MARRIAGE DESIGNED BY GOD

By

Shelby G. Floyd

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How many of you have bought some toys for your child, a bicycle, or some kind of appliance that you have to put together? I’m sure that your experience has been the same as mine, that when you get about halfway through assembling it, somehow or other, it just didn’t fit together. You couldn’t find all the parts, or this part didn’t look like it would work, so finally you would open up the box and pull out a piece of paper that would read, “Please read the instructions first.” So you would go back, tear it all down, and start and take it step-by-step, and it would go together according to the instructions. Well, I want to use that as an illustration of what people need to do today concerning the institution of marriage.

THE BREAKING UP OF THE HOME

I have read recently the statistics concerning the breakdown of the homes in America. In some states there are as many homes breaking up each year, as there are people who apply for marriage license. There are as many homes breaking up, as there are new homes that are started each year. In the so-called “Bible Belt,” which would include some Midwestern states, and some of the Southern states, the statistics on the breakup of the home are actually worse than they are elsewhere. Michigan had the best ratio. There were twice as many marriages in Michigan as there were homes breaking up. Pennsylvania, as I recall had the next best record. But in the so-called “Bible Belt,” the homes are breaking up at a faster rate than they are in some of the states that are considered outside the “Bible Belt.” These statistics are from 1976. I am sure they are worse now in 2021, SGF!

Somewhere along the line, there has been a failure to emphasize the sanctity of the home. Man’s tendency has alwaysGod's Law On Marriage. 2 Preliminary Observations Marriage is ordained by  God He has the right to regulate, sanction, and judge God's laws are in  man's. - ppt download been to rebel against God will, and man exhibits this tendency in regard to the home by disregarding God’s instructions concerning the family. This is seen from the case today that many people are living as husband and wife when they are actually not husband and wife. Or many people are living as husband and wife when they have no right to live in that relationship in the sight of God. Then on the other hand, there are people, who are not living in that relationship, but they look upon it with approval, and that is a sad state of affairs.

THE NEED FOR MORE TEACHING ON THE HOME

Today, we need to preach more on the home, because it is the basic unit of our society. It is the basic unit of law and order, for when the home breaks down, then society breaks down. Today, when we preach on the home, it is not because preachers are against the home. I’m preaching on the home because I want to exalt the home, and marriage, as God ordained it to be in the first place. When we preach upon the home it is because we want a husband and wife to learn to live together, cooperate and conduct themselves so they will be able to spend eternity with God in heaven.

In the third place, we preach upon the home because it is the perfect place that God has ordained for children to be brought into the world and to be reared to maturity. There is no better arrangement that has been found to bring children into the world, and rear them to be adults, than a home as God planned for it to be.

THE FUNDAMENTAL AND SUPPLEMENTAL LAWS OF MARRIAGE

Our lesson will really center upon marriage as God intended it to be in the beginning. I would point out right here that marriage, as God intended for it to be in the beginning is what we call the fundamental laws of marriage. But God gave additional information, regulations and laws concerning marriage after he gave it in the beginning. Why? The reason is very simple. When sin entered into the world, it required that God give some additional laws concerning marriage. Had sin never entered into the world, there would have been no need for God to have given any additional instruction on marriage. But the very fact that he gave additional instructions on marriage is because sin entered into the picture. So we call these laws supplementary laws.

We have our basic laws concerning marriage, and then we have the supplementary laws. The laws are supplementary because of sin. The basic laws are found in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, before sin entered into the world. So now we want to look at marriage as God gave it in the beginning, because Jesus tells us in Matthew 19, that he came to restore the original laws concerning marriage.

MARRIAGE IN THE BEGINNING

Genesis 2 18 25 18 The LORD GodIn the first place, we notice in Genesis 2:18, “and the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God created man in such a way, that generally speaking it is not good for man to be alone. That’s the reason that most people marry when they become adults. But this is not to say that a person cannot live a faithful Christian life without being married. There are some people that are born eunuchs. There are some people that are made eunuchs by men, and there are some people that make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Compare Matthew 19: 10-12).

It seems that the apostle Paul never was married because his attention was all consumed upon advancing the kingdom of God. Paul is a good example that a man can live a great Christian life, and be a great servant of God without ever marrying.

So a person can live a faithful Christian life without ever marrying, but still the general idea is that it is not good for man to be alone. God saw that in the beginning. If it had been good for man to be alone, then God would have never made a companion for him in the first place. God says, “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “I will make him a helper appropriate for him.”

GOD MADE MAN A HELPER

God's Design For Marriage: Genesis 2:18-25 KJV

Now the word helper there means that God was going to make somebody that would be a companion, somebody that would assist man, somebody that would cooperate with him, and this helper would be suitable for him. I used to think that the word helpmeet was one word, but it is not. God said, “I will make him a helper meet for him.” The word “meet” means answerable to his nature, in keeping with his nature. So God was going to make a companion that would be suitable, or meet, or answerable to man’s nature and purpose for being put upon earth.

Notice in Genesis 2:19-20, “and out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

Young people, today the modern theory of evolution has been received in every institution of higher learning right on down to the grade schools and the elementary schools of our land. The theory is that man has evolved either from some kind of a simple cell of protoplasm or from the animal kingdom. So in the theory of Darwin, and others who followed, man is nothing more than a graduate beast. But this cannot be true and the book of Genesis be true at the same time.

Notice here that God created all of these animals and Adam gave names to them. That means that he gave the genus and the species of the fauna and flora world, the flowers, the plants, and the animals. But the Bible says that out of all these things that God created, there was not found a helper appropriate for man. Now if Adam had simply evolved from the animal kingdom, why wouldn’t there be some of these animals that would be appropriate to be his companion? Well, the answer is very simple. God created the animal kingdom, and he created man, and they are different. Man is made in the image of God, and that is not predicated of the animal kingdom.

No doubt, God brought all of these animals before Adam and had him to name them in order to create within Adam’s heart a sense of loneliness and a sense of need. After all, here were the cattle and they had their companions, and here were all the rest of the creatures and there was the male and female, but Adam was by himself, he didn’t have a companion. This would cause him to want a companion like all these other beings that God created. So this brings us to the next step in the origin and sanctity of the home. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man (Genesis 2:21-22).

Now notice, if man evolved from the animal kingdom, from where did the woman evolve? Did she evolve from the man? According to the Bible they stand side-by-side, having come into being almost precisely at the same time. No, she didn’t evolve, man didn’t evolve, God created the man, and then he made the woman out of Adam’s rib—side.

THE MARRIAGE OF ADAM AND EVE

The Bible tells us that after God made this woman, he then brought her to the man. Now I get the idea that God performed the very first marriage ceremony. What does it take to make a marriage? Well, I can think of at least three elements today. It takes the desire on the part of a man and a woman to want to come together, and live together, as companions for the rest of their lives. No one should be married unless they want to be married. So the desire to be husband and wife is the first element. The second element of marriage is that in all civilized countries, it is required that a marriage license be obtained from the powers that be. In other words, from the civil rulers it is required that a couple obtains a marriage license, and that they make whatever preliminary requirements the state requires. Even in the kingdom of Israel, it was required by the Law of Moses that there be a bill of divorcement, so evidently, there must have been a covenant of marriage kept by the judges and civil rulers of that ancient people (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Malachi 2:14). So it is in all civilized countries today. In the third place, the husband and wife must consummate that marriage by actually living together as husband and wife.

Sermon Slide Deck: "'Til Death Do Us Part" (Matthew 19:1-12)

So marriage is looked upon in the Bible as a covenant. A covenant is an agreement or contract. In Malachi, chapter 2, the Bible talks about the covenant of marriage. God gave the first covenant of marriage. So when we make a covenant, or an agreement before God, we ought to keep our word. And if there were no other reason for a husband and wife staying faithful to each other, it ought to be because they have made a solemn agreement, or covenant, before God to be faithful to each other until death separates that relationship. Notice that when God brought Eve, and presented her to the man as his wife, Adam said, “This is now bones of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she should be called woman, because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2: 23).

THE HUSBAND WIFE RELATIONSHIP

Matthew 19:4-6 - Bible verse - DailyVerses.net

The Bible teaches that man is the head of the woman (1 Corinthians 11:3). Now I know today that we say that man is the head of the woman, but that the woman is the neck that turns the head however she wants to. Today, there is also the modern women’s liberation movement; and there is the movement in various states of our nation to come up with equal rights amendments. But after all is said and done, the Bible still teaches that man is to be the head of the woman (Ephesians 5:22-24). This doesn’t mean that man should disregard the woman’s views, but it does mean that God has ordained that man should rule in the household. And when that is disregarded, or disobeyed, then God’s laws are disobeyed.

No one can disobey God’s law in any realm without suffering the consequences. Today, the homes are being broken up simply because God’s laws concerning the home are being disregarded, rejected, and disobeyed. Adam said, “She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of the man (Genesis 2: 23). You know, woman owes her origin to the man, because the first woman was taken out of the man. However, man has not too much room to glory, because after God created the first man, every man that was brought into this world thereafter had to come through the agency of the woman (1 Corinthians 11:12).

Woman was instrumental in the fall of man. Eve, by her sin and disobedience, brought shame and disgrace upon the family of man; but through woman, salvation was brought into this world, because it was by woman that the Christ child came into our world and lived and died for us. So the woman has redeemed herself, to some extent, by being the agency for bringing Christ, the savior, into the world (1 Timothy 2:14-15).

Notice, Adam said, “She shall be called woman,” and so the very word woman honors the man, because you cannot say woman without saying man. That is the true design of marriage. The woman is to honor and complement her husband, and when she does that, she honors and glorifies God.

And observe in the next place, in Genesis 2:24, (I do not believe this is a comment of Adam, I believe Adams statement is concluded in verse 23) we have a statement given by inspiration, through the prophet Moses, who wrote Genesis and the first books of the Old Testament, explanatory of the original institution of marriage, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

LEAVING AND CLEAVING

I know this is a generic statement concerning marriage because Adam did not have a father and a mother to leave. Adam didn’t ever have a father and mother. God was his father. So this is a general statement that was drawn from the institution of marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

We notice here that marriage is for the mature. Often, young men and young ladies get married too young. They’re not ready to leave their fathers and mothers. If you want to marry, you had better be ready to leave your father and your mother, and you had better be ready to assume your responsibilities. When you get ready to marry, you can’t let mom and dad support your home. Marriage is for those who are mature enough to leave mom and dad.

In the second place, marriage is for those who will cleave to their wife. A leaving and a cleaving must take place in marriage. The word cleave, means to glue, or bond. The reason marriages today are not surviving is because the husbands and the wives are not adhering to each other. They are not cleaving to each other until death separates them. Then scripture says, “They shall be one flesh.” I do believe Moses meant that in marriage they are one flesh by their cohabitation, and by the fact that they both produce an offspring. But marriage is more than that my friends. The words one flesh here means that in marriage there must be an affinity of spirit. If the marriage is to continue and survive, there must be a conjoining of spirits and love and affection, and not just some kind of animal attraction. Those marriages that survive 50 or 60 years, or more, do so because there has been an affinity of spirits between the husband and wife. They have grown into almost one personality, because they have a kindred spirit in serving God and in serving their homes.

We ought to try to make our homes like God intended for them to be in the beginning. *

*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon December 19, 1976, in Indianapolis, Indiana. At that time I was 39 years old. Today by the grace of God I am 84 and I still believe and preach the same message I did in 1976.

Copyright © 2009 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

GOD’S PLATFORM FOR RELIGIOUS UNITY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

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In his intercessory prayer Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:20-24). Jesus is praying that all his followers will practice unity. It is obvious that today there is the problem of religious division and confusion. Now I want to point out that we have got to make a plea for religious unity.

PLEA FOR RELIGIOUS UNITY

Paul poured out his heart and pleaded for the New Testament church at Corinth to be united. His words were very strong:

1 Corinthians 1:10-13
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
NKJV

The word plead is a strong word. It means, almost in our language, “I beg of you.” Paul was down on his knees—so to speak, begging those brethren to be united in the name of Jesus Christ. His rhetorical questions were, “is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” Of course, the answer is within the question. No, they were not baptized into Paul’s name; therefore, they cannot wear Paul’s name. No, Paul did not die for them upon a cross in order that their sins should be forgiven; and, therefore, they should not wear Paul’s name. No, Christ is not to be divided up into little “bity” pieces. So the answer is “no, Christ is not divided.”

Someone said one time, “I had rather be the soldier that took the spear and pierced the side of Jesus on the cross, than the person who would divide the spiritual body of Christ—the church!” When the soldiers who crucified Christ drove the nails through his hands and pierced his side, there came forth water and blood. But what about those who open up the side of the spiritual body of Christ? The precious blood of Christ is running through the veins of the spiritual body of Christ! Of course, I am using that figuratively. The blood of Christ is still flowing from Calvary. And those who would openly tear apart the spiritual body of Christ, I believe, are as guilty as the man who cast the spear into his side. Therefore, Paul was pleading for these brethren to overcome their dissensions, contentions, and be united even in their judgments and in their mind.

So that shows us how much God wants us to be united together and working together, so that our plea will always be the same plea that Paul made. Therefore, let us stand united, fulfilling the purpose of the work that Christ gave us here on the earth.

PLATFORM FOR UNITY

But in the next place, I want to give you God’s platform for unity. You know, every four years, the political conventions, regardless of how much division they have had, all close ranks, join hands, and present a solid front, a united front when the election rolls around. Again, the children of this world manifest more wisdom than the children of light in their generations. If this is true in the worldly and political realm, how much more should it be true in the spiritual and religious world? God’s people ought to overcome their differences and join ranks, close in, and stand united against the enemy. That is the only way we can win the great battle for the minds of man.

So in Ephesians 4 we have Paul’s platform for unity! It is not a political platform; it is a spiritual platform:

Ephesians 4:3-6
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
NKJV

One Body: Unity of Organization

First, there is unity of organization. Paul said there is one body. What is this one body? Our answer is found in the same book of Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:22-23
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
NKJV

Here the apostle is talking about the power that God worked when he raised the Christ from the dead and seated him at his own right hand, far above all principality and power. And then he said that the one body is the church. Christ is the head of the church—the body. Any true religious unity must be based upon the fact that there is just one body or one church recognized by Christ.

Now, in view of the fact that there is one body and the body is the church, therefore there is just one church. And how can people say today that “one church is as good as another” or “join the church of your choice” or “it doesn’t make any difference what church you are a member of—because we all are going to heaven”? I cannot reconcile that with the statement—the emphatic statement of the apostle Paul. The divine platform for unity is that every person that obeys the gospel is a member of the one church and the one body. In all of my reading of the New Testament I have never read of more than one church or one body. When Paul said that there is one body or one church he was talking about the unity of organization.

One Spirit: Unity of Life

Paul said there is one body and one Spirit. So in the second place, there is unity of Spirit. Your body has a spirit and when your spirit leaves your body, your body is dead. The Holy Spirit dwells in the spiritual body—the church. To the Corinthian church Paul wrote about those who were destroying the church under the figure of the temple. And he said that those who destroy the temple of God—God will destroy them:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
NKJV

Now, if God’s Spirit dwells in his temple which is the church, or if you look at it from the figure of a body or a human organism to which the church is compared, the Holy Spirit in the church is like our spirit in our body. Now, some people have quenched the Spirit by quenching the word until they have got a church without the Spirit in it. A church without the Holy Spirit, he is a dead church. The Holy Spirit operates in the spiritual body of Christ through the word of God, which is his instrument. And this is how there can be unity of Spirit.

One Hope: Unity of Purpose

The apostle says that there is one body and one Spirit even as we are called in one hope of our calling. Next, we look at the unity of aspiration or hope. Hope stands for the Christian faith and the Christian system. In other words, there is one hope that stands above all of our hopes and that stands for the Christian system. What is that hope? To Titus, Paul explains what is that one hope of our calling:

Titus 1:2
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
KJV

What is the hope that is above all hopes? It is the hope of eternal life. And so the fact that all of us have within our breasts that aspiration, that desire, that expectation, that longing for eternal life, it should draw us together in the spirit of our lives together in the service of God. Unity of aspiration! One body, one spirit, one hope! Unity of organization! Unity of spirit! Unity of aspiration!

One Lord: Unity of Authority

But there are four more planks in this divine platform of unity. There is one body and one Spirit even as we are called in the one hope of our calling. There is also one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Therefore, we look at the unity of authority.

The word “Lord” comes from a word which means Ruler, King, Lawmaker. So Christ is our Lord. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. And that means that he is our Monarch. In order to have true unity, every member of the body of Christ must submit to the authority of the King. Sometimes the spirit of collective bargaining creeps into the church of our Lord. That spirit is this: if I don’t get my way, I will give an ultimatum and then strike against the leaders of the church. That spirit is wrong and sinful. That is not the spirit that should characterize the body of Christ.

We live in a democratic society. But strictly speaking, America is not a democracy—we are a republic. A democracy is where the majority rules, but a republic is where the people are governed not by the majority, but by elected representatives chosen by the majority. So in America we do not have a democracy strictly speaking. Only do we have a democracy in the sense that the majority elects the representatives of the republic. That is the basic difference between a republic and a democracy. The church is not governed by majority rule. Some have the idea that whatever the majority wants, the majority ought to have. But the majority is not always right. The majority wanted to crucify Jesus Christ. Throughout Old Testament history many times the majority wanted to do the wrong thing, and that is the reason Moses said, “You shall not follow a multitude to do the evil.” Christ is the head of the church and he also reigns as Monarch over his kingdom. He is the supreme ruler and head over this organism called the church. And there will only be unity when one submits to his ultimate authority.

One Faith: Unity of Teaching

There is one faith. One faith means that there must be unity of teaching. I have no authority to expound my opinions or to give you my judgments. But I am authorized to preach the gospel. I am also authorized to contend for the faith that has been once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). And that means that we must contend for the unity of teaching or doctrine. The one faith comprehends and incorporates everything that has been legislated in this divine creed book—the New Testament.

One Baptism: Unity of Salvation

There is one baptism. I read in the New Testament of several baptisms. I read about the baptism of suffering. This is a metaphor. Jesus said to some apostles, “Are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I shall be baptized? Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink?” Of course, he was figuratively saying, “are you able to be overwhelmed in the suffering that I am going to endure?” Baptism as used here is in the tropical or figurative sense. I read in the Bible where John’s baptism is mentioned. John did preach the baptism for repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). I also read in my Bible of Holy Spirit baptism (Mark 1:6-8). We also read that some were baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29). But most of time when we read about baptism it is a reference to water baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 8:36-38; Acts 10:47-48). Now, out of the five or six baptisms, about which we read in the New Testament, which one was Paul talking about when he said, “There is one baptism?” When Paul wrote the book of the Ephesians he said, “there is one baptism.” What was the one baptism?

Obviously, Paul was talking about the unity of salvation in the church. He was talking about water baptism, because it is by one Spirit that we were all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12: 13). Therefore the one baptism is the baptism of the great commission where Jesus gave instructions to the apostles to preach the message of salvation to the whole world:

Mark 16:15-16
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
NKJV

Therefore, water baptism is the one baptism by which we enter into this one body, where we find the one hope, and where we recognize and submit to the one Lord, and where we follow and obey and learn the one faith. And so, they all go together, just like a glove on the fingers of the hand. You can’t take one away without destroying the others.

One God: Unity of Worship

Finally, Paul says that there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” This is unity of worship. Paul did not say that God is one person, but that there is one God and Father. The word God is here used specifically rather than comprehensively. The word God is used here to designate the first person of the godhead which is the Father. And he even explains it to us in that way: “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6). There must be unity in worship. Who are we to worship? We worship God. And those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4: 24). *

*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon Sunday morning, October 24, 2021 in Greenwood, Indiana, and also Sunday evening, August 1, 1976, in Indianapolis, Indiana. At that time I was 39 years old. I still believe what I proclaimed then, and now I am 84 years old. God is good!

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Preach the Word
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE CHRIST AND THE CREATION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

What Does Colossians 1:16 Mean?

All Things Were Made by Christ
John, the apostle, affirms that all things were made by Christ (John 1:3). This includes the universe, all of its elements and its systems of law. Christ, the creator of all things, is himself uncreated, for he was in the beginning with the Father, which means he is eternal in his nature and existence. The same cannot be said for the material universe. It is not eternal since it had a beginning.

The Universe Had a Beginning
John says that all things were made by Christ. The verb “were made” translates a Greek word which is in the aorist tense, and means: to become, or to come into existence, to begin to be, received being, and is used in John 1: 3 of the origin of all things. So from this verb we learn that all things of a material nature definitely had a beginning. They were begun when Christ made all things. The Bible teaches that the material universe had a beginning and it will have an end. Therefore, it is temporary in nature and not eternal. We understand and believe this fact by faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

Hebrews 11:3 | Hebrews 11, Faith scripture, Christian verses

God did not make the world out of preexisting materials as an architect and a builder would make a house; but he made the universe out of nothing. He simply spoke and these things came into existence. This is what Moses affirms in the first chapter of Genesis when he says, “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

God the Father Is the First Cause
Next we notice that while God the Father was the first cause in creation, our Lord Jesus Christ was the instrumental cause in that creation. The apostle affirms that “All things were made by him.” The preposition “by” translates a term which means through, or the instrument by which anything is effected, because what is done by means of a person or thing seems to pass as it were through the same, of an instrument used to accomplish a thing or of the instrumental cause in the stricter sense with the genitive of person, meaning by the service, the intervention of anyone. God, the Father, then is the originator and architect of the entire material universe, while his Son is the instrumental agent in bringing this universe into being.

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom  are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom  are all

Christ is the Instrumental Agent in Creation
This is more clearly seen and distinguished in 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul said, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of (ek) whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by (dia) whom are all things, and we by (dia) him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). From this verse we notice that all things came forth from out of the Father, while they were brought into being through the agency, or by the instrumental cause of his Son, Jesus Christ. This is also seen in Paul’s statement to the Colossians,

“For by (en) him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by (dia) him, and for (eis) him: And he is before (pro) all things, and by (en) him all things do consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

Therefore the Son, Jesus Christ, is the agent, and the instrumental cause in creation as the contractor is the agent of the owner who builds a house. In the book of Hebrews we read that God, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by (en) his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by (dia) whom also he made the worlds”(Hebrews 1:2).

Therefore, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God, the Father, is the first cause in all of the creation, and his Son, Jesus Christ, was the instrumental cause by which all of these things were brought into existence.*

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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THE INSPIRED WORD

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Image result for The Inspired Word 2 Tim. 3:16-17

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17 NKJV).

All Holy Scripture is Inspired of God

All Holy Scripture is the product of the inspiration of God. God has breathed into the scripture infallibility. The Holy Spirit exercised divine power over the minds of the authors of the Holy Scriptures, even in the words which they used, preserving them from any error (1 Corinthians 2: 10-13). This being true, it is expected that any statement upon whatever subject the Bible might touch, would be true. The Bible is not a textbook upon science; it is rather a textbook on redemption from sin. However, when the Bible alludes to natural science, it is expected that the authors spoke the truth.

Scientific Facts That Were Known Only by Inspiration

It is the purpose of this article to point out some statements which could not possibly have been known at the time they were spoken, except that the authors were guided by divine inspiration. In the days of the Old Testament the wisest men of the most enlightened nations were ignorant of the origin of the earth and the laws which govern its movements. They were filled with superstition regarding the natural world.

The Circle of the Earth

God’s spokesmen during that age often made statements touching upon the natural world which today are proved to be true by the scientific method. For instance, in ancient times men believed that the earth was flat, and that it rested on the back of a giant elephant or turtle; but the Old Testament writers did not teach such fanciful theories and false superstitions. The prophet Isaiah said,

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,See the source image
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
(Isaiah 40:22).

Even as late as the time of Columbus, most of the people still believed that the earth was flat. Today, it has been proved that the earth is round for astronauts have traveled to the moon, and have looked back upon “the circle of the earth.” Isaiah did not have the methods of modern science, neither was he able to travel to the moon and look back upon the earth. How did he know that the earth is a circle? He was guided by divine inspiration. The same word in the Old Testament that is used to describe the roundness of the earth is also applied to the heavens and the oceans.

The Spherical Shape of the Universe

In describing the spherical shape of the heavens, we read in the book of Job,

Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see,Image result for Job 37 22
And He walks above the circle of heaven.’
(Job 22: 14).

Then in describing the circular shape of the ocean, Solomon the wise man said,

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Proverbs 8:27).

In this passage the wisdom of God is personified and said to have been present at the creation of earth and heaven. Therefore, it is very plain that at a time when the rest of the world believed that the earth was flat, the prophets taught that it was round. The difference being that the teachers of Israel were guided by inspiration, whereas the teachers of the heathen nations were guided by their own unaided reason.

The Earth is Hanging on Nothing

See the source image

Not only did the writers of the Old Testament teach that the earth was round, but they also taught that the earth was suspended in space and hanging upon nothing. In the book of Job we have a wonderful statement regarding the suspension of the planet earth,

“He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7 NASB).

Remember Job made this statement when the people around him were teaching that the earth rested upon the back of a giant elephant or turtle. How was Job preserved from making the mistake of the people around him? Job was guided by inspiration; he spoke as he was moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).

During our day men have orbited the earth in satellites, and they have proved abundantly that the earth is hanging upon nothing, and that it is floating through space. Job did not have access to all the methods of modem science and yet he said that “God hangeth the earth upon nothing.” All the wonderful facts that science has discovered have been known by God from the very beginning: “Known to God from Eternity are all His Works” (Acts 15:18 NKJV).

Unrevealed Truth Must Be Searched Out by Man

Down through the ages God has revealed some facts relative to the natural world to those who wrote the Bible; but unless God revealed it, it has been the work of man to learn the truth regarding such matters. Solomon said, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). Since Isaiah absolutely told the truth concerning the shape of the earth, and since he could not have made that statement unless he was inspired; it is obvious that any reasonable person must conclude that Isaiah also told the truth when he spoke concerning the virgin birth (Isaiah 7: l4), death (Isaiah 53) and resurrection of Christ (Isaiah 25:8; 26:19). Since Job absolutely told the truth concerning the suspension of the earth upon nothing, Job must also have been inspired when he said,

Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,See the source image
And at the last, He will take His stand on the *earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I will see God,
Whom I, on my part, shall behold for myself,
And whom my eyes will see, and not another.
My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27 NASB).

Since the Bible writers are absolutely accurate in their statements touching upon the natural world, it is reasonable to conclude that they are reliable when they speak upon the subject of salvation from sin. Let us have no doubts concerning the inspiration of the Bible. Every statement is a product of the divine breath of God.

*Job 19:25 earth, Hebrew aphar and means dry earth, dust, ashes, debris etc. This is not the same word used in Genesis 1:5 when God created the earth Hebrew ha-a-res.

Copyright © 2012 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE LOST BOOK

By

Shelby G. Floyd

 

Sunday School Lesson: Josiah – Rediscovering the Word - Sunday School  Lessons

 

We have a wonderful crowd today and we are glad that all of you came out to worship God. I hope that all of you have brought your Bible or have one from the seat in front of you. About 680 BC, Hezekiah became mortally sick. Isaiah the prophet said to him, “Thus says the Lord, set your house in order, you shall die and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). How would you like to get a message like that from Almighty God? Most people want to live as long as they possibly can to carry out their activities and their goals that they have in life. Hezekiah was no different from any of us. He wanted to live and not die. Therefore Hezekiah then prayed to the Lord and reminded him how he had served him with all his heart. At that point God sent Isaiah the prophet back to tell him that he would heal him and add 15 years to his life. He had a boil and he was given a cake of figs to recover from the boil (2 Kings 20:2-11). When I was a young boy I had a boil and my mom tried everything to clear it up, but nothing worked. Then she told me that I must go to the doctor and have it lanced. That scared me to death. It was not pleasant having that done, but once it was done it healed rather quickly. I have never had one sense and I do not want one in the future. I am sure Hezekiah felt the same way that I did.

God told Hezekiah that he would add 15 years to his life. And that meant that he would set the sundial back 10 places. Scientists have set their computers to go back and see if there was a long day at the time that Hezekiah lived. I do not think that they have been successful. But we believe the Bible that God did what he said he was going to do and Hezekiah lived 15 more years. But eventually like all of us, Hezekiah slept with his fathers and his son Manasseh became king (2 Kings 20:21). Manasseh and his son Amon, “did evil in the sight of the word and they died.” Manasseh repented at the last minute and did what he could to restore the true worship of God. But it was too little too late and did not make a lasting impact the people. His son Amon went right back into idolatry and was such a bad king that his own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in the palace and he only reigned as king for two years (2 Kings 21:24).

Continue reading “THE LOST BOOK”

THE MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Jesus' Transfiguration: How the mountain-top experiences help us in the  valley

Good morning. It is good for all of us to meet together to worship Almighty God. I am glad that I can stand before you today and present the word of God. The topic that I have chosen to speak on today is, The Mountain Top Experience. How many of you have had a mountaintop experience? About the highest mountain I have ever been on is Mount Eagle that is located shortly after you come out of Chattanooga, Tennessee and are heading north. It is wonderful when you go over the top and head down into that beautiful valley in Tennessee.
But mountaintop experiences cannot last forever. Some of our members put on a lot of photos of mountaintops in Switzerland and other places. And I look at everyone, and it struck me one day, that in every one of those photos, the people live down in the valley. They do not live up on top of the mountain. That is the way of all mountaintop experiences. You experience it, and you enjoy it, but then you must come down in the valley where people live their daily lives.

Marriage

I was thinking also of some mountaintop experiences that all of us go through in our life. Do all of you remember the day that you were married? Do you remember how beautiful and how wonderful it was to start a new family or home? And perhaps you went on a honeymoon that will be a beautiful lifetime memory. But after it was all over, you had to go back to your job and go to work, and take care of your family, mow the yard and 100 other things that are involved in living our life every day.

Having a Baby

And what about having a baby come into that new family? That is a mountaintop experience. It is wonderful to remember back when each one of our children was born and became a part of our family. Remember how wonderful they were, how much we loved them, and how we could not wait to take their picture and present it to all the members of our extended family. But after the birth of the baby and everyone returns back to their home, there is a lot of work that must be done in taking care of that child. And all of that continues through grade school, middle school, high school and until they leave home to start out on their own. It is a great responsibility!

Day of Your Baptism

Then do you all remember the day that you became a Christian? Do you remember when you made the good confession that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God and were immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sin? Do you also remember when you rose from the waters of baptism to live a new life modeled after your Lord Jesus Christ? But then as we go forward, it is not easy to live the Christian life every day. There are temptations and sometimes we sin, and then we get back up, repent and go forward to overcome our shortcomings. The lesson for all of us is how wonderful it is to have a mountain top experience, but after it is all over, we have to come down into the Valley and go to work in all of our everyday activities.

Now I want to talk to you about the mountaintop experience that we really are going to focus upon during the rest of this lesson. It is found in Matthew seventeen, Mark nine, and Luke nine, and also in our text that was read in our hearing found in 2 Peter 1:15-19. In order to get an accurate picture of this mountaintop experience. We must look at every one of those passages in which the mountaintop experience is rehearsed. And I will say that right before they experienced this mountaintop experience, Jesus made an important statement:

And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1 NKJV).

In this statement Jesus said plainly that the kingdom of God would come in the lifetime of some of those who were standing there with him at that time. The kingdom of God has definitely come into existence in time past. Therefore, the preachers who are running around telling people that the kingdom of God is to come at any time are making false statements and their message should be rejected by all sensible people. And when you add what other inspired writers wrote like the statement in the book of Hebrews that says that they were receiving a kingdom, then we know the kingdom has come into existence!

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:28).

Therefore, we know that the kingdom was in existence at the time of the closing of the divine revelation from God to fallen mankind (Revelation 1:9).

Continue reading “THE MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCE”

A MINISTRY OF LOVE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

See the source image

Good morning church. And we welcome all of you who have joined us for worship online. Today I am speaking on a love story and according to the Bible reading, in Genesis 29:20 at least twice it is said that Jacob loved Rachel. We would expect the Bible to have a love story because it deals with human beings and we know that love is a big part of our life. A marriage built on love will last a lifetime. A marriage without love will falter and fail.

THE HOME LIFE OF JACOB, ESAU, ISAAC, AND REBEKAH


Let us take a look at some of the qualities of Jacob’s love ministry to Rachel. I like the word ministry. I had a member of the church who told me that he did not like the word ministry. But that word is found quite a few times in the Bible and it means to serve. So, if somebody says I do not like that word ministry it means that they do not like to serve! Jacob ministered or served in order to gain Rachel as his wife. I begin this morning by saying that the home life of Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Rebekah were not perfect. There are no perfect parents. There are no perfect children. We are all flawed. We try to be the best parents we can be and we try to be the best children we can be, but children are not perfect. We fall short and we have to expect that and we have to deal with that. Now when it comes to grandparents and great-grandparents that is different! They are perfect!

But we notice in the life of Isaac and Rebecca that they were not perfect parents. Esau their first born was not a perfect young man. He sold his birthright for pot of soup and we look at other things about the family. We also find out that his mother and father were really grieved when he went and married Canaanite women because they were ungodly women. Rebekah said she brings me much grief. Young people, if you marry the wrong person you are probably going to bring grief to your parents. Rebekah wanted to make sure that Isaac did not marry a Canaanite wife. And we also remember that Jacob lied to his father and passed himself off as Esau and received his father’s blessing instead of Esau. Therefore, you can see that the family started off pretty bad. Isaac called Jacob after this and he charged him not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. They had enough of Esau and his Canaanite wife so he said you better not go out and do the same thing. Do not take a Canaanite woman for your wife.

Then he said what I want you to do Jacob is to go to PadanAram and later it is said he went toward Haran. Today that would be up in what we call southeastern Turkey. Jacob, I want you to go to Haran and find a wife among your mother’s family. Her brother Laban lives near Haran. I want you take that journey and find your wife there instead of these Canaanite women around here. Isaac then prayed to God that he would give Jacob the blessing of Abraham, and he sent him on his way. Jacob headed toward Haran to find a wife.

He stopped and spent the night at Bethel. He slept with a rock for a pillow. I guess we could call that the hard rock motel. He dreamed of a ladder that was from the earth all the way up into heaven, and the angels of God were going up and down that ladder and God spoke to him and God promised that he would give him the blessing of Abraham:

“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 28:13-14),

I read that several years ago and I kept it on my mind about that ladder and then I was reading the Gospel according to John, and in the very last verse of the first chapter, Jesus is the ladder upon which the angels were ascending and descending:

And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter[a] you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51 NKJV).

After the dream Jacob awoke there at Bethel and the word Bethel means House of God. And Jacob made a vow if you ever make a vow to God. Be sure that you keep your word when you make a promise to God. God is not happy when we make promises and we do not keep them! Jacob made a vow that if God would be with him and take care of him, that he would give 1/10 of all that he received. You know we have to learn to give of our material assets just like we have to learn to do other things. And I think that if we learn to give at least a 10th of our income to the Lord we will find out that we will be blessed and we will never have to worry about anything when we do the best we can because God will take care of us. I believe that with all my heart and I have seen it in my own life. So, Jacob set the example here and said, God you be with me, bring me on my journey, let me fulfill my mission and I will give you a 10th of all that I possess.

JACOB’S MINISTRY OF LOVE FOR RACHEL


So that brings us to Jacob’s Ministry of Love for Rachel. Then Jacob went on toward Haran. As he approached the city, he noticed there was a field and there was a well in the field. I remember working on the farm at 46 Street and Millersville Road where I worked as a teenager. There was a well with one of those old-fashioned pumps and it was a wonderful blessing when you were hot and you could pump a dipper of fresh water! Jacob saw a big stone rolled against the mouth of the well and three flocks of sheep. He went over and talked to the shepherds. He said do you know a man by the name of Laban and is he well? They said we know him and he is well and by the way, there comes Rachel his daughter with some sheep. God is working in bringing Jacob the blessing of Abraham and Rachel just shows up right there at that well. Jacob goes over there and you know men like to show off. He goes and rolls that big stone away and waters the sheep for Rachel. He gave her a break and then the Bible says that he kissed her. So here we have an example of kissing and it was not even his first date. He kissed her soon as he saw her. We like a fellow like that. He knows who he wants and he goes after her and kissed her. Then Jacob spent about a month with Laban and rehearsed all the news of the two families. They were related. Laban was his uncle, his mother’s brother. I am sure they had a lot of news to catch up on and so he spent a month there.

Then the Bible tells us why Jacob labored seven years for Rachel:

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance (Genesis 19:15-17 NKJV).

Jacob loved Rachel because she was very beautiful. Several years ago, at worship one Wednesday night, some teenage girls brought some of their friends to church and we had several little boys sitting close by. I became amused because those little boys could not look forward. They were constantly turning around and looking at those girls because they were pretty. So, I put that in my mind, that even from the time we are young we recognize the difference between pretty and not quite so pretty. They were fascinated with those teenage girls because they were pretty. But as the song goes, everything is beautiful in its own way. There is somebody for everybody even though there is a difference between beauty and not quite so beautiful. And the Bible says that Leah’s eyes were weak but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Therefore, even the Bible admits there is a difference in the way that people look. But there are people that are beautiful outwardly and very ugly on the inside. And so, the idea is if you are looking for a wife you want one that is beautiful like Rachel outwardly but also beautiful inwardly, with a beautiful spirit.

But anyway, Jacob loved Rachel and the Bible says that he served seven years to get Rachel but they seem like only a few days them because of his love that he had for her (Genesis 29:20). Therefore, Jacob served seven years for Rachel and so after the seven years were up, he said to Laban, we have a deal. I have served my seven years and now I want my wife. Back then the women wore head coverings like we see in some of those countries today. And about all you can see are their eyes and so Laban sends supposedly Rachel in to be his wife. But guess what? The next morning, he wakes up and it is not Rachel, it is Leah and so he went to Laban. What is this? I worked seven years for Rachel and when I woke up this morning it was Leah. Well, Laban always had a good answer. He said that up here in our country It is not customary to give the younger daughter until you give the older daughter away. And so you go ahead and finish your week with the Leah and I will give you Rachel. Therefore, after seven years he got Leah and Rachel. He got a double bargain. Laban was a schemer and deceiver.

I remember when I was in the second grade at the Bluff Avenue Elementary school and it was Valentines week. There was the prettiest little girl that I had my eyes on and we had a big bag of those Valentines cards and we would fill those out and give them to the girls. After recess when I got back there was a card with a note on my desk from this little girl. She told me how much she liked me. My heart started to pitter patter and I could not wait to answer that note and put it over on her desk. This went back and forth for three or four times and then finally I figured it out. She was not writing those notes, but some of those boys behind me. I learned a good lesson that things do not always turn out as they appear. And I learned that it is good to have a healthy skepticism until you have the full proof. But then as a young adult I met this girl here from Gallatin, Tennessee. We dated for three years, got married and celebrated 60 years of marriage this past December.

And Jacob was happy to get both of those girls, because he got Rachel the one, he wanted. He worked seven more years for Rachel and that makes 14 years altogether, and I think before he left there with all the goods that God gave him, he spent about 20 some years altogether. He was not lazy, he worked hard and God blessed him not only with a beautiful wife and we might say two wonderful wives because Leah and her handmaiden and Rachel and her handmaiden gave him 12 boys and one girl. These 12 sons became known as the children of Israel. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel. The Jewish people seem to know how to get sons.

BENEFITS OF THE MINISTRY OF LOVE


“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Genesis 29:20).

Jacob served seven years to get Rachel but they seem like only a few days to him because of his love for her. That is a wonderful statement that we need to memorize and know of the many benefits that true love brings into our lives.

Love Shortens the Time
Jacobs experience says that love shortens the time, for he served seven years but it seemed like just like a few days because of love. He loved Rachel so much that it seemed only a short time. Seven long years was not short, but it seemed short because he had so much love for Rachel.

Abraham dwelt in tents for 100 years in the land of Palestine and the Bible says he did that because he looked for a city that God was going to create and he was looking for a better heavenly country that God had prepared for him and all his children, an eternal city and not a temporal homeland. Abraham served God 175 years and he did not get one foot of land in Canaan.

The journey from Egypt to the promised land was a long journey that took 40 years. It could have been a short journey, but because of sin, it ended up being 40 years and Joshua was with Moses for 40 years. But I am sure it did not seem like 40 years because Joshua was looking for a land that flowed with milk and honey. He loved God so much and he loved the promise that God made about the promised land. Love will definitely shorten the time.

Love Makes the Load Light
When you are serving because you love somebody, love makes the load light. Why is it that people will not leave the bedside of a mother or father, a companion or somebody that is critically ill? You know you are going to become tired and weary while caring for those with terminal illnesses. But why do people not give up and continue to serve? It is because we love those people and abiding love makes the load light.

Some of us have preached for 60 years and we have covered a lot of ground. I look back and ask, how did I carry that responsibility for so long? It is because I love what I am doing. I love God and I love the church and I love you people. If we love God and one another, then the time will be short and the load will not be so heavy. When we love God and one another it applies to marriage and family, but also to the church as a family.

Love Paves the Road We Travel
When we serve God and one another with love, then love paves the road we travel. The road we travel as all of you know is not paved with roses, nor with concrete. As an example, Paul went on his first evangelistic journey and it took about three years. Paul was stoned, yet the stones were not so hard to Paul because he loved God. Paul and Silas were in the Philippian jail, they had been beaten with many stripes and their hands and their feet were fastened in the stocks, but they loved God and at midnight they started singing psalms and hymns and they prayed to God. Paul was on a ship to Rome with a lot of other passengers and a hurricane blew up and they thought they were all going to perish. They started throwing things off of the ship to lighten the ship and finally they had a ship wreck at Malta. You know, Paul said, be of good cheer for I believe in God and not a single passenger lost their life. They landed on that island and they were treated well by the native people and they even started a fire for the people to warm up that were on that ship. Even death to Paul was an entrance to a better world. James says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into manifold temptations” (James 1:2).

Love Helps to Bear the Burdens
Love helps to bear the burdens and we all have some burdens we must bear! John said, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17). Jesus had to bear his own cross. Why? He carried his own cross because he loved us so much. And he loved us so much that He was crucified and shed his precious blood. Jesus did not have to bear the cross. He could have called for 12 legions of angels, but he did not do that. He bore the cross for each one of us. And the Bible says that we are to bear our own cross. And we know that the way of the cross leads home.

LET US ALL MAKE THE LOVE MINISTRY GROW


Because we love the Lord let all of us make the love ministry grow in our family relationships and our love ministry here at Heartland Church of Christ. We love one another according to the qualities mentioned in that beautiful song of love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

All family counselors and marriage counselors will agree that the things that I am presenting will work to make your love ministry grow in your marriage, family, and the church.

Communication
The first is communication. If married couples have problems and they stop talking to each other, then they have a big problem that must be solved. And good communication also applies in the church. Paul encourages good communication to the church at Ephesus:

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:15 NKJV).

Paul, how do we make the love ministry grow in the church—we speak the truth in love. You can speak the truth, but if you do not speak in love it will not work. And the same thing is true with husband and wife. It is a skill that a lot of people are lacking. In any loving relationship when we talk to one another we must realize that we are all flawed. We all make mistakes because we are weak sinners. And good listeners are as hard-to-find as good speakers. When other people sense that you are not listening any longer, they will stop communicating. A loving relationship will be enhanced when each party makes suggestions to one another how they can deal with the situation.

Affection
We all can make the love ministry grow when we show affection to one another. Paul taught the Romans to show affection to one another: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). In the church we should be affectionate to one another and I think we do a good job here at Heartland. If you grew up in a family where your parents did not show you much affection to each other and to you, it will be very uncomfortable for you to show affection. But you can overcome that difficulty. Most marriage counselor will say a wife and husband should hug each other four times a day. And hugging can lift depression. It can breathe life into tired body. It can make you feel younger and vibrant. And in both the Old and New Testament God’s people are often said to embrace each other. We do a pretty good job here but were not recommending that until the Covid plague is over! But church worship is probably one of the safest places we can be present.

Forgiveness
Another way that we can make the love ministry grow in our family and in the church is by forgiveness. To the church at Ephesus Paul wrote,

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

God forgave us through the sacrifice of Christ and we must learn to forgive one another because we all fall short. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes, we all commit sin and we have to make allowance for that and learn to forgive one another and not just hold it in until it explodes.

Honesty
We have to learn to be honest with ourselves and others. Solomon in a very brief proverb graphically described how good it is to be honest:

Like a kiss on the lips is the one who gives an honest answer (Proverbs 24:26 NET).

One of the members in this congregation that I have observed always gives an honest answer and it seems to work very well with her relationships. We can all learn to be more honest in our relationships with one another. All of these principles will work to make our love ministry grow spiritually.

And now I remind all of us of God’s love ministry. God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8-9). Jesus was asked one time what the greatest commandment is:

Jesus answered, “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NASB).

And Jesus said in John 14:15-16, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

And before Jesus left earth, he charged his disciples to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 NASB).

Jesus would not ask us to do something that he would not do himself. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he had no sins to be forgiven. Jesus came to John the Baptist and John was figuratively the Elijah who was to come into the world. John said why are you coming to me. I need to be baptized of you:

But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *allowed Him. 16 After He was baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and settling on Him, 17 and behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:15-17 NASB).

God proclaimed Jesus to be his beloved Son after he was baptized, and God will also claim you as His child after you are baptized for (“in order to” SGF) the forgiveness of your sin.

If you are not a Christian today would be a wonderful time to come forward and confess the sweetest name that ever fell for mortal tongue and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sin. *

* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved. I am indebted to G. K. Wallace, one of my teachers at Freed-Hardeman College for some of these thoughts.

Shelby G. Floyd delivered the essence of this sermon February 14, 2021 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

CONTINUE TO WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

  These words were written to the church at Philippi by the apostle Paul:

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Our salvation from sin is both man’s work and God’s work. Man’s work is to appropriate the salvation offered by God to man through faith and obedience to the gospel. Notice that Paul exhorts them to “continue to work out your salvation…” This implies that they were working out their salvation when they believed and were baptized to be saved from their past sins (Mark 16:15-16). Now they are to continue to work out their salvation!

  To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is a work of man. But it is also the work of God. Some Jews asked Christ,

“What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29).

Just as faith in Jesus is the work of God, so also is repentance and baptism. However, these acts of obedience are a work that man does in receiving the gift of salvation. The Roman Christians were baptized into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-3). They were promised the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). And three times their justification from sin is said to be the “free gift” (Romans 5:15-18).

  The Philippians had also believed and been baptized (Acts 16: 14-15, 30-34). Now in his letter to them, Paul commands them to continue to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). He then assigns the reason they are to do this:

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

When we do what God has told us to do (work), God is working in us through his word to bring about our salvation now and at the last day. That is the reason Paul said, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Make sure your work is “the work of God” and not just your “own work!”*

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

IN GOD WE TRUST

By


Shelby G. Floyd

            Last year on my birthday, my son Damon, Susan, and the boys gave me the book with the title, “In God We Still Trust.”  Now every morning when I get up around five o’clock, the first thing I do is put on my coffee, and then as I drink my coffee, I read the Bible.  I am reading Matthew out of the hardcopy and at the same time I am reading Mark on my Kindle, and I am also reading the Old Testament. 

            After that, I pick up this book, In God We Still Trust.  And I think this is one of the best birthday presents, because it lasts 365 days.  There is a one-page devotional every day of the year revealing how our forefathers built this country on faith in God and the providence of God.  And I make little notes because when Damon gave me this book, he said, “Dad there are a lot of sermons in this book!”  So I have made my notes, and this is the first sermon that I have preached based upon some of the notes that I have made throughout the past year.

            This is a good book for all of you to buy, whether it is for a birthday present or not.  In God We Still Trust, is a 365-day devotional by Richard G. Lee. Now, to any of you rebels from Alabama, I did not say it was by Robert E. Lee, I said, Richard G. Lee!

            I want us to get into the word right here at the beginning of this lesson. Paul and his companions on one of their evangelistic journeys were treated very shamefully and violently while they were in Asia.  Later on he writes a letter to the Corinthian church where he had spent about a year and a half. In this second letter to the Corinthians Paul declared, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (2 Corinthians 1: 8-11 NKJV). 

            Notice Paul said that they had learned not to trust in themselves but in God. We need to trust in God because he will help us, and we also can help each other by offering up prayers to Almighty God for his help.

The Country Song: In God We Still Trust

            We need to trust in God.  Many of us enjoy some country music.  The group known as Diamond Rio may have been inspired to write their song, In God We Still Trust, based on the book previously mentioned.  Listen to the words of the song:

You place your hand on His bible, and when you swear to tell the truth.
His name is on our greatest monuments and all our money too.
And when we pledge allegiance, there’s no doubt where we stand:
There’s no separation, we’re one nation under Him.

In God, we still trust here in America,
He’s the one we turn to every time the going gets tough.
He is the source of all our strength, the one who watches over us.
Here in America, in God, we still trust.

Now there are those among us,
Who wanna push Him out.
And erase his name from everything,
This country’s all about.
From the schoolhouse to the courthouse,
They’re silencing His word,
An’ now it’s time for all believers,
To make our voices heard.

In God, we still trust here in America,
He’s the one we turn to every time the goin’ gets tough.
He is the source of all our strength, the one who watches over us.
Here in America, in God, we still trust.

Continue reading “IN GOD WE TRUST”

THE DIVINE NATURE

The Bible teaches that there is just one God, but this one Godhead involves three distinct persons—identified as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Mark 12:29).

Christ Is the Bodily Fullness of the Godhead

Paul declares that in Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). That is why Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus Christ existed eternally as “the Word,” but was historically made flesh and lived among the human family (John 1:1-4; 1:14).

In several scriptures the first person of the Godhead is even called “God the Father” (Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:2-3). Great is this mystery of godliness that has been revealed unto us (Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16).

One God—Three Persons

All three persons are mentioned together in such a way as to indicate that they share the same nature—deity (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6). After the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove; the Father was in heaven and endorsed his Son as being well pleasing. This is a clear illustration of the three distinct persons who shared the divine nature.

There are several independent lines of proof that Jesus was the divine Son of God. (1) John the Baptist gave testimony to this fact (John 1:32-34; 5:32-35). (2) The works of benevolence that Jesus did testify to his deity (John 5:36; Matthew 11:4-6). (3) The miracles of Jesus prove who he claimed to be. (John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:7-8). We serve an awesome God!

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142