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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

THE END OF THE LAW?


Christ Is The End



Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

You Must Have Righteousness
To Enter Heaven

Nobody, who has one mark on his or her record, will go to Heaven. Do not miss that! If you lived a life having never sinned but one time, you would go to Hell when you died because of that one sin. God did not say the wages of a lot of sins is death. He didn’t say the wages of a few sins is death. He said the wages of sin, singular, is death. You must have perfect righteousness in order to go to Heaven.

If you are attempting to save yourself, let me tell you what you have to do. You would have to go back and start over and be born of a virgin. You would have to live for 33 years on earth, never having sinned one time. That’s what you would have to do in order for you to go to Heaven. You cannot do that. It is impossible for you to do that.

So, you need another alternative. The truth is you must have righteousness in order to go to Heaven. When you stand before God, there cannot be one single black mark against your name. Not one lie can be recorded there. Not one loss of temper can be recorded there. Not one word of hatred can be recorded there. Not one word of cursing can be there. Not one time of coveting something can be there. Not one moment of vengeance can be there on your record. The only ones who will walk inside the gates of pearl, on the streets of gold, are the ones who stand before God with not one single sin recorded against their name. Do not miss that. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell. When you stand before God, you will have to be perfect, or you will not go to Heaven when you die.


Righteousness Is Not The Absence
Of Unrighteousness

It takes righteousness to get you to Heaven, but righteousness is not the absence of unrighteousness. Those are the people trying to work to clear the record. Please understand that righteousness is not the absence of unrighteousness. It’s wonderful what God does to our sins. We put our trust and faith in Christ. He has paid for our sins and, thus, because He has paid for them, He can cleanse us from our sins.

So far, I have done nothing about my own sins. You see, I can’t do anything about them. Righteousness, again, is not the absence of unrighteousness. I must turn to Christ and let Him do something about my sins.

When I turn to Christ, He comes into my heart. The Bible says believe in your heart, not turn from sin in your heart. It says you have to believe in your heart. What does He do? He removes every sin from our record in Heaven. Jesus leaves the record totally clean. He justifies me, and it is if I had never sinned. That is the second thing He does.

Do you know what else He does? He forgets our sins. That does not mean I don’t sin. It means they have been paid for by Jesus’ shed blood and, as far as God is concerned, I have a perfectly clean record. That’s not all!

 As God comes and erases your sins, there must be righteousness recorded in the blank space. You see, an absence of your sins is not righteousness. Absence of your sins is not enough. There must be righteousness, and righteousness is not the absence of sin


My Righteousness Won’t Do It

Isaiah 64:6 explains, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
God said my righteousness won’t do it. Every act I do is tainted. Quit running around questioning everybody else’s motives because, according to this verse, your motives are pretty rotten, yourself. 

My righteousness won’t do it. So, everything I do is tainted. It can’t help but be, because of our flesh. There is no pure righteousness that I can do. There is no pure righteousness that you can do.


Christ Offers His Righteousness
To Man, If Man Will Believe Him To Pay For Man's Unrighteousness

In Genesis 15:6 we read, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” It does not say he turned from sin in his heart. It does not say that he turned from sin in his life. Only One has the power to take care of your sin! Only One! You cannot do it! You have to trust the One that can come in and take care of that old man. When Abraham believed on the coming Messiah as his Saviour, God immediately erased all of Abraham’s sins, but that’s not enough. Righteousness must be recorded where unrighteousness has been erased. Thus, Abraham believed God and God put His righteousness on Abraham’s record. Man’s unrighteousness is taken away and God’s righteousness is put there, in it’s place.

So, when I was saved I believed on Christ. Christ not only erased all of my sin, He also said, “I’ll never remember them.” That is not all. He likewise said, “I am going to take My Son’s righteousness, My righteousness, and I’m going to put it on your record.”

In Romans 4:3 we are told, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The word “counted” is an accounting word. It was recorded. Salvation is not the absence of sin. It is having Jesus count His righteousness for your righteousness. That’s what God does.

In Galatians 3:6 the Bible tells us, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” The word “it” is the faith. It was accounted to him for righteousness. That means that the moment a person believes God, his faith causes the righteous acts of Jesus Christ to be recorded on his record.

For example, blessing little children is recorded on our record. For example, on my record in Heaven, because I trusted Christ, feeding the five thousand is recorded there. Raising the dead is recorded on my record in Heaven. Healing the sick is recorded on my record in Heaven. Going about doing good is recorded on my record in Heaven. That’s why I can be called a son of God. It is not just you feeling sorry for your sins and being so broken up that you feel a deep compunction, or remorse, in your heart. All of that is okay, because sometimes godly sorrow leads to repentance, but it is not the same thing as repentance. Sometimes you don’t have that deep, godly sorrow, but, when you face the fact that you are a sinner, and the fact that you are headed for Hell, and the fact that the wages of sin is death, you come to a place in your life where you have to say, who can take care of me? I don’t care if you cry or laugh. I don’t care how you react! If you trust the fact of Jesus Christ, you become saved. Your sins are cleansed. That’s not all. His righteousness is put on your record.

Thus, all the righteous acts that Jesus Christ performs are recorded on my record. They are recorded on your record. God not only wiped away my unrighteousness, but after I placed my faith in Christ, God counted that faith and Jesus’ righteousness was recorded under my name in Heaven.

Psalm 106:31, “And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.” So Abraham is not the only one in the Bible who believed God, trusted in the Messiah, and the Messiah’s righteousness was placed on his account.

Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  I do not care if that is outward work or inward work. It does not make any difference. He said “that worketh not.” Who justifies the ungodly? The Lord Jesus Christ is the One Who does that! You cannot get rid of your sin. You cannot deal with your sin. You cannot turn from your sin. You cannot run from your sin. You cannot deal with it!

The works salvation people, the deeper-lifers, and those who believe they have to turn from their sins in their heart or in their life, they don not understand.But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” 

To he who goeth not soul winning but believeth on Him, his faith is counted for righteousness. To he who doesn’t tithe but believeth on Him, his faith is counted for righteousness. To he who helps not the poor but believeth on Him, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Okay. I come to Christ and trust Him. What does He do? He forgives that sin. What’s He do? He forgets that sin. What does He do? He wipes that sin off. He justifies me, just as if I’d never sinned. My record is spotless and clean. However, that is not enough. The absence of unrighteousness keeps me from Hell, but the presence of righteousness takes me to Heaven. So, God takes all that’s on Jesus’ record and puts it on my record. When you look at my record in Heaven, it looks identical to Jesus’! We’re twins! That is why God cannot send you to Hell. That is why you cannot lose your salvation. If He sent you to Hell, He would have to send Jesus there.

The two ways to receive righteousness are by keeping the law, or by faith. In Romans 10:2 we read, For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” What does the verse mean? They have zeal to be saved, but they do not know how to become saved. Paul wants them saved in the worse way. They are not saved. He said, “Why are they not saved? They have zeal. They want to be saved, but they do not have knowledge and do not know how to be saved!” That is why it is important not to fool with God’s salvation plan. Don’t fool with it, because you don’t have the knowledge. You may have the zeal, but if nobody connects with the knowledge, then you’ll die and go to Hell.

What is the lack of knowledge? Verse 3 “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”  If you and sin are going at it, then you are working your way to Heaven. However, when you throw up your hands and say, “I’m helpless. I cannot help it. There is nothing I can do. Dear God, I am going to have to trust Christ.” He is the One Who has the power to come in and deliver a knockout blow to sin!

If you have one thing to do with your salvation, it becomes works. I do not care if it is you turning from your sin in your heart. I do not care if it is turning from sin outside. You are working your way to Heaven. You have to trust Christ and Him alone. The righteousness of God is vital! You say to yourself, “I have to quit going on about to establish my own righteousness. I throw up my hands. I cannot deal with the sin, anymore. I can’t deal with it.” Then you come to God and say, “Jesus I am trusting You to deal with my sin, not only to wipe it out, but to give me Your record on my record.”

Verse 4 says “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” It is not the end of the law. The rest of the verse says for righteousness. That means when you quit trying to save yourself and quit trying to quit sin in order to get saved, and you come to the end of your own works and realize you can’t do it, but Jesus can, and you put your faith in Christ, not only are all your sins wiped away, not only does God never remember them, but God said, “When We open up your record, all I see is Jesus.” That is not the end of the law for righteousness.

Deeper-lifers are all mixed up because they think that faith does away with the law. However, the word “end” here can be defined it ceases to be what it was at that point. When you trust Christ to save you and quit trying to trust your good works and the law, whether baptism, confirmation, the Lord’s Supper, or sacraments, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.

For example, Mrs. Gray and I went to junior high School together. Her last name was Weisheipl. She’s German. I knew her, but she didn’t know me. The first time I saw her I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life, but she didn’t know I even lived. She didn’t know that I existed. She was very popular and had all kinds of friends. 

When we enrolled in high school, I tried to get to know her. She wasn’t interested in me. She was going with some idiot of a boy. She dumped this boy and she finally saw the light. We started going steady. Was that the end of Lee Ann Weisheipl? Oh, no. It was the end of Lee Ann Weisheipl as just a friend. Now it wasn’t just an acquaintance, but now we had moved to a deeper relationship. Now we were beginning to like each other. She finally saw the light!

If we were writing Bible here, we would say Bob was the end of Lee Ann Weisheipl for being just a friend. That is what God is saying to us. It is not the end of the law. It is the end of the law for what it was serving. Now we are moving on to something else. The law didn’t die when I was saved. It just simply changed in the relationship to my life. I’m still not supposed to kill anybody, steal, or covet. 

The God in the Old Testament is still alive. What He didn’t like then, He doesn’t like now. If God didn’t like pants on Jewish women 4,000 years ago, then God doesn’t like pants on Gentile women 4,000 years later. God hasn’t changed what He likes and doesn’t like. When I trusted Christ that was the end of the law for righteousness, but not the end of the law for instruction.

In my junior year at Michigan State University, I bought a engagement ring. It was a very expensive ring. I think it was $100.00? I’m not sure. I went to Lee Ann’s parents and said I would like to ask for your daughters' hand in marriage. After that I went to my parents and said I would like permission to ask Lee Ann to marry me. So, the two families came together to discuss this. 

I’m not sure how much money was exchanged, or who had to pay for what. All I know is the old boyfriend was out of the picture and I was in it! They decided it was alright if I asked her to marry me. When I became engaged, was that the end of Lee Ann Weisheipl? No. It was the end of being a boyfriend and girlfriend. Now she becomes my fiancĂ©e. It was the end of the relationship of being a friend.

The deeper-lifers have not a clue as to what the Bible is talking about. Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness. He is our righteousness, but we still have the law.

On June 25, 1965, guess what happened? Lee Ann and I were married. Was this the end of Lee Ann Weisheipl? No. It was not the end of her. It was the end of her as a fiancé. Now we have become husband and wife.

God is saying that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, or the purpose of getting you saved, but He still has instruction through the law for us.

Quit listening to radio and TV preachers who are not your pastor. What you ought to do is realize our God has never changed. It’s still indecent for a woman to show her thighs. It is still indecent for female to wear that, which pertains to a male according to the Scriptures. It is still indecent for a female to walk around in a miniskirt with her blouse unbuttoned showing some nudity. Thank God our God never changes!

I came to God and said I want to go to Heaven. I do not want to go to Hell. What do I do? I tried to live right. I went to church, I did not steal, I did not cuss, and I hated sin, because I thought it would keep me from going to Heaven. I hated sin, because I was attempting to go to Heaven my way. I imagine I turned from sin more than anyone ever has! I tried everything, because I did not want to go to Hell. 

However, it dawned on me one day that getting baptized would not do it. It dawned on me one day, joining a church wouldn’t do it. It dawned on me one day that hating sin and trying to live right would not do it. Salvation is not living a good life. It is trusting Christ, that He will take care of your sin and that His righteousness will be put on your record. That is what will get you to Heaven, but that is not the end of the law.

What is God saying to us? God is saying straighten up. Live right.


Why Do We Keep The Law?

The redeemed keep the Law because of gratitude and love for Christ. I am suggesting to you that we keep the law: not to go to Heaven, but out of gratitude. I am suggesting that we have our standards because of a love for Christ. I am suggesting that it exhibits your love for Christ. The Bible says you are not your own. The Bible says you are bought with a price.

If my wife decided to put on a pair of shorts and lay out in the front yard in a bikini, that would bring disrespect her husband. However, more important than that, it would bring disrespect on her God. We don’t have standards to prove we are better than anybody else, and we don’t have standards to prove we are better individuals or we are working our way to Heaven. We have standards because we say we love our God and desire for others to see that love. Our God paid our sin debt, died, dipped His soul into Hell, and was resurrected.

Do you know what my wife had the nerve to do after being married? She asked me to stay away from all my old girlfriends. I do not date other ladies out of respect for my wife, but more important out of respect for my Saviour.

God is saying, “Do it out of a respect for Me. Do it out of love for Me. Do it because you are showing to the world that your Saviour died for you.”

    Because I do not want others to go to Hell.

Why do I keep the law because I don’t want others to go to Hell? Not only because I love God, not only because I have gratitude, but also because I do not want others to go to Hell.

Because I want God’s blessing and a happy life.

Why do I keep this law? I do it because of gratitude and love for Christ. That is why I do it.

Take a marriage where the husband does not do things for his wife because he loves her and has gratitude, but does it because she nags him. You will find that couple has a horrible relationship. 

People who do not smoke, drink, cuss and carry on are happier than people who drink, cuss and carry on. Teenagers who cruise up and down the road, looking for some new gal are not happy people. They are miserable people and sad people. You are not happy when you are living like the devil. I want God’s blessing on my life.

We ought to take a strong stand and say this is not the end of the law. It is the end of the law for righteousness. Now it has changed relationship in my life, and I am not turning back.

I was raised in the American Baptist denomination. Between Sunday school and church, the pastor and the deacons would go out on the front porch and light one up. They were on fire for God! The teenagers used to go to the cars between Sunday school and church to imitate the adults, and they would light up cigarettes. Their parents could not say anything, because they were setting the bad example. I’ll never forget, they used to rag me because my mama wouldn’t let me go. 

One day they razzed me and razzed me and I slipped out. When I opened the car door, the smoke rolled out so thickly that it looked like fog. Those kids were in there coughing but talking about what a wonderful time they were having! I got in and sat down; they passed the cigarette around the front, and they turned around and handed it over the seat. My hand went out to grab it. When it did, that back door opened up and this skinny hand came in and grabbed me by the head of my hair! 

That was my mama’s hand! I recognized it immediately! She yanked me out of that car, dragged me across that cinder parking lot. She took her belt and whipped me all the way back to the church house! She dragged me around the corner going into the front door, stopped, threw me on the floor, turned around and looked at the pastor and deacons and she said, “Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.” And commenced to put a switch to my behind! That is how my mama felt about standards. My mama would make a better preacher than most preachers filling today’s pulpits!

Rear your boys to understand and practice Biblical standards. Rear your girls to  understand and practice Biblical standards. Do not be ashamed of living for God.

 I thank God I am a Baptist. I thank God I belong to an independent Baptist church. I am glad I am not apart of any denomination  I am glad I do not embrace their lack of standards. I am glad we have Bible standards. I am not changing!

Why do I obey the law? I do not obey the standards out of fear. I obey the standards out of gratitude and a love for Christ. I do not want anybody to go to Hell because of the way I live sometimes.

           There is a correlation between standards, separation from the world and Holy Spirit fullness with power. I want God’s blessing and a happy life.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

TOLERANCE OF INTOLERANCE?

The Tolerance Of Intolerance


(Chapter 3)

There was an amazing character trait within Dr. Jack Hyles that often appeared at particular times. Many mistakenly believe that Brother Hyles’ views became more extreme as he grew older and at the close of his ministry. I do not believe that is true.

I believe his positions remained very consistent throughout his ministry. There were issues and positions where he evolved slightly, but none drastically and always with Bible support. We simply became of aware of them because of the attacks of others.

Dr. Hyles always believed that women should not wear pants. It was his right to believe so and was a position he felt safe in taking based upon the Word of God. In his book Jack Hyles Speaks On Biblical Separation, the issue of pants on women was touched on once and long hair on men only twice. It was not a pet issue, but it was one that he held to personally.

He never placed church membership requirements on this or other separation issues. He gathered around him leaders who already embraced such standards. He looked for folks who wanted to walk with God not people who were made to walk with God because of a position.

Dr. Hyles loved the bus ministry. His famous statement, “I’ll take the bus kids” has been repeated and even ridiculed thousands of times. He did love the bus ministry even though he built his first four churches without ever having a bus ministry and he himself never actually worked on a bus route. He actually advised many pastors not to start a bus ministry too soon or not to build it too quickly.

He always loved the King James Bible. Always did. Nothing changed. Other translations were never used as anything other than referral tools. He believed in Biblical inspiration and preservation through the King James Bible his entire ministry.

He loved the local church and believed in the autonomy of the local church. He believed in and practiced independence throughout his ministry even when he was in the Southern Baptist Convention. His position never wavered on this issue.

Nothing drastically changed regarding his beliefs in these and other issues in his ministry. He grew like all great men, but never demanded that others grow as he grew. However, in all of these areas he practiced great tolerance with others whose ideas were not totally aligned with his.

There were many good men with whom he preached and fellowshipped who did not align with him totally on some of these. They were tolerant of him and him of them. They loved each other. They held each other in high regard and showed great respect towards one another. They were brothers in their love of the Word and in reaching the lost.

Did something change in his later ministry? Yes, it most definitely did. Did Dr. Hyles become stronger on things? No! He became more knowledgeable as he grew while remaining tolerant of others who had not arrived at his same conclusions. He merely responded to intolerance of others while holding the same belief system. He would often say, “Some grow and some do not grow.”

Did these become pet issues to him that defined him? The answer is absolutely not. Then what changed you may be wondering. It does seem that he spoke out more vehemently about these at the end of his life than he had earlier. The answer is simple and it is built around a principle by which he lived his life.

The extremes of Dr. Hyles positions were defined by the level of tolerance or intolerance others had for that position. Dr. Hyles had no desire to control others and he was comfortable with their choices. Some pastor friends did not take his position regarding pants on women and he tolerated that.

Some men did not run buses and he was fine with their choice. Some were silent regarding their exclusive use of the King James Bible so that would not be a point of contention. Some close preacher friends held somewhat differing views on the local church and he did not shun them for that. Both sides practiced tolerance.

If you study the men with whom Dr. Hyles was close, you would see a diversity of ideals and beliefs that was staggering. Men such as Bob Jones, Sr., Myron Cedarholm, G. B. Vick, Bill Dowell, John R. Rice, Lester Roloff, Lee Roberson, Curtis Hutson, Bill Rice, R. G. Lee, J. Harold Smith, Harold Sightler, and many others were all very close friends and enjoyed great fellowship with one another. There was no dissension between these men and Dr. Hyles.

Even men like W. A. Criswell were men he respected and with whom he shared great similarities. Dr. Hyles was never intolerant of the choices these men made that differed with his own as long as they were not over important doctrinal issues. He did not leave the Southern Baptist Convention, nor did he turn on the men with whom he was friends. The SBC left him. His friends left him. Jack Hyles remained cordial with many Southern Baptists throughout his life and remained very close to R. G. Lee until his death. He had him preach for him many times and R. G. Lee wrote the introduction to The Hyles Church Manual.

Please do not miss this: Dr. Hyles tolerated differences as long as his were tolerated. However, when the things he believed were attacked, he set out on a different course. He was an independent’s independent. He valued it for himself and guarded it for others.
Yet, when threatened by those who became intolerant of his differences and attempted to destroy something he stood for and believed in, he would become very vocal and make it an issue because it was an attack on his independence.

When those who did not take his position on women’s clothing began to attack his right to take his position, he took a stronger position. He defied anyone to infringe on his right to believe what he believed. It was fine that many men did not approach the issue of women wearing pants as he did, but when they made it an issue he came out fighting. Dr. Hyles did not separate with anyone over that issue, but he fought those who reviled his position. The greats of the past were not men who did that to each other.

When men began to launch an attack against the King James Bible as a support for their own position he saw the need to fight. Their intolerance became an attack on others’ tolerance. Dr. Hyles was not going to allow others to attack his Bible because of their decision to use other versions.

For example, he would not have attacked a preacher for his position until he slandered the King James Bible with assertions of it lacking inspiration in print. That would have brought out the fight in him, just as it did in many of us.

Some men's intolerance is like waving a red flag to a bull in the rodeo ring. The truth is there are several leaders who agreed with a recent pastor of a mega-church, but did not want anyone to know it. They chose to be tolerant when they should have been intolerant.

When the bus ministry came under attack from men who thought it to be a shallow way to reach souls, Brother Hyles came out fighting. His idea was that it was fine if you did not want to have a bus ministry. It is your business what you do at your church, but if you attack others who believe in the bus ministry, Brother Hyles felt you were starting a fight.

He never chose the bus kids over the rich people. He merely refused to allow the rich people to pressure him into forsaking the bus kids. Had the bus kids said, “If you do not get rid of all these rich people we are leaving,” I believe Dr. Hyles then would have said, “I’ll take the rich people!”

Dr. Hyles was not afraid to fight for an issue, but he did not start the fights. Others looked for fights over issues while he accepted fights over his right to do what he felt God wanted him to do. Independence was always important to him. He was tolerant of others as long as they were tolerant of him.

The minute they sought to force him into a corner, look out! He did not think the bus ministry was the only ministry nor did he think it was the most important ministry, but when others began to take positions against the bus ministry and even fight them, he put on the gloves for a fight.

If a man differed in some of his ideas regarding the local church Dr. Hyles remained silent, but if that man began to be intolerant of what he believed to be true about the church, he took up the fight. If you wanted to be a Southern Baptist he was fine with that choice for you, but if you attacked his right to be independent he would fight for his independence. In essence, Dr. Hyles did not pick fights; they picked him. Let me give you a few examples.

The first example was the right of a church to govern itself. Dr. Hyles held strong beliefs regarding the autonomy of a local church. If you did not agree with his beliefs that was fine. However, when those men who differed moved to intolerance, he entered the fray with total commitment.

Another example was the right to have standards you believe are right. Dr. Hyles was far from being legalistic. He loved everybody. He never embarrassed women who came into the church building wearing pants. It was never really an issue to him, but when some evangelicals decided to attack anyone who believed as he did, he made it an issue. The issue was bigger than pants; it was his right to have his standards. He was tolerant until intolerance went on the attack.

The attack against the bus ministry was another example of him going on the offensive. Dr. Hyles loved the bus ministry, but he loved all ministries that reached souls for Christ. It was not his pet ministry. Some churches were unbalanced in their approach to the bus ministry and, in some cases, used buses to perhaps just to have a bigger attendance. He had never dedicated a service just to promote the bus ministry until the year when some individuals began to take pot shots at the bus ministry.

It was then that he made it an emphasis. Actually, they made it an issue, not him. He knew the lives that had been reached and transformed because of the bus ministry and he was not going to allow some critic to tear down the right of churches to gladly operate bus ministries. It was then he took an entire service at Pastors’ School and promoted churches to commit to start and build the bus ministry.

The right to promote confrontational soul winning was one that brought out the fight in him. When the crowd who taught lifestyle evangelism decided that it was the best way for them to reach the lost, Dr. Hyles was not angry. He believed in lifestyle evangelism as a method of reaching people for Christ. When the proponents of that form of soul winning attacked personal confrontational soul winning, he went to war. His objection was not against their method but their tyranny and intolerance.

This may shock you, but Dr. Jack Hyles preached some expository messages. Today we have young upstarts preaching against topical preaching while shooting their venom at Dr. Hyles’ way of preaching. He was a defender of topical preaching because of the intolerance. Yet the truth is he was not against expository messages.

Dr. Hyles did not believe in pet issues and warned us against them. Back in the 1950’s he took a fighting stance for the premillennial position not just to take a position, but also to defend it against the attacks. The attacks against were strong at the time and were gaining a foothold in his convention. Perhaps his only real “pet issue” was his right to be independent. When threatened he fought back. Fight his right to take a position and you just got yourself into a fight.

He allowed others the freedom to differ from him but not to dictate him, nor did he desire to dictate to them. Did he try to influence them? He absolutely did, BUT not with anger, threats or unkindness. When Dr. Hyles preached for others, he did his best not to preach his beliefs over theirs. He was a gentleman and a Christian.

I remember the time that Dr. Hyles came to fight against intolerance for me. Someone had written an article criticizing our soul winning methods at Longview Baptist Temple. They questioned where all our converts were. To Dr. Hyles, the issue was not whether he did or did not agree with all our methods. The issue was that the critics were being intolerant because they, in essence, decided our methods were not acceptable to them, even though they really did not know our methods fully.

It was then that he wrote the article, “Where Are the Nine?” If you read that article very carefully, you will see the real fight he had undertaken was not at all about methods. It was about independence and intolerance. He preached this as a sermon at the National Bus Conference, also.

There were three major national articles written against our bus ministry and soul winning. Dr. Hyles came to my defense and refuted those articles. The truth is he was fighting intolerance and supporting independence more than defending our ministry and me.

As I look back on the life of Dr. Hyles, he has been wrongly portrayed as a man who fought over minor issues or what they called “hobby horse” issues. Not only is that untrue, but I have never known a more tolerant man that he. The fight was much bigger than the issues. The fight was over the right to be independent to practice what you believed God would have you to do without judging another who did it differently.

If issues, such as pants on the females, had really been such a big issue to him, many men would have never spoken for or with him. He was bigger than that. What was intolerable to him was not his differences with others, but their intolerances with him.

Let us not forget the fight against us is not a really a fight of issues because Satan cannot win that fight. It is a fight of distraction.

Dr. Hyles knew that as did the great men with whom he fellowshipped long ago which is why their fight was not over their differences. Today we allow the enemy to bait us into missing the bigger point of protecting our right to take the stand we believe is right.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS ANYWAY?

And Just What is Christmas?







The holidays always resurrect memories of yesteryear.  The brightly lit trees.  The Christmas carols.  The Salvation Army volunteers standing next to a black kettle, ringing their bells, asking for donations.  The Santa Claus at the mall with all of the little ones being forced to sit on his knee.  Flashbulbs flash, and the picture invariably turns out to be that of a child’s distorted look of horror.  Hints galore have been coming to Dad in heightened frequency.  The kids are behaving themselves lately.  The wife seems a little more attentive.  The truth is, they are fattening Dad up for the financial kill.  This is Christmas time. 

Christmas is many different things to many different people.  To some, it may be a Christmas tree with bright, shining lights and multi-colored rope draped over its branches.  To others, it may be an angel placed at the top of the Christmas tree or a medley of songs such as Silent Night heard echoing through the halls of a shopping mall.  It may be a group of ear-muffed youth standing in front of a nursing home singing “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Away in a Manger,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” or “The First Noel.



Christmas may be a Santa Claus sitting in a shopping center flanked by a line of kids and their parents, blinded by the flash of the camera.  To some it will be parents waiting in an airport for sons and daughters or an expensive phone call from a homesick college student away from home for the first time.  Christmas may find some of our boys walking guard on foreign soil, dreaming of being home.  To some soldier it will be his last Christmas on earth.  Literally hundreds and hundreds of people will crowd the airports, bus depots, and train stations, anxiously awaiting a glimpse of a loved one.

Christmas to some is brownies, banana puddin’, pecan pies, banana puddin’, fruitcake, banana puddin’, coconut cake, banana puddin’, pumpkin pie, banana puddin’, nuts, banana puddin’, turkey and dressing, and banana puddin’!  Calories, calories, calories, calories, calories! 

Christmas to some is a tour of lights in Marshall, Texas.  Christmas to some is a tour around the neighborhood, gazing at all of the decorated homes.  Christmas to some is hanging stockings on a fireplace, waiting for some mysterious stranger to fill them that night.  It is midnight before the big day. Mom and Dad nervously try to find where slot A is so tab B can be connected.  Christmas is trying to remember if Uncle George is 38” around the waist, or is it the neck?  Christmas is trying to remember a 17” shirt size, or was that a shoe size?  Christmas is a school play where a group of little devils plays little angels for one night.  Christmas is Uncle Joe giving you a tie you gave him last year.

Christmas to some is a reindeer, a sleigh, an earmuff, or a runny nose.  Christmas to some is not getting your mother-in-law what you would like to get her because it is against the law.  Christmas to some is tiptoeing to hide the presents while the kids peek around the corner and whisper, “Boy, ain’t Dad dumb!”  Christmas to some is a fireman remaking old toys to look like new ones.  Christmas is a flat-busted dad pondering his plight to the poorhouse.  Christmas is tearful loved ones waving good-bye.  Christmas to others is a tearful telephone call that will last long enough to pay for Ma Bell’s new Cadillac.  Christmas is a church delivering Christmas baskets to the poor. 



Christmas is a lonely Christmas tree ignored after the big day is over, born in gaiety and soon very alone in the backyard.  Christmas to others is a child throwing the gift aside to play with the box.  Christmas is a dad who plays with the electric train he so unselfishly bought for his son to be born in three months.  Christmas is a husband admiring the tool set he bought for his wife or trying out that new 30-30 for his wife to take deer hunting.  Christmas to some will be a cantata, a play, or a wonderfully stuffed and baked turkey, set on a table fit for a king.  Christmas to some will mean caroling, a tree, gifts, a smile, a tear, and sacrifices.  To some it will mean a lonely heart, while to others it will mean happy souls.

As you can see, Christmas is many different things to many different people.  However, I think we have missed the whole idea.  Somehow, I think we have missed what God had in mind for Christmas.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  There is nothing wrong with exchanging gifts.  There is nothing wrong with a Christmas tree.  Some say if you have a tree you are worshipping that tree…not me, fella - if anything, it will be the things under the tree that I’m worshipping!  There is nothing wrong with shopping to buy a dress for your wife for the first time this year.  There is nothing wrong with exchanging presents at the office. There is nothing wrong with having a get-together at your house. I know what you are thinking, and you are absolutely right.  Jesus’ coming to earth in a virgin birth was not in December.  It was probably more like April, but it is still not bad to have a day to remember Christ’s birth.

Christmas is not a holy day.  According to Colossians chapter two, those days were nailed to the cross.  According to Galatians chapter four, there are no more holy days.  I like what Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said, “Every day is a holy day.  Every place is a holy place.  The kitchen sink is holy. The work bench is holy.” Lenten season was nailed to the cross.  Good Friday was nailed to the cross.  Easter Sunday was nailed to the cross.  Ash Wednesday was nailed to the cross.  Fat Friday was nailed to the cross.  The Sabbath was nailed to the cross. 

What is Christmas anyway?  It is Christmas trees, but it is a lot more than that.  It is family reunions, but it is a lot more than that.  It is shopping and giving, but it is a lot more than that.  It is mistletoe and holly, but it is a lot more than that. 

Maybe it is a specimen day to show how every day of the year ought to be.  Maybe we should feed the poor every week of the year instead of just one week of the year.  Maybe we should clothe the naked every week of the year.  Maybe we should help put a roof over a family every week of the year.  Maybe we are to live, give, share, and love every day instead of just one day.  

Maybe we should reach the poor in July as well as December.  Maybe we should feed the hungry in August as well as December.  Maybe we should visit the elderly in September as well as December.  The truth is, that poor family will still be poor after Christmas is over.  The hungry children will still be hungry after Christmas is over.  The elderly person in the nursing home will still be lonely after Christmas is over.  Once Christmas is past, the little boys and girls will still need shoes.  Once Christmas is past, the lonely will still be lonely.  The truth is, we ought to have Christmas 365 days a year.

Yes, it is holly.  Yes, it is mistletoe.  Yes, it is brightly lit trees.  Yes, it is sharing.  Yes, it is loving.  Yes, it is shopping.  Yes, it is Silent Night and Joy to the World being sung in the mall.  Yet somehow, every year Christians seem to miss the mark as to what Christmas is really all about.




Christmas is about Jesus!  May I make some suggestions for the holidays in order that the real purpose of Christmas might be fulfilled?  After all, it is Jesus’ birthday we are celebrating.  Why does everyone else get the attention instead of the One Whose birthday we are celebrating?  If that were to happen to your child on his birthday, you mothers would throw a fit.  It makes sense to me that we ought to be honoring Jesus and His espoused bride, the local New Testament Church.

It is odd that with so many of God’s people going away for the holidays, church attendance figures are down instead of up at Christmas.  Where do you go to church when you are away from your home church?  It is also puzzling to me how many Pastors shut down services for the holidays.  The Super Bowl seems to be more important than preaching.  It is amazing how little we think of Christ and His espoused bride when a holiday rolls around.

Bus routes go unvisited.  Bus drivers are absent.  Sunday school classes go untaught.  Ushers are not in their places.  Pastors are out of town.  Staff men cannot be found.  Soul winning is shut down.  Choir chairs are empty.  Organists and pianists are gone with no one to fill their spot.  No wonder God is slow in answering our prayers when we treat His Son in such a bad manner. 

If this is the time we observe the Lord’s birth, then we ought to make sure our time and our treasure reflect that birth. You can have a wonderful and joyful holiday without letting the festivities hurt the Lord or His espoused bride.