Provoking Thoughts

"Consider your ways…" – Hag. 1:7

Vol. 4 No. 1                                                                                         Saturday, April 11, 1998

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

The Cure for Selfishness

The problem with people is that they are selfish beings. They are motivated in everything they do by their own selfishness. It is the major factor in all their relationships to other people. That is why most marriages don’t last these days — one, or both of the parties involved think more of themselves and their desires than they do of their mate’s.or their children’s needs and desires. Selfishness is the root of the sin problem, therefore the root of ALL the problems on the face of the earth. While most will attribute the cause of sin to Adam, or their mother and father, a man is made a sinner by his own selfishness. He puts his desires and well-being above the desires and well-being of others and God.


SAVED PEOPLE ARE NOT SELFISH PEOPLE! It is no wonder that hardly any of those who make professions of faith in our day continue on in the faith and live for God. The basic problem is never dealt with. They are enticed to "make heaven their home," or to "go to heaven when they die," or to "escape the punishment of hell." They are told that Jesus will make their life worth living and be their provider and their comforter in their problems. These are purely selfish reasons to be saved, and they have no effect at all on a heart that is already selfish — except to make it even MORE selfish. These enticements may get them in the church, (probably for a short time) but they will not get them into the Kingdom of Heaven. The root of the problem must be dug out and dealt with.


Having established that the basic problem with men is their selfishness, the next question that comes to mind is, how do we deal with selfish people? What do we use to entice them to give up their selfishness and love their neighbor as themselves? What do you use to motivate someone who operates completely in a selfish realm to leave that realm and begin to give God and others first place? There is no promise or reward that will work because those just feed that selfishness that is the problem in the first place. No threat of punishment will change a selfish heart into a benevolent heart. That might cause them to do unselfish acts out of fear, but it won’t break that selfish heart and make it anew.

The greatest influence is example. You may TELL people all day about what they should do, but until you actually DO it before them, your words will have little effect. You may train your children in right and wrong and make them live by rules ever so strict, but the way you live before them will influence them much, much more that what you TELL them. Your example is the strongest message you preach. There is only one thing that has the power to subdue the selfish heart of man, and that is the example of unselfishness displayed on the Cross of Calvary. Surely this is what Paul meant when he spoke of preaching "Christ, and him crucified." We try in vain to entice the selfish sinners of our day to get saved with promises of heaven and threats of punishment, but many times we skip, or barely mention, the only part of the Gospel that has the power to do the job. A selfish heart cannot ignore the Innocent dying in the place of the guilty — and doing it willingly. Words of forgiveness for those who are piercing his hands and his feet, as they are doing it, just doesn’t fit in the thinking of a selfish mind. When he is truly brought face to face with Christ on the Cross, and the fact that is was for HIM that He died, his selfish heart MUST be moved. If it isn’t, there is NO HOPE in the universe for that man.


Finally, how can we expect them to believe a Gospel we preach, but don’t live? Before they will see Christ’s example they MUST see OUR example. The example Jesus set for us must be lived out in our lives before the selfish sinners we rub shoulders with in this world. Our lives must be examples of UNSELFISHNESS if we expect to see sinners broken and coming to Christ. According to Jesus, the first step in being born again is DENYING YOURSELF. After that the Christian life is a daily crucifixion. We must decrease for Him to increase. If a person will not DENY themselves, and take up the CROSS, and follow Jesus, they CANNOT be his disciple. (Luke 14:27) That is why a life of sacrifice for the cause of Christ always bears much fruit, and continues to do so for many years down the road. That example of unselfishness stops the selfish being in his tracks and he is forced to wonder how a person could be that way, and what makes him that way. Don’t be so foolish as to think that there are words, or plans, or formulas, or methods that will make the Gospel real to lost sinners. The Gospel in spoken words has no more power than any other story unless the supreme example of unselfishness is brought to bear upon the selfish heart of a sinner. When the messenger’s life is also an example of unselfishness, then the Gospel truly does have the power to transform that selfish heart into a loving, kind, thoughtful, benevolent heart that loves God and others more than itself. NOTHING ELSE WILL WORK! ‘

A lady is a woman who makes it easy for a man to be a gentleman. — unknown

Sound Doctrine

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (2 Tim 4:3)

Here are some of the things the word "SOUND" signifies, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary:

  1. Entire; unbroken; not shaky, split or defective; as sound timber.
  2. Undecayed; whole; perfect, or not defective;
  3. Founded in truth; firm; strong; valid; solid; that cannot be overthrown or refuted;
  4. Heavy; laid on with force; as sound strokes; a sound beating.
  5. Founded in right and law; legal; valid; not defective; that cannot be overthrown;
  6. not wild or wandering; not deranged.


The first thought Webster had about the word "sound" was related to trees. A tree is sound if the heart is as good and solid as the outer part. If the tree isn’t sound, it simply means that the heart is rotten, or that it has a hole, or holes in it. SOUND doctrine doesn’t have holes in it for people to wiggle in and out of. SOUND doctrine makes the way clear and discernable. SOUND doctrine produces lasting results in the hearts of people, not rotTEN HEARTS. SOUND DOCTRINE is able to stand the test of examination, without being overthrown. It is a sure sign your doctrine isn’t sound when you are afraid, or get upset when someone questions it. The deeper you probe SOUND DOCTRINE, the richer and better it gets. It won’t turn people into skeptics — it will make BELIEVERS out of them. This is one of the requirements of a bishop:


Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)


SOUND DOCTRINE is not wild and wandering. It presents a consistent picture of the character of God and what He requires of his creatures. It is like a house made of solid block, one on top of another. A skeptic can’t make a fool of those who teach SOUND DOCTRINE, because it MAKES SENSE. It is a solid house that can’t be knocked down. Much of what is being called Bible doctrine is nothing but nonsense and the mockers are having a heyday. Do you preach SOUND DOCTRINE? Think about it with an honest heart. Does your doctrine have holes in it? Are you like most preachers and afraid to talk much about your doctrine because you know you can’t defend the holes in it? What does your doctrine produce — lasting conversions? holiness in the life of believers? or rotten, bitter hearts that won’t serve God? Your command from the Scripture is to "… speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:" (Titus 2:1)


It’s time for a lot of people to be asking some questions about their doctrine. Anyone who isn’t willing to examine himself and what he is teaching is probably not teaching SOUND DOCTRINE. The cause of Christ, and the lost sinners of the world would be better off if a person like that would quit preaching altogether. It is much better to be ignorant than to be deceived by rotten doctrines and teachings that are rotten in the heart and full of holes. "



We have today in Christian circles, a group of people that is branding every child of God that is trying to conform to a set of standards according to the Bible as being legalist. How are they using the term legalist? Just what do they mean? Have they even considered the flip side of the term if they are applying it to some doctrinal issue? When we talk about being legal in some matter we are saying that a standard has been established and we must conform to it. Has God established a set of standards for certain areas of our lives that He expects us to abide by?


Let’s consider the doctrine of salvation. Can a man be saved just any way he wants to or is there a standard — a legal way God has set up for all men to be saved? Can we bypass the Lord Jesus? According to Acts 4:12 and John 14:6 and a host of other verses Christ is the only way we can be saved. To accept Christ do we not have to turn to God from idols to be saved? Is not someone who is still worshipping idols illegal when it comes to the matter of salvation?

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts 15:28-29)


What about the doctrine of repentance? Is there not a standard set up by God for us to go by? And if we don't go by that standard are we not then practicing an illegal repentance that God will not accept? The standard for repentance is found in 2 Cor. 7:10,11. The apostle Paul listed seven things that will be found in repentance if that repentance is a true biblical repentance. If this is not being preached and practiced by the church today are we not then guilty of being illegal in the matter of repentance? Can we take away from what God has established concerning a doctrine and still be legal {correct concerning the teaching}?


What about the doctrine of Grace? Has God set the standard for true grace in the Bible? Yes! True grace will teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. When someone takes away from the requirements God has established concerning holiness they have become illegal and are guilty of preaching a lascivious grace.


What about the requirements for being a pastor? Are they just in there as a broad guideline, or does God expect the Church to be legal in this matter and hold Her servants to these standards? The point I'm trying to make is that we have a lot of people that have become illegal in their thinking and living because they are not thinking their positions through and considering what the Bible requires of them. I'd rather be a "legalist" than an "illegalist."


Pastor Terry Norris


  Come Out From Among Them


That was the cry some years back when the great exodus from the Southern Baptist Convention took place and the Independent Baptist movement began to wax strong. But, as the old saying goes, "What goes around, comes around." A lot of us have been around long enough now to see the cycle complete itself and the merry-go-round has come back around to where it was then. It is amazing that a lot of the Independent Baptists are having a hard time understanding why so many are going back into the Southern Baptist Convention! The truth is, the differences have almost disappeared now.


Some twenty years ago the issues and the arguments for leaving the Convention had mostly to do with the Cooperative Program and the Southern Baptist colleges. Those schools were liberal in their standards for dress and conduct, and they had infidels on the faculties of many of them. It was about impossible to remove them because of the "politics" of the convention. They had too many friends in places of influence and authority. Then the missions money was being spent very inefficiently. The greater part was being eaten up in administrative costs before it ever got to the mission field. Of the part that did make it to the field some 70% was being used for social programs, such as medicine, food, and other helps, while only 30% was being used to preach the Gospel in any form. Why! We could do better than that! We would start our own schools and stand for righteousness and not compromise. No MAN would influence us to tolerate infidels and immoral hypocrites teaching our young people in the schools and preaching to our people in the churches.


Well, how about taking time out now and taking stock of how we’ve done? How many Independent Baptist colleges are there that you would feel comfortable sending your young son or daughter off to? You better do more investigating than reading their ads in the Sword of the Lord. Those who claim to have the highest standards for moral conduct sometimes have the highest rate of immorality. More and more of them are turning to new versions of the Bible. VERY few have any dress code that means anything. Then the doctrine they teach is almost always one form or another of easy-believism. Of course, all these things go hand in hand and where you find these kinds of situations you will NOT find God there.


What about the mission field? How are we doing there? Let me ask you a question, of the missionaries who come to your church, how many are actually going somewhere to try to preach the Gospel? I have noticed that almost all of them are going to "help" another missionary, or carry Bibles in, or food, or clothes, or do a printing ministry. I have also noticed that they are the ones who are getting the support. Those who have nothing going for them but plain old down-to-earth preaching and laboring are having a hard time getting and keeping support because the churches want to see "results" and they want to see them QUICK. So most, or at least a large portion, of the missions money from the churches is going to support things other than the basic thing, which is to go, live, and labor among some people and try to win them to Christ. If you have listened to the average missionary present his field lately, you know that we aren’t sending many PREACHERS to the mission field.


Then, what about the politics that were such a force in the Southern Baptist Convention? Do we have anything similar now among the Independent Baptists? Well, let’s see…we have very well known pastors who are accused of immorality, the evidence is presented, and they claim they do not have to respond because of their position. There are immoral men in many pulpits of Independent Baptist Churches now because of who they know and the pull they have. They are protected by other men with the excuse that, "the cause of Christ would suffer much more if this were made known, therefore it is better to keep it hushed up." How could the infidels in the colleges of the Southern Baptists be any more harmful to the cause of Christ?


Then finally, in doctrinal matters. It would be very hard to deny that the Independent Baptists have drifted far from the doctrines they had twenty or thirty years ago. The widest spectrum of beliefs and doctrines is in the Independent Baptist Churches. There is no standard anymore for anything, doctrinally, or in matters of worldliness and sin. It is simply "every man does what is right in his own eyes." When you say you are an Independent Baptist, it means absolutely NOTHING to those outside the Independent Baptist circles. If it does mean anything it is usually negative because they have had a bad experience with some Independent Baptist before. It has gotten to the point that I am actually ashamed to be known as an Independent Baptist. I don’t preach the same gospel that most of them do. I don’t believe salvation the way they preach it. Does that make me something other than a Baptist? If it does, then OK, I’m not a Baptist! But I think it would be well to study what these men teach and compare it to historical Baptist doctrines and see if THEY are really Baptists. We might find that someone has wandered far from the path and it is time again to COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and be ye separate, saith the LORD. If those known as Baptists begin to disgrace the grace of God and give occasion to God’s enemies to blaspheme, it would be much better to be called something else. It would be much better to be left outside the camp than to be a miserable compromiser just to stay in the clique and be accepted. ‘  

Because Jesus came , we can ….

  … have peace with God
be filled with all joy,
abound in hope,
be justified freely,
be alive toward God,
have the spirit of wisdom,
be under grace,
know the hope of His calling,
be conformed to His image,
be a child of God,
be His heir,
have victory,
know the riches of the glory of His inheritance,
be more than conquerors,
be enriched by Him in everything,
be strengthened with might by His Spirit,
be to the praise of His glory,
be rooted and grounded in love,
be filled with His fullness,
be renewed day by day,
be blessed with all spiritual blessings,
have a hope laid up in heaven.

Because of Jesus, we have so many reasons to rejoice!  



The Natural Man, The Spiritual Man, And The "Carnal Man"?

"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 1 have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

The teaching that there is a carnal man, makes it seem like the Scripture teaches that there are three kinds of men instead of two. This teaching says that someone, though saved, stills lives lustful worldly life. They get their teaching from chapter three of I Corinthians. Chapter 2 talks about the natural man (unsaved) ver. 14 and the spiritual man (saved) ver. 15, but it is in chapter three that some try to find a third man. Let us search the Scriptures to see if these things are so. (Acts 17:11)


"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. " (Rom. 8.5-6) Verse six says the carnal mind is death. A saved man is not dead, in fact he is born from the dead. "...but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead... " (Rom. 6 13)

A saved man is to be alive unto God but dead unto sin. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:11) A carnal man can not do this. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom. 8:7-8)

The so-called carnal man is still a friend of the world. He still has his same friends, goes to bars and parties, talks, and dresses like the world, only now he goes to church on Sunday. Scripture says, "… know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.." (James 4:4) "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19)

A carnal man walks in the flesh. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. 8:9) "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world..."(Eph. 2:2)

It goes on to say that it was the flesh and the mind (carnal) that we desired to fill, "...we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.." (Eph. 2:3) That was before we were saved but now we are, "... to walk, even as he walked.. " (1 John 2:6). Jesus said, "...he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness..." (John 8:12) We are to. "…walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind." (Eph. 4:17)

Paul was saying those Christians at Corinth were young Christians; almost like babies. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." (1 Cor. 3:1) For further emphasis Paul says, "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat... " (1 Cor. 3:2). This milk is expressed in Scripture for the simpler and easier things taught in God’s word. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby... " (1 Pet. 2:2) Even for an older Christian who is ready to teach is told to go over the. milk of God’s Word. One of the reasons is so he will remember not to go too deep when he teaches newly born Christians. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age... " (Heb. 5:12-14)

The teaching of the carnal man does not line up with Scripture. A major reason it is still used and taught today is so those that are saved can feel better about their loved ones who are lost and perhaps to excuse their own behavior. No one wants to think that his family member or friend is going to hell, so instead of telling them they are lost and separating from them like the Bible says they just call them carnal.. "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." (1 Cor. 5:11) By not doing as the Bible commands, they give them a false sense of salvation leaving them doomed. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21) The carnal man fits this to the tee, and so does the unsaved man, that is because they are the same man. ‘ by Greg Davis (from The Perilous Times)   (to be continued in next issue of provoking thoughts)


  A Forcible Hint

A preacher in this part of the country had recently given him what is called a pounding. When the people had come and gone, and the pastor with his family went in to view and classify the parcels on the dining table, they found one bundle in brown paper of a long and slender form. On it was pinned a white paper bearing the preachers name. Opening the package the pastors eyes were confronted with a most respectable-sized backbone that had been freshly dressed and purchased at the meat market. On the inside of the wrapper were the words, "You need this."

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine


Camp Time


Midway Bible Baptist Church
Fishersville, Virginia

Primary and Junior Camp — July 6-10

Teen Camp — July 13-17

Family Camp Meeting — August 2-7

Make plans now to attend. We are busy working and making preparations and are expecting to have the best camps ever this summer.
  For information call: (540) 943-3064

  Provoking Thoughts is a publication of  

Midway Bible Baptist Church (an Anabaptist Church) P.O. Box 419 Fishersville, VA 22939.

Midway Bible Baptist Church

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

Pastor Owen
OR Bro. Mike Miller


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

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