TWO PREACHERS SPENT A DAY TOGETHER
Two preachers with two different beliefs spent a Monday together. They met for breakfast. One ordered his meal, and the other had the same. They paid the same amount with no questions asked. After their meal, they went to a bank to deposit their checks. Each signed his own check, dated the deposit slip, and put the amount of his check thereon. The teller verified the amounts of each one, checked the signatures, and deposited the amount into the account of the signee. A man with a check to deposit was next. He felt the men were honest and sincere, so he asked if one or both would sign his check on the back. They thanked him for his opinion of and confidence in them, but told him that such was illegal. The teller confirmed their words, stating that names are important.
One preacher remembered that he had Christian Dior suits in the local cleaners, one blue and one brown. They stopped to pick them up. The cashier asked for his name and ticket, and upon receiving both, went to get the suits, returning with Christian Dior suits, one blue, one brown. She told him the amount he owed. He paid her that exact amount without questioning her.
The other preacher remembered that his wife had asked him to get a loaf of raisin bread, a gallon of 2% sweet (white) milk, and a dozen medium eggs on the way home. The cashier rung the items up, and told him the amount he owed, which he paid without question.
Seeing that it was nearly time for school to be out, the two preachers decided to call it a day. The driver carried the other man back to the restaurant to get his car. They exchanged pleasantries and each one left in his own car. One preacher went to school to pick up his two children, Billy and Sue. He met and walked both to his car. The three entered his car, closed the doors, and left. The second preacher located his children, Carl and Rose, escorted them to his car, secured them, and drove home.
Perhaps, dear reader, you think this is a strange story. However, read on. All understood exactly alike when it came to the amount they owed for breakfast. Neither one accused the other of interpreting the matter contrary to his understanding. Neither one challenged the other, stating that he did not see it the same way. Both preachers and the teller at the bank were in harmony with the transactions which took place. No one argued over the amount of deposit. All three persons at the bank agreed that it mattered whose name was on a check, and so did the fourth person when it was explained correctly to him.
The employee at the cleaners brought the preacher the Christian Dior suits he had left there, those on the proper ticket, a blue one and a brown one. She did not bring him some other person’s suit. Neither did she bring him Stafford suits. She did not bring him a grey one and a black one. She knew brand, owner and colors matter. She brought him what the ticket identified. Her reasoning was not, “It doesn’t make any difference which suits I give him, how many, whether one, two, or more.” She gave the proper suits to the right preacher. She did not think one color was as good as another. The cost for cleaning the suits was consistent with the price the owner had set. All agreed.
What do we further learn from this story? The preacher who went to the store to buy the three items his wife stated bought a loaf of raisin bread, a gallon of 2% sweet (white) milk, and a dozen medium eggs. He did not say, “She did not tell me not to get tea, cookies and candy, so I will get that.” Neither did he get what she asked him to get, and rationalize that since she did not name all else he was not to get, that he would be at liberty to get anything else he desired.
At school each preacher went to the right school to get his children, whether Billy and Sue or Carl and Rose. Neither one got the other’s children. Each preacher got both of his children, Billy AND Sue or Carl AND Rose, not ignoring either of them. It was important for each preacher to go to the school with the right name to get his children, with the right names.
“BUT! What does all of this have to do with the scriptures?” EVERYTHING! Most, if not all, would agree with all said to this point. However, the word of God is often ignored when it comes to spiritual matters. People reason differently.
Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:20-23), and Paul, inspired of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20, 21), pled for all to “speak the same thing.” (1 Corinthians 1:10). No one has the right to change the word of God. (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18, 19). Yet many do! For example, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:29), has been changed to a godlike one, an active force, or a mighty wind. Others changed “not by faith only” (James 2:14-26), to “by faith only.” The list goes on and on and on.
God’s people would be “called by a new name.” (Isaiah 62:1, 2), which happened. (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). One reads of “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), because the Christ would build His church (Matthew 16:13-19), and He is the husband of it. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33). We wear His name, not the name of some man or doctrine.
What we believe is important! “A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7). They left Judaism and the law of Moses to espouse “the doctrine of Christ.” (2 John 9-11; Colossians 2:14-16; 2 Corinthians 3). The Galatians had to return to the gospel they had forsaken (Galatians 1:6-9). Cf. Revelation 2:1-7. It does matter what we believe.
When God tells one what to do, He does not have to make a list of what not to do. Noah built the ark as God commanded. (Genesis 6:22). He neither added to nor subtracted from God’s instructions. Impulse buying in a store may be OK, but changing God’s law is not acceptable. Cf. Matthew 15:7-9.
When God uses a copulative, coupling, coordinating conjunction to join two things, no one has a right to separate them, excluding one. YET, some do this very thing. Consider five examples: (1) Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….” Some remove baptism. WHY? (2) Acts 2:38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins….” WHY remove baptism? Repentance and baptism are for the same purpose. Compare Matthew 26:28 with Acts 2:38. (3) Romans 10:9, 10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved….” Faith and confession cannot be separated Biblically. (Acts 8:37). (4) Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Hearing God and faith are inseparable. (5) 1 Peter 3:20, 21, “Eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us….” In spite of these words, most people tell the lost that baptism has never saved anyone, that they are to pray their way through, have faith only, and such like.
Lastly, God desires faithfulness (Mark 13:13; Revelation 2:10), calling on the saved to put off the old man, putting on the new man (Ephesians 4:22ff; Colossians 3:1ff; Titus 2:11ff; Galatians 5:19-26; etc.). All who do so will live, while the disobedient will be lost (Matthew 25), even unfaithful Christians. (Hebrews 12:15; Acts 1:25).
One preacher believes these things; the other preacher does not. Why??? What about you, dear student of the word? Why do people agree on material matters, but not on spiritual things? Jesus asked, “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8). Read John 5:39; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 4:11.