Monday, August 8, 2022

Figurative vs Literal Language and the Lord's Supper



“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28

    One of the most significant sources of confusion in Bible interpretation is when individuals will interpret figurative language as literal. Webster’s Dictionary defines figurative language like this: “Figurative language refers to words or phrases that are meaningful, but not literally true.” In addition.  We might think of this by simple expressions in the Bible. The church is the body of Christ as we spoke of last Sunday (Eph 1:22-23, 4:4. 5:23). Should we interpret the church as the literal, physical body of Christ? Do we transform into Jesus when we follow him? If so, what happens when I sin against God? I want to illustrate this point by speaking about a variety of errors that come from taking language which is clearly figurative literally. 

Is it Literally Flesh and Blood?

The Roman Catholic religion teaches the doctrine of Transubstantiation. During the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper/Communion), their belief is that the bread and the wine is transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ. This belief is derived from Matthew 26:26-28.  We can answer this by asking some serious questions. When Jesus said this is my body, did He literally hold His flesh in His hands? Did He drain His literal blood from His veins into the cup? If we were to take this literally, then His blood was shed prior to the cross and His body was already given. Furthermore, Jesus said the cup was the blood of the new covenant. Was the cup literally the New Testament? If it was, it was not literal blood. 

What Does This Teaching Imply?

Jesus used figurative language often; the Bible contains prophetic language that describes figures. Jesus used the figure of bread to describe Himself in John 6:51, “1 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” Was Jesus literal bread? No, He was not. Yet, Christ said in John 6:56, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him.” To suggest that Jesus intended for anyone in His time or thereafter to drink blood and eat flesh is to say that Christ called brethren to do things forbidden  (drink blood, Acts 15:28-29). It also makes Jesus a teacher of cannibalism. In another instance, the Lord says, “And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body go into hell” Matt. 5:30). If people took the entire Bible as literal, we would have a lot more amputated religious folk in this world. 

The True, Literal Purpose of Communion

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial in which we come together to remember the death of our Lord. We remember that He gave His body and blood for the remission of our sin. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:26).  We must not miss the literal purpose of this act of worship because of the figurative language used by the Lord to describe it. 

Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers 


Thursday, July 28, 2022

I Am So Busy!

 


  

 “I am so busy,” I said. I have this habit of letting life push me around with the various things that have to be done. Then I remembered that God has called busy men throughout all of time. I remembered that busyness nor tasks are an excuse to the Lord God. 

“Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb” (Ex. 3:1)

    God called Moses, who was busy with the flocks of his father in law. It sure would have been easier to keep his eyes to the ground, keep his eyes on only the sheep and not the burning bush.  He could have said, “No, too busy.” However, he looked and listened and the children of Abraham received a great prophet. 

“And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he is keeping the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither” (1 Sam 16:12).” 

    David was busy looking after his father’s sheep. Yet Samuel was looking for God’s annointed. David could have ignored the call. He could have been insubordinate because he was busy with his work. However, he listened and came to the house. Israel received a king after God’s own heart. 

“And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence (Neh 2:1).” 

    Nehemiah was busy bearing the king’s winecup. He could have turned his frown into a smile as he did his job. He could have held it to himself. However, he prayed to God and then talked to the king about the source of his displeasure. Judah received a great project manager to see to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. 

“And as Jesus passed by from thence, he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting at the place of toll: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him (Matt. 9:9).”

    Matthew was collecting taxes at the booth. He had a good job, and likely a little extra revenue on the side. He could have stayed at the booth. However, he heard the call of the Savior and followed Him. The church received an Apostle. 

    What is keeping you busy? Is your job making you too busy to assemble with the saints? Talk to your boss. Evaluate your job. Is your life so busy that you can’t find the time to obey the Gospel? Do you know that if you died today, your soul would be lost? Would work, friends, time, or anything that makes you too busy matter if you died now? No, if the Lord does not return, life will go on as it has. However, eternity is just that, eternal. It is forever. Do not fail to follow the Lord and obey the Gospel. There is no telling what good you can do in service to the Lord. Will you be received into His kingdom? Jesus was not too busy to lay down His life for you. 


Grace and Peace, 


R.D. Beavers  


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

To Whom Shall We Go?



 “Jesus said therefore unto the twelve, Would ye also go away?  Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." 

John 6:68 

Peter asked, “to whom shall we go?” He said this out of conviction and certainty that there was no other one to go to receive the words of eternal life. From that time onward men have tried to go elsewhere to receive the words of eternal life and none have been successful. Please examine a few examples with me. 

Moses

Moses was a great a mighty man of God. By the power of God, Moses led the people of Israel out of the land of bondage. The Law of the Old Covenant was delivered unto him at Sinai. Yet Moses died. Before he died, let us recall that Moses prophesied of a new prophet. “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deut 18:15).” The very law which Moses was given was for a certain time and a certain group of people. Galatians 3:19 reads, “ What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.”  Men can not go to Moses for the final word of eternal life. 

John the Immerser

John the Immerser was a wonderful and godly man who fulfilled his purpose. His purpose was however, preparatory. It is written,  “They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 

 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet (John 1:22-23).” John was dead when Jesus promised to build the New Testament church (cf. Matt 14:10, 16:18). Some who had received John’s baptism received it after the establishment of the New Covenant and were thus baptized into Christ (cf. Acts 19:1-5). Men cannot go to John the Immerser for the final word of eternal life.

Your Preacher

  A true preacher may teach, strengthen, and admonish you, but he is but a man. That preacher will one day die if the Lord tarries, just like Moses, and John the Immerser. The preacher, no matter how sound he is, has no authority on his own. Over time, people have attached themselves to preachers. Denominations are the result of those who have followed men. Paul wrote,  Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul (1 Cor 1:12-13) ?” There is no preacher, past, present or future that has the final word of eternal life on his own. 

Christ

To whom shall we go? Chist is the only answer. Why? God has spoken through his Son (Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus has all authority. It is written, “And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18).  Christ exclusively has the words of eternal life (John 6:68, 14:6). Christ is the Messiah, Christ is the Standard, Christ is the only way to Salvation. 


Grace and Peace. 

R.D. Beavers 


Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Law of Jealousy is Not Abortion Numbers 5:11-31

 


And when he hath made her drink the water, then it shall come to pass, if she be defiled, and have committed a trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her and become bitter, and her body shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.  And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.  Numbers 5:27-28

A very valuable question was brought to me regarding Numbers 5 this last week. It appears that some individuals have been using Numbers 5 as an apparent license to have abortions. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, what we find here is yet another example of God’s Divine provision that He has made to care for His people. 

The situation described starting in Numbers 5:11 is in reference of a husband that suspects his wife of committing adultery but cannot prove it. The Law states there must be proof. “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death” (Deut. 17:6). The Law dictates that the punishment for adultery is death. “And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10). When we consider this charge, it is one with serious consequences. Jehovah is full of wisdom, righteousness, and holiness. He knew that at times these accusations/suspicions might be totally unfounded. The danger in such accusations is that if a husband suspected his wife of being unfaithful he might resort to violence to deal with her infidelity. The danger is clear that a man is stronger physically and could potentially kill his wife in a rage, even if she was innocent. So God created a test. 

If a man supposed his wife to be unfaithful, he would take her to the priest. She would offer the meal offering of jealousy (Num 5:15). The priest will mix holy water with dust of the tabernacle floor. He will make her take an oath saying that she has not committed adultery. (Num 5:16-21). This mixture was not harmful to the human body and certainly not a form of chemical abortion as some have suggested. Rather, it is God who will enact the curse on a woman who lies. She is instructed to agree with the statement if it be true. If she lies, God will enact a curse. What is the curse?

If she is lying, she will be cursed among her people. The Lord will show this because the concoction she drank will cause her to swell and her thigh will rot (cf. Num 5:27).The Word of God tells us there will be physical showing of the curse. It says nothing about a miscarriage or anything of the like in the text. What will occur is her body will swell and her thigh will rot. She will be barren.  This is the curse that God will enact. You will physically be able to tell she is lying by the curse. Moreover,  the following verse tells us that if she is not defiled, she will conceive seed (cf. Num 5:28). If she is innocent she will bear children, if she is not innocent, she will not. 

One of the most beautiful things we can observe is that God has put these provisions to protect those who could easily be discriminated against. God is not just pro-woman, He is pro-human! Righteous men keep the law of the Lord. God required two to three witnesses for a capital punishment case. If that was not possible but a husband suspected his wife of adultery, there was a process to find the truth and not give the devil an opportunity to cause sin where there might not be any. We are not under the law of Moses (Col 2:14, Heb 12:24, Gal 2:21) but the value of human life is clearly seen in Numbers 5 as with the rest of the Scriptures. 


Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers 


Monday, July 11, 2022

Love's Direction

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

    Love is such a great and powerful force in our lives. The greatest love this world has ever known is that which our Heavenly Father has shown to us. That He sent His Son to redeem the lost and that through the system of faith we should not perish but have eternal life. God had clear intentions when He extended that love toward us. We, too, can learn that our love must be intentional because love without direction can be dangerous. 

Love of the World

    Be not mistaken, this is not the love of our neighbors/enemies (Matt 5:43-48) that we are talking about. This is the love of the world that is warned against in John 12:42-44 where many of the rulers believed Jesus but would not confess Him because the cost would be too great.  Love of the world will make us afraid, ineffective, and ultimately lost. This is the seed that is sown among the thorns that become choked with the cares of the world (cf. Matt 13:22). This is similar to our next misdirected love. 

The Love of Money

    The love of money can be a great source of derailment in our faith. A love of money takes us off the place where our true treasures are, heaven (cf. Matt 16:19-21). The love of money has been a source of destruction for a number of brethren throughout the ages. Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. Joseph's brethren sold him to Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. Ananias and Sapphira lied unto the Holy Spirit because of the love of money. 

The love of Pleasure

    There are many reasons that men cite for avoiding assembling with the saints (cf. Heb 10:24-25). It might be a sports game, a day out on the lake, or even work (some people get great pleasure from their wages). Unless you are physically unable to attend, you have no valid excuse. This applies when you are on vacation. When planning a trip you should make a plan on where you will worship. If you worry about finding a sound congregation where you are traveling, do your research, ask me and I can help. What it comes down to is this: do you love the Lord? Then you must keep His commands (cf. John 14:15). When our love is properly directed, we rejoice in assembling together, putting the Lord first every first day of the week

The Love of Preeminence

    John wrote, “I wrote somewhat unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not”  3 John 9. A misdirected love will seek to glorify oneself. However, if we want to be faithful, our love must seek to give all glory to God (cf. 1 Cor 3:6). Some men will desire to have a focus on themselves and thus will not heed the direction of love our God has given unto us. A love that makes us let go of self and give glory to God. 

    It is my hope that today you will consider the direction of your love and ensure it is toward God and your neighbor. 

Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers

Sunday, July 3, 2022

70,000 Victims of Pride



“And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring me word, that I may know the sum of them.” 1 Chron 21:1-2


This week marks the end of our series over sins of pride. I felt it necessary to speak about one example of pride in our Bibles to show how our pride affects others. 1 Chronicles 21 gives us the account of when Satan influenced David to number Israel. From the account, we read we can safely ascertain that pride was the chief influence. 

David had plenty of experience that would help him to steer clear of the temptation of pride. In 1 Samuel 31, the Philistines killed King Saul, but 1 Chron 10:14 indicates that it was Jehovah who slew Saul. How and why did God slay Saul? He made the determination to remove His anointing and hedge of protection because Saul had trespassed against Him (cf 10:13). On another occasion, David had been witness to the sudden death of Uzzah for touching the ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6:7). Moreover, David should have been used to not getting all he wanted because God had denied him the opportunity to build the temple (2 Sam 7). With all of these examples, why did David leave room for pride? We need to ask the same questions ourselves.

If we have such a great list of examples in the Scriptures, why do we still make room for the sin of pride? Today’s sermon is on the consumption of alcohol. This sermon will challenge our modern thinking, as the previous topics of abortion, modesty, and homosexuality have. We must consider that our response to Biblical teaching on a subject not only has an effect on our own souls but also on those of the ones we influence. 

When David numbered the people the result might have assured him of his military might, but look at what the result was on the people. 70,000 men of Israel died. Without a single spear thrown, or arrow shot, 70,000 died (1 Chron 21:17;26). 70,000 men were victims of the pride of 1. When you say things like, “everything in moderation is permissible”, think about how many lives and souls are eternally changed because of a little moderation. Pride is a threat to all souls, and if our hearts are truly concerned with all souls, we will not let our pride threaten any.  


Grace and Peace, 


R.D. Beavers 


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Love is Greater Than Fear



“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:16-18

Are you ever afraid? I think we all have answered yes during certain seasons of our lives. Fear is certainly one of the most effective tools of Satan. He uses fear to control men. He uses fear to propagandize men. He uses fear to keep Christians from being faithful. Fear realistically disables our ability to love God, and we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of living in fear rather than living in Christ’s love. 

Fear is the antithesis of love. The ideas stand over and against each other like David and Goliath facing off before battle (1 Sam. 17). David was a young man standing before a man with far more experience. David, however, would not let fear stop him from standing up for his faith in the LORD God. David understood personally what John would write later, "God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him (cf. 1 John 4:16)."  David had pitched his tent with the Lord. He knew His deliverance, he knew His power, he knew His love. The only way that David would be able to stand up against the giant was to trust in the veracity of God’s perfect love.

    David also knew that there was no room for fear in love, but just as he cast the stone that struck Goliath, fear must be cast out by perfect love. John wrote, “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).”  Perfect love is complete,  a love that has reached its desired aim. 

    In Christ, God's perfect love is lived out in how we respond to everything we encounter. Perfect love will yield obedience, zealousness, determination, and a rejection of the fear with which Satan seeks to afflict us. Let us all resolve to be perfected in the love of the LORD.


Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers


Figurative vs Literal Language and the Lord's Supper

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. A...