Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

Mount
Baker
Beacon

Volume 03, Number 02
01/14/2024

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY

Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

Web site: Mt. Baker church
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Editor......John Bass


 

In this issue:


PEN KNIFE RELIGION
Charles Hicks

"And it came to pass that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the pen knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth" (Jeremiah 36:23).
 
Words that the Lord has spoken against Israel and Judah through Jeremiah have been recorded in,a scroll (Jer. 36:1). These words are read to the people in Jeremiah 36:10-19. King Jehoiakim hears about this and now commands Jeduhi to get the scroll and read the words to him. As Jehudi reads, the king becomes furious at what he is hearing and with a pen knife begins to cut up the scroll, tossing it into the fire. King Jehoiakim must have foolishly thought he could take a knife and just cut out of God's word anything he didn't like or disagreed with so he practiced pen knife religion.
 
Tragically, penknife religion is the curse of our day. Countless numbers of people think they can simply cut out of God's word anything they don't like or disagree with. All those people who practice pen knife religion would do well to consider diligently Luke 6:46. "Why do you call me. 'Lord, Lord', and do not do what I say?" And how about the words of Jesus spoken in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord. Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is heaven will enter." Many are the people who say they are followers of Christ when in reality they only follow his steps when those steps go where they want to go. Encountering a commandment they don't like or one they disagree with or one they just don't want to follow, they grab that knife and begin cutting away. God says but I believe, is a phrase many people are living by, all the while expecting to be saved eternally-it won't happen. Practicing pen knife religion will only lead to one day hearing, "I never knew you; Depart From Me, You Who Practice Lawlessness" Matt. 7:23).

I do not want to be known as an extremist or a fanatic but neither do I want to be known as a spineless creature standing for nothing. Having said that, I do not believe you can stand fast in the faith and have some kind of pen knife religion accepting what you like and cutting out what you don't like (Jer. 36:23). Those who dare do this show nothing but contempt for God's word.
 
Standing fast in the faith means to embrace, believe and put into practice with zeal and enthusiasm everything that God has said whether it be his plan for saving us or his plan for remaining saved. This rules out adding to or taking from his word. It rules out compromising any of his word. It rules out substituting man's word for his word (Proverbs 30:5-6, Rev. 22:18-19, Gal. 1:6-9, 2 John 9).
 
Standing fast in the faith means being unmovable when it comes to the word of God. You either believe it or you don't. You accept all that is said in the inspired word as truth (2 Tim 3:16-17, John 8:32, 17:17) and do not attempt to insert your own feelings, thoughts or philosophies into it (Rom.10:1-3, Matt. 7:21-23, Luke 6:46-49). My friends, it does not matter what I think. What matters is what God says. If God says it, I believe it and that settles the matter for me. To God be the glory forever and ever!

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PREJUDICE OUTWEIGHS SCRIPTURE
Jim McDonald

Acts 21:32-33 records Paul falling into the hands of Roman authorities, just as the Holy Spirit had warned him he would (Acts 21:10-11). His enemies had seized him in the temple and called on others of like spirit to join them in beating Paul, inciting them with these words, “Men of Israel, help. This is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place, and moreover he brought Greeks also into the temple and hath defiled this holy place” (Acts 21:28). None of the charges against Paul were true. When wicked men set about to accomplish an evil purpose, they can’t be bothered with truth.

A Roman centurion sought to quell the uproar of the mob which he did by taking Paul into his custody. As he was leading Paul away, Paul asked the officer permission to speak to the people. Permission was granted and 22:1-21 contain the account of this address Paul made to his nation.

Despite the many wounds and bruises Paul carried from the recent encounter with his people, Paul never ceased attempting to convince them of the truth of the gospel he preached. Men of lesser character would, at that moment, have had little concern what happened to them, but not Paul. He had written earlier to the Roman church that he would wish himself anathema if that would save his nation (Romans 9:1-3). This effort to speak to his nation despite the malice and hatred they had already demonstrated toward him showed that Paul’s words he wrote to the Romans were truly his sentiments.

Paul began his address by referencing his life before he became a Christian. It is likely that his former life as a persecutor of Christians was already known to most who heard him. However what many may not have known was the reason why Paul “counted all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I suffer the loss of all things and do count them but refuge, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8).

Paul hoped, by reciting the account of the light “brighter than the noon-day sun” and the heavenly voice which asked, “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?” might have some bearing on his listeners. They did listen quietly as Paul told of his blindness, the visit of Ananias, and of the command to him “And now, why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16).

They continued to listen as Paul rehearsed his visit to Jerusalem after his conversion and how that soon after he arrived, he was in the temple and fell into a trance and saw Jesus saying, “Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me” (Acts 22:18). This was difficult for Paul to grasp. He thought that by rehearsing his former life and the reason why he had changed, his listeners might be persuaded to become as he was.

God knew His people better than Paul. He knew Paul would not have the influence he hoped to have. God knew they would view Paul as a “turncoat” so He told Paul, “Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21). Paul’s recital of God’s words was more than his listeners could bear: “… and they gave him audience unto this word and they lifted up their voice and said, away with such a fellow from the earth for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22). What set these off into such an uproar? The word “Gentile”.

The animosity these men had for Gentiles was a barrier Paul’s word could not breach. It did not matter that God had promised Abraham that “in his seed all nations would be blessed” (Genesis 17:8). It did not matter that Isaiah had written of a time when all the nations would flow into Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4). It did not matter that the psalmist had sang, “I will give praise unto the Gentiles” (Psalm 18:49), or
that Moses had written, “Rejoice ye Gentiles with his people” (Deuteronomy 32:43). It did not matter that Isaiah had written, “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles” (Isaiah 11:10) and, “There shall be the root of Jesse, and he that ariseth to rule over the Gentiles; on Him shall the Gentiles hope” (Isaiah 17:1). This mob could not recognize that God loved the Gentiles and provided the same blessings for them as He provided to the Jews in His Son. The prejudice of these Jews toward the Gentiles outweighed anything the Scriptures might say. Do we hold such prejudice toward any man today?

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Created by John Bass, last updated.  01/17/2024

The Mount Baker Beacon is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149 or johnbass2468@gmail.com