Provoking Thoughts

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

Volume 1 No. 2

Tuesday, November 1, 1994


Lowering the Standard

What Is The Evidence of Salvation?

A Woman's Scorn

Is Being Righteous And Being Saved The Same Thing?

Birds of a Feather

Odds and Ends

Lowering the Standard

There is a move on today to lower the standard in every area of life. Instead of holding up the heroes of the past as an example and an inspiration for the young people we see that heroes are being edited out of the textbooks in the public schools or portrayed as persons much less honorable than they really were. Instead of George Washington on his knees praying at Valley Forge the kids look up to people like Magic Johnson, who has AIDS because of his wicked lifestyle. He is held in high esteem while men of the past who lived virtuous lives and sacrificed themselves to give us our freedom are rejected or ignored. What is the motivation behind people who teach things in such a way? It is probably because it is much easier for a person to live wickedly if his heroes are wicked, and men are always looking for an excuse for their sin.

Sad to say, we see the same thing happening in the church. All the great men of the Bible are under attack by the preachers of our day. Many good men of God are swallowing this subtle trick of the devil hook, line, and sinker, too. The stories of the men in the Bible are given for our admonition and as an example for us to live holy lives and have God's blessing and power on our lives - not to excuse our sin. Yet a different message is going out today.

For example, when you hear a message about David, what is the central point of the message most of the time? Why, it is David's adultery! David is exalted by God more than any other man in the Bible. David's name is mentioned even more than the name of Jesus! He is called a man after God's own heart by the Lord himself. How many times does the Bible say that God did things "for David's sake"? 1 Kings 15.5 says: "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." David's life was NOT a life of sin and disobedience to God. There are many other things to preach about David that would cause people to desire holiness and a close walk with God. Why would a preacher emphasize David's sin? The only reason I can imagine is that his own life is full of sin, or he is trying to comfort the people who are listening to him in their sin.

Another example is Peter. How many messages have you heard lately emphasizing Peter's zeal and sacrifice for God after Pentecost? Virtually every time you hear about Peter it is when he sank in the water trying to walk to Jesus or when he cursed and denied the Lord. Let me remind you that both of these things happened BEFORE the Holy Ghost was given. He had no inner guide like he did after Pentecost and like ALL saved people have today. Even without that, Peter was the ONLY one of the twelve who had the faith to step out of the boat. He is ALWAYS mentioned first among the disciples - Peter, James, and John. He is exalted by Jesus and the rest of the New Testament and yet he is railed on and belittled by the preachers of our day. There is no better example to follow than Peter after he received the Holy Spirit. Why not preach him THAT way? Wouldn't that help people more?

There are many others we could talk about - Abraham, the father of our faith, you would think he lived his life down in Egypt if all you heard was the preaching done about him these days. Moses, chosen by God, and allowed to see God's glory, but he was a temper tantrum - throwing hothead who smote the rock twice. Some are even saying now that Job sinned and that is why all that evil happened to him, even though the Bible says plainly that he did NOT. Elijah was under the juniper tree. Jeremiah quit preaching. Paul wasn't any more saved than Lot. Wow! John Mark quit. Paul was a defeated Christian in Romans 7 who couldn't do right no matter how hard he tried. My, isn't that a comfort to the fornicators and thieves in the church! If Paul could do no better than that it isn't to be expected of anyone to do any better now.

When the standard is held high the people look up and climb UP to attain it. When it is lowered they relax and don't even try. One of the great revivalists of the 19th century said that as long as the sins of the prophets are exalted, there would never be revival. The Christian life is a walk UPWARDS, not down. The Christian shines brighter and brighter as he travels toward home. He is growing in holiness. He is getting cleaner as he goes, not dirtier, and not staying the same. Hold the standard high!

What Is The Evidence of Salvation?

"If you were to be tried in court for the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

What is the real evidence that someone is saved? To most people it doesn't seem to matter anymore. The pastor is charged with the care of the souls of those in his flock. Surely God would not put such a responsibility on a man when there is no way to discern the condition of another person's soul. Woe unto the preacher who is afraid, or fails to discern in this matter. Away with these soft-peddlers who say "judge not, lest ye be judged"! Let's use the Bible instead! 1 Cor 2.15 "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, . . ." What about that? Of course, if you want to judge someone into heaven, that is OK. No one cares if you preach a drunkard's funeral and preach him into heaven - it is just if you say someone might NOT be saved that upsets everyone. There ARE some things that are real evidence that someone is saved, but first, let's look at some things that are NOT real evidence of salvation.


Most people accept without question someone's testimony as evidence that person is saved. If they stand and say they were saved on a certain day and they remember what they prayed and how it happened, that is all they have to do and no one will give another thought to the state of their soul. But I challenge anyone to prove from the Bible that a verbal testimony is evidence of salvation. Sure, a saved person will testify, but a testimony doesn't prove that a person is saved.


It used to be only the Charismatics and Pentecostals that we accused of basing their salvation on experience. Now Baptists are doing the same thing. They stand and tell how they prayed and trusted the Lord on a certain date and they remember all the details, but their life since then doesn't bare witness to their testimony. It seems that many people will accept their verbal testimony of their experience OVER the Word of God. We believe they are saved if they had the right experience instead of judging them by the standard the Bible lays down. It doesn't matter what they prayed or experienced one time - that isn't evidence that they are saved at all.


If someone shouts and says "Amen" a lot, then everyone thinks they are surely saved. But again, this is not evidence to prove that the person is saved. A saved person will get happy and shout sometimes, but just because a person shouts doesn't prove that he is saved.


It would be easy to get in trouble here, but listen to reason for a moment. When we think of righteousness we think of outward things that a person does, or his lifestyle. If he goes to church, doesn't drink , smoke, curse and swear, wears clothes, treats others with kindness, then we judge him as being saved. What about the Mormons? You will have to admit that the majority do appear righteous outwardly? There are even some Catholics who really do live consecrated, sacrificial lives in spite of their religion. How sad that these people are headed for hell - but so are many Baptists who think they are saved. There are people of all religions who live outwardly righteous lives, but they are not saved. The Bible tells us in 2 Cor 11.13 that Satan's ministers can transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. So then outward righteousness is NOT conclusive evidence that a person is a Christian.

Now that we have said a few things about what is NOT the evidence of salvation, next month we will say some things about what we believe IS the evidence of salvation.

A Woman's Scorn

A real man is made out of stuff that is hard to find these days - like character, strength, honor, and courage. The man who is controlled by a woman has none of these things. God will not use a man that is lacking these things and He won't use a man that can't handle the scorn of a woman. "Hell hath no fury as a woman's scorn" is the old saying. While we know hell is worse than anything on this earth, it must be acknowledged that a woman's scorn is just about the toughest thing for a man to endure. He can overcome adversity, endure hardship and suffering of every kind, and then fall under the scorn of a little 110-pound woman. It is something to be reckoned with, and any man that wants to please God and be able to live with himself needs to consider this matter. What are we talking about when we say "a woman's scorn?"


Many women treat their husband as if he can't get along without her. She talks to him and responds to him and his affections with the attitude that he should just be glad and thankful that she is willing to pay him any mind at all. This keeps him in his place and keeps her with the upper hand at all times. It establishes her superiority in the relationship. She is the one who really calls the shots because he is afraid she might leave him. God pity the poor weak man who has a woman like this and he can't overcome her scorn.


Say what you want, everyone knows that a woman can do to a man with one cutting remark what five other men couldn't do with a good beating. She can make him feel ashamed and lower than a snake about himself. She can take all the wind out of his sails by insulting his ability as a lover, or a provider, or as a protector. A man can fail at his job or business over and over and not feel as bad about himself as he does when the little woman tears him down with her words. She was meant to be a help to the man - not to do that to him. She should be the one who is always FOR him and never against him.


It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman and a contentious woman is like a continual dropping on a very rainy day. A man is supposed to make the decisions and be the judge of the matters of the home. His help-meet is supposed to back him up, not be against him at every turn. A woman who is contentious wears her husband down. It ruins the harmony of the home. The children have no guide when Mama disagrees with Daddy and refuses to recognize his headship. Nothing is harder on a man than when his wife questions his judgment and his decisions - that is the scorn of a woman.


How did Delilah get Samson? With a little bit of scorn it was easy. All she had to say was , "if you really loved me, you would tell me all your heart." A woman will try to control a man by making him do things to prove his love for her that he shouldn't have to do. She will sometimes try to lead him away from God with this tool. "You think more of that church and that preacher than you do of me!" "I wonder how much you care for me - I never get to see you because you are always busy with someone else." God doesn't have to keep proving His love for us and a man shouldn't have to keep proving his love for his wife. If she demands that he do so all the time it is simply her trying to establish her dominion and control over him.


It is always best to look for the answer to our problems in the Word of God. Job was a MAN who was scorned by his wife and was able to take it like a MAN. There he sat in the ashes having lost everything but her and the few servants who had brought all the bad news. He says, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." He is faithful to God in the trial of his faith and what does his little woman say? "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die." What she was really saying was, "Job, you are a fool! Look what a mess you've gotten us into with your faith in God! How can you possibly still think you are right after you've gotten us in a mess like this? I wish you were dead, too!" It is the same line that many women use today on their husbands. It works real well on most men because they are too weak and spineless to keep going when the wife starts that stuff. It shatters them that the little woman doesn't have any confidence in them and it stops them in their tracks. They quit church and quit serving God rather than stand up to a woman. Job didn't waver a bit, Praise God! He just said, "You sound like one of the foolish women." and just kept on praising and trusting God like he had always done before. That woman's scorn did not stop him from serving God. If it had, don't you think the story of Job would have ended differently? His strength was not in that woman, neither was she the source of his joy and greatest pleasure. Take a lesson from Job, men.

David was another man who had to endure the scorn of a woman. When he came into Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant and was dancing and praising God, Michal was watching from a distance and she "despised him in her heart." She made sure to let him know what she thought later when he came home. She came out in front of the whole household and mocked him and derided him for the way he had acted when he was worshipping God that day. What she really said was that he had acted like a fool and was an embarrassment to her. David took it like a man. He let her know that if she thought he had acted bad that day, just wait until the next time - he intended to do more of the same. She didn't derail him in his service for God for a minute. He put her away and never went in to her again. He overcame her scorn. Take David's advice to Solomon: "Be strong and shew thyself a man."

In this day of feminism, it is hard to find a woman that will be what God intended for her to be. Feminism is un-godly and wicked to the core. Anyone who loves God hates it and should resist it's evil influence. Real men are not afraid of women and real men don't cower down under their scorn. Real men are what God is looking for and nothing else. He won't use spine-less men who fall under the scorn of a woman.

Is Being Righteous and Being Saved the same thing?

Many people are too quick to make words synonyms that really don't mean the same thing. Does being righteous (or just) and being saved mean the same thing? Is there such a thing as being called righteous without being saved? What does the Bible have to say about this?

There is a man named Cornelius in the book of Acts. He is called a just man before Peter ever gets to him to preach the Gospel to him. (Acts 10.22) This is the definition Strong's Concordance gives:

1) righteous, observing divine laws

1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

1a1) of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined

Was Cornelius saved before he heard the Gospel? He was trying his best to keep the commands of God, but he surely wasn't saved before he heard the Gospel.

The scribes and Pharisees were ascribed righteousness by Jesus, but He warned those listening that except their righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees, they would in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Pharisees prided themselves in their righteousness, but instead of counting in their favor, it counted against them.

Mat 5.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Were the Scribes and Pharisees saved because they were called righteous by Jesus?

Then there is a fellow named Lot. His salvation is based entirely upon one place in Scripture where he is referred to as "just Lot" and having a "righteous soul." It is interesting that the same word is used here as was used to describe Cornelius - BEFORE HE WAS SAVED. It is the same word Jesus used to describe the righteousness of the Pharisees - whom He also called the children of Hell. Lot never did anything in his life to prove he knew God. Lot knew about righteousness and had a desire for it because of his uncle Abraham, but Lot chose Sodom. What a contrast between Lot and Ruth! Why didn't Lot say like Ruth: "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."?

Lot never uttered a prayer to God that is recorded in the Bible. Lot never once turned from the world and it's allurement, but always had his eye toward Sodom. Lot called the sodomites "brethren" and offered his two virgin daughters to them to use and abuse in the street all night. But comparing himself to the Sodomites, Lot must have imagined himself to be a pretty righteous person. God delivered Lot from the destruction of Sodom only because of Abraham (Gen 19:29). You have to admit, Lot was a pitiful example for a saved man to follow, whether he was saved or not. When the likes of him are defended with vigor from the pulpit as being as saved as anyone else, the most wicked sinner can sit in the pew and identify himself as a saved man just like Lot. That is just the opposite of what preaching is supposed to do. The devil must be really pleased with that. Why would a man of God, or anyone for that matter, be so anxious to defend a man like Lot? A man who is getting drunk and molesting his daughters can sit there and think he is saved under that kind of preaching. You may think you are mature in your knowledge of God and full of the grace of God by not condemning people like that with your preaching, but the Holy Ghost does no such preaching as that. He is in the business of CONVICTING sinners of their sinfulness, which is necessary for salvation. Jesus would never have left an understanding like that in the minds of the people He preached to. If you preach a Gospel that allows sex perverts, drunkards, and adulterers in heaven, you are not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Bible tells us about. The Bible says plainly that they will not be in Heaven. Under preaching like that don't be surprised when the church is filled with people like Lot and the preacher is trying, in vain, to beg them into living holy, separated lives. 


You can recognize a false prophet by the kind of people that are captivated by him. When you have a guest preacher in your church, watch who is most impressed with him. If the worldly crowd in your church likes him and brags on him, you better look at him real close!

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 1 John 4.5

The world is completely contrary to spiritual things. If the man is spiritual and brings a spiritual message the worldly crowd will not take to him very well because his preaching will be heavy and convicting to them. Likewise, if he is of the world the worldly crowd will like him and be very impressed with him. He will entertain them and comfort them with flowery language and illustrations. They will go away feeling good. Many think that is the way you should always go away from the house of God-feeling good. If you have known sin in your life and you can go away feeling good without dealing with it, you should wonder if the man who preached to you is real or not.

Don't drive your stakes too deep - we're moving in the morning.


A careless word may kindle strife;

A cruel word may wreck a life;

A bitter word may hate instill;

A brutal word may smite and kill;

A gracious word may smooth the way;

A joyous word may light the day;

A timely word may lessen stress;

A loving word may heal and bless.

When criticizing, don't forget- God is listening.

What Do The Heathen Think Of Christians?

"They will submit . . . they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them." -Adolf Hitler

The measure of our love for God is our obedience.

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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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