10/7/2021 -Morning Service – Holding Firm to the Truth – Des Steyn
And we, as the churches of Christ are known as the restoration movement. Now we are the restoration movement, not the restoration stagnant. We are constantly on a quest to understand and to grasp the church that is in the mind of God.
The New Testament church, not the first century church, because when we look at the churches in the first century, there were a lot of them that had a lot of trouble. You read Corinthians and they were they were getting themselves into big time trouble and we learn from their mistakes.
We learn what not to do. We also learn what we should do. Now we, as the Church of Christ, have a very distinct identity, and that's what I want to talk to us about this morning. The fact that we are attempting to draw closer and closer to Jesus, but to do what God wants us to do as
the Church of Christ, and you've got to know, we call ourselves the Church of Christ, because that is what the Apostle Paul called it in Romans 1616. He said the churches of Christ welcome you or greet you, not some other church Christ's church.
Christ said to Peter, You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church. And that's why I love the name Church of Christ. Imagine you guys, if you are going to get married to the love of your life and you standing at the front and she walks down the aisle and she's all dressed in wonderful
white and she gets up to you. And the preacher is about to start the ceremony and she leans over to you and she says, I don't really like your last name. So and she looks in the audience and she says, I think I want to be named after Joe soap.
And from now on, I want to be known as Mrs. Soap. Do you think he would be? He would be OK with that. I think he would be highly insulted. And that's what's important for us to be called the Church of Christ because it is Christ's church, and that's just the beginning of where it's at.
Now, last week, I talked about the what is the greatest commandment, remember the Jewish leaders try to trick Jesus. Finally, the teachers of the law said to him, What is the greatest commandment? And I want to repeat what I said.
He simply replied to them, Hero Israel, the Lord, our god. The Lord is one God and you shall love the Lord. Your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. So we talked about that. We also looked at The Shimmer, which is in Deuteronomy Chapter six, from which Jesus gets these words.
But what the Shamar adds to that is and you shall teach these words diligently to your children and shall talk to of them when you sit in your house. And when you walk, by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.
And so what they're saying, what Moses was saying here in Deuteronomy six is You shall love the Lord, your god. And don't ever forget it. Talk about it all the time. So last week, we talked extensively about the love that we have for God.
The way we love God is to also love our fellow human beings. We talked about how God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son for us. But this morning? I want to spend time talking about the full components by which we express our love to God and to our neighbors, and of course
, the first one is is the heart. But before I discuss these, I want to just remind us of what I said last week is oftentimes we have a real struggle between what the mind says and what the heart wants to say, because the mind is the intelligence.
It is the clinical side of us, whereas the heart is more the emotional side of us. And so we get into situations where we we have a tension between what we know should be done and what we end up wanting to do.
Maybe because of the pills that we have, maybe our relatives, our friends, they may have a different idea on how God should be obeyed and because we love them. We don't want to. We don't want to get into a negative situation with them.
And so we have this tension going on. Well, yeah, I know what God wants, but that's a little different. It's not what God wants, but is it going to be okay for me to go that direction a little?
And what happens there is that we have to understand that God has given us specific commands, but he has given us a pattern and that pattern is has been mentioned to us. And the Apostle Paul also says in first Corinthians 46, you have learned by Apollos and me to not go beyond what is written.
And so we have a pattern. And you look at a pattern, especially the ladies who have have done sewing, will understand what a pattern is all about. It is also a a if you bake a cake, you have a recipe.
It's a similar idea, but you can take a pattern. You can go down to the the fabric store and buy a pattern and then you can take it anywhere in the world at any time and you can open up that pattern.
You can put the fabric down, put the pattern on the fabric candle around it. I watch my wife do that a long time ago, but she has. She did it and I learned from it. And when it's all sung together, the shape of the garment is exactly the same as the shape of any garment anywhere in the
world that followed that same pattern. And that is what we as the churches of Christ. What I love about the churches of Christ is that we put a high value on following the pattern and doing what God wants us to do.
Thomas Campbell was the one who coined the phrase, we speak with the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent. And I think it's really important for us to be silent where the Bible is silent to speak with.
Peter tells us in verse, Peter, that when we speak, we speak as the articles of God. So when we if we want authority. It is not us speaking. It is simply us pointing out what God has said. It is that simple.
And yet at the same time, when they are individuals, they are churches out there that have taken license. With that being silent, where the Bible is silent and they have felt that it's OK to speak, where the Bible is silent.
And that is what has given rise to denominational schism in the denominational world. And when you go out there and you see all of the different views and doctrines that are out there, that conflict completely conflict with each other.
And yet they all say, Well, we believe in the word of God will. What has happened when you boil it down is they have chosen to speak with the Bible is silent. And so you find things happening, you find
The Bible does not talk about even history bears out the fact that instruments were not used in the first century church in the New Testament church. And yet they, speaking with the Bible, is silent, and so they feel it's OK to bring that in.
It's not safe for us to see how close we can get to the edge because we may just slip over this. Next thing I'm going to share with you is something that I kind of debated sharing with you, but I feel like it's important for us.
To know what's out there in order to be informed and be armed because there are churches of Christ from among our own fellowship who are speaking where the Bible is silent, even to the point where they have gotten on to a slippery slope and that slippery slope is almost turned into a freefall.
What I want to share with you is sad, but I think it's necessary for us to be aware of how important it is for us to hold on to the gospel truth and to never let it go. There are two churches of Christ, to my knowledge, that I know for sure.
one in Dallas and one in Connecticut, who have become what they call affirming churches. Now the word affirmation is a wonderful word. We affirm somebody as good works and we affirm this and we affirm our love and all that.
It's a good word that they have taken that word and they have made. It means something else. And what these two congregations have done is they have accepted same-sex marriage. And that tells me that they have spoken with the Bible is silent.
In fact, the Bible is not even silent on that particular subject. In in Leviticus, it actually says if if two men are found together, take them out and stoned them is an abomination. The Bible is not even silent about that.
And yet what is happening is is when people try to say that a passage of scripture does not mean what it says, what they end up doing. And it's very obvious what they end up doing is they end up bringing out all kinds of flowery research and they will.
They end up performing what I call scriptural gymnastics. They will. They will make a straw man. They will throw out a red herring and they will do all of these things in order to say and Adobe become a huge study.
I've done studies in this. Believe me, it would be a lot of stuff in order to simply say that passage does not mean what it says. And as soon as that starts happening, I begin to to quake because they are venturing into an area where where they do not need to be.
So when we talk about the heart. The heart alone is not the measure of completeness. In Matthew, Chapter 15, remember he the Pharisees came to Jesus and they said, You guys, you and your your disciples, you're doing wrong because you're not washing your hands before you eat.
And so Jesus says to them, he says, Well, that Isaiah prophesy of you says, these people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me in vain. Do they worship me teaching as doctrines, the precepts of men?
And that exactly is what is happening in what we call the more progressive slash liberal churches is that they are losing what God has bound. The Pharisees were also bound what God has loosed. But there is a losing what God is bound.
In other words, they have become so open minded their brain has fallen out. But in verse 17, then Jesus also says, Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and so passes on?
So he is saying, you know, you complaining about us not washing our hands and we're eating, but you know what? It's going to go away anyway. And so Jesus was saying washing hands is not that big a deal.
Now I know children would love to hear that they would use it against their parents when we tell them to go and wash your hands. Well, the Bible says we don't have to know. It just makes sense that for cleanliness sake, we wash our hands.
But washing our hands. If you want to eat with dirty hands, eat with dirty hands, it's OK with God. In fact, I think maybe it helps us develop some more antibodies. They may be a good thing about stuff like that, but that's got nothing to do with us.
Listen. So but in verse 18, Jesus then says, But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. And this defiles a man. four out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness and slander.
These are what defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man. And so he is saying there that the evil that comes out comes from the heart. And yet we find other passages like the one we've already read where Jesus says, Love God with all your heart.
Proverbs 35 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. What he's saying is we need to be silent with the scriptures are silent proverbs for those 23 above all else. God your heart for everything you do flows from it.
Psalm 37. Verse four Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. And so we see that the heart can be trained. But the mind is what trains the heart. And so we've got to spend time training the mind by studying.
Because that's where knowledge grows in Romans chapter eight verses five through eight. It does not use well, it does this fight for those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh. But those who live, according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit.
To set the mind on the flesh is death. But to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law.
Indeed, it cannot. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And so I think what you're saying here is before we decide to study what we have, we know we need to study, which is the Bible.
We need to first have decided we wanted to study what is good and we want to study what God wants from us, and that's what we were going to apply to our lives. Rather than saying, well, I would prefer to go to the to the flesh because that's a lot of sense of fun out there.
And on that basis, I will study the Bible. Well, that's what gives rise to these long books that try to explain away very obvious verses that the Bible uses in Romans twelve is to, he simply says, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove
what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect, but perfect. So you're saying do not be conformed to this world? And so we turn away from it and we set the mind on the things of the spirit.
second, Timothy, first three, 16 and 17, all scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
And so you see, this is accomplished through study. And when we study the word of God, it is a big deal thing for us because and I've said this before. Weeks ago, within the pages of of, this book is contained the destiny of the souls of mankind.
Our destiny is contained here and how we apply. It is important to God and therefore should be important to us. In second, Timothy, Chapter one and verse 13, the Apostle Paul simply tells Timothy follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
And so we recognize again, I'll come back to this. This understanding of the pattern is the same as a as ingredients in a recipe you same as a telephone number even, you know, if my number is 8178915146, and I'll say that's that's what my number is.
And you decide, Well, I'm going to get through to you and I'm going to dial 8178915147. Will you get through? No, it's important for us to do our best as a second term of the 215 tells us to present ourselves to God, a workman who rightly handles the word of truth.
Well, what is it telling us? He tells it, implies there is a wrong way to handle the word of truth. And so. The doctrines that we apply to ourselves are all important. I will also tell you that they are there are things in the Bible that we read that are impossible to understand and impossible to understand the
deep things of God. Deuteronomy 2929 it says the deep things belong to God and. I'm going to misquote that passage, but what you're saying is you work with what God has given you and leave the deep things up to God, who understands the Trinity, who understands God as the father, son and Holy Spirit, who we can use
the illustrations to try to help us understand. But I don't think it's humanly possible for even a being able to understand that I love the fact that the Bible talks about things that is impossible for us to understand, simply because it proves that it was written by a superior mind.
It was not the figment of a human being's imagination, and it was not based on human thought. It was based on something that is beyond. And so when we come across things that are impossible, let's leave it up to God.
There are also some things that are difficult to understand. In fact, the Apostle Peter tells us that in second, Peter, 316, he says they are some of the things that Paul has written. There are difficult to understand. Well, well, this is the Apostle Peter talking about some of the things Paul has said and you look at Romans
Chapter nine, that's not easy to understand. We have to really work through that. And the Apostle Peter is telling us something. But what he adds is which this unstable and the ignorant twist to their own destruction. And all is telling us that when we deal with stuff that is really difficult to understand, let us be humble about
it and let us accept that this is difficult to understand. And because of that, it is just my opinion that I'm going to share it with you. But I've said that to say this, all of the things that the Bible talks about that are that pertain to salvation.
What it is we have got to do to be saved. And what it is we've got to do to be pleasing to God are unbelievably simple. The Bible just says it, and that settles it. It is simple because anybody, anywhere in the world.
Educated or even uneducated, if they are shown the basic gospel, what is necessary to be saved, they will be able to understand it. You do not have to have a Ph.D. in biblical Greek in order to understand what God has told you.
What you need to do to be saved and God, in his wisdom, obviously has made sure that anybody, anywhere in the world who hears the word of God can be saved and can also take what the word of God has told him and apply it to their lives and to be pleasing to God.
And then finally, I would submit that knowing and understanding the pattern of worship and Christian lifestyle is all important. And once we figured that out, allow that knowledge to dump down into our hearts so that we can harbor it in our very soul so we can take it into the core of our being the essence of our
being. And that brings us to loving God with our soul, the word soul, the Greek word sukh is used in two different ways in the New Testament. one, it just it's the essence of a person's life, their being.
It is also used in connection with our eternal existence, and the context will always help us understand. And I think that when we decide to take what we learn and put into our soul, it means that we need to use that information and use that emotion to connect us with God in order to have that communication going
so that we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. And then finally, the word strength that simply means that everything that we have within us must simply be outworked. And the way we accomplish that is to be a good citizen is to be obedient to the laws provided they don't conflict with the law of God.
To be loving, to be kind, to be forgiving, to be gracious. To be a sweet smelling saver, not just to the nostrils of God, but to the world around us, so that by our activity, by the light that we exhibit, by the salt that we feed, they can be drawn to God.
And when we accomplish that, we are accomplishing the will of God. And so we are invited. At the end of every lesson, we're just permanently invited, we're always invited, we're invited, even you don't even have to wait for somebody to preach a sermon in order to be able to come forward and let you or your needs be
known during the week, you can call up the elders or members and we will respond. But it is important for us to to align ourselves with God. In such a way that we are good for the planet Earth.
And so we are invited to respond and to present ourselves as a living sacrifice as we stand. And as we sing.