August 5 , 2022
You ’ ll Meet an Old Man One Day
You ’ re going to meet an old man someday ! Down the road ahead — ten , twenty , thirty years — he ’ s waiting there for you . You ’ ll be catching up with him .
What kind of old man are you going to meet ? That ’ s a rather signi - ficant query .
He may be a seasoned , soft , gracious fellow — a gentleman that has grown old gracefully , surrounded by hosts of friends , friends who call him blessed because of what his life has meant to them .
He may be a bitter , disillusioned , dried-up , cynical old buzzard without a good word for anybody , soured , friendless and alone .
The kind of old man you will meet depends entirely on yourself — be - cause that old man will be you . He ’ ll be the composite of everything you do , say , think — today , tomorrow . His mind will be set in a mold you have made by your attitudes . His heart will be turning out what you ’ ve been putting in .
Every little thought , every deed go into this old man . He ’ ll be exactly what you make him — nothing more , nothing less . It ’ s up to you . You ’ ll have no one else to credit or blame .
Every day in every way you are becoming more and more like your - self . Amazing , but true ! You ’ re getting to look more like yourself , think more like yourself , talk more like yourself . You ’ re becoming yourself more and more .
Live only in terms of what you ’ re getting out of life and the old man gets smaller , drier , harder , crabbier , more self-centered .
Open your life to others , think in
Editor ’ s Notes
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take hold , take charge and move things forward .
From Labor Day to Christmas we have fifteen weeks ( if Jesus tarries ) of prime time . Set reasonable goals and go after them .
No apologies ! Just do it ! No excuses ! Just do it !
No hedging or holding back ! Just do it ! Amen !
Take hold , take charge and take it to the next level !
Voter Registration Drives
As the midterm elections draw near , it is a good time for your church to have a voter registration drive . That ’ s right ! Your church !
Christians have a voice and they should use it . If they don ’ t use their voice in voting , they may lose their voice in everything .
Voter registration is a nonpartisan event . Churches all across the nation have done it for years and now more than ever before we should be proactive in getting our people prepared to vote .
Here in Tennessee , you have until October 9 to get registered in time to vote in the very important November 8 midterm election . The deadline may not be exactly the same in your state , but it will be close to that .
When You Lean Wrong , You Fall Wrong
We sing “ Leaning on the Ever - lasting Arms ” ( Elisha Hoffman ) and terms of what you can give , your contribution to life and the old man grows larger , softer , kindlier , greater .
A point to remember is that these things don ’ t always tell immediately . But they ’ ll show up sooner than you think . These little things , so unimportant now — attitudes , goals , ambitions , desires — they ’ re adding up inside where you can ’ t see them , crystallizing in your heart and mind . Someday they ’ ll harden into that old man — nothing will be able to soften or change them .
The time to take care of that old man is right now — today , this week . Examine his motives , attitudes , goals . Check up on him . Work him over while he ’ s still plastic , still in a form - ative condition . The day comes awfully soon when it ’ s too late . The hardness sets in , worse than paralysis ; character crystallizes , sets , jells .
Any wise businessman takes in - ventory regularly . His merchandise isn ’ t half as important as he is . Better take a bit of personal inventory too — we all need it — in the light of Christ and His Word . You ’ ll be much more likely to meet a splendid old fellow at the proper time , the fellow you ’ d like to be .
“ Be not deceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth , that shall he also reap ” ( Gal . 6:7 ). “ The path of the just is as the shining light , that shineth more and more unto the perfect day ” ( Prov . 4:18 ). ||
“ Learning to Lean ” ( John Stallings ) and we do so believing God and rejoicing on every note . To lean on the Lord compares , I think , with the abiding concept ( John 15:4 – 10 ) which Jesus teaches us . You never make a misstep , never turn wrong , when you are leaning on the Lord and leaning with the Lord .
Unfortunately , the pressures come on all of us . Motivated by the pursuit of success , the approval of our peers or an absence of cour - age , some of our brethren start leaning in a wrong direction .
They read the books of the Calvinists , the charismatics , the ecumenicists , the evangelicals and even the liberals . They watch them on television , listen to their pod - casts and see their clever quotes on Twitter . The next thing you know , they are at one of their conferences .
They discover that there are really nice people in all of those groups and suddenly their doctrinal moorings are slipping . Oh , they may still believe their biblical doctrines , but now they are less vocal about them . Yes , they are leaning , leaning wrong .
Soon they become critical of fundamentalism and independent Baptists ( who haven ’ t changed ); and they resist those who won ’ t go along with their slippage into compromise .
The changes they embrace will be subtle at first , but they are leaning wrong and ultimately they will find themselves further down the road to compromise than even
God has given us only two basic themes in His Word : how to go to Heaven — His message to sinners ; and how to be happy while waiting to get there — His message to Christians . Numerous passages in the Bible bear this out . When Jesus said , “ I am come that they might have life , and that they might have it more abundantly ” ( John 10:10 ), He was speaking of two different things .
First , He came to give life , eternal life , to all who will receive it . Then He came to give abundant life , which speaks of happiness . Life is birth ; abundant life is growth and maturity .
John 10:9 states , “ I am the door : by me if any man enter in , he shall be saved ….” That is talking about being saved ; that has to do with going to Heaven . The rest of the verse says , “… and shall go in and out , and find pasture .” That is talking about feeding and growth ; that has to do with happiness .
John writes , “ And this is his com - mandment , That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ ” ( I John 3:23 ). If one does what this part of the verse says , he will be saved and will go to Heaven when he dies .
The rest of the verse reads , “ And love one another , as he gave us commandment .” If we practice what this part says , the result will be happiness .
The first parts of all three of these verses relate to God and going to Heaven . The last parts of these verses relate to people or sur - roundings and have to do with adjustment , growth , maturity or
they expected to go . Once the leaning has begun , it will be very easy to make one tiny step and then another one — all in the wrong direction .
And there ’ s always a legitimatesounding rationale :
1 . “ I don ’ t want to make it hard for people to be in church .”
2 . “ You can ’ t be so narrowminded and reach people .”
With a lot of years of ministry under my belt , I can tell you what I have observed throughout the years : when you lean wrong , you will fall wrong . The way you lean is exactly the way you will ulti - mately land .
Where you stand today may not be “ all that bad ” ( as though any bad is okay ); but it is a powerful sign of where you and your ministry will be in five years . The “ leaning ” is a sure-fire indicator of where the “ landing ” will be .
Once more , think with me . When you lean wrong , there ’ s no way you ’ re going to land right .
• • •
SWORD OF THE LORD 3
Heaven and Happiness
For your faith and faithfulness , we are thankful . We want to serve you , your family and your church as we serve and honor the Lord .
So stay in touch and remember to pray for us .
Dr . Tom Wallace
development , resulting in happi - ness .
On one occasion Jesus was ap - proached by a lawyer who asked Him , “ Master , which is the great commandment in the law ?” ( Matt . 22:36 ). In other words , “ Which com - mandment is the most important ?”
Some religions teach that murder and adultery are mortal sins , while some of the other sins , such as lying and stealing , are petty or venial sins . Of course , the Bible doesn ’ t teach anything like that . Sin is sin !
Jesus knew that all the com - mandments were equal , and so did the lawyer ; so his question was not a sincere one . The lawyer hoped that Jesus would contradict the Law of Moses , in the answer to this trick question , by putting one commandment ahead of another .
However , Jesus knew that “ who - soever shall keep the whole law , and yet offend in one point , he is guilty of all ” ( Jas . 2:10 ). Then with great wisdom He answered the question by saying that the first and great commandment is , “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart , and with all thy soul , and with all thy mind …. And the second is like unto it , Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself .” He then added , “ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets ” ( Matt . 22:37 – 40 ).
But what about the Ten Com - mandments ? Jesus said there are only two commandments . One relates to God , and the other to my neighbor . If I am right con - cerning the first commandment , I can get into Heaven , and the second will help me have happiness .
Jesus is saying that all that the Law and Prophets had to say is summed up in these two basic truths . This is a summary of the Old Testament . So , in the New Testament , Jesus said that the whole Mosaic Law said only two things : Love God and love your neighbor . Obedience to one com - mand will get you into Heaven ; obedience to the other will help you find happiness .
The first eleven chapters of Romans deal with doctrine ; the last five deal with deportment . One section is creed ; the other is conduct . Believing one will get you into Heaven ; practicing the other will help you find happiness .
The first three chapters of Ephe - sians teach how to go to Heaven ; the last three chapters , how to be happy .
The first two chapters of Colos - sians deal with how to go to Heaven ; the last two chapters show how to be happy .
In thirteen of the fourteen books written by the apostle Paul , the be - ginning few verses wish his readers grace and peace . Grace brings salvation — what it takes to get into Heaven ; peace is the result of grace — what it takes for you to be happy .
Paul teaches that we receive the ‘ gift of the Spirit ’ ( Acts 2:38 ) when we get saved ; then he speaks of ‘ gifts of the Spirit ’ ( Heb . 2:4 ). One is given to the sinner to make him a Christian ; the other is given to the saint to help him find purpose for his life . Here again are Heaven and happiness .
The theme of the Book of James is “ faith versus works .” Faith is necessary to go to Heaven ; works are necessary to find happiness .
The Great Commission shows us the same truth . “ Go ye into all the world , and preach the gospel to every creature ” ( Mark 16:15 ) tells us Jesus wants us to get sinners saved so they can go to Heaven . The second part of the Great Com mission is , “ Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have com manded you ” ( Matt . 28:20 ). This second part is to help new Chris tians find happiness . One part of the disciples ’ commission has to do with faith ; the other , works .
The Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5 . The first four commandments relate to God ; the other six , to people . Once again we see God ’ s two Bible themes — Heaven and happiness .
First John 1:7 shows that to “ walk in the light ” with the Lord results in “ fellowship one with another .” In Hebrews 6:1 we read that we are to rest in our salvation experience and “ go on unto perfection .” Both are Heaven and happiness verses .
Literally dozens of such verses tell us that God wants all sinners to get saved and all Christians to be happy .
The Message for the Sinner
The first thing a sinner must realize is that he has a sin problem — not sins ( plural ), but sin ( singular ). The problem is not what a person has done or is now doing , but who he is . It is not lying , stealing , killing or committing adultery that will keep a person out of Heaven . The problem is inherited or “ original ” sin . David put it like this : “ I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin [ singular ] did my mother conceive me ” ( Ps . 51:5 ).
Paul gave the New Testament counterpart to David ’ s Old Testa - ment statement when he said in Romans 5:12 , “ Wherefore , as by one man sin [ singular ] entered into the world , and death by sin [ singular ]; and so death passed upon all men , for that all have sinned .”
Paul continued in Romans 6:23 : “ For the wages of sin [ singular ] is death .”
When Jesus was born of the virgin Mary , He did not receive a sinful nature by inheriting Adam ’ s sin . He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary ’ s body and born without a human father .
Not only was He born without sin , but He lived His entire life without sinning . He asked on one occasion , “ Which of you convinceth me of sin ?” ( John 8:46 ).
The apostle Paul wrote , “ He [ God ] hath made him [ Jesus ] to be sin for us , who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ” ( II Cor . 5:21 ).
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His ascension to Heaven and for the ministry of the Holy Spirit with them , He said ,
“ It is expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away , the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart , I will send him unto you .
“ And when he is come , he will reprove the world of sin , and of righ - teousness , and of judgment :
“ Of sin , because they believe not on me ;
“ Of righteousness , because I go to my Father , and ye see me no more ;
“ Of judgment , because the prince of this world is judged .”— John 16:7 – 11 .
Man is not a sinner because he has sinned or is sinning ; he is a sinner because he was born a sinner . The degree of man ’ s sinning will be related to his exposure to sin and temptation and the influence of others around him .
According to II Corinthians 5:21 , Jesus was born without a sinful
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