THE SUBMARINE Church
Parson to Person
A minister once described his church as a submarine church. Perplexed, his listener asked what he meant. He replied with the following description. “We have submerged ourselves in our own little sea. We don’t like the trouble and misery that is so abundant all around our community and nation. So we decided to submerge ourselves to be safe from it all. So far, we are holding a record for staying submerged the longest. Once, A former pastor peered through the periscope and suggested the church should surface and engage the enemy. He was immediately tried for mutiny and dismissed. In time the air got really stale, but a committee was appointed to study it, and they concluded that that stale air was really good for you. So, the crew went through a well rehearsed routine regularly. They overhauled the kitchen, took stock of all the ammo on board although none of it was ever used. When another pastor tried to bring the vessel to surface, the entire crew got the bends, so continued submersion was necessary. The captain’s last log read, ‘submerged and continuing to practice drills. An enemy was sighted, but the entire crew demanded that there be no engagement, rather they should dive a little deeper to be in a safe zone.’ ” Today’s churches would much rather sing “Hold the Fort” than to “Storm the fort.” Sadly, the description of a submarine church is altogether to close to home for several. The Lord wants His lights to shine: to bear influence on the lives of others rather than melt into society unnoticed and be content with marginalization. So, in the words of the psalmist, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” Think about it! When is the last time you took the initiative in a one on one conversation to let that person know that you love the Lord, and that the Lord desires that everyone should believe in Him? If you have not done this in a long time, try it really soon. Even if you fumble, you will be so glad you tried, and you will do better, and be more comfortable with it, next time. Each of us who knows the Lord is a lighted candle. The question is: will we let it shine in the candlestick or put in under a bushel (submarine)? The answer is obvious! If we really do have a one on one relationship with the Savior, we will burn inside to have others know the love, peace, joy, life and hope that we have.
Tag Archives: William Andrew Dillard
THE SUBMARINE Church
LOWING CATTLE AND BLEATING SHEEP
How blessed and marvelous is a dedicated church whose members are on fire for God! Their motive and purpose is to please God, and to influence others toward Him. They understand that Christ is the head of the church, the Savior of the body, and that His Word is sweet, even so highly desired as the very bread of life. In my mind, this was the status of the early churches of Paul’s ministry. I think of Ephesus in particular having had the privilege of visiting that ancient city. Ephesus fell into decay and is no more. The zealous church that the apostle planted there is also gone, having suffered marginalization, persecution, and pressures from a godless, but religious society. It is interesting to note that only a few decades after its birth, the church received stern warning from Jesus in the words, “I have somewhat against thee…” Though commended for some spiritual assets, the charge must have been stinging to their hearts. They had busied themselves with religious activity instead of the necessary, personal, one-on-one relationship with Christ Jesus; hence, they were told “. . . thou hast left thy first love.” Rev. 2:4. Simply put, they were engaged in religion, but their motives were misdirected. Could they turn a deaf ear to the Lord? Could they continue as a church that way? The answer is “yes” but they would not be a church belonging to the Lord Jesus. They must remember from where they had fallen, repent or else they would lose their candlestick (be severed from Christ as His body). This problem did not end with the Ephesians. It goes on in wholesale manner today. All of God’s people need to re-think Samuel’s confrontation with Saul when the king declared he had done the will of God. Samuel asked, “What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” I Sam. 15:14. The prophet then replied: “. . . Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” I Sam. 15:22 Church activities may involve a lot of misdirected motives! But, God is pleased when His people return to their first love: a personal relationship with God and His Holy Word. Forget the fat cattle and sheep, and the “sacrifices” to the Lord that cost you nothing! Let the Creator’s Word reign supreme in practical obedience to its meaning!
THE COMPOUNDED EYE
As a small child in the community of Jenny Lind, Arkansas, a particular delight infrequently occurred by having a nickel to spend at one of three local stores. Clark and Bailey General Store sat on the west side of the highway traversing the community, and Presto Skinner’s store, later Griffin’s sat on the east side directly across from Clark’s. South about a block was Marion Matthews’ General Store. They were small buildings as most country stores were in the 1940s, but each of them had a large, glass, candy counter displaying all manner of delectable delights. Spending the nickel was not going to be easy because it demanded a decision to select one above all the others that must be left behind. With nose flattened against glass, the chore began. Imaginary tasting of each potential selection took a while much to the impatience of the proprietor. Finally, a choice was made, a purchase competed, and a happy kid walked out of the store with his sweet prize tickling taste buds on the walk home. What does this have to do with anything? Think with me!
Good decision making requires correct, studied information and good judgment to achieve a single eye. The prophet Elijah saw so many of his countrymen caught in the trap of the compounded eye, I Kings 18. His challenge to them was: “How long halt ye between two opinions?” They could not serve God and Baal. Their eye of life was compounded, and as Jesus taught, they were full of darkness, Matt. 6:22-23. That continues today as the religious offerings have increased exponentially together with a thousand other things vying for time and attention, offering promises that may or may not be true.
Your life is your nickel, and the world is filled with a myriad of offerings, brightly colored and touting themselves to be worthy of your interest and your years. It is the fool who spends it frivolously, but spend it each one will while often the compounded eye remains, or is narrowed in focus wrongly.. So long as one’s eye is compounded, full potential will never be achieved, and those whose eye is single, but focused on the wrong things will suffer eternal loss. Life is your nickel. Be very careful how you spend it: what you focus on as truly important. Narrowing the compounded eye to single vision with eternal hope can only be accomplished as Jesus, His person, words, and works are the focus!
BLESSED LIKE A TREE
William Andrew Dillard
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” So penned are the precious words of Psalm One in the KJV. A few notes of observation are in order. Think with me!
Here, the word “Blessed” in the ancient Hebrew language is simply to go or walk straight; hence, in extension the happiness and peace resultant from a straight or righteous walk. “He shall be like a tree….” Not just any tree, but a tree deeply rooted by rivers of living water; a tree that is continuously fruitful. What comes out from him (his work, as limbs or leaves on a tree) will not come to naught or fade away. Moreover, whatsoever he does (in the straight walk) shall prosper. What requisites does such a man have who is of this state and demeanor? The Psalmist answers: He governs his steps. He does not walk in the advice of the wicked ones, and he is not numbered among those who miss the mark of God’s intentions. Neither does he sit or abide in the dwelling place of the bad-mouthers. Conversely, this blessed man has his moments of genuine happiness in the Word of God, and in it he meditates (is engrossed in it day and night to the point of muttering to himself expressions of joy).
Surely, it was with much meditation on this very Psalm that the songwriter penned and set to music “I Shall Not Be Moved.” Observation plainly shows that life on earth can be as a shipwreck, or the devastation of a hurricane or the misery of the humanly unloved, and self abusers. On the other hand, it may be blessed as a fruitful tree planted by rivers of living water. What is the point of difference? Read the Psalm again and know that it is repentance and dedication through faith in Christ Jesus: His person, His works, and His Word. People of the Word are people of great faith!
THREE REQUISITES FOR YOUR LIFE
Ask a group of people, almost any people, to prioritize the important requisites of life, and the answers received will not be a surprise. People prize education, wealth, fame, and the human concept of immortality. It is as a noted professor of sociology in a large northern university is reported to have said to a group of male students. “Get a good education, a good job, and a good wife. Those having these requisites possess the wellspring of life.” Well, this writer does not belittle these requisites by no means. They are good, and they are important, but it is obvious that many who have an abundance of these things are most unhappy. Material things do not satisfy the spiritual need of people, and a loving mate cannot substitute for that either. Think about it!
Mankind was created by the Creator/God of heaven and earth. He was created to live in harmony with God, and he was placed on the earth to make good decision for material creation as its lord. Boy, did sin ever interfere with that!!!
With sin came condemnation and death to the delight of the Destroyer. However, there are three things he had not counted on and could not foresee. In short those are love, blood, and the Word. Thinking surely he had won the creation when he successfully caused the sin and fall of Adam and Eve, which incorporated sin into the species inherently, how Satan must have rejoiced, but it was to be short-lived.
Enter, the manifested love of God per John 3:16. God would redeem His created beings by becoming one of them and succeeding where the first Adam failed. Moreover that love would extend into longsuffering through the ages. But it was the gift of God’s love that did the trick. The Lord Jesus came into the world to die for sinners. He could do so because He alone was qualified.
Additionally, He gave the Holy Spirit to this sphere of creation to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment by which His unspeakable gift might be freely given to “whomsoever.” But that is not the end of the story. He made it possible for a remnant of the race to actually accomplish in spiritual maturity the purpose of their creation through His perfect Word.
So here it is, plain and simple: three requisites for your life. They are the Love that sought us, the Blood that bought us, and the Word that taught us to sanctification of life. The good news is that all three of them are accessed through the channel of faith. How great is God!??!
101 THINGS TO DO
On a recent trip, the two hours difference between Central and Pacific time found me up at about 5:30 as usual. The only trouble: it was only 3:30 local time. Retreating to the small lobby of the quaint Hotel in historic Groveland, CA, I saw a commercial paper on the coffee table entitled 101 THINGS TO DO IN THE YOSEMITE AREA. I read many of them with interest, but failed to notice any reference to spiritual activities. Of course, that precipitated paper and pen.
Now in the life of most Americans, one may feel as though there are 1,001 things to do. Similarly few, if any, of these may include spiritual activities. Does this not underscore a terribly skewed lifestyle? Inasmuch as one’s approximate “Threescore and ten” years on this terrestrial ball, compared to the endless ages to live beyond this brief journey, does it not make much more sense to live in continued preparation for that which is to come?
Certainly, one cannot escape many mundane demands in life, but to live as though this world were all there is to life is to play the role of a fool . . . who says in his heart, “There is no God; hence, no accountability to a higher power.” This is the ultimate folly of men reputed to be educated, and intelligent. Could it be that some are educated beyond their intelligence??
Solomon, the wisest man to walk these paths of life left no little information about what men should be pursuing in the brevity of their days. At the end of his writing in Ecclesiastes, he pungently summarized, “Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecc. 12:13.
Common observation produces evidence that most men are therein derelict in their duty, not understanding that they will live for millions of timeless years regretting it. So, 101 things to do, or 1,001 things to do, wisdom says: prioritize and see to it that personal repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is number ONE! Then living in discipleship to the Savior is to follow consistently. Whatever else is left to do is of little consequence in the scheme of things. Doubtless, you, dear reader, have many things to do. What is your priority? Remember, you and I really are on this planet for specific purposes. I am going to hear and heed the wisdom of Solomon. Here is hoping you will, too!
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Author: William Andrew Dillard
From the living pages of ages past, comes the encapsulated foundation of acceptable life among men on earth. It is called the Ten Commandments. Some would say the commandments were a part of the Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled, and no longer in force. Right, and wrong! Jesus did fulfill the Law and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross, Col. 2:14-17, but what is removed from us today is the present penalty of the Law, not the principle. Think with me!
In the initial writing of the Law, the one governing neighborly relationship is stated: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, ass, nor anything that thy neighbors. Exo. 20:16-17. Later, this was appropriately summarized as “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” First, to love God supremely, then to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is said to be the summation of all the law.
The question then arises from some who quibble over such things for self justification is: “who then is my neighbor?” This very question was posed to Jesus by a lawyer, and is recorded in Luke 10. It is here that the story of the good Samaritan is related. A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten and left half dead in the road. It is ironic that a priest passed by and refused to help. Also a Levite, those who produced the priests, also observed and passed by without helping. It was the lowly Samaritan who took care of the unfortunate traveler, and paid for his medical care. When Jesus posed the question, which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves, the answer was obvious and so stated: he who showed mercy on him. Jesus’ pointed reply was that they, and us, should go and do likewise.
The position God’s people occupy on this planet is that of an ambassador. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. Representatives of heaven on earth who are reconciled to God see others in need as their neighbor, and they respond accordingly. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It may not be one’s opportunity to help another who has fallen among thieves, but there are so many other areas of life that manifest a need for help. Chief among those is the obvious need to share the gospel, the great love of the Creator/Redeemer with those who have been wounded by sin. There is no shortage of them. Do you love your neighbor?
By: William Andrew Dillard
As a small child, I cherished our family radio. It was a battery-powered unit with a copper wire antenna strung from one gable of the roof to the other. There were so many mesmerizing stories with excellent sound effects fueling a rich imagination. To speak of the vast programming would take more than one article, but even in those days “Dragnet” was popular, and I do believe Jack Webb was the radio voice of it then as well as later on T.V.
How well I recall one particular episode wherein a man committed robbery, and upon questioning he allowed the cause was his extreme financial need, noting that he only had $300.00 in the bank. That sounded like millions to me, and I was astounded. I turned to dad and asked him if we had $300.00 in the bank. He replied, as I knew he would, that we did not. Moreover he stated that we did not have a bank account of any sort. So, my question was: since we were doing so well with no money (actually we were quite poor, but so were our neighbors, so it did not bother us) why would a man with $300.00 in the bank commit a robbery?
Dad said there were many reasons for such, and all of them were bad. This man on Dragnet had what we thought was a tidy sum, but in his estimation, he was obviously poorer than we were. Of course, in those days heads of household often worked for $25.00 per week.
Dad taught me that the truly rich people were not those with large amounts of money, but those who knew the Lord, worked honestly for their wages, and lived in a house of love. He was so right! My uneducated, but wise in the Lord, and in life, father taught me a lot of solid principles and lasting truths that have not only benefited the pathway of my years; they continue to do so today. Chief among those things is to put God first, and He will provide the essentials of life for me and mine. Folks, that has never failed me. I would not turn my back on my Savior, His Word, or the hope He has given me for all the gold in every nation on earth. It, and all the kindred material things will pass away, but the Word of God abideth forever. I choose it not in acquiescence but in continued search, because that is the kind of Christian I am, and I am rich beyond the wildest of imaginations!
IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT ME!
Author – William Andrew Dillard
The Kind of Christian I Am!
Some folks believe that trusting Jesus, and becoming His disciple is surrendering life and its potential to a static life of religion. Oh, how the devil delights in spreading that lie! The truth is that in Christ, nothing is lost but the condemnation of sin, and the new life in Him is continuous gain upon gain. Joyfully, in Christ, life is still all about me, but in a much better way! Think with me about this.
Why did God leave heaven and become a man? It was to fulfill the types and promises of the Old Testament, and to pay the penalty of sins on behalf of mankind. He did this for me! You see, it really is all about me!
Why did He provide an everlasting salvation for all who repent of sins and trust Him as the personal Savior, especially me? Oh, yes, it is all about me!
Why did He create the living organism known as His body, the church? He did it that I might learn of Him, grow in grace and knowledge. Yes, it is all about me!
Did He not promise His dear children new life, and a new, incorruptible body, even me? Oh, yes! It is about me!
Does He not give us the opportunity to mature in the faith once delivered to the saints? Will that not qualify us to rule and reign with Him in the age that is about to happen? Does this include me? Indeed! It is all about me!
He will show me how an entire universe may be destroyed and return to the unseen state? I will see how creation is done. Because once resurrected I will ever be with the Lord, I will have a bird’s eye view of the creation of new heavens and a new earth! Hallelujah, it is all about me!
Who then will get to live in the New Jerusalem on the new earth, but his disciples of every age? That includes me! It is indeed all about me! Who then has the joy of studying, praying, coalescing the rightly divided Word that takes one from mountaintop to mountaintop? Among others, it is I! Thank the Lord it really is about me!
Dear reader this is for you, too, because of God’s love. I claim all these blessings for myself within the constraints of the Blessed Word of God because that is the kind of Christian I am!