“When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass” (Luke 12:54-55).
Signs play an important role in our lives and have a story to tell. I remember a time, before the Interstate Highway System, when rhyming Burma Shave signs like, “Don’t stick your arm out too far, it might go home in another car,” once caught our attention and relieved our travel boredom. In more recent times I have noticed signs that have caused me to wonder in confusion. Signs like the one that says, “Ears pierced while you wait!” Is there an alternative? Perhaps the intended customers can remove their ears and go on about their shopping?
Another sign, about which I wonder, is the one often placed in the yard or car window that reads, “For sale by owner.” Who else would sell it? You would hardly expect the neighbor or a stranger to place your property up for sale!
But then, there are signs about which the intent and message is clear. One such sign often seen is, “We Preach the Book, the Blood and the Blessed Hope.” This sign is a concise doctrinal statement. You would not expect a person who does not trust Christ for salvation or a liberal, modernistic church to post this sign. You need not wonder about the core beliefs of those who display this sign or be reluctant about having fellowship with them. Whatever else they may believe, we know they endorse the core beliefs of a Christian.
We Preach the Book
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13).
The book to which we refer, of course, is the Bible. The Bible is the verbally-inspired Word of God. By that I mean, the Bible means exactly what it says and says exactly what it means! This book is not a collection of human wisdom or worldly philosophy. It is a God breathed/inspired book; thus, it is “alive and powerful” (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).
The Bible is the sharp “two-edged sword,” which was designed by God to pierce, “even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.” In other words, it is capable of peeling back the bark of a man’s life and revealing the worms. It penetrates deep, down into a man’s life and shows him up for what he really is and what he needs.
The Bible is the great discerner of the “thoughts and intents” of man’s heart. When all is said and done and we think that we can hide from, out-smart or fool God, the Bible is the final judge. Knowing that “there is a way which seems right unto a man” (Prov. 14:12), we are all tempted to appeal to “I think this” or “I think that.” Or, sometimes we justify our thoughts, decisions and actions by making comparisons with what Professor So-N-So or what Doctor What’s-His-Name has taught. No! The final criteria by which we will be judged is; “What does the Bible say?”
The path to Heaven is revealed by the Word of God (Ps. 119:130) and guided step by step by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-16). Thus, we are dependant upon this Divine Provision to convict, convert (Acts 26:27-29; Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Ps. 19:7), cleanse and sanctify the sinner (Eph 5:26-27; 2 Thess. 2:13; Jn. 15:3; 17:17).
God’s Word was given that it might be inculcated into our lives and bring about change and happiness. God wants the Bible to be used (Deut. 6:1-25 with Rom. 15:4). Furthermore, we dare not handle the Word of God carelessly (2 Tim 2:15; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2). This was the sad failure of the nation of Israel who was destroyed for lack of knowing and applying the Word of God to their lives (Hos. 4:6). This is so lamentable and foolish. It is like the homeowner, when called upon to defend his family when the thief brakes into his home – he pulls out a revolver and begins to explain to the burglar the make, model, construction and the excellent accuracy of the firearm. No! That’s foolish! He needs to pull the trigger and eliminate the threat to his family’s safety! The believer, likewise, is to use the Bible for something other than a conversation piece on the coffee table or to provide a religious feeling, when carried under the arm on the way to church. The Bible is more than our necessary food (Job 23:12; Mt. 4:4).
Yes, I believe in The Book! “
This Book” contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, Heaven opened, and the gates of Hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.
It is given you in life, will be opened in judgment, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibilities, will reward the greatest labor and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents” (Author Unknown).
We Preach the Blood
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
The most important and comfortable place, in the entire universe, is to be “in Christ” and “made nigh” to God! The blood of Christ accomplishes this! The songwriter has captured the essence of this truth when he penned with joy, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
The place and roll of blood in the drama of redemption is preeminent in Bible theology. So much so that we are told that “without shedding of blood” (Heb. 9:22) sinners cannot find forgiveness or pardon.
Beginning with our first parents, Adam and Eve, we learn they could not find a covering for their sin apart from being clothed with the skins of animals (Gen. 3:21). This wonder-working power of the blood continues to be progressively revealed throughout the Old Testament as the essential covering for sinners. So precious was this bloody sacrifice that those who despised it and insulted the grace with which it was provided, “died without mercy” at the mouth of two or three witnesses (Heb. 10:28-29).
Thankfully, in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4) Jesus came to “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26; Eph. 5:2; Tit. 2:14). John the Baptist recognized the meaning of the Old Testament teaching concerning the blood. And so, with the introduction of Christ into His public ministry, announced, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Thus, God’s holiness was preserved and provision for man’s salvation was secured. Sin’s wages were satisfied. The blood of Christ was shed. The Sinner’s Substitute died and was raised again “for our justification” (Rom. 4:25)!
The blood of Christ is the “propitiation” or fully-satisfying sacrifice for our sin (Rom. 3: 25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10). When the Publican prayed saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13), the word he used of merciful (hilasterion – Greek) is the same word translated “propitiation” or “Mercy Seat.” His appeal for forgiveness took his thoughts back to the time when the “blood of bulls and goats” was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies upon the Mercy Seat (Lev. 16:14-16). Today, in this Dispensation of Grace, Jesus Christ is our Mercy Seat. He is our propitiation – fully-satisfying sacrifice. He is the sinner’s means and place of mercy.
Yes, I believe in the Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn. 1:7)! Don’t trust a preacher or teacher that doesn’t make much of the blood of Christ! Don’t set under his ministry!
We Preach the Blessed Hope
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
There are many precious promises in the Bible, but none more precious or made more particularly and exclusively than the return of Christ to gather members of the Church to Himself at the end of the Dispensation of Grace. Concerning this return, the Apostle Paul said, “Behold, I show you a mystery” (1 Cor. 15:51). The fact that Christ would return for those believers identified as the “Body of Christ” was a mystery – a secret return that was hidden from the Old Testament Saints. Furthermore, it was a surprise that some will not die/“sleep” and that “all” (dead and living) will be “changed” by receiving an incorruptible, immortal resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:51-53; Phil. 3:20-21).
Our text calls this coming of Christ the “Blessed Hope.” This is hope assured! Not hope as the world understand it, but rather a confident assurance of future good. This is great and good news for those who have been called upon to endure the trial of faith (1 Thess 3:3-5). We are warned to “put on the whole armor of God” (Eph. 6: 11) during these “perilous times”(2 Tim. 3:1). We all are, like Paul, the Apostle subject to adversity (2 Cor. 11:24-29) since we, too, “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). All members of His Body are in the midst of an invisible and spiritual war that will not end until Jesus comes at His glorious appearing in the air (2 Thess. 4:13-17)! We are told to “comfort one another” with this good news! Yes, I believe in the Blessed Hope!
There are signs and wonders all along the road and the market place. Some signs we wonder about because they do not make much sense. Others because of where they are placed. Some have given us pause to smile and others cause us to think. The sign: “We preach The Book, The Blood and the Blessed Hope!” This is a clear statement of basic Bible belief. I say, Hooray! Praise God! That’s what I believe. I hope you believe it, too.