Tag Archives: God

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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SIN AND RIGHTEOUSNESS SIMPLIFIED


 

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

It is true that some folk have the mindset of concrete: thoroughly mixed up and profusely set. They would argue with the proverbial signpost, but they cannot argue with God, neither may they box with Him because their arm is too short! So, it is not the burden of men to convince one another that they are sinners. The Holy Spirit witnesses that in every heart. But the idea of sin may be better understood in the simplistic terms of “Use” and “Misuse.” Think about it!
Get it straight, and never forget it! God is righteous, but men are not. If men are not righteous; they are sinners, big time! Some jovial chap will roar that all sin is sin, and there is no difference! Others will say that there is no difference to God. I find it amusing that so many seem to know the mind of God in these matters without a specific scripture reference. Stay with me for a moment.
If all sin is the same, why are there at least three categories of it: transgression, iniquity, and sin? Psalm 32:5. If all sin is the same, why were some sins worthy of death, and others could be atoned for? If all sin is the same why did Jesus say the Pharisees would receive the greater condemnation? Certainly, one sin of any sort severs one from God as Adam and Eve sinned in Eden. But, beyond that the saints have to deal with their sinful nature every day of their life, and there is a wide array of sins. So leaving “Iniquity” and “Transgression” for another time, let us focus on the term “Sin.”
“Sin” means “to miss the mark!” To miss the mark of anything assumes the mark was intended to be hit, but missed. Thus, sin is the misuse of every possible thing in life.
Think about the common sins of men. “Greed” is the misuse of things material or immaterial acquired in access, and restricted to the individual, when enough of those things are already made available for one to serve and honor God day by day. It is use vs misuse. Alcohol and drugs were made by the same God who created everything else. They have a purpose: medicinal, not recreational. It is a simple matter of use vs misuse. Sexual activity was created to insure the survival of the species, thus placed within honorable perimeters. Outside of those perimeters it is misuse; hence, sin. Language may be loving or vile; a matter of use vs misuse. Human Relationships may be gentle, kind and loving or abusive, harsh, and mean. It is a matter of emotional use vs misuse. In the wide spectrum of all things, the apostle Paul boldly declared, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” I Cor. 10:23. In short, all things God created have purpose and rightful use, but the practices of men have established misuse; it does not edify. Simply put, it is sin!

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SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE


SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A childhood memory is that of the simple joy of reading comic books, and one in particular: Donald Duck. It seems Donald had a rich uncle who was also very stingy. He had accumulated so much money that it filled a swimming pool. This uncle (scrooge by name) loved to dive off the diving board into the pool of money and wallow in it, throwing it into the air and immersing himself in the sheer glee of it all.
This little story is at best crude, but it does have a way of illustrating the marvelous, fathomless grace of God toward his creation, and specifically mankind.
The word “grace” is commonly defined as “Unmerited favor.” It is first employed in the Bible in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The law of first mention is that a word finds its clearest meaning in the context of its initial usage. Here and throughout the Bible, it is clear that great favor of a totally unmerited nature is bestowed upon mankind. It is favor that builds upon itself as it finds welcome acceptance in its beneficiaries.
Certainly, Noah did not merit the favor of God, but this favor (grace) was bestowed upon him by which he escaped the global flood, and repopulated the earth.
The multiple instances of grace being bestowed on various saints of old would require a sizeable book, but suffice it here to fast forward to the New Testament where the word and its meaning takes on expanded appreciation, though remaining far from our comprehensive understanding. As the apostle John presented the Word in the first chapter of his gospel, he spoke of this abundant grace. Moreover, he recorded the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1: 16-17.
In an attempt to better understand the idea of the phrase “grace for grace,” most scholars say this means grace piled on top of grace. Another likens it to the continuous supply of manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness wanderings. By grace it was there this morning, and by grace will be there the next day to replace what was used. But in the writings of John, it is contrasted with law which came by Moses. Thus, it is conveying the unmerited favor of the New Covenant: the church, the faith once delivered to the saints in contrast to the law and its penalties of the Old Testament. It is favor beyond that of spiritual salvation to that of comprehension to the point of spiritual maturity. It is unmerited favor piled upon unmerited favor. To a submissive people to Him, it is as David of old said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19. What a spiritual pool of grace we have in Christ Jesus! Enjoy the swim!

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EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!


EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Ask any person who has been an active member of a Baptist Church for any extended period of time to define the Great Commission. He/she will tell you right away that it is the marching orders of the New Testament Church to preach the gospel in all the world: to make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them the commandments of Christ Jesus, citing Matthew 28:18-20 as a proof text. That answer, accepted as correct by most all Baptists, and a lot of non-Baptists, too, begs amplification.
First, consideration must be given to the realities of the religious scene of these latter days. Modern times are filled with religion whose worth is based not on origin, doctrine, and dedication to the Bible, but on numbers of participants, and dollars in the church coffers. It is a criteria of worth spelling disaster. The ingredients so necessary to bring both to a state evoking carnal swooning, succeeds in producing a religious country club out of what once was a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its purpose is shifted mainly to providing an exclusive comfort zone for its members; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
One of the ways this comes about is in redefining biblical terms to fit a more modern, humanistic mindset. Take the terms “evangelism,” and “disciples” as examples.
“Evangelism,” is a Greek word transliterated into English. It literally translates to “Good News” in English. It is the word that gives us “gospel” which is a term that has evolved in English from “Good news,” or “Good story.”
The term “Disciple” comes from the Old English and Old French languages, and it designates a learner. The term in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek work “Mathetes,” designating one who is increasing in knowledge, being informed; to learn by use and practice. (common Greek lexicons).
It should be obvious by now that the burden of this article is to underscore a vast difference in the term “Disciple” as in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, et, al. to the way it is commonly employed in modern religion.
The terms “Evangelism,” and “Soul-winning,” are accepted as the home run of disciple making rather than first base.
To be sure, one may be born from above in a moment of time, being bathed in repentance from sin, and faith in Christ Jesus, but that alone does not a disciple make, even though being a disciple of Jesus is predicated upon it.
It takes time, patience, and a lot of good, sound teaching to make a disciple. Such are the ones who continue in the Word, and will perpetuate to the next generation the faith once delivered to the saints.
Blessed indeed is the church that is heavily involved in making eternal disciples rather than in erecting temples that decay.

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THE COMMON DENOMINATOR PAINTS THE PICTURE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR PAINTS THE PICTURE

Some of the most beautiful word pictures fraught with deep meaning are found in the common denominator of term usage. Are you ready to think with me a minute for a blessing?
Please consider that the spokes of a wheel are essential to its existence and usefulness. Also, the fillets of a building are essential to its standing and usefulness. Similarly, the desire (attachment) of one’s heart as in a man for a woman as a potential mate is what makes marriage happen, and work. Truly, the love that one cultivates for a person, place or thing is what gives that person, place, or thing prominence and importance in the heart and mind.
Okay, okay, I am a little impatient. Where are you going with this? Well, hang on!
The spokes of a wheel are mentioned in I Kings 7:33. The ancient Hebrew word designating “spokes” is “Chashaq.”
Furthermore, the fillets of a building, especially a portable building such as the Old Testament Tabernacle, are referred to by the word, “Chashaq.”
Moreover, the strong desire for a life mate is expressed by the same word, “Chashaq.”
Then, there is that strongest of bindings referred to as “love,” and it is also referenced as “Chashaq.”
I know, I know, you are getting the picture, but it isn’t finished just yet. So, the climax of the picture drives home a reality that lives on shouting ground. It is Isaiah 38:17, “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Folks, the phrase “love to my soul,” is a translation of the Hebrew term “Chashaq.”
How important are spokes to a wheel; fillets to a building; desire to a life-mate? None of these work without them. That is just what exists in the love of God to the soul of a believer, and how important it is. An attachment has been made. God has reached out and united Himself with the soul of every believer in Christ Jesus, and one may be sure He will never let go, nor His arm be broken.
No wonder then that Jesus declared that the Father had given His people to Him, and no man could pluck them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:29. In Paul’s words, “. . . neither death, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God ,which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
Governmental officials have their secret service agents; Brinks has armored trucks, cities have police, but there is no security in all the universe close to equaling that of the believer in Christ Jesus, whom He has attached to Himself!

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April 27 – Sacrifice of Fools


April 27 – Sacrifice of Fools

Ecclesiastes 5:1  Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 

Keep thy foot while going to worship God. This is the thought of Moses and Holy ground. This is the idea of reverence and respect for the idea of meeting God here. Fruitful and acceptable worship is what is under consideration here. Would this mean that God does not accept any way we desire to worship God? Absolutely, a serious study of worship in the Old Testament and the New Testament is needed to find God’s way of worship. To keep your foot means to be careful of your conduct when coming into the presence of God. A place of worship is a sanctified place because of the presence of God. If we were meeting outside under a tree, the very presence of God demands a reverence because His presence sanctifies that ground just as much as the ground at the burning bush.

Hear the word. Be ready to draw near with great desire to hear and obey the call of the Lord in salvation, surrender, and service. The Word is precious indeed and much needed today. The inward devotion of the spirit will direct our outward worship in a manner that is approved and loved by God. The Word should convict us as to the worship that is acceptable, not based upon our desire but based upon what the Word has revealed to us about the character of God and the desire of God for a proper and acceptable worship.

The sacrifice of fools would be a sacrifice that is unacceptable to God. The sacrifices of the Old Testament were not to be sick, lame or blind. What are we offering that comes under the heading of “the sacrifice of fools? Some offer out of ignorance, others out of convenience, and yet others offer out of emotion. Knowledge of God’s Word should guide our sacrifice of worship to God.

A reverent sincerity is always appropriate. Obedience is always acceptable.

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April 26 – Lack of Knowledge


April 26 – Lack of Knowledge

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 

The great tragedy today is a Lack of knowledge. We have simplified our knowledge of the Bible to a few simple slogans that express a small amount of knowledge about the Bible, God, Christ and the life we are to lead. We have not only dumbed down the secular education today but have also dumbed down Christian education. We have reduced the knowledge and discussion to a few favorite slogans leaving out the teachings that do not appeal to the masses. We are not teaching about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are not teaching the truths of the Church and what a Church is and the Churches responsibilities as the administrator of the kingdom of God.

This Biblical Knowledge has been rejected because it would convict. It has not only been rejected but also has been ridiculed as something that is not applicable to today’s lifestyle. This is a term that simply says, “I do not want to live a separated life from the world.” “I want to claim to be a Christian and yet do worldly things and have worldly attitudes.” There is a rejection today of a separated life that stands out and is outstanding.

God said, “I will also reject thee.” This was written to Israel, yet is just as applicable today as it was in Hosea’s day. The claim is that Israel has forgotten the law of God. That is true today also. We are not under the law of Moses but we are under God’s law of “study to show thy self approved.” We are under the law of “love thy neighbor as thyself.” We are under the law of “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.” We are under the law of “put off concerning the former conversation the old man.” We have the law of holiness, “so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”

Here is a warning for this day as it was in the days of Israel. I will forget thy children. Certainly, we see that warning coming to fruition today. We are losing our children to the world. When the world is brought into the Church, we lose the children to the world. Church truths are no longer taught to our children. They are certainly involved in activities yet the shallowing teaching of the Word of God enables them to embrace some of the sinful practices of the word. Then they stray. What a mess we have created, trying to entertain to create interest instead of driving the teaching home for conviction.

May we get back to teaching the Word.

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April 25 – Men at Peace


April 25 – Men at Peace

Obadiah 1:7  All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. 

Obadiah writes to Edom and they are descendants of Esau the brother of Jacob. Obadiah has a severe warning to the “wise men of the east,” Edom. Destruction is coming. This destruction will be by those that claim to be friends, like-minded, with the same goals. They have come as men of peace, proclaiming love and a common desire. They have formed a confederacy and shared meals together. Then we find the wound that has been planned by beguiling Edom. This will bring about the destruction of Edom.

Yet there is a similarity to this very situation today. Churches holding the truth of God’s Word have a desire to fellowship together. These churches form a union with other Churches proclaiming they believe the same core doctrines and set down to break bread together. They proclaim love and are at peace with the truths proclaimed by each other. They hold hands while some that have proclaimed to be like-minded are setting a snare and a trap. Some that know of the infiltration are afraid to say anything because of retaliation. Others know but stray to follow for acceptance sake. This is a progressive festering of a wound that has been by subterfuge and God’s work and Word has been undermined.

This brought about the destruction of Edom. What about the true Churches? How much destruction will God’s Churches experience before they stand up to the enemy among us?

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April 24 – The Whole Counsel of God.


April 24 – The Whole Counsel of God.

Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 

28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 

29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 

30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 

We are faced with those that would alter or change the Word of God. There are those that take away from the Word and those that add to the Word. The idea of the term to “take heed” is to pay attention to what some have to say. We are to compare what they say, not to man’s reasoning or logic, but to what the Bible has to say.

Each minister has been given a charge to feed the Church of God. I have had the occasion to call a Church that was without a pastor and has asked them, “can you describe the Church that Jesus built?” The answer, “we don’t know what you are talking about.” This is a sad situation to be confronted with. Notice the term that He uses in reference to the Church, “he hath purchased with His own blood.” I believe that the whole counsel of God is important to our Lord. We should be teaching the people.

Grievous wolves will enter. We see that happening today. I compare them to leaches. They are trying to thrive from the work of others. Men that go astray from the truth or leave out or add to the Word and mislead the people of God. Men that set themselves in a place of trust to usurp the teachings of past faithful men that labored and sacrificed on behalf of that Church.

These are men from our midst that have gone astray after a Jezebel and destroy the work that God called faithful men have built. They come in the guise of greater knowledge and a better understanding or later findings. These are the coverings they use to take away the Lord’s Church from the paths of truth. They belittle the work of those that have gone before and built the work that they now pastor.

Preach the whole counsel of God.

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April 23 – The Sureness of God’s Word


April 23 The Sureness of God’s Word

Isaiah 55:10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Another incomparable comparison that is made in God’s Word. This comparison is about God’s Word. The hydrological cycle always supplies the earth with water. This is God’s plan for the growth of plants. Notice the reference to seed to the sower. At this present time, many are preparing and planting gardens. Seed is needed to drop in furrows and then the prayer for rain goes up. This rain will cause the seed to bud and grow and produce a harvest because someone has invested in sowing seed.

God gives us many examples in the New Testament of sowing seed. This is our example to sow the seed of the Word. This is a continuous process because the field is always white unto harvest. We must be faithful even when we are discouraged. The emphasis is on God’s Word. It is not our words or our wisdom. God has promised that His Word will not return void. God will take the seed we deposit and send the rain from the Holy Spirit and cause the seed to grow in the heart. God said His Word would not return empty or void. God’s Word will always accomplish the work God intends for it.

He is simply waiting for us to sow the Word to all we meet and then allow Him to work within the hearts where the seed has been sown. Are we sowing the seed?

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