When Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    When Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

    There are many people who claim to be Christians. They attend local churches, join in church activities, and may even be some of the most active members of the local church. However if you were to look closely at these people they are anything but Christian. These folks put on their Sunday morning face at church but the rest of the week, when they are not at church, they behave in horrible ways. Now I am not talking about people involved in immorality or something like that (though that happens). Rather I am talking about people who appear to be nice and Christian on the surface but when you get to know them they are very ugly indeed.

    I know several people like this. One lady I can think of has everyone in her church fooled. She plays the role of the little old church widow very well. However everyone in the neighborhood knows how mean the woman is. This is mainly true for those of us who grew up around her. In fact she was my best friend's grandmother. So I got a up-close view of her behavior.

    What about people like this? Well the Bible actually has alot to say about this subject. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, attends church, and is active in the local church does not mean he/she is a Christian. Jesus said, "you will know them by their fruits" (Matt 7:20). In the context our Lord was talking about good fruit and bad fruit and how there are false prophets who appear to be sheep but who are really wolves (vs15-19). So how can we discern between the true sheep and the goats? By their fruit. Look at the fruit of their lives.

    Paul wrote an entire section on fruit in Galatians chapter 5.

    "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:" vs19a

    Now Paul is getting ready to describe, in broad terms, the fruit of the flesh. That is he is going to describe how the person who is living in the flesh may behave.

    "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forwarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God" vss 19b-21

    This describes the lifestyle of the one who is controlled by the flesh. Those who practice sin prove that they are not Christians. O, they may play the game. They may even look the part on the surface. But if their lives are consistantly bearing fruits such as disputes, factions, strife, and such, it proves that they are in the flesh. Such people "cannot please God" (Rom 8:8). In fact Scripture teaches that they have set their minds on the things of the flesh and the result of that is death (Rom 8:6). They are "hostile toward God" and cannot submit to God (Rom 8:7).

    This is a dark picture. However as Jesus Himself said, "a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit" (Matt 7:18). The tense Jesus uses in verse 27 ("bears") indicates that, like Paul, Jesus is talking about the pattern of a person's life. If a person is always the cause of strife (etc) then that is bad fruit and proves that they are a bad tree.

    Someone may say, but they claim to be a Christian. They even know their Bible and teach Sunday School. Worse yet this person is a deacon! That all maybe true but keep in mind what Paul said:

    "They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed" Titus 1:16 (see also 1John 2:1-6).

    Returning to Galatians Paul now gives the fruit of the good tree. The fruit of the life devoted to God. The results of the saved life. The result of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (see Rom 8:9-13).

    "But the fruit of the Spirit" vs22

    Here Paul contrasts the fruit of the flesh (vss19-21) with the fruit of the Spirit (vss22-24).

    "is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." vss 22-23

    That is a stark contrast with the description of the person who is living in the flesh (vss19-21). The lifestyle of the Spirit filled believer is one of victory over sin. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes His presence known. His presence is known by the fruit of the life. That fruit Paul describes above. It is the fruit of the life that is totally given over to God (vs24).

    I am not saying that we should be "fruit inspectors" on other people. Far from it! We should examine ourselves first and foremost. What kind of fruit does our lives produce? That is the question.

    What I have done in this post, hopefully, is to provide an answer to the important question: Why are there hypocrites in the church? The answer is very simple. They are there because not everyone who is involved in the local church is saved. We know this by their fruits.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  2. Helen

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    Good post, Martin. That lady, and others like her are, what I think, the writer to the Hebrews was talking about in 6:4-6. They know the stuff, they have experienced the fellowship and the blessings, etc. But they have spent their church lives resisting it, and thus are 'crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace,' precisely because they claim to be Christian and their lives are....what they are.
     
  3. npetreley

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    I definitely know what you mean. I know of a woman who had all the top 40 praise and worship songs memorized, cried and trembled when she sang them, held Beth Moore Bible studies, all while having a several year affair with a co-worker - even while his wife was trying to reconcile their marriage.

    Several people at the church knew what was going on and said and did nothing.

    It was Baptist "chick church" in Missouri. I call it this because basically all the pastor cared about was making sure the women in the church "felt good". Sunday evening "worship" was nothing more than a big Kumbaya session, with him and his buddy strumming their guitars while the almost all-women attendees got high on the top 40 praise songs.

    I confronted the pastor about all these things but he not only couldn't care less, he even preached a sermon about how what he was doing was a *good* thing.

    I fled both the church and the area.
     
  4. Craigbythesea

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    Heb. 6:4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
    5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
    6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (NASB, 1995)

    Anyone who carefully reads Hebrews 6:4-6 can see immediately that the Christians being described there were true Christians who subsequently fell away from the Christian faith. Indeed, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews has given to us the most detailed description that we find anywhere in the Bible of what a true Christian is, using the vocabulary and the phraseology used in the early church to describe the Christian believer.

    The terminology and phraseology used in Heb. 6:4-6 was used in the very early church writings exclusively to describe Christian believers, and of course, a non-Christian cannot fall away (the expression used in the early Church for total apostasy from the Christian faith) and thereby become irrecoverably lost.

    Therefore we find no parallels in Heb. 6:4-6 and the persons being described in the opening post.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Frenchy

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    "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forwarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God" vss 19b-21

    again reminds me of my step daughter, who says she is saved but her life says something else.
    it isn't wrong to look for the wolves in sheeps clothing, i do remember Paul having to deal with them all the time, and so does the church today.
    Must be gentle and wise at the same time.
     
  6. Frenchy

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    I do not think that is what it is saying at all, just the opposite that they really were not christians in the first place.

    I have to leave for a few hours, maybe others can give a better interpetation for what this chapter is really saying. I have to do some research before i can go further. check in later
     
  7. Helen

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    Frenchy, Craig believes a Christian can lose his or her salvation and this Hebrews verse is one of the passages he uses to substantiate his claim. I know I cannot lose my salvation, so I know his ideas about that passage are wrong.
     
  8. Craigbythesea

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    Helen,

    Whether you personally could or could not lose your salvation is irrelevant to what Heb. 6:4-8 teaches.

    Heb. 6:4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
    5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
    6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
    7. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;
    8. but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
    9. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

    Up until the 16th century this passage was universally interpreted as teaching that a Christian could lose his salvation, and the large majority of Bible scholars today still hold to that position. Indeed, this passage of Scripture gives us the most detailed description of what it means to be saved that we find anywhere in the Bible.

    The phrase in verse 4, “those who have once been enlightened,” is a reference to water baptism. Indeed, Justin Martyr (died in 165 A.D.) wrote that the term “enlightenment” was used as a synonym for water baptism of converts to Christianity and he uses the term “the enlightened one” for a person who has been baptized. And the ancient Peshita Syriac translation of the Greek New Testament renders the phrase in verse 4, “who have gone down into baptism.”

    The phrase in verse 4, “have tasted of the heavenly gift,” was variously interpreted during the first 1500 years, but it was ALWAYS interpreted as describing a born-again Christian. Some, for example, saw it to be a reference to the Eucharist; others saw it to be a reference to the teaching of Christ in John 6:31-58. Still others saw it to be a reference to the forgiveness of sins; others saw it to be a reference to the blessings conferred upon the Christian believer.

    The phrase in verse 4, “and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,” is an obvious reference to receiving the Holy Spirit, something that, in the New Testament, happens EXCLUSIVELY to those who have been saved.

    The phrase in verse 5, “and have tasted the good word of God,” is a clear reference to the Christian’s experience of hearing the word of God preached and taught and the consequential experience of it in his life as a believer.

    The phrase in verse 5, “and the powers of the age to come,” is a reference to the miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other Christians as a foreshadowing of the kingdom to come, and to the other blessings that Christians experience now in part but shall experience in their fullness in the future kingdom.

    The phrase in verse 6, “and then have fallen away,” can be properly interpreted only to be speaking of falling from grace and the Christian faith, something that can NOT happen until AFTER a person is saved.

    The phrases in verse 6, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame,” tell us of the absolutely horrendous consequence of a Christian falling from grace, making the death of Christ on the cross for his sins to be of no effect. This passage expressly speaks of a person who has heard the Gospel, believed it, was saved and baptized, repented of his sins, and enjoyed the blessing of being a born-again Christian—but who subsequently chose to reject Christ and return to his sins. And the fate of such a person could not possibly be any worse—it is “impossible to renew them again to repentance.” Most obviously it is not impossible to renew an unsaved person to repentance if they have repented but not been born again and then fall back into sin. But the born-again Christian who, of his own free will, chooses to reject the Christ who redeemed him, this man or woman is beyond redemption and damned to the fires of hell for eternity.

    Because of the extremely severity of the word “impossible” in this verse, many early Christians rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews as not being a part of the New Testament Canon, but its place in the New Testament Canon is now solid and its warning is stern. Christians who fight tooth and nail to detract from the warning of this passage shall have the blood upon their hands of those who lose their salvation because they were told the warning did not apply to them and they got careless as a result.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Charles Meadows

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    I will again register my disagreement with this statement. Reading this passage one realizes that the description corresponds to church members - but it is not clear that these individuals were indwelled with the Spirit (tasted of the Spirit but not indwelled). Reading scripture as a whole, including Romans 5-8, 2 Pet 2:20-22, John 6 etc, one can make a good case that salvation cannot be lost.

    The issue of whether or not salvation can be lost is certainly debatable, although I think the answer is pretty clearly no. But I will object more to Craig's portrayal of this as "crystal clear"; it simply is not.
     
  10. Martin

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    Let's stay on subject and not get side-tracked with Hebrews 6. Ok?
     
  11. Linda64

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    Check the following link:

    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/48/977.html#000013

    I seriously doubt the veracity of ANY statement made by someone who believes:
    Eternal security is biblical.

    I heard this a few years ago--and it rings true to this thread:

    "Your walk talks and your talk walks; but your walk talks farther than your talk walks."
     
  12. Helen

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    Craig, until the sixteenth century the Catholics were determining what the verse meant and they had to rule by fear, which they still do! However there is no evidence the early church fathers believes salvation could be lost. Nor is that evidence in the words of Christ or the writers of the NT.

    If you look at the Greek in that passage in Hebrews, an interesting thing shows up. There is a period after '[if] they fall away.' The sentence is therefore reading that it is impossible for those who have been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift...to fall away. If they could, then repentence could only be achieved by crucifying the Son of God all over again.

    THAT is the meaning of the passage in the Greek.
     
  13. Gina B

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    Craig, when something doesn't line up with the rest of the Bible, we have to look at our interpretations. Numerous are the times in which we are told of eternal salvation. Eternal, if it can end, is not eternal. It's temporary. Nowhere is it said that the blood of Christ is temporary. The point of the pure Lamb instead of continuing animal sacrifices was for permanence.

    There are a few ways of interpreting Hebrews.
    One is yours, which put it in disagreement with other Scriptures.

    There is Helen's version, which does make sense.
    It falls into the context of the entire passage. These appear to be the seeds which do not produce, although they were planted. They know of God, but it doesn't make any real difference in their lives.

    Another way to look at it would be to see it as further assurance that salvation cannot be lost.

    For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    It may be saying that you cannot be saved twice. Christ will not be crucified again, it is shameful to believe that the Son of God was somehow insufficient and that one must be saved again. God isn't a liar. The work on the cross was sufficient, it was permanent, and it is a mockery to believe that it wasn't. If you fall away, as everyone does at times, you will return. The work was started in you, it will be completed.

    Whatever the case, you can see that there are a few ways of interpreting this particular chapter. That it is meant to refer to those who have heard and felt some degree of conviction, but refuse to fully act on it, seems to be the most logical. To say that it implies a loss of salvation is to accuse our Holy God of being untruthful, for eternal life is not eternal life if it isn't eternal, and He called it eternal life. Promised it.
     
  14. npetreley

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    I think the whole Hebrews 6 controversy can be put to rest by verse 9. (It won't be put to rest, because people don't like to give up their views no matter what, but IMO it should be put to rest by the first part of verse 9.)

    After all those warnings, the author says that "we are confident of better things concerning you -- things that accompany salvation" As opposed to what? Things that pertain to the people he was just talking about -- those without salvation.
     
  15. Helen

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    right. And my apologies for contributing to the sidetrack.

    Actions speak much louder than words. James said as much when he wrote:
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do and the following passage in James 2, started anywhere you want but the quote is from verse 18.

    One of the things that make many of us really upset is when we hear that a person would rather hire a pagan contractor than a Christian (calling himself that) one, because the Christians cheat and steal more and do more shoddy work. Their work is their witness to the world, and they will be called to account for that witness. We had that exact problem with our Christian contractor on the remodel for this house. We finally had to face him down on what happened, and didn't happen, here and he agreed and took $40,000 off the bill! That was not a misplaced nail, believe me! You will say, "But he apologized...and you got money back". Yes, but first, only after we faced him down, face to face, and, second, he has a reputation of making easy promises to clients and not keeping them. We found that out AFTER.

    Our lives are our witnesses. If they disagree with our words, then we are simply liars.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Helen said:
    Helen, you are correct.

    Now, back on track, I believe a non-believer can fool folks for a time, but not forever. When I was on a mission trip to Romania, my young translator told me than when Communism fell in 1989, three deacons in her church disappeared. They were Communists who had infiltrated her church and had behaved in such a way that the members believed they were spiritual, wise men. But they were eventually found out.

    Tom B.
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    Apparently you have not read any of the writing of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers. See especially the writings of the following:

    St. Irenaeus (120-205 AD)
    St. Cyprian (200-258 AD)
    Tertullian (140-230 AD)

    Helen,

    Have you ever read the Epistle to the Hebrews in the Greek text? There is no period where you falsely allege that there is.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Craigbythesea

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    I will again register my disagreement with this statement. Reading this passage one realizes that the description corresponds to church members - but it is not clear that these individuals were indwelled with the Spirit (tasted of the Spirit but not indwelled). Reading scripture as a whole, including Romans 5-8, 2 Pet 2:20-22, John 6 etc, one can make a good case that salvation cannot be lost.

    It is clear that those persons being described in Heb. 6:4-6 had been indwelled with the Spirit because they had been in the state of grace and had fallen from that state. The terminology and phraseology used by the writer of this epistle to describe theses people is not found in any early church writing to describe persons who were not born-again.

    The issue of whether or not salvation can be lost is certainly debatable, although I think the answer is pretty clearly no. But I will object more to Craig's portrayal of this as "crystal clear"; it simply is not.
    </font>[/QUOTE]That these persons were saved but lost their salvation is so absolutely crystal clear that that was the universal view of the church for 1500 years and ever since then it has been the view of the large majority of Bible scholars, pastors, and Christian lay people. And, of course, the concept of eternal security was unknown to the Church until the 16th when it was deduced first from a very faulty view of the sovereignty of God.

    The ONLY reason to argue that the persons being described in Hebrew 6:4-6 were not born-again believers is that such a teaching is an embarrassment for those who teach the doctrine of eternal security. There is absolutely nothing said about the people in Hebrew 6:4-6 to suggest that, prior to their fall from grace, they were not genuine believers in the fullest sense. Neither is there anything said of them that parallels the description of the people in the opening post.

    We have all known people who made a profession of faith of one sort or another but who failed to produce any obvious fruit. If these people have never truly been saved, they have NOT fallen from grace and the invitation of Christ is still very much open to them. Only those who have truly been saved and who subsequently fall from grace have no hope of redemption.

    One can NOT make a good case that salvation cannot be lost because there are many passages in the Bible that refute that position and those verses that you listed above, when carefully examined, do NOT support the doctrine of eternal security, and the fact that they do not support the doctrine of eternal security has been demonstrated in posts on the message board in a number of threads, and the fact that they do not support the doctrine of eternal security has been demonstrated in very numerous commentaries and papers on these verse, and in numerous volumes of Christian theology.

    And because of the fact that the passages that you listed above, and other passages and verses in the Bible that have been put forth by others in an effort to defend the doctrine of eternal security, have so very well and so very conclusively been demonstrated by so very many competent persons to NOT to support the doctrine of eternal security, there is no need for me debate this matter any longer.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. tinytim

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  20. Martin

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    Craigbythesea:

    I had previously wished to stay out of this discussion since it has nothing to do with the original post and is thus a violation of board rules. However after reading your post here I cannot be silent any longer.

    Craig you said:
    That is a very broad statement and, as usual with broad statements, it is false. The idea that the loss of salvation (conditional security) view was "universal view of the church for 1500 years" is simply not true. It is also not true that the "concept of eternal security was unknown to the Church until the 16th when it was deduced first from a very faulty view of the sovereignty of God". Nor is it true that conditional security "has been the view of the large majority of Bible scholars, pastors, and Christian lay people". Those statements are simply untrue (since they are so broad and subjective).

    What you are doing is reading your view into the history of the church (a form of eisegesis).

    Now another point that I can make quickly. Even if what you are saying were true it would be meaningless. What finally matters is the Scriptures and not what sinful/fallen men have said about the Scriptures. So we have to examine eternal security and other doctrines on that basis. The fact is that throughout church history men have believed and taught, in different forms, what is now refered to as reformed theology or Calvinism. It is also true that many have taken views that are in opposition to that view (forms of Arminianism). It is also true that Godly men have been on both sides of this debate and that God has used men in both camps. This is not a debate that will be solved here on this board nor is it a debate that will be solved by your broad, subjective appeal to history. Every point you raise can be objected to on Scriptural grounds. In fact I may come back after church and do just that in order to show that the Scriptural facts are not as clear as you wish to pretend. If they were nobody would disagree on this issue.

    Personally I believe the Biblical case for eternal security is very good. However I realize that many throughout church history and today have disagreed. So I am aware of the fact that it is not a open and shut case and that neither side in fact have "crystal clear" Biblical support for their position.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     

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