â€œAnd if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.â€ﾝ (Jos 24:15)
This verse has been greatly abused by the religious world. Many sermons have been preached suggesting that it teaches a need for the lost to choose between God and satan, between heaven and hell. However, a close examination of this verse, coupled with an understanding of the Doctrine of Salvation as taught in Godâ€™s word, will quickly show that the above application of the verse is wrong.
A careful reading of the text reveals two key points. First, the choice was presented not to the alien peoples of the region (the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, etc.) to become Israelites, but rather the choice was given to the Israelites alone. The Israelites were not being asked to choose to become Godâ€™s people, they already were. Second, the choice is not between God and a false god. The choice is between one set of false gods and another set of false gods (â€¦whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwellâ€¦).
Joshua was not presenting a choice between eternal salvation and eternal damnation. That is not a choice men are given. That is reserved by the Lord who made the choice of whom he would save before the world began. (Eph 1:4; 2Ti 1:9)
The choice Joshua was presenting was between two sets of false gods. The premise was this--â€œAnd if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serveâ€¦.â€ﾝ Joshua was saying that if it seems bad, harmful, vexing (i.e. evil) to serve the true God, then take your pick of the other gods, they are all the same, one is just as bad as the other.
How true this is. If one is not going to serve the true and living God, it matters not which false god he chooses to serve. The Hindu god, the Muslim god, the Buddhist god, etc. are all the same. Different false gods appeal to different people, the humanist is attracted to the god of Self, the muslim is attracted to the draconian god of the muslim, the sensual minded are attracted to the gods of Hinduism, the austere are attracted to the god of Buddhism, but in reality they are all the same. It matters not which one is chosen. They are all false.
After giving this choice to the Israelites, Joshua then makes this bold declaration-- â€œ...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.â€ﾝ Joshua is saying, I do not consider it vexing, adverse or â€œevilâ€ﾝ to serve the Lord. I am going to serve the Lord and not only am I, but also my family. Here Joshua assumed the God given role of the husband/father as the head and leader of the family.
It is the solemn responsibility of the husband/father to lead the family in the service of God. This leadership role is given and affirmed by God throughout scripture. In Eph 5:23 Paul says, â€œFor the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.â€ﾝ The husband is the head of the family and the saviour of the family. Just as Christ is responsible for the eternal salvation (from hell to Heaven) of the elect family, so the husband/father is responsible for the temporal deliverance (from error to truth) of his family.
A beautiful example of how this occurs is found in Ac 16 wherein the jailor is told, â€œBelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.â€ﾝ Paul was not suggesting that if a man believes on the Lord his family will automatically go to heaven. The jailor and his family were already eternally saved by grace or they never would have believed. Belief was not the means but the evidence of their eternal salvation. This is not eternal salvation it is gospel or temporal salvation. This time or gospel salvation was experienced by the jailor when he believed, and it is obvious that his believing not only had a saving influence on him but also on his family, for the scripture goes on to say, â€œAnd they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.â€ﾝ
God never has nor ever will place the responsibility of saving his people from their sins with a husband/father or any other human. That responsibility was given to Jesus Christ alone. (Mt 1:21; Isa 9:6; Joh 6:38-39) But God has given to men the solemn responsibility of saving their families from error to truth, from the influence of the world to the influence of the Word. (Eph 6:4) It is the husband/fatherâ€™s responsibility to save the family from physical want (1Ti 5:8) and spiritual want (Eph 6:4). This is accomplished not only by the providing of food and raiment, but also by the father accepting the responsibility of getting the family to the preaching of the gospel and worship service at the Church, by reading and teaching the Bible to his family during consistent and regular family devotions, by leading the family in prayer and by living according to the teachings of the word of God as an example to be followed.
In this age of relativism, many men have abdicated this responsibility preferring to let their families explore their own options and make up their own minds. But Solomon said, â€œTrain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.â€ﾝ (Pr 22:6)
Our relativistic world would surely view Joshua as a narrow-minded chauvinist. If you accept your leadership role, no doubt they will revile you the same way. But if you are to be the leader God requires you to be, you must accept this persecution as part of suffering for Christ sake. (Mt 5:11-12; 1Pe 3:14)
Joshua told Godâ€™s people long ago, if youâ€™re not going to serve God, choose whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua accepted his God-given role as leader. He spoke for his family. Do you speak for yours?
Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
One of the hallmarks of the Bible is the harmony of its teachings. Each individual doctrine harmonizes with the other and is consistent with the whole of scripture. This is reflected in the doctrines of grace. For example, the doctrine of election (The Father chose a definite number to save in heaven) harmonizes with the doctrine of particular redemption (the Son redeemed those the Father chose), which harmonizes with the doctrine of effectual calling (the Spirit regenerates those whom the Father chose and the Son redeemed). Thus the Bible can be viewed as systematic theology, no doctrine contradicting the other, but each harmonizing with the other, all going to make up the doctrine of Christ. John Gillâ€™s Body of Divinity is a prime example of this method of interpreting the Bible.
But does the Lord expect us to â€œgive up our mindâ€ﾝ in order to believe his word? Do we have to stop thinking in order to accept what his word is saying? To the contrary, the Lord says to his people â€œCome now, and let us reason togetherâ€¦â€ﾝ (Isa 1:18). In fact, reasoning from the scriptures was the apostlesâ€™ manner of persuading men of the truth. Ac 17:2 reads, â€œAnd Paul as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scripturesâ€¦â€ﾝ (see also Ac 18:4,19; 24:25). Knowing that only reasonable men would receive his teaching, he requested prayer that he might be delivered from â€œunreasonable menâ€ﾝ. Far from giving up his mind, he told the Romans, â€œâ€¦ with the mind I myself serve the law of Godâ€¦â€ﾝ. In Nehemiahâ€™s time the people understood the law of God because the Levites â€œread in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.â€ﾝ They did not declare contradictory teachings and then absolve themselves by pleading mysteries that canâ€™t be explained.
Some assert that harmonizing doctrine subjects faith to rationalism. Spurgeon said, â€œThose who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelationâ€ﾝ. But why would God, â€œwho hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliationâ€¦â€ﾝ, give us a revelation of irreconcilable teachings? The word reason literally means rational. To be rational is to be â€œagreeable with reasonâ€ﾝ. God is the most rational being in the universe. His word is not a series of contradictory teachings, but a harmony of systematic truth. Faith is not blind, accepting irreconcilable teachings. Faith sees the sense of Godâ€™s word and believes it. In fact, the peace of mind a believer experiences is due in part from seeing the harmony of truth. Just as â€œGod is light, and in him is no darkness at allâ€ﾝ, even so His word is true and has no contradiction in it. Simply put, truth does not contradict itself.
James said, â€œA double minded man is unstable in all his ways.â€ﾝ The interpretive model that sees â€œtwo lines at onceâ€ﾝ leads to unstable preaching that confuses the people of God. Men confuse the Lordâ€™s people when they cause the gospel trumpet to give an â€œuncertain soundâ€ﾝ by advocating principles inconsistent with each other. One minute the preacher sounds like a Primitive Baptist, teaching that no man can come to Christ unless the Lord draws him, and the next minute he sounds like an Arminian Baptist, indiscriminately calling on men to come to Christ. One minute the preacher sounds like an absoluter declaring that all things are decreed by God so that all our actions are foreordained and the next minute he sounds like an Arminian declaring that men make decisions of their own will. Matters are only made worse when these men suggest that those who point out the contradictions in their doctrine just misunderstand. â€œGod is not the author of confusion.â€ﾝ The â€œsimplicity that is in Christâ€ﾝ is easily understood by â€œthe people that know the joyful sound.â€ﾝ
Those who have made the decision to give up their mind and stop thinking critically may be heard to say, â€œI am going to read and you just let the Bible speak to you.â€ﾝ This really means, let me read this verse out of context and donâ€™t bring up any verse that I canâ€™t harmonize with it. But can one interpret the Bible by ignoring context and discounting the verses he canâ€™t harmonize? Our most able ministers reject this. In years past, they exhorted young ministers to never preach on a subject until they knew what the Bible as a whole says about that subject and cautioned that to interpret a text while ignoring its context is to presuppose its meaning. This is ever so true.
The traditional paradigm of harmonizing doctrine and reconciling scriptures by â€œdividingâ€ﾝ texts that deal with eternal salvation from those texts that deal with temporal or time salvation produces a clear understanding of Godâ€™s word. To be sure, some men have abused this method of interpretation, going to the extreme of deism and antinomianism, but the abuse of this paradigm is no excuse to abandon it. When properly used, it disproves deism as well as antinomianism.
Spurgeonâ€™s departure from the traditional method of Bible interpretation, coupled with his outstanding abilities as an orator, had great mass appeal. Like the televangelist of our day, he had the ability to draw large crowds and fill giant meeting halls. Through his prolific writings he greatly influenced his and succeeding generations. Eventually, the vast majority of Baptist preachers left the old paths and adopted Spurgeonâ€™s â€œtwo-lineâ€ﾝ philosophy, taking their congregations with them. With few exceptions, the only people who maintained the traditional method of reconciling scripture and harmonizing doctrine were the Primitive Baptists in America. To those who believe they are returning to the â€œold pathsâ€ﾝ by adopting the reformed paradigm, we contend this is actually a return to the â€˜old departureâ€™ and beseech them to reconsider the systematic method of biblical interpretation our people have historically embraced.
The implications of this matter are far-reaching and grave. Andrew Fuller, the founder of the modern mission movement, who preached general atonement while maintaining that he â€œbelieved in particular redemptionâ€ﾝ, lived to see his disciples completely abandon particular redemption and spawn the Baptist division of 1832. Likewise, Spurgeon lived to see many of his â€œstudentsâ€ﾝ abandon his principles during the â€œdown grade controversyâ€ﾝ in the 1880â€™s. Those who use the reformed paradigm to advocate that inconsistent principles are but â€œtwo sides of the same coinâ€ﾝ not only bring confusion and division in our day, but may live to see those that follow them abandon many of the doctrines of grace altogether.
I earnestly beseech those brethren who have turned to the reformed method of Bible interpretation to return to â€œthe simplicity that is in Christâ€ﾝ so that once again we may as in former days â€œreason togetherâ€ﾝ and â€œsee eye to eyeâ€ﾝ.
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
The doctrines of eternal salvation and preservation by grace are two of the most vividly God-honoring, precious and comforting doctrines of the Bible. These doctrines teach that eternal salvation comes by Godâ€™s grace and is kept by Godâ€™s grace. The Saviour is active in the work and the saved are passive. It is the Lord that saves a person and it is the Lord that keeps that person saved. If one is Godâ€™s elect, he will at some point between conception and death be regenerated by the life giving voice of the Son of God and once regenerated, nothing he does or is done to him can ever take that salvation away. A multitude of verses affirm this great truth including Ac 15:11; Eph 2:8-9; Joh 10:27-28; Jude 1
With these precious doctrines the Lordâ€™s servants have glorified his name and comforted his people through the centuries. It has given many of the Lordâ€™s poor children hope in the midst of their troubles, delivered them from the tormenting fear of being cut off and lost, sustained them through persecution and trials, given them boldness in the face of their enemies, and hope for those whom the religious world says there is no hope.
How often has the Primitive preacher been called to the funeral of a poor outcast because others refused. The Primitive preacher was called because he had a message of hope, even for the chiefest of sinners. Though it was well known that Old Baptists condemn sin and disobedience, they still had a message of grace proclaiming that where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. That though there are temporal consequences for the elect when they sin in this life, the eternal consequence for sin (hell) was removed by the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary.
It is because of eternal salvation and preservation by grace that Moses appeared with Christ in glory on the mount of transfiguration, even though he had rebelled against God and suffered the temporal judgment of being denied entrance into the promised land. (Nu 20:7-12; Mt 17:1-3)
It is because of preserving grace that King David was able to say on his death bed, â€œAlthough my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.â€ﾝ (2Sa 23:5)
And it is because of preserving grace that he who said, â€œO wretched man that I am!â€ﾝ could also write, â€œFor I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.â€ﾝ (Ro 7:24; 8:38-39)
How is it with you poor sinner? As you look back over your life with all of it failures and disappointments, do you not draw comfort from the great truth that â€œâ€¦where sin abounded, grace did much more abound...â€ﾝ?
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
In Mt 18:21-22 we read, â€œThen came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.â€ﾝ
To the casual observer, being sinned against 490 times might seem to be an exaggeration. But considering the constant pressures of life, it really is not far fetched to think of being sinned against that frequently. Many people face transgression against themselves from the moment they awake. Some spouses begin offending even as they prepare for the day. Abusive parents often begin the ordeal during the first moments of the day. Those who are blessed to arise in a loving and secure home eventually must step out into a hostile world. The aggressive driver filled with â€œroad rageâ€ﾝ may transgress against the law-abiding driver before they leave their neighborhood. The media blast report after report of the ungodly actions of those who disrupt life in one way or another. Arriving at work, one may face the hostility of a froward employer or back-biting coworker. At lunch, a disinterested server or hostile atmosphere may ruin the meal. The daily grind, with all its attendant woes, serves to wear down the individual until the exhaustive commute through â€œrush hourâ€ﾝ toward home. Even in less populated areas, the invasion of technology such as cell phones and satellite connections often bring word of trespasses. Neighbors may try to move fence rows or wound with vicious gossip. Some people even face continued hostility, whether openly or covertly, after arriving at home. The callous disregard of family members for oneâ€™s personal needs can ultimately be the catalyst for emotional upheaval.
Yes, if you think about it, in our modern world, being sinned against 490 times is not uncommon. That is why the Lord teaches us that we should forgive 490 times. In essence, we need to be constantly forgiving men their trespasses as they occur through the day, no matter how small (such as being cut off in traffic) or how large (betrayal). We should forgive even if itâ€™s the same brother (spouse, child, parent, member of the church, etc.) who is doing the sinning.
Of course, forgiveness is not ignoring public sins against the Church ( 1Co 5:1-7; Tit 3:10-11; Ro 16:17-18). Neither is it indulging and enabling sinful behavior (Gen 20:3-5|;Eph 5:11|). As to public sins, forgiveness is for those who publicly repent. (2Co 2:6-11) Having said that, let us remember that forgiving those who trespass against us personally is a way of life so vital that Jesus said, â€œFor if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.â€ﾝ (Mt 6:14-15) And in the parable of the servant who would not forgive, we read, â€œThen his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.â€ﾝ (Mt 18:32-35) Considering all The Heavenly Father has forgiven us for Christâ€™s sake, it is infuriating to Him when we refuse to forgive our brother for the same reason--the blood of Christ. ( Eph 4:32; Heb 10:26-31)
Additionally, forgiving is a way of life because it is Godâ€™s way of life. In Eph 4:30-32, we read, â€œAnd grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christâ€™s sake hath forgiven you.â€ﾝ
Finally, forgiving is a way of life for the disciple of Christ because it was and is a way of life for his Master. As He was crucified, He said, â€œâ€¦Father, forgive them; for they know not what they doâ€¦â€ﾝ (Lu 23:34) and in Heb 7:25 we read, â€œâ€¦He ever liveth to make intercession for them.â€ﾝ (See also Col 3:12-14.)
One reason Jesus said, â€œVerily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,â€ﾝ is that children readily forgive and do not hold grudges. Paul said â€œ... howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.â€ﾝ (1Co 14:20) One minute children may be crying and denouncing their playmate as the one that took their toy or hurt them, but if there is no outside interference, the next minute they usually will be enjoying each otherâ€™s company. That is why this verse (Mt 18:2-3) is at the beginning of the forgiveness chapter.
May the Lord bless us to view forgiving as a way of life. In so doing, we will honor Him who died for our sins and forgave us, free ourselves of the bondage of holding grudges, and soar in the joys of His salvation!
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
In Joh 15:8 our Lord says, â€œHerein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.â€ﾝ Let us examine four fundamental truths contained in this verse of scripture.
First, in this passage, our Saviour speaks of disciples. A disciple is a â€œfollower of a leaderâ€ﾝ. The word disciple literally means â€œa learner, a pupilâ€ﾝ. Therefore, if one is to be a disciple of the Lord, he must learn from him by following his teachings and examples. Jesus Christ said, â€œTake my yoke upon you, and learn of me; â€¦â€ﾝ and Paul tells us that scripture is given for â€œinstruction in righteousnessâ€ﾝ. (2Ti 3:16) In the Bible we learn from Christ. We learn by the examples of His life and the instructions He gave.
Second, it is important to note that disciples are living, not dead. No one ever took the dead to school, hoping to give them life. Pupils go to school not to get life, but to learn how to live the life they already have. In like manner, disciples learn from the Word of God not to get life, but to learn how God wants them to live. Godâ€™s word is clear. Eternal life comes because of sonship, not discipleship.
Ga 4:6,) â€œLet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.â€ﾝ In this world, not all children are pupils and not all pupils do as well as others. In like manner, not all children of God are disciples, and not all disciples bear as much fruit as others (Mt 13:18-23). It is therefore incumbent upon those children of God who are blessed to be his disciples to bear fruit to his glory.
Finally, notice that it is â€œmuch fruitâ€ﾝ that glorifies the Father. Just as an orchard of trees bearing little or no fruit would dishonor the grower who owned it, we dishonor our Lordâ€™s name when we claim to be His child but bear little or no fruit in our lives. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to travel through or along side a peach orchard or orange grove. How cumbersome are the trees that are nourished by the sun and rain, soaking up the nutrients of the soil and are bearing little or no fruit. And how cumbersome is a child of God who soaks up the blessings of the Lord and yet produces little or no fruit in his life. On the other hand, think of how beautiful and honoring are the trees that are producing an abundance, their limbs bowing under the weight of their fruit. How pleasing to the eye and how admired is the owner. In like manner, when we bear â€œmuch fruitâ€ﾝ, we bring honor to the Lord.
May we be disciples that bear â€œmuch fruitâ€ﾝ, so that our Father will be glorified.
In Hope ~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
Eternal and Time Salvation
Some people in reading the Bible never see but one salvation. Each time they see the word save or salvation they attach an eternal consequence to its meaning. However, a careful reading of the scriptures reveals that the Bible speaks not only of eternal salvation (from hell to heaven) but also of temporal salvations (deliverances experienced by Godâ€™s people while they live in this world). Primitive Baptists commonly refer to these temporal deliverances as â€œtime salvationâ€ﾝ.
The Bible makes clear distinctions between the Old Testament and the New Testament, Conditional Covenants and Unconditional Covenants, Law and Grace, Eternal and Temporal Salvation. Recognizing these distinctions brings clarity of understanding. Failure to recognize these distinctions produces confusion.
The authority to make these distinctions comes from the command of the Apostle Paul in
2Ti 2:15,) we find that the salvation referred to is from death in sin (see verses 1-8|). Thus it is easy to see that Paul is referring to eternal salvation. When we study the context of 1Ti 4:16,) we learn that the salvation under consideration is from immorality and false doctrine. Paul was not suggesting that Timothy was a hell bound sinner who could save himself to heaven by taking heed to the doctrine. Paul is warning Timothy that there are â€œseducing spiritsâ€ﾝ and â€œdoctrines of devilsâ€ﾝ designed to cause us to â€œdepart from the faithâ€ﾝ. He told Timothy to â€œtake heed to thyselfâ€ﾝ so that he could â€œsaveâ€ﾝ or deliver himself from being â€œseducedâ€ﾝ, and â€œto the doctrineâ€ﾝ so that he might save or deliver himself from false doctrine. By saving himself from false doctrine, he could in turn save those that heard him from false doctrine. (See 1Tim. 4: 1-16|)
Eternal salvation is completely by free and sovereign grace. There are no conditions for the sinner to meet, no laws to keep, no works to perform in order for him to be saved from hell to heaven. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. (Eph 2:8,) ##Rom 8:3,) 2Ti 1:9,) Tit 3:5). On the other hand, time or temporal salvation is dependant upon conditions. There are laws to keep, conditions to meet, and works to perform. (Jas 2:8-9,) Heb 4:7-9,) ##Rom 8:13,) 1Co 15:1-2,) #1Joh 1:6-7,) Ga 6:9,) Joh 13:17,) Joh 15:14,) Matthew 6:14-15|) Although we must have grace to enable us to keep the laws, meet the conditions and perform the works required to obtain these temporal deliverances, yet grace does not make us do these things. If we do these things it must come from obedience. (Isaiah 1:19|,) 1Pe 1:14) Someone may say, did not Paul teach in
Php 2:13,) Eph 2:8,) 2Ti 1:9,) and Tit 3:5. In like manner, the Word of God is replete with scriptures that refer to temporal deliverances that Godâ€™s children can experience in this world. Some examples of these are Matthew 8:25|,) Ac 2:40,) Ro 1:16,) 1Ti 2:15,) 1Ti 4:16,) Jas 5:15,) 1Pe 3:21. When we â€œrightly divideâ€ﾝ these verses we will properly understand the subject of salvation.
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
One of the greatest blessings the child of God can experience in this world is to hear and believe the gospel. Jesus Christ and the apostles all cite believing the gospel as evidence of being a child of God. In Joh 5:24 the Lord said, â€œVerily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.â€ﾝ Paul the apostle said, â€œKnowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance;. . . And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. . .â€ﾝ (1Th 1:4-6). The beloved disciple John said, â€œWe are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. . .â€ﾝ (1Jo 4:6)
Note that in each of these three instances, hearing the gospel and believing it is evidence of -- not the means of -- one being a child of God. Indeed, each one of these statements teaches that one must already possess everlasting life in order for him to be able to hear and believe the gospel. The Lord taught in Joh 5:25 â€œVerily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.â€ﾝ Note that the means by which one becomes a possessor of everlasting life is by direct operation of the Holy Spirit, characterized by the Saviour as hearing â€œthe voice of the Son of Godâ€ﾝ. Simply put, the dead sinner must hear the voice of the Son of God before he can hear the voice of the preacher. Therefore, one who hears the voice of the preacher shows evidence that he has already heard the voice of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful blessing to receive the assurance of being born again by hearing and believing the gospel! As we said before, so say we again, it is one of the greatest blessings a child of God can experience in this world.
Sadly, there are some who go beyond this great truth and teach that not only is hearing and believing the gospel a great blessing for the child of God, it is the necessary evidence a child of God must have, going so far as to say that the Bible offers no assurance for those who do not hear and believe the gospel. This, of course, makes hearing and believing the gospel the litmus test for being a child of God. Tragically, this teaching unwittingly diminishes the sovereignty of God and the glories of the grace of Christ, while robbing many of Godâ€™s poor children of their hope for loved ones and millions around the world who have never heard, much less believed, the gospel.
Thankfully, the word of God will not support such an extreme position. In the same chapter 5 of Johnâ€™s gospel, our Saviour tells us the evidence of grace he will cite on resurrection day. He says, â€œMarvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnationâ€ﾝ (Joh 5:28-29). Notice that the Saviour did not say they that have heard and believed the gospel shall come forth to the resurrection of life (although all those surely are part of that number), but rather He said â€œthey that have done goodâ€ﾝ. The evidence of grace the Lord cites on resurrection day is â€œthey that have done goodâ€ﾝ! Again in Mt 25, the great Shepherd of the sheep indicates who are His sheep and who are not. He says, â€œAnd he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto meâ€ﾝ (Mt 25:33-36). Observe that He does not say to His sheep, come ye blessed of my fatherâ€¦ for when ye heard the gospel ye believed it (though surely those are part of the sheep), but rather â€œI was an hungered, and ye gave me meat. . .â€ﾝ. What is the evidence of grace the Lord cites on resurrection day? Not a positive response to the gospel, but rather good works born of love. So it is with Paul, though he cites a positive response to the gospel as evidence of grace, he does not make it the litmus test of who is and who is not a child of God. As a matter of fact, he even gives hope for those who are â€œenemies of the gospelâ€ﾝ stating â€œas touching the election, they are beloved for the fathersâ€™ sakes.â€ﾝ (Ro 11:28) Even the beloved John, who so forcefully states, â€œhe that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not usâ€ﾝ goes on to say a few verses later, â€œâ€¦every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.â€ﾝ (1Jo 4:7-8) Look carefully. John did not say he that does not hear us is not of God. John said he that is not of God heareth not us. John is teaching that the non-elect do not hear or believe the gospel, but he is not saying that every elect person will hear and believe and if someone doesnâ€™t hear and believe, he is surely not a child of God. In other words, he does not make hearing and believing the litmus test, excluding all assurance for those who have not heard or who have not believed. The necessary evidence John cites is â€œevery one that lovethâ€ﾝ. He even says in the 3rd chapter, â€œWe know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Who-soever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himâ€ﾝ (1Jo 3:14-15). The distinction is love and hate. There are multitudes of Godâ€™s children who have never heard the gospel but, by grace, have the love of God in their hearts, and as Paul said, â€œ. . .do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts . . .â€ﾝ (Ro 2:14-15). There are even those of Godâ€™s children who, having been deceived, do not believe the gospel, yet as Paul said, â€œIf we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.â€ﾝ (2Ti 2:13; Ro 11:32; 2Ti 2:18-19) Yes, believing the gospel is a wonderful evidence of grace, but it is not the litmus test of who is and who is not a child of God. That test is love!
What shall we say then? Shall we give hope and assurance to every Christ-denying mullah because he has warm feelings for his pet camel? God forbid. But neither do we take away hope for the little trembling child of God, smothering under the burka she is forced to wear as she goes about feeding those among her that are hungry, visiting the sick and doing works of righteousness (Ac 10:34-35; Mt 25:33-36). Praise God that, though she may never hear a gospel sermon, or being so brainwashed by false teachers that she does not believe it when she hears it, she still has heard the voice of the Son of God by grace and carries His love in her heart!
Do we give hope to every Christ-hating, creation-denying infidel that teaches evolution to our children just because he has affection for his cat? God forbid. But neither do we dismiss the little child of God in the back of the classroom who has his faith overthrown by philosophy and â€œoppositions of science falsely so-calledâ€ﾝ (2Ti 2:18-19). Shall we say that a wicked man who does not know God and believe in Him will still go to heaven just because he loves a pet? God forbid. Every elect person must and will be born again by grace. That new birth makes God known, gives faith, and produces a righteous nature. (Heb 8:10-11; 1Jo 4:7; Ga 5:22-23). Do we teach that hearing and believing the gospel is a thing of little importance? God forbid. But we do not take hope away for Godâ€™s loving, affectionate, yet mentally challenged people just because they cannot understand and believe the gospel like the able-minded child of God. No, eternal salvation and survival is not just for the spiritually fittest. It is also for the poor, the outcast, and the destitute. No matter what men say, eternal salvation and preservation are still by His grace.
The scriptures do not teach the extreme position that there is no hope for those who do not hear and believe the gospel. They do teach that, though it is impossible to hear and believe the gospel without love in the heart, it is possible to have love in the heart without hearing and believing the gospel.
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
In the Song 1:7-8 we read, â€œTell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherdsâ€™ tents.â€ﾝ
This Old Testament passage teaches a beautiful New Testament truth in type and shadow. To see the lesson contained in this beautiful metaphor, let us notice the who, when, where and what of the passage.
First, the question is directed to a Shepherd. â€œTell meâ€¦where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to restâ€¦â€ﾝ In Heb 13:20 Paul identifies our Lord Jesus as â€œâ€¦that great shepherd of the sheepâ€ﾝ, and in Joh 10:14 Jesus Christ says, â€œI am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.â€ﾝ Thus we perceive that Jesus Christ is the one to whom the inquiry is addressed. (See also Ps 23:1; Mt 25:31-32)
Next, observe that the inquirer loves the Shepherd. â€œTell me, O thou whom my soul lovethâ€¦â€ﾝ. Only the born again soul loves Jesus Christ (1Jo 4:7,19). True to the metaphor, we find that the woman is â€œfairestâ€ﾝ. This woman desires to feed her â€œkidsâ€ﾝ. Godâ€™s people are referred to in the Bible as sheep. (Ps 100:3; Joh 10:1-27; Mt 25:32-33) Thus, the inquirer is a child of God who loves the shepherd and the sheep. (1Jo 5:1)
But, this inquiry is not being made for just any sheep. It is being made for sheep that are hungry and need rest! The question is: â€œTell meâ€¦.where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to restâ€¦â€ﾝ This inquiry is being made for those who hunger and thirst! (Ps 42:1-2; 63:1; Mt 5:6) This inquiry is not being made for apathetic children of God (Re 3:17), but children of God who have had their eyes opened to their ruined condition in nature and their own inability to recover themselves. (Song 1:6; Isa 6:5; Lu 18:13; Ro 7:9,24) Children whose souls are famished from laboring in man-made religion and whose throats are parched with broken vows to reform and do better.
When and where is the place of this rest? The answer is . . . at noon, beside the shepherdâ€™s tents!! Here is the nourishment and rest for the sheep. At Noon!! The Sun at noontime is a type of Jesus Christ seated on the Throne in Heaven! (Ps 19:1-6; Mal 4:2; Heb 1:3) It is a type of the satisfied Saviour having finished the work of Redemption! (Heb 9:12)
Each day the Sun makes its circuit, returning to the place it began at noon. Jesus Christ, who left the throne of Glory, came down to earth, suffered bled and died on the cross, was buried and arose from the dead, ascended back to the place he began, having saved his people from their sins! Here is the rest! In the finished work of Christ! How glorious the scene! IT IS FINISHED is the gospel food that the â€œunder-shepherdsâ€ﾝ feed to the flock! (1Pe 5:1-2; Ac 20:28)
Here is the Church, the sheep fold of the Shepherd, resting in the noontime of Christâ€™s finished work, having their hunger and thirst for righteousness satisfied by trusting in the righteousness of Christ. (Ro 10:4; 1Jo 5:4; Mt 5:6)
But, how does this seeker find the Church? By asking the Shepherd to show the way. And what does the Shepherd answer? â€œIf thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flockâ€¦â€ﾝ When you find the footsteps of the flock you will find the way of the Shepherd, for the true Church follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Jeremiah said it this way, â€œThus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.â€ﾝ (Jer 6:16)
By tracing the footsteps of the flock through the centuries, from Jerusalem, in the Middle East, across Asia Minor, Europe and Britain, you will find they lead to the Primitive Baptists of America.
Here, in the Primitive Baptist flock, the fainting, struggling, little lambs and sheep, weary and worn from years of failure and disappointments, hear the precious old hymns, â€œAmazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like meâ€¦â€ﾝ, and â€œ It is Finished, It is Finished, saints from hence your comforts drawâ€ﾝ and â€œTell me not of heavy crosses, nor of burdens hard to bear, for Iâ€™ve found this great salvation makes each burden light appearâ€ﾝ and â€œMy hope is built on nothing less than Jesusâ€™ blood and righteousnessâ€¦On Christ the Solid Rock I Standâ€ﾝ.
Here, in the Primitive Baptist flock, is found the prayerful cry, â€œI am not worthyâ€ﾝ (Ge 32:10; Eph 3:8) but â€œThou art worthyâ€ﾝ (Re 4:11; 5:9).
Here, in the Primitive Baptist fold, is found the glorious message: It is finished, the Victory is won, the Law is satisfied, Salvation by grace alone, through Christ Alone!! (Joh 19:30; Isa 40:1-2; 1Co 15:57; Isa 53:11; Ro 10:4; 5:11; Heb 1:3; Ac 15:11; Mt 1:21)
Indeed, â€œThere remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.â€ﾝ (Heb 4:9) That rest is found at the â€œthrone of graceâ€ﾝ. Seated upon that throne is the Victorious Saviour. That is where you will find the Primitive Baptist resting. As Jesus Christ our Lord said, â€œCome unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.â€ﾝ (Mt 11:28-30)
If you have been wandering in the deserts of false religion, hungering for a message that suits your case, searching for a place to rest your weary soul, I bid you to trace the footsteps of the flock. They will lead you to the throne of grace. There you will find the Primitive Baptist Church, a flock of sheep, which is resting beside the shepherdâ€™s tents, in the noontime of the finished work of Christ.
In Hope~Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
By now, most of our readers have learned of the death of our beloved father, Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Sr. Dad passed away at his home, surrounded by his devoted wife and many family members, on Saturday, November 19th. I learned of his passing while returning from preaching at the Bay Springs Primitive Baptist Church in Montrose, Ga. My family reported that throughout his last day on this earth, his only response to any one that spoke to him was to sweetly smile. His passing was without struggle; he simply closed his eyes and took his final breath.
It is difficult to put into words the great sense of loss that we feel. Dad was not only an earthly father, but also a father in the ministry. However, we are thankful to report that our Heavenly Father has greatly comforted us during the loss of our earthly father. It is impossible in the limited space we have to adequately express to each of you our deep appreciation for the great outpouring of love and sympathy shown to our family. The multitude of calls, cards, flowers, messages, visits and expressions of sympathy is truly overwhelming and means more to us than we could ever tell. During the visitation, the funeral home at Hattiesburg, MS was overwhelmed with the large crowd that attended. The receiving line for friends and loved ones went on for hours. We were especially humbled by the large number of Ministers that came to the visitation and attended the funeral service the following day. During the visitation opportunity was given, and many of the Ministers honored his memory while speaking so kindly of Dad.
The funeral was held the next day at Ideal Primitive Baptist Church in Petal, MS. The little meeting-house was overflowing with the large crowd that came to mourn with us and honor the memory of this faithful servant of the Lord. After prayer by Dadâ€™s son-in-law, Elder Hugh Sanders, and remarks by Elder Sammy Odom and our two brothers, Tony and Licentiate Andy Mozingo, I stood to bring the message. I gave an account of Dadâ€™s personal information (which appears in the obituary section of this edition) and proceeded to speak in his memory, using three texts of scripture that I believe best portrayed his life.
The first text was from Pr 22:1. â€œA good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. . .â€ﾝ Although Dad left very little of this worldâ€™s goods behind, he left something far greater than silver or gold, and that was a good reputation. He had a good report, not only of his fellow laborers in the ministry and of the household of faith, but of those without as well. How many times can we children recall his instruction, â€œgo to this man or this place of business and tell them you are my son and they will give you what you needâ€ﾝ. Never once were we met with any response but an eager willingness to fulfill the request. I have been blessed to travel and preach among the Old Baptists throughout this country for over 25 years and without exception, every place I have been, one of the first questions I received was, â€œHow is your father?â€ﾝ coupled with the words, â€œWe think so much of him.â€ﾝ
The next verse I used was Pr 18:24. â€œA man that hath friends must shew himself friendly. . .â€ﾝ Truly our father was a friendly man. His cheerful countenance and warmth made it a joy to be in his company. Many have expressed how his presence at a meeting would enhance the joy each one felt. He was a friend to every person he met, no matter how great or low their estate may have been. Often times I have seen him give his last dollar to a perfect stranger in need. And his efforts to travel long distances to say a prayer with someone before surgery, help a troubled marriage, attend the birth of a child, or comfort those grieving the loss of loved ones, were legendary.
We thanked our devoted mother for her loving care of Dad as his health declined, but also for her steadfast support of Dadâ€™s ministry through the many lonely years she experienced while Dad was away preaching the gospel and serving the Lord. We especially thanked her that she taught us to honor and respect the Lord and Church he so earnestly served. Because of this teaching, we children did not resent Dadâ€™s long absences from home, but rather were instilled with the same burning desire to serve the Master. We then went on to express our gratitude to our siblings and their families for aiding Mother in her care of Dad.
Finally, I referred to the words of the beloved Apostle Paul who said, â€œI have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. . .â€ﾝ (2Ti 4:7). Much has been said about our father being a peacemaker. Indeed he was. He promoted peace wherever he went and practiced it as well. But Dad never promoted peace at the expense of principle, especially the principles of the doctrine of Christ. He was the fourth of six generations of Old Baptist preachers. Like Paul, he was willing to fight the good fight of keeping the faith. How often I have heard him say, â€œI want to leave the dear old Church just like I found itâ€ﾝ. Although Dad worked diligently to correct the unbiblical customs and traditions of men, he unwaveringly defended â€œthe faith which was once delivered unto the saintsâ€ﾝ. Truly we can say that he died in the faith into which he was baptized and ordained to preach.
I concluded my remarks by reminding the large assembly of the comforting words of 1Th 4:13-18,) that though we weep for the passing of our father from this life, we weep not as them which have no hope, for just as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so we believe that when the Lord comes again he will bring his people who have died with him and then we will be united to meet the Lord in the air, and â€œso shall we ever be with the Lordâ€ﾝ. In hope of that great day when the Lord shall return with our beloved father and all of his saints, we concluded our message by paraphrasing a famous poem Mom taught us many years ago:
His candle burned at both ends;
It lasted not a night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friendsâ€”
It gave a lovely light.
After prayer by Elder David Crawford, the assembly sang the song Dad loved so well to lead, â€œWhat a Day That Will Beâ€ﾝ.
We asked Elder Ronald Lawrence and Elder Sam Bryant to conduct the graveside service and after prayer by Dadâ€™s grandson, Elder Jon Mizell, his body was laid to rest beside the Church House.
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1-3)
In addition to eternal salvation, Godâ€™s word also speaks of temporal or time salvation. That is why Paul exhorted Timothy to â€œStudy to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.â€ﾝ (2Ti 2:15) A â€œrightly dividingâ€ﾝ or proper distinction should be made between scriptures that speak of eternal salvation and those that speak of time salvation.
In this text Jude refers to time salvation as â€œcommon salvationâ€ﾝ. It is common in that it is not eternal. It is a salvation experienced by Godâ€™s children when they come to the knowledge of the truth and apply it to their lives here in time.
The Bible teaches that a child of God can not lose his eternal salvation because of Godâ€™s preserving grace. In his opening salutation;Jude refers to this eternal security of the child of God by addressing his readers as â€œâ€¦them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called...â€ﾝ.
Jude 4 warned the people of God that there were certain men who had crept in unawares and were turning the grace of God into lasciviousness by teaching that since Godâ€™s people are eternally preserved by grace it did not matter if they lived ungodly here in time. He therefore reminds them that there is a common salvation that can be lost if a child of God persistently disobeys his heavenly Father. As an example, he refers to those who were saved from Egypt but afterward destroyed in the wilderness.
Unlike eternal salvation, the child of God can have the common salvation taken from him. That is why Jude 3 â€œgave all diligenceâ€ﾝ to write about the common salvation and to exhort the Lordâ€™s people that they â€œshould earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.â€ﾝ Eternal salvation is unconditional, but time or common salvation is conditioned upon the ministry being diligent to preach the faith and the Lordâ€™s people being earnest in contending for the faith.
Some refuse to â€œrightly divideâ€ﾝ or make a proper distinction between eternal and common salvation. They say that there is but one salvation and that common salvation is but a part of it. They teach that all the elect will experience common salvation and those who do not hear, believe and obey the gospel are not Godâ€™s people. This misguided attempt to combat the licentious grace position is a cruel doctrine that dooms anyone who is not capable of hearing and obeying the gospel, such as infants who die in infancy, mentally challenged people, those who do not persevere, those Israelites who are under judicial blindness, the gentiles which have not the law or those that lived in times and places where the gospel was never preached.
Thankfully the scriptures do not teach such a narrow and draconian view of eternal salvation. When the scripture is â€œrightly dividedâ€ﾝ it reveals that eternal salvation is independent of common salvation. (Joh 3:8) In fact, the Bible gives evidence that John the Baptist was born again by grace without the gospel while yet in his motherâ€™s womb! (Lu 1:44) It teaches that there are some people who have the law of God in their heart even though they do not have a Bible. (Ro 2:14-15) That amazingly there will even be those in heaven who had been enemies of the gospel! (Ro 11:26-28) Indeed, there will be multitudes of people in heaven who never heard the gospel or experienced common salvation in this world. (Rev. 7:9-10|) How can this be? Grace! Grace! Wonderful Grace!
But just because the Bible teaches that common salvation is not necessary for eternal salvation, it does not mean we can view it as a matter of indifference. There is no greater blessing for a child of God in this life than to â€œknow the joyful soundâ€ﾝ and â€œto walk in the light of his countenanceâ€ﾝ, neither is there any more dreadful place for a child of God than to come under Godâ€™s judgment because of unbelief and disobedience. (Ps 89:15; Heb 10:26-31)
Now, as then, there are men who oppose the doctrine of common salvation. Therefore the Lordâ€™s ministers must give all diligence to preach about time or common salvation and the Lordâ€™s people must be diligent to earnestly contend for it.
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
In 2Co 4:8-9 the Apostle Paul spoke of the abiding confidence he had in Christ to sustain him through the troubles he experienced at the hands of wicked men. He said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed".
The dark and troubled times that have descended upon America as a result of the September 11 attacks and the events that have followed have left many people in distress and despair. It is reported that the sale of sedatives and anti-depressants has dramatically increased. Many live in constant fear of death by biological weapons and other means of terrorism. The threat of terrorism has caused people to be afraid of everything from flying to opening the mail.
God's people are not immune to attack, persecution and trouble. Paul certainly understood what it meant to live in constant danger and peril. In 2Co 11:23-27, Paul listed a multitude of things he frequently suffered such as labors, whippings, imprisonment, stonings, beatings, etc. Certainly his confidence did not stem from a lack of troubles. He did not say that we are not troubled; rather, he said that we are troubled on every side! The difference in Paul was the manner in which he dealt with the trouble. He said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair." Why was this man of God who was surrounded by troubles not distressed? Why was he not in despair? Because of his abiding faith in Jesus Christ!
Paul's trust was in the Living God, Jesus Christ the Lord. He said in 2Co 1:9-10, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us".
As it was with Paul, so it is with us. The threat to God's people is real. We are told that our enemies not only dwell in foreign lands but also live here among us. We know that just as in the Apostle's time, so today there are wicked men who hate Jesus Christ and those who worship Him Joh 15:18; 1Jo 3:13. Let us then face these dangers just as Paul did.
Yes, there is trouble on every side, but trusting in God, let us not be distressed. Yes, there are many perplexing problems to face, but trusting in God, let us not be in despair. Yes, we are being persecuted, but we are not forsaken. Yes, we are cast down, but not destroyed!
In Hope - Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
Ps 6:8 â€¦for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
One of the blessings of being a Christian is the knowledge that when we pray, we are heard by the living God. The Lord said in Isaiah 46:5-7|,) â€œTo whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.â€ﾝ (see also Ps 115:4-8)
Unlike the false gods of this world who cannot hear or speak, â€œthe eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers...â€ﾝ What a comfort to know that whether we lift up our voice in praise or in distress, the Lord hears our every word. (Ps 34:17; 1Pe 3:12)
But what of those times when our grief and sorrow are so great that we cannot find the words to express it? When our souls are so overwhelmed that we cannot speak, but silently weep tears of pain? Here is where the truth that we have a living God becomes even more precious. For our God is able to hear the â€œvoice of our weepingâ€ﾝ, for he can â€œbe touched with the feeling of our infirmitiesâ€¦â€ﾝ (Ps 6:8; Heb 4:15)
Thus it was with the woman whose grief was so great that she could only weep at the feet of Jesus and wash his feet with her tears. (Lu 7:38) Though she did not speak, her tears spoke to the heart of our Saviour. Rebuking the Pharisee for his rude treatment and judgmental attitude, our Lord turned to the woman in tenderness and spoke the gracious words, â€œThy sins are forgiven.â€ﾝ (Lu 7:44-48) How blessed we poor sinners are to have such a gracious Saviour who hears the voice of our tears when we weep over our sins at the foot of the cross.
And what of the tears wept because of the iniquity of others? 2Ki 8:11 says, â€œâ€¦ and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.â€ﾝ In our day, many tears flow because of the brutality of terrorism. Also, how many mothers have sat silently weeping because their sons had given their lives in battle freeing others from the oppression of evil tyrants? How many fatherâ€™s tears have streamed down their face as they stood at the graveside of a daughter killed by some wicked man? How many tears are shed by starving children around the world because their wicked leaders use hunger to control the people? Every day, drugs and pornography kill and exploit our young people. Each day many unborn children are murdered for profit. How many countless works of iniquity could be named that daily produce a river of tears streaming down their victimsâ€™ faces. (Ec 4:1; Isa 59:6-7)
David said, â€œDepart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.â€ﾝ David was weeping because of the workers of iniquity and the suffering they caused. But the Lord heard his tears,
delivering him from their wicked works.
And what more shall we say? For the time would fail us to speak of the weeping of the Lordâ€™s people at the graveside of loved ones (#Deu34:8|), the cruelty of family members (Ge 37:35), for wayward children (2Sa 19:4), for those who have departed from the faith (Php 3:18) and countless other sources of overwhelming grief.
Just as it was then, so it is today. The Lord still hears the voice of our weeping. One grand and glorious day when our Lord shall return from heaven, he shall deliver his people and destroy the workers of iniquity, declaring, â€œDepart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.â€ﾝ On that day his people shall hear him speak the gracious words, â€œCome, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the worldâ€ﾝ as he wipes all tears from their eyes. (Mt 25:34,41; Re 21:4; Isa 25:8)
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
We live in a cruel world in which the law of the jungle known as â€œsurvival of the fittestâ€ﾝ rules the hearts and minds of men. People are taught from early childhood that they are part of an evolutionary process that rewards the strong over the weak. Unwanted and afflicted babies are routinely aborted and doctor assisted suicide for the terminally ill and the elderly is strongly advocated. The most popular media broadcasts are â€œrealityâ€ﾝ shows in which the weak and least productive are â€œvoted offâ€ﾝ.
In stark contrast, Godâ€™s kingdom is ruled by the law of love in which life, no matter how frail and unproductive, is valued. Rather than seeing the weak as a burden, Godâ€™s word teaches that each child of God, no matter how feeble, is a member of Christâ€™s body and therefore, is not only wanted but actually necessary. Rather than looking for ways to get rid of the responsibility of caring for the weak, scripture says, â€œWe then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.â€ﾝ (Ro 15:1)
Paul said in 1Co 12:12-27,) â€œFor as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.â€ﾝ
The apostle points out in verse 22 that, just as it is with a personâ€™s natural body, so it is with the body of Christ, â€œâ€¦ those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.â€ﾝ
Think of it. What good would a strong arm be without the eye and the mind to guide it? Certainly an eye or a brain is much more feeble than a muscular arm, but as Paul said, much more those members, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.
Thus it is in the kingdom of God. Where would the Church be without babies, toddlers and young folks who are much more feeble than the adults? It would be a church without a future. On the other hand, where would the church be without the elderly and senior members whose wisdom, patience and experience are so valuable? Their very presence in the body of Christ warrants the best care we can give. Indeed, how sad and tragic it would be if there were no frail members to care for.
As the world seeks to rid itself of the weak, may the people of God say with Paul, â€œNay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessaryâ€¦â€ﾝ!!
In Hope~ Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Ro 8:35-36)
The tragic and horrifying events of September 11 have sent shock waves of terror through our nation. We watched as evil men slaughtered innocent lives in the most diabolical and cruel manner.
As we look to the Lord and His word for help in this hour of national tragedy, we find the strength to face the present grief and the challenges ahead. The Psalmist David said, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." (Ps 121:1-2)
Jesus Christ our Lord said to the Pharisees, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning..." (Joh 8:44) Murder, even in the name of religion, is still murder. Looking at the horrible scenes of destruction and the reports of the number of deaths, it would appear the disciples of Satan have won a great victory. But our text says in all things, we are more than conquerors. How can one who is killed by evil men be more than a conqueror? The answer is, "Through Him that loved us!" When we understand that God's word says that nothing can separate us from the love of God and that when death comes we are immediately carried by our Saviour into the presence of God never to suffer again, then we can find comfort and strength to face this tragic loss to our nation and ourselves. Even though death has conquered many people, Jesus Christ has conquered death! He arose from the dead and because he lives the children of God who were killed have not been extinguished but live with God in glory this very moment. They are there in peace, beholding the face of our Lord Jesus Christ, joining the innumerable host of Heaven in praise and worship of their Saviour. Free from sickness and pain, sin and evil, sorrow and death. They are there awaiting the resurrection of their bodies, to be fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Son of God. (Ec 12:7; Php 1:23; 3:20-21)
And what of we that remain? Shall we allow ourselves to be gripped with terror and immobilized by fear or shall we as David said, "In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?" (Ps 11:1) Rather than flee as a bird, should we not as Christians look to the Lord, gird up the loins of our mind and be sober in this trying hour?" (1Pe 1:13)
It is time for us to "let our light so shine" (Mt 5:14-16) by praying for the families who are grieving the tragic loss of their loved ones; reading to them the comforting words of 1Th 4:13-18,) assuring them that Jesus Christ's people will see their loved ones again. Let us remember that God's children who lost their lives on September 11 are at peace in heaven's pure world basking in the light of their Saviour's presence (Re 21:23). Let us be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might that God's people in the world may see our calm stability and inquire about the Faith that sustains us. It is time for us to be "the salt of the earth" by praying for our President and others in places of authority, that our Lord Jesus Christ will give them the wisdom, strength and courage they need in this hour (#1Timothy 2:1-3,) Mt 5:13). Let us pray for our beloved nation and fellow countrymen. Let us pray for the safety of those in the military. Let us assure our families that God is on His Throne, that He ruleth and reigneth in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and that he is a very present help in time of trouble (Ps 11; Hab 2:20; Da 4:34-35; Ps 46:1).
Let us remember the immortal words of Paul, as he spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 8:38-39) Indeed we are MORE than conquerors through him that loved us!
It is time for us as Primitive Baptists to let our moderation (stability) be known unto all men (Php 4:5) by showing them that we are not terrorized by terrorists, but trust in the living God who said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb 13:5-6).
In Hope ~- Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
In Ac 15:11 we read, â€œBut we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.â€ﾝ This statement was made by the Apostle Peter during a meeting of the Church at Jerusalem.
This meeting was called as a result of a controversy arising at Antioch in which â€œâ€¦ certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.â€ﾝ This error was opposed by Paul and Barnabas. Paul, of course, was the great champion of salvation by grace. Since these men were denying that grace was sufficient and asserting that ceremonial circumcision must be added to grace in order for one to be saved, it is no wonder that there was â€œno small dissension and disputation with them,â€ﾝ by Paul and Barnabas. As a result of the dissension and disputation that occurred it was decided that they should â€œgo up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.â€ﾝ
Our passage reveals that adding to grace is an effort of men that has been around since the infancy of the Church. Men say they believe that salvation is by grace, butâ€¦. Or salvation is by grace, ifâ€¦. By the time they get finished â€œqualifyingâ€ﾝ grace, it is no longer grace (Ro 11:6).
When the meeting was held at Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas â€œdeclared all things that God had done with them.â€ﾝ Then certain ones rose up and said, â€œThat it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.â€ﾝ Thus we see that when one begins to add to grace, it is but a step toward adding more. The first group said that you must add circumcision, the next group said that you must add circumcision and the keeping of the law. When men become dissatisfied with the â€œthe simplicity that is in Christâ€ﾝ, they add on just a little in the beginning, and once that is accepted, they add on more.
Adding to grace has always caused confusion and disturbance in the Old Baptist Church. Here the scriptures reveal that, â€œâ€¦ there had been much disputing...â€ﾝ. It is heart-rending to see the little lambs and sheep of the flock who are troubled and distressed by the controversies of men who are not satisfied with salvation by grace.
How was this matter settled? The apostle Peter speaking on behalf of the apostles, elders, and the Church, said, â€œ... why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.â€ﾝ Here is the second â€œArticle of Faithâ€ﾝ recorded in the scriptures (the first being found in Joh 6:69; 16:30) and it is the same as the Primitive Baptists hold today! Salvation is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing added to it and nothing taken from it. Just salvation by grace. And this grace is the same way every elect person is saved. As Peter said, â€œâ€¦ we shall be saved, even as they.â€ﾝ (see also;Joh 3:8)
How liberating and wonderful is the great truth that salvation is by free and sovereign grace!! (Joh 8:32)
In Hope~Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.
Three Things God Preserves
To preserve means to guard from loss or injury, to keep safe. People refer to food kept from spoiling as â€œpreservesâ€ﾝ. The Bible tells us that there are many things God preserves. By reading of these things, we can be strengthened and comforted.
First, the Bible tells us that God is preserving the heavens and the earth. In 2Pe 3:7 we read, â€œBut the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.â€ﾝ Despite the frantic cry of radicals who claim the earth is being destroyed by man, the fact remains that man cannot destroy the earth because God is preserving it. (Col 1:16-17) Some people frighten children by teaching them that disaster looms because of â€œglobal warmingâ€ﾝ. Yet the Lord promised man after the flood, â€œWhile the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.â€ﾝ (Ge 8:22) This is not to say that man should have reckless disregard for the creation. We are required by God to be good â€œstewardsâ€ﾝ of the earth, but there is a big difference between environmental responsibility and environmental fanaticism. Verily, the earth will one day burn up. Not because someone drove an SUV, but because the Lord will destroy it on Judgment Day. That day will not come until the last elect person is born again or saved. When that day comes, the Lord will return to carry all the elect to safety in heaven and will destroy the earth by fire. (2Pe 3:7-10)
The second thing God preserves is the Bible. David said, â€œThe words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever (Ps 12:6-7). Notice it is not just the word, but the â€œwordsâ€ﾝ that God preserves. Despite the efforts of the wicked through the generations to ban the Bible, burn the Bible, and destroy the Bible, the Lord has preserved His words.
The third thing we want to observe that God is preserving is the elect family of God. Jude said, â€œJude 1, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of Jam, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called ... â€ﾝ (Jude 1). Is it not wonderful to know that the God who is preserving the heavens and the earth, the God who is faithfully preserving His words, is the one who is preserving you! In this age of terrorism, when many wicked people roam the earth seeking to kill anyone that does not bow to their false god, it is a great comfort to remember the words of Paul, â€œWho shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.â€ﾝ (Ro 8:35-39) Let us go forward with the same confidence in the Lord that Paul expressed when he said, â€œAnd the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.â€ﾝ (2Ti 4:18)
In Hope~Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr.