Category Archives: Commentary

Worship


“The fourth edition of the United Bible Societies’ Greek Testament (1993) lists 343 Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, as well as no fewer than 2,309 allusions and verbal parallels. The books most used are Psalms (79 quotations, 333 allusions), and Isaiah (66 quotations, 348 allusions). In the Book of Revelation, there are no formal quotations at all, but no fewer than 620 allusions.”^[1]^ Furthermore, “the OT is quoted or alluded to in every NT writing except Philemon and 2 and 3 John.”^[2]

I find this statement from “Theopedia,” – “New Teatment use of the Old Testament very similar to what I have been taught in 3 different seminaries and read from studying the New Testament along with the old. Some of my instructors put it this way – “the old explains the new and the new explains the old.”

Here is my observation. Moses saw a burning bush that was not consumed and out of a great wonder at such a thing, he decided to investigate. As he approached, God called to him not to come close, in fact take the shoes off your feet because you are standing on Holy Ground. Now brethren, don’t be snarky or snide here. I don’t believe we worship at a burning bush, even though I believe there was an actual burning bush. I also don’t believe that we have to take our shoes off. Very simply, here is a principle, notice, principle being taught here. Where we meet God is a Holy place that deserves our reverence and respect.

How about Exodus 19:9-12. In preparation for the Lord coming to Mt. Sinai, certain spiritual requirements given, sanctify yourselves. Then there is a physical requirement, wash their clothes. Then he set bounds they could go to. They were not to touch the mount. From this, I know that God sets some spiritual standards, some physical standards and some boundaries for us.

So far we have reverence, respect, spiritual standards, physical standards and established boundaries.

Notice the requirements of the priest. Exodus 29:4-9. Notice the principle of dress that the priests are to adhere to. Once again I refer to principle. We stand as priests before God ministering to Him in praise, worship and prayers, sanctified to His service. They had certain clothes that they wore when doing the daily work around the tabernacle. Certain clothes for emptying the ashes. Then when entering the Holy place, they dressed with fine clothing. An example for us.

Exodus 29:43 says “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. Where we meet the glory of God is a place that is specifically designated. We don’t meet Him at the tabernacle but we meet Him where he designated on the first day of the week. Israel was called to the door of the tabernacle. We are called to the house of worship on the first day of the week.

Here is my summation: We are to revere the place where we have been called to meet and worship God. We have spiritual standard of preparation to meet God in that place. We also have physical standards that we should meet when we are ushered into the presence of God. I believe there are boundaries that we should not cross and these standards have been established by God. We don’t run in the sanctuary and we don’t drink in the sanctuary except to relieve a parched throat with a little water. It is not a social place but a worship place.

For those that built a fellowship hall first, you got it backwards. The tabernacle was not a place for fellowship it was for worship. Let us put a priority on worship and then build for fellowship. We can fellowship in homes. Sometimes we get our priorities mixed up.

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DISCERNING THE “FEEL GOOD” CHURCH


William Andrew Dillard

Most of “Christianity” including many Baptist churches have abandoned anything considered to be negative under the guise that people like to go to church where they are made to feel good. To be sure, true Christianity is essentially a positive religion, but it can be positive only because the negatives exist. Furthermore, if the negatives and positives are not kept in proper order eternal disaster will occur.
First there is a problem. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. Sin is filthy, abominable, and condemned by the righteous, Creator God. If one is rocked to sleep in a positive evaluation of life while in sin, hell will be his eventual home. Oh, I forgot, that is also negative. Still, if all men are condemned by sin as the Bible affirms, then something must be done to correct that state. It is for this purpose that the Son of God both came into the world, was crucified, and arose from the dead. Romans 6:23, 5:8. It is the shed blood of Christ Jesus alone that is purgatory of sin. The crying need of the human family is to recognize this, and thus be saved (not from hell, but from their sins that will send them there). But no one is ever saved who does not first realize he is lost. Realizing one is lost is not a good feeling, but it is that realization that brings one to the foot of the cross in repentance and faith, and that is a very good feeling.
Once saved, one has the blessed privilege of following the Lord in the watery grave of baptism, and subsequent fellowship in one of His local churches. Then, and only then will one’s viewpoint of the church be changed from negative and condemnatory to positive and happy, understanding righteous things of time and eternity. It is then that it becomes the bona fide “feel good” church that is pleasing in God’s sight. So, it is really not the church. The church is only the messenger. The message must be God’s message. The effects of that message will bring conviction or elation according to one’s personal relationship with the Lord. God forbid that the message should ever change to please sinful men in their sinful state. When that happens, the church is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot as savorless salt.

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IT SHOULD BE IN THE BIBLE!


William Andrew Dillard

I am very certain there is good reason, perhaps known only to God the Author, but one wonders just why the word “Enthusiasm” is not in the Bible.
Think about it! The word consists of three parts: “En” (in); “Thus,” (God), and “Ism” (the noun ending denoting state of being). Hence, “enthusiasm” literally means, “The state of being in God.” But what is commonly associated with the term? It is excitement, energy. Is that not what one finds in a close relationship with God? Surely it is! So much the more, then why the word should be in the Bible, as least to the mind of this writer.
However, there are words in the Bible that are synonyms of “Enthusiasm.” Words as “Fervent,” “Zeal,” “Zealous.” These words come from the ancient Koine Greek term “Zeo” meaning boiling liquids or glowing hot metals.
Illustrated from childhood experience, a small amount of turpentine dabbed on a cat’s behind would cause the animal to erupt into a racing, super speed. It was a show and tell demonstration of enthusiasm. But that is far afield of what the term should mean, and what its synonyms do mean in the Bible. 
Enthusiasm in spiritual matters is not self induced excitement or an attempt to create enthusiasm by that means. Such is easily seen and diagnosed. The problem is that it is false, and in reverse of the true process.
Enthusiasm in proper spiritual matters may indeed spill over into physical expressions. True happiness also shows, and it is detected as being genuine.
So, how may one come to possess the high degree of excitement and joy that is associated with the term “enthusiasm?” How about simply engaging in the activity that the term specifically denotes? “The state of being in God.” There is no other way to know this blessed state than a specific, complete surrender to God as personal Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord. As the writer of Hebrews so pointedly noted, “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
When sobriety claims the mind and heart; when knowledge of one’s natural state permeates the mind; when realizing the presence of the new birth, and opening the divine presents of faith, hope, love; when basking in the myriad promises so applicable both here and hereafter of peace beyond understanding, then a resounding “Praise the Lord” and “Amen!” will not be sufficient expressions of the soul. Moreover, those will be fulfilling expressions of enthusiasm that are genuine and acceptable to the saints, and to the One Who gave it!

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MATTHEW 5:22 DOES NOT TEACH THE POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY!


William Andrew Dillard

Apostasy simply means the losing of one’s salvation. It is the multiple-emphasized declaration of the Holy Word that salvation is everlasting. Still some have trouble with such passages as Matthew 5:22, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
It is important to establish context. Verse one of the chapter set it. It is the inaugural message of Jesus to His newly called out church. The burden of the message is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New one. As He spoke about personal relationships, this verse that is problematic to some is spoken. The idea of judgment is not a problem; the idea of the council is not a problem, but to be put in danger of hell fire for using the label “fool” to a brother is a problem that few know how to understand. The exposition of its meaning is herewith offered as true and harmonious with the non-contradictory nature of the Holy Word.
The problematic terminology is “in danger of hell fire.” A survey of original language of the scriptures shows this “hell fire” to be an English translation of the Greek word, “Gehenna.” The hell fire to which unbelievers,,the devil, and his minions will be assigned is “Hades, hell” in the Koine Greek of the New Testament. It is a place that born again people can never experience on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, “Gehenna” is the name of the city dump of Jerusalem. In it were discarded all things of no intrinsic value to be consumed by fire. 
If one can say to his brother (spiritual brother in Christ; remember the context) you are a fool; a moron for living as you do in/for Him, then it is open proof that the value system of life of the one so saying is so far afield from God and the teachings of Holy Writ that such life will be lost in the judgment fires of God when ALL His people stand before Him, 2 Cor. 5:10. The apostle Paul taught in I Cor. 3:9-16 that all the words and deeds of life would be as six categories: wood, hay stubble, gold, silver, precious stones. All will be tried in judgment fire. Of course, wood, hay, stubble are consumed. And, there are some who will be saved, yet so as by fire. They will be without reward of life lived on earth. The judgment of a fellow brother in Christ as a moron is herewith underscored as wood, hay, stubble, and not the life that will be rewarded. That in itself is a catastrophe no believer should have, but it is a far cry from apostasy.

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DEBUNKING THE CORRUPTION OF A GOOD WORD


Pastor William Andrew Dillard
In the heart of Hebrew history, there existed a ritual that is fraught with New Testament meaning. It was the practice of anointing a king or a high priest. In the ceremony, oil was literally poured upon the head of the person in symbolism of the filling, covering, empowering of that person by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the office to which he was installed.
Of course, as many things were, this was a shadow, type, picture of the One Whom God would both send and anoint to be the ultimate Prophet, High Priest and King. In the Hebrew language the word for “anoint” is “Messiah.” Therefore, the believing Jews looked for their Messiah (anointed one) to come. In the New Testament times, the primary written language was Koine Greek. The word in that language for “anointed” is “Christos” or in transliteration: “Christ.” Now the person anointed of God in the New Testament is Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. His anointing was not in oil but in the reality that oil symbolized: Holy Spirit. That occurred at Jesus baptism as He and John moved to fulfill all righteousness. 
Moreover, Jesus is the head of His body, the church. Since the Head is anointed, (Christ) it is appropriate that the body also be anointed (Christ). That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Acts 2. In that anointing, the body received energetic power and gifts to perform the commission given to it by the Head. The church exploded with true growth, but God was not preparing it for a megachurch, but for its demise through immediate proliferation in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. It was destined for an effective scattering in a few days. Therefore, those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.
A powerful church then came to exist in Antioch. Teachers such as Barnabas, Paul, and others were a part of it. It was there that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Some say this was a term spoken by locals in contempt of who these people were, and what they were doing. There simply is no proof at all of such an allegation. On the other hand, the locals knew Greek very well. They applied this term to them because they recognized that they were ministering in the name of, and in the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed (Christ).
While to the locals it may have been primarily the works of the church by which the name was applied; to the church it was the things that made them a church by which the name was rightfully applicable. That is, they were born-again people; baptized people, church-body people; dedicated people to the teaching of Jesus. They were indeed Christians (Christ-i-ans) (anointed ones). Any other application of that term today is nothing more than a corruption of it. It does not apply to all the saved today anymore than it applied to all the saved in Old Testament times. It is a term that is uniquely applied to the true members of the anointed body of Jesus: His church: anointed in Spirit and Truth: Christians, in the uncorrupted meaning of the term.

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TROUBLE


Don’t be so worried about

getting out of trouble

as about

getting into righteousness

Adrian Rogers

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GOD’S SHARECROPPER


William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

In 1939, (my birth year) Hollywood produced a box office bonanza with the all-time classic movie, GONE WITH THE WIND. It depicted a labor intensive way of life. Of course, in 1939 the nation was only about seventy years away from the Civil War, so, those times were still on the mind of older citizens (much like WWII remains on older minds today). In addition to those times, there are also many things and ways that have fallen to the chapters of history, especially with the vaunted progress of the 20th Century. I write briefly about one of those ways of life: that of the now largely extinct share-cropper.
Well over a half century ago, my pastoral ministry was initiated in the cotton and bean fields of northeast Arkansas. Most folk in the area were known as sharecroppers. Like the aforementioned movie, this, too, is a way of life largely gone with the wind.
Sharecroppers lived in someone else’s house on someone else’s land. In varying agreements, they worked the land for the land owner, and shared a percentage of the crops produced. It was not much of a way to get ahead in life, but it was a way to sustain life. Most of the houses provided were substandard, and largely without indoor plumbing. My wife and I spent one memorable winter night with a family in that environment. To stay warm, we slept under so many quilts that it was virtually impossible to turn over. However, though poor, the people were sweet, kind, and loving. They loved the Lord, and they loved my young wife and me. It was such a joy to be considered their pastor, although a neophyte in every sense of the word.
Years have come and gone, and I am, as they were: a sharecropper. But, the sharecropping presently experienced is being accomplished in an agreement with God, the true land owner. Paul taught in I Cor. 3:9, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” We plant and water, but He gives the increase. It is He who has given to us this laboring ministry of reconciliation, and He teaches us all in Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Formerly, due to weather or pestilence, crops might fail, leaving the farming sharecropper in dire straits financially. But one may be sure that sharecropping with God brings a guaranteed successful harvest to the rejoicing of everyone involved. Since all are tenants and not owners, they are sharecropping for someone. But soon the window of time for sharecropping on this terrestrial ball will also pass away. It is but for a season. Consequently, it is so very important to choose wisely with whom you partner in the sharecropping venture of life.

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THERE IS NO GOD


Jim Harris

I don’t really know why the following thoughts came into my head this morning, but I want to share them. We live in a world, in a nation (to a great degree), and in a society of fools. Now, before you call me names and accuse me of judging others, just ready what follows. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). And, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 53:1). Twice in His Word in the Psalms God has said, “If you do not believe in me, Sir, Madam, you are a fool.” You see, in our world today there are those who say that because we believe in, trust in God we are fools. But, long before the world said, “You are fools for believing in God,” God said to the unbelieving world, “You are fools for not believing in Me.” This is not the “am not, are too” arguing of children. This is the Creator of the universe speaking to His creation which has suddenly decided, “I can operate on my own. I do not need God.” So, if you wonder why the world seems out of order and full of chaos today, it is because mankind, for the most part, has decided that he can govern himself better than his Creator can.

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REVIEWING PAST ASSESSMENTS


William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

IT’S A COLLECTIVE ANIMAL WORLD

The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cattle; a Flock of chickens; a School of fish, and a Gaggle of geese. However, less widely known is a Pride of lions; a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens); an Exaltation of doves, and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls. Now consider a group of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not ……. a Congress! Is it not weird how their descriptions parallel? I guess that pretty much explains a lot of the things that come out of Washington! It seems more prominent today than it did years ago.

IT’S A FRUITCAKE WORLD

Well, as the clock struck the midnight hour, officially ending the day, it was much as other days except a few times in recent years those days were supposed to be the end of the world, the return of Jesus, etc. Of course those things did not occur, nor were there many who thought they would, but in retrospect I just need to say: so much for the fruitcakes that know more than Jesus knows (according to them). The world has not ended…..the age is not over…..the rapture has not occurred. Did I think it would? Certainly not on the day designated. Has this sort of thing happened before? Yep! Will it happen again? Yep! Why anyone would pay any attention to it at all underscores biblical ignorance. Well, at least the fruitcakes are proving themselves to be false prophets according to Deut. 18:18-22. Maybe that alone is a good thing.

IT’S AN EDUCATED-BEYOND-INTELLIGENCE WORLD

An intellectual scholar was once described in homespun wisdom as being “educated beyond his intelligence.” Of course, there is humor in the description, but beyond that, it seems there is also some sobering truth. It occasionally appears that the more a few folks are educated, the more they appear to be ignorant of what is truly important in life.
On the other hand, those hearing the words of the truly wise man, Solomon, will have their feet firmly established in true wisdom. He said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. Doubtless, the wise man had encountered a few fools in his day, but it is also obvious that he had listened well to his father, King David, who described those who deny their maker in favor of preposterous theories in these words, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” Psalm 14:1. The practicality of truth over theory shines so brightly that those who turn from it really do give cause to wonder if they have not been educated beyond their intelligence!

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SALVATION


When it comes to Salvation in Christ 
The Father thought it! The Holy Ghost brought it and the Son bought it! While I was taught it and while I sought it the devil fought it but by the grace of God I caught it!! To the Lord my God be the glory for saving me after I heard the Old Gospel Story!!! (Junior Parker)

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