December 12, 2017

“Grounded and Settled”

By Bill Wardlow

"And you that were sometime alienated and the enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in his sight: if you continue in the faith grounded a n d settled, and b e no t moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister . ." (Col. 1:21-23).

We hear much talk today about what the church needs. Men have all kinds of plans and ideas on how to make the church more effective in carrying out her work. We have all the pattern and plans we need set forth in Gods Word. The real need of the day is to get people "grounded and settled" on this divine plan. Peoples' lack of knowledge of the Word of God is the reason for so many members being tossed about by every wind of doctrine in the church today. Members who have been in the church for years are still in the "milk stage" of knowledge, when they should be in the "meat stage" (Heb. 5:11-14). There may be two reasons for this. It may be due to the fact that those who teach are incapable of feeding them the meat of the Word or it may be that these people just are not interested enough to study the Bible for themselves so that they may grow in the knowledge of what it says. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night are often the only times some members ever pick up their Bibles. These members will never be "Grounded and Settled" in the faith. I want to set forth here three things these members need to be taught.

First of all they need to be reminded that they have been reconciled unto God by the blood and the body of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for them. God's great mercy and love for you and me caused him to send his Son down to this earth. Christ became flesh and blood that he might come to know our infirmities, and suffer our temptations (Heb. 2:14-18). All of us need to keep in mind the fact that we are "bought with a price" (I Cor. 6: 20). This reconciliation took place at the time of our conversion to Christ, by obedience to the Gospel (1 Peter 1:22). Those members of the church who will not study their Bibles leave the impression on me that they think reconciliation to God is all they need. But our text shows, that though we have been reconciled, yet there is a chance that we might be moved away from the faith, and the hope of the Gospel. God and Christ paid a great price in order to reconcile men unto God again. We need to have this impressed upon our minds.

In the second place, we need to recognize that after we have been reconciled to God, we need to "Study to show ourselves approved unto God" (2 Tim. 2:15). By so doing, we are able to rightly divide the Word. of God. This will keep us from making many mistakes. In speaking of the Word of God, Peter wrote, "As also in all his (Paul's) epistles, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also other scriptures, unto their own destruction. We therefore, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever" (2 Pet. 3:1618). God said in the long ago," "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God . . ."

People ask the question," why is there so much digression and trouble in the church today?" God's word comes ringing back, "Thou hast rejected knowledge"; "Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures." A person is going to be just as strong a Christian as he is strong in the knowledge of God's Word. When men start speaking lies in hypocrisy to draw away disciples after themselves, those who are untaught and unlearned, will be the ones drawn away. This is the very thing that undergirds denominationalism. Peoples' ignorance of and refusal to study the Word of God for themselves is the only reason on earth that denominations exist, unless they are just plain dishonest people. But I believe their basic reason is failure to search the scriptures to prove whether or not the things being taught them are so or not. This is why the Churches of Christ are denominationalizing in many places. Men are wresting the scriptures, and untaught and unread members are being deceived into error. God's Word warns, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord." I think it safe to say, that if all my brethren could prove all the things, which they teach and support as being scriptural, as actually being scriptural, division and digression would cease to exist. We need to remember and apply the exhortation of Eph. 6:10-18: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.... Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, where with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching "hereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints . . ." This takes study brethren.

Then in the last place, recognizing the great price of reconciliation, and the need for studying the Scriptures, we need to be, "Rooted and Grounded " "Rooted and built up in him . . ."; "Continue in the things we have learned and been assured of"; "Fight the good fight of faith"; "And earnestly contend for the faith once for all times delivered." We dare not conform to the world or its teachings. If standing for the truth, means separation from those who refuse to do so, then separate we must. A little leaven can and does leaven the whole lump regardless of what some "compromisers" may say.

Being "Grounded and Settled" takes diligent study brethren. And it takes study in order to equip oneself to be able to earnestly contend for the faith. So I hope brethren, as Peter, "to stir up your minds," to the end that you might be established in the truth of God's Holy Word so that you might, with all diligence, make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XI: 3, pp. 10-12
December 1966

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