Monthly Archives: January 2015

Stop With The Excuses

Moses was a reluctant leader. Good leaders usually are. Beware the man who wants to lead you! Many people want power and authority to merely advance their own personal interests. Like Diotrephes, they want to have the preeminence over others. But Moses was not that kind of man. He tried every way he could think of to get out of a position of leadership, but God would not let him. His excuses were the excuses that many of us use even to this day.

First, Moses argued that he was not qualified. “Who am I,” asked Moses, “that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). Though Moses had once lived in the court of Pharaoh, he had since fled for his life as a fugitive and spent the last forty years hiding in the desert as a shepherd. Besides, one might imagine, leading the great multitude of the children of Israel was the job of a young man full of energy, not an 80 year old man cowering in fear! But God immediately invalidated his excuse and said “Certainly I will be with thee” (Ex. 3:12).

How many of us try to get out of doing the Lord’s work by offering up this same old, lame excuse. Who am I to tell others about the Lord? Who am I to teach a Bible class? Who am I to warn others? But the Lord’s clear and immediate response is “Certainly I will be with thee.” In fact, “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).

Second, Moses argued that those who heard him would deny his authority to do what he was doing. Who is this God for whom you are speaking? “What is His name?” he believed thy would ask (Ex. 3:13). Again, the Lord dispensed with this excuse by saying “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:14).

If we seek to go about doing the Lord’s will on our own authority, we surely will be inadequate for the task! But we may speak boldly, if we speak as the oracles of God, with the authority of God ( I Pet. 4:11). When we speak, we should give a Thus saith the Lord for everything we say (Col. 3:17). It is His authority by which we speak and not our own.

Third, Moses argued that he shouldn’t be sent because they wouldn’t believe him. “The Lord hath not appeared unto thee,” will be their response, he says, therefore don’t send me (Ex. 4:1). God’s response was to show him His power through miracles which would produce faith in His word (Ex. 4:2-8). But even then, the Lord points out, that may not even be enough to produce faith in their hardened hearts (Ex. 4:9).

Today, of course, we don’t have at our disposal the power to perform miracles, but we do have the written word which was confirmed by “signs, wonders, and divers miracles with gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:-4). Besides, some will not be impressed even with miracles, not even a resurrection from the dead. As Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). But that did not stop the Lord from coming to this world, it did not stop the apostles from being ambassadors for the Lord (II Cor. 4:20) and it is no excuse for us. Some will not believe, but some may!

Fourth, Moses appealed to his lack of speaking skills. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Ex. 4:10). But God reminded Moses that it was God that made his mouth (Ex. 4:11). Again, Moses was focusing his attention on the wrong object, himself. It was not about Moses, and it is not about us. It is about the Lord! Might we be embarrassed? Only if we are focused on ourselves and not on the Lord or on the souls of the lost or on the word of God.

Too many people want eloquence instead of truth. I had rather hear a stammering, clumsy, frightened humble man speak the simple truth than hear a silver-tongued, slick, polished self-absorbed orator tickle the ears of the listeners with white-washed error! Saving sincere souls does not depend on eloquence or oratory but on the power of the truth of the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16,17).

Finally, Moses just wanted God to send someone else. Anyone else! “And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” (Ex. 4:13). But this only served to anger the Lord (Ex. 4:14). He agreed to send Aaron as Moses’ spokesman, but God wanted Moses to do his job. And He wants us to do our jobs without excuses!

We can raise all kinds of excuses not do the Lord’s will, but they are only excuses. God is not pleased with them, He grows weary of them, and one day He will allow no more time for excuses. If you refuse, God will send someone else, because the job must be done. If we refuse to do the will of the Lord, someone else will. God’s purposes will not be frustrated. But God wants us to stop with the excuses and get to work.

Eric L. Padgett

The Fog Is Getting Thicker

On January 13, in the online publication Biblical Notes, Weylan Deaver published an article entitled, “The Fog is Lifting.” A better title for the article would be “The Fog Is Getting Thicker.” A long time ago, Biblical Notes was a sound paper, but now it is dedicated to defending the erroneous position of Mac Deaver, a once faithful gospel preacher but now a peddler of his false doctrine on the Holy Spirit.

There is so much error in the article, based on assumptions that are clearly false, that it would take much more space than I have here to deal with it all. There are also better men who are better qualified to deal with this error than I, and I am sure they will. But I feel compelled to make a few observations regarding it in the mean time.

First, on the one hand, brother Deaver tries to argue that the expression “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is just a different way of saying that we are saved. He writes, “when we found different words used about the Holy Spirit’s connection to saved people, we completely missed the point…” He tries to argue that the expression “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is an equivalent term for salvation just as there are different terms used to describe the church. He writes:

“We knew it was called the church, but also referred to as a kingdom. Nobody insisted that the church and kingdom must be separate entities. We knew that the church was called the body of Christ, but also his bride, and even God’s house. And no one claimed that the body must be something other than the bride, or that the body cannot be the church, or that God’s house cannot be his kingdom, etc. We all understood these various terms were descriptive of the same institution. The church was the kingdom and also the body and also the bride and also the house of God. They were all the same thing, despite different terminology. However, when we found different words used about the Holy Spirit’s connection to saved people, we completely missed the point…Our coherent approach to passages on the church became a muddled effort on passages about the Spirit.”

He clearly means to imply that since the church was described by different terms, then salvation can also be described by different terms. And surely it can be and is! “Remission of sins” is one expression for salvation just as being “in Christ” is another. Both of them refer to the same thing under different figures. But then he tries to say that the expression “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” which he says is equivalent to “receiving the Spirit,” and other similar expressions, is an expression equal to expressions denoting salvation, including the references to water baptism.

But later in the same article he says “Peter calls on hearers to repent and be baptized so they can receive ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” If they are the same thing, then how can one come before the other? He writes of Cornelius in Acts 10, “In his case, the Spirit baptism preceded the water baptism…” How can that be if “they were all the same thing, despite different terminology” as he claims? If he is not equating “baptism of the Holy Spirit” with water baptism, then what was the point of his comparison with terms denoting the church?

But the truth is the baptism of the Holy Spirit was only promised to the apostles (Acts 1:1-4). He would guide the apostles into all truth and bring to their remembrance the things the Lord had taught them (John 14:26; 16:13). Receiving the miraculous power from the Spirit (Acts 1:8), the apostles could then pass those powers to others through laying their hands on them (Acts 8:18). The Deavers cannot do this, were never promised the Spirit, were not in Jerusalem when the Spirit was given and never had an apostle to lay their hands on them to receive the gift of the Spirit.

A second point. He makes much of the supplied words “unto Him” in John 3:34. He says we in the church have been teaching that God gives the Spirit by measure when the Text says that God does not give the Spirit by measure. He writes, “There is no ‘baptismal measure.’ There is no ‘laying on of hands measure.’ There is no ‘ordinary measure.’ There are no measures.”

First, his view goes against the views of the commentators. Gill wrote, “Still meaning Christ,..For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, as he did to the prophets of the Old Testament, and to the apostles of the New; and to the ordinary ministers of the word, who have gifts differing one from another; to one is given one gift of the Spirit; and to another, another gift, as the Spirit pleaseth; and to everyone is given grace, or gifts of grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, Ephesians 4:7.”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary states, “Here, again, the sharpest conceivable line of distinction is drawn between Christ and all human-inspired teachers: ‘They have the Spirit in a limited degree; but God giveth not [to Him] the Spirit by measure.'”

Matthew Henry wrote, “John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness.”

Brother Coffman wrote, “Christian disciples receive merely “an earnest” of the Holy Spirit, and not even the apostles possessed the Spirit in the total sense that Jesus did.”

Barnes: “The prophets were inspired on particular occasions to deliver special messages. The Messiah was continually filled with the Spirit of God.”

Robertson’s Word Pictures: “That is God has put no limit to the Spirit’s relation to the Son. God has given the Holy Spirit in his fulness to Christ and to no one else in that sense.”

Furthermore, the context makes it clear that John is speaking of Christ. John said that Christ came down from heaven and is above all (John 3:31). What Christ saw and heard is what He testified (John 3:32). Verse 34 speaks of Him who God hath sent, which is Jesus. And the reason that He speaks the word of God is because God does not give the Spirit by measure to Him. It makes no sense, contextually or otherwise, to say that this applies to all. We do not speak with the same authority the Son does. Finally, verse 35 says that God has given all things into His hand. This He has not done to any other human being.

It is sad to see the Deavers descend into this kind of error. I had great respect for brother Roy Deaver, and once had respect for Mac Deaver. But his torturous defense of his error is embarrassing. I pray that the fog will one day soon lift from his eyes.

Eric L. Padgett

Remember Lot’s Wife

Jesus spoke these words in the context of foretelling the impending doom of that once faithful city of Jerusalem (Luke 17:28-32). Because of that generation’s rejection of Messiah (Luke 17:25), He would reject them and would have them in derision (Ps. 2:1-4). No city that the Lord does not guard, can be defended if the Lord is against it (Ps. 127:1). Just as the walls of Jericho fell flat, every city or nation or individual that exalts itself against God will face the judgement of God. Those who hesitate to leave such ungodliness or willfully return back to it will be destroyed. That is the significance of remembering Lot’s wife.

Even though she was with Lot when the family left the city, Lot’s wife’s heart remained in Sodom. She apparently returned to the city for some reason, possibly to retrieve some possession, if we are to judge by the Lord’s use of the account (Luke 17:31,32), but tarried too long and was consumed by the fire and the brimstone and was eventually encrusted in salt. The Lord did everything He could do to save them, even taking them by the hand to lead them out when they lingered (Gen. 19:16). But when a heart is wedded to some sin, even the Lord cannot save! Remember Lot’s wife.

Sometimes, as Christians, we still retain a desire for some old sin. Just as the kings of ancient Judah failed to remove the high places, so too do we retain altars to some past sin (I Kings 22:43; II Kings 12:3). We refuse to tear them down, to remove them from our life. Jesus warned against trying to serve two masters, saying that it cannot be done (Matt. 6:24). Rather we must flee! Flee fornication (I Cor. 6:18)! Flee idolatry (I Cor. 10:14)! Flee the love of money (I Tim. 6:11)! Flee youthful lusts (II Tim. 2:22)! Flee and don’t turn back! Remember Lot’s wife!

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain were wicked. Their sin was very grievous (Gen. 18:20). Amongst their trespasses was the grievous sin which would bear their name: sodomy. God rained down fire and brimstone on those cities because of their unchecked and unrepented transgressions (Gen. 19:29). How could we expect any nation today that fully embraces such sins as caused the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to escape the judgement of God? Add to this the murder of 1.21 million innocent children every year and America’s sins are compounded. America must wake up and repent or else God will most certainly judge her for her transgressions. Remember Lot’s wife!

Eric L. Padgett

Seven Resolutions For The New Year

Some will tell you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions. They say you can’t keep them and you shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep. But resolutions are not promises so much as they are attempts to correct oversights or failures from the previous year. In fact, we should always be about the business of examining and correcting ourselves, not just yearly, though that is a start, but constantly, every day, every hour (II Cor. 13:5). The following are some areas in which we can always improve our Christian life.

First, we ought to resolve to grow more spiritually this year than last. The apostle Peter wrote, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18). We should never become complacent about our service to the Lord. As a congregation, as individuals, as families we should renew our efforts to improve our spiritual service.

Second, we ought to resolve to increase our faith. Some are of the opinion that faith is a gift, that it is not something over which we have any control. But that was not the view of the apostles. “Increase our faith” was the plea of the apostles to the Lord (Luke 17:5). If the apostles realized their need for increased faith, surely we also need to increase ours.

Third, we ought to resolve to be more conscience of winning souls. The wise man said, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). Jesus charged His apostles with the Great Commission, and us through them, to take the gospel to the world. Can we improve on our efforts from last year? We should certainly try! The eternal destiny of precious souls are at stake!

Fourth, we ought to resolve to do our best to gain control of our weaknesses. John said, “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not” (I John 2:1). We live in a day when every impulse is indulged, every whim satisfied. Unfortunately, this culture has carried over into the church in many areas. But we must live our lives so as not to allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies (Rom. 6:12).

Fifth, we ought to resolve to take a stand for the Lord and His cause. There comes a time in our lives when it is not enough simply to believe on the Lord and quietly follow. Sometimes you have to lift up your voice and speak out and take action. Paul said, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). Some will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears and turn away from the truth, but it is then that we must reprove, rebuke and exhort (II Tim. 4:1-4).

Sixth, we ought to resolve to be better Bible students. Jesus said “Search the scriptures…” (John 5:39). Paul commanded us to “study, to shew ourselves approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). Hosea, speaking for God, said “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Because all scripture is given by inspiration of God, it is profitable to make us throughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16,17).

Finally, we ought to be more conscious of the promise of the Lord’s return. One day, the Lord has promised, we will stand before His throne in judgement and we will receive the reward for our labors (Matt. 25:31ff). We don’t often think of this but we should and it should motivate us to greater faithfulness and service (II Pet. 3:11). To some it will be the beginning of eternity in Hell, but to others, those who follow His will, it will be the dawn of an eternal, glorious day.

May the Lord bless you with greater spiritual success and wealth in the coming year.

Eric L. Padgett