The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
January 10, 2010
1) Have You Not Read This Scripture? (Ken Green)
2) Misused Prophecy (O.C. Birdwell)
3) News & Notes
Have You Not Read This Scripture?
by Ken Green
Jesus repeatedly and continually directed people to the Scriptures.
There was never a question with Him as to the authoritative nature of
the word of God. He raised questions like, "What is written in the law?
How readest thou?"; or, "Have you never read in the law?" He made
statements like, "It is written... "; and, "Ye do err, not knowing the
Scriptures.... " His constant plea was that folks read, search,
examine, and believe the Scriptures.
In Mark 12:1-10, we have the parable of the wicked vinedressers. This
story is something of an allegory that parallels the history of the
nation of Israel. As the Lord reached His conclusion, He asked,
"Have you not read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders
rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's
doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
The ASV is more emphatic: "Have ye not read even this Scripture?"
Jesus seemed to be perplexed and appalled at the ignorance of God's
word that He confronted. If He walked the earth today, I'm sure He
would still be asking: "What is written...? Have you not read even this
I. The Place and Purpose of Baptism. Some
teach that baptism is completely non-essential. Others, that it is
important, but not necessary for salvation. Our concern is: What does
the word of truth say?
Sometimes we tend to deluge people with Scripture when we discuss such
matters. Perhaps we would do better if we focused on one statement and
asked, "Have you not read even this Scripture?" Let's take Mark 16:16.
If one will not accept this plain statement, it's doubtful that he
would accept a half-dozen others that might be cited.
Jesus said that "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." Two
prerequisites are here given for salvation. The statement is
grammatically parallel to: "He who enrolls and is taught shall be
educated"; or "He who fights and is whipped shall be humiliated"; or
"He who marries and is bossed shall be henpecked." Obviously in these
examples, both conditions are necessary for the conclusion to be valid.
One who enrolls in school is not educated unless he is also taught. But
many quibble that the Lord does not say in the second part of the
verse, "He who believes not and is not baptized shall be condemned." He
only said, "He who believes not shall be condemned." Therefore, we are
told, baptism is not necessary to salvation.
The Lord, however, was not speaking of salvation in the second clause.
If one desires to know what is needful for salvation, this is revealed
in the first clause. Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said.
Had He made both unbelief and neglect of baptism conditions of
condemnation, then one would not be condemned if he performed either of
them. What would happen then to one who had been baptized and did not
believe? He couldn't be saved and he couldn't be damned!
As I heard one preacher say, "You could be baptized till the bullfrogs
call you brother, it would accomplish nothing if you don't believe!"
Have you not read even this Scripture?
II. Jesus Christ -- Always the Same.
Those who believe in modern-day miracles often quote Heb. 13:8. "Jesus
Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." Their implication is
that if Jesus performed miracles on the earth in the past, He must
necessarily be doing the same today. Their assumption is that the verse
demands that He has not changed in any fashion.
It might do well to inquire, "Have you not read even this Scripture?":
Phil. 2:5-7. He was in the form of God, but was made in the
likeness of man. Obviously then, He did make a change. Heb. 13:8 does
not necessarily imply that Jesus has never changed in any sense. But He
has not changed in His divine character. Heb. 1:10-12 affirms the same
truth. "Have you not read even this Scripture?"
III. The Perfect Revelation.
Many today speak of "lost books of the Bible." Others promote and
defend "latter day revelations." According to these, the word of God
has not been perfectly revealed and preserved for all
We wonder if some "have not read even this Scripture": Matt. 24:35. The
Lord here promised that "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words
shall not pass away."
IV. Fun and Frolic at Church Expense.
When I was a boy and my parents obeyed the gospel I do not remember any
controversy over the mission of the church. In the 40's and early 50's,
brethren were pretty much in agreement that fun and frolic were not the
work of the church. The denominations were denounced for their
perverted view and unauthorized activities.
For several years now many churches of Christ have been employed in the
entertainment and recreation business. We wonder if some "have not read
even this Scripture": Romans 14:17. The apostle informs us that "...
the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace
and joy in the Holy Ghost."
V. Premillennial Theories. The
radio preachers continually speak of "the last days, the rapture, the
coming kingdom, the Jews being gathered to Jerusalem, and the thousand
year reign of Christ on earth.
I have often asked the question, "Have you not read even this
Scripture?: 2 Peter 3:8-13. According to this passage, the day of the
Lord will come as a thief in the night. When this day comes, it will
not be followed by a seven year tribulation, or a millennial reign, but
of the passing away of this world by fire.
VI. Apostasy Impossible? Can a
saved person lose his salvation? Many say "No!" Evidence to the
contrary is found on practically every page of our New
Testaments. But let us ask, "Have you not read even this
Scripture?": 2 Thess. 2:1.
According to this passage, "that day" (the return of Jesus) will not
come except there come a falling away first. If Christians cannot fall
away, this leaves one in the unenviable position of denying that the
Lord will ever return. We would be wise to follow our Lord's
example and asking, "Have you not read even this Scripture?"
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, March 1991, Vol. 32, No. 3
by O.C. Birdwell
Most false teachers misuse and abuse Bible prophecy. They often leave
the impression that they have some sort of gift from God which enables
them to look more deeply into Bible prophecy and give a proper
interpretation. Hence, many false religions are based upon a
misunderstanding and misuse of prophecy. Some, who may not hold that
the individual preacher has power to interpret prophecy, will affirm
that church councils or a church hierarchy has that special
Peter's Statement Abused
The apostle Peter said, "Knowing this first that no prophecy of
scripture is of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20,21). This
statement has been, by some, made to mean that no individual has the
right to read and interpret scripture, but the right rests with the
"Church," which is to these people the Roman Hierarchy. So in their
notes on the passage they say this means "no prophecy is the object of
private interpretation." But in this statement by Peter discussion is
not being made of the interpretation of, but rather the giving of
scripture. This is made crystal clear if one reads all the passage. He
goes on to say, "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men
spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." Peter's point is that
the men who recorded scripture did not write their interpretation of
scripture, but they, rather, spoke and wrote being moved by the Holy
Spirit. To take this passage and apply it to present day interpretation
of scripture rather than to the initial revealing of prophecy is to
abuse the passage.
Many things have been affirmed as being taught in the Bible that are
not within its pages. Galileo was compelled by the Inquisition to
renounce his opinions. From 1616 until 1829 his books were forbidden.
The position of Pope Paul V was that the earth, and not the sun, moves,
is "contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures."
Before the moon landing, some proclaimed that man cannot go to the moon
because the Bible so teaches. Man went to the moon, yet, there is no
reflection on the Bible because the position held is not in the
Another example of man's false interpretation of prophecy happened
during World War II. As most over forty can well remember, during this
time there was rationing of automobile tires. A Texas preacher held
that the tire rationing was a fulfillment of prophecy. He quoted Isaiah
3:18, in the King James Translation, where he read: "In that day the
Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their
feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon...."
This preacher, no doubt, made quite an impression on many. But he
misused prophecy. Isaiah was talking about what was to happen to
the people of Israel, and the "round tires" were the "crescents" worn
by the women around the head or neck. Ezekiel said, "and your tires
shall be upon your heads..." (24:23).
It was reported that a few years back one editor of a religious journal
published an article in which it was affirmed that prophecy showed that
the world would end during that year. In the same issue, however, there
was run by the editor a special five year subscription rate! This may
reveal at least two things about that editor. He, as usually is the
case, desperately needed subscribers, and he had very little faith in
his writer's prophecy interpretation ability.
The solution to this problem of false interpretation of prophecy is for
all to allow inspired New Testament writers to interpret inspired
prophecy. When they say "this is that which was spoken" we can rest
assured that such is the truth.
-- Via Truth Magazine, XX:14, p. 7-8, April 1, 1976
News & Notes
We rejoice in Ed St. Clair's baptism into Christ last Sunday
afternoon for the remission of sins. Let those of us who are
saints pray that God will help Ed in his development as a
I learned just a little while ago that Lee Mayfield (of the Southside
church of Christ in Gonzales) underwent quadruple by-pass surgery today
for her heart, along with a valve replacement, at the Ochsner Medical
Center in Kenner, LA. Let us also be praying for her speedy and
Let us also continue to remember Eloise Craver in our prayers, as she
is still undergoing therapy, due to her hip surgery.
Please also be saying a prayer for my mother who is dealing with
untreatable cancer of the lungs and abdomin. She is still without
the need of pain medication, in good spirits, and has been under
hospice care in a nursing home for a couple months.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12. At the end of
the exit ramp, turn north. Go about a stone's throw to Rushing
Road. (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas
stations; with each on each corner.) Turn left on Rushing Road,
and go less then 0.3 of a mile. Hampton Inn will be on the
right. We assemble in its meeting room, which is very close to
the reception counter.