Gary Grizzell

The following Articles and PDF’s are by Gary Grizzell 



Inspired History is Full of Rich Lessons

Lords Prayer

When the floodgate was opened

Biblical or “Mainstream” Mentality?

Gary L. Grizzell

The Biblical Mentality is the mindset which:

1) Seeks to abide in the doctrine of Christ (the New Testament) and bids Godspeed only to true teachers of God’s Word, while refusing to bid Godspeed to false teachers. (see proof here: 2 John 9-11).

2) Believes that one who teaches God’s Word must produce New Testament authority in preaching the gospel (Col. 3:17).

3) Insists on anyone who professes to preach the Word concerning salvation, Christianity and religion to speak as the oracles of God teach. (1 Pet. 4:11).

Mainstream Mentality today, as is being described in this article, is a thought process which:

1) Professes to abide in the doctrine of Christ (the New Testament) but contradicts itself by going beyond the doctrine of Christ and bids Godspeed to false teachers, in violation of 2 John 9-11.

2) Professes to believe that one who teaches God’s Word must produce New Testament authority in preaching the gospel, but when it comes to his personal prejudices it ignores the name (authority) of Christ. In so doing such mentality runs rough shod over particular instructions found within the doctrine of Christ. Thus, such a mentality violates the principle found in Colossians 3:17.

3) Seeks to give the impression it is solely interested in preaching the Word concerning salvation, Christianity and religion, but in practice is given to ignoring the oracles of God to suit its personal prejudices and desires (1 Pet. 4:11).

The word mainstream refers generally in our society to “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Specifically, in this article the word mainstream is used to describe an unscriptural mentality, which thought process has been determined by a prevailing current influence manufactured by false teachers.

Someone rightly defined “culture” as group habit. The culture of mainstream “Christianity” equals man-made thinking, which is in direct opposition to the plain scriptural teaching of the Word of God (specifically, the New Testament of Christ).

Is there New Testament authority to label a certain mentality as a mainstream mentality? Absolutely. How’s that? Such is authorized by the principle of implication, which is one of the three ways the New Testament authorizes.

Jesus stated of those with such a faulty mentality, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Here is an example of the corrupt mainstream thinking of certain false teachers in the Lord’s day. The attitude of the Pharisees in this context was mainstream, the prevailing current thinking, in the first century among that religious sect of the Jews. In this case those in error were binding where God’s Word did not bind.

However, those who loose where God’s Word does not allow loosing are also guilty of following a mainstream mentality! In fact there are more of the latter category than the former. For example those false teachers of this stripe (of unscriptural loosing clique) teach that water baptism is optional and advocate that one is saved from his sins by faith only (in contradiction to 1 Pet. 3:21 and Jas. 2:24). Of course the false teachings among this group vary as they practice unity in diversity (in contradiction to 1 Cor. 1:10).

The Elephant In The Room

Where is there New Testament authority for a television preacher to encourage those in his viewing audience to go to the church of Christ nearest them in their community?

What good does it do teach the correct plan of salvation to a man, then send the lost soul to a corrupted church leadership in his community? Where is the logic in that? Where is the scripture authorizing a preacher to do that? It does not exist.

Here is the problem with such a practice: The speaker is ignoring the great apostasy among us today. He is closing his eyes to the three major “isms” which exist among apostate church leaderships, to whom no lost soul in the viewing audience deserves to be directed: 1) anti-ism, 2) liberalism, and 3) ugly-ism (unchecked meanness in the leadership, usually because of the toleration of a Diotrephes). By pretending the apostasy does not exist, the hireling preacher with his mainstream mentality continues to send sheep to the wolves. Jesus said to beware of wolves, not send sheep to them (Matt. 7:15). If a sincere preacher has been misguided, he needs simply to repent (Luke 13:3).

I offer the following applicable quotation from my chapter drawn from a past lectureship book dated 1998:

Last, elderships and individual Christians who know and respect God’s Word will not drain the Lord’s treasury to support the misguided programs of those who ignore the apostasy among today’s churches of Christ. Those of this stripe sabotage their own efforts. These are like the Jews of old who had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2). They zealously advocate to sinners that they hear, believe, repent, confess the name of Christ, be baptized for the remission of sins, and then join the church of Christ of your choice. Thus, they are guilty of incredible folly. The only ones who are guilty of greater folly are mindless supporters who viciously oppose those who point out the obvious imbalance in such! Just how hard is it to understand that not all who erect a sign in front of a meeting house reading “The Church Of Christ” are actually committed to a respect for Bible authority? Some who advocate to join the church (of Christ) of your choice today would condemn Billy Graham (insert: when he was alive) for telling multitudes to join the church of your choice. Yet, today, in many congregations which profess to be the Lord’s church the doctrines of the denominational theologians reign! To stand against the hard-headed liberals in churches is to hasten one’s exit. Now, who would deny this documented fact? To deny it is to show further one’s ignorance of the situation.*

Unless you have personal knowledge of a particular leadership in the viewers’ geographical areas, then do not blindly encourage your viewers to go to the church of Christ in their communities. One possible solution is to have them instead contact you for more information about a congregation where they might visit. Then, if necessary when they call, tell them you will research their area and get back with them as soon as possible. If you are not willing to do that, then you are not qualified to have a television program in order to preach the gospel.

If a preacher chooses to have the unscriptural mainstream mentality, then think of the corrupt fruit of his short-cut, doctrinally compromising behavior. If the mainstream preacher sends the viewer to an eldership who bind where God’s Word does not bind, that preacher has taken a chance on producing someone who thinks like that wayward eldership. Likewise, in sending the viewer to a liberal leadership, he will most likely produce a liberal. If you send him to a leadership given over to ugly-ism, that soul will either adopt that as normal Christian behavior of the church or become confused and discouraged.

No, there are no perfect church leaderships/churches to which to send viewers, but God does require an obedient leadership who respects Bible authority. “Well, we cannot be all-knowing, you know,” someone might object. No, one cannot be omniscient about what is going on in all the churches, but this is not to be used as an excuse for not even trying to have a safeguard strategy in what is stated to non-Christian viewers about fellowship matters. (Eph. 5:11).

We are at war with Satan and his ministers, who give the appearance of being angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). So we are not to ignore the enemy and his phony workers, but instead fight the good fight of the faith laying hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). When teaching others after delivering a gospel lesson, at the end of the lesson simply neglecting one’s duty by ignoring the unpleasant thought that there is a great apostasy among church leaderships is just wrong. Encouraging the viewers to go to just any building which has a sign in its front yard saying, “Church Of Christ,” is to be under the anathema of God (Gal. 1:8 [see the word “accursed”]). Such a practice implies that it is scriptural to encourage truth-seekers to connect with and follow false teachers (in contradiction to 2 John 10-11). Placed in a proposition form one can easily see that such is but “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8).

*Christian Fellowship, 1998, Michael Hatcher, Ed. 1998. Chapter entitled, “Fellowship And Giving” by Gary L. Grizzell, p. 235, specifically p. 248.

The Great Physician

Gary L. Grizzell

Christians sing the beautiful song entitled The Great Physician by William Hunter (published 1859). This article shows the reason Jesus Christ deserves to be called such.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:9-13; see also Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31).

Jesus is seen in Matthew’s house eating with those who had a bad reputation in the community. The self-righteous Pharisees question Jesus’ disciples about this matter. Jesus overhears. So, at this point He teaches them a much needed lesson.

Jesus made the following remarks to His critics:

1) “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The application is that the tax-collectors and known sinners needed the spiritual physician. Thus, His association with them was for that purpose. Note that not all association is fellowship.

2) “Go ye and learn what that meaneth.” For the Lord to rebuke the Jewish religious leaders and tell them to go and learn a passage of scripture was to insult them greatly.

3) “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” This was a quote from Hosea 6:6 emphasizing that religious works without the right motives were but vanity as far as their relationship with God was concerned! Those Pharisees had outward righteousness but were lacking in love, mercy and faith. Nor did they have a proper sense of justice.

4) “For I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Jesus reveals His mission on earth. Also, He reveals the remedy, the prescription—the antidote—for the sin-sick soul. That antidote is repentance. Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of conduct, direction, and life in an obedient faith. From this account we learn that Jesus is truly The Great Physician.

The Spiritually Sick Must Come to the Great Physician

Jesus said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” This great principle is perhaps best illustrated in Luke chapter 15. In that chapter the Lord told about three things that were lost: 1) lost sheep, 2) lost coin, and 3) the lost boy. Those who were concerned left the safe ones to focus on and retrieve the lost ones. (1) The farther the sheep went astray, the closer the Shepherd was willing to follow, to find, and bring it back into the fold. (2) The woman left her nine silver coins to diligently sweep the house in search of the 10th piece. (3) Of his two sons, the loving father focused on his lost son. He watched with hope and great anticipation for his youngest son to come home from his lost state in a far country. Jesus said, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

Any group of religious people (organization) where the upright, righteous individuals get all the attention and love is not the church of our Lord which one reads about in the New Testament. The mission of the church is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The philosophy of the world is that the little guy is the least important, but not so in the church of our Lord. This principle is seen in that each member is important to God and should be to us:

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness (1 Cor. 12:22-23).

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2; Emph. GLG). We are to strive not to sin. Nothing being said here is to discount the need for obedience and repentance (Luke 13:3). However, to have the view that because one is sinful the Lord does not care for his soul is a misconception of the identity of Jesus Christ. Remember that the good shepherd in the Luke 15 parable sacrificially left the safe sheep to go out and find the one lost sheep. Of course that shepherd represents Jesus, the great shepherd. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20; Emph. GLG). “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isa. 59:1).

The Example Of Paul

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Tim. 1:12-17).

Do you feel you cannot be worthy in order to be a child of God? Allow me to ask you this: Have you committed blasphemy? Paul did and was forgiven. Have you committed injury to someone? Paul did and was forgiven. Have you persecuted someone for being a controversial Christian? Paul did and was forgiven. Have you held the garments for others while they stoned a faithful gospel preacher to death? Paul did and he was forgiven. Have you abused civil law and its authorities to pursue, find fault with and persecute members of the church? Paul did and was forgiven. (Acts 9:1-2). In each of these cases he sincerely repented. “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

Later, Paul himself would be targeted by the chief men of the city because they had been stirred up and manipulated by the local religious leaders. “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts” (Acts 13:50). These women may have been “honourable women” in man’s eyes, but certainly not in God’s. There is not a poisonous tongue more damaging to a gospel preacher’s reputation than a gossiping woman’s tongue. Many times those gossips are idle widows or rich men’s wives with too much time on their hands. On this passage an insightful comment is, “The potent influence of the female character both for and against the truth is seen in every age of the Church’s history” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown).

Speaking of persecution, it is His testimony (the Lord’s) that is important—who He is, the only begotten Son of God. “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9; Emph. GLG). Modern-day testifying sessions of individuals telling all about themselves is not what saves a soul from spiritual death. We are to preach His testimony. He is the I AM. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Rev. 6:9; Emph. GLG). Christian martyrs in the first century were slain for telling the world about who Christ is, the Savior, the resurrected one, deity—not all about their personal lives in what has become in modern times blubbering, back-patting, feel-good sessions of pseudo Christianity. (This article is not saying that we should not confess our faults one to another and pray one for another as James 5:16 teaches, but we must guard against abuses of that passage). It is the gospel that is the power to save, not our personal stories about ourselves (Rom. 1:16-17).

Yes, we are aware that Paul told about himself—his conversion—because he was an apostle born out of due time. Paul wrote, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8).

Paul was called by the pen of inspiration the chief of sinners! “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:12; Emph. GLG). The Holy Spirit called Paul the chief of sinners, not you. A principle learned from a statement Jesus made dealing with another person is seen here: “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47, Emph. GLG). So in Paul’s case we are reminded that he that is forgiven much, loves much.


Note the difference between how Peter dealt with guilt as opposed to how Judas dealt with it. Peter denied Christ three times and later went out and wept bitterly for his sin. “And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Mat. 26:75). He sincerely repented and as a faithful apostle was allowed to preach the gospel on the birth date of the church of Christ (Acts 2). He had become a great servant of God, and among other achievements penned two epistles by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 and 2 Peter). Peter successfully dealt with his guilt for sins by believing he had been forgiven by the blood of Christ and told others how to obtain remission of sins (see Acts 2:38).

The Holy Spirit used Peter to tell us how to have peace of mind and freedom from guilt by having a good conscience toward God:

1 Peter 2:19 — “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully”

1 Peter 3:16 — “having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ”

1 Peter 3:21 — “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (All Emph. GLG)

How did Judas, who betrayed the Lord into the hands of His enemies for 30 pieces of silver, deal with his guilt? To say he responded unwisely is an understatement. He went out and hanged himself (cf. Acts 1:18). That was so sad and needless. While still on the earth Jesus summarized that, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). Too bad Judas disallowed himself to be a part of that effort to preach the good news of salvation beginning at Jerusalem. During the Lord’s life on earth, when Judas had secretly chosen the wrong path, Jesus said of the man who would betray him that “good were it for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21).

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Some seem so stressed out by guilt for sins that they act like they think, if it were possible, they are the chief of sinners. No one before Paul or after him may be called this. Why? Is it because there have not been others who were blasphemous, injurious and murderous of Christians? No, there have been others who had these traits. Nero of Rome was all of these and more. Paul was this wicked and, at the time the church began, he was a religious leader of the Jews. He was sincere, but religiously wrong, thinking the law of Moses was still binding—which it was not (Col. 1:14). So, unless you lived at the time when Christianity was just getting its feet off the ground, were a murderer of Christians, and called by the pen of inspiration the chief of sinners, then you can’t claim to be such.

Why do some who are over-ridden with guilt think they cannot be forgiven by God? Do they imply they are the chief of sinners? If you hear a person say (or you think to yourself), “I am not a Christian because I cannot live the Christian life. I’m not good enough to be accepted of God. The Lord would never receive me,” then remember that if God could forgive the chief of sinners He can and will forgive you, when you repent and obey the terms of salvation found in Jesus’ New Testament. Remember Paul said, “I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him” (1 Tim. 1:16; Emph. GLG).

Those Who Reject the Spiritual Great Physician

are Without Hope of Forgiveness And Eternal Life

His critics of Nazareth said to Him, “Physician, heal thyself.” This expression is found only in Luke 4:23. The sentiment, however, is seen in Matthew 27:39-44. The enemies of Christ, Jewish religious leaders, mocked him while on the cross with the following wicked demands and accusations:

“If you are really the Son of God, you should save yourself, proving it, by coming down from the cross.”

Jewish religious leaders mocked Him with the wicked taunt that He had saved others, but He could not save Himself.

He has the obligation to come down from the cross to prove His claim that trusting in God was a credible claim.

Quoting from Isaiah 6:1 Jesus told those people of Nazareth that God had sent Him “to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives” (Cf. Luke 4:18). They rejected Him and thus denied themselves spiritual healing.

What must you do to become a New Testament Christian? Hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17). Believe in Christ (John 8:24), Repent of your sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and be baptized (buried) in water for the forgiveness of your sins by the blood of Christ (Acts 2:38).

What did Saul of Tarsus (Paul, the chief of sinners) do to receive forgiveness? Having heard the gospel, believed in Christ, repented of his sins, and confessed the Lord, he was told to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins. He did that and so can you. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Jesus had power while on earth to both miraculously heal the body and, additionally, heal the soul. Note Matthew’s account below.

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (Matt. 9:1-8; Emph. GLG).

The next time you come in contact with someone who believes God won’t accept him because that person thinks he is not good enough, remind him what the great physician said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Matt. 9:12).


Gary L. Grizzell

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psa. 10:4).

What Does The New Testament Say About Pride?

There is a kind of pride in our everyday usage that is good as when we refer to having a proper self-respect, self-value or self-image. However, our concern in this article is about the other kind of pride, a nonproductive pride, of which the Bible speaks repeatedly.

Jesus listed pride along with terrible sins like wickedness, theft and murders. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Pride here refers to “haughtiness, arrogance” (Strong’s).

One of the reasons a novice—one newly planted—is not to be appointed an elder in the church is his susceptibility to being lifted up with pride. Pride is described as the reason for Satan’s fall. So, lest the novice fall like the Devil, he is not to be placed into the eldership. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6).

The “pride of life” is of the world and not from God.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17, emph. GLG).

Christians are told not to love the world with its 1) lust of the flesh, 2) lust of the eyes, and 3) pride of life. These are not of the Father. Obedient children wish to have what is from their good Father. That which is of the Father is the word of God (instruction), forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. This pride of life causes individuals to remain in control of their lives, instead of turning their wills over to God’s will. But, “If any man will do his will” the blessing will follow (John 7:17).

Examples Of Individuals Who Allowed Themselves

To Be Destroyed Because of This Wrong Kind Of Pride

Adam and Eve. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6). Eve, the first sinner, saw the unauthorized tree was “to be desired to make one wise” and wanted to be like God, but not in a good way, knowing good and evil. In essence, Satan said that God is holding out on you, and you will be gods in competition with Him if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve imagined herself as God’s equal!! For her desire to usurp deity, one of her punishments was submission to the man—“he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16; see 1 Tim. 2:11-14). Adam ate of the unauthorized fruit because he desired to do his own will, having listened to the bad counsel of his wife (Gen. 3:6). Back of it all was the pride of life! Today, men sin because they wish to do their own wills rather than God’s will. Jesus said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat. 10:39)

Men in Noah’s Day.

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Men in Noah’s day chose to do their own will instead of God’s will and thus suffered the consequences of their own doing. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:12-13).

This grieved God greatly. When men today choose to have the pride of life, rejecting God’s revealed will, the New Testament of Christ, God is grieved. (Mark 3:5; 2 Pet. 3:15, 2 John 9-11).

Those who built the Tower of Babel. 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” (Gen. 11:4). Out of the pride of man, the pride of life, men chose a project which would keep themselves together. However, God wanted men to scatter and replenish the earth. After the flood the Bible says, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 9:1). Today, the pride of life keeps little men in high places in the church from supporting faithful preachers from going into other places on the earth in preaching the gospel to the lost.


Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate (Esther 5:9-13).

Haman was truly the man who was hanged on his own gallows. He was the son of the prime minister of Ahasuerus, the Persian king (Esther 3:1). He also was the enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, God’s people He was happy for awhile. He ate with the king and queen alone. He was scheduled to eat privately with them again. He was promoted above the princes and servants. But (vs. 13) he said he could not be happy as long as that man, Mordecai, was allowed to maintain his integrity by not bowing to him. It was the king’s commandment for people to bow to Haman.

And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence” (Esther 3:2). However, Haman’s pride got the best of him when “…Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified” (Esther 7:9-10).

Of the seven things the Lord hates, the list begins with “a proud look” (Prov. 6:16).

Today, in the church when a Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence, arises, one is reminded of the sin of pride as seen in Haman and of God’s disapproval of suchlike characters.

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (3 John 9-10).

Inspired of the Holy Spirit, the apostle John promised that “if I come, I will remember his deeds…” Does not God weep in secret places when His people refuse to heed the teaching of the New Testament? “But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive” (Jer. 13:17).

Pharoah. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him” (Exo. 10:1). Note that the passage tells us that God hardened Pharoah’s heart (God did the hardening). Another passage states the same basic fact of God doing the hardening of the heart of prideful Pharoah: “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land” (Exo. 11:10). It is not a contradiction that the Bible says Pharoah hardened his own heart (Pharoah did the hardening). Note the following passages:

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said (Exo. 8:15).

And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go” (Exo. 8:32).

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants ” (Exo. 9:34).

The end result of the pride of life seen in Pharoah is found here: “For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea ” (Exo. 15:19).

There is a Biblical principle of proper interpretation of the text which notes that God is said to do that which He allows. God allowed wicked Pharoah to harden his own heart due to his being lifted up with pride. Therefore, it is said both ways. In the Christian Age today it is possible to reject the Gospel of Christ and thus harden one’s own heart. Let us be careful to receive the Word with all readiness of mind as seen in the first century Bereans:

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:10-11).

The New Covenant warns us:

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness (Heb. 3:8).

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).

While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (Heb. 3:15).

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Heb. 4:7).

King Nebuchanezzar. Thinking too highly of himself and taking credit which is due only to God, the king was to be taught a lesson.

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee” (Dan. 9:29-31).

The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation (Dan. 4:33-34).

The king learned his lesson and after being in his right mind stated words which should be heeded today by those who are lifted up with pride: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Dan. 4:37). Today, we are to recognize and respect that Jesus is the authority in matters pertaining to salvation, Christianity and religion. Our Lord stated, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat. 28:18). “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). There are not two heads to the body, but one, Who is Christ. The pride of Nebuchadnezzar, of which he repented, may be reflected upon by those who would exalt any so-called earthly head to the church today. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

A different king, King Hezekiah, serves as a good example of how God honors one who repents of his pride. “Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah” (2 Chron. 32:26).

The Solution For Pride Is Found In Appreciating Passages Bearing On The Subject

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). Truly, as someone once said, The ground is level at the foot of the cross. You are not on a higher level than I and I am not on a higher level than you, regarding human worth in the sight of God.

We are all from Adam, the first man (Gen. 1:26-27). That image was marred by sin in Adam’s life in the beginning and today men are sinners because all have personally sinned (Rom. 3:23). As someone once said, “We are not all guilty of the same sins but all are guilty.”

Jesus, The Son of God, is the greatest example of humility. With the cross in clear view the Bible says, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat. 26:39).

Those who choose to go to heaven to be with God, the Creator, will obey the Gospel of Christ and thereby be new creatures in Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

In overcoming the pride of life (which is but a stubborn will that would not submit to the Will of God in the New Testament), we are followers of the second Adam—Christ— Who will one day give us a heavenly body. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).

Having taken heed to the preaching of the Gospel, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). We are thankful for God’s spiritual blessings and say with Paul, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; read the rest of Ephesians chapter one to find these spiritual blessings listed by the Holy Spirit).

As a new Christian one has new priorities and a new direction:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Col. 3:1-4).

Life is like a vapor

Gary L. Grizzell


Life is like a vapor which appears only momentarily. It appears only to disappear. This is the teaching of James 4:13-17 with reference to the brevity of life. Life is like a flower of the grass in that it appears in a beautiful form and then fades away when the sun scorches it. We are called upon to endure the trials of life and then we shall receive the crown of life (eternal life).

Paul taught that the outward man is perishing, but that the afflictions which we suffer are but for a moment (2 Cor. 4:16-18). This life in length is but for a moment, in contrast with the life eternal of heaven. Our reward for living the faithful Christian life and facing up to tribulations and afflictions with faith, courage and hope is the reception of the eternal weight of glory. We are not to place first in our lives the things seen, but the things not seen are to take the priority in our minds. The eternal is more important than the temporal. Man that is born of woman is of few days (Job 14:1).

In view of the brevity (shortness) of life, consider the following Bible facts upon which we can count:

  1. God Exists.

    There is an all-powerful, everywhere present and all-knowing God (Gen. 1:1). He is the creator of the universe. Men are without excuse to reject the fact of His existence (Rom. 1:19-20). When man fell into sin, God sent His Son to save him from his sins (John 3:16). Our belief in God need not ever waiver (Heb. 11:6). He has promised to reward the diligent seeker of Himself and of His will for man.

  2. The Bible Is The Inspired Word of God.

    It is written for our instruction (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The New Testament gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). It gives us guidance and comfort: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105).

  3. Jesus Christ is God’s Only Begotten Son and Our Savior.

    At His baptism God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). He is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).

  4. Life Is Short. (Jas. 4:13-17).

  5. Death Is Certain.

    “It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment.” This is an appointment that no one will miss (Heb. 9:27). “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

  6. Eternity Is Long.

    If we obey Him, then when He comes in the clouds on the last day, we shall ever be with Him in eternity (1 Thess. 4:17). Jesus is presently preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3). Thus, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. We may look forward to an inheritance incorruptible which fades not away, reserved in heaven for us (1 Pet. 1:3-4).

We Can be Certain of Our Salvation

In a world of uncertainly we do not need to be uncertain. We may be certain that we may be certain. Jesus teaches we may “know” the truth which makes us free from man’s greatest problem—sin (John 8:31-32). The reason is because we have been given these Bible truths. These Bible facts serve as an anchor to our souls (Heb. 6:19).

The fiery furnace

Gary L. Grizzell


The Old Testament contains numerous accounts of bravery, courage and faith which inspire and motivate us. One such account is in Daniel chapter three concerning three Jewish boys named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

About 580 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold 90 feet high and nine feet wide. All peoples in the Babylonian Empire were to fall down and worship when hearing certain musical instruments. The consequence of refusal to bow was to be cast into a fiery furnace (verses 1-7).

As time passed, the three Jewish boys refused to worship the golden image. Members of the guild of astrologers (Chaldeans) told the King (8-12) and he was very angry (13-18). Even though given one more chance to worship the idol, they chose the fiery furnace. This made the king even angrier and he commanded the furnace to be heated up seven times hotter. The crucible became so hot that the mighty men of strength who cast them in burned to death. However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell into the furnace unhurt (19-23).

Seeing them walking around in the fire and a fourth who looked like the Son of God, Nebuchadnezzar called them out. All the princes, governors and captains saw that not one hair on their heads had been singed, their coats were not changed nor had the smell of fire passed on them (24-27).

The king then decreed that all who spoke anything against the God of the three Jewish boys would be cut in pieces and their houses made a dunghill. The king then promoted them in the province of Babylon (28-30).

Lessons For Us Today

1) God hates idolatry (Acts 17:29-30).

2) We must obey God rather than man when man’s law conflicts with God’s law (Acts 5:29).

3) God steps in and helps in time of trouble to give sufficient strength to overcome the hardships involved in practicing true religion (Matthew 28:20).

4) The three Jewish boys serve as examples of faith, courage and consecration to God.

5) The effect a godly life can have on a wicked man of power can be seen (Philippians 2:5).

As Christians go through the fiery furnace of life, we know that God is still in His heaven and will strengthen, comfort and help us to endure the flames of persecution (IPeter 1:6-7).

Bearing your burdens

By Gary L. Grizzell


The word “burden” is used a multiplicity of times in the Bible. The word itself is found some 67 times and a form of it is seen no less than 95 times. What is the definition of a burden? Of the word BAROS (BURDEN) in the New Testament one authority wrote:

“BAROS … denotes a weight, anything pressing on one physically, Matt. 20:12, or that makes a demand on one’s resources, whether material, I Thess. 2:6 (to be burdensome), or spiritual, Gal. 6:2; Rev. 2:24, or religious, Acts 15:28.” *

Burden Bearing From The Spiritual Perspective

The most important burden bearing being done today is the burden bearing involved in living together in a sin cursed world. Think of the need for burden bearing from the spiritual perspective.

I. The Burden Of Sin We All Have To Bear

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The first pair, Adam and Eve, were the first to carry this burden in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6). They were to blame for creating this burden and soon learned that guilt is the great burden of sin. After they sinned, they were so bothered by this burden they hid from God and made figleaf aprons to cover themselves. Never before had they been afraid of God. God soon allowed the offering of animal sacrifices by which men might be forgiven and therefore the burden of sin be taken away (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4). Today, we are grateful God has given his only begotten Son that we might have him as the sacrifice for our sins. The Hebrew writer said: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).

Jesus told a Pharisee, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

Paul wrote, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16). In II Corinthians 5:21 the Bible says concerning Jesus, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ is our sin offering who bears our sins (Isa. 53:10-11).

The great folly of man has always been to bear sin through humanly devised schemes.

Consider the following:

1) Some try to ignore the burden of sin. The humanistic oriented counselor of modern times denies that sin is real, yet one can see sin in his {the counselor’s} own life. While some are treating the sin problem by saying, “Oh well, that’s human nature,” Paul the apostle says, No, that is the old man of sin (Rom. 6:3-4). Yes, it’s true that “To err is human, to forgive is divine” but this old uninspired cliche is not to serve as an excuse for living a life of habitual sinning. At the trial of Jesus, Pilot tried to wash his hands of the burden of sin (Matthew 27:24), but water alone will not cleanse a man of his sins. It takes the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5) along with belief and a penitent heart to be cleansed by immersion in water (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:3; Rom. 10:9-10; 6:3-4; Acts 22:16).

2) Others try to carry the burden of sin by blaming their sin on someone else. This is what Adam and Eve did (Genesis 3:12-13). “Well, I’m just as good as anyone down there in that church, therefore I don’t need to become a member of the church to be saved.” But, it does not matter how good you are but where you are, that is, in the body of Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 1:3; Titus 3:5). On the day of judgment it will be worthless to say, “Lord, I was just as good as brother so-in-so.” If you allow a religious hypocrite to keep you out of heaven, you’ll be forced to spend an eternity with him in hell. “Every man must bear his own burden” (Gal. 6:5).

3) Still others try to bear the burden of sin by the process of self destruction (the Judas complex). Some practice slow motion suicide by drinking their problems away. However, the problems are still there the next morning (cf. Gal. 5:19-21).

The answer to bearing up under the burden of sin is to live the faithful Christian life. The Bible says, “Casting all your care (anxiety) upon him, for he careth for you.” God’s Word teaches the Christian, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (I Peter 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7). God promises to keep one who is a faithful Christian from being tempted above what he is able to bear (I Cor. 10:13). God desires to remove our burden of sin through forgiveness. We are reminded of His words long ago to a wayward people:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).

When addressing the matter of Jewish circumcision for the Christian Paul wrote: “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15).

Friend, which is the better choice, to seek to be a new creature in Christ or to resort to the Judas complex?

II. The Burden Of Physical Infirmities That All Must Bear

It all started as a result of man sinning in the Garden of Eden. God had said, “In the day you eat thereof, ye shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). This was a prophecy concerning death and all the infirmities that accompany death. Then Adam ate of the forbidden tree and at that moment he died spiritually and at that very moment he physically became a decaying creature. [The word “death” means separation]. It would only be a matter of time before his spirit would depart from his body and he would die physically. At the age of 930 years Adam died. Tragically, he continued in the beautiful garden for less than 130 years, which was less than 14% of his total life span (James 2:26; Gen. 5:5; Gen. 5:3). Satan, who was involved in the fall of man into sin, was later indicted by the Lord for his relationship to physical infirmity (cf. Luke 13:16).

Likewise, today, man’s body is in a state of decay. Interestingly, the Bible mentions numerous conditions:

Blemishes, Crookedback, Scurvy (Lev. 21:20).

Fever, Inflammation, Extreme Burning (Deut. 28:22).

Blains, Boils, Dropsy (Luke 14:2; Exo. 9:9; Job 2:7).

Madness (Deut. 28:28).

Dwarfism (Lev. 21:20, not allowed in priesthood, Lev. 21:18).

Botches, Canker (or gangrene) (Deut. 28:35; II Tim. 2:17).

Leprosy, Blindness, Lameness, Inability to speak (Matt. 15:30; Luke 5:12), and others.

While we rejoice in the great and marvelous achievements of medical science, we “groan being burdened” in the fleshly body and look forward to our heavenly body (II Cor. 5:4). The Christian is promised a better body which is eternal in nature (I Cor. 15:50-53).

III. The Burden Of Bearing One Another’s Burdens

The apostle Paul instructed to “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Jesus taught this same lesson while here on the earth, saying that burden-bearing involved feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prisons (Matt. 25:34-40).

In I Corinthians 12:12-26 the inspired penman teaches the BODY CONCEPT. He pointed out there are different members which make up the spiritual body of Christ, just as different members make up the physical body of a man. Some are the eyes, while others are the hands or the feet. Each member is concerned about the other members. When one member rejoices, all the other members rejoice with that member. When one member suffers, all the others suffer with that one member. Therefore, to
bear one another’s burdens:

• Rejoice with the brother who has had something good happen to him.

• Say to the brother who is sick or shut-in: “I’ll be praying for you” and let him know that you mean it.

• If a Christian has fallen away from the faith and has been offended, then try to understand him; bear his burden and when he feels his burden becoming lighter because of your help he’ll find it easier to come home to the Lord.

Remember, the Bible says to “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” not Ridicule ye one another’s burdens.

IV. Last, There Is The Burden Of The Cross

Jesus carried His cross by doing His part as the savior of the world (John 3:16). He left the glories of heaven, the singing of angels and the walking of the streets of gold to come to a sin-cursed world and die at the hands of wicked men for wicked men. He left the joys of the Father’s heavenly home to be beaten, mistreated, hated, mocked, spat upon, despised, falsely accused as a drunk and glutton, and nailed to a tree. “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Ask yourself, “Is my burden as heavy as the burden our Lord carried?”

Jesus now expects us to carry our crosses if we would prepare ourselves for the heavenly home where sorrow does not exist and perfect joy reigns forever. We must interrogate ourselves daily by asking the question of the songwriter: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free?” Then the answer must be: “No, there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.”

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5). It is an utter impossibility to expect a crown of life without previous crossbearing. Unless a man carries his cross he cannot be Jesus’ disciple (Luke 14:26-27).

To Bear The Cross Means:

⇒ To live faithfully the Christian life (Mat. 7:21-23).

⇒ It means sacrifices in the work of saving souls (Mat. 6:33).

⇒ It means never putting the cross down (Luke 9:62).

Jesus carried His cross as far as was possible and He walked on to allow himself to be nailed to it. Though He could carry it no further than He did, He chose to meet it at Calvary. (see John 19:17; Mat. 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26). Friend, your cross may become heavy, but you can walk on toward the door of heaven. Jesus is your example (I Peter 2:21).

Stephen carried the cross unto death! (Acts 7:60). We are to carry the cross unto death if necessary (Rev. 2:10). With reference to persecution, most of us will probably carry it until death rather than unto death. But one thing is certain, carry it we must! We can’t carry it on Sunday and then put it down on Monday. We must carry it through the week: overcoming temptations, studying the Scriptures, praying, teaching and living for the Master (I Cor. 15:58). We will carry it until the Lord calls us home to gather around the great white throne with the angels and the redeemed of all the ages singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12).


* W.E. VINE, M.A. EXPOSITORY DIC. OF N.T. WORDS. Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J., 1966. p. 157.
* All references are from the King James Version.

The Lords prayer

Gary L. Grizzell

Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane is one of the most touching of all his recorded prayers, if in fact it is not the most meaningful one. It is found in John chapter 17.


This is the real Lord’s prayer! Jesus’ work of teaching the disciples how and what to pray in his sermon on the mount (cf. Matthew 6:9-13) cannot be rightfully called, The Lord’s Prayer. It may be called The Disciples’ Prayer since it was what the disciples were to pray. However, the private prayer of Jesus in the garden may be rightfully called the Lord’s prayer since it was his prayer to the Father.

While Jesus’ prayers were brief publicly, they were longer privately. His private prayer in John 17 consisted of no less than 26 verses as the Savior poured out his heart’s intentions before God. Much may be learned from an indepth study of this touching and famous prayer prayed just prior to the Lord’s vicarious death on the cross.

1) We may know and believe the truth (6-12).

2) We may have joy in the face of an antagonistic world (13-14).

3) We are in the world but not of it (15-16).

4) We are to be holy and fulfill our mission (17-19).

5) We are to be united (20-23).

6) We may partake of his heavenly glory (24-26).

While Jesus perspired “as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44) during such an emotion filled prayer, his unselfish requests help us to appreciate the will of God for our lives.

Jesus – The greatest Logician

Gary L. Grizzell

In Luke 11:14-23 the inspired text tell us that Jesus cast out a devil. Demon possession was on the scene of human history to glorify the power of Christ and prove his deity (Jn. 20:30-31; James 4:7 — today we may resist the Devil expecting him to flee from us with no miracle required). After the demon was miraculously cast out the Bible says that the dumb spake. When the dumb spake, the people wondered. Not only did they wonder but some falsely accused Christ of working by the power of Beelzebub.


Who is this Beelzebub? According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary: “Beelzebub: (Gr. form Beel’zebul), the name given to Satan, and found only in the New Testament (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22). It is probably the same as Baalzebub … the god of Ekron, meaning ‘the lord of flies,’ or, as others think, ‘the lord of dung,’ or ‘the dung-god.’” The seven verses in the New Testament which use the the word
Beelzebub are as follows:

1 — Mt. 10:25 — It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

2 — Mt. 12:24 — But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

3 — Mt. 12:27 — And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

4 — Mk. 3:22 — And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

5 — Lu. 11:15 — But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

6 — Lu. 11:18 — If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

7 — Lu. 11:19 — And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.


Before the record is given of Jesus’ arguments as to reasons his accusers were to reject the notion that he was in league with Satan, the inspired writer stated, “But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them” (Luke 11:17). Jesus is the great heart knower. Therefore, men are to take heed to their thoughts. God is concerned about our very thoughts. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). The very thought of sin is foolishness. We are to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). Control our thinking (Phil. 4:8). Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). One Christian who had sinned was told by the apostle Peter to repent of the very thought of his heart (Acts 8:22).

Religious hypocrites may be able to deceive those around them by their speech and their deeds, but God knows their thoughts (Mt. 7:21-23). God will bring men into account for those thoughts! “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” Rom. 2:16; see also Eccl. 12:14). Jesus knew the thoughts of his accusers and that their hearts were full of iniquity.


When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he warned them that it is possible for Satan to get advantage of them. However, he informed them that they could avoid Satan’s advantage if they would become aware of his devices, tricks or snares (2 Cor. 2:11). Paul warned the church in his day of enemies of cross who possessed certain distinguishable traits: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Phil. 3:17-19). Today, we as members of the Lord’s body must watch for traitor traits just as our early brethren were warned to do. Yes, there are disciples of the cross but there are also disciples of the double-cross in existence today.

In Jesus’ conversation with his critics, the Jews (in Luke 11:14-23) the characteristics and tactics of His enemies are set forth by the inspired writer and may be observed by the careful Bible student. When one contemplates these attitudes, dispositions and attacks he cannot but note that these same characteristics are seen in enemies of Christians today.

1. Characteristic #1 — False Accusation — verse 15.
2. Characteristic #2 — An Arrogant, Demanding Spirit — verse 16.
3. Characteristic #3 — Irrationality in Reaching Their Conclusions — 17-18.
4. Characteristic #4 — Inconsistency and Hypocrisy — 19.
5. Characteristic #5 — Ignorance — 20.


CHARACTERISTIC #1 — FALSE ACCUSATION — verse 15. “He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” For one to be able to so communicate with a demon so as to cause him to come out of an individual, it was reasoned that he must be in league with demonic powers and particularly, Satan.

Prejudice is the mother of false accusation. It is condemnation before investigation. False accusation is born of judging by appearance. Jesus said we are not to judge by appearance but we are to judge by righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24). It seems that the only mental exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions.

We are to avoid willful ignorance (2 Peter 3:5). False accusation is connected with “evil surmisings” (I Tim. 6:4). It takes no brains to falsely accuse another, all one has to do is just lean totally upon the flesh, what comes natural, his emotions, or his feelings.

Today, false accusation is heard by enemies of Christianity when we heard such statements as, “The Church of Christ was established by Alexander Campbell.” Some will insist on misrepresenting the truth that we are members of the church that Jesus built (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47). This will continue to happen even though we quote the New Testament as our authority rather than any inspired men. Let us
not be surprised, nor let us accept such as God-approved behavior.

CHARACTERISTIC #2 — AN ARROGANT, DEMANDING SPIRIT — verse 16. “And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven.” Another group of those present demanded and desired Christ to perform a sign. Only then would he really prove his identity as one not on the same team with the Devil.
Jesus had acted in a manner which they had not expected from him (the lowly son of a carpenter), so they wanted more proof of his claim to divinity.

Likewise, enemies of Christ today demand that Christians think, speak and behave in a worldly manner. Peter said “they think it strange that ye run not with them … speaking evil of you” (I Pet. 4:4). What manner is that? Whatever is popular among men. Jesus teaches that what is popular is wrong (in regard to salvation, Mt. 7:13-14). However, Christians are taught to be living sacrifices to God’s service and not conformed to the sinful standards of the world (Rom. 12:1-2). The faithful child of God who seeks to live pure morally, doctrinally and evangelistically will not compromise with the worldlings in their smoking, dancing, drinking alcohol and in fellowshipping religious error. The godly will continue to refuse fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11). God’s people will not be surprised when the world seeks to squeeze them into it’s mold in view of the fact that the very enemies of Christ tried to do the same thing to him.

CHARACTERISTIC #3 — IRRATIONALITY IN REACHING THEIR CONCLUSIONS — verses 17-18. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” By reaching conclusions by improper thinking and apparently trusting whatever thoughts popped into their heads, the people who had witnessed the Lord perform a marvelous miracle reasoned irrationally. Jesus exposed their irrational, contradictory thinking. Satan’s business
was to insert or infuse evil demons into a human being — NOT cast them out. Satan wanted the devils in and would not have been “caught dead” ordering his messenger to cast them out. Anyone with half a brain should have been able to have seen Jesus’ point on this.

Today, this is just as easy to do as it was then. To reason irrationally just trust in your feelings, your likes and dislikes, and your self-serving preferences. Consider your likes and dislikes over the written Word of the Living God. However, to reason logically practice Paul’s admonition to the brethren at Thessalonica and prove all things (I Th. 5:21). After you have proved all positions (in regard to things necessary for salvation) by the New Testament, then hold fast (firm) to the correctly interpreted will of God.

Proving all things by evidence is the nature of the work of the civil courts. This is good. Should not the practice of proving all things in the “court” of spiritual matters (matters pertaining to the eternal soul) necessitate the proper use of evidence as well? Most certainly! Jesus our Lord trusted in what was/is written for his conclusions (Mt. 4:1-11). So should men today. The Bereans are commended for both readiness of mind and their act of searching the Scriptures in order to reach the proper interpretation or understanding (Acts 17:10-12). When God’s people today give a book, chapter and verse for what they believe, teach and practice in regard to salvation, Christianity and religion, it is unfair for denominationalists (those of man-made religion) to irrationally accuse the church of being arrogant and high-minded. It is also wicked for liberals in the church today to depend on a so-called new hermeneutic to arrive at their unscriptural conclusions on essential matters!

May we continue to make it known that faithful brethren intend to mark and avoid those who teach false doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18). However, we will not be surprised when such happens since we are no greater than our Lord who was so treated (Jn. 15:20).

CHARACTERISTIC #4 — INCONSISTENCY AND HYPOCRISY — verse 19. “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast [them] out? therefore shall they be your judges.” These critics accepted miracles done by those they liked, but were inconsistent by their rejection of miracles performed by Jesus and His apostles. Jesus did good when he cast the devil out of the suffering individual and should have been appreciated for his good. However, not running with the clique of the Pharisees, the Scribes or the Sadducees cast Jesus in the shadow of the unpopular and made him a prime target for unfounded criticism.

We have people like this today both in and out of the church whose behavior seems to say, “If I like you, I consider you as being approved of God — but if I don’t like you, you must not be approved of God.” This type of inconsistency, which is junior-highish, is inexcusable before heaven. All such behavior will be rewarded accordingly. Paul wrote that God is not mocked and whatsoever a person sows, that will he reap (Gal. 6:7-8). When liberal change agents in the Church of Christ today belittle and make fun of faithful gospel preachers for referencing book, chapter and verse in their preaching — they are behaving inconsistently and wickedly. Have they ever heard of 1 Thessalonians 5:21? They themselves claim to accept the preaching of Jesus and His apostles, though the Lord and the apostles referred to what is written (Mt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:19).

CHARACTERISTIC #5 — IGNORANCE — 20. “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. “ Jesus had not cast out the devil by the finger (power) of Satan but by the finger of God. This he has now proven. He has proven it by having shown them their irrationality in reaching their conclusions (vs. 17-18) and by their inconsistency and hypocrisy (vs. 19). Furthermore, the message that the kingdom was at hand should then have been heard by these corrected critics. Note that Jesus attempted to remove their prejudices before teaching them this essential message. This was the message that John the Baptist had died preaching, that is, the kingdom is at hand. Jesus was to build His church, the kingdom (Mt. 16:18-19). This took place as is recorded in Acts chapter two. Having proven his identity as the Son of God by miracleworking (Jn. 20:31-31), they were to now listen to his message about the coming kingdom, the church.

Many are those who will appeal to a false authority in religious matters. The Lutheran will appeal to Martin Luther, the Mormon to Joseph Smith and the Catholic to the pope. It may seem logical to each to believe that Luther, Smith and the pope are their authorities. However, it is a deceptive concept. Christ alone sits on the throne of authority over His church and over all men (Col. 2:18; Mt. 28:18-20). {This does not negate the fact that Jesus has delegated authority to elders in deciding expedient matters, Heb. 13:7, 17}. One is not following Christ as the authority by going to Jesus through Luther. Heads of denominations and sects are not mediums or mediators to THE mediator (who is Christ). “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

While not being naive to the obvious lack of respect for the authority of Christ today, ignorance of just who the authority in religion is keeps many from listening to faithful gospel preachers today. Although conservative, Bible Quotin’ – Bible Totin’ preachers establish the correct authority in their sermons, lectures and writings, many refuse to heed the message claiming that the preacher is just spouting off his own personal, bigoted opinions. Jesus is that authority and faithful elders, preachers, deacons and members lovingly establish and require New Testament authority for all that is done in obligatory matters (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11). Just how fair is it then for those in error to criticize members of the church of preaching the Devil’s doctrine when they preach: 1) Water baptism is necessary to salvation (Mk. 16:16; I Pet. 3:21); 2) There is one church, the Lord’s church (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:4; Eph. 1:22-23); and a number of other necessary doctrines. When men have their prejudices addressed and removed from their heart, then we may do as Jesus and teach them the truth about the spiritual kingdom. ONLY THEN may we teach men of that kingdom into which sinners are translated from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13-14).


After proving he had worked a miracle by the finger (power) of God, Jesus then gave a divine analogy as follows: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth is spoils” (Luke 11:21-22). The people had wondered when Jesus cast the demon out earlier. Some suspicioned him as to his identity and his relationship to Satan.

Jesus is the stronger “man” and Satan is the weaker “man” in the illustration He gave them. The analogy taught them that just as one who is physically stronger than another in the material realm may conquer the less equipped, so one in the spiritual realm may conquer the less equipped. In the context of Luke 11, Jesus overcame Satan in the spiritual realm. He overcame all that pertained to Satan in the incident just witnessed. Jesus conquered the demon (Satan’s evil messenger) in the spiritual realm to the extent that He was able to “divide his spoils.” Evidence of complete victory over the enemy was seen in that he the cured individual was now able to speak.

Perhaps a more general application of the illustration Jesus gave is that by Jesus’ RESURRECTION He bruised the head of the serpent, Satan (Gen. 3:15). He continues to destroy the works of the Devil today by the preaching of the gospel, the good works of the His church and by the prayers of the faithful (I Jn. 3:8). On the day of judgment Satan and his workers will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The righteous will then go away into everlasting life (Mt. 25:41, 46).

Truly, in the war between Jesus and Satan, Jesus is “ STRONGER THAN HE.” Therefore, let us follow His example, fight the good fight of the faith and lay hold on eternal life (I Tim. 6:10). “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (I Pet. 4:1). This we may do when we are keenly aware of the characteristics of the enemies of Christianity as revealed by Christ, the greatest logician.

A dozen applications from Paul’s thorn in the flesh
Gary L. Grizzell

 According to I Timothy 1:16 the apostle Paul was set forth by God to be an example to all Christians in generations following the apostolic age. To the Corinthian Christians he said, “Be ye followers of me-, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). In II Corinthians 12:5-12 Paul is seen as he faces his greatest spiritual weakness, his thorn in the flesh. In the beginning of his trial when recognizing he had a problem he did not recognize the reason it was permanent nor the purpose for which God allowed him to have it. He was in a state of confusion. On one occasion he wrote in his epistle to the Philippians under the direction of the Holy Spirit that they were to rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4), but with reference to his thorn he was not rejoicing. He penned the words, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), but when facing his thorn he was anxious for something. In view of the fact that he managed to gain control of the situation and dispel the confusion, there are many lessons to be gleaned from Paul’s struggle with his thorn in the flesh.


Although Paul had many problems, he had one bigger than the others in living the Christian life, i.e., his thorn in the flesh (II Corinthians 12:7). Nowhere in the New Testament does Paul suffer so much with a problem. In the context of the above mentioned scripture he has already made reference to his physical persecutions which had caused physical pain (II Corinthians 11:16-33), but his thorn had caused him confusion. The Christian today MAY have one particular area of weakness in living the Christian life. Thus, he should follow Paul’s example in overcoming temptations. The threefold solution in overcoming temptation is to do as Paul:

1) Recognize the problem.
2) Admit that you cannot overcome it of your own strength.
3) Then lean on God in prayer and a study of his will, the New Testament.


Paul’s thorn in the flesh was between him and God alone, i.e. it was private. Notice that  he did not identify his thorn to them. It would have been so easy to have done so. Likewise, your greatest weakness is private between you and God (unless of course it becomes public). A cult’s “prayer partner” concept would have one confess EVERYTHING to one’s “senior prayer partner.” But Paul serves as an example that some things are between the individual Christian and his God. This prayer partner concept has been rightfully labeled “A Mini-Priesthood.” It is nothing but a cultish tactic designed by wicked men to control the lives of unsuspecting victims.


Paul shared his burden with his fellow Christians. Likewise, we should at times tell others of our problems, being open, realizing that we enjoy a close relationship with our brethren. “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). James, the inspired writer instructed, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).


The apostle realized the purpose of his thorn and did not become bitter at God. The intent of the problem was to keep him humble in his work and life. Likewise, we can follow Paul’s example of humility and realize the purpose God has for allowing us to be tried and tested. Romans 8:28 still says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Remember, God allows us to be the victim of tragedies and various events to keep our perspective clear. Thus, we will always have a healthy appreciation of Him and of our need of Him.


Paul was persistent in living the Christian life. When he faced an obstacle in the way, he looked to God for an answer. He prayed to God “thrice” that the obstacle might be removed (II Corinthians 12:8). Likewise, we should possess this persistent spirit in living for Christ! The exhortative words of our Lord are definitely applicable here, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (read Matthew 7:7-8).


Notice II Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul said concerning his thorn in the flesh and other problems, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” These statements remind us of Paul’s uncanny faith in God to be content in whatever state he found himself. He gloried in anything that drew him closer to his heavenly Father. He was in prison for Christ’s sake when he wrote, “Not that I speak in respect of want: For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Likewise, in doing the will of Christ from the heart we should also learn to be content in all that God allows to happen to us, the good and the “bad.” Philippians 2:14 says it this way, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”


The definition of the word “buffet” in II Corinthians 12:7 means, “to smite in the face.” Paul allowed himself to be buffeted by God and thus figuratively to be slapped in the face. He actually appreciated God chastening him for the purpose of keeping him sober-minded and contrite in living for the Master. Should we then resist the Father’s chastening of us that we might be humbled and safe from the pseudo elevation of pride? Paul had many talents and abilities and so may you, but the chastening rod that kept him humble and useful in the work of Christ can do the same for you (read Hebrews 12:5ff).


Paul is to be admired because he accepted God’s will, that the thorn would be with him for the rest of his earthly life. Imagine absorbing a literal thorn in your hand while picking blackberries. After pulling on the thorn for hours you finally face the fact that you must live with that brier for the rest of your life! This was the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). Paul had the submissive attitude of Jesus, the supreme example, as Jesus poured out his heart to God in prayer: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Likewise, as the song the church sings says we should truly mean: “have thine own way, Lord.”


Paul was “troubled on every side” (read II Corinthians 4:8-11). Earlier he had written, “We are fools for Christ’s sake” (I Corinthians 4:10). May we be willing to live godly and suffer on His behalf. The New Testament Christian is to be like Epaphroditus, who “for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life” (Philippians 2:30). May we confess Christ with obedient lives (Matthew 10:32-33).


Paul learned that when he was “weak” he could be made “strong” (II Corinthians 12:10). We also when weak should engage in prayer to God as did Paul and find our strength in Him.


The great apostle gloried in anything that forced him to walk closer to God and Christ. Notice II Corinthians 12:9 where he exclaimed, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Likewise, brethren, if we wish to have a closer walk with God we are destined to learn the lesson that Paul learned, i.e., that problems, necessities and persecutions are to drive us to our knees in prayer to God! This type of prayer will travel far beyond the top of our heads, our roofs and the clouds. Thus, may we grow up spiritually on our knees.


Paul sought to be Christ-powered instead of self-powered. Even though it was through the avenue of his painful thorn, i.e. the anxiety caused by it, he was glad to reach the “power of Christ.”

Should not the follower of Jesus Christ today covet and desire greatly the power of Christ, i.e., His word, the truth (John 8:32), to propel him through this life which is filled with traps and snares on every side? Then follow the example of the great apostle Paul and seek the power which is found in the gospel and through the struggles of living for King Jesus. Acts 14:22 pictures Paul’s preaching to the churches he had established: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” 


Gary L. Grizzell

Question: What is the effective way to win a friend to Christ?



Your desire to win a friend to Christ is a good one. The Bible says that, “he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). For you to win a soul to Christ these things must be present: 1) A prepared worker, 2) A pure seed, 3) An honest heart. Let’s look together at each of these.

A Prepared Worker

You must prepare yourself to teach a lost soul the good news of salvation. You need to be prepared with your head, your heart and your feet.

By a prepared head I refer to a proper and necessary knowledge of the gospel of Christ. You must know the plan of salvation and be able to open your New Testament and show your friend the passages he/she needs to see. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

By a prepared heart I refer to a good life. Be sure you are a New Testament Christian yourself and are living the faithful Christian life. “… let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity … sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (read 2 Timothy 2:19-21).

By prepared feet I refer to a willingness to go to that person and try to set up a Bible study time. “Go,” said Jesus (Matthew 28:19). You must be willing to simply ask the person if he would be willing to study the Bible with you. You may find this difficult. If so, practice with a loved one (or even in a mirror) what you will say before visiting your friend. Pray about your preparation. Jesus teaches his disciples to pray and the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person is meaningful to God (Matt. 26:41; Jas. 5:16).

When visiting with your friend you may approach it by simply asking your friend if he is interested in spiritual things and thereby open the door for a discussion along these lines. If there is a good response, seek at some point in the conversation to make an appointment to study the Bible in a more indepth and systematic way. Perhaps you could leave a Bible tract on a relevant subject with him/her to read before meeting again.

You may wish to involve an elder or a preacher (in addition to your own preparation) if you think that Bible questions may arise during the study which you think you may need some assistance in answering.

Have confidence. God has not given His children the spirit of fear; that comes from another source (see 2 Timothy 1:7). Remember, if you are a New Testament Christian this means you have obeyed the five steps of the plan of salvation. You can certainly tell you lost friend what you did to receive forgiveness of sins! Having Bible knowledge plus having a good life equals failure in evangelism unless one is willing to go and teach that knowledge. Go therefore!

A Pure Seed

“The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). Jesus compared the teacher of God’s Word to a sower who went forth to sow seed (Matthew 13:3-8). The seed is the message and the different kinds of ground represent the different conditions of hearts which men possess. Most hearts among accountable persons are like the stony ground, the thorny ground and the way side ground, in that none of these grounds successfully received the seed. These are compared to those who do not love the truth of God’s Word. Only one kind of ground in the parable which Jesus told successfully received the seed and that was the good soil ground. The good soil ground received the seed and became fruitful. This represents those who have good hearts and will choose to be receptive to the Word of God. Obviously then, the seed (the message) must be the pure, unadulterated gospel of Christ, the New Testament (see Rom. 1:16-17; 2 John 9-11; Acts 2:42; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 8:6; Jude 3).

To teach your friend the truth from the Bible is your goal. You will not, therefore, teach him the false, uninspired doctrines of mere men, but you will prove all things from the New Covenant of Christ with regard to how to become a child of God. Jesus condemned teaching the doctrines of men, saying, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). All are commanded to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

When you teach your friend the pure message salvation you will show him from the New Testament what one must do to be saved, as follows:

1. Hear the gospel — John 20:30-31; Rom. 10:17.

2. Believe — Rom. 1:16; Acts 18:8; Heb. 11:6.

3. Repent — Luke 13:3; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30.

4. Confess faith in Christ — Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10.

5. Be baptized (immersed) — Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 10:47-48; 22:16;
Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:21.

6. Continue faithful till (or if necessary, “unto” death) — Matt. 25:21, 34; 2 Peter 1:1-11; Rev. 2:10; Heb. 6:1; I John 1:6-9; Rev. 22:17.

An Honest Heart

God has done His part by the giving of His Son and the gospel of salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The honest heart is necessary on the part of your friend if he/she is to successfully receive the seed of the Word of God. Remember the parable of the sower and the class of persons the good soil represents? (Matt. 13:3-8). The good soil ground represents that class of persons who love the truth. Your good question asked about how you might win your friend to Christ, that is, “the effective way in winning a friend.” If you as a teacher do your part in teaching (with proper preparation and attitude), then it is really left up to the lost person (your friend) as to whether or not he will allow himself to be won to the Lord. Man is a free moral creature, meaning that God made man with the freedom of choice (free will). A sinner can chose to be saved or choose to reject the gospel. Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine … ” (John 7:17).

Do your part and then pray for your friend to choose to have a love of the truth of God’s Word. In God’s mind, if you have been a faithful teacher, you will be successful as a teacher independent of your friend’s response. This is true in that God does not hold the Christian teacher responsible for the hearer’s response. It is God who adds to His church and He only adds those who obey Him (read Acts 2:36-41, 47).

On the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter two, these three elements are seen: 1) A prepared worker (the apostle Peter), 2) A pure seed (the Word of God which Peter preacher), 3) Honest hearts (about 3,000 gladly received the message and were baptized, Acts 2:41). When your friend responds to the preaching of the deity, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the plan for the remission of sins as these about 3,000 did, then he will be won to the Lord. Satan will have lost control of another soul and Christ will have won another soul for an eternity in heaven, provided that souls remains faithful until death.

Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if your friend chooses to reject the pure gospel of Christ. Many will reject heaven and choose rather to walk that broad road of convenience into an everlasting hell (Matt. 7:13-14). Note the importance in personal responsibility in the following passages: Eph. 2:8-9; James 2:24; Rom. 2:6; Acts 2:40 – “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

Much more could be said about different methods of approach in teaching the gospel. Scriptural methods include but are not limited to the following methods: tract evangelism, radio, television, Bible correspondence courses, Bible video (or filmstrips), internet, gospel meetings, lectureships, vacation Bible school, and others. However, (generally speaking) no matter what method one uses in teaching the gospel to a lost soul, the bottom line is that there must be a time for sitting down together, face-to-face, with an open Bible. Remember that the power is in the seed, not in the sower. (Heb. 4:12; Rom. 1:16).

Modern day expedients in teaching the gospel are beneficial to us only when we use these and not allow these to use us. Understanding the importance of simply being obedient, loving, prepared workers is the reason the early Christians could say that they had preached the gospel to every creature in their day! (Rom. 1:18; Col. 1:6, 23). They did this without the modern means of technology we have today. We may be thankful and use today’s advanced methods but the bottom line is that eventually we must arrange a face-to-face Bible study with the lost person.

There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. When a man dies, his souls drops off into eternity where time shall be no more. We must then all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). We should seek to teach these things to our fellowman, relatives and friends. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and his followers will do the same (Luke 19:10; I Pet. 2:21 – Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”).

In order to win a friend (or foe) to Christ, the real question one must ask himself is this: Am I willing to pay to price necessary in order to prepare myself to teach my friend the saving gospel?

— Gary L. Grizzell


Who or What should be the final authority regarding the most important issues of life?


This is an excellent question. To answer it one must first seek to identify the
important issues of life. The Bible gives us a knowledge of the existence of God, creation, Jesus Christ, salvation, heaven and hell. It gives us a knowledge of God’s will for us (Eph. 5:17). The Word of God frees us from sin and all its evil
consequences which reach out to grab and destroy us. It frees us from the power of sin (Col. 1:13-14). It frees us from the pollution of sin, that is, guilt and fear (2 Tim. 1:7). It frees us from the pleasure of sin (Heb. 10:25). It frees us from the old man of sin (Rom. 6:3-4). It offers us heaven where we will be free from the presence of all sin.

The Bible tells man of his origin, his purpose of existence, and his destiny (Gen. 1:1; Eccl. 12:13- 14; 2 Cor. 5:10). The Bible is the only book that
deals sufficiently with the subject of death (Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:1-6, 19; Rom. 5:12; 6:23).

The same book which answers these significant questions also teaches that God pleased when men seek authority only from Him in His word with reference to salvation, Christianity and religion. This is the case since, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God is displeased when men either add to or subtract from His word (see
Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:5-6 & Rev. 22:18-19). Men must not tamper with God’s written revelation from Heaven. In every age since the beginning of the world, God has required men to recognize His authority. To those who lived under the Law of Moses, it is written, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). In the New Testament Age in which we now live, God’s inspired word commands, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). Therefore, men today must have a book, chapter and verse from the New Testament of Christ for
whatever they teach or practice with regard to salvation. We are to abide in the doctrine of Christ if we expect to have a saving relationship with God the Father (2 John 9). In view of this fact, someone who respected Bible authority once stated, “Let us speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.” Another correctly stated, “In the Bible there are facts to be believed, commands to be obeyed, and promises to be enjoyed.” These statements are in harmony with the teaching of Colossians 3:17.

Accepting God’s standard of truth by which we live and seek eternity with God, we must reject the false standards which men seek to impose upon us today. Some of these faulty, unauthorized standards are: feelings, human wisdom, conscience only, dreams, personal experiences, false traditions, and false “gospels.” In place of giving priority to feelings, study (2 Tim. 2:15); in place of human wisdom, get God’s wisdom (I Cor. 1:18-25); in place of the conscience
only, educate your conscience by the word of God (Acts 9:1-2; 23:1; John 8:31-32); in place of socalled modern-day miraculous dreams, accept only the meaning of the recorded miraculous dreams of certain ones in the first century (Acts 2:17; I Cor. 13:8-10); in place of personal experiences, let us appreciate the testimony of the Lord (Rev. 1:9; 6:9); in place of false gospels, let us accept the one and only gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). May we let Christ be the authority in our lives today by hearing, believing and obeying His teaching. In so doing, we may expect Him to receive us at the last day, taking us into heaven where we shall live eternally in joy and peace (read John 14:1-3).


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