What makes all doctrines plain and clear?
About two hundred pounds a year,
And that which was proved true before
Proved false again? Two hundred more.
—Samuel Butler (1600-1680), in Hudibras. Part 3. Canto 1.
Spurgeon quoted this verse, and nothing else, in his comment on Psalm 26.10, about sinners “who are always ready to do wrong or offer a bribe.” Remember that the pound is the UK’s currency.
Money changes what many people will preach as the truth. The Greek orators took up any argument for pay. That idolatry is found in religion today and in some places even in the church of God.
While we pray that the Lord of the harvest may send more workers into his fields, we pray also that they may be people of integrity and righteousness, people of conviction and loyalty to “the grace of God in all its truth” Col 1.6 (as rendered by the Brazilian NVI version).
Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Col 1.6.
The gospel speaks of Jesus. It is content and communication, the power of God for salvation, “the message of truth” v. 5. As communication, the Good News must be heard and understood. Anyone can communicate it. The Colossians learned it from Epaphras, v. 7. One need not be an apostle to transmit it.
On the lips of many disciples, the Good News bears fruit and grows. It is not limited in its extent nor in its location. It does not depend upon huge financial resources nor upon eloquent preachers. It does depend upon everyone speaking and many hearing. Continue reading →
To God, it matters, a lot, what and who you approve of. Perhaps, these days, indifference prevails among most people. Since we hear and see much that goes on around the world via the Internet, most people just shrug. “If they want to do or teach that, it’s their business.”
But what happens when it’s on our own turf? What to do when they come into our congregation? Or, to bring it into the age of the Internet, when someone joins and posts their teachings to your Facebook group?
An important rule of walking with God is to know Scripture within its context. Avoid misusing verses of the Bible. It is God’s word and will for our faith and life. We must respect the original meaning of its author. (This is a concept that many reject today, but twist something they say and listen to them howl!) Continue reading →
READ: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” 2 Tim 2.15 ESV.
THINK: The right handling of the word spares the disciple from shame and allows him to be approved by God. It also helps him to avoid involvement in useless debates and profane chatter, vv. 14, 16. Right handling is more than reading: it means a careful study in order to arrive at a correct comprehension of the text, that leads to communicating “with precision” (ISV). Continue reading →
READ: “You have purified your souls by obeying the truth” 1 Pet 1.22.
THINK: Obeying the truth is the same as obeying the Lord Jesus, Mt 7.21. This truth is revealed in Scripture. Obedience purifies the soul from sin, which means redemption, Eph 1.7. Eternal salvation is for those who obey Jesus, Heb 5.9. Faith without obedience is useless for justification, Jas 2.14-26. Continue reading →
READ: “But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head” Eph 4.15.
THINK: The neologism above expresses the Greek verb alētheuō, for which English has no corresponding term. It means speaking the truth, Gal 4.16, and “remaining attached to the truth (of the gospel), holding fast to it, … being of the truth, loving it, professing it, carrying it out; in other words, conforming one’s conduct to it” (Spicq). Continue reading →