In The World
Stick to the Word of God and the God of the Word.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh, I trust so. I trust everything’s going alright at your house. If per chance you’ve struck a rough day, look up, say, “Lord, see me through this one.” And He will, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” My good friend, Merv Rosell used to say, that in one church he served as a young man, there was a dear old Swedish brother, that would transpose the syllables, but he knew the promise and the dear old man, when he gave his testimony, would say, “The Lord said, ‘I’ll never sake thee, nor forleave thee.’ ” [chuckle] Well, however you say it, God is faithful, isn’t He? Hallelujah for that. “There hath not failed one word of His good promise.” That’s what the Bible says about God’s faithfulness. “Great is thy faithfulness.” So you can trust your Lord today, believe me.
You and I were looking at first Timothy chapter six, and we had just started walking around in verses three to five or six. It’s a package that sort of stands by itself. He says, “These things teach and exhort.” ‘Teaching’ is leading a person to take action, based upon God’s Holy Word, not on what you say, and ‘exhort’ has to do with persuasion, the idea of bringing a person under such conviction, that he or she will take action in line with the Will of God. Your job is to teach, impart information, that the person can make his own. And to exhort, impart motivation, that will move a person in the direction of doing the Will of God.
Now, he says in verse three, “If any man teach… ” I’m gonna read these three or four verses together.. “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Doctrine, which is according to Godliness.” Now, if that’s true, then he says, “That person is proud, knowing nothing, doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the Truth, people who suppose that gain equals godliness. From such, withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Now, where do we get at this? First of all, your never changing standard is the Word of God.
I’ve just been reading some of the history of New England, the Puritans, as they created a congregational society there in New England in the 1600s and 1700s. They started and they stayed with the Word of God. Now, the average person didn’t have much other reading matter, but over, in the 90% of those people, were literate enough to read their Bibles, and read them they did. And then they would go to church, and the minister, who for the most part, was much better educated, and who had a library that included the original text in Greek, and in Hebrew, and commentaries in Latin, and all of that, the minister would then preach the Word of God. And the one great requirement in those days, was that the minister give out the Word of God, and apply it, not only to spiritual matters having to do with sin, salvation, and eternal life, but also to temporal matters, having to do with community life, and the various problems that would arise in day to day interaction of human beings. It was all based on the Word of God.
Well, say what you will about the faults of those early Puritan settlers, they produced a sturdy civilization that had a lasting quality about it. Harvard and other colleges, Yale, and Princeton, were all founded out of the concept, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And they were. In their very charters, they mentioned the preparation of young men for the ministry. So you start with the Word of God. “If any man teach otherwise, other than the Word of the Lord Jesus, and other than wholesome words, and other than the doctrine, which is according to godliness, anybody that strays from the Word of God is in dangerous territory,” Paul says.
Now, there is a connection between personal failures, shortcomings, and sins, and straying from the Word of God. It has been my sad duty, from time to time, in working in Christian work, to preside over the removal of people who had gotten into difficulty in their personal lives, and thus had become useless insofar as Christian leadership was concerned in that particular setting.
Now, the thing that amazed me, and still does, is that in each case that I know anything about, where people failed in their personal lives, and in their relationships with other people, moral, and ethical, and so on, where people failed in their personal lives, you could trace it back to a failure in their relationship with the Word of God. You neglect God’s Word, and you will find that your life is much more precarious, uncertain, unstable, and tends more to get into different kinds of trouble, and difficulty. I have to tell you that. Don’t neglect the Word of God. Stick to the Word of God. Feed on the Word of God. Read it. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Apply it to your life. Ask everyday, the question, “What am I going to do about this passage that I’ve just read?” Now, see what Paul says, are the personal concomitance… That’s a good word. It means it’s highbrow for stuff that goes with other stuff… [laughter]
What are the personal concomitance, that go along with neglect of sound doctrine and the Word of God? Well, the first thing he mentions is pride. There is a tendency to elevate yourself and to look out for yourself, when you stop paying attention to the Word of God. The more you’re in the Word, the less you’ll have to worry about it.
L.E. Maxwell, this dear man of God, who I believe founded and, for many years, was the head of Prairie Bible Institute, up at Three Hills in Alberta, Canada. LE Maxwell said in my hearing one day, as a number of youth leaders were gathered around, and they were talking about how to promote a certain program, and when there was a lull in the conversation, our Brother Maxwell said, “Brethren, we have nothing to promote, but Jesus,” and walked out of the meeting. “We have nothing to promote, but Jesus.” You see, if you’ll stick to the Word of God, and the Son of God, and the Gospel of God, and the Will of God, you’re on safe territory. The minute you neglect that sort of thing, what shows up? Pride. And then uncertainties, insofar as where you stand intellectually, knowing nothing. And that uncertainty, then gives rise to questions, and strifes of words, and perverse disputings, and corrupt minds.
The so-called liberal frame of mind, a liberal frame of mind, as I define it, with a hasty Cookism, is the idea that, “Whatever is, ought to be changed.” People look at rules, and regulations, and beliefs, and say, “Well, now, let’s change all that. Let’s be liberal in our thinking.” The liberal frame of mind, oftentimes, results from a neglect of the absolutes of God’s Word. Now, I know, don’t get angry with me, you college professors and teachers. I have high respect for intellectual integrity. And when I was president of the college, you may be sure that we looked for the smartest people, with the best preparation, and the finest degrees that we could get. And so it is, that there is a high respect for intellectual acuity, and achievement, but within the matrix of the commitments of faith in Almighty God, and commitment to His Word, His inerrant, inspired Word, the Bible.
But the minute you start neglecting God’s Word in your personal life and in your professional life, you are then committed to professional uncertainty, knowing nothing, doting about questions and strifes of words, perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth. Now, you think about that. I know you may disagree with me and that’s alright. My father used to say to me, “Boy, we’ll be in Heaven someday and you’ll know I was right.” [laughter] That’s one way of stopping an argument, isn’t it?
But you think about that. When you stray from God’s absolutes, you are reduced to man’s uncertainties and you have to dignify them, somehow, by putting on them, the tuxedo of argument, in logic. Stick to the Word of God. Stick to the Word of God and the God of the Word. And then, of course, that gives rise, again, to personal failures. Envy, that is the malaise of the soul, when somebody has it better than you. Strife, that’s the effort to come out first, to win. Railing, if you can’t win, criticize. Evil surmisings, a suspicious frame of mind. Perverse disputings, argue for argument’s sake, so you can win something over somebody else. No matter about the truth, just win the argument. And then, the final topper of all of this, supposing that gain equals godliness. “It has to be right, because, look at all the money I’m making,” a man said to me one day. He wasn’t living right and didn’t intend to live right. He knew the truth, he had been a professing Christian, and now, he was making scads of money, and he says, “Well, I guess I must be alright, because, look at the money I’m making.” No, gain doesn’t equal godliness. “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” says Paul.
Well, we’ll get at that sixth verse, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” We’ll do that the next time we get together, God willing. Now, the point we’ve made, let’s not miss the point. The point we’ve made is, stick to the Word of God- read it, meditate upon it, memorize it, apply it to your own life, measure your achievements by the Word of God. That is where you’re safe and that is where you’ll grow, alright?
Father God today, help us to stay true to your Word and true to Thee. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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