saints. His name is called a number of times in the Pauline epistles. His humility, dedication, and sharing the gospel as uniquely as only one with his background could do was so right. It is also right that all of us should follow that example.

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

WHAT DID JOB DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard

Job! To many, that name is a byword, an identification of troubles, and trials in life that rings down through the ages. But it is a powerful reminder that bad things really do happen to good people, and sometimes it is hard to understand why, or for what purpose.
In his case, Job was a righteous man, highly blessed of God whom he both knew and served. Unknown to him was a trial coming his way that easily transcended the mastery of man, but that is not what it was all about. It was a testing for time and eternity to friend and foe that the grace of God is sufficient in whatever temptations, trials, and illnesses life may bring.
God held Job up as an example, but Satan insisted that it was all because of the blessings of God upon him. Take those away, he said, and Job would curse God. (hum, sounds like Satan had already witnessed human failure.)
The contest began. Job lost his sons, all of them. He lost his great herds of cattle, camels, and other animals. Last but not least, Job broke out in severe boils all over his body. He could stand no clothing so he sat in a pile of ashes, covering himself with them, and scrapping his wounds with shredded pottery. To say that he was one extremely miserable character would be a gross understatement. This went on for days, then weeks, then months. His friends who came to console him only succeeded in making matters worse through their lack of understanding.
Misery was piled upon misery! So much so that all generations after him recoil at the bad things God allowed Satan to cast upon him. So, what did Job do that was so right?
Job resisted temptation to sin with his lips. Even when his wife in doubtless pity urged him to cast off his integrity, and curse God and die. Job blessed the Lord.
Job exalted God in praise, avowing that he knew his Savior and that He would stand in the latter day upon the earth. He testified that even though he should die and skin worms destroy his body, yet he would see God with his own eyes and not those of another.
Although Job did not have scriptures to bolster his faith as modern mankind does, he remained true to God, and to the faith he had been given. To put God first, and as one’s only hope beyond this vail of tears is always the right thing to do. Job did just that, and you., dear reader, should follow that example because it is so right!!

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

THE REPROACH OF A PICKED TREE


William Andrew Dillard

Orchard owners look with great expectation to the trees under their care. They nourish, protect, and defend them from pestilence, and anything else that would prevent full fruition. They are happy with the many blossoms, small buds, and developing fruit. Anticipation of Harvest time is truly filled with excitement, and the joy of abundant blessings. But once harvest is over, then what? The tree is still valuable, but it has given all that it can give. There will be no more fruit to glean, and the eye of anticipation no longer sees as it did before. It is a tree, now ordinary and fruitless, having given all. It is interesting to note that this idea is presented in the Word with reference to our Lord and Savior.
In Psalm 22 which is prophetic of the life and sacrifice of Jesus, the word used to describe him in verse six is “reproach.” The verse states, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” The word “worm” here is the “tolah” worm that was crushed to yield the blood used to dye fabrics with the color of royalty. The term “reproach” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Charaph.” which conveys the idea of a picked tree with nothing more to give. That term used here of Jesus describes how many people see Him as He has given all for the harvest of the souls of men. The people expected that the miracles He invoked for others would surely be invoked for Himself thus giving them a super personage in which to glory in the flesh. They were sadly disappointed.
However, while the forces of sin and evil rejoiced at the crucifixion, the crushing of that “tolah” worm, wrought robes of righteousness for the royal children of the King. Moreover, those who avail themselves of the fruit yielded by that tree find eternal, spiritual sustenance, and a white robe of royal righteousness in which to stand before the Creator. To the world, and to most of Jewish rulers, the tree was picked, and not worthy of a second glance, but to those who have tasted the fruit of that tree found life and hope of so much more that is to come.
So, how do you see Him dear reader? Is He a disappointment, or a wellspring of eternal joy? Is He a picked tree to be turned away from, or is He the Living Tree of Life with the fruit of eternal righteousness to all who receive Him in repentance and faith? My prayer is that you see Him as the latter, even the bread of life that one may eat and not hunger again; as the fruit of all righteousness that one may receive and have no sin imputed by the heavenly Father. There He is, the TREE at the crossroads of time and eternity in the life of everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

APOSTASY PORTRAYAL 


William Andrew Dillard
A DEADLY SIN
Parson to Person

Warning the church of the Living God at Corinth, the beloved Apostle Paul called attention to the terrible failures of Israel in the wilderness wanderings. In I Cor. 10:4, he recalls a most intriguing and interesting phenomenon. A certain Rock appeared wherever the Hebrews made camp, as though it were (because it was) following them. Now this was not an ordinary rock. Paul calls it a spiritual rock. Doubtless it appeared as a large hunk of stone to the Hebrews, but something was very different about this rock. It’s story begins early in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. It is first mentioned in Exodus 17:5-7. Moses was instructed to smite the rock which would produce water in abundance for the people. 
Since that spiritual rock followed them, it is not known how many appearances it made or how many times the Hebrews took special note of it, or how many times they may have depended upon it for life sustaining water. But, it comes into significant play some forty years later as water was desperately needed, and the Hebrews were complaining because there was none. God’s instruction to Moses now was different: “Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.” Num. 20:8.
Most who are passingly familiar with the Bible know Moses and Aaron did not follow God’s instructions, but in frustration with the people smote the rock twice. Yes, life giving water flowed, but God was not sanctified in the eyes of the people, and it cost Aaron and Moses their life. 
That rock was not Jesus, but it was anointed (Christ is a Greek word that means anointed in English) of God to typify mighty things about Jesus. It showed among other things, God’s protection, solidarity, presence, and sustainment of life. What God has to give mankind is freely offered in Jesus, the Christ. He willingly died to give to all the water of everlasting life. He is with His people and will never forsake them: He is there! He never changes! Either He is one’s life into the age of the ages, or that life shall be forfeited. Being once smitten, He will not be smitten again, but forgives all who call upon Him in repentance and faith. 
The recipients of His righteous blood’s cleansing that flowed from the smitten Anointed One commit a similar sin as Moses and Aaron when they claim they have become lost, and now must return to the Rock for a washing in His blood the second time. He will not be smitten again, but he may be spoken to in prayer and….”if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 Hallelujah! What a Rock is our Savior!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

OFFENDED OR BLESSED?


William Andrew Dillard
The Choice of Every Person
Her daughter was vexed with a devil. She was a gentile believer begging Jesus for help. Jesus, Who was sent but to the lost sheep of Israel said, “It is not appropriate to cast the children’s meat to dogs.” Wow! What a rebuff! In modern times this would be a significant cause for offense. Would this woman return home in a huff with a mouth streaming bad words about Jesus? Quite the opposite. Being outside of the covenant people of God, but understanding the power of Jesus, she would not be denied. Instead of becoming angry, she doubled down in humility. She replied, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Jesus said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” Her daughter was made whole immediately.
Sin within us is so offensive to God. The righteousness and mercy of God is so offensive to the sin nature within us. When the two meet, sin will be destroyed. Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will indeed grind him to powder. Luke 20:18.
So, it is so much better to be broken than to be ground into powder. Those are the only choices. To be offended is to choose the latter, to be blessed is to choose the former. The Canaanite woman would not be offended, she was blessed! So are all those who seek God in a repentant attitude. What about you, dear reader? Are you offended or blessed? Be as wise and as humble at that Canaanite woman!

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

THE DASH — THE SUM OF EARTHLY LIFE


ABApologetics.org

By: W.A. Dillard

An immigrant, not privileged to formal education signed her name Le—a. After three wrong guesses the immigration officer asked her to pronounce her name. She replied in haltering English, “Tha dash not silent. It be LeDASHa!”
Perhaps this story brings a chuckle to those who hear it, but there is a great truth to be gleaned from it. The dash really is not silent! How many times have you casually strolled through a cemetery? As you read the tombstones, you always saw two dates. The first one was the date of birth of the individual interred there. The second date was the date of death. In between those two dates is a dash. That dash represents all the years that particular individual lived on earth and interacted with others. What about all those years? What happened in the dash? Was that person loved and loving? Did he or she trust in Christ Jesus as their personal Savior? Did they serve Him with the force of their life? Were they a blessing to others, ready for that last date to arrive?
The inscriptions on the stone may identify the entombed person as a unique individual, separated from all others, but it is the dash that contains the multifaceted story of a life that was known among us. That dash represents joy, love, responsibility, opportunity, and all other things sandwiched between two important dates: the beginning and the end. What are we writing into the “dash” of our own unique dates? Wisdom bids us to hasten to do the things that are good, the things that we would. For as surely as you have a birthday, you also have a death-day. But these are not the things people will remember you for, and they are not the things that are important in heaven’s record. It is the dash, friends. The dash is not silent, it is the sum of earthly life!

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

HOW WE SHOULD LIVE


We ought to be living

as if Jesus died yesterday,

rose this morning,

and is coming back this

afternoon.

Leave a comment

Filed under quotes

BALANCE: DIFFICULT, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE!


William Andrew Dillard

A few years ago, while visiting in San Diego, California, a strange site appeared at the edge of the bay. There were these irregular rocks of various size and shape balanced to create numerous single poles. To say the site arrested attention is an understatement. How can this be?
It was then that I noticed the artist responsible for the phenomenon. While watching him busily engrossed in his creations, he paused to invite me to create a similar pole. With one rock stacked in balance upon the first one, all else failed. No matter how many times it was tried, the balance simply was not there. My immediate response was that there was a trick to it; that these particular rocks I was working with could not be so balanced to create a standing pole. The artist smiled, picked up my rocks and began balancing them one upon another to create the pole. I still do not understand how he could determine the exact center of gravity that allowed the rock to be in such perfect balance.
The reality of that strange encounter illustrates another form of balance so much more important. It is the balance of life that God calls upon His people to live, a life of righteousness in a world dominated by sin, personally, locally, nationally, and internationally. It seems the very moment one feels he is really accomplishing that balance, up jumps the devil, and once more the stark realization that we are still sinners is blatantly announced.
Once there was a ruler whose life failed miserably to measure up to that calling. His name was Belshazzar, the last king of the world empire of Babylonia. The words of his judgment were “Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin” which translates, “Your kingdom is numbered and finished, You are weighed in the balances and found wanting.” Immediately he was slain and the kingdom passed into the hands of the Medes-Persians.
The balance of life God requires cannot be understood nor accomplished at all by carnal minded men. But the good news is that it is both understood and accomplished by faith in Christ Jesus, in His person, words, and works by our repentance from sin, placing faith in Him. Is it difficult? To the unrepentant, it is impossible! Is it attainable? Indeed it is, not by just one person here and there, but by everyone who lives life in Christ. In that balance the believer is not imputed with sin, as Paul wrote to the Romans in 4:7-8, “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” That, my friends, is the perfect, spiritual balance of life bringing the zenith of enjoyment and peace both here and hereafter. How is your balance?

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

A CHURCH THAT DOES NOT EXIST


William Andrew Dillard

The title is paradoxical. To say that there is a church is to say that it exists, but to say there is a church that does not exist is a contradiction of thoughts. Yet, I have read about such a church, and I am sure you have, too. In newspapers and magazines, it will not be unusual to read of “the Baptist church.” This reflects a thought pattern of the church being universal. Of course, expressions of “the Catholic church,” the Methodist church,” etc. are more nearly correct since Catholic and Protestant churches consider themselves to be universal. Catholic theology points to a universal, visible church while Protestants point to a universal invisible church.
So, to which of these lines of theological thought do Baptist churches generally subscribe? Neither! It is the Bible presentation that the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are both visible and local. Each church is totally independent under the headship of Christ Jesus. There is no ecclesiastical (preacher) authority. There is no hierarchy. There is no little church/ big church difference in the eyes of the Lord. All are local assemblies, answerable only to God, with the full weight and responsibility of carrying out the commands of Christ as though they were the only congregation on earth. The only headquarters of the Lord’s churches is in heaven. His churches have equal authority to win disciples, baptize them, teach them, and administer the ordinances according to the Word. A church simply cannot get any more independent than to have the independence God gave to it to represent Him on earth. But, a church can get a lot less independent by subscribing to false doctrines, practices, and acquiescing to the designs and schemes of men. The purpose of such is usually for the sake of “business advantage” and/or to capture congregational power to enhance economic, political, and strained theological activity that God never commanded or intended.
There is no such thing as a biblically recognized, universal church on earth whether visible or invisible! Jesus set in motion a local congregation and empowered it to do likewise in carrying out the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20. I understand “Johnson Street Baptist Church” or a church by some other name that distinguishes it as a local assembly in a specific location or in a specified dedication of service. I do not understand nor will I accept the terminology of “The Baptist Church.” It is a church that simply does not exist.

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard

WHAT DID THE APOSTLE PETER DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard

Most every Bible student is familiar with the great sin of the Apostle Peter. Peter was a man quick to speak and a little slow to think. It seems that he had to say something on every occasion, and often what he said was wrong. In that regard many of us today can identify with him.
Of course, what is remembered most is his boast to stay with the Lord, and support Him no matter what the circumstances. Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed he would deny Him three times. That is exactly what happened. What must it have been like to know that you not only denied, but cursed to emphasis that denial of Jesus in the crucial hour of his trial and subsequent crucifixion?
So, what did Peter do that was so right? In tears he repented of his deed as he realized the weakness of the flesh and what can happen when real danger knocks at one’s door. His repentance was genuine, and the grace of God was sufficient to forgive him and restore him to prominent service in His ministry. Peter would never be the same. However, his bitterly disappointing sin was totally forgiven and he was so much the wiser for the experience.
God’s Word teaches us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. Peter sinned greatly, but he genuinely repented, received the forgiveness of God and went on to serve Him in a great and wonderful way. That is so right!
We should never let past sins and disappointing deeds keep us from a close relationship with the Lord. God is in the convicting business. Additionally, He is in the forgiving business when one repents of sin. He is in the restoration business of broken lives to meaningful purpose in His great cause on earth. No one should miss out on the fulfillment of spiritual potential in this life, and the reward that it will bring in the next one.
Are you disappointed in yourself? Are you disappointed in others? We are all sinners. We all disappoint others from time to time. We also disappoint ourselves, especially when we think we are strong, and we discount the weakness of the flesh. It is not amazing that we should fail, but it is so important that we repent, and go on in serving our wonderful Lord and Savior Who loves us. In this, we can also identify with the apostle Peter, and that is so right!

Leave a comment

Filed under dillard