8/31/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Difficulty With Riches (19:16-26) by Mark Copeland

 

 
"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"


The Difficulty With Riches (19:16-26)

 
INTRODUCTION

1. A well known story in the life of Jesus involves His interview with
   a rich young ruler - Mt 19:16-26; Lk 18:18-27

2. In this story we find a man who was so right, yet wrong...
   a. He came to the right person - Mt 19:16
      1) He came to Jesus
      2) Who could tell Him the way to eternal life
   b. He asked the right questions - Mt 19:16b,20
      1) "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
      2) "What do I still lack?"
   c. He certainly received the right answers - Mt 19:17-19,21
      1) "...if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments"
         (suitable for one living under the OT covenant)
      2) "If you want to be perfect, go, sell...give to the poor...and
         come, follow Me" (fitting for one who would become a disciple
         and follow Jesus during His ministry)
   d. But in the end, he made the wrong decision - Mt 19:22
      1) He went away sorrowful
      2) For he had great possessions

3. As rich young ruler went away sadly, Jesus told His disciples about
   the difficulty of riches...
   a. That it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God - Mt 19:23
   b. That it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle - Mt 19:24

4. What is it about being rich that makes salvation so difficult?
   a. Are we aware of the dangers of riches?
   b. Do we understand the proper attitudes toward wealth, whether we
      are rich or poor?

[Let's first consider...]

I. THE DIFFICULTY WITH RICHES

   A. THE ABSORBING INTEREST OF RICHES...
      1. Riches do not satisfy, and we foolishly think that simply more
         riches will bring satisfaction - cf. Ec 1:8; 5:10
      2. With riches comes the preoccupation with them:  how to use,
         maintain, store, etc.
      -- Like a black hole, the accumulation of riches can absorb what
         time and energy we have so that we have little for anything
         else (such as family, church, the Lord)

   B. THE DECEITFUL PROMISE OF RICHES...
      1. Jesus warned about the deceitfulness of riches - Mt 13:22
      2. Riches promise much, but really offer little in return
         a. They can easily disappear, rust, or be stolen - Pr 23:5;Mt 6:19
         b. They cannot buy one's salvation - Ps 49:6-9,16-20
         c. Neither can they protect one from God's wrath - Zeph 1:18
      -- Riches can deceive one into thinking they are in need of
         nothing; the parable of the rich fool illustrates the folly of
         such thinking - Lk 12:16-21

   C. THE FOOLISH PRIDE OF RICHES...
      1. Wealth tends to promote a sense of arrogance and pride - cf.
         Deut 8:11-17
      2. It was such pride that was the downfall of Sodom and Israel
         - Ezek 16:49-50; Hos 13:4-6
      -- Blinded by such pride, one will not seek God - Ps 10:4

   D. THE HARDENING SELFISHNESS OF RICHES...
      1. The wealthy, while in a position to help others, often close
         up their hearts to the cry of the poor
      2. This was one of Israel's sins - Am 2:6; 5:11-12; 8:4-6
      -- Abusing the poor to make money, failing to respond to their
         cries for justice, interested more in money than the welfare
         of the poor...such are problems that often afflict the rich

[Certainly not all who are rich are guilty of such things.  Some of the
most godly people in the Bible were rich (Job, Abraham, Joseph, David,
Solomon, Barnabas, Philemon, Lydia).  But these are reasons why it is
so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. If they let mammon
become their god, they will not be willing to serve the true God! (cf.Mt 6:24)

From what we have seen about the danger of wealth, let's now draw
some...]

II. LESSONS GLEANED FROM THE DIFFICULTY OF RICHES

   A. THE FOLLY OF COVETOUSNESS...
      1. Why be so anxious to be rich, when riches might prove to be a
         curse for us?
      2. Besides, covetousness is viewed by God as a form of idolatry
         - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
      3. It not a sin to be rich, but the desire to be rich is wrong
         a. Those who desire to be rich will fall into temptation, and
            not go unpunished - 1Ti 6:9; Pr 28:20
         b. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil - 1Ti 6:10
            1) For which some have strayed from the faith
            2) And suffered many sorrows

   B. THE DUTY OF CONTENTMENT...
      1. Contentment along with godliness is true wealth - 1Ti 6:6-7
         a. "He is richest who is content with the least." - Socrates (470-399 B.C.)
         b. "Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from
            few wants" - Croft M. Pentz (The Complete Book of Zingers)
      2. Contentment is a virtue that is learned - e.g., Php 4:11-12
         a. By having a proper perspective on life - 1Ti 6:7
            1) "You can't take it with you"
            2) Ever see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer?
         b. By understanding what is truly essential in life - 1Ti 6:8
            1) Food and clothing...anything more is a luxury
            2) Realizing this, we will appreciate how blessed we are!
      3. Therefore Christians are to be content with what things we
         have - He 13:5

   C. THE NEED FOR SYMPATHY FOR THE RICH...
      1. Jesus loved the rich young ruler - Mk 10:21
         a. We should certainly love those who are rich
         b. We should not be envious, nor despise them
      2. If the rich are overcome by their riches, we should bear in  mind...
         a. That the desire to be rich affects both the rich and those
            who want to be rich
         b. That the rich face many temptations that the poor do not
      3. The rich are in need of salvation as much as the poorest
         beggar - Ro 3:23; 6:23

   D. FAITH IN THE POWER OF GOD...
      1. Though it is hard for a rich person to be saved, it is not
         impossible - Mt 19:23-26
         a. No one can save themselves, whether rich or poor
         b. But God can save the rich by His own power, through the
            gospel - Ro 1:16-17
      2. There were many rich people who became Jesus' disciples
         a. Those that supported Him during His earthly ministry - Lk 8:1-3
         b. Others such as Zaccheus, Matthew, Barnabas, Lydia, Aquila
            and Priscilla, Gaius, Philemon
         c. Such people used their riches in service to God and others
            - cf. 1Ti 6:17-19
      3. Therefore...
         a. The rich should have the gospel preached to them
         b. We should pray for the rich
         c. We should rejoice greatly that there are rich men and women
            in the kingdom of God

CONCLUSION

1. The issue of wealth and riches is often one of contention...
   a. The poor are often envious of the rich
   b. The rich often despise the poor

2. But riches and poverty both have their difficulties...
   a. Wealth can one make one arrogant, less receptive to the gospel
      and the kingdom
   b. Poverty can make one bitter, filled with envy of others

3. Whether rich or poor, we should all be aware...
   a. Of our need for salvation that comes only by the grace of God
   b. That we can share together in the riches of salvation

Have you become an heir to the "unsearchable riches of Christ"? 
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Bible and Catholic Traditionalism by Moisés Pinedo

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1027

The Bible and Catholic Traditionalism

by  Moisés Pinedo

The American Heritage Dictionary offers several definitions for the word “tradition,” including the following: “The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication” (2000, p. 1829). Tradition is not inherently evil; in many respects, tradition has positive effects on future generations. However, in the field of Christian theology, tradition must be subjected to the “litmus test” of the inspired Word of God. If we elevate mere human tradition to the level of apostolic tradition recorded in the inspired Scriptures, we may accept any innovation as a product of divine will. Sadly, Catholicism has been at that point for centuries.

The Catechism declares that “[a]s a result the [Catholic—MP] Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence’” (1994, 82, emp. added). Other Catholic authorities have declared: “It is an article of faith from a decree of the Vatican Council that Tradition is a source of theological teaching distinct from Scripture, and that it is infallible. It is therefore to be received with the same internal assent as Scripture for it is the word of God” (Attwater, 1961, p. 41, emp. added).

Placing tradition on an equal level with Scripture or making it superior to Scripture inevitably undermines of the Bible’s authority and inspiration. Over the hundreds of years of abusing and misusing God’s Word, Catholicism has adopted this deplorable practice. Catholics allege that “[w]hereas much of the teaching of Scripture could not be determined without Tradition, Tradition would suffice without Scripture; it is the safeguard of Scripture” (Attwater, p. 42, emp. added). Moreover, “Catholic theologians maintain that as a source of truth, tradition is superior to Scripture. Scripture is, after all, incomplete; it not only requires interpretation, but it required tradition in order that it might be recognized and established.... Scripture is not a textbook; in a sense, it is a dead word which must be brought to life in the living voice of tradition” (Brantl, 1961, p. 162, emp. added).

In order to prioritize human tradition above biblical revelation, someone first must discredit, undervalue, and disrespect the Bible. Calling the Scripture “a dead word” is a blatant affront to Christ, Who firmly stated that His words, which are recorded in Scripture, “are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

The traditions that make up the Catholic Church’s depositum fidei (deposit of faith) include the Apocrypha, the teaching of the “church fathers,” and the records of universal belief of Catholicism (Catechism..., 74-141; Brantl, p. 163). Although Catholics use these sources extensively in defending their dogmas, these writings cannot take the place of biblical inspiration.

The Catholic canon of the Old Testament has 46 books instead of 39. The Council of Trent (1546) recognized as canonical seven books that originally were rejected as part of the Old Testament. These seven, among other apocryphal books, do not bear the signs of divine inspiration, i.e., they lack prophetic authority, harmonization with revealed truth, early Christian acceptance, scriptural confirmation, and/or any direct claim of divine inspiration (see Jackson, 1999; Geisler and Nix, 1968, pp. 264-275; McDowell, 1972, pp. 33-40). As Geisler and Nix noted, “[t]he overwhelming arguments in favor of rejecting the Apocrypha as part of the canon provide convincing evidence that the books are not God-breathed” (p. 270). Therefore, these books should not be considered as the Word of God.

For centuries, the Catholic Church also has treated many of the writings of the “church fathers” as being inspired—even though the fathers never claimed their documents were inspired. Catholic apologists and leaders around the world have promoted these writings by claiming that they prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Catholic tradition is linked to apostolic doctrines. This point of view overlooks the reality of early apostasy. Only Christ’s apostles and New Testament prophets were guided into all truth (John 16:13). Although the “church fathers” made a great effort to maintain the purity of the New Testament, they were not inspired to speak and/or write infallibly. In many cases, their writings reflect ideologies completely foreign to the divine pattern. Jesus warned His disciples of the coming of ungodly men who would deceive, “if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Since there is a possibility that even the “church fathers” could have been deceived and believed false teachings (cf. 1 John 4:1), no Bible student should consider their writings as part of the “deposit of faith.” Although the writings of these men are valuable in studies of church history and other disciplines, one should keep in mind that the fathers were fallible men who were subject to error and apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Finally, Catholicism alleges that the pope, the universal body of bishops, and the church possess infallibility in matters of faith and morals (see “First Dogmatic...,” 1870, 4.1-9). Therefore, any doctrines they adopt become part of the Catholic “deposit of faith.” But we have seen in another article (Pinedo, 2008) that many of the teachings of the popes, the episcopal councils, and the Catholic Church in general are far from infallible. In many cases, they are self-contradictory.

Man’s tendency to exalt his traditions above the Word of God is nothing new. Jesus Himself had to confront this irreverent spirit so prevalent among the Jewish elite of His day. He accused the Pharisees of transgressing the commandment of God to keep their own traditions (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-13)—traditions that transgressed (Matthew 15:3), contradicted (Matthew 15:5-6; Mark 7:11-12), invalidated (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:9,13), and profaned (Matthew 15:8-9; Mark 7:6-7) the commandments of God. Catholic traditions also transgress, contradict, invalidate, and profane the pure truth of the Word of God (cf. Matthew 15:9).

It is my desire that you, as a student of the Bible, will hear what the Bible says, study what the Bible says, believe what the Bible says, and keep yourself from believing another gospel (Galatians 1:6-10). The traditions of men should not supersede the commandments of God, for only the Word of God endures forever (1 Peter 1:25). Hearing and obeying the Word of God should be our ultimate goal. Jesus said, “[H]e who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24, emp. added). He also added, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48, emp. added).

One day, when we stand before the divine throne to be judged, a Book will be opened. This book will not be the writings of a man, it will not be the traditions of our fathers, nor will it be the book of “human conscience.” The Bible, which has been criticized, mutilated, and altered by many, will be opened. And, when the voices of many other books fall absolutely silent, we will hear the words of the Bible, and God will pronounce His final judgment. We should obey the Gospel of Christ that we may have eternal life in heaven after that judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

REFERENCES

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

Attwater, Donald, ed. (1961), A Catholic Dictionary (New York: Macmillan).

Brantl, George, ed. (1961), Catholicism (New York: George Braziller).

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), (Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).

“First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ” (1870), First Vatican Council [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6.

Geisler, Norman and William Nix (1968), A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Press).

Jackson, Wayne (1999), “The Apocrypha: Inspired of God?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/the_apocrypha_inspired_of_god.

McDowell, Josh (1972), Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Campus Crusade for Christ).

Pinedo, Moisés (2008), “Is the Pope ‘Infallible’?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3844.

The Bible and Catholic Images [Part II] by Moisés Pinedo

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2652

The Bible and Catholic Images [Part II]

by  Moisés Pinedo

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To read Part I of this article, click HERE]

Although the Bible clearly condemns religious iconography, some try to find any hint of biblical support for devotion to man-made images. They have twisted Bible verses to create a shield of protection against the clear teachings of the Word of God, and have formulated different arguments.

THE ALLEGED BIBLICAL BASIS FOR RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY

Argument #1: God commanded images to be made for veneration.

This argument originates from God’s commandment to Moses to make two golden cherubs on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-21; cf. O’Brien, 1901, p. 175). The argument is faulty for the following reasons.

First, God commanded that the cherubs be made not as objects of veneration or worship. The cherubs were to sit on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, but they were no more special than the other objects or furnishings of the tabernacle. Each object in the tabernacle (and later the temple) had special significance and purpose, but none was an object of worship.

Second, the nature and purpose of the Old Testament should be considered. The inspired writer of Hebrews tells us that the first covenant had an “earthly sanctuary” (9:1, emp. added). The tabernacle and its furnishings were models or patterns of the “greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands,” of which Christ is the High Priest (9:11, emp. added; cf. 8:5). The tabernacle and its contents were figures and shadows of heavenly things (9:23; 10:1) and of a new covenant (8:5-6). Now we, “having boldness to enter the Holiest [i.e., the Holy of Holies]” (10:19), having “a High Priest [Jesus] over the house of God” (10:21), are admonished to leave behind the “oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6) and accept the heavenly conditions of the new covenant established by Christ (Hebrews 8:1-6; 9:11-15).

Third, we should consider the authoritative and prohibitive nature of divine commands. God commanded Moses to make the cherubs (and other objects for the tabernacle) as representations of heavenly things that would be part of the New Covenant after the sacrifice of Christ. True servants of God do not promote, authorize, or offer anything that “He [has] not commanded” (Leviticus 10:1-2). The desires of God’s servants must be subjected to divine authority and divine command. Where is the divine command which authorizes religious iconography? There is not one single biblical text that approves or allows the veneration of images.

Fourth, God’s commands concerning the construction and use of the tabernacle and its contents were made under the Old Testament and were exclusively for the people chosen by God at that time, i.e., the Israelites. Christians no longer follow the Old Testament methodology of worship, since it was taken away when Jesus died, and replaced with a better covenant (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10).

The symbols of the Old Covenant, including the cherubs on the Ark of the Covenant, were never objects of worship. Neither Exodus 25:18-21 nor any other Scripture (such as the reference to the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:9; cf. 2 Kings 18:4) authorize religious iconography.

Argument #2: Servants of God bowed before images, indicating divine acceptance of such veneration.

It has been argued that the Bible promotes the veneration of images because Joshua 7:6 says that Joshua and the elders of Israel “bowed down before the Ark, and there were the two images of the cherubs, and nothing happened to them” (Zavala, 2000). Although at first glance this passage may seem to favor religious iconography, consider the following points often overlooked.

First of all, the nature of the Old Testament should be considered again. Under the Old Covenant, God “dwelt” in a special way in the tabernacle (over the Ark), and from there He spoke to the people of Israel (Exodus 25:22; 30:36; Leviticus 16:2). However, under the New Testament, God “does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). If God does not dwell in temples made with human hands, would He dwell in images made with human hands?

Second, it is essential to consider the context of Joshua 7:6. Although some Catholics argue that Joshua and the elders of Israel bowed down to honor and venerate the images of the cherubs that were on the Ark, the context reveals completely different facts. Verse six informs us that Joshua “tore his clothes,” and he and the elders of the people “put dust on their heads.” Tearing one’s garments and covering one’s head with dust or ashes were signs of great sorrow, shame, or penitence (cf. Genesis 37:29,34; 2 Samuel 3:31; 13:30-31; Job 1:20; Lamentations 2:10; et al.). They never were signs of worship. It is certain that Joshua and the elders of Israel did not have the faintest intention of giving honor to or worshipping the Ark of the Covenant or the cherubs on it.

Argument #3: In Bible times, people bowed before servants of God as a sign of veneration.

Second Kings 4:27 records an event in which a woman came to Elisha, a prophet of God, and grabbed his feet. It has been said that this biblical example proves that veneration of people and, by implication, images, is authorized by God. But the truth is that this is one of the most shameful arguments used by some supporters of Catholicism. It is a deliberately dishonest use of the Word of God and a desperate attempt to excuse false doctrine.

First, a straightforward reading of the context reveals that the woman did not grab Elisha’s feet to “venerate” him. Because this woman had been very hospitable to Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-10), he promised her that God would give her a child. Her son was born within the time Elisha promised but died at a very early age (4:20). The woman went to Elisha, grabbed his feet, and demanded an explanation because her soul was “in deep distress” (4:27). Note her words: “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?’” (2 Kings 4:28). If she had been “venerating” Elisha, would she have accused him of deceiving her? Of course not! The woman was grieving, her son had died, and she wanted help. At no time did this poor woman’s grief represent veneration of Elisha.

Second, if 2 Kings 4:27 authorizes the veneration of servants of God (as some Catholic apologists claim), this verse still would not authorize veneration of images. But this verse authorizes veneration of neither men nor images! The Bible clearly condemns bowing before men to venerate or worship them (cf. Acts 10:25-26).

Third, the narrative in 2 Kings 4:27 describes an incidental scene completely separate from any kind of worship. This verse does not imply or authorize—much less command—men to worship servants of God. Those who advocate such, advocate a practice that lacks biblical authority.

Argument #4: In Bible times, people carried images in processions.

It is said that 2 Samuel 6 describes a religious procession in which an icon was carried because “David gathered all the choice men of Israel” (6:1), “set the ark of God on a new cart” (6:3), and everybody “played music before the Lord” (6:5). Consider the following points.

Modern-day Catholic processions are characterized by a large number of people carrying images on a special day. Although the situation recorded in 2 Samuel 6 may seem similar, the principle is not the same. The Ark of God had been left in Kiriath-Jearim for about four decades, and David wanted to bring it to the capital city of Jerusalem. At no time was it David’s intention to “show off” the Ark of God or to encourage the multitudes to worship it, nor was that day designated as holy. In Jerusalem, the Ark would occupy a special and permanent place in the temple that Solomon (David’s son) would build.

The Ark was never to be worshipped. God never commanded that the Ark, or any other object with religious significance, be carried in religious processions like the ones Catholics perform. There are no similarities between the reasons for which the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem and the motivations for religious processions honoring the images of Catholicism, and there is no biblical authority for such processions.

Argument #5: Jesus did not condemn images.

In Mark 12, we read that some Jews tried to trick Jesus with a question about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus took a Roman coin and asked, “Whose image and inscription is this?” (12:16). Because of this simple question, and because Jesus did not condemn Caesar’s likeness on the coin, some Catholics argue that Jesus authorized veneration of images by indirectly promoting them.

First, the fact that Jesus did not condemn an image does not mean that He approved religious images or their veneration. To argue such on the basis of this incident would imply that Jesus approved veneration of immoral political leaders, not the images of “saints” or Deity (as Catholics claim). Would Jesus approve, or encourage, the veneration of images representing evil Roman emperors such as Tiberius and Nero? Obviously not! God had condemned this from ancient times (cf. Daniel 3).

Second, the context of Mark 12 should be considered. Some Catholic apologists have argued that if God really condemns religious images, this incident in the life of Christ would have been an excellent time to do it (see Gagnon, n.d.). But Jesus’ discussion with the Jews was not on the subject of idolatry. The discussion at hand was based on the question presented to Him by the Jewish religious leaders: “Is it lawful to give tribute [taxes] to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14). The question was not, “Is it lawful to worship images or not?” Jesus’ reply was related directly to their question: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Jesus’ answer cannot be applied to a totally unrelated question.

Simply put, there is not one single text, in either the Old or New Testament, that supports (by direct command, example, or implication) the worship of images in order to draw near to God. Those who support this erroneous doctrine have become “futile in their thoughts” and have “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man” (Romans 1:21-24).

BIBLICAL WARNINGS

Some Catholic apologists want us to believe that there is nothing wrong with venerating images, but what does the Bible say? Deuteronomy 4:15-19 notes the following:

Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage (emp. added).

The divine warning is very clear: veneration or worship of images is evidence of the corruption of the human heart.

In the next chapter of the same book, God warned: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (5:8). Is this commandment difficult to understand? The Bible continues: “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (5:9, emp. added). Again, the Bible is clear: the production of images or sculptures for the purpose of religious veneration is iniquity before Jehovah.

Concerning the singularity of God, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “To whom then will you liken God?Or what likeness will you compare to Him?... ‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One” (40:18,25). There is no way to compare a man-made object to God, or to make an image that represents His greatness. Those who attempt to do so degrade the person of God.

Jeremiah declared: “Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge; every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image; for his molded image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them” (51:17). The images of worship are simply false gods; they have no life in them. Those who worship images should be ashamed because “their molded images are wind and confusion” (Isaiah 41:29). Jeremiah added: “They [the idols] are futile, a work of errors; in the time of their punishment they shall perish” (51:18).

In an illustrative passage concerning idolatry, Hosea wrote: “Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, for you have played the harlot against your God. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor” (9:1, emp. added; cf. Hosea 8). The biblical comparison is very clear: idolatry is considered to be spiritual prostitution. It is ironic that many consider physical fornication or prostitution to be detestable activities before God, but they overlook, and even defend, spiritual fornication and prostitution.

Paul declared of those who tried to make representations of God: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:22-23, emp. added). Any defense of physical representations of Deity is evidence of man’s foolish desire to reduce spiritual things to an earthly level. Concerning these men, Paul added: “Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts” (Romans 1:24). Ultimately, such men separate themselves from God by their sinful actions (Isaiah 59:1-2). God will not force them to change their ways, but one day will take vengeance on all those who do not obey Him (2 Thessalonians 1:8). The apostle John wrote, “but the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emp. added).

God will condemn those who participate in idolatry. No gods of gold, silver, wood, or stone will be able to intervene on their behalf. There is only One Who can mediate between us and God the Father—“the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). John encouraged the first-century Christians by saying: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). Twenty-first-century Christians also must heed this warning.

REFERENCES

Gagnon, Daniel (no date), “Idols and Images” [“Ídolos e Imágenes”], [On-line], URL: http://www.mercaba.org/Fichas/DIOS/106-3.htm.

O’Brien, Thomas, ed. (1901), An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice (New York: D.H. McBride & Company).

Zavala, Martín (2000), “Images and Idols” [“Imágenes e Ídolos”], [On-line], URL: http://www.defiendetufe.org/idolos.htm.

The Bible and Catholic Images [Part I] by Moisés Pinedo

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2646

The Bible and Catholic Images [Part I]

by  Moisés Pinedo

Religious images occupy a special place in the hearts of members of the Catholic community. Images are honored, venerated, prayed to, blessed, displayed, kissed, bought, and sold by the devout. It is no secret that the majority, perhaps all, of Catholic Church buildings are full of images. Catholicism claims that “[i]t is right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ and His saints, because they are representations and memorials of them” (O’Brien, 1901, p. 175).

Are the images of Catholicism only “inoffensive” images, like photographs of family that many of us carry in our wallets? Does the Bible authorize the Catholic use of religious images? These questions and others should be answered with an open Bible, not with subjective emotions or traditions of men.

“WE DO NOT WORSHIP, WE ONLY VENERATE!”

I have chosen this subtitle in order to address one of the most well-known, but least understood, arguments in favor of religious images. In a conversation about religious iconography, it is not surprising to hear the word “venerate” from the mouths of Catholics. The argument used is: “We don’t worship wood, relics, or images. We venerate them” (see Porvaznik, 2007, emp. added). This common assertion is a result of ignorance of the etymology and usage of the word “venerate” and of the implications of the Bible’s teaching concerning to Whom we are to give religious honor.

Once, when speaking with a very devout Catholic who used this word “venerate,” I asked her: “What do you understand the word ‘venerate’ to mean?” She could not answer the question. She had used this word frequently, even though she did not know what it meant. Consequently, the first question we should answer is: What is the meaning of the word “venerate”?

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary records the following definition of “venerate”: “[R]egard with great respect,...from Latin venerat-venerari ‘adore, revere’” (Pearsall, 2002, p. 1590, emp. added). The Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language gives the following definitions for “venerate”: to worship, reverence..., to look upon with feeling of deep respect; regard as venerable; revere” (1964, p. 1616, emp. added). The Espasa Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms lists the following synonyms (among others) for the word “venerate”: Worship, honor, reverence, idolize, exalt, etc. (1996). Finally, the Catholic Cofrade Dictionary notes the following definition for the word “venerate”: “To worship God, Saints or sacred things” (2005, emp. added).

We can see easily, by its etymology and synonymy, that a primary meaning of the word “venerate” is simply “to worship or to revere.” Additionally, note that the Catholic Cofrade Dictionary applies the word “venerate” to God and “sacred things.” Therefore, when the supporter of Catholicism insists, “We do not worship, we only venerate,” he is actually confirming that Catholics worship images like they worship God.

The truth is that the word “venerate” has been deliberately substituted for the word “worship” to excuse the polytheistic practice of Catholicism. Since the meaning of the word “venerate” is unfamiliar to many, it has become a major argument in defense of religious iconography. But if the supporter of Catholicism would only open his dictionary, and look up the meaning of the word that he uses so casually, his favorite argument would soon disappear like the morning mist on a hot summer day. In fact, the very etymology and correct usage of the word “venerate” exposes the error of iconography. We completely agree that Catholics “only venerate” (i.e., they worship).

But what about respecting images? Are the images of the so-called “saints” and of other “sacred” objects, worthy of respect? What does the Bible say? In addressing images made for religious purposes, Exodus 20:5 warns: “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them [i.e., you shall not show them any kind of respect, service, or worship]” (cf. 1 John 5:21). In spite of the divine warning, some in the Catholic community insist: “[I]f someone bows down, doing it only as an expression of respect and affection, there is nothing wrong with it” (Zavala, 2000, emp. added). It seems that some supporters of religious images read the verse in this way: “You shall not bow down to them, except in the case of giving them respect and affection.” However, such a statement is not in the Bible! Making images for the purpose of religious “veneration,” reverence, respect, or affection is condemned by God.

In the end, who should we believe? Should we believe God Who tells us, “You shall not bow down to images,” or religious people who tell us, “There is nothing wrong with it”? In the beginning, God warned man: “[F]or in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). But the serpent said to the woman: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Every Bible student knows very well what happened to the first human couple who listened to the serpent’s assurance that everything was going to be fine. Many religious people today should take seriously God’s commands about Whom we worship because disobeying His commands is always wrong!

“IMAGES YES, IDOLS NO!”

On a Web site devoted to Catholic apologetics, under the title “Images Yes, Idols No,” we find the following emphatic declaration: “Catholics do not have ‘idols’ like ancient pagan people, WE ONLY HAVE IMAGES” (Rojas, 2000, capitals in original). With this declaration, two things are proposed: (1) The “veneration” of Catholic images is not idolatry; and (2) there is a difference between an idol and an image. Since we have seen that the first proposition is erroneous, i.e., the “veneration” of Catholic images really is worship, we will focus on the second proposition: Is there a difference between an idol and an image?

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary suggests, among others, the following definitions for “image”: (1) “a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art; (2) a visible impression obtained by a camera, telescope, or other device; (3) a person or thing closely resembling another; (4) likeness; or (5) an idol” (Pearsall, 2002, p. 708, emp. added). Defining the word “idol,” the same dictionary notes the following: (1) “an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship; and (2) an object of adulation” (p. 706, emp. added). There are some differences between an image and an idol. An image may be a photograph, a portrait, a comparison, a picture on the television, or a piece of art. However, it is very important to note that an image also may be an object of worship (i.e., an idol).

Some (who actually mean well) argue that “all images are idols.” But if that were the case, one could accuse virtually everyone of being an idolater, since most people have at least one photograph of someone in their wallet, purse, or on their wall. Theoretically, God could also be called “idolatrous” since He made man in His “image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26-27). But this is not a legitimate argument. In truth, some images are idols. The person who wants to please God must examine the Scriptures carefully to determine which images (idols) he should reject. Let’s look at the biblical teaching concerning idols.

An idol is any image to which religious reverence and honor is offered.

Exodus 20:4-5 reads: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (emp. added). Many times, the advocate of religious iconography argues that the images Catholicism promotes are not idols, since they do not represent pagan gods; rather they represent “holy” people, and in some cases, the true God (see Rojas, 2000). Nevertheless, the text in Exodus does not support such an argument. God condemns any image (either of a pagan god or of the incarnated Son of God) made for the purpose of worship or religious honor (cf. Acts 17:24-25,29). God protected against erroneous interpretations by saying: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image...of anything that is in heaven above...or that is in the earth beneath...or that is in the water under the earth.” The question then becomes, what image designed for the purpose of worship or religious honor would fall outside these parameters? Are the Catholic images, which are “venerated” and honored, representations of anything that is in heaven, earth, water, or under water?

An idol is any image that does not deserve the religious honor given to it.

When the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, he said to Him: “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). To this temptation, Jesus answered: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (4:10). With this singular and scriptural assessment, Jesus made clear to the Christians’ enemy that only one Being deserves such regard and worship. Jesus’ point was not that the devil did not deserve worship because of what he was (i.e., an evil spirit condemned to hell), rather His point was that the devil did not deserve worship because of what he was not (i.e., the sovereign God over all creation).

Some people believe that Jesus condemns worship directed toward the devil merely because the devil is intrinsically malevolent, but that He condones worship to “benevolent” beings (whether or not they are divine). But the truth is that God alone is the Being Who deserves worship (cf. Isaiah 42:8). Are the images of Catholicism divine? Do they deserve honor and worship? Certainly not! When someone prostrates himself before these images, he voluntarily agrees to obey the tempter’s request to be worshiped.

An idol is any image which is religiously honored but cannot respond.

The book of 1 Kings records one of the most interesting stories of the Old Testament concerning idols. Here Elijah challenged the prophets of an ancient god, Baal, to give a demonstration of their god’s “power.” The challenge consisted of preparing an altar, cutting a bull in pieces, placing it on the altar, and then calling on their god to send fire from heaven to consume the offering. The challenge was accepted. Then, “they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!’ But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made” (1 Kings 18:26, emp. added). They certainly worshipped, but Baal could not answer, simply because he was not God. In contrast, Elijah prepared an altar and a sacrifice, soaked them completely with water, and prayed to Almighty God. God instantly sent fire from heaven, that not only consumed the altar and the offering, but also “licked up the water” around the altar (1 Kings 18:30-38).

The supporters of Catholicism argue that their images do perform miracles (see Cruz, 1993; Nickell, 1999), but where is the evidence for their “miracles”? Why do they do them “in secret” and only for those who profess Catholicism? Why do they not show their “greatness,” as the greatness of God was shown when He sent fire from heaven? If someone had asked Baal’s prophets if their god performed miracles, or could send fire from heaven, how would they have answered? They would have said, “Yes.” That was the reason they accepted and pleaded with their god and leaped about the altar. But Baal was helpless to perform a miracle. Can religious images work miracles today? They could not do it before, and the situation has not changed.

An idol is any image, religiously honored, that cannot do anything.

In one of the most illustrative biblical passages about idols, the psalmist wrote:

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them (115:4-8).

What else could be said? This seems to be an exact description of the images made for religious purposes today. Can the images of Catholicism achieve anything more than the images described by the psalmist? Can they repair their own broken noses after being hit by the ball of a little child? Can they clean their dust, touch up their paint, or pick up the money that is placed before them? Do not Catholics light candles to them because the images cannot do it by themselves? And do not Catholics blow out those candles because the images, although having mouths, cannot blow them out? Do not Catholics hold processions and carry them around the city because, although they have feet, they cannot walk or even take the first public bus? What difference do we find between the idols of Psalm 115 and the alleged “inoffensive images” of Catholicism?

An idol is any image, religiously honored, that degrades the concept of Deity.

Advocates of religious iconography may continue to argue that their images are not idols because they are not representations of false gods; rather they are representations of “holy” people and the true God. But we already have seen that these images also fall in the category of idols.

Another very important point must be stressed. In speaking to the Athenians, Paul exhorted them: “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” (Acts 17:29, emp. added). It is not God’s desire to be represented by something material or by something that is the product of man’s imagination. It is God’s desire that we, His offspring, understand this very important fact: There is nothing in this world—not gold or silver or anything else—that can be compared to God. To represent His nature in a material object is to minimize His greatness. Jesus also declared: “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). If no one has seen Him at any time, who could make a faithful representation of Him? An imagination capable of such is possible only in pagan minds!

There are many images—expressed in photographs of loved ones, in art, on $50 or $100 bills, etc.—that God has not condemned. But there are many others that are projected to be representations “worthy” of the honor due only to God. Faithful Christians must reject idols (1 John 5:21).

REFERENCES

Cofrade Dictionary [Diccionario Cofrade] (2005), [On-line], URL: http://es.catholic.net/comunicadorescatolicos/530/1225/articulo.php?id=16946.

Cruz, Joan C. (1993), Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Status and Portraits (Rockford, IL: Tan Books).

Espasa Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms [Diccionario de Sinónimos y Antónimos Espasa] (1996), [Espasa Calpe, S.A.; Microsoft Corporation].

Nickell, Joe (1998), Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books).

O’Brien, Thomas, ed. (1901), An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice (New York: D.H. McBride & Company).

Pearsall, Judy, ed. (2002), Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press).

Porvaznik, Phil (2007), “A Case Study in Catholic Bashing,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num4.htm.

Rojas, Guido (2000), “Idols and Sacred Images” [“Ídolos e Imágenes Sagradas”], [On-line], URL: http://defiendetufe.org/imagenes_e_idolos.htm.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (1964), [New York: The World Publishing Company].

Zavala, Martín (2000), “Images and Idols” [“Imágenes e Ídolos”], [On-line], URL: http://www.defiendetufe.org/idolos.htm.

GOSPELING AT THE LORD'S SUPPER by Jim McGuiggan

https://web.archive.org/web/20160316144912/http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/weekly2.asp?id_message=637
 

GOSPELING AT THE LORD'S SUPPER

 Ancient Jews weren't scared witless by the sea but there was enough about it that generated unease in them when they looked at it. Whatever else Genesis 1 taught them, it taught them that God was the Lord of the waters and everything else that existed. He spoke and it obeyed him (see also Isaiah 17:13-14). The sea was no god to be worshiped as it had been worshiped in Egypt, where they had spent so many years. Still, its restlessness, its destructive power and the fact that they couldn't control it were enough to make it a symbol of threat and chaos. They often spoke of it in those terms, as did other nations.

Isaiah said (17:12): "Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great waters." Here the pounding of huge waves as they smash against one another with destroying force is a graphic picture of clashing armies. In their wickedness they never ceased to cast up muck and debris (Isaiah 57:20). It was out of the restless Great Sea (Mediterranean) that the four great Gentile kingdoms arose like monsters from a science fiction movie, devouring all before them and oppressing the people of God (Daniel 7:1-8). No wonder that when John describes the conditions of the world freed from the oppressor that he says of it (and there was no more sea)—Revelation 21:1.

With thoughts and images like these circulating in a little nation that—on and off— for centuries had felt the power of oppressors the psalmist's defiant words in Psalm 46:1-3 ring out all the finer and braver and more trustful. These words aren't sung by people who've known no trouble—they've known more than their share! These aren't the words of a people who think the world can be fixed if only we give them "enough information". This man speaks for his entire people who expect the world to be wild and oppressive and who know that either today or tomorrow they'll feel the hurt that powerful nations bring to others. Knowing all that, fully aware of all that, certain that it will come to that he says this:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains
quake with their surging.

Picture this believer standing on top of the cliff, watching the huge waves building out there and then rushing for the cliff face with increasing speed and power. Imagine the shudder he feels in the ground when they thunder against it, again and again, unrelentingly, threatening to bring down the entire mountain and him along with it. Think of him, then, looking landward, to his home and people and the irresistible forces lined up against them. It's with all those images and realities in mind that he sings into the wind:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains
quake with their surging.

 

This song is sung by modern believers as well. I know a few of them personally! They're intelligent, wide-eyed, politically aware, as realistic as anyone you could meet and when they feel the shudder under their feet they note it well but still get on with their business of world-transformation by "gospeling," in all the ways that each of them is able do that.

But look what another believer did in Psalm 117 with such faith-generating truth. This singer is no bigot, no racist and no self-centered worshiper. He knew something about his God that needed to be told to the entire world! He must have had his tough times like everyone else; he might well have had long stretches of agony when the first half of Psalm 22 was most often in his mind and speech and then came to know the last half of Psalm 22. It would have been when he had come through the long scalding experience and not only survived [see Psalm 124] but was filled with a new experience of God, his power to save and His faithfulness—that’s when he would have jumped up in the middle of the congregation and said, “I have something I must sing.” 
          
It is important to keep in mind as we listen to the psalm that this singer is NOT speaking to Israel but to the nations of the entire world.


Praise the Lord, all nations

Extol Him, all people.

For His kindness overwhelms us,

And the Lord’s steadfast truth is forever.

Hallelujah.

(Psalm 117, Alter’s Translation)

      He calls on all the peoples and nations of the earth to praise God—Yahweh! And why should they? What reason does this believer give the human family to Israel’s God? Here it is, “Because His kindness overwhelms us.” His kindness overwhelms Israel—that’s a reason for the entire world to sing His praise? It’s clear the psalmist had a richer understanding of God than many of his fellows. He and the little woman in Matthew 15 had much in common. (See, Incident at Sidon.)

      This psalm is not about individuals [though of course it includes them]—it’s about the experience of the People of God as a nation and it’s spoken to the nations as nations. It’s cosmic in scope, it’s humankind in breadth; it’s about the God and Father of all of us and paraphrasing the psalmist he says: 

          “Look at us and learn about Him. About Him! Like you we’ve been in and through trouble but here we are (Isaiah 43:1-7)—alive and well. In his goodness to us and his sustaining covenant faithfulness he speaks a message of his faithful love to you. Rejoice in Him. Rejoice in Him because his kindness overwhelms us.”

Let the Church Supper that Tomorrow!

 

CONFIRMING GOD'S TRUTH by steve finnell

 

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/02/confirming-gods-truth-by-steve-finnell.html

CONFIRMING GOD'S TRUTH   

by steve finnell

If you are confirming God's truth by reading Bible commentaries, man-made creed books, and books written by preachers, priests, and theologians. Then you should throw away your Bible.

The Bible confirms man's view. Man's view does not confirm the truth of the Bible.

Acts 17:10-11......11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so, (NKJV) 

"Others have Labored and Ye are Entered into Their Labors" by J.C. Bailey

 

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Bailey/John/Carlos/1903/Articles/othersh.html

"Others have Labored
and Ye are Entered into Their Labors"

This is the language of Jesus to His disciples following His conversation with the woman of Samaria. The work the apostles did would not have been possible if it had not been for the prophets of the Old Testament. Their work would not have been possible without the work of John the Baptist. Then their work would not have been possible without the labors of Jesus Christ Himself.

Many people wonder how we could have gone to India about 11 years ago and have had such a harvest of souls. Let me say as Jesus said: Others have labored and we have entered into their labors. We shall probably not pay tribute to all the men who have made possible our present ingathering of souls, but I think that those whom we mention will help you to see why we have this harvest.

Those who study Restoration history have read of an Englishman by the name of Sandeman who led a movement in England that was very similar to the movement led by the Campbells in America. This man was a rich man. He spent considerable money sending workers to India. Unfortunately we have never been able to find any trace of his work. However, that does not say that his work did not play a part in making ready for the work that we did.

After World War I had started, but before the United States entered the war, there were three men who went to India from the United States. I do not recall the one name but the other two men were Jelly and McHenry. Jelly spent some time in India. He lost his first wife. He married an Indian and returned to America. He raised a large family and one of his children supports the work we are trying to do in India. McHenry and his companion turned to the Seventh Day Adventists. These three men labored in the Poona area of India. There is now a thriving work again in this area. After more than 50 years some churches have been found that did not apostatize and others that followed McHenry into Adventism have now returned to the New Testament way. McHenry is now an old man living in one of the Southern States. Brother Carl Johnson visited him not long ago. He still holds to the Seventh day Adventist doctrine.

There was a brother who went to India some years later. I do not now recall his name but I found a place where he had labored. This man was sickly when he came to India. He grew worse and return to the U.S.A. and soon died.

In a very providential way we learned about an indigenous work in the State of Assam. There was a brother in Shillong who was told that there were churches of Christ in America. These brethren had broken with the Welsh Presbyterians. Brother Presnshon Khariukhi sent a letter to the church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. This letter was delivered to Glen Wallace. Correspondence took place. These brethren were visited by two brethren. I think each brother stayed for three months. They did much to teach these men the way of the Lord more perfectly. However, the church in the U.S.A. missed a wonderful opportunity to get into India, for at that time the door into India was not closed to American missionaries. Not only was a wonderful opportunity missed at that time, but just at that time American missionaries were being chased out of China. Some Christian Church men left China and came into the Shillong area. The work was badly crippled because of these men.

There was a well-educated Indian from the State of Kerala who came to the U.S.A. to attend a denominational school in America. He learned of the church of Christ and attended the Harding Graduate School at Memphis as well as either Vanderbilt or Peabody in Nashville. He came back to India about three months after I arrived there. He has done a good work in the state of Kerala. While this work by brethren may have had some influence in the work that has been done since I went there, their influence has been limited. True, if it had not been for the work in Assam, I would not likely have gone to India. For about ten years these brethren had begged for someone to come over and help them. Several had tried but they were not able to enter, only as visitors. Members of the Commonwealth had special privileges (that is how I came to go). There are two men who made our work possible much more than what was done by our own brethren. First I want to mention William Carey. He was an English Baptist.

In his time India was not ruled by England but by the English East India Company. They did not want any missionaries in India. So William Carey had to land in a small enclave that was under the authority of the King of Denmark. After some time, Carey got permission to enter India. India was not then a field white unto harvest. It took Carey seven years to make a single convert. India at that time still burned widows with their dead husbands. The first-born child was still thrown into the River Ganges if the first-born was a girl. INDIA WAS NOT ASKING FOR THE GOSPEL. This man Carey was not a professional preacher when he went to India. He had been a shoe cobbler. He was a remarkable man. In his lifetime he translated the New Testament into at least 14 of the India languages. This was the main thing in making our work possible. One of the languages that Carey translated the Bible into was Telugu. So before we went to India, the Telugus had been blessed with the Bible for more than 150 years. So these people were ready for the plea: The Bible as it is, is sufficient for man as he is. They had the Bible in their mother tongue and could, and did, check each Scripture that we presented. Unfortunately William Carey did not preach all the truth but that did not keep him from faithfully translating the Bible into the various languages of India. Our work would not have been possible without Wm. Carey. This man, though a young man when he went to India, never returned to England. He had an idea that when a man goes to another country to preach he should live off the country where he lives. I am sure that there is just as much Scripture for this as for the idea that you cannot support native preachers with American money. If men who go to a foreign field had to thus live I am sure we would never hear one word again about not supporting native preachers with American money. If God is no respecter of persons then why should we be supported in another country when the native cannot be supported to preach? Truly, the legs of the lame are not equal. Carey also started a College in India that survives to this day. It has fallen under control of Liberals. Carey was persecuted by the Clergy of his day. They despised the poor shoe cobbler. He lives in the hearts and lives of millions of people. His tormentors have so faded that their names are largely forgotten.

There is another man to whom I would like to pay tribute. His name was Clough. He was an American Baptist. There were not many converts made in India up to his time. The MISSION idea reigned supreme. When a group came to India they obtained a piece of land from the government and started with a school. Then a hostel. If possible a hospital. Any converts were brought to the Mission Compound and often those living on the compound would number into the hundreds. This man Clough came up with the idea of village evangelism. The result was that a few years after this plan was started the Baptists baptized 2,222 at one time. If this work had been pushed, the Baptists might have won several millions of people to the Baptist Church. However, liberal elements prevailed and the social gospel became the order of the day. For many years there has been little growth either in the American Baptist Mission or the Canadian Baptist Mission. The Lutherans kept up their evangelistic thrust better than the Baptists and they are now much larger than the Baptists in India. These men, Carey and Clough did not preach the true gospel. They could not bring the knowledge of the New Testament Church, but God did use them to prepare the way for the work that we have done.

God wants men to be saved. God has given His church the work of preaching the gospel.

Now I would like to tell you about a Canadian Prime Minister who helped pave the way for our going to India. This man was named William Lyon Mackenzie King. He was Prime Minister of Canada longer than any other man. Shortly after India got her independence in 1947 there was war between India and Pakistan. Nehru, Prime Minister of India, thought that England and the United States favored Pakistan in that war. I do not know if that was true or not. I am merely reporting. Nehru came to the Commonwealth's Prime Ministers' Conference not knowing whether he would take India out of the Commonwealth or not. The Prime Minister of Canada persuaded Nehru to stay in the Commonwealth and out of this meeting grew the special concession for missionaries from the Commonwealth. So God uses men of the world that He may save the souls of men. Little did Nehru dream that he was being used for this great harvest of souls. Nehru may have nominally been a Hindu, and seemed to turn more toward religion in his latter days. His funeral was conducted according to the rituals of the Hindu faith but he was more an agnostic than anything else during his lifetime. William Lyon Mackenzie King was a Presbyterian but according to numerous reports was a Spiritualist. So God has His way still in the kingdoms of men.

If the Lord tarries in years to come, can it be said of you that you labored and others have entered into your labor?

We need your fellowship in the work in India.

J. C. Bailey, 1975, North Weyburn, Sask.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading August 31 and September 1 by Gary Rose

 

Bible Reading August 31 and September 1

World  English  Bible

 

 Aug. 31

Psalm 23-25

Psa 23:1 Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing.

Psa 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psa 23:3 He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psa 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psa 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over.

Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Yahweh's house forever.


Psa 24:1 The earth is Yahweh's, with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein.

Psa 24:2 For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods.

Psa 24:3 Who may ascend to Yahweh's hill? Who may stand in his holy place?

Psa 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully.

Psa 24:5 He shall receive a blessing from Yahweh, righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psa 24:6 This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face--even Jacob. Selah.

Psa 24:7 Lift up your heads, you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in.

Psa 24:8 Who is the King of glory? Yahweh strong and mighty, Yahweh mighty in battle.

Psa 24:9 Lift up your heads, you gates; yes, lift them up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in.

Psa 24:10 Who is this King of glory? Yahweh of Armies is the King of glory! Selah.


Psa 25:1 To you, Yahweh, do I lift up my soul.

Psa 25:2 My God, I have trusted in you. Don't let me be shamed. Don't let my enemies triumph over me.

Psa 25:3 Yes, no one who waits for you shall be shamed. They shall be shamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Psa 25:4 Show me your ways, Yahweh. Teach me your paths.

Psa 25:5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation, I wait for you all day long.

Psa 25:6 Yahweh, remember your tender mercies and your loving kindness, for they are from old times.

Psa 25:7 Don't remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions. Remember me according to your loving kindness, for your goodness' sake, Yahweh.

Psa 25:8 Good and upright is Yahweh, therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.

Psa 25:9 He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way.

Psa 25:10 All the paths of Yahweh are loving kindness and truth to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Psa 25:11 For your name's sake, Yahweh, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Psa 25:12 What man is he who fears Yahweh? He shall instruct him in the way that he shall choose.

Psa 25:13 His soul shall dwell at ease. His seed shall inherit the land.

Psa 25:14 The friendship of Yahweh is with those who fear him. He will show them his covenant.

Psa 25:15 My eyes are ever on Yahweh, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Psa 25:16 Turn to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted.

Psa 25:17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged. Oh bring me out of my distresses.

Psa 25:18 Consider my affliction and my travail. Forgive all my sins.

Psa 25:19 Consider my enemies, for they are many. They hate me with cruel hatred.

Psa 25:20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me. Let me not be disappointed, for I take refuge in you.

Psa 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

Psa 25:22 Redeem Israel, God, out all of his troubles. 

 

Sept. 1

Psalms 26-29

Psa 26:1 Judge me, Yahweh, for I have walked in my integrity. I have trusted also in Yahweh without wavering.

Psa 26:2 Examine me, Yahweh, and prove me. Try my heart and my mind.

Psa 26:3 For your loving kindness is before my eyes. I have walked in your truth.

Psa 26:4 I have not sat with deceitful men, neither will I go in with hypocrites.

Psa 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.

Psa 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence, so I will go about your altar, Yahweh;

Psa 26:7 that I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and tell of all your wondrous works.

Psa 26:8 Yahweh, I love the habitation of your house, the place where your glory dwells.

Psa 26:9 Don't gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men;

Psa 26:10 in whose hands is wickedness, their right hand is full of bribes.

Psa 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity. Redeem me, and be merciful to me.

Psa 26:12 My foot stands in an even place. In the congregations I will bless Yahweh.


Psa 27:1 Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psa 27:2 When evildoers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

Psa 27:3 Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.

Psa 27:4 One thing I have asked of Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to see Yahweh's beauty, and to inquire in his temple.

Psa 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion. In the covert of his tabernacle he will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock.

Psa 27:6 Now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tent. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh.

Psa 27:7 Hear, Yahweh, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy also on me, and answer me.

Psa 27:8 When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "I will seek your face, Yahweh."

Psa 27:9 Don't hide your face from me. Don't put your servant away in anger. You have been my help. Don't abandon me, neither forsake me, God of my salvation.

Psa 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh will take me up.

Psa 27:11 Teach me your way, Yahweh. Lead me in a straight path, because of my enemies.

Psa 27:12 Don't deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, such as breathe out cruelty.

Psa 27:13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.

Psa 27:14 Wait for Yahweh. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for Yahweh.


Psa 28:1 To you, Yahweh, I call. My rock, don't be deaf to me; lest, if you are silent to me, I would become like those who go down into the pit.

Psa 28:2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you, when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Psa 28:3 Don't draw me away with the wicked, with the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.

Psa 28:4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings. Give them according to the operation of their hands. Bring back on them what they deserve.

Psa 28:5 Because they don't regard the works of Yahweh, nor the operation of his hands, he will break them down and not build them up.

Psa 28:6 Blessed be Yahweh, because he has heard the voice of my petitions.

Psa 28:7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices. With my song I will thank him.

Psa 28:8 Yahweh is their strength. He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.

Psa 28:9 Save your people, and bless your inheritance. Be their shepherd also, and bear them up forever.


Psa 29:1 Ascribe to Yahweh, you sons of the mighty, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.

Psa 29:2 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Worship Yahweh in holy array.

Psa 29:3 Yahweh's voice is on the waters. The God of glory thunders, even Yahweh on many waters.

Psa 29:4 Yahweh's voice is powerful. Yahweh's voice is full of majesty.

Psa 29:5 The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars. Yes, Yahweh breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Psa 29:6 He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young, wild ox.

Psa 29:7 Yahweh's voice strikes with flashes of lightning.

Psa 29:8 Yahweh's voice shakes the wilderness. Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

Psa 29:9 Yahweh's voice makes the deer calve, and strips the forests bare. In his temple everything says, "Glory!"

Psa 29:10 Yahweh sat enthroned at the Flood. Yes, Yahweh sits as King forever.

Psa 29:11 Yahweh will give strength to his people. Yahweh will bless his people with peace. 

 

Aug. 31

Romans 12

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

Rom 12:2 Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.

Rom 12:4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don't have the same function,

Rom 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Rom 12:6 Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;

Rom 12:7 or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching;

Rom 12:8 or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.

Rom 12:10 In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another;

Rom 12:11 not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Rom 12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality.

Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don't curse.

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.

Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Don't set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don't be wise in your own conceits.

Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men.

Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.

Rom 12:19 Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord."

Rom 12:20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head."

Rom 12:21 Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

 

Sept. 1

Romans 13

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.

Rom 13:2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.

Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,

Rom 13:4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

Rom 13:5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake.

Rom 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God's service, attending continually on this very thing.

Rom 13:7 Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.

Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Rom 13:9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not give false testimony," "You shall not covet," and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Rom 13:10 Love doesn't harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.

Rom 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed.

Rom 13:12 The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let's therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let's put on the armor of light.

Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy.

Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.