Proverbs & Short Articles


Updates

Christians sometimes debate whether they will continue to preach should the law change. This is a mutinous spirit—we are under orders (see 2 Tim. 4: 1).

Rending your heart and rending your garments (see Joel 2: 13) are completely different things.

Fundamentally, the Lord’s Supper is the Lord’s. He decides what is done there, not you or I. Paul, in describing its institution does not speak from himself, but says “I received from the Lord, that which I also delivered to you” (1 Cor. 11: 23). Those who change the order of the Lord’s Supper must ask themselves by what authority they do these things.

God’s blessing knows no restraint, but comes with responsibility. Thus while on the one hand He said “I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Exod. 16: 4, my emphasis) on the other it was “that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or not”.

What does it matter if the sea is rough if Christ is there to make us walk on it? And what good is a calm if Christ is not there?

The great weakness with terminology not found in the Bible is that it is not defined by the Bible, and so can mean different things to different people.

Meekness never takes offence, and lowliness never gives offence.

No Entry

There is such a thing as standing at the door of the house of God, and, if certain persons come to the door seeking to come in, forbidding them entrance. In 1 Cor. 10: 21, the apostle Paul writes to the saints that “ye cannot drink [the] Lord’s cup, and [the] cup of demons: ye cannot partake of [the] Lord’s table, and of [the] table of demons” (my emphasis). It is not ‘should not’ but ‘cannot’. Thus if a man comes to us from the temple of an idol (or, we might say, from a place where Christ is dishonoured), we must not receive them. They are coming up to the door of the house of God from the temple of an idol, and thus they must be refused. Whether they are amiable, respectable or widely-accredited is irrelevant. If one comes from an idol’s temple, where the cup of demons had been drunk (though he be a saint of God) he is not to be received into the house of God. He may say, ‘It is my liberty, and I may go where I please’. The holiness that becomes the house of God replies, ‘I cannot combine with such liberty’.

Angels

Angelic observation of things here is not something often thought of, but several Scriptures bear this out. 1 Cor. 4: 9: “For I think that God has set us the apostles for the last, as appointed to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men”. 1 Cor. 11: 9, 10: “For also man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. Therefore ought the woman to have authority on her head, on account of the angels”. 1 Pet. 1: 12: “To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves but to you they ministered those things, which have now been announced to you by those who have declared to you the glad tidings by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, which angels desire to look into”.

Long Hair

In 1 Cor. 11, there is what the apostle instructs (see v2) and what nature teaches (see v14). These things are related, but are not the same. Paul asks the saints to judge “is it comely that a woman should pray to God uncovered?”—that is, without any recognition of the headship of the man (she affirms that headship by covering her own head). He goes on to appeal to the teaching of nature itself as witnessing to the divine order: “Does not even nature itself teach you, that … woman, if she have long hair, [it is] glory to her; for the long hair is given [to her] in lieu of a veil” (v 15). Paul is talking about two things here, not one, and he brings the long hair into the argument, not as a replacement for the head covering, but to support his case for the head covering. Certainly the long hair has meaning, but the issue is whether it is sufficient for the apostle’s purpose. If long hair is all that is required in praying and prophesying, then the apostle’s earlier and detailed argument (see vs. 4-12) about the head covering is rendered pointless. There is a clear distinction between the head covering and the hair in the passage. For example: “every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered puts her own head to shame; for it is one and the same as a shaved [woman]” (v5)—that is, if she refuses the covering which is the symbol of her subjection then she may as well discard what nature has given her as well.

Concessions

The principle of union by concession denies the authority of the truth on us, and supposes that it can be disposed of for the sake of peace. The Bible teaches quite a different principle: “as many therefore as [are] perfect, let us be thus minded; and if ye are any otherwise minded, this also God shall reveal to you” (Phil. 3: 15). There is no thought of lowering down the truth to the measure of him who has not come up to it, but rather the revelation from God to enlighten the one who is not full-grown. This difference of enlightenment is no bar to fellowship for the apostle goes on: “whereto we have attained, [let us] walk in the same steps” (v16). We are not called to force our apprehension of the truth on any one, and it is always good to remember the exhortation to “let each be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14: 5). However, the truth is never to be modified or arranged in such a way as to facilitate unity. If I know the truth and make a concession in order to unite myself to others in a common profession, my concession is just simply yielding the truth to him who will not have it.  I should receive a man “weak in the faith” (v1) but I do not yield anything to him as the truth. If I do, then the truth has no authority over me. Union that requires me to jettison, mutilate or conceal what I hold to be the truth is wrong.

Stood Still

In Joshua 10: 13 we read “And the sun stood still, and the moon remained where it was, until the nation had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? And the sun remained standing in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a full day”. The immensity of the event might well cause the inspired writer to rightly exclaim. “And there was no day like that before it or after it, that Jehovah hearkened to the voice of a man; for Jehovah fought for Israel” (v14). That the heavens should be subject to the cry of a man is stupendous. However, while that day remains unique in history, there is one incident that eclipses that occasion. You will find that event recorded in Luke 18: 35–43. There we read “And Jesus stood still” (v40, my emphasis). Now, it is not the sun, but the maker of that sun, the One by whom “were created all things, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth” (Col. 1: 16). He “stood still” and that at the voice of a blind beggar! That heavenly bodies could be brought to a halt is astonishing and beyond the grasp of science; that the originator of that universe could be halted is almost too wonderful for words to express. But it was so.