30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
October 24, 1999
Speaker: Richie Thetford
Good morning and once again we welcome you to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" We appreciate you turning your radios to WAVG 1450 AM this morning and giving us the privilege of coming into your home as we further study the word of God. The time we spend in the study of God's Word will prove to be very valuable as we search and find those things that our heavenly Father wants us to do in order to gain an eternal salvation. Your religion and my religion will mean absolutely nothing unless we truly desire to be pleasing to God, doing His will, not the will of man. Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-9: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." If that was true of the teachers then, it certainly is true of teachers today. The apostles in Acts 5:29 told those that had thrown them in prison and then asked them to no longer teach Christ "We ought to obey God rather than man." Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" I hope that all of you in the listening audience this morning can see that unless we believe in Christ and do His will, then our religion is worthless. Yet that are many, far too many, that continue through life, thinking that they will go to heaven, while practicing the doctrines of men. Friends, the Bible, over and over again tells us this will not be the case. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians he said: "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." (2 Thes 1:8-9). So the point is this: we must we ready and willing to open our Bible and earnestly search for those things to put into practice in our life that are pleasing to God and God only. I also urge you this morning to test the things that I say on this program. Open up your Bible and do as the Bereans did back in the first century. It was said of them that they were "more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."(Acts 17:11). Won't you also do that this morning as we study the Word of God together?
A few weeks ago, I came across an article that I would like to read to you, with some appropriate comments. The article is over the name of Foster L. Ramsey and is titled TELL ME WHY. Here is the article, in full:
"If a lawyer finds a flaw in a title to property, and does not warn about it, he has not done his duty. If a sanitary engineer discovers conditions dangerous to health, and fails to report them, he has failed his job. If a doctor learns of a dangerous condition in our bodies, and does not properly diagnose it, we lose our trust in him. If a bank examiner finds discrepancies in the accounts of the bank, and does not report them, he loses his position."
"But if the preacher sees a flaw in our title to a home in heaven, and warns about it; if he discovers conditions dangerous to our spiritual welfare, and reports it; if he finds a diseased condition in our spiritual body, and tells of his diagnosis; if he finds a discrepancy in our spiritual account and reports it, many think he is just meddling and trying to find fault."
There you have the article, neighbors. I am impressed with the plain common sense in this article. Had you ever thought along that line before? You know, I don't believe there is a responsible person on this earth but who will agree with the four premises of this piece. Of course, a lawyer would not be doing his duty, if he found a flaw in a title to property and did not report or warn about it. And the sanitary engineer most certainly would fail in his duty, if he didn't report on conditions dangerous to health. The doctor who would hold back his analysis or diagnosis of a case when there was a dangerous condition in our body, would certainly not be deserving of our trust. And we are all agreed that the bank examiner should deserve to lose his job, if he failed to report the discrepancies in the accounts. Now, since we agree that the lawyer should report the flaws in the titles, and since we agree that the sanitary engineer should call attention to conditions dangerous to health, and since we agree that the doctor should properly diagnose the condition of our physical body and warn of dangers, and since we are agreed that the bank examiner should report all discrepancies, why can't we agree that the preacher should warn of the flaws in our title to a home in heaven?
Why can't we agree that the preacher is doing his duty when he discovers conditions dangerous to our spiritual welfare? Why can't we agree that the preacher is our friend when he properly diagnoses the condition of our spiritual body? Why can't we agree that the preacher is doing his duty when he reports on discrepancies in our spiritual accounts? You know, friends, I believe this man Ramsey has given us a diagnosis of our case in this article. I believe he has touched on the thing that ails us. If we will honestly and sincerely consider the lesson of the hour it will help us to make our calling and election sure. The apostle Peter wrote: "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble" (2 Pet 1:10). Will you put aside your prejudice and any preconceived ideas you may have and just reason with me for these few minutes on this subject?
Let's suppose that I buy a house and lot up here on Blackiston Mill Road. I pay half of the money down and the remainder in installments. Thus the deal is consummated and the title drawn. And everything is duly recorded in the books at the court house. A lawyer is selected and he goes down to have a look at my title, my deed. He examines the document carefully and lo and behold, my name, the name Richie Thetford, cannot be found on the deed. The deed says nothing about Richie Thetford. Now the lawyer is honor bound and duty bound to report to me on this matter. Suppose he said, Oh well, the name isn't important anyway. It doesn't matter about the name"? Why friends, you know he should report that fact to me and give me an opportunity to take the steps necessary to have my name placed on that document. Everyone agrees that he would not be doing his duty unless he reported.
But if we have a deed to heaven or if we have a title to eternal life, if we have any claim at all to an eternal existence with God, that deed, that title, that claim must of necessity be the New Testament. But I have examined that deed carefully. I have looked over that title. And upon my honor, I tell certain people that their name-isn't on the deed. I examine the New Testament carefully to see if my Methodist friends have a claim to eternal life.
And behold I cannot find the name "Methodist" in the Bible. Indeed there is no promise of any kind in God's word to a Methodist. the same is true of the Baptists and the Presbyterians, and all the other man-started churches. I wouldn't become offended at the lawyer. Rather I would appreciate his disclosure that my name wasn't on the deed. I would take steps to see that it was placed in the record. Even so, my friends should appreciate my calling their attention to the fact that their name isn't on the deed. They have a chance to see to it that they walk according to the New Testament so they will have their names recorded. The lawyer wouldn't be my enemy. On the contrary, he would be my friend. The only way on earth he could become my enemy in the matter would be for him to fail to report that my name did not appear on the deed. I should be an enemy of my religious neighbors if I failed to report to them that their religious name was not to be found in the Bible.
But again, the lawyer discovers that the deed describes a property located on Beechlawn and nothing is said about Blackiston Mill Road at all. He reports to me that the "location" of the property is wrong. Now I don't count the lawyer my enemy. Rather I count him my friend. He not only does me a favor by showing that my claim to property shows one location and the property is actually at another, but he gives me an opportunity to do something about it. Of course I would get busy and see that the location was corrected.
But I examine the New Testament carefully and I find that salvation is in Christ. I cite 2 Cor. 5:17 to show that one is a new creature in Christ. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." I then point to Galatians 3:26-27 as proof that one must be in Christ to be a child of God. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." I then show by Col. 1:14 that redemption and forgiveness of sins are in Christ. "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Then I warn my religious neighbors that according to their belief and practice all of these blessings may be had OUT OF CHRIST. I simply show them that they lay claim to redemption "out of Christ" whereas the deed says that redemption is IN CHRIST.
But then one says, "We don't believe that we may have these blessings out of Christ." But, yes you do, my friends. The consequences of your doctrine make it certain that you believe you can have these blessings out of Christ. That's not a wild assertion. Here is proof that you believe you are redeemed out of Christ. Here is proof that you believe you may have the forgiveness of sins out of Christ. Most believe, and you may also believe that you can be redeemed without baptism. You may believe that you can have the forgiveness of sins without baptism, do you believe this? But Paul said, in Gal. 3:27, that people were BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST. Now if you were baptized into Christ but saved before you were baptized, then you had to be saved OUT OF CHRIST. Again, Paul said, in Rom. 6:3, that we are baptized INTO JESUS CHRIST.
But you thought you were redeemed before you were baptized, therefore you had to think you were redeemed out of Christ. There is no question about it, good friend. Your claim to salvation is OUT of Christ whereas the deed says it is in Christ. The question now is: Do you know of any way to get into Christ without being baptized into him? You do not because the New Testament says we are baptized into him in various places, but it doesn't say we get into Christ any other way.
But again, the lawyer finds that I haven't complied with all the terms of the -contract. He warns me that unless I see to it that all the terms are met I can have no just claim to the property. For instance, suppose it specified in the agreement that I was to pay off the delinquent taxes against that place. And suppose I failed to comply with that part of the agreement. The books would not be cleared and, while I had the promise of the property, it was conditional and I would lose it unless I came up to the agreement in all of its details. Suppose I argued thus with my lawyer, "Now you know, I think that part of the agreement about me paying the back tax is non-essential. I don't believe it is necessary to comply with that. Because over here in another place in the deed it says I can have the place the agreed upon amount, and over here it doesn't say anything about the tax." Why, don't you know that my lawyer would put me straight about that matter? Don't you know he would tell me that it was true that in one place it said I could have the property for the agreed upon price and that in that particular place it said nothing about the back tax.
But that in another place it DID say something about the tax and that it would be foolish to think I could ignore that other part and still possess that property. Sure the lawyer would help me to understand that matter. Would he thus become my enemy? Why no, he would be my friend, helping me to secure my property. Well will I be considered your enemy because I tell you that the deed or title (the New Testament) says you are baptized into Christ? Does it constitute me your enemy to show you that baptism is for the remission of sins? Are you offended when I read to you that baptism is to wash away sins? Am I out of line of duty when I tell you that Jesus said"he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"? Why friends you really should appreciate my truthfulness in this matter. I am doing this for your good. I want you to check on this matter. I want you to be right in religious affairs. I want you to read for yourself. This is a serious matter. The salvation of souls is at stake, Your very soul is at stake in this matter. But you may say, the Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Yes, and that compares with "whosoever pays the agreed upon price shall have the property on Blackiston Mill Road."
But elsewhere in the bible there is the command to be baptized. That is a part of the agreement. Just as paying the back taxes is a part of the agreement. Both must be complied with or the whole agreement is nullified. We know this in matters regarding real estate. Heaven help us to use the same good judgment in our religious affairs. You have nothing to lose by considering these things. If somebody tells you your name is not on your deed, even if you think it is, you certainly have nothing to lose by checking on it. If somebody tells you that according to your deed your property is on one street when it actually is on another, nothing will be lost by looking into the matter. If you are informed that you have not met all the conditions of your agreement regarding your property you will lose nothing by checking to find out.
Even so, when I tell you that your religious name is not in the Bible, you should lose nothing by checking to find out. Surely you had rather wear a scriptural name than a name that is not scriptural.
Now friends the same thing could be said of the sanitary engineer or the doctor or the bank examiner who finding flaws in things vital to us should report them so we could have an opportunity to make things right. Why is it that it is so right for these men to report thus but so wrong for a preacher to make the same kind of report? Remember, the lawyer wouldn't try to force me to make any changes. He would point out the flaws and leave the corrections to me. Neither would these other men try to force the changes on the people. They would have a right to expect a courteous acknowledgment of the fact that things are wrong and the people would be on their own as to what they should do about it.
Even so, I don't try to force you to make any changes religiously. There is no inclination to become your enemy if you don't make any corrections. But I always ask you to read these things in your own Bible. I want you to know that you are doing the right thing before you make a move. That leads to another point in the matter. When someone really cares about your well-being and can see that you are going in the wrong direction, wouldn't you count them a friend if they came to you and lovingly informed you of the direction you are heading and offered to help straighten you out? Any friend that is worth their grain of salt would care enough for you to help you find the right way, to do that which is right simply because they love you and are looking out for your best interests. The Bible says: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil 2:3).
Friends, that is exactly what I am trying to do for you. If I did not genuinely care about your soul, the direction that you are heading religiously, then why would I take the time on this program to urge you to search the scriptures to find out what you are doing in matters of religion is right? There have been thousands of people that have heard the truth of the gospel and for whatever reason have decided not to obey it. Family traditions, and self-desire will keep many people out of heaven. Before one can ever be a success in the eyes of God, one must first be determined to let God lead them. Jeremiah wrote: "I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jer 10:23). Won't you let God direct your steps and know that the preaching of the gospel on this radio program is to benefit you in learning and knowing what you need to do in order to have eternal life with God our Father! Again, thank you for listening this morning.
This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"