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BACKSLIDING


Proverbs 14:14; Matthew 24:12; Hebrews 10:38

How wonderful it would be if we could say as the Psalmist said 44:18 – “Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;”.Sadly, there are few that can make that claim. Drawing away from God for different reasons happens to most saved people. It could be the influence of a spouse, a friend or the lure and lust for the things of the world. Even when faithful in church services, there are time we are closer to God than at other times. According to Proverbs 14:14, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. There are times the struggle within us is so real. The carnal striving with the spirit bringing indecision and division. It can happen in different areas of life. Financial, physical and mental division. We can be filled with our own ways, become narcissistic in the things we do. An attitude that my way is better than God’s way. The whole of life becomes about us instead of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Matthew really clues us in by saying in Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Do we see this today? Sure we do. If we would be honest we would admit that the flesh rules upon occasions. We have a denomination that split over the homosexual issue. Understand, I believe that denomination does not hold the true, but in morals they used to be very close to the Bible. Yet, some that should know better just blew them off as not having the truth to begin. So when do we worry about those that call themselves Christians? When they those false denominations are normalizing homosexual relations and even having two men that claim to be married, or two women that claim to be married “pastoring” churches so called? That is happening. Now I am going to hit some of you right between the eyes now. Are we backsliding when a sport has such a hold on us that we will support the halftime show of sex and crotch grabbing by watching the game? I know, some of you said we did not watch the halftime show. You spread all over face book, to children and teens that you supported the super bowl by watching it and thereby supporting the halftime show whether you watched it or not. How many children saw it and were influenced by it? I have read a few articles that were not written by preachers or even Christians. These lost carnal men are decrying the moral degradation of such a display in a public venue. Their claim is that it significantly displays how degraded people have become in their attempt to okay this sensual conduct. One wonders how far it will go before Christians will rise up in disgust withdraw their support from such wickedness.

The writer of Hebrews says in 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: . . “ Is your faith rooted in Jesus Christ. If it is, have you withdrawn yourself from the things of the world? Are these worldly things so important that they have a hold on you so that you can draw back from the Lord on a temporary basis and excuse it by claims that you did not see the smut. You do realize that you were counted in the millions that watched it and those that broadcast paid the super bowl based upon the head count. Therefore, you financially supported the halftime show. Is that drawing back from the Lord? The author of Hebrews is very clear here in 10:38 “. . . but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

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IMAGES AND SUPERSCRIPTIONS OF THE ALMIGHTY


William Andrew Dillard

That mankind is made in the image and likeness of his Creator: body, mind, and spirit, has been a major preachment in ministry, both of myself, and of others who were studied, Bible preachers. It was therefore a special joy to me to hear Brother Don McCutcheon deliver a strong message on this point from Matthew 22:15-21. How many times have I read the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, and simply passed on with a visualization of what is right to offer to God from our material blessings. Of course, it is right to do that, but so much more is brought home here, and I feel certain the Pharisees and Herodians got the point.
There, on the coin, the tempters presented to Jesus in their attempt to entangle Him in his talk, was exactly what one might expect: a line-drawing likeness of Caesar with letters above identifying him as the emperor and authority of the Roman empire. The question posed was, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, or not?” In addition to calling them what they were (nothing wrong with that), Jesus asked for a piece of the tribute they were talking about. When a coin was produced, Jesus simply asked whose image and superscription was upon it. When Caesar was so identified, the answer was brilliant and obvious: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s: and unto God the things that are God’s.”
But are not all things God’s? “All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made,” John 1:3 tells us. But this was a pitting of material things vs spiritual things, and the answer of Jesus turned it back on the hypocrites. The producer of the coin was Caesar, and the Roman Empire as attested by the image and superscription. So render such to him. Then what is to be rendered to God? The same thing! That is, render to God the bearer of His image and superscription which is yourself: the crowning act of creation as noted in Genesis 1:26-27: mankind! To be in the image of God necessitates a trinity: mind, body, and spirit. This is what Paul affirmed in I Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every person is to give himself to God! Friends, when that is done, there will be no dilemma or argumentation of what else should be given to God.
Think about it! You are the image and superscription of God! Then, render unto God the things that are God’s!

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.—-
But what I can, I give Him,
Give my heart.”
Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894

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WHAT DID THIS HOST OF NAMED FOLKS DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard
It gives one pause to think that some of the grandest deeds mentioned in the Bible do not carry with them proper names of those who did them. On the other hand, a number of proper names are given without much if any detail of what they did except in a general way. Could it possibly be that such is another way of underscoring that any worthwhile thing done in the sight of God is actually attributable to God rather than the human instrument? Could it also be that the mention of many proper names without detail of what they did is another way of the Bible underscoring the importance of the individual being dedicated to God, and to the things of God so that they forever share in the blessings of dedicated discipleship?
Truly, one cannot be held responsible for living in a day of smaller things. But every person in every age is accountable to God for how he is faithful in that to which he has access.
It is in this line of thought that the following host of proper names are brought forth for consideration.
Gaius, Erastus, Quartus, Tertius, Sosipater, Jason, Lucius, Timotheus, Olympas, Nereus, Julia, Philologus, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, Phlegon, Asyncritus, Rufus, Persis, Tryphosa, Tryphena, Harcissus, Herodion, Aristobulus, Apelles, Stachys, Urbane, Amplias, Junia, Andronicus, Mary, Epaenetus, Aquila, Priscilla, and Phebe.
Aside from being somewhat difficult to pronounce, most of them are also foreign to a great many Bible readers. But there they are, penned into the eternal Word of God. They are noted specifically as being helpers or blessings in other forms to the apostle Paul. This may be found in Romans 16. Moreover, the brief paragraph of names is far from inclusive of all whose names may be found in the divine sixty-six books.
However, that these are there shouts loudly to all of God’s people of covenant down through the age of names that are not known to us, but names that are well known to God. The role of their kind has swollen the magnificent books of life, and nothing could be more humbly rewarding than that names of modern saints should continue to swell those pages.
To believe what God has said, and to walk within the constraints of that belief is of far greater value than most people realize. The host of folks that ran through the mind of the apostle Paul as he neared the finish line of his course brought him thankfulness and joy. They blessed the apostle, and they were a blessing to one another in the sweet fellowship of God’s work, and folks, that is so right!

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A Good Name


Pro 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. KJB

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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.

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The Lord’s Church


A Bible-reading church is an informed church.

An informed church is an interested church.

An interested church is an acting church.

An acting church is a serving church.

A serving church is the Lord’s church.

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DEFINITELY DIRT ROAD — AND DETERMINED TO STAY THAT WAY!


By Jim Harris

Several years ago I read a sermon by a Missionary Baptist preacher, entitled, “A Dirt Road Church In An Interstate Society.” It was delivered at a pastors’ and laymens’ meeting and reprinted in “The Baptist Monitor”, the newspaper published by the Texas

Baptist Institute in Henderson. The article was not what I expected, based on the title. (Of course, I realize that I think differently than most folks.) I expected the article to extol the virtues of being a “dirt road” church in a society that is taking the fast road away from God. Instead, it was critical of the “dirt road” mentality, even suggesting that because

the “mind-set” of our society has changed, we must change our thinking and methods in order to reach people in the twenty-first century.

Well, I am not ready to change! I believe there is a great deal of value in being a “dirt road” church in today’s four lane, superhighway society. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait, gate: for wide is the gate., and broad is the way., that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” As I understand this verse, Jesus was not speaking of salvation, but service. (After all, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered to Christ’s disciples, saved ones.) According the article, a “dirt road” church is one that says things like, “Well, listen, we’ve got the truth, and we’re gonna offer it to ’em. If

they want it, they can come get it,” “We’ll stand on the Bible plan,” and “Well, we don’t want to use the world’s method for growing a church.” (He then suggests that the world is not interested in growing a church. Yes and no. The world is not interested in growing a true, Biblically sound New Testament church, but I believe Satan and the world want

something, some form of “religion” that will ease the mind of mankind concerning his spiritual condition.) The article suggests that because the world is saying, “We like a little variety,” or “That’s the time that I’d rather be leaving out of town to see my grandmother,” that the Lord’s churches must change their method of doing things in order to accomodate its whims.

If I understand the Bible, the worship service is primarily for church members, who have a Scriptural obligation before God to be present — Matt. 16:19; Heb. 10:22-29. The early churches often met secretly and were wary of “strangers” in their midst because of persecution. However, they did not fail to witness. Because we have the freedom to meet publicly and announce the times and place of our meeting, we seem to have relegated most, if

not all, of our witnessing to the worship service. God has a plan for that witnessing., and Jesus gave it in Matthew 28:19 when He said, “Go” (or, “in your going”), and He expects every one of us to witness at every opportunity, bringing those that are saved into a true, New Testament church where they can be taught the “dirt road” doctrines of the Bible.

If our worship service is nothing more than a performance to please the world and worldly, we will fail God. It is not big buildings, gymnasiums, orchestras, and sophisticated

programs that will bring people to salvation, but the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Neither will the things named above cause our witness to be more acceptable. Only the pure

and godly lives which reveal our hope of coming glory can do that (I Peter 3:15). Call me old

fashioned, but while the rest of religion is on the interstate heading away from God, I’ll be content to be “dirt road” in relation to the Master, the message, the mission, the method, the mind-set, and the ministry!

Landmark Forum — 7/4/11

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Have I Done My Best for Jesus?


The following is adapted from Alfred Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Stories and other sourcesThe account by Smith said Ed Spencer was an Olympic gold medal winner, but this was not possible since the modern Olympic games did not begin until 1896.

__________


Edward Spencer was a student at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois, on Lake Michigan.

On the morning of September 8, 1860, Ed heard the news that the Lady Elgin, an overloaded steamship, had collided with the lumber-hauling schooner Augusta, and had sunk. People were drowning, and nothing could be done because of the heavy waves and strong currents. 

Ed ran to the shores of the lake and saw that the situation was indeed serious. People were floating on pieces of wreckage in the waters, close enough to shore for their cries of help to be heard, but unable to swim to safety. 

Without hesitation, Ed stripped himself of excess clothing and dove into the rolling waves. He was able to reach the first person, a woman who had clung to a piece of wreckage for hours and was totally exhausted, and bring her to shore. He later said, “Then the struggle began, the huge breakers forcing us towards the shore, keeping us buried much of the time, and the strong undertow tending to carry us back out into the lake. It was a struggle indeed, and I was gaining but little when two tall, stout biblical students, to whom I had signaled, came to our relief” (cited from Josiah Currey, Chicago: Its History and Its Builders).

He repeated this heroic act several more times before onlookers and friends began to say, “Ed, you’ve got to stop. You’ve done all you can. You’ll kill yourself if you keep going!” Ed did not hesitate. He replied, “I’ve got to do my best,” and plunged again into the water. On one trip he was hit in the head and injured by a piece of wreckage.

Ed rescued 17 people in 16 trips in that pitching, rolling storm. After the 16th trip he collapsed unconscious on the shore, unable to go on. He lay there repeating, “Have I done my best fellows? Have I done my best?” All night he battled for his life in the infirmary, continually repeating, “Have I done my best fellows? Have I done my best?”

Ed Spencer had done his best, but it cost him his health. He lived the rest of his life as a semi-invalid due to injuries sustained during the rescue. It was in Phoenix, Arizona, in a humble cottage, that Ensign Edwin Young found him. Mr. Young, Dean of the School of Music at Hardin-Simmons University, had heard his story and heard that he could be found in Arizona. He found a man no longer a robust athlete, but a shadow of the strong man he once was.

During the course of their visit, Mr. Young commended him for his heroic action and asked how he had been recognized during his life by the people who’s lives he had saved that day. With tears streaming down the invalid’s cheeks, he replied, “Not one ever came back to even say thank you.”
It was the retelling of this story that led Ensign Edwin Young to write, “Have I Done My Best for Jesus?”

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

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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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THE BIBLE


Preach the whole Bible.

The Bible is not full of holes.

Adrian Rogers

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