“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward,” (2 John 8).Let us suppose that you have just signed a five year professional sports contract for 50 million dollars. Let’s also suppose that the team attached an incentive clause to the contract of an additional five million for each year that you batted over .290 as a hitter. At the end of three years you maintained a .300 average every year and so you were able to collect the additional five million each year. But now you are in your fourth year and you haven’t been hitting as well. You are getting lazy at practice, leaving early and not showing up at times. You haven’t been working on the fundamentals of baseball and you are not focused on the game. You eke out the rest of the season with a mediocre performance and just make a .250 batting average. As you go in to talk to your agent, he says, “I talked to the team and they said that because of your subpar performance this year, you will not receive the 5 million performance incentive.” What is your reaction to the news? I dare say that there are many Christians in this scenario spiritually because they have been letting things slip.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” ( Hebrews 2:1 ).Their time spent in God’s Word each day and night is slipping which is affecting their faith in the promises of God. Their ebbing faith in the promises of God is causing them to pray less, thereby taking away the power of the prayer of faith. Their deficiency in prayer is producing less dependence upon the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit’s power is missing in the believer’s life because of sin that is unconfessed. Their attendance at church is slipping and certain services or Sunday school is treated as less important.
At the end of the day, the honest Christian must realize that he doesn’t deserve the full reward from the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment seat of Christ based on poor recent performance. Christ wants to give us that full reward for our daily faithfulness to him from the time we were saved to the moment we die. But if we get lazy or lose faith and fail to make disciples and to teach “them all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” then we have to realize we won’t receive the “full reward.”
We must admit that based on the promises in the Scriptures, the full reward from the hand of Christ will be worth it all. This full reward may be a greater position of service in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 25), a fuller joy with little to no regret in the first phase of heaven (1 Cor. 3:11-15), another crown to cast at Jesus feet (Rev 4:10) or another soul to rejoice with in heaven based on our personal witnessing. God gave us these warnings so that we would realize that we are running a race and fighting for the prize so that we could war a good warfare. We can war this warfare only by our obedience to the prophecies of the Bible.
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare,” (1 Tim 1:18).I have noticed that many self-proclaimed fundamentalist bloggers, including many Sharper Iron contributors, write whole articles on many diverse topics and fail to put in even one Scripture reference or even an allusion to Scripture when stating their point or their assessment of a book in a book review. There are, however, in those same articles, many references to a professor’s opinion or to other books written on the subject. Dr. Kevin Bauder always puts a classical Christian poem about Christ at the end of his blog posts. The poem has nothing to do with the subject matter that he just stated. Does a poem (not even about the subject) or a professor’s writing about the topic discussed give weight to any argument? I would argue no. Do applicable supporting Scripture references and Bible quotes give weight? Yes! If we want to be the iron that “sharpeneth” (Prov 27:17) then we need to have the weight of the iron of the Sword of the Spirit behind us. Otherwise we are dulling the Christian’s blade instead of sharpening it. Let’s use the professor’s opinion as it agrees with the Bible. Let’s use a Christian writing as it agrees with the Scriptures with the topic we are addressing.
Dr. Bauder recently posted an article on “The Heart of the Life of Prayer” in which he used 23 references to Scripture in one article. There are more Scripture references in that one article than he had in his entire 24 part Now, About Those Differences series (Footnote Lou Martuneac). Why can’t Dr. Bauder and others in the self-proclaimed fundamentalist fold use the same amount of Scriptures or even 1/8 of the 23 verses to support their statements concerning separation and their view of fundamentalism. I contend that it is because the Scriptures don’t support what they are saying. There was a dissection of Amos 3:3 on the Sharper Iron blog a little while back in the comments section.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed,” ( Amos 3:3).The persons commenting on it were saying that it was not really talking about separation. They lamented how this often quoted verse did not apply to separation in their opinion. So they proceeded to try to comment on the verse with the verses following. They tried to prove that this was “just another verse that those old-fashioned fundamentalists and their forefathers pulled out of context.”
Let us examine the two verses leading up to it. Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
How can the Lord walk together with us as His people in the Church Age Dispensation when we tolerate sin in our lives, our families and our churches? He was saying to the children of Israel that He could not walk together with them anymore because of their sin. They were a faithless, idolatrous people.
Let’s get back to believing fully in the Scriptures for what it says as Dr. Kevin Bauder stated in the article on prayer. He said, “This process of living with Jesus involves several elements: His words live in believers, who must keep His words (obey His commandments), and love Him.” Let us keep His words to the “jot and tittle” by continually stating them as we contend for the faith and build the work of God at the same time. That will be the antidote to the current widespread plague of doubt about God’s Word that is afflicting the Biblical fundamentalist community and fundamental Baptists in particular.
So why is there this continued pattern in many conservative evangelical/fundamentalist blogs to stick to just what man thinks about a certain topic? I think it is because they don’t have verses in the Scriptures to back up their certain contentious or challenging point of view that they are currently trying to press. As Christians, we are not bound to adopt someone’s point of view regarding any area of life if they do not have Scripture to support their position.
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue,” (2 Peter 1:3 ).The Scriptures are the sole basis of spiritual knowledge of “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” So why are we trying to answer life’s questions outside of God’s answers? Let us put the weight of our argument with God and not with ourselves. We will then study the Scriptures and be meditating in it “day and night.” Our prayer life will be revived and the Holy Spirit will be able fill us once again with power as we are fully surrendered to Him and the Word of God.
Northfield Baptist Church