Philosophy of Truth?

Do Consequences Determine Truth?

God warned Christians, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).  There’s a reason we have this warning.  One of the most effective devices Satan has ever used to deceive mankind are false doctrines and philosophies (Matt. 7:15-20), particularly the false concept floating around these days that truth is determined by its results.

What philosophy do you follow to find truth?

What philosophy do you follow to find truth?

Many believe that truth is defined by whatever works, whatever is good or expedient.  They say a statement is true or false depending on its results.  This has led to the popularity of “political correctness,” a philosophy which seems to promote “tolerance” for everything except Christian commandments and principles.  Therefore, “tolerance” demands that we support abortion and same-sex marriage, and that we must not disagree with any religious faiths (even the ones which go against biblical teaching).  This is different from the notion of earlier generations that tolerance permits each of us the right to believe or disbelieve according to our own conscience.  No, modern “tolerance” demands acceptance of all truths, beliefs, and values…no matter how spiritually or morally bankrupt they are…as being equally valid.

What it all boils down to is this:  What works for you?  That is the key.  If you “need” to have your unborn child burned alive by a saline solution while still in your womb, if euthanasia would make your life easier, or if homosexuality works for you…then those are the right things to do.  “What works” is the governing principle.

Believe it or not, this philosophy has existed from the beginning of time.  Cain and Abel both brought an offering to God (Gen. 4:3-5), but Abel’s sacrifice was offered “by faith” (Heb. 11:4).  Since faith comes from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17), God must have had specifically told them what kind of sacrifice he wanted.  Abel honored what God had said, while Cain didn’t.  The “if it works for me” mindset would have demanded acceptance for Cain’s sacrifice, because what worked for Cain would be all that matters…but God didn’t see it that way.

Nadab and Abihu made a similar error (Lev. 10:1-3).  These two priests decided to off “strange” or “unauthorized”fire in their sacrifices, fire which God had not commanded.  God burned them alive as a result…but they were only doing what worked for them, right?  Apparently that wasn’t enough for God.

Here’s the thing.  “What works” does not determine doctrinal or moral truth.  What determines truth in these areas is and always has been God’s Word!  Read Psalm 19:7-11.  What is the law of the Lord?  Perfect.  What are the judgments of the Lord?  True and right.  What happens when we keep them?  Great reward.  What “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”?  God’s Word (Ps. 119:105), not the philosophy of “the ends justifying the means.”

The time has come to embrace the philosophy of “Thus says the Lord!”  The time has come to get back to the mindset of not going beyond what is written in the Scriptures (1 Cor. 4:6)!

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The word “glorious” is used in the King James Version of the Bible thirteen times.  It can mean “dignity, honorable, to render esteem, magnify, splendid or gorgeous.”  Of course, the context of a passage will determine its meaning.  Let’s examine some things in the word of God that are described as being “glorious.”

What is Glorious?

What is Glorious?

The Gospel is Called Glorious
Paul stated, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4)  The Gospel is considered glorious by Paul because it is the means by which those who are blinded by sin and wickedness of the world are able to see and find their way out from blindness.  Thus, the glorious gospel of Christ shines to lead sinners from their sins.

Now, since the gospel is glorious, it should be the message presented or preached to mankind.  Unfortunately in many religious circles, including within some churches of Christ, the gospel is not preached.  Therefore, when the gospel is not preached, sinners are unable to find their way out of the grips of sin.  It is each Christians responsibility to ensure that at our place of worship, that the glorious gospel is being preached because” it is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).

The Church Is Called Glorious
Paul, writing to the Ephesians concerning the church penned, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27)  The church is described as being splendid, full of glory, noble, and honorable.  Since this is the case, how do we treat Christ’s glorious church?  Now, the Lord’s church is not the building, yet the members of the body make up this glorious church.

Therefore, do we treat this glorious institution with the honor and respect she deserves?  Do we love the church and if the answer to this is yes, can it be proven by our actions only?  Likewise, do we call Christ’s church boring because we may have heard some of the same messages from as a child?  Do we say that the church is dead and uninteresting and this is the reason why we do not attend every service and every opportunity that the church presents to us?  Notice that Paul called the church, glorious! Don’t you think that it is about time we begin acting and living like we are a part of that glorious body?!

The Appearing of Jesus is Called Glorious
Again, Paul stated, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Tit. 2:13).  For many, the coming of the Lord will be a day of disaster.  And for those who are not prepared to meet the Lord will not look upon his coming as being glorious.  However, those who are living the Christian life on a daily basis and remaining faithful can look forward to the coming of Jesus.  Imagine what a glorious time it will be!

Many times we do not think of the gospel, the church, and the appearing of Jesus as being glorious.  Let us begin to hold these two entities and this single event in high regard.  The way we live our lives will show others and determine if we believe the gospel, the church and that the appearing of Jesus are glorious.  If our beloved brother Paul described this trio as being glorious, we should also do our best as members of the church to treat them with the respect, honor and reverence they deserve.  If not, then how would you treat something that is so glorious?

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To The House of Israel

A Word To The House of Israel

Israel was rebellious and would not hear.

Israel was rebellious and would not hear.

And God said unto Ezekiel “Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:4,5). And God said unto Jeremiah “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:7). And God said moreover to Jeremiah “Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD…” (Jeremiah 2:2). And God said through Isaiah, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (Isaiah 1:2). And God said through Jeremiah “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD” (Jeremiah 22:29). And God said to Ezekiel “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD” (Ezekiel 13:2).

And God said concerning his word to the Israelites through Isaiah “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isaiah 28:12). So, God said through Jeremiah that he would send destruction upon the Israelites “Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:19). And God, through Ezekiel, tells us why he would do such a thing. “Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 12:2).

And God explains more about this rebellious people, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD” (Isaiah 30:9). God said, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2). God further says, “But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone” (Jeremiah 5:23). And God says to Ezekiel “Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day” (Ezekiel 2:3).

Brethren, we are spiritual Israel (Romans 9:6-13; Galatians 6:16). Is it a wonder that the Holy Spirit through Paul would charge Timothy and all other gospel preachers until the end to “Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4). Brethren, that time has come. “Preach the word.”

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Religion a Taboo?

Should Religion Be a Conversation Taboo?

We’ve all heard the proverbial wisdom, “There are two things you should never discuss:  politics and religion.”  Admittedly, the reason this advice is often because these two topics tend to cause heated arguments, as more than likely the participants strongly hold to their individual beliefs and choose to defend them passionately, usually at the expense of an open mind and polite discourse.  That’s why most people today tend to avoid religious debate and discussion with as much zeal as they avoid telemarketers and pneumonia.

Do you avoid discussion about religion?

Do you avoid discussion about religion?

Yet, the greatest men you read about in the Bible did not shy away from discussing religion with others.  On the contrary, they debated religion at every turn.  Moses admonished Israel for idol worship (Ex. 32).  Elijah confronted and opposed false prophets (1 Kings 18:17-40).  Peter and John preached to the religious leaders of their day who were in error and pointed out their sins (Acts 3-4).  The apostle Paul debated Jews who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 9:29; 17:16-17).  He also debated polytheistic Greek philosophers about their need to worship the One True God (Acts 17:18-34).  In fact, he even disputed with fellow Christians who were caught up in religious error (Gal. 2:1-5; cf. Acts 15:1ff).

These men tried to correct those who held to religiously erroneous beliefs, and they did so because religious error is just as sinful as moral error or ethical error.  Many today cannot see that, in part because they mistakenly assume that Jesus Christ himself would never tell someone who believed in God that they were wrong.  “After all,” they say, “Jesus said, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged…’ (Matt. 7:1).”  Not only do they ignore the irony that they themselves are doing what they condemn when they tell others that they shouldn’t judge, they also overlook the fact that immediately after giving that command, Jesus commanded his followers to “remove the speck from your brother’s eye” in a manner that is free from hypocrisy (Matt. 7:2-5).  In other words, he commanded us to judge, only without hypocrisy and not according to appearance (John 7:24).  He wants us to expose sin and error (Eph. 5:11).

Christ himself was in constant conflict with those in religious error when he was on earth.  For example, on one occasion he pointed out the error of the Sadducees who didn’t believe in a bodily resurrection.  He very pointedly told them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29).  By telling them this, he was basically saying that the Sadducees were wrong in their religious beliefs.  Their error was not that they were ignorant of the Scriptures, but rather that they did not understand what the Scriptures were actually teaching.

How would we react if someone pointed out to us that our religious beliefs were incorrect?  Would we get angry and accuse the person who challenged our beliefs of being hateful?  Would we ignore them and walk away, assuming that we are correct without investigating the Scriptures to be sure?  (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Thess. 5:21)  Many believe that it doesn’t matter what one believes as long as they are a basically good person and call themselves a Christian, but an open-minded investigation of the Bible shows that Jesus, the apostles, Moses, and many other godly men and women thought otherwise (Matt. 7:21-27; Eph. 4:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 4:6; Phil. 2:1-2; Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 16:17-18; Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:5-6; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).  They risked their lives to teach the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17) and point out the error in which many religious people found themselves.

So the next time someone wants to discuss our religious beliefs with us, let’s choose to avoid anger.  Let’s choose to not ignore them and walk away.  Instead, let’s remember that this person is only following the example of some of the greatest people in the Bible.  Let’s also remember that the possibility exists that we may be incorrect about a doctrine or practice we hold to, and thus our soul would be in danger (Matt. 7:21-23).  If this person shows us something from the entirety of God’s Word (Ps. 119:160) that contradicts what we believe, they are doing us an eternal favor (James 5:19-20).


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Willing to walk?

How Far or Near

One of the great lessons one can gather about Christian living we learn from the apostle Peter in Mark chapter fourteen. We know that while Peter was near Jesus he was strong, brave, and faithful. He promised to not ever be offended even if all others were (v. 29). His fervent insistence that even if he had to die he would never deny influenced the others to say likewise (v. 31). In the Garden of Gethsemane, standing next to the Lord, he was ready to fight and give his life (v. 47).

Are you willing to walk the christian walk

Are you willing to walk the Christian walk.

But in one of the saddest passages in all of Scripture we read that after Jesus was led away Peter followed “afar off” (v. 54). When one of the maids of the high priest sees Peter warming himself by the fire she says, “you were also with Jesus.” But he denied (vs. 66 – 68). Another maid sees him and declares to the crowd, “This is one of them.” Again, he denied (vs. 69 – 70). A third time he denies, this time with cursing, after the crowd declares that his speech gave him away (vs. 70 – 71). Upon hearing the rooster crow he remembered what Jesus had said and he went out and wept bitterly (v. 72). Because of the distance he put between himself and the Lord he went from willing to die to denying Jesus three times, just as Jesus had said.

How closely are you walking with Jesus? How far off have you followed? The Hebrew writer said, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). To draw near to Jesus one must first be willing to come to him (Matthew 11:28 – 30). We must be willing to obey him (Hebrews 5:8 – 9). And we must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Hear are a few suggestions that will transform your life and help you stay close to the Lord:

Study God’s word every day! Make time for him in your life, He’s made time for you. One day we will be judged by the word (John 12:48). We live by the light of the word, it guides and directs our steps. Study to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Attend worship and Bible Study regularly (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 10:25). The fellowship, learning, and praise offered to God will help keep you on track, enthused, and close to Him.

Do good unto others (Matthew 25:31 – 46). Eternity hangs in the balance.

Forgive those who trespass against you (Matthew 6:14).

After Jesus had appeared to the disciples on several occasions following His resurrection He appeared to them once more on the sea shore. When Peter hears that it is Jesus calling to them he dives into the water and swims to meet his Lord on the shore. I know some folks who need to dive into the water, be cleansed, and come to Jesus. I know some Christians who desperately need to have the same repentant heart that Peter had. What about you?

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