Provoking Thoughts

"Consider thy ways . . ." - Hag 1:7


Volume 1 No. 1

Thursday, Sept. 1, 1994


IN THIS ISSUE:

Shooting Down The Dirty Birds

Why We Want To Print This Paper

Is Our Righteousness Really Filthy Rags?

A Better Covenant

The Real Plan of Salvation

Whatever Happened To The Church Covenant?

Could I Be Called A Christian?

How To Preach So As To Convert No One

Quotes From Our Founding Fathers

Odds and Ends



Shooting Down The Dirty Birds

You know the old saying: "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you CAN keep them from building a nest there." Is that really true?

Everyone tries to cast the blame for their failures and faults - and for their sin - on someone, or something else. That started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. It seems to be commonly accepted today that men are going to Hell because Adam sinned. The truth is men are going to Hell for THEIR OWN SIN, not the sin of Adam. No man will EVER stand before God and be judged for Adam's sin, but each man will give account of HIMSELF to God.

We are told by the pagan, heathen scientists and doctors that drunkards cannot help being drunkards because it is in their genes when they are born. The same bunch is trying to tell us that violent people are born that way and shouldn't be held responsible for their violence to other people. Now sodomites are trying to tell everyone that they were born that way and cannot help it. We should accept them as God made them.

Isn't it interesting that people who call themselves Christians, and say they believe the Bible are trying to say the same thing about THEIR sin? Because of Adam they were born that way and just can't help sinning, even though they have been redeemed and washed in the blood of Christ. It is something in their genes or in their blood that makes them tell lies and be hateful and commit adultery. And it seems that they think that force is much greater than the grace of God and the Blood of Christ.

Most of the problem lies in the mind and in our thought life. Most people seem to think that they are not responsible for their

thoughts. They try to use the excuse that their evil thoughts come from some outside source - demonic forces or the Devil himself. But the Bible is clear when Jesus said that they come from out of the heart.

Matt 15.19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Mark 7.21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Did you know how to murder when you were born? Did you think about adultery and fornication from the time you were born? No you didn't! You LEARNED to think about those things and filled your heart with evil. Now it plagues you with evil thoughts which it pulls out of the store you have laid by in your mind. When you continue to think those things now, you are guilty of sin. It isn't the Devil and it isn't anything about your nature - it is YOUR EVIL HEART and it is YOUR FAULT!

Your heart is the source of hatred, jealousy, envy, anger and bitterness. These things in your heart will cause you to wish evil on other people. If you are mad at someone you will begin to think about how to deal with them. Before long you have progressed in your thoughts to the point that you have beat them half to death and they are begging you to forgive them. In your mind you are justified and right in whatever you do, and it always turns out right in your mind - you always win and you don't feel that you have done anything wrong. Jealousy and envy will make you wish to see others fall and suffer. Looking will produce desires in your heart that will lead to evil thoughts. When you have adulterous thoughts it begins with something you look at, or have looked at in the past, with your eyes. That produces a desire in your heart that progresses into evil thoughts and then you find yourself indulging in those thoughts. It takes some willful thinking to carry through with adultery or fornication in your mind. When there is willful transgression, whether it is thought or deed, it is sin. When you wish evil on your neighbor it isn't a thought that was put there by some outside source, it came from the desires of YOUR EVIL HEART!

We are responsible for our thoughts. The Devil is the Tempter, and that is all he is. He cannot put a bottle to my mouth and make me drink. All he can do is suggest that I do it by appealing to my lusts - and he can't do that until I am drawn away of my lusts. He cannot MAKE you think about certain things either, but he can suggest things for you to think about. That is temptation and there is a great difference between that and WICKED IMAGINATIONS! God destroyed the world in Noah's day because "every imagination of the thoughts of his (man's) heart was only evil continually." (Gen 6:5) One of the things God hates is "an heart that deviseth wicked IMAGINATIONS." (Pro. 6:18) You do not have to entertain everything that passes through your mind. You are to "gird up the lions of your mind." You are to have it under control.

Therefore, when you let thoughts progress in your mind to the point that you are acting out un-godliness or committing a sin in your mind, then you have sinned against God and will give an account of it to God. You can't go out and get drunk or commit adultery and say "the Devil made me do it." Neither can you think evil and say it is someone else's fault. It isn't that you were born that way and can't help it and it isn't the Devil making you have wicked imaginations. It is your EVIL HEART. Confess your sin and get your thought life right with God and see if it doesn't make a difference in your life.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivityvery thought to the obedience of Christ; -2 Cor 10.4 - 5 


Why We Want To Print This Paper

We are not trying to make a name for ourselves. We are not trying to make money. We are not looking for meetings. We are not mad at anyone or seeking to hurt anyone - except the Devil. We don't think we know it all. We are willing to be instructed - if it is done from the Bible and not from doctrinal books and traditions. We simply want to provoke people to think. Few people are thinking on their own about what they believe or teach. For the most part they are just repeating what they have been told by some professor in a Bible college somewhere or some preacher who has a big name. As a result there is much false and dangerous doctrine being taught and preached and many people are being deceived and many souls are being doomed. All a person has to do is look around at the mess that is called Christianity today and he will know that something is drastically wrong. If he is a child of God his heart is grieved about the mess we are in.

We are not attempting to "straighten everybody out", but simply to challenge serious thought and personal study of the Word of God. We are not afraid to ask questions because that is how we learn. We believe the Bible is inerrant and has all the answers to our questions. Many times when we ask questions, we are not stating our position or our convictions in the matter, but simply challenging the reader to seek the answer for himself from the Word of God. We do not claim to have the answers to all the questions we put forth, but God expects us to think and to study. The television has raised whole generation now that cannot think on it's own, but must sit and have their minds controlled and fed by someone else. This mind-set has gotten into the church and now into most pulpits and this is our little attempt to do something about it.

We would appreciate feedback from the readers. We are not trying to pick a fight and we refuse to argue and fuss over the things of God. We believe that any man who is not willing to be instructed and corrected from the Word of God doesn't have the Spirit of Christ in him. We are sending out this paper with much prayer and a burdened heart, hoping that it will encourage preachers and laymen alike in the fact that the Gospel of Christ is still the "POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH." We are simply grounded through and through in this: that when a man is truly saved he isn't left to wallow in his sins as he has always done. We believe that the salvation of God through Christ makes a man a NEW CREATURE and old things are passed away. The Holy Spirit of God indwells the believer and leads him into all truth and will not lead him into error and sin. We believe Jesus came to save his people FROM THEIR SINS and nothing less. We believe we can stand and tell the sinner that there is hope for him and he really can be DELIVERED from his wretched life of sin. We refuse to preach a Gospel that does anything less than that for him. We do not believe that a man can do any good work to earn salvation, but neither do we believe in any kind of salvation that doesn't produce good works. We believe there is more to the Christian life than just missing Hell and going to Heaven when you die.

If you don't agree with us in this, then you won't like our paper and we would appreciate it if you would let us know so we can save the postage. However, if you are tired of seeing the kind of conversions that do not last and that do not get people out of their sin and into God's house, and your heart is really seeking to know God's truth and to see His power, then we invite you to join us in this effort. Let us know if you have been helped by the challenge or some article we put in the paper. If you have some input, we promise you that it will be received in a spirit of Christian love. 


Is Our Righteousness Really Filthy Rags?

The problem here is the same as in many other problem areas of doctrine: too many fail to recognize and apply the Scripture to the right people. The sinner's righteousness is as filthy rags because he is trying to buy his salvation with it. He is trampling the blood of Christ and esteeming his own goodness better than the atoning blood of the Saviour. It is easy to understand how God would despise and reject that.

But what about the saint of God? Does God turn his face away as if there was a terrible stink when one of his redeemed suffers reproach for His name? Is He really offended when someone denies themselves and surrenders to serve God on some foreign mission field? When a child of God turns from sin and begins to do righteousness, does God say "what a mess! what a stench in my nostrils!"? Of course He doesn't! Yet that is heard in the pulpits over and over being preached to Christian people. No matter what you do; the very BEST you can do, it is only "stinking rags".

What effect do you think that has on the person who wants to live for God? Do you think that it encourages righteousness? Surely it doesn't! If my best effort is going to be snubbed by God because it stinks, then I don't have much incentive to continue doing right. Is that the way it works in real life? Suppose you work on a job and do your best and every time the boss comes by he says your work stinks. Does that make you love him and want to keep working for him? No! You want to quit and get away from the old grouch.

Please don't represent God that way! He is pleased and smiles on those who do things to please Him - after they are saved and they do it out of gratitude for what He has already done for them. What makes them stinking rags is when they are held up to God as if you are doing Him a favor. If you think of your righteousness as a favor from you to God, then they are stinking rags. It could be possible for a saved person to fall into that for a while, but that is what a lost person always does with their righteousness. They present their good works to God and say, "now God, what are you going to do for me?' If you really want to encourage righteousness in the people you preach to, show the difference between the saint and the sinner. €


A Better Covenant

Hebrews 7.19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 8.6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 11.40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Sort of sounds like there might be a little difference doesn't it? If there is, then shouldn't we be careful in using Old Testament examples to illustrate a New Testament Christian and his walk with God? Here are a few questions. Maybe you can help us answer them.

1. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, was that really a true picture of New Testament salvation for us?

2. If it was, then how did Korah and his bunch go directly to Hell from the wilderness? Did they loose their salvation? Can we loose our salvation then?

3. If coming out of Egypt is a true picture of salvation, then where is the picture of repentance before they came out?

4. Was every soul that came out of Egypt saved? ALL of them, (except two) died in the wilderness.

5. Was the wilderness a picture of the defeated Christian life? Moses died in the wilderness; was he a defeated Christian?

6. Among that group were thieves (Achan), fornicators, idolaters, and many other ungodly people that showed up along the way. Does that mean that is the kind of crowd that is going to heaven, too? Does it mean that in the bride of Christ, that is spotless and without wrinkle, also includes such people?

7. If it was a true picture of the salvation we have in Christ, does it mean that there really are two levels of Christianity; you can get "in" and go to heaven but live your life in the wilderness and sin?

8. Did God provide and take care of them because of their standing with Him or did He do it because of the promises He made to Abraham?

The point is: is there any difference in what those Israelites had and what we have? It appears that way if you study the Bible, especially the book of Hebrews. (Read Hebrews 8:9) 


The Real Plan of Salvation According to Jesus Christ

Jesus said that after He left, the Holy Spirit was to come and He also told us the work that the Holy Spirit would do and how He would do it.

Jesus said in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit would reprove the world of SIN, of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and of JUDGMENT, in that order.

The first thing that must be dealt with when you deal with a sinner about his soul is his sin. He must realize he has offended a Holy God and be brought to the point that he is anxious to repent and forsake his sin. Then he must "count the cost." He must realize that he is expected to live a righteous life AFTER he gets saved. Then he is ready to hear about the judgment of God and his doom to an eternity in Hell if he doesn't turn. Any other way and he makes a profession for selfish reasons - to save his hide.

It is amazing how men do it exactly backwards to the plan of God and still expect the Holy Spirit to cooperate with them. Men usually start by trying to put the fear of Hell in a person and from there they talk about how they don't have to do any righteousness in order to be saved. And last of all they talk about their sin. Just come as you are and God will deal with you about the sin in your life AFTER you are saved.

If you want the Spirit's power in your work for God and in your soul-winning efforts, you must use HIS plan-not yours, or someone else's. The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to do HIS work if only someone will tell people the truth and do it God's way.


Whatever Happened To The Church Covenant?

Do you remember when the church covenant used to hang on the wall of the church? Whatever happened to it? Who took it out and why? Was it a good thing or was it not pleasing to God and a hindrance to the church? Why was it there in the first place?

Covenants are pretty common things in the Bible. God made covenants with Abraham, Jacob, Noah, the children of Israel and many more. David and Jonathan made a covenant between themselves. The New Testament is called the New Covenant .

Read the covenant below and see if you can find any reason that God's people shouldn't make such a covenant with one another.

+ + Church Covenant + +

Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort: to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions: to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.


Christians?

Could I be called a Christian if everybody knew,

My secret thoughts and feelings and everything I do?

Oh, could they see the likeness of Christ in me each day?

Oh, could they hear Him speaking in every word I say?

Could I be called a Christian if everyone could know,

That I am found in places where Jesus would not go?

Oh, could they hear his echo in every song I sing?

In eating, drinking, dressing, could they see Christ in me?

Could I be called a Christian, if judged by what I read?

By all my recreations, and every thought and deed?

Could I be counted Christ-like as I now work and pray?

Unselfish, kind, forgiving, to others every day?


HOW TO PREACH SO AS TO CONVERT NOBODY

Let your supreme motive be popularity rather than salvation.

Study to please your congregation and to make a reputation rather than to please God.

Take up popular, passing and sensational themes to draw the crowd, and avoid the essential doctrines of salvation.

Denounce sin in the abstract, but pass lightly over sins that prevail in your congregation.

Preach on the loveliness of virtue and the glory of heaven, but not on the sinfulness of sin.

Reprove the sins of the absent, but make those who are present pleased with themselves, so that they will enjoy the sermon and not go away with their feelings hurt.

- Charles G. Finney


Quotes From Our Founding Fathers

"It cannot be emphasized to strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ." --Patrick Henry

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

--John Jay,

(first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court)

He thought a little differently than the latest appointee for the Supreme Court, didn't he?


Contentment -

isn't getting what we want, but being satisfied with what we have.


Trust Him when dark doubts assail you,

Trust Him when your strength is small,

Trust Him when to simply trust Him,

Seems the hardest thing of all.


It's better to suffer for the cause of Christ than for the cause of Christ to suffer.


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Send us his (or her) name and address and we will be happy to add them to our mailing list.


Midway Bible Baptist Church



Pastor: 540-943-3064
Church: 540-943-1678

Email:
Pastor Owen
OR Bro. Mike Miller

Webmaster


Midway Bible Baptist Church
P.O. Box 419
Fishersville, Virginia 22939

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