You know, sometimes it's very discouraging and bewildering to us to try and understand why the Bible doesn't convert everybody. --- We ask, why the Bible has different results with different people? --- Or why is it different people have different reactions to the Bible? --- And the answer to these questions is really a Bible answer; --- And the Bible deals with those questions quite explicitly!!
I suppose one of the greatest things about the Bible to me, is the fact that I've never raised a serious question in my mind that God's word hasn't either answered, or has provided for me some Divine principle to solve my problem. And God, by His magnificent grace has supplied you and me everything, --- EVERYTHING which pertains to life and godliness!! --- And how so? --- "Through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Pet. 1:3)
But now and then we get somebody who comes along, and their knowledge of the Bible is so superficial and shallow, they ask; --- "If God really meant for people to believe, repent, confess and be baptized in order to become a Christian;--- I wonder why He didn't just come out and write it that way somewhere in the Bible?" --- "Now, what I want everyone to do, is to do 1 - 2 - 3 - 4; --- and if you don't do it that way, you're going to be lost in hell!!"
Or someone will come along and try to put God to the test by saying; --- "You know, if God wanted His church to worship in certain ways and accomplish only specific works; --- I wonder why He didn't simply write a chapter or two and say; --- 'Now when the church assembles on Sunday morning at 10:30, you're supposed to do these five acts of worship at this time, and don't do anything else but just follow this set of procedures!!' " --- "I wonder why it is that God didn't make things a little more simple and write the Bible that way??"
And then still another might come along and ponder the thought; --- "Look at all the doctrinal matters we seem to disagree on all the time, and all the church problems that constantly plague us; --- it really would have been much simpler if God had only put one or two passages that says; --- 'Now don't do this and don't do that, because I know that's going to come up.' " --- I wonder why God didn't do it like that??
Well, let me try to tell you what the answer is; --- the BIBLE answer is that God wrote the Bible the way He did because the Bible accomplishes exactly what God intended for it to accomplish!!
1. We have seen this lesson taught over and over again through out the Scriptures. --- Take for instance, some of the teachings of Christ; --- In the parable of the Sower in (Mt. 13:), which we all should be familiar. --- But in case you're not, let me stimulate your memory a little as to the moral of this parable; --- The story is about the two different ingredients of salvation. --- One is the seed, which Jesus says is the word of God, the Bible; --- And that seed is designed to bring forth the kind of fruit God meant for it to bring forth. --- But the other ingredient is the soil which our Lord said represented the heart of man, or a person's mind. --- So what is involved in salvation is God's word/Bible/seed falling on or being planted into the right kind of soil or heart.
Alright now, let's pick up this account beginning in (Mt. 13:10); --- "And the disciples came and said to Him, --- "Why do You speak to them in parables?" --- And you can see, really that's our question! --- Why do you teach the way you teach? --- The implication of that question is great, because when a lot of people see others do different things religiously; --- Their reaction is; --- "Well, you know, the Bible is just not what it ought to be!" --- Or, "We just are not meant to all understand the Bible!" --- Or, "The only real imperfection of the Bible is that all these people are running around doing different things; --- the Bible causes too much confusion!!"
And so, Jesus' disciples asked Him; --- "Why do You speak to them in parables?" --- Or, "Why don't you teach them some other way?" --- (Vs. 11-15) continues; --- " Jesus answered them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, --- but to them it has not been granted. --- For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; --- but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. --- Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. --- In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, --- 'YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; --- YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; ---(WHY?) --- FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, --- OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.' "
Now, what's the Lord's answer to this? --- He's saying; ---- "I teach
parables, because the way I teach; --- Those who want
they can know!! --- And everybody who does NOT really want to know, ---
he won't know!!"
2. Now let's look at another passage of Scripture that teaches essentially the same idea. Over in (Jn. 10:1-18), Jesus tells the parable of "The Good Shepherd"; --- And in this parable Jesus states that the shepherd's sheep will follow him. They know his voice, and they won't follow anyone else; --- but they will follow him; --- and nobody else's sheep will follow him.
But when He got through with this parable, there's an interesting exchange that took place beginning in (Vs. 22); --- "At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. --- The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, --- 'How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." --- Now, these Jews are saying; --- "Why do you keep talking in parables like this? --- If you're really the Messiah, just come right out and tell us! --- Just say; I'm the Christ! And then we'll know, and that will settle that! --- We won't have to go around doubting any more, and everybody will understand and that will solve all our problems!!" --- Needless to say, the Lord knew different!!
Now isn't that what a whole lot of people say today? --- They say; --- "Now if God really meant for a man to be baptized, why didn't He just come right out and in so many words say; --- "Now, what I really mean is for you to do thus and such!" --- and then we wouldn't have any more problems; --- and that would settle all our differences!!"
Now what people are saying is; --- "We surely want to do what's right, but the reason we don't is because your teachings are so confusing that we don't understand! --- But really, if you'll explain just exactly what you mean, then we'll obey!!" --- Now listen to what Jesus had to say in (Vs.25-27), concerning this attitude; --- "Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; --- the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. --- But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;" --- Jesus is saying; --- "I told you!!" --- "And if you want to know whether or not I'm the Christ, there's every reason in the world for you to know; --- the lame walk, the blind see, and even the dead are raised; --- and all the wondrous things I've done among you; --- the hungry fed and countless other mighty miracles; --- and you say; --- 'If I'm the Christ, tell us plainly!!" --- "All this overwhelming evidence, and you still don't know?" --- Jesus says further more; --- "It's not because of the way I teach, but rather because you don't want to know!!" --- "you do not believe because you are not of My sheep." (Vs. 26)
Well what does this mean? --- Does it mean that there's going to be some people who are going to believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and there's some who will not ? --- Yes, sadly, that's exactly what it means!! --- And this is what the apostle Paul points out so vividly over in (1 Cor. 1:18); --- " For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." --- (Also see: Rom.1:16) --- Then, beginning down in (Vs. 22 of 1 Cor: 1); --- "For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; --- but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, --- but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
Now, the answer is that you can take the Bible, and what effect the Bible has, depends on the nature of the heart that the seed (word of God) falls into! --- That there's just one kind of man that finally will be saved; --- And that's the kind of man who is willing to openly submit his life and will to the Divine will of Almighty God; --- And humbly come to the word of God saying; --- "I want to know what to do with my life!" --- "It does not matter what any other man may say or do, or what kind of doctrine he may promote; --- I just want to know what God's truth will have me do, so that I might be saved and go to heaven!!" --- But friend, a man can not have the attitude in his mind of pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency; --- If he's a natural man, worldly minded and devoid of a truth seeking spirit!! --- This man cannot expect to understand God's truth so as to be saved!! (Jude 19)
If this is the case, then the word of God is not going to mean anything to him! --- To him, the word of God is not powerful; --- and he's just like those Jews, --- trying to find every excuse under the sun not to follow Jesus!! --- But once more, we emphasize what Paul said back in (1Cor. 1:) --- The problem is not in the message, but rather the problem is in the heart; --- and a man's heart will be the thing which determines what the message will mean to him!!
"For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness !!" (Rom. 10:10)
3. You know, as we examine our Bibles, we can see that taught over and over again in the Scriptures. --- That's what Jesus was trying to instill into the hearts and minds of His disciples at the very beginning of His ministry; --- Over in the "Sermon on the mount"; (Mt. 5:3) The Lord declares; ---"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." --- Jesus is saying here that the kingdom of heaven is going to be made up of people with a certain kind of mind; --- a certain kind of heart; --- Those who will prostrate themselves humbly before God; --- These will be in the kingdom of heaven!! --- Not the wise, the mighty and arrogant; --- but people who will come poor in spirit; --- That's who My people are going to be; --- Thus says the Lord, God!!
You know, it's not everybody who sees God, or to understands Him in this life, to honor Him and do His will!! I recall this one individual I used to be stationed with, way back when I was on active service in the military. --- This individual was a very proud man and a very bright man; --- He worked during the day and took college courses at night; --- And as he put it himself; --- "I'm very open minded and very careful! --- I'm a 'church of Christ'; but I'm also a Pentecostal and Baptist!" --- I would try to explain some basic things to him from the Bible, and he would say; ---"Well, I just don't see that!" --- And we would go through it again later, and his reply was the same; --- "Now, Earl I just don't see it that way at all!" --- Round and round we would go and the same answer; --- "I simply fail to see things your way!!" --- I finally came to the conclusion; --- He didn't see it! --- That this individual meant just exactly what he said; --- "I DO NOT SEE IT!!" --- And that's what the Lord meant, when He said in (Mt. 5:8); --- "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
But let me tell you who will see God; --- understand or comprehend Him,
and to know what the kingdom of heaven is all
much as a man can know in this life); --- It's the individual who comes
to grips with himself, and with God and
word, the Bible; ---And to understand what it is to humble himself and
become reverent before God!!
Now, you and I need to think about that! --- And when we think about it, what we're trying to say is, that God has written a book; --- a book that will call any man who will humble himself before God, and submit himself freely and openly to the will of God! --- That's who He will call!! --- He won't call the arrogant and proud; --- He will not call those who lives for the world and those determined to satisfy their own desire, or the lust of the flesh! --- The natural man, He will not call; --- But rather the one who comes seeking truth with a pure heart!!
But then on the other hand, when you get right down and think about it; --- God, the very God who created the heavens and earth, and created man and all things; --- This God could have written any kind of book He wanted to, couldn't He? --- He could have written a book where nobody could have gone to heaven, unless he had a PHD in nuclear physics! --- And that would have been the only way any man could understand enough to get him into heaven! God could have written a book where the only people that would be able to read and understand enough to be saved, is those who have an IQ of 150 or higher; --- Everybody else would be lost for all eternity!! (That would most certainly leave me out!)
But glory and thanks be to a merciful God; --- He didn't write a book
that!! --- And that reminds me of a
And friends, what this book does; --- It gives the answer to life, to any man who will take on the heart of a child!! (Mt. 18:1-4), The Bible says; --- "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, --- 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' --- And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, --- 'Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." --- Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time remembering this great principle; --- and I tremble and shudder because of it!!
So what God's book, the Bible is all about; --- It's a book, or more specifically, a library of 66 individual books; --- 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. --- It's a book filled with power and fantastic appeal; --- That is, it's appealing to those who have it in their hearts and minds that they want to be just exactly what God wants them to be!! --- Humble, meek, lowly and faithfully obedient unto death!!
4. And you know, in another way; --- That's precisely what Jesus' life is all about! --- Jesus lived and died to teach us that all a man will have to do in order to be a Christian and have the promise of heaven; --- is to humbly submit to His will, and to that of the Father's. --- Remember the words of Paul, over in (Phil. 2:5); --- "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,"?? --- So what it takes to be a faithful Christian, is for a person to have and maintain the right kind of mind; --- the right kind of attitude!! --- And unless you, my dear friend, have the right attitude toward God's truth; --- you will never be one!! --- NEVER!!! --- And you will die in your sins!
Need I remind you, it was the Holy Spirit who was speaking through Paul; ---and the Holy Spirit says; --- "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus; --- (Vs. 6-8) continues; --- who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, --- but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself --- (How?) by becoming obedient to the point of death, --- even death on a cross." --- To have the same mind as Jesus, is to fully understand that; --- no matter how great you might be, or how wise and powerful; --- you must be willing to empty yourself and become whatever God wants you to be, just as Jesus underwent the terrible agony of Gethsemane and the death on the cross of Calvary for unworthy sinners such as you and I!!
So once more we ask the question; --- Why did God write the Bible the way He did? --- Because it does just exactly what He wants it to!! --- And some of us who have the love of Christ in our hearts, His word in our hand, --- all pumped up and full of zeal. --- And we go out into this sin-sick world seeking the lost; --- but sometimes, if we're not careful, we tend to get a little bit choosy;--- We think we know who will make a good Christian and who won't; --- But what we need to keep foremost in our minds, is the fact that we may not have near as much to do with whether or not someone obeys the gospel as we might like to think we do!!
You and I really don't have all that much to do with it, if you stop and think about it; --- Because what salvation really amounts to, is getting the right message to the right mind; --- And if you can get the right message planted into the right heart; --- Then what will happen is, that you'll see a Christian as a result!! --- And furthermore there "ain't" no other way to make a Christian!! --- Paul says, in (1 Cor. 3:6-7), --- "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth."
Now, you might get somebody to follow you; --- Or you can get lots of people to be your friends; --- And you might per chance get someone who respects human wisdom, to respect some human wisdom you might have!! --- But dear soul, there's just one way to make a Christian, and that's to take the book which God designed to make Christians with and gently with great patience, plant that Divine seed into his heart!!
I believe this is what the apostle Paul had in mind, when he said in (1 Cor. 2:1-5); --- "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. --- I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, --- and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, --- (Why so?) --- so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." --- And that's one reason why God wrote the Bible the way He did; --- Because there were not many wise according to the flesh!! --- Paul also had this to say in (1 Cor. 1:26-27); --- "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,"
So those who remain wise, in their own estimation, ought to bow their
in utter shame!! --- And those who rely stubbornly
their own strength, emotions and will; --- Or on the strength, emotions
and will of other men; --- To them God's word
seem nothing more than mere garble!! --- To the natural (worldly) man,
the Bible can not be understood!! Again, we
what the word of God has to say about this in (1 Cor. 2:14-16); ---
a natural man does not accept the things
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; --- and he cannot
them, because they are
But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is
by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE
OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of
the Bible is the mind of Christ in human language, that we CAN
Those having their heart and soul set on the things of the Spirit and heaven WILL understand, believe and obey so as to be saved!! --- If NOT they will be eternally and hopelessly lost!!!
WHERE ARE YOU TODAY???
Prayerfully submitted in love and much concern;
NOTE: Please don't
from your files, as who knows that while you may not at this time be
by these scriptures,
perhaps in time you might want to refer back to this and
to know better the love of the Lord.
As usual, all
comments gratefully welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org