Brethren Dwelling In Unity

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  Psalm 133:1-3  (KJB)

Brethren in Unity

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 (KJV)

Let me let a master of teaching and preaching speak today:

“Behold.” It is a wonder seldom seen, therefore behold it! It may be seen, for it is the characteristic of real saints, – therefore fail not to inspect it! It is well worthy of admiration; pause and gaze upon it! It will charm you into imitation, therefore note it well! God looks on with approval, therefore consider it with attention. “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” No one can tell the exceeding excellence of such a condition; and so the Psalmist uses the word “how” twice; – Behold how good! and how pleasant! He does not attempt to measure either the good or the pleasure, but invites us to behold for ourselves. The combination of the two adjectives “good” and “pleasant,” is more remarkable than the conjunction of two stars of the first magnitude: for a thing to be “good” is good, but for it also to be pleasant is better. All men love pleasant things, and yet it frequently happens that the pleasure is evil; but here the condition is as good as it is pleasant, as pleasant as it is good, for the same “how” is set before each qualifying word.
For brethren according to the flesh to dwell together is not always wise; for experience teaches that they are better a little apart, and it is shameful for them to dwell together in disunion. They had much better part in peace like Abraham and Lot, than dwell together in envy like Joseph’s brothers. When brethren can and do dwell together in unity, then is their communion worthy to be gazed upon and sung of in holy psalmody. Such sights ought often to be seen among those who are near of kin, for they are brethren, and therefore should be united in heart and aim; they dwell together, and it is for their mutual comfort that there should be no strife; and yet how many families are rent by fierce feuds, and exhibit a spectacle which is neither good nor pleasant!
As to brethren inspirit, they ought to dwell together in church fellowship, and in that fellowship one essential matter is unity. We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit – these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ. The closer the unity the better; for the more of the good and the pleasant there will be. Since we are imperfect beings, somewhat of the evil and the unpleasant is sure to intrude; but this will readily be neutralized and easily ejected by the true love of the saints, if it really exists. Christian unity is good in itself, good for ourselves, good for the brethren, good for our converts, good for the outside world; and for certain it is pleasant: for a loving heart must have pleasure and give pleasure in associating with others of like nature. A church united for years in earnest service of the Lord is a well of goodness and joy to all those who dwell round about it.
From THE TREASURY OF DAVID e-Sword edition

True unity of the brethren is found through the Lord Jesus Christ.  The brethren of Christ Jesus love Him, and love one another.

Evil; After the Flood

We live “After the flood”.  Was that news to you? 🙂   We all know that.  The flood did not eradicate evil; is what I am saying.  It did however stop the progressive flow of evil that was going on and continuing in the days before.  God would continue to have a people, a nation and a Deliverer and Saviour for His people and the world.

As we look at Scripture from my reading for today I read;

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, ‘Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, ‘Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9 (KJV)

In this passage of Scripture, and several years following the flood we see the people gathered together in one place; contrary to God’s command of “Multiplying and filling the earth”.  This in effect was a rebellious act against the Creator; and if the people were not going to cover the earth, then God would do it by confusing their languages.

There is only one way for the people of earth to be one in God, Peace and Unity; and that is through Jesus Christ. It is not through building monuments of human effort such as statues, churches, mosque, temples, or skyscrapers, etc.  Nor, is religion equal to the task.  It is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that will bring us together, keep us together for eternity.

Pray for peace.  Yes!  First pray for what God has given us guidance and command to pray for; and that is “the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

-Tim A. Blankenship

False Doctrine

“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:33 (KJV).

We come now to the matter of the “Leaven”. I see what others say when they see it as a symbol of good within the church, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of Scripture. Leaven, in every case in Scripture, Old and New Testaments, is seen as a symbol of evil. There is not one instance where it is seen as a symbol of a good growth of puffiness. In Exodus 12:15-19 the children of Israel in preparing to leave Egypt baked bread without leaven, they needed to be more concerned with the urgency of leaving rather than waiting on the dough to rise. Leaven puffs up. Some have taken Leviticus 23:17, and taught that this is a picture of the leaven being good. If we would understand the significance of this offering we would see this bread represents the one offering it, a redeemed individual, who being redeemed is still touched by sin and still dealing with sin, yet received by God. The leaven in verse 33 represents false doctrine.

Let’s back up for a moment and look at the beginning of this verse. Jesus is still dealing with the kingdom of heaven, and notice the “woman”. The woman represents false religion; she could even be represented by Jezebel who was the wife and queen of Ahab. A woman is seen as false religion in the Revelation, as the woman riding the beast (Revelation 17:3-6). The doctrine and teaching of Jezebel is seen in Jesus’s letter to the church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:20-23). I do not know the specific reason a woman is used to represent false doctrine, and deception. It just seems to go back to Jezebel who was a very wicked, godless, self-aggrandizing woman. The woman in this parable is guilty of secretly placing leaven in “three measures of meal”, and leaven once it gets into bread dough it permeates the whole batch of dough.

Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Jesus was referring to their legalism and false doctrine that had bound them in their sins and iniquities. Paul the apostle warns of the dangers of letting iniquity/sin stay and permeate a congregation in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”. Since Paul says “Ye are unleavened”, then it must be that the “New lump” he is referring to is a lump of bread dough without leaven.

The modern day religion called Christianity is overwhelmed with a numerical growth. This growth is often done by entertainment, showmanship, salesmanship, and a “fire under the altar” (Read 1 Kings 18).  False doctrine is often associated with much of the aforementioned.  I know that there will be some who read this or hear this that are going to think or say, “Tim doesn’t believe in growing a church.” That is not what I am saying. I want to let God build His Church. Let us who are His children, the children of His kingdom planted in this world, proclaim the gospel as we have been commissioned, as we have been called, but let’s leave the saving to His hands, and the power of His spirit.

Christianity is also getting deeper and deeper into heretical teachings. When we have a document signed by good and godly men calling for the gathering of Evangelicals and Catholics for unity, and the Catholic church has announced anathema upon the gospel of Jesus Christ – saved by grace alone, through faith alone – then how could we ever join hands with someone who hates the pure gospel of Christ? There are those in Evangelical circles, also, who teach a wimpy Jesus dying on the cross, defeated by the devil on the cross, and that is not belief in the cross of Jesus; when the truth of the matter is that Jesus won the battle for sin, death, and hell, and put the devil in his place by His death on the cross. The devil never touched Jesus in His death. He was smitten by God, His own Father (Isaiah 53:4). He paid the sin debt which was owed to His Father by you and me.

It is leaven that puffs up. Read 1 Corinthians 4:18-19; 5:2, 6-8; 8:1. Puffing up is usually evidence of pride. There can be no pride in the true Church of our God. We humbly bow before Him in worship. We have nothing to boast of except that our salvation is the work of God. We boast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan, hates the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and fears her when she is on her knees, in humility before her Lord. He is, however, still at work sending in the tares amongst the wheat, planted in this world, trying to gain a foothold, and strangle the witness, testimony, and power of the Christian. Sure there is growth in many churches across our land, ie., the USA; but do we care so much about numbers in our churches that we would forsake the truth, holy living, and our fellowship with the Lord Himself, just to receive recognition from others? Are we willing to forsake the essential doctrines of the faith to draw a crowd? We better deal with those who are teaching wrong, and deal with them quickly. If we don’t we lead ourselves to destruction.

Jesus desires that all the lost be saved, and His Church to grow, but only as it rest in Him. She [the Church] cannot have genuine, solid spiritual growth except through the Lord Jesus. Satan is at work to infiltrate, ensnare, and bring the works of Christ to nothing.

The kingdom of heaven grows in every individual who knows, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, numerically, it can grow in pretense and hypocrisy. False growth is hypocritical and deceiving – to self, and others. It may have the appearance of God’s blessing, but actually be far from God’s blessing, causing the lost, condemned world to have no recourse from hell.

False doctrine destroys unity, while those who teach false doctrine talk of uniformity – you give up the truth and we will have unity – and accuse those who stand for truth as the ones who cause disunity. There can be no unity, except it be by the Biblical doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the doctrines of Christ Himself. False doctrine “puffs up”. It gives the appearance of something which is not there. It is deceptive and always detracts from Jesus and the truth.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Posterity of Shem

The Posterity of Shem

From verses 15-32 we are given the genealogy of Ham, the one who brought the curse on his son Canaan. We have seen a bit of the lineage of Japheth, and of Ham. We will not see their genealogies any more in Scripture. The genealogy of Shem is what becomes important for the bringing of Messiah into the world for the putting away of sin.

There is a man in the lineage of Shem whom I want to point out. This character may seem to be insignificant, but we are told something concerning his name that should cause us to wonder. Wonder about this child named after an event of catastrophic proportions. He is “Peleg”, “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” Genesis 10:25 (KJV). There was an earthquake which had taken place which must have shook the very foundations of the earth.

The earthquake must have been a new event, and that would tell us a few things. First, it would tell us that God had originally created a perfect creation, but now it is defective and marred due to the sin of mankind. Secondly, it could also tell us that this was how God divided the peoples of the earth from one another following the confusion of the languages as mentioned in chapter 11. Could the earth have shaken so violently that the earth became the continents that we have today? Some say no. Who is to say for sure? If God could cause the earth to stand still for a whole day (Joshua 10:12-13); and if He could cause it to go backwards in a sundial 10 degrees [that is not in temperature] (Isaiah 38:7-8), then why could He not cause an earthquake and divide the earth? I say He could, and may have just done so.

The lineage of Shem is important for us to know, because it is through Shem that we have received our Lord and Savior as a man, and more importantly as the God-Man. The lineage of Shem is seen throughout the Old Testament, and then again in the New Testament in the genealogies the gospel writers, Matthew and Luke, have written down to provide evidence to us of the royalty, deity, and humanity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.