Category Archives: Commentary

The Unbroken Lineage


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THE UNBROKEN LINEAGE

It is inconceivable that a river should stop its course to the sea then some miles later take up that course again. Its very nature necessitates continuity. That principle is also true with a number of other things. Think about it!
The lineage of Jesus is given from the sides of both Mary and Joseph in Matthew and Luke. It allows no such break in continuity. While Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, it remains important that the continuity of faith lineage be unbroken. Additionally, could there be such a break in an electrical current? or, in light from its source? Yet, some people still wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? It seems incredulous to them to believe that God created a chicken which laid the egg, and the existence of the fowl lineage remains unbroken since creation. Hang on, I am going somewhere with this.
Could such a break in continuity occur in everlasting life that it should be lost and later found? Not hardly! So it is with God’s covenantal work with man. Limited covenants were made with Adam and Noah, but the expansion of a covenant for the whole species began in Abraham, and the covenant made with him continues unbroken to this day, and it shall remain in continuity to the end of the age. The Law of Moses was a subset within the Abrahamic Covenant, meant to educate God’s people both then and now to the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of mankind. It’s ultimate purpose was to be a schoolmaster to bring people of faith to Christ (the God/man Who could, and did fulfill it). But the passage of the law did not in anywise negate the Abrahamic Covenant, on the contrary, it succeeded in delivering a remnant to Jesus who became the first New Testament church; hence, the standard bearer, ground, and pillar of the New Covenant. The continuity of faith continued from the nation of Israel to the first church. Inasmuch as the first church before, during, and after Pentecost was one hundred percent Jewish; it was the true Israel of God. The bulk of the Hebrew nation was left desolate having rejected heaven’s messenger. (It will remain desolate until they look upon Him Whom they pierced). The first church perpetuated itself in accord with God’s plan, and its presence in the world today has unbroken continuity as surely as the river, the chicken and the egg, the electrical current, etc.
Of course, there are those who deny church succession, but they may wrestle with the chicken and the egg, too. “Prove it,” they say! Look again at the river, at the light beam, consider again the electrical current. Some things cannot exist without continuity, and the church of the living God to Whom Jesus promised His presence to the end of the age is chief among them all with all other claims being counterfeit, pure and simple.

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Lauding Mankind’s Most Valuable Document


 

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The Holy Bible, the cannon of sixty-six books common to the King James Version is the product of the “Textus Receptus” (received text), a collection of about thirty of the most ancient manuscripts that are copies of the original. It is the Word of the Creator God of heaven and earth to mankind. Between its covers one finds the origin of man, his cause of condemnation, his means of salvation, as well as his trials, history, achievement of spiritual maturity, security, and hope that is both sure and steadfast. It is the prime directive of the race, and its importance eclipses all other documents combined.
Despite criticisms to the contrary, The Holy Bible remains the basis of morals, laws, and faith which has sustained human life on the planet, and allowed governments and society at large to make meaningful progress. Where its teachings are observed, peace and progress abounds. Where its teachings are rejected misery, poverty, death and all manner of evil prevails. Truly, if only one collection of writings could be retained and all others destroyed, this writer would not hesitate to name his collection to keep as the Holy Bible.
The Bible is not a history book, but it accurately records all one really needs to know about the history of civilization. It is not a science book. That is also not its purpose, yet it is supportive of all systematized facts. Still others say, “Well one can take it or leave it.” Yes, one can take it or leave it, temporarily, but to quote Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:4. By the Word of God every person has the grace of life, and will by it ultimately be judged.
The Bible uniquely is both static and alive. It is sharper than a two-edged sword, and will survive the universal cataclysm that is coming right on schedule. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the Word of God abideth forever. I Peter 1:23. Its purpose is to give one knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to escape the damnation of sin, and to elevate its disciples ultimately to eternal oneness with the Son of God.
You say that you have a Bible, but do not know its contents very well? That, my friend is the most awesome of responsibilities ignored with eternal, non-reversible consequences! Open that book! Read! Think! There is reason that far outstrips that of all others in your having a copy of the Bible.

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A MEASURE OF FOREVER


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
A MEASURE OF FOREVER

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Gen. 1:14.
We keep calendars of times and seasons dictated by created bodies in the universe. Does that seem to take the control stick away from us? If so, good! Think about this with me!
“Time” picks the curiosity of arts and science. Men fancifully envision being time travelers, etc. yet no one has ever broken its barriers except the super natural beings of the universe. So what is this presence that moves the universe and all in it in one direction? It is a dimension in which all created entities are inexorably locked to the fulfillment of their determined destiny. Think of it as “measured forever” which is an oxymoron because forever cannot be measured. Still it is as close as we can come to understanding it. Moreover, a measure by its very definition must have a beginning and an end to qualify as a measure. Are you still with me?
Time had its beginning in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning…” God created the universe with specific design, and predestined longevity. He created the means to calculate time, and He supplies the wisdom to know that everything in the universe is destined to end, concluding the “measure.” That is the big picture. There are thousands of subsets of all things and their relationship to time.
For men, the mean measure of time is threescore and ten years. For some reptiles and plants, it is much higher. For some life forms it is a matter of hours. But men are given the ability to reason, to calculate, to understand. Consequently, as we turn the calendar, we calculate that one more grain of sand (a year) has passed through the cosmic hourglass, and another is on its way through it. A thousand years may equal a thousand grains of sand, and how many grains have already passed through it? Logic implies that the hourglass is almost full. Is this making any sense at all to you? Ephemeron will live but a night, but it says, “It has just begun. It is such a long, long time till morning!” But, morning comes and with it the end of its time. For us, seventy years seems a very long way in the springtime of life, but it grows so short in November. What does all this mean?
Calendars mark completed measures of time. It comes, it endures for a while, and it ends. It is a measure! Your life started; it has endured; and it is surely coming to an end. It is a measure! But the bright prospect is that before it ends here, a new life may begin in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God. His life that He extends to you through repentance and faith is not a measure of forever. It is forever!

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JUST A LITTLE MORE SLEEP


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
JUST A LITTLE MORE SLEEP

Sleep was created for earthly life as the means of necessary refreshment to the body. Blessed are those who are able to sleep six to eight hours each night, but cursed are those whose goal is to sleep life away during both day and night. Doubtless the sleep of a laboring man is sweet as said the wise man, Solomon, but those who sleep in the affairs of life can expect poverty and loss. Let’s think about it!
Just what is this sleep in the affairs of life? It may be identified as one’s personal comfort zone. It is the nature of the flesh to create a comfort zone, and to disdain any call to consider things that might endanger that insulation to it. That is sleep. Through such sleep, fortunes have been lost, businesses bankrupted, and lives shipwrecked. The Bible underscores this important principle. Consider that it was while they slept that the Midianites were suddenly put to flight by the small band of Gideon. It was while men slept that the Medes and Persians brought an end to Babylon, the first great, world empire. It was while men slept that an enemy sowed tares among the wheat in the parable of Jesus. Moreover, it will be while men sleep that the bridegroom (Jesus) comes and many will not be ready to meet Him.
Solomon said, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Prov. 6:9. He went on to say, “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.” 20:13. Modern times have underscored just how easy it is for individuals and churches to sleep when they should be swimming upstream in holy proclamations of salvation and the soon-coming King of Kings! One might name many reasons why this condition exists, but none of them are acceptable excuses for it.
So, what will we find in the New Testament regarding this specific subject? A quick survey shows much. Let us hear Paul as he admonished the Romans, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Rom. 13:11. Similarly, he taught the Thessalonians, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” I Thess. 5:6. God’s people are not children of the night, but children of the day. They are to be awake, alert, watchful, and understanding of what and why things are happening. In so doing, the example of our Lord will be followed. One may be sure that He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121.
Are you a “Ho-hum, you’re okay, I’m okay,” kind of person, or are you awake, discerning the signs of the time in accordance with the Word, and listening for the shout?

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SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN


 

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
“On a Sunday morning sidewalk, I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.. ‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday ; That makes a body feel alone. And there’s nothing short a’ dying; That’s half as lonesome as the sound; Of the sleeping city sidewalk; And Sunday morning coming down.”
So goes the mournful lyrics of the late country singer Johnny Cash as he depicted the feelings of a worldly, sinner faced with the loneliness and conviction of “Sunday morning coming down.” It is a well known feeling by too many in our world today, but why?
His lyrics explain that part of it is a terrible hangover from the night before. Another part is the accompanying messy, unkempt lifestyle of dirty clothes and house. Another is the complete absence of the nightlife, and scattering to their own corners of misery those who shared those false senses of a good time. Still another is seeing the joy of a small child playing, and a father swinging his little girl; reminiscent of clean, decent, good-times long gone. Still another is the smell of someone frying chicken, a smell of home, but not his home. Then there was the worshipful sounds of songs coming from a nearby church, then far away a church bell ringing, all bringing back gut-wrenching memories of a good life lost somewhere in the den and noise of sin. Truly, to someone in that situation, Sunday morning in its worshipful quietness was dreaded. How different it is for an obedient child of God who so looks forward to the joy of worship and fellowship with God’s wonderful people.
However, I fear there is yet another class of people dealing with Sunday morning in quite a different, but wrongful way. These are the nominal Christians who live in a breakneck world of speed, activities, and responsibilities. They see Sunday morning as a day of selfishness: to rest, to recreate; to do what they could not get done in the week. Seems there is little compunction or remorse in that absence of joy about what God expects and looks for in one’s manner of life. The mention of church brings conviction, but it is quickly passed off in the determination that what they want to do is right. How then will they mourn and cry when their opportunity to go to church is gone, and knowing they must soon stand face to face with their Creator? What will they hear in head and heart about “Sunday morning coming down?”

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BAPTISM AND THE NOAHIC FLOOD


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
BAPTISM AND THE NOAHIC FLOOD

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” I Peter 3:18-21
From earliest Sunday School Days, most Christians are enthralled with the story of Noah and the Flood. But, its implications extend to the church age with underscored import to modern day saints. Some attempt to deny the denotations and connotations of the verses of scripture at hand; others do their best to explain them away as meaningless. Still others make them to mean much more than they are intended to mean. So what might one rightly infer from them? Noah was a righteous man. Accordingly, he and his family found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was blessed to build the Ark., and he is listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. When the sloosh ways of heaven were opened, the fountains of the deep surfaced, and rains came for forty days and nights, water bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives. However, the same water that bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives also caused the death of all others who drew the breath of life.
Now consider the parallel. Let it be understood that there is only ONE THING in the entire universe that is purgatory of sin: the blood of the Son of God. Yet, many of the people who drown in the flood were spiritually saved, but disobedient people. So it is the obedience of life that is under consideration in the figure. It is through obedience that a good consciousness toward God is created. Baptism is the first step of obedience for every saved person. Additionally, it is in that good consciousness toward God that His will is advanced in and through men. The obedience in water baptism brings a good conscience toward God, but the same water refused leaves one devoid of that good conscience. The difference is symbolized as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble at the fiery Judgment Seat of Christ as shown in I Corinthians 3:9-15. So, it may be spoken of as the saving of one’s life to the glory of God, and to one’s personal reward. Therein is the figure spoken of in the verses under consideration.
Remember this the next time you hear some immature Baptist say, “Baptism is not important.” It is important, so much so that it is likened unto the difference between those in the Ark and those outside it.

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WHEN COMPROMISE DOES NOT WORK


“Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, but you couldn’t do business with that madman. The times called not for a Chamberlain, but a Churchill. It was compromise or confrontation, and compromise, as always, did not work. Confrontation is an ugly word in religious circles today. We are developing diplomats, not prophets. We are on Carmel and there can be no summit conference with the priests of Baal. It is Baal or Jehovah, and in the showdown, the God that answereth by fire let Him be God.” –Vance Havner

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Bias VS. Boastful


Parson to Person

W.A. Dillard

The question arises from time to time, but recently more often: is there bias in Baptist churches and literature against baptism? The question does not mean to indicate that Baptists are openly critical of or disdainful of baptism, rather they purposefully push it into the background or omit discussing it to avoid conflicting discussions with others not of our stripe.  Think a minute!
One evidence is a lack of underscoring its significance from pulpits.  Ministers may feel intimidated by former waves of heresy surrounding the ordinance resulting in ministers being labeled in unfavorable ways.  That may not be the case also, but whatever it is, there is a widespread toning down of its meaning, importance, and beauty.
Another evidence shows up in literature.  The spiritual new birth is heavily emphasized, which is good, but to indicate that one has all that is important, or that there is full leadership accessibility of the Holy Spirit in rebellion or neglect of divine instructions regarding proper baptism and subsequent fellowship in a true New Testament church is to negate the very thrust of the New Testament itself.  Whom do we fear, God or man?  Whom do we seek to not offend by this subject, God or man?
When Baptists are biased against the joyful presentation of baptism are they ashamed of it, or do they think to win others by cunning deception in matters of truth?
Baptism has long served as the door to church membership predicated on the new birth.  If  Baptists are not seeking to win folks to proper New Testament church membership, they are not ministering the New Testament purpose.  The new birth is as old as Adam’s sin in Eden, and while the New Covenant is predicated upon it, so was the Old Covenant as well.  To fail in these matters is to fall into the practice of abandoning new believers to the clutches of heretical religious organizations as so many modern “evangelists” do.
It is important to emphasize the will of God for every new believer of the gospel.  Pentecost is fundamentally important.  There is an office work of the Holy Spirit to and in the Lord’s church whose benefit the unbaptized, unchurched miss.  If the ordinance were not absolutely important, it would not be the consistent teaching of the New Covenant.  Let such scripture verses as Luke 7:30,  Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:38,  and Romans 6:1-5 be revisited, and indelibly impressed in hearts and minds.
On the other hand to be boastful tends to create carnal elitism.  There is a thin line but a definite line between a sense of thankfulness for one’s understanding and blessings, and a sense of arrogance or superiority that one may have over another.
Then let us witness of full truth in love for the Lord and His purpose, but be quick to attribute all of these things to the goodness of God which all may have who will believe and follow Him.

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Church by Evolution


Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

There are some things that are easy to believe, but difficult to prove. In fact, most things in the spirit world are that way to the carnal mind. It is the intent of this short article to draw attention to the folly of New Testament church existence by evolution. Please think with me for a moment.
Most Baptists readily agree that a New Testament church cannot be divorced from its membership. Therefore, the qualifications of each church member become all important to the spiritual status of the local body to which he belongs. As the members go, so goes the church for better or worse.
It is equally agreed among non-Protestant Baptist churches that the new birth experience and deep water baptism by the authority of the church is essential, constituting the prerequisites to church membership. By these things, and the fulfillment of the other parts of the Great Commission churches are kept separate from the world, from false religion, and in an acceptable state to enjoy the blessings of the Almighty in word, and in deed.
With all this being said, it is recognized that there are a lot of “Speckled Bird” churches in Baptist ranks today. Some are “planted” by men who care little for the fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints. Some are socio-religious gatherings that “evolve” into a “church.” This method was used by the Wesley brothers, but their production was not a New Testament church.
Then there are those who pick no bones about their disdain for the Baptist heritage. They refuse to use the Baptist name, and think to create a church by some sort of deception, deception I say because they still want to claim scriptural Baptist status. Humm. does that not sound much like so many who call themselves “non-denominational” or “Usta-Wazer Baptists? That former title is an oxymoron simply because non-denomination is a denomination with reference to type or kind.
So, the questions remains. Might a group of people, two or three or more, achieve a non-profit charter to claim tax exemption engage in religious activity, and thereby grow into a bona fide New Testament church regardless of their prerequisites? More precisely stated, may a group of religious minded people evolve into a New Testament church?
When the Word is followed, only those who are endowed with the new birth, and scriptural, deep water baptism administered by a bona fide church of the Lord, may constitute a church that is recognized and blessed of heaven. Such is the perpetuation of the baptism of John (heaven-sent baptism). There may be many ceremonial washings and dips, but there is only one baptism of John. So, a church by evolution? That is biblically unknown, and in the end worthless.

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THE CHURCH GOING GENERATION


Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!

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