|Volume 21 Number 2 February 2019||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Many Christians today profess belief in God and an allegiance to His revealed will—the Bible, but their conduct contradicts their profession. The Bible is not only a dead letter to those who disregard it and consequently disallow it an influence in their lives. The Bible essentially is equally a dead letter to even Christians who disregard it and disallow it a meaningful influence in their lives.
Jesus Christ noted during His ministry some who thought of themselves as His disciples and as children of God, who nevertheless, did not substantiate their discipleship through compliance or obedience of divine directives. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 NKJV). Contrariwise, Jesus said, “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28). Likewise, James penned:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)
The apostle John continued the discussion about the correlation between one’s profession and obeying divine instruction.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6).
Professing to be a Christian requires a person to implement righteousness and godly service in his or her life. Talk is cheap! Action must correspond to claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Mere assertions will prove woefully and eternally insufficient before the Judgment Seat of our Lord.
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Jesus Christ is the Author of salvation only to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Besides salvation from sins while on earth, obedience to divine directives will procure eternal salvation as well. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
Boasts of Christian discipleship without following through with a visible, tangible implementation of Christian faith is hollow, empty and worthless (James 2:14-26). Christian faith without corresponding deeds is “dead” (James 2:17, 20, 26).
Valid Christianity must talk the talk. There simply are some things faithful and mature Christians do not say. “…Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” (Ephesians 4:29a; cf., Colossians 3:8). Oppositely, mature Christians do say words leading to edification (Ephesians 4:29b). The speech of some Christians betrays them as aligned more nearly with Satan than with Jesus.
Valid Christianity must walk the walk. There simply are some things faithful and mature Christians do not do. In addition, mature Christians do walk after our Lord in the light of the Gospel (1 John 1:7). “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
Sunday Christians whose Christianity is not discernible Monday through Saturday practice contradictory Christianity. Modesty, clean speech, honesty, moral purity and servanthood are not limited to the Lord’s Day assembly. Practicing contradictory Christianity does not enable parents to rear children who are likely to remain loyal to Jesus and to His church. Anyone whose Christianity is a mirage between Sundays will be ineffective as well in influencing other family members, neighbors, fellow students or coworkers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Contradictory Christianity will prepare no one for the great and final Judgment. Hence, we would do well to inspect our Christian faith from time to time lest we fail the final test when time is no more. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Why Study the Psalms?
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
The Book of Psalms is a divine, therapeutic resource that, if studied diligently, will bring the reader closer to the heart of God. The Psalms are truly a wonderful treasure! The Puritans would sing the Psalms as they made the treacherous sea journey from religious tyranny to freedom. Charles Spurgeon, in his masterful work, The Treasury of David, clearly communicated the value of the Psalms when he penned, “The delightful study of the Psalms has yielded me boundless profit and ever-growing pleasure” (preface). “When I approach the Psalms, I feel the impulse to say, ‘Take off your shoes for you are standing on holy ground’” (Yates ix). Studying the Psalms is a valuable study for Christians today.
Firstly, the Psalms are filled with power. Life is difficult at best! As such, we often need a word of hope and encouragement. The Psalms are filled with this divine power. How many times has Psalm 23 been read and meditated upon during life’s losses? Countless funerals and hospitals have been inundated with this encouraging Psalm. In addition, Psalm 91 has often been referred to as the 9-1-1 call directly to the throne room of the Almighty. Psalm 121 reminds its readers of the dependability of God and that He constantly cares for us. These are but a “drop in the bucket” of all the Psalms that display this power to help in times of hardship. For further study, see Psalms 27, 37, 46, 51, 119, 139, et al. The Psalms are filled with power!
Secondly, the Psalms are filled with praise. Many have affirmed that the praise of God is the overriding idea in the Psalms. In fact, W.O.E. Oesterley described the Psalms as “…the grandest symphony of praise to God ever composed on earth” (593). What better manual exists on praising God than Psalm 95? The Psalmist, in detail, shows just how to properly praise and adore our great God. Psalm 99 is another divine template of how to praise our King. Of course, no collection of Psalms detailing praise and thanksgiving would be complete without Psalm 100. The Psalms are filled with praise!
Lastly, the Psalms are filled with prophecy. The book of Psalms is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament book, many of which are the fulfillment of detailed prophetic utterances. In fact, Jesus told the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44). Note the following as a sample of some of these prophecies concerning Jesus. His Deity was prophesied in Psalm 45:6-7 (cf., Hebrews 1:8-9), His Sonship in Psalm 2:7 (cf., Hebrews 1:5), His humanity in Psalm 8:4-6 (cf., Hebrews 1:6-9), His Kingship and Priesthood in Psalm 45:6-7 (cf., Hebrews 1:8-9), His suffering and death in Psalm 22 (cf., Matthew 27:46) and His awesome resurrection from the dead in Psalm 16:8-10 (cf., Acts 2:29-31). Repeatedly, it is spiritually faith-building to see that the Psalms are filled with prophecy!
The Psalms, if studied properly and diligently, prove that an intimate, daily walk with God is not only possible, but quite actual. The Psalms bring us closer to the heart of the God we serve. Study them prayerfully, study them regularly, and study them reverently to really come to know Him from Whom all blessing flow. May your study of the Psalms show that “you are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 115:15)!
Oesterley, W.O.E. The Psalms. London: S.P.C.K., 1939.
Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David. Psalms 1-57. Peabody: Hendrickson, n.d.
Yates, Kyle M. Preaching from the Psalms. New York: Harper, 1948.