OceanSide church of Christ

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From   Walk in the Old Paths—by Clem Thurman—Gospel Minutes

“They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying Peace, peace; when there in so peace.  Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush therefore they shall fall among them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith Jehovah.  Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein” (Jer. 6:14-16)

We are a society obsessed with new things—house, car, clothes, etc. But old things have value, too.  And especially is this true when we are discussing the things of God, “The Eternal One.”  Israel had departed from God, so He sent Jeremiah to remind them of His plan, His ways, His paths.  In Psalm 106: 13-15, God said, “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the Desert.  And he gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.”   When people forget God, they then make their own rules, instead of following His rule.  And that means they depart from God.  But that is not just ancient Israel, it is also true under the New Testament, Also.  The apostle Paul wrote to his young co-worker, Timothy:  “I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom;  preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (2Tim. 4:1-4).

That call to come back to God, and His paths, is still valid for us today.  What people needed 2000 years ago, they still need today.  And God still calls us to come back:  “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.”  As God said to Israel when they departed from His way, so He says to us today:  “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?  Yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jer 2:13).  Don’t just look at the glitter of new things, but look at the things that are eternal.

We need the Old Guide Today

Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.  That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work”  (2 Tim 3:16-17).  All the creed books of man cannot compare with the Criptures which God gave us.  As Paul wrote, “I cam not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16).  God has given us His Scriptures to guide us in this life.  As the apostle Peter wrote, “Seeing that His divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that called us by His own glory and virtue; whereby He hath granted unto us His precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust (Peter 1:3-4)

Jesus is God’s spokesman to all men today, as He declares:  “God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds”  (Heb 1:1-2)  Jesus chose twelve men to be His apostles, and carry on His preaching ministry after he had returned back to heaven.  He told them, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejectieth me rejecteth him that sent me”  (Luke 10:16).  And again, “For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what you ought to sy” (Luke 12:12).  He told the apostles, “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26).  That is the reason the apostles spoke with the authority they did, “and for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13)  that is the reason we stress the authority of the Scriptures.  They are the words of God.

We Need the Old Faith

“Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the saints” (Jude 3).  In fact, Paul declares that there is only “one faith” (Eph. 4:5).  That there should be many faiths (as most religious people today accept) was completely foreign to the Lord Jesus Christ and His inspired apostles.  “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God Chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  whereunto he called out through our gospel” (2Thess.  2:13-14).  The “one faith” of the gospel comes through the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

If we all teach the same gospel, we will all have the same faith, which is exactly what the Lord said and intended for all of us.  This is the faith by which we are to mold our lives, as Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith:  as it is written, but the righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).  Notice that” “live by faith.”  If we all go to the same Book (the Bible) for our faith, we will all have the same faith.  We need that “old faith” today-the same faith implanted in honest hearts when the apostles preached it. 

We Need the Old Name

The prophet Isaiah foretold, about 700 years before Jesus came to this world, that there would be a new name given to God’s people.  “Unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better that of sons and of daughters;  I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off…And the nations shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory, and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall name…And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and the Lord Jehovah will slay thee; and he will call his servants by another name” (Isaiah 56:5; 62:2; 65:15).  Note the conditions listed:  [1] this new name would be given to those in the house of God, to His sons and daughters, [2] the Gentiles (nations) would see this, and the new name would be given by the mouth of Jehovah, [3] God would give the name and call “his servants by another name.”  When Paul and Barnabas came to Antioch, they found a church of the Lord which was composed of both Jews and Gentiles, and they taught the people for a year, and then the disciples were called by a brand new name- “Christian.”

We Need the Old Church

Jesus promised, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16-18).  Since that time, men have “built” hundreds of churches, all competing with the church Jesus built, and competing with each other.  But that is not the Lord’s plan.  “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all” (Eph 4:4-6).  Just as there is one God and one Lord, the Scripture declares, “There is one body.”

We Need the Old Salvation

The truth of the Lord is still in His word.  When people wanted to know what to do to be saved, they were told to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, repent of their sins, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:26-41, 47).  That was simple.  However the devil attacked the Lords’ plan.  With the help of many people who were not satisfied with the Lord’s plan, Satan managed to distort God’s original purposes.  Still today different plans are promoted by many different voices.  But friend, we still need the Old Salvation, for which Jesus died on the cross and which His apostles preached. 

We plead with you, just as Jeremiah pleaded with God’s people in the long ago, “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.”  They needed to stand in the old paths and so do believers today.  May God help every one of us to do exactly that.---Clem Thurman