Saturday, November 06, 2004


Man's Need, Rom. 3:9,10,23
  • Sin is disobedience to God, 1 Jn. 3:4
  • Sin is not something you're born with, it is something you do. Eph. 2:1-4 shows that the Ephesian Christians were formerly separated from God because of the sinful things they did. They were "children of wrath" because their nature (something that is developed by habit) was sinful [the word here for 'children' is not speaking of little ones, but of mankind as the offspring of God].
  • Sin is not passed on--though the temporal effects might be, Ezek. 18:20
  • Sin separates us from God, Is. 59:1,2
God's Grace
  • God's grace appeared in the form of Jesus Christ, Titus 2:11: "the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all men..."
  • God's grace is offered to all, Heb. 2:9; Tit. 2:11. God is not a respector of persons so that He only offers salvation to a select, elect few. He truly "desires all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."
  • God's grace came when man was helpless, Rom. 5:6-11; 1 Jn. 4:10
  • God's grace is received by those who have an obedient faith, Eph. 2:9,10; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; Mt. 7:21-23
Man's Response, Titus 2:12; Mt.16:24
  • Hear and Listen to the Gospel, Rom. 10:17; Acts 18:8
  • Believe It, John 3:16,36; Heb. 3:18,19 (note: mental acceptance isn't enough, saving belief is obedient)
  • Repent and Turn to God, Acts 3:19; Lk. 13:3
  • Confess Jesus is God's Son, Mt. 10:32,33
  • Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins, Acts 22:16; 2:38,40,41; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21
Once you have been cleansed of your sin, God places His Holy Spirit within you, Acts 2:38; Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 1:13,14; and He adds you to Jesus' body, which is the church, Eph. 1:21,22; Acts 2:48.


"No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." (Lk. 5:39)

Our duty is to trust in God, putting our confidence in Him, submitting to the Word He has given to us. We do this by living it, although it isn't always easily done. What we are, what we have become through a lifetime of experiences, has become nature; and our nature, formed by years of habit, does not change easily. Take Israel for example: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!'" (Exodus 32:9). "Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people" (Exodus 33:3). "But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction" (Jeremiah 17:23). Instead of listening to the voice of God through Moses, it was easier to continue in the old ways of thinking and acting.

This idea runs throughout the Bible. When Hebrews 4:1-2 says that the Israelites fell in the wilderness because "the word they heard . . . [was not] united with faith," The Hebrew writer is speaking to this principle. The people would not yield their mind--and their old ways--to admit that He was right. They fell back upon their own opinions, observing them rather than what God commanded. Interesting, but each man and woman of Israel probably did not go through a process of rejecting each command, but resting upon and trusting in those long formed habits produced the same end. Their attitudes and actions, then, as when old players refuse to accept new approaches to winning, showed what they deep in their hearts thought.

Luke 5:39 illustrates this tendency of man to reject something new. He shows that we have a natural resistance to new things: even spiritual things. This can be good or it can be bad. It is therefore very important that we be open and honest lest we reject God's will without ever really hearing it.

Are we open-minded so that, when the Bible is read or taught to us, we change when we are wrong? The people of Israel went the easy path, resting on old habits, by rejecting God's will. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are childlike in their faith. Israel did not have an open, honest, and obedient attitude. Scripture tells us, for the most part, their habits and attitudes never really changed. Though they were free from Egyptian bondage, they were not free from the old ways of thinking. They left, but their old ideas and habits did not.

How about you, when you read the Bible do you give it a fair chance? You may be 18 or 68 and find that you are comfortable with life, but the Word of God may have something new for you. Are you open and honest enough to change if you learn something totally new from Scripture?

Friday, November 05, 2004


There is a difference between an expedient and an addition to God’s Word. The Bible warns not to take away or add to it: to do so is to sin. However, the Bible also gives commands without giving every detail on how to fulfill them. These unspecified “details” are called necessary expedients because they are necessary for expediting the command. How does the follower of God know the difference between an addition and a necessary expedient? This has been a problem for many people.

The debate between those who justify instruments in worship and those who do not. Some people counter the argument against using instruments in worship–because there is no command for them in the New Testament–by pointing out that the Bible doesn’t command song books, but a capella churches use song books. Are a capella groups being inconsistent? The following graphical illustration should clarify the issue and help to settle the debate.

When the New Testament Began
1. In the center of the diagram is the general command to worship. From John 4:23,24 are two items that guide Christians in all things pertaining to worship: it must be done “in spirit and truth.” Because God specifically states what is acceptable, nothing is offered to Him beyond what He has specified.

2. The five specific items of worship include: Singing, praying, giving, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and teaching Scripture.

3. Connected to the five specific items of worship, the New Testament gives some details (gray box) or particulars showing how they are done: the details come in the form of specific commands, approved examples, or necessary inferences.”

4. Connected to these are the “expedients” (thick black box) – not addressed in Scripture, but they are arguably necessary if the command is to be fulfilled. For example: God says to assemble, but he does not say where. A rented building is therefore an expedient because it aids the Church if fulfilling the command to assemble. The song book is an expedient that helps the Church fulfill the command to sing.

5. Additions (pink box) are unnecessary to fulfill the God's commands. They are presumptuous and they open the door to other unscriptural practices. Because vocal singing requires no accompaniment, a musical instrument is not an expedient: instead, it is the addition of an unauthorized form of music. Selecting an appropriate meeting place to assemble is an expedient, but singing can be done anywhere and everywhere without the accompaniment of musical instruments. It is sophistry and human desire that justifies additions to God's Word.

6. When these principles are followed, the Christian can be confident that God is pleased with his worship.