Monday, March 18, 2013

Old Paths and Vineyards

Jude 1:3-- Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Jeremiah 6:16--Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

A recent interaction on an Apostolic Forum I am part and some reflection on things I have been allowing in my own life, afforded me for an important lesson on the need to be far more cautious with my own thinking and attitudes as regards the things we hold dear and which make us distinctly 'People of the Name." It was a lesson I will not soon forget.

Hebrews 6:9--But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation….

The true people of God are Pentecostal in experience and Apostolic in doctrine. This is what Jesus taught and lead His disciples to be.
BUILDING UP the teaching of the Apostles and our Elders is wise as their intention is better things for us. Such as a father to his children, we should see the safety and security of the ordinances passed down as good pasture.

Isaiah 5:1-6
(1) Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
(2) And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
(3) And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
(4) What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
(5) And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
(6) And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

God has given us a very fruitful hill in the Apostolic Message. He fences it, He removes the stones, plants it with the choicest vine (point to yourself), He builds a tower, and He puts in a winepress. All He expects in return for His investment is for the vineyard to bring forth good fruit.

However, when the inhabitants of the vineyard:

TEAR DOWN the walls (Standards, Ordinances)

IGNORE the tower (Ministry)

AVOID the winepress (Sound Doctrine, Enduring Faith)

Then God does just like He did back in the example to the people in Moses time. They were getting Manna, (food from heaven), but instead chose an earthly diet (Quail) and God flooded them with their desires until it was coming out of their noses.

If we do not BUILD UP the things of the kingdom, we will become WILD GRAPES, and the Spirit of God will remove the wall, the tower, and the winepress, and ALLOW the wild animals to come in and completely destroy the fruitful hill.

Let us choose to BUILD UP the things of the kingdom of God.
What sets the Apostolic Church apart from the rest of Christendom is not merely its emphasis on Acts 2:38 salvation and worship of the One True and Living God in Jesus Christ but also a unique approach to scripture. Our actual goal as Christians is merely to be Apostolic. We strive to "weed out" traditions and doctrines of men which were added later. Basically, we try to take what Martin Luther started, to its logical conclusion, true biblical reformation.  We see many doctrines and beliefs not as Apostolic, but as a later development. Even my learned seminary professors would agree with this, but they put much authority in church history, creeds and councils. They see the goal of the Bible scholar/theologian to develop the seed left by the writers of the New Testament. They think it arrogant to even question the wisdom of the church fathers. We on the other hand see our job description as one of recovery of truth which has been lost or distorted, to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). We are at heart, restorationists, trying to help restore the Church to her original belief and power. Of course we don't want to ignore what others have written or said about the Bible, but we understand this merely to be the thinking of fallible men. We believe that the church has gotten away from what the apostles taught in many respects and that we need to get it back.  We need to stop seeing the church in Acts as in an “infant stage,” and start seeing it as the model upon which to base our belief and practice. Only when we return to New Testament patterns, principles and practice, will we experience true New Testament power.

No comments:

Post a Comment