Provoking Thoughts

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

Volume 2 No. 2

Wednesday, June 14, 1995


What Is REALLY Your Bible?

Jesus: The Perfect Teacher

Where Do We Stand?

Delighting In The Law of God


Where Does Faith Come From?

What Is Really Your Bible?

So many people say loudly and clearly that they are "Bible Believers." They say the Bible is their guide and rule for living. They say the Bible is the "final authority" for all faith and practice. It is the standard by which we judge all things - IF we are really "Bible-believers."

Isn't it strange then that so many of these same people pay no attention to what the Bible clearly says when it disagrees with their judgment, or assessment of another person's spiritual condition. For example, when confronted with a Bible truth that is hard for them to accept, they run to some experience they, or someone they know has had. They try to prove what they believe because of what happened in that experience. These people base their doctrines of Salvation, chastisement, and God's attitude toward sin on experience rather than the Word of God, and at the same time say they are "Bible-believers!"

The Baptists used to raise their voices against the Pentecostals for basing their relationship to God on their experience. But now the Baptists have become experts in doing the same thing, except they do it in almost all areas of Christian living and Salvation itself. For example, most seem to believe now that a person is definitely saved forever if he can remember a time and a place where he prayed the "sinner's prayer." Once he has had this "experience," it doesn't matter if the Spirit of God bears witness with his spirit or not. It doesn't matter if he ever turns from sin to live a holy life for God or not, because he has that "experience" to stand upon. In fact, many say that it doesn't matter if he ever goes to church; he is still saved because of his "experience." He can even hate the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and everyone in it, and still be saved because of his "experience" at that one time and place. It doesn't matter anymore that his whole life is contrary to the Word of God and what it teaches about a child of God. No one can question his salvation because, after all, he did have that experience.

As a rule, men determine what they believe from what they see in other people and from their own experience and then they twist the Scriptures to fit what they already believe. Instead of seeking after the Truth, accepting it as the authority, and judging themselves and other men by it, the Truth is subject to their opinions, based on their experience. If you don't understand what we are saying think about this: Most professing Christians today are very well indoctrinated in situational ethics. It is the common practice among them to invent situations in which they try every truth that is presented to them. These situations are usually far from reality, but could conceivably happen. You have heard it: "Well, what if you were in a situation like this, what would you do them?" With such thinking the law of God is nullified and the truth is made a relative thing instead of an absolute. Every man is a god unto himself and does what is right in his own eyes. With this kind of religion there is a situation for every kind of sin to be excused and accepted. We live in a day when men have separated sin from the sinner in order to "love" him. Now he has become a victim instead of a transgressor of God's law and everyone strives to understand his side of things instead of God's side, and the reasons why he committed the sin.

Unless the Bible is our absolute authority and we judge ourselves and others by it's standards, we have a worthless religion indeed. Our feelings toward those we love must not enter in here. That is where most people stumble into this error. "I know that person is saved!," they will say, because of the experiences they have that they consider to be evidence of salvation. Then they proceed to find a way to explain or excuse that person's ungodly behavior, and in so doing compromise the Truth of the Word of God. When people do this with their children, which is the most common case, they forfeit any hope of ever seeing their children saved, and they both are left in deception. For the only hope for any son of Adam is to realize the Word of God is the absolute Truth, judge himself by it, and receive it as the guide and law of his life. The Law of God (the Bible) doesn't conform to us, but we are to be conformed to it. One of the most sure signs of a real born-again person is that he CONTINUES. To those who are really born again the Bible says: "But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition." These people have the assurance of eternal life, but the Bible nowhere gives that assurance to those who turn back to wallow in sin! If we hope to ever see that loved one truly come to a saving knowledge of God, we must hold the Truth before them without compromising. The Truth will set you FREE! If a person doesn't measure up to what the Scriptures describe as a Christian, then we must treat them as lost sinners. We must NOT back up and try to make the Bible concur with their ungodly life. Now, you be honest with yourself; what is your Bible?

Jesus - the Perfect Teacher

"And he opened his mouth, and taught them, . . ." (Mat 5:2)

There are people in the world who make their living teaching others. Teaching others is a part of life, whether it is our children or a new person on the job at work. Every one of us has to be a teacher sometime during our lives. Some people are gifted for the job of teaching and do a good job at it, but they are influenced by their own opinions and ideas and will invariably inject their ideas into whatever they are trying to teach. They have their own motives, desires, and goals in mind when they are teaching others, and it will always affect the way and the content of what they teach.

There has never been another teacher like Jesus. he was not influenced by the things people are. He had no ulterior motivesas He taught. He said not a single word out of selfishness - with the motive being his own personal gain. Every word He spoke was full of benevolence toward you and I. There was not an ounce of deceit or craftiness in his words - his words were PURE words. They are life and health and strength to those who will drink them down and digest them well. There are no vain or unnecessary words in his speech put in to fill up space or take up time. EVERY word is pure and priceless. His words are CLEAN and unspotted by worldly wisdom and reasoning - they are the words of GOD. They were not tainted with any uncertainty or doubt - his words are SURE words. HE IS THE TRUTH and his words are completely TRUE. The devil had "nothing in him." When He gives you a promise you can rest in it forever.

"Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. . ." is plainly referring to the words Jesus uttered while He walked the earth. Hold on to each word as you realize it's value and it's worth to your soul's health. As you meditate on them you will find they are loaded with limitless treasures that most men miss because of their lightness and hurrying. Let Jesus be your teacher, for there is no man that can teach like Him.

Where Do We Stand?

In our first issue we had an article stating our reasons and goals in publishing this paper. We feel that we need to say a few more words to clarify and reassure folks about where we are coming from with our questions and thoughts.

First of all, we want to make clear that we are not trying to sow discord or doubts. Every question we put in this paper is only intended to challenge you to THINK and STUDY the BIBLE and find the basis for every doctrine THERE instead of from some other source. That source may be a Bible College or some man that you highly respect, or it might be a book written by some man. We are not against any of these things, and we are not in any way attacking any certain college or man. If they are doing their job right they should be pointing people in the same direction as we are trying to do in this paper. No college or man should want to make people into puppets that only mimic what they have been told. Such shallow faith can never stand the trials of life and the fiery darts of Satan.

We don't pretend to know all the answers to the all the problems in the church today, but we should start somewhere and the place to start is with ourselves. After all, that is what we tell the sinner he must do if he wishes to be right with God. Also, that is where we will find the problem. The leaders of the church should no more cast the blame for the condition of the church than the sinner should cast the blame for his sin on someone else. When we speak of the church, we are speaking in general terms, not about a certain camp or clique within the Independent Baptists or any other denomination. Pastors want all the authority and the glory due to their position, but they don't want to bear the responsibility when it all goes sour. They do just like the people in the pew and try to cast the blame on someone or something else.

Again, we are not attacking any certain pastors or preachers and we have no certain people in mind, but we are speaking in general terms. We believe many are good men who love God and holiness and are trying to lead their people in that direction. But the influence of some of the accepted teachings of our day are foiling their efforts to achieve that goal. Among the things that are being taught that we feel are completely wrong are:

There are other things being taught and preached that we feel are being distorted from the way God meant for us to understand and apply them. We intend to deal with these issues, but we know how hard it is to admit it and turn around when you have been wrong, therefore we will do our best not to do so in a confrontational way. We, like everyone else, don't like to make enemies or offend people. Our hope is that men will lay these things to heart and consider what we have to say without being offended or feeling that we are attacking them or their friends. Our primary concern is to preach and teach the truth, that the people of God would be helped and edified.

Don't try to assume too much from the questions we ask and don't jump to conclusions. We have not, and are not departing from basic Baptist doctrine as it has been throughout history, but some of our modern-day teachings are what we are calling into question. If they cannot be proven and defended with the Word of God, then they should be thrown out the door. We believe in eternal security of the believer, but we do not believe that everyone who simply makes a profession of faith is saved forever - you must really be saved in the first place, and we believe there is much evidence to prove whether a person is saved or not. We believe that many have been deceived by a distorted teaching of this doctrine. We believe that a person MUST repent in order to be saved and that repentance includes turning from sin and a sinful lifestyle. We are against Easy-believism, not only in their teaching about salvation, but also in their teaching about sanctification. We believe holiness of life is necessary to please God. If you have any questions about what we believe, please write and simply ask us, instead of assuming things and jumping to conclusions and getting upset. We will give you an honest answer and then you can make a decision.


For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; (Rom 7:22)

So many think that only saved people delight in the law of God. According to the popular interpretation of this verse, even Christians don't delight in God's law except in the inward man. Their outward man despises and resists - even rejects and disobeys God's law. Stop and consider some things with us.

Anyone who will wake up to reality must realize that it is possible for lost people to delight in the law of God at times. Start with Cain; what was his desire? Cain and Abel BOTH presented sacrifices to God. Cain was interested in trying to keep the law of God just as his brother was. He made an effort - a real effort to come to God with his best. Cain's problem was OBEDIENCE to the law, which is the same problem men have today. Cain looked around him and reasoned from his life and experience that his sacrifice would be better the way he intended to do it. Cain was the same kind of person that many are who say they are Christians today. He delighted in the law of God inside, but just wasn't able to comply with it on the outside. The truth is Cain's pride made him UNWILLING to comply with God's law outwardly. He had the same blood as his brother Abel, who DID obey God's law. But Cain was a lost and unregenerate person.

Haven't you ever known a sinner who agreed with God's law? Have you ever seen a lost person acknowledge that God was right and he was wrong, yet remain in their sins? Have you ever seen a lost person long and desire to be right with God, but never come and get right? We have all seen people come and appear to get saved and live for a time in apparent joy of the Lord, only to eventually turn back to their former sins. These people are delighting in the law of God - after the inward man. Inside, they agree; they recognize it's truth; they know they would be satisfied by obeying it's precepts, yet they remain outside because they refuse to obey it. To obey God's law would mean they must turn from what they love most - their sin.

So delighting in God's law is not reserved for those who have made peace with God.


Contrary to what men think, God is not impressed with BIG things - men ARE! Men build towers that will reach unto heaven. Men form huge armies and build great cities to try to make a name for themselves. God created the vast universe with the word of His lips, so He isn't impressed with the BIG things men do. Neither does God normally manifest himself in BIG, GRAND ways that take men's breath away. He works in the quiet stillness. His voice is a still, small voice as He deals in the hearts of men. He requires men to trust Him by faith, so He isn't always going to part the sea and stop the sun to convince men He is God. God's ways are not man's ways. Men gather together - God divides and scatters. Understanding that truth leads one to understand that such things as large numbers, huge buildings and properties, and good favor with the world aren't the real evidence of a work of God.

Men are impressed with numbers - or anything BIG. Most people who claim to be Christians have walked in the counsel of the ungodly so long that they think any ministry or church that has a large attendance is without a doubt blessed of God. The numbers prove it! Many men look for these kinds of successful ministries and try to copy their methods so they can duplicate their success. This kind of thinking and judgment is entirely worldly and carnal. God DOES NOT think and judge success in that manner. Some would quote Luke 14:23, saying God wants his house full. It is hard to understand how this can be so widely interpreted to mean the church house. He is talking about being saved and in the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest of the chapter is dealing with the same thing, and the great cost of following Jesus. God doesn't dwell in houses made with hands. We may call the church house the house of God, but the Bible calls our bodies the temple of the Holy Ghost. He said He would prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also.Surely God wants Heaven full, but simply having the church house full doesn't necessarily honor God. "None of those who were bidden shall taste of my supper," he said. They made excuses concerning wives, lands, and parents. (Look at verse 26) THEREFORE, he said to COMPEL them to come in. It means to urge with all your might and do your best to persuade them of their dreadful and desperate situation; try to persuade them how foolish their excuses are. We do it for God's sake, and for the souls of men - NOT so we can see the church house full. How can God be pleased when the church is full of irreverent, unconcerned, sons of Belial who come and don't listen to the message, but rather cause a distraction and disturbance. Then they go home with their pockets full of candy and gum, closer to Hell than they were when they came. And those who brought them to church go home feeling they have pleased God, too. Then other poor deluded preachers try to copy churches like this so they can be successful, too. Men may be impressed with the numbers and the sight of a crowd, but understand that God is NOT the least impressed!

You will search in vain in the Bible to find where God honored men because they gathered themselves together into large crowds. You will find instead that God is the one who added to the church, and He did so when men were obedient to Him. He did it without any man's program or promotion or campaign. Those that He added to the church STAYED in the church. They went out preaching the Word. Our modern success stories don't match up to that very well.

Men seem to think in our day that as long as you can gather a crowd together and have a good time together in a religious way God will just overlook any compromising or disregarding of His Word that is done. Why do you think the Promise Keepers is so "successful?" Is it because of their uncompromising stand for the truths of the Word of God? Hardly! It is because a crowd and excitement draws a crowd. Everybody wants to jump on a bandwagon, but God doesn't use bandwagons - often He uses deserts, caves, and dens and sometimes an Isle of Patmos for his people. On the narrow road the crowd is thin. At the strait gate you don't have to stand in line to get in. The big crowds in the Bible are always on the broad road. You might contend, "Well, there is a big crowd in Revelation, which no man could number" of saved people. Yes, but that is in Heaven, and ye are yet on the earth, my friend. Here we are pilgrims and strangers and scattered on the earth. One day we will be gathered together in the Father's house and THEN we can shout the victory in a big crowd.

The word "success" in Joshua 1:8 is translated many times in the Bible as understanding, being wise, and prospering. David "behaved himself wisely" is that same word. David was successful in God's eyes when he was without a country, outcast by his friends and destitute of family, sitting all alone in 1 Samuel 30 with his own men ready to stone him. Jeremiah was successful in God's eyes while he sinking in the mire in the bottom of the pit. Micaiah was successful in God's eyes when he was carried off and thrown in the dungeon for telling the truth to wicked King Ahab while the big crowd of false prophets got to stay free and keep on lying to the people. If God measures success by numbers and crowds, how did he count Jesus a success? How many did Jesus have gathered together and following him when He was crucified? The answer is ZERO - they ALL forsook him and fled! However, that was not the end of the story! Why won't men learn the lesson that God works with us in the same way. Men who pay the price to be holy before God are the ONLY ones who are considered successful by God. Men who have large crowds and big numbers to boast of in their ministries are the ONLY ones who are considered successful by men.

If great crowds and numbers are a sure sign of God's blessing, then we have to say that Robert Schuller in California is a man of God, because he has them packed in. The Pope must be a man of God, because a quarter of the world's population is under his ministry. Billy Graham, with his GREAT crusades, surely has the goods to prove he is a man of God, even though he makes light of sin, kisses the Pope's ring, and doesn't believe in a burning Hell. Why won't men just admit and acknowledge that faithfulness to the truth and to the Word of God is real success, whether he has a crowd following him or not? We all have the desire to see the church house full and a big crowd honoring God, but remember that God is not honored primarily by men's achievements, but by men's HOLINESS.

Where Does Faith Come From?

Most Baptist preachers these days seem to be preaching that faith is a gift from God. You are not able to be saved until God gives you the faith to do so. To the hyper-grace, do-nothing, no repentance crowd it fits real well with the rest of their doctrines. It sounds really humble and reverent to say such a thing as that. But to a student of the Bible it doesn't fit with anything else the Bible teaches about faith.


But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb 11:6)

No one ever has, or ever can be, saved apart from faith in God. Faith is the vehicle in which we get to the grace of God. (Eph 2.8) Without faith, we cannot even come to God. Therefore, if God gives the faith, He must choose who will be lost and who will be saved. Those to whom God chooses to give faith will be saved and those who don't receive it will be lost and there is nothing they can do about it. The fact is, the Bible says "faith cometh by hearing," and we learn to "hear" from the Word of God. The Word of God, once received, will bring forth faith in the hearer. Therefore, "take heed how ye hear." Also, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear..."


". . . repent and believe the Gospel." (Mark 1:15)

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23)

God commands us to believe. All of God's promises are hinged on our faith.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

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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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