DEBORAH AND BARAK: THE SIN OF NEUTRALITY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

FreeBibleimages :: Deborah and Barak deliver Israel :: Deborah and Barak  trust God for victory (Judges 4-5)

Good morning! God is great! A-men. It is a beautiful day, and it is good to be back among my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We had a great vacation in Florida. It was in the 70’s and 80’s most of the time. It is wonderful to get away and rebuild our energies and rest up a little bit. It is great to be back, and I am ready to go to work! I appreciate Mitch taking care of things while I have been away, and I do the same for him when he is away on vacation. Also I appreciate Larry teaching the Bible class and I understand he has done an excellent job.

And now I am ready to present to you the word of God. Our lesson today is from Judges the 4th and 5th chapters of the Old Testament. Larry read our text in Judges 4:4-11. I could have given our lesson today different titles. We could have called our lesson, “Deborah the Cheerleader!” Or we could have entitled it, “Two Men Went to Jail.” But to keep it simple, we shall simply call it “Deborah, Barak, and Sisera.”

Now the book of Judges is about God’s people serving the Lord, obeying his word for 20, 30, or 40 Judges Bible Study Commentary - The Cycle of Sin Definedyears and living in peace and security. And then they would fall away by worshipping idols and committing all sorts of sin. Then God would turn them over to the ungodly nations of the Canaanite people who would punish them and make them slaves. And then they would cry out again for God to help them. They could not throw off these people who had put them into bondage. Then God who loved his people would raise up a deliverer who would set them free again. God called these deliverers Judges! This was a continuous cycle during this period. Before Deborah there were Judges named Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar. The last judge before Deborah was Shamgar. The Bible doesn’t say much about Shamgar, but what it says is enough: “… Shamgar son of a Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel” (Judges 3:31). What a man! He killed six hundred men with an ox goad! I would not want to mess with a man like him. Continue reading “DEBORAH AND BARAK: THE SIN OF NEUTRALITY”

HOMECOMING IN HEAVEN

By

Shelby G. Floyd

We are looking forward to our heavenly home where we can worship and sing new songs with our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is so good to see all of you today. I hope you have had a good holiday. Sarah and I are celebrating our 62nd anniversary today. We feel really blessed because a lot of people do not get that privilege, and we are very thankful.

How many of you have had a kind of a homecoming over the last few days? In this day and time, our children and grandchildren move halfway across the country. And it is not very often that you can get all of them together. In fact, the last time I think we were all together was on my 80th birthday. We met down in Florida, and so it seems like it takes a special occasion for families to have a true homecoming.

Accessing the Courts of Heaven

HOMECOMING IN HEAVEN

And that is what I wanted to talk to you about today—our homecoming in heaven! I was thinking this week about all our brothers and sisters that have left this earth since we started this congregation in 2000. We remember Jim and Bonnie Stephens and recently Jerry. We also call to mind George and Helena Thompson and their daughter Tricia and so many others. And I thought, they are no longer with us, but we are going to have a grand reunion one of these days and be happy forevermore.

Now if you were going to move someplace that you never had been before, would you not try to find out everything you could about it before you went there? I have a cousin that lives in New Zealand. I have never met her, but we communicate online. But if I were going to go over to New Zealand even to visit, I think I would do a lot of research and try to find out everything I could about the climate, the places to visit and things like that.

Well, I am surprised that so many people today when they get ready to draw their last breath and go to meet God, they don’t seem to know very much about heaven. I heard a preacher say one time, “If suddenly God said that there is no hell, how many people would still want to go to heaven”? It maybe that there are a lot of people that just want to escape hell and since they do not know much about heaven, they do not really have too much desire to go there. And then maybe they think that it is going to be a place where Mitch and I will get up and preach all the time! And Damon and Jim will be constantly leading us in singing in worship. And they say, “If that is the way it’s going to be, I don’t think I really care that much about going.”

Heaven is known by a lot of different figures of speech, and that is to help us understand that heaven is made up of beautiful and wonderful things. It’s a Country, it’s a City, it’s a Kingdom, it’s a Home. It’s a Bride. Heaven is going to be like a bride adorned for her wedding day. And it’s going to be a place of Rest. As you can see, there is a lot about what heaven will be like revealed in the scriptures and I want to emphasize that today. For instance, heaven will be a CITY. We like to be close to a city because of all the amenities that are available. The heavenly city will be 1500 miles square, so there will be room for everyone to enjoy what God has prepared for us. By faith Abraham “…looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

Heaven will be like going to the COUNTRY. We like to go out in the country. Heaven will be a place with GATES and a WALL (Revelation 21:12-21). This indicates that we will be safe from all harm. We read that heaven will be our ETERNAL HOME! Solomon declared “For man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets” (Ecclesiastes 12:4,5 NKJV). Well, we see that every day. A lot of people are passing off the stage of action. It is estimated that about 250,000 people die every day and go to meet their Maker! They go to their long home. And we mourn for them and shed tears.

We will also have an eternal BODY! Paul wrote, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our [b]habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:1-3 NKJV). Notice, our body will be “eternal in the heavens”

And then Paul wrote to the Church of Colossae about Christians who had been immersed in water and raised to walk a new life, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
The hope of heaven has cheered king, peasant, rich and poor, slave and free, literate, and illiterate down through the ages! Let every obedient Christian entertain the hope of heaven and seek that grand homecoming in heaven. Continue reading “HOMECOMING IN HEAVEN”

THE GREAT BANQUET EXCUSES

By

Shelby G. Floyd

What Is the Parable of the Great Banquet About? | Jesus Film Project

On one occasion, Jesus went to the home of a prominent Pharisee for dinner. A man sitting at the table with Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). His statement provided Jesus the context to teach the parable of The Great Banquet. The man giving the banquet sent out invitations and when it was time for the banquet he said, “Come, for everything is now ready” (Luke 14:16). The blessings to be found in the kingdom of God, is much like the blessings provided at the great banquet.

But they all made excuses for not going to the great banquetExcuse me ! Tuesday, 31st Week in ordinary time – Luke 14:15-24:

“The first said, I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me. Another said, I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me. Still another said, I just got married, so I can’t come” (Luke 14:18-20).

The world has not changed much today as far as making excuses for not doing the will of God. Many Christians today make excuses for their lack of interest in the work and worship of the church. For example, some go out for dinner on Saturday night or to some place of amusement and stay out until very late. And then they make the excuse that they did not feel well and therefore could not come to Sunday school and worship.

Others give the excuse that they have worked very hard all week putting in many hours. They state they have gotten up very early and did not get home from work until very late. In their mind since Sunday morning is the only morning in the week that they can sleep late, God will accept this excuse for not going to worship. They ask God to accept their excuse, but they would not offer the same excuse to their boss for not going to work. Disobeying God’s Word and not carrying out our duty is sinful.

John 15:22 KJV - If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had  sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

Since Christ came down from heaven and lived among us and spoke to us the will of God, we are without excuse when we do not fulfill our responsibility. Jesus once said concerning people who were rejecting him, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). Let us do what we say we are going to do and stop making excuses.

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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

GOD’S GROWING FAMILY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

06 1 John 2:12-14 – Godly Encouragement | Fountain of Life-Giving Water

We will work till Jesus comes, and then we will be gathered home. It so good to see you this morning. And we’re looking forward to a study out of God’s word. The text read today really is the theme that I will be discussing and that is we must add to our faith all the different virtues and grow spiritually throughout our life until God comes to take us home. The text that was read was specific and to the point.

We are so thankful we have a lot of growth in this congregation in a physical way. For instance, we have had three families to identify with this congregation the past few weeks. Also, we have baby Paul here at the front and little baby El at the back. And they are growing every week as God intends for little children to grow. Then we have some that have been growing for several years like Natalie and Nivea and several other children about that age. Also we have some of our teens that have grown up in this congregation over the 21-year history of this congregation. Several are going to college like Caden, Cassidy, Cayman, and Brianna. Mitchell McCann is in a trade school to be an aircraft mechanic and they’ve already hired him even before he has finished his schooling!

THE FLOW Explained: The Whole Training Process

THREE STAGES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Today, though, we are not really talking about physical growth. We are talking about spiritual growth. The writer of Hebrews urged the Christians from Judaism to go forward to maturity (Hebrews 6:1). So today we are talking about God’s growing family or God’s maturing family. Where are you today, in your spiritual growth? There are different stages of physical growth—mental, social, emotional, and spiritual. Where are you in the different stages of spiritual growth? There are children, young adults, parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents. Each stage has different activities and different needs. I want you to look at this graphic, because that is really a brief picture of what we are going to talk about today:

In this graphic, spiritual growth is compared to LITTLE CHILDREN, FATHERS, and YOUNG MEN! This graphic is based upon John the apostle’s statement:

12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:12-14 NKJV).

This is really where we are going to center our remarks today. It is a unique passage of scripture. It is a scriptural statement. Therefore, it is an inspired illustration: Little Children, Fathers and Young Men. This illustration includes young girls, mothers, and young ladies also. But since men were appointed as leaders in the church, that’s the way the inspired Bible writers wrote down their teaching. And so that graphic chart really is the picture that I want you to fasten into your mind. And think about it as we go along today.

I will not follow John’s exact order. His order is little children, fathers, and then young men. But I’ll follow the logical order in the way that I think, and it will be children, young men and then fathers. I don’t know why John chose that order, but he did, and the Holy Spirit must have had a good reason. Maybe it’s because we need more young men to step up and be in the army of the Lord so that we can take on the world for our Lord Jesus Christ.

The biblical illustration of the family is the key to our understanding the growth of the spiritual family—the church! In the Bible we read about the Fatherhood of God. The Fatherhood of God is the archetype of all the families in heaven and on earth. Notice that Paul verifies this in the book of Ephesians:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14, 15).

We use family language a lot. For instance, George Washington is the Father of our country. We read in many of our history books about the Founding Fathers. And years ago, more so than now, even the crime syndicates were called, a family. Family is very important to God and family is very important in the Bible and it should be important to us.

Like all families, the family of God family must grow in spiritual maturity. Peter exhorted his audience to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11 NKJV).

Now I want us to focus on the three different age groups that John is writing to in the church. The first group he addresses is that of the little children.

THE FLOW Explained: The Whole Training Process
SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD: “LITTLE CHILDREN”

12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father. (1 John 2:12, 13 NKJV).

Be sure to open your bible and read this unique scripture. It a beautiful passage of scripture about figurative little children? First let us look at spiritual childhood— “little children.” He said I write to you, little children, because you are forgiven on account of his name. I write you little children because you have known the Father. We become spiritual children when our sins are forgiven on account of his name. The keyword at this stage of growth is “forgiven.” At this beginning stage of growth, the relationship with the Father is dominant just like it is in the earthly relationship. Little children in the Lord have a relationship with their Father because their sins have been forgiven. At this beginning stage of the Christian life, the new relationship with the heavenly Father is dominant. Spiritually speaking, it takes time to go from children to young adults, and then fathers! And so we must allow time for new converts to develop, grow and become stronger. As an example, “And Jesus increased in wisdom. And stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

And so how do we go about having our sins forgiven? I need to remind all of us that we must go through the new birth of water and the spirit. John the apostle taught that everyone must be born again:

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:1-5).

I don’t have to remind you that Paul said that we all are forgiven of our sins when we are buried with our Lord in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-5) The Bible teaches that “We all are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). That’s how we become spiritual children. It is by faith, repentance, confession of our faith, and a burial in water for the forgiveness of our sins. We are God’s children and we have a relationship with him. And we call him Abba, or Father. Like little children when they are very young will call their father da, da, or dad. The Bible says we use that kind of language, Abba, Father to refer to our heavenly Father!

To grow in the physical family, we need to have a loving atmosphere. There needs to be a loving atmosphere for a child to grow up well. We have that kind of growing atmosphere in the church as it should be. We should be like parents to new converts and show them love and to help them to grow, and to them speak words of encouragement. And that will help them to grow. And you know the Bible teaches that newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word. Now how many of you adults have young people in your family and you go to the store and buy a lot of milk—you buy it by the gallons, don’t you? When you get our age, we don’t drink a lot of milk, so we buy a half gallon per week. So children need the milk of the word. That is what the Bible talks about. Peter writes, “As newborn babes desire the pure milk, the pure spiritual milk of the word.” We need Bible class teachers. Who will volunteer to go back and give the little children that are growing up spiritual milk—the milk of the word so they can grow thereby? Peter says, “Therefore, rid yourself of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk so that you may grow up in your salvation and know that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” So that’s what little children need as they grow up, both physically and spiritually.

Do you agree that it is easier to be born again than it is to grow up and be an adult Christian? I can look back at the congregation where we grew up and remember a lot of young people that were baptized into Christ. Are they all faithful Christians today? Are they all living the Christian life? No! We are sad to say that many of them somewhere along the line, stopped growing and stopped serving the Lord Jesus Christ. So it’s a lot easier to be born again than it is to grow up and become spiritual young men, spiritual fathers and grandfathers.

And Paul had that problem with the Church at Corinth. In Acts 18:8, “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.” They started out as spiritual children. But later after a few years, he writes a letter back home. Have they been growing like they should? No, they’ve been born again, but they’re not growing:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

And then the writer to the Hebrews said to the Christian people that he was addressing, that they were not growing like they should. They had been born again. They were the Jewish people who had come out of Judaism and had accepted Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God. And they were drinking milk, but they were not advancing and so he said,

“ For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Do we all understand what John was talking about when he said little children, “Your sins have been forgiven. You have known the Father?” But you really need to grow and develop into strong spiritual young men and join the fight to overcome the evil one—the devil! Let us therefore look at the second stage of spiritual growth.

THE FLOW Explained: The Whole Training Process

SPIRITUAL ADULTHOOD: “YOUNG MEN”

13 I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.                                                                                            14 I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:13, 14 NKJV).

Let us go on now in the transition to the next stage of spiritual growth, and that’s spiritual adulthood: “Young men.” I would think that the children we’ve been talking about would be from newborns, up to about 18 or 20 years old, and most societies would accept that. This would be the stage before you become an adult. Now we are discussing spiritual adulthood. I would think, that would be about 20 to 50 years old. How many do we have in that stage? Let me see your hands. We have a lot of spiritual young adults and that’s good. We’re going to talk about that right now. Let us focus on 1 John 2:13, 14 again: “I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you. And you have overcome the wicked one.” What is John really saying about these young men? You are strong. Why are you strong? You didn’t stop growing back there when you became a little child in the Lord. You have been reading your Bible every year; you have been studying your Bible classes. You have been growing, taking the meat of God’s word into your spiritual being, and you have become strong. Why have you become strong? Because the devil has not overtaken you. You have overcome the evil one, the wicked one. Satan is called by a lot of different names. And I like what John calls him here. The evil one, the wicked one. Young men and women in that age group of young adults, the devil is going to try you at that stage, more than probably any other group. Satan will use anything he can use to destroy you from being effective as a worker in the Kingdom of God and overcoming the evil one.

Young adults, the key at this stage of growth is activity. You 20–50-year-old adults need to be the busiest people in the congregation. Not the older people. Older people are thinking about retirement. Young men and young ladies, you need to be the strongest people in the church activity and do something for the Lord. Make it happen. This is the big arena where we learn to put God’s word into practice in the practical areas of our lives and in the work of the church family. Do we send old men to battle? No, we send young people 18 to 20 because they’re strong. We need young adults in the church in the spiritual battle that we fight against that evil one—the wicked one.

And at this stage of growth, it is very important to have victory. How many of you young adults played in sports? There is something wonderful when you have a victory? Like when Michigan beat Iowa and beat them bad. We all saw how joyful they were when they won a victory like that. Well, the same thing can happen to each one of you. You young adults in the Lord will rejoice every time you overcome the wicked one. There’s no substitute for victory. John writes, “I write to you young men, because you have overcome the evil one,” and so that’s a victory. Young adults in God’s family, you must be the ones who win the battles over Satan for yourselves and for the church family. James says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Satan will not stay around when he faces a lot of resistance. Peter also encourages us to: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8,9).

The next thing we notice about spiritual young adulthood, is that at this stage we can be strong and become even stronger. We will learn not to rely upon our own human strength, but upon the mighty power of God: “I write to you young men, because you are strong.” Paul tells us how we can be strong in his letter to the Ephesians:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10, 11).

After we have overcome that evil one, we realize we have been able to do that because of the power of God’s word that lives in us. For example, young Timothy was strong because from a young child he had been taking on the word of God into his life: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17). So God’s word is strong and powerful. It will help you to overcome the evil one when nothing else will. Now, let us look at the third stage of growth. And that is spiritual fatherhood.

THE FLOW Explained: The Whole Training Process

SPIRITUAL FATHERHOOD: “FATHERS”

13 I write to you, fathers, because you’ve known him who is from the beginning.                            14 I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known him who is from the beginning.            (1 John 2:13, 14).

It is very interesting that to the fathers, John writes the same thing twice. He uses the same words over again. Before we leave this world, there is one proposition that we should believe, and nobody could ever change our mind. It is that God has been from the beginning. And Mitch illustrated eternity recently in a graphically good way. God always has been, and He always will be. And if you try to think about that very long, it will drive you insane. We just cannot conceive of something that did not have a beginning, because that is all we know. Everything we know has a beginning and has an end. But “the fathers” in the church know and have known that God is from the beginning. There is no beginning and there is no ending with the God we know. So John repeats that bedrock truth for emphasis. I think we can accept that.

As we get older, we are not going to be able to do the things that we did when we were younger. One thing I have noticed is that when you get dressed, you ask your wife: “Why are my pants too long? I have always been 31 in length.” And she says it is because you eat too much peanut butter! And when you eat too much peanut butter, you get that disease called Chest of Drawers. And it is called that because your chest has fallen into your drawers. And that’s just the way it is with older men. With the aging process we change, and we can’t do a whole lot about it. We try and we make resolutions and all that, but that’s just part of the aging process.

That is the reason we don’t go to war. We send the young people. But “the fathers” who know God can be a great stabilizing influence in the church family. We can keep the church on an even keel! And so we urge everyone we have mentioned today—“little children,” “young men,” and the “fathers,” to take on the Christian graces mentioned by the apostle Peter and become all that you can be!

“ But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-11 NLKJV).

God wants all of us to be faithful to the day that we die, so he can come and take us home to glory. Therefore, we can know our Heavenly Father as a child, as an adult and as a father ourselves. Jesus said that when we have seen Him, we have seen the Father (John 14:8-10). Let us look at the graphic again that pictures all of us in our Christian walk: Little Children, Fathers, and Young Men. Where are you this morning in this spiritual family growth? Have you been born again spiritually so you can be a “little child” of God (John 3:1-8)? Or have you been born again, but you have not grown to be a strong young man or woman, and the devil was able to take you back into the world? Why not be restored so you can become a strong advocate for Christ? We pray that more will become faithful throughout all your life and reach spiritual fatherhood and be able to be an example to younger people and a strong rock in the congregation. Please ask yourselves this morning, where am I in this spiritual stage of growth? Whatever you need to do make it happen now. Make your decision right now, as we stand to sing this song of encouragement. *

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

Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon December 5, 2021, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

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

Tulip: Appointed to Eternal Life

By

Shelby G. Floyd

See the source image

John Calvin is credited with originating the false doctrine of predestination and foreordination. He taught that a certain number of people had been foreordained and predetermined from the foundation of the world to be either saved or lost. The teaching of John Calvin is usually remembered by the word

T U L I P:

T-Total depravity: John Calvin taught that all mankind is born totally depraved and cannot do any good without a special work of God.

U-Unconditional election: The meaning is that God has unconditionally chosen some to be saved and some to be lost regardless of their actions for good or bad.

L-Limited atonement: This is the doctrine that the death of Christ atones only for those chosen from the foundation of the world to be saved, the number of which cannot be diminished be even one number.

I-Irresistible grace: Means that an individual cannot resist the grace of God no matter how evil one is that has been chosen by God.

P-Perseverance of the saints: This is the false doctrine that so many religious groups believe and practice, that once saved, you are always saved and cannot fall away from the grace of God.

PAUL’S SPEECH AT ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA

Some people have thought that this teaching is upheld in Paul’s speech at Antioch of Pisidia:

“Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

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Almost all the translations have used the word “appointed” or “ordained.” This is not the best translation of the original word. A better translation would have been “disposed” or “inclined.” Therefore it would read like this, “And as many as were disposed to eternal life believed.”

However, we are not dependent upon knowledge of the original language to understand what is true. After Paul’s second speech in the synagogue, the Jews were filled with envy and they contradicted, blasphemed, and opposed the things spoken by Paul:

“Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13: 46).

The idea expressed here is that they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life by rejecting God’s word. Then the opposite would be true: people judge themselves worthy of eternal life by accepting and believing the word of God. And that is exactly what those people did who were appointed or ordained to eternal life in Acts 13: 48. They were disposed to eternal life and therefore accepted the word of God and believed. We are all possessed of free will and are all responsible for either accepting or rejecting the wonderful love and grace of God. The Acts of apostles’ records that many who heard the gospel message believed and were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Some did just the opposite out of their free will. Each person is responsible for his own actions! Therefore we see how this harmonizes with the free agency of man.

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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).

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