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Home The Light Articles from 1999 Protecting Our Pulpits

Protecting Our Pulpits

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Protecting Our Pulpits

by H. E. Robertson

I believe we have some important things to think about and talk about this evening. The things I want to consider in your presence are things that have to do with the condition of the church and its filling its place in the world; namely, fellowship, agreement, and those things that bring happiness and prosperity to the cause of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 28:19-20 we read what is referred to as the great commission where Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things what-soever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Heretofore, we as the church have been generally agreed concerning the steps that God requires of an alien in order to be saved. I am sorry to say that even that is not so prevalent among us as it was, that some of our brethren are inclined to minimize, to belittle, and to sometimes set aside the steps that God requires of a man in order that he might be saved. I want to talk to you and reason with you concerning those things that have to do with agreement among us and thus have to do with the fellowship that should exist among us, and without these we cannot have them as we should.

Faith, true repentance, confession of Christ and baptism are the steps by which an alien is to be saved. Then the writing of the apostles, the epistles and inspired men were concerning the "all things" that baptized believers were to be taught. These are the things that have to do with our labors, with our worship and those things that a Christian or a child of God must respect and live according to, in order to be saved out yonder in the eternal. Therefore, we are especially interested concerning all things that the apostles and inspired men were to teach baptized believers that they might be acceptable in the sight of God.

When it comes to that that has to do with fellowship and the standard we have, the religious world has turned many times to their own thing. My brethren have turned many times, not to the Standard, but to just simply temporal things of life. Brethren, I hold before you the only standard that we have of Christian fellowship, of Christian agreement and the communion that ought to exist among God's people.

A few years ago I attended a meeting that was called by a church of Christ in which a prominent preacher got up and taught in that pulpit that personality was the thing that ought to determine whether a preacher should be used and have fellowship in that church. That, brethren, is not the standard. That is not the thing we are to turn to. This Bible is the only thing that we have and is that that must guide every step of life.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul said that it will thoroughly furnish you unto every good work, and James 1:25 refers to it as the "perfect law of liberty." This contains the things that Christians must be taught to respect and live in harmony with in order that they might please the God of heaven.

Christ prayed that all believers might be one as he and the father are one. Paul reminded the Corinthian brethren (1 Cor. 1:10) and instructed them that they be of the same mind and the same judgment; that they all speak the same thing and that there be no division among them. In this friends, we have an injunction that should be respected and all the people of the earth ought to regard, and if it were, the things that have brought division in the religious world and among the brethren in the church would not have existed and the divisions would not have happened.

 

In 1 Corinthians 16:13 after Paul had written quite a lengthy epistle in which he dealt with a number of things that the Corinthian church needed to be taught, he summed it up by saying, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong, let all of your things be done in charity" (love). These are things that have to do and make up the character of an individual, a child of God—a Christian—and a laborer in the Master's vineyard. We have these things given us for our instructions, thus, we have the things that will bring unity, we have the things upon which we can found fellowship and that that ought to exist among God's people. I'm sorry to say that they don't exist all the time as they should.

First I want to appeal to my brethren. The strength of a congregation as Paul admonished the Corinthian brethren—the strength of THIS congregation—depends upon our knowledge of the Word of God Jehovah. The reason sometimes we are not strong, the reason sometimes the condition doesn't exist as it should is because my brethren DO NOT have the knowledge of God's Word that they should. Every division brethren, that has happened in the church, if my brethren were honest, has happened because somebody didn't know the truth. It has happened because somebody did not heed the admonition of 1 Peter 4:11 where he said, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. If any man minister, let him do it of ability that God giveth, that God in all things might be glorified."

As Paul instructed Timothy, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul admonished the Corinthian brethren, "You be strong, you stand fast in the faith." Brethren we need to have enough knowledge of God's Word to stand.

Not long ago I heard of a member of the church advising an individual to be bap-tized, understanding he was not going to repent. I want to tell you folks, baptism will avail a man nothing unless he has repented of his sins. This is not doing that that it takes to build up the church of Jesus Christ.

A lot of times religionists, individuals, think they are going to help folks go to heaven, not by being strong, not by standing for that that is right in God's sight— that that is in harmony with the will of God—but by trying just to reach out and justify just about anybody on earth...take it all in, go along with it. Thus, I want to say brethren, one of the greatest needs of the church today is a knowledge of God's Word, and upon that, and obedience to it, depends upon where you and I are going. And upon that depends the condition of the church, the congregation wherein we worship. John 8:32 says, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

I want to tell you folks, you cannot go to heaven unless you obtain a knowledge of the truth and obey it. I'm not talking about the doctrines and commandments of men. I'm not talking about the ideas, and think-so's, and cares of man. I'm talking about the truths of God's Word. In John 17 Jesus prayed to the Father, "Father sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth." Thus, a knowledge of it brethren, we must have.

We don't need doubters in the church. I want to tell you that it's awfully hard for a doubter to go to heaven. In Romans 14:5 Paul said, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Don't be doubtful about that religion of yours. Know it. Without doubt, know it. Don't be doubtful about that condition you are in. If you're doubtful about it folks, do something about it. Therefore, upon a knowledge of that, depends the condition of the church and the people here on this earth.

Again in 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul said "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Brethren, we have to know it. Is it possible for a man to know if he stands just in God's sight or not? If the Master was right, yes. He said "Ye shall know the truth." Don't tell me we can't know the truth. Jesus said we can know it and upon a knowledge of it and obedience to it man can be justified, and he said, "You study to show yourself approved." John 6:45, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." God's religion to man is a matter of hearing it, learning it, and living by it—obeying it, doing the very things that God intends and requires of man.

Folks, I want to tell you about this— concerning doubt in the church—we need to have individual members who are thoroughly convinced...let every man be fully persuaded. I want to tell you folks that I believe with all the power that I possess that I am right and if I didn't I would be trying to learn enough about God's Word that I would believe it.

Sometimes folks get the idea, "Oh, well now, why you folks think you are the only ones who are right." Brethren if I didn't think I was right I'd be trying to know that I'm right. I'd study God's Word until I had a thorough conviction that I had a knowledge of it. More than that, we need brethren in the church that are strong enough that when they have learned it, they will stand for it with all the power they possess.

You know brethren, one thing that hurts the church of Jesus Christ and hurts us all, is those brethren in the church, when somebody teaches the truth, "Oh well now, I don't know, that might be right." If you don't know if it's right or not, you better get some knowledge. And then when you have it folks, don't give the idea to somebody that you really doubt this thing. You give folks and everyone you talk to the idea this is simply what you understand, and what you stand for with all the power you possess. Brethren we can't help build up the church, we can't have what ought to exist unless the members of that church are strong and will stand for the right and fight for the right and do everything in their power that they might attain it.

Another thought I want to get before you. What caused the religious division of the earth? Because somebody didn't teach the truth of God's Word! That's the reason denominationalism exists. What caused the divisions in the church of Christ is because somebody didn't teach the truth. Just let 'em divide. Truth is that that will bring us together, cement us together and yet some of my brethren have the idea that in order to be tolerant, in order that we might have the fellowship that ought to exist, we can't stand for the truth—all the truth—and keep out of our pulpits the things that are not truth.

John said, in 2 John 9, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." He didn't stop there brethren. He said, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 10-11).

Those of you brethren...those in the churches of Christ that have brought a man in, tolerated that that caused division... they're to blame as well as the preacher. The thing that has caused division in the church brethren is not truth. John said "if any man come unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him god-speed."

I think of a church right now in Louisiana—a number of years ago I labored there, and at that time, as far as I was able to know, they stood foursquare against the things that divided the church of Jesus Christ. They had unity. But they called a preacher in there and after four or five years 90 percent of them are on the other side and against the truth. What caused it? What caused it?

Another thing brethren, sometimes my brethren get the idea that they ought to be tolerant. "We have to work this thing out; we have to let it alone." Brethren if you stand against it in the beginning you'll be able to do a lot more than you will down yonder sometime. I know of a church right now, that because they didn't heed that—they tolerated in their pulpit a man that they KNEW was teaching error...was teaching so much error that they couldn't conscientiously send him out yonder into the brotherhood to preach.

It costs folks, it costs. I want you to know that anytime we tolerate, anytime that we bring to our pulpits error, false doctrine, we're divided. We're divided. Oh how badly today we need folks that will stand for something. Not because somebody else stands, but because they are thoroughly convinced, they are convicted that it is right—that it is God's will, that it is God's Word. And brethren, if we can bring about that condition in the church we'd get some things done.

I see another church, another congregation, that for a number of years had contin-ued to ask preachers into their pulpits that they themselves believed were teaching error. Brethren, can we do it?...can we stand for the truth and do these things? Not if my Bible's right folks! Keep it out of there. Take care of that pulpit, and if you don't want a division, that will do it.

I want to make another little illustration. I wish that the whole cause of Jesus Christ could worship together. And I want to tell you this—numbers are not the only thing. In this town we have some congregations that their practice is sunday school and cups. If we by some means could move half of one of those congregations in here and them still be just exactly like they are, do you think we've gained by it? We've gained numbers, but that's all. They have brought into our midst nothing but confusion. If they came in here and continued to teach that that they now believe, and we still teach that that we believe, it will just be a matter of confusion. Brethren don't think how impossible it is for those that don't agree with truth to gather in love and peace. It just cannot be done folks. Therefore we need a knowledge of God's Word and those things that are right in God's sight. —from a recorded sermon

 

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