The Truth, and Nothing but The Truth
In Acts 20, and verse 27, the apostle Paul made this statement; “For I have not shunned to declare to you, the whole counsel of God.”
Think about that for a minute.. The WHOLE counsel of God! That’s a lot of counsel. And it’s a lot of things to know. And it’s a lot to try to live up to, but as a Christian, that’s what God has asked us to do. The whole reason to preach the whole counsel of God, is so that we as listeners, can live according to the whole counsel of God. That’s our responsibility to God. Not to know a part of God’s counsel, and try to live up to just that part of it, but to live up to everything, the WHOLE counsel of God.
Over this past year, I’ve tried to preached to you the “whole” counsel of God, and I still haven’t gotten the whole job done. But I know I’ve preached about a lot of different bible subjects. For example, let me tell you what some of those subjects have been..
Lessons From the Past Year
I’ll begin with one year ago, on December 20th, we had a lesson titled, “God Didn’t Say We Couldn’t Do That”. And the gist of that, was that so many people who call themselves “Christians”, think that they’re at liberty, to do anything that the bible doesn’t specifically condemn, by name. But we need to understand the limitations placed upon us, by what the Lord does specify. 2 John, verse 9, tells us that “anyone who goes too far, and does not ABIDE in the teachings of Christ, does not have God!” It is clearly implied in that verse, that our authority to do the things which we do, is found WITHIN the teachings of Christ. Because if we don’t ABIDE within those teachings, then we don’t have God.
Next we had a lesson that asked the question, “What can we do, to truly serve God?” What can we do, as individuals, to serve God? And what can we do collectively, as a united congregation, and as a loyal congregation, loyal to God, and loyal to one another, what can we do, to serve God together? Romans 12, verse 1 tells us to “present our very bodies, as a living sacrifice”, in our service to God. In other words, use our bodies, as a “vehicle”, so that our spirits can DO service to God, and to one another.
Then we had a lesson called, “Sing and be Happy Today”. A reminder of the rich blessings that we all have in Christ, and the happiness that those blessings should bring us. Philippians 4, verse 4 says; “Rejoice always, and again I say, rejoice!”
Next, was a lesson about “Mount Sinai, and the Ten Commandments”. The story is told in Exodus chapters 19 and 20. A story about how God leads His people, through His laws, and through His promises.
And then, “What does God’s word Imply, and what do we infer from His word?” I mentioned the implications of 2 John ,verse 9, concerning abiding within, the teachings of Christ. Do we realize the implications that go along with so many of the commandments of God? For example; When the scripture says in John 3:15; “..Whoever believeth, may in Him, have eternal life”, it is implied that your belief is going to result in your obedience. Otherwise, you don’t really believe in the first place. Understanding what the bible implies, is of the utmost importance!
But do we sometimes infer things, that God’s word never said? It’s like when people claim that when the bible says, in Ephesians 2, verse 8; “For by grace you have been saved, through faith.” people want to infer that the bible is saying “faith alone”. But the bible never implies that anything ALONE can save us. Salvation is always the combination, of ALL that God commands; Nothing ALONE, can save anyone.
And once again, we can’t go too far, or we won’t have God. But on the other hand, we need to make sure that we go far ENOUGH, and don’t stop short, of following the “whole counsel of God”. (Acts 20:27)
And next, we had a lesson on the very important subject, of “The Peril of Unbelief”. “Unbelief”, is what separates the lost, from the saved. Actually, it’s Isaiah 59, verse 2 which says; “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God..” But what we need to understand, is that it’s unbelief, that is the cause of your iniquities! The root cause of every act of sin and disobedience, is unbelief. It’s so important, that we understand how devastating, unbelief is. In one passage of scripture, unbelief, is likened to a great “gulf” that separates the saved from the lost, and that separates the lost, from God! (Luke 16, verse 26)
And then, “Why is the bible so HARD to Understand?” Is the bible actually that hard to understand, or is it just our unwillingness to believe what the bible says? Is it just that satan has “blinded the minds, of the unbelieving, so that the light of the gospel should not shine forth”, so that they can understand. (2 Corinthians 4, verse 4)
After that came a lesson on “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage”, that was on January 10th, of this year. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage, principles that have been thrown out the window, in our society. But yet it’s a principle that was first stated, by the Word of God, in Genesis 2, verse 24, and that Jesus Himself, the Word of God, re-stated, in Mathew 19, verses 4 thru 9.
More Lesson Titles
Now I’m going to just give you the titles of the lessons that we’ve had from then on, after the ones I’ve already mentioned, and you can probably tell from the title, what the lesson was about..
So, here we go; “Are You Crucified With Christ?” “The Challenge of Christian Unity” “O worship the King” “A comprehensive Study Of The Holy spirit Of God”, four parts, four separate lessons to that one.
And then.. “Edification, or Gratification?” “Out of Egypt” “God Takes the Christian out of the world, But it’s the Christian, Who Must Take the World out of Himself.” Next.. “The Significance of the First Day of the Week” That was actually a five part series of lessons, because there is so much, that is significant, about the first day of the week!
Next.. “Now That You’re a Christian”, in other words, “Growing, as a Christian”. “Proving Truth and Fraud, Through Tongue Speaking” “Sir, We Would See Jesus”, from John 12, verse 21. “Neither Could they Blush”, from Jeremiah 6, verse 15.
“What’s Your Spiritual Condition” Parts 1, 2, and 3. “Justification by Faith, Perfected by works”.
Bible Translations, and Doctrines of Men”. “He Has Risen!” “The Conflict of Two Natures”. “Hungering For The Fatness of God”, and “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”.
“The Poor and Meek In Spirit”. “It’s Not a Sin, to be Tempted To Sin”. “The Works, of the Word of God”. “Two Books of Life”. “Calling On The Name of the Lord”. “Are You A Friend?” “Encouragement, Pass It On”. “God Sends a Strong Delusion”. “What Does God Want From Me?”
“Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin”. “God Wants the First, And The Best!” “What Church should I Join?” “Two Plus Two, Doesn’t Always Equal Four, When God is Doing the Adding!” “Don’t Disappoint, the One Who Loves You”. “Facing Giants”. “The Christian, and the Subject of Illegal Immigration”.
“The Christian, and Self-Control” “Worthy Art Thou!” “Prayer”, two parts. “How Dare You, Contradict God?” , two parts. “First Peter, Chapter 2” “Separated From the World, Yet Joined Together With God” “Unto This, They Were Appointed”, How God uses both the good, and the bad. “The Resurrection at the Last Day”
“There Goes My Life”, how our attitudes, and desires, can change. “Making Bible Study, Fun!” “God’s Everlasting Covenants” two parts. “The Silence of the Scriptures”, What God does NOT say, can have a big impact on our faith.
“For You Are Not Under Law, But under Grace” “Knowledge, Rational Thinking, and Understanding God’s Word” “Jesus the Christ!” “Let Not Many of You be Teachers”, our obligations to God, and His judgment of us. “James, Chapter 3” “The Price of Redemption” “The Prodigal God”, the lavish, and the rich, and the bounteous, and the ever giving, Prodigal God.
More Bible Topics
And that was just in this past year. And in all those lessons, we’ve heard what the bible has to say, about.. God’s grace, and God’s love, and God’s mercy, and God’s judgment, and God’s forgiveness; Just to name some, of the traits of God.
And we’ve heard about Jesus the Christ, and about His birth, and His death, and His burial, and His resurrection, and His ascension back to heaven. And we’ve heard about Jesus, our example, and about the nature of both the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We’ve heard extensively about the Spirit of God, and how there’s “ONE Spirit”, along with “one body, and one faith, and one Lord, and one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4, 4 thru 6)
And we’ve heard how that one Spirit of God, NEEDS to be living in all of us; And how that the proof, that the “One Spirit” lives within us, is when our life, yields the “fruits of the Spirit”. (Galatians 5:22 & 23) We’ve heard about Christian conduct, and about our love for others, and our forgiveness of others, and about our doing for others, and about our attitudes, towards others, and towards God.
And we’ve heard about being delivered into the kingdom, (Colossians 1:13) The kingdom, which is the body, which is the called out assembly, which is the congregation, which is the church. And we’ve heard a lot about this physical life, an about the eternal life to come, which is called “the Promise”, in 1 John 2:25, and in Acts 2:39. And we’ve heard about the eternal judgment to come, (Hebrews 9:27) and about the life BETWEEN death and the judgment, (Job 3:12 thru 19) and about the realm of hades, that “unseen” realm. (Acts 2:27, and Mathew 16:18, and Revelation 1:18) We’ve truly heard a lot, and hopefully, we have learned a lot.
And we’ve heard about the condition of our souls; Is our soul in a saved condition? Or is it in a lost condition? The bible says that “..NOW is the acceptable time; Behold TODAY, is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Because there’s no guarantee of tomorrow! (James 4:14) Therefore, it is SO important, that we make sure of the condition of our soul, TODAY!
We’ve heard about taking up our cross DAILY, and denying ourselves, and following Christ. (Luke 9:23) Do you know WHY we need to take up our cross DAILY? It’s because the condition of our soul can change, from one day to the next. A lot of people don’t realize that, or they don’t believe that. But it’s true! That’s WHY Jesus tells us to “take up your cross daily”, and that’s WHY the bible says, “Today is the day of salvation”. That’s WHY the bible tells us to “take heed lest we fall”. (1 Corinthians 10, verse 12)
It’s not that salvation is like a “yo-yo”, going up and down, from lost to saved, and back to lost, and back and forth every day. It’s not at all like that. But what it is like, is waking up each day, and breathing in and out again. If you don’t continue to breath in and out, you’ll life will end. And so it is with salvation; If you don’t continue, each and every day, to breath in the word of God, and to breath out obedience to that word, then your spiritual life will end. That’s what salvation is; It’s the condition of your soul, which needs to be nurtured, DAILY!
Jesus said in Mathew 24:13; “The one who endures till the end, the same shall be saved.” We’ve got to keep “breathing” or we’ll die.
And we’ve heard about the great and wonderful promises of God. And about the old law, and the new law, and about breaking down the barrier wall of division, and of the making of two, into one. (Ephesians 2:12 thru 16) And about faith, and repentance, and confession, and baptism, and about remaining faithful, even unto death! Even if our life is required of us, BECAUSE of our faithfulness!
And we’ve hear about falling away, and losing the promise of salvation, that we once had. (Galatians 5, verse 4) And about all the trials and tribulations of this life. (John 16:33) And we’ve heard all about being separate from the world, about coming out from among them. (2 Corinthians 6:17) And about being sanctified by God, (1 Corinthians 6, verse 11) which means to be “purified”, in other words, forgiven, and being set apart, as a people owned by God Himself.
And we’ve heard about satan, also called the devil, and the serpent of old (Revelation 20, verse 2) Satan, which is the very “spirit” of opposition to God, and the spirit of disobedience, and the spirit of deception, and of lies, and of division. (Ephesians 2, verse 2) And we’ve heard about unity, (1 Corinthians 1:10) and truth, (John 17:17) and obedience, (Hebrews 5:8-9) and humility, (Proverbs 29:23, and Philippians 2, verse 3) and suffering, (Romans 5:3-4, and Romans 8:18) and perseverance, (Mathew 24:13) and encouragement, (Psalm 9:9-10, and Isaiah 26:3-4) and patience, (James 1, verse 4, and Romans 8:25, and Ephesians 4:2)
And over and over again, we’ve heard about the golden rule, from Mathew 7, verse 12, how we should always “do unto others, and you would have them do unto you.” And we’ve heard about the two greatest commandments ever; “You shall love the Lord thy God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mathew 22:37 thru 40) We’ve heard how that “we know, God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love the Lord, who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Becoming Saved, and Staying Saved
That’s a lot of scripture that we’ve heard in the past year. Good thing we don’t have to hear all that, just to become a Christian. Good thing we can become a Christian, by simply hearing about our guilt of sin, and the one and only Savior from sin, and then being obedient to the commands concerning how to get rid of those sins; Namely.. Confessing the name of Christ, repenting of our sins, and being buried in baptism, for the forgiveness of those sins.
Than after that, then we need to hear all the rest of the scriptures, so that we can remain saved, by remaining faithful, to “The Whole Counsel of God”.