Quotes by J. Hampton Keathley
As in the case of God’s sovereignty and man’s volition (or the God-man mystery), there are three basic responses a person can make concerning the biblical concept of the Trinity. First, historically, men have either ignored it or rejected it as illogical and incompatible with human reason. Second, finding it incompatible with human reason, men have sought to solve the problem by reducing it to their own reason and in the process, they typically gravitated toward one extreme or another maintaining that God is one, or God is three, but He can’t be both. Third, historically and for the most part, the church has accepted it completely by holding both truths (God is three in one, triune) in a proper balance. Based on all the data of the Bible, the church has accepted this doctrine by faith though it is incomprehensible to our finite minds.
The basic principle of the biblical teaching of rewards is that the way we live today will determine the rewards we will receive tomorrow (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10-12).
The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity.
We need to draw our assurance from faith in the facts of Scripture and not from our works. Works or the biblical changes that occur in our lives as a result of the grace of God can confirm the reality of our life with God. We must be ever so careful, however, in making such subjective ground the basis of our assurance, for when a believer is out of fellowship he or she can have the appearance of an unbeliever especially if the condition lasts for any length of time.
Even with so vast a work as the Holy Scriptures it is impossible to provide solutions to all the problems. In some cases the solution awaits the findings of the archaeologist’s spade; in another case it awaits the linguist’s research; in other cases the solution may never be discovered for other reasons. The solution to some problems must be held in abeyance. The answer, however, is never to suggest there are contradictions or errors in Scripture. If the Scriptures are God-breathed they are entirely without error.
Reasons Why People Lack Assurance:
1. People often lack assurance because they cannot remember or point to a specific time when they received Christ. Some doubt or wonder if they were ever really saved. There is a specific point in time when salvation occurs – the point when regeneration takes place. The issue for people is to know if they now really trust in the person and work of Christ.
2. People often lack assurance because they question the procedure they went through when they accepted Christ. Many evangelists and preachers emphasize the need for some form of public confession of faith like going forward at the end of a service or raising your hand. If people receive Christ privately, they may wonder if they should have made a public confession or prayed a different prayer.
3. People often lack assurance because of struggles they have with certain sins. They wonder if a true believer would have these kinds of problems. The real problem is ignorance of man’s sinful nature, the spiritual warfare we are in, God’s means of deliverance, and the need to grow and mature in Christ.
4. The primary reason behind a lack of assurance is doctrinal misunderstanding and the consequent lack of faith in the finished work of Christ. This means a failure to understand the Word and its teaching regarding mankind, his sin and inability to work for or maintain his salvation, God’s perfect holiness, and the finished nature and sufficiency of the work of Christ.
5. Finally, people often lack assurance because they have erroneously been taught that they should look to themselves and their works as the primary proof of their salvation. This is a major issue today.
A motive is an emotion, desire, a felt need, or an impulse of some kind that impels a person to action or to certain pursuits. Thus, motives are crucial to everything a Christian does. They not only have temporal repercussions, but God’s promises of future and eternal rewards are related to both faithfulness on the job and to motives. Proverbs tells us, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives” (Prov. 16:2). Thus, motives are vital to whatever we do. To the Corinthians he wrote, “For our reason for confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that with pure motives and godly sincerity, not by human wisdom but by the grace of God, we conducted ourselves in the world, and all the more toward you” (2 Cor. 1:12). Then in 1 Corinthians he wrote, “So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).
Though church discipline is a very difficult area of doctrine and one hard to practice, it nevertheless rests upon the divine authority of Scripture and is vital to the purity, power, progress, and purpose of the church. The responsibility and necessity for discipline is not an option for the church if it obeys the Word of God, but a church must be equally concerned that Scripture is carefully followed in the practice of church discipline.
Remembering and keeping one’s focus on God’s unchangeable character and His eternal faithfulness becomes one of our greatest resources for courage and the faithfulness we need to go on even when things seem their blackest.
Discipline in the church is not punishment. It is discipline and discipline is designed to train and restore.
Faithfulness, then, is not a matter of success or failure from the standpoint of results. If there is faithfulness, failure does not bring blame nor should it lead to a sense of guilt! Where there is faithfulness to discharge one duties regardless of the results there is success in God’s sight. This points us to the true issue in our responsibility which is limited. We are to be faithful to the gifts, abilities, and opportunities God gives us and leave the results to Him.
The key concerns that guide us (in church discipline) are: the holy character of God, the testimony of the flock, the effect upon the unity and purity of the flock, and the edification and restoration of the individual.
The Scripture promises rewards for our service as a motivation for faithful ministry. And for the Christian, at least, this promise is true and guaranteed regardless of the apparent success or rewards received here in time. Sometimes it appears that doing what is right goes without obvious blessing or reward. Faithful service may not lead to recognition, a promotion, or the raise one counted on – maybe not even a thank you. And often, faithfulness, especially when it is to Christ and biblical principles, can lead to persecution. But as Christians we must never allow the absence of immediate reward or blessing to deter us from steadfast faithfulness… The promise of Scripture is that if we continue to be faithful to the Lord, we will eventually receive rewards for our efforts. If not in this life, definitely in the life to come (1 Cor. 15:58).
We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God’s directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible.
Biblically speaking, faith and faithfulness stand to each other as root and fruit.
Sin in the life of the church grieves the person of the Holy Spirit and quenches His power. If sin remains unchecked by the loving application of church discipline in a body of believers, the Holy Spirit must abandon such a church to its own carnal resources. The unavoidable result will be the loss of the Lord’s blessing until the sin is dealt with. The defeat of Israel because of the sin of Achan in Joshua 7 illustrates the principle.
The Christian life with the gifts and opportunities God gives us is a stewardship – a trust from God with precious responsibilities that call for faithfulness. But it is important to realize that faithfulness in the smaller responsibilities forms the basis for being entrusted with greater responsibilities. The Lord pointed to this basic principle in Luke 16:10, “The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much; and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” How one handles the smaller responsibilities of life demonstrates character and the capacity for faithfulness in greater responsibilities. They serve as stepping stones for the privilege of serving in areas of greater responsibility.
The Purposes of Church Discipline:
1. To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the flock.
2. To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers (Matt. 18:15; 2 Thes. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:10-13; Gal. 6:1-2; Jam. 5:20).
3. To produce a healthy faith, one sound in doctrine (Tit. 1:13; 1 Tim. 1:19-20).
4. To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
5. To silence false teachers and their influence in the church (Tit. 1:10-11).
6. To set an example for the rest of the body and promote godly fear (1 Tim. 5:20).
7. To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline.
Since God is within Himself a fellowship, it means that His moral creatures who are made in His image find fullness of life only within a fellowship. This is reflected in marriage, in the home, in society and above all in the church whose koinonia is built upon the fellowship of the three Persons. Christian fellowship is, therefore, the divinest thing on earth, the earthly counterpart of the divine life, as Christ indeed prayed for his followers: “That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us” (Jn. 17:21).
Doing nothing only reinforces depression and leads to greater unfaithfulness. By the same token, never use activity to narcotize (dull) the pain. Give it to the Lord. Rest, relaxation, and solitude with the Lord needs the balance of involvement in faithful work and ministry, but always out of a spirit of faith, never just activity.
1. The Father is called God (John 6:27; 20:17; 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 4:6; Phil. 2:11; 1 Pet. 1:2).
2. Jesus Christ, the Son is declared to be God. His deity is proven by the divine names given to Him, by His works that only God could do (upholding all things, Col. 1:17; creation, Col. 1:16, John 1:3; and future judgment, John 5:27), by His divine attributes (eternality, John 17:5; omnipresence, Matt. 28:20; omnipotence, Heb. 1:3; omniscience, Matt. 9:4), and by explicit statements declaring His deity (John 1:1; 20:28; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8).
3. The Holy Spirit is recognized as God. By comparing Peter’s comments in Acts 5:3 and 4, we see that in lying to the Holy Spirit (vs. 3), Ananias was lying to God (vs. 4). He has the attributes which only God can possess like omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10) and omnipresence (1 Cor. 6:19), and He regenerates people to new life (John 3:5-6, 8; Tit. 3:5), which must of necessity be a work of God for only God has the power of life. Finally, His deity is evident by the divine names used for the Spirit as “the Spirit of our God,” (1 Cor. 6:11), which should be understood as “the Spirit, who is our God.”
The doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one God who is one in essence or substance, but three in personality. This does not mean three independent Gods existing as one, but three Persons who are co-equal, co-eternal, inseparable, interdependent, and eternally united in one absolute Divine Essence and Being.
Genuine repentance will make itself evident by its deeds and attitudes (Lk. 3:8; Ac. 26:20). The repentant person will:
1. Freely acknowledge his sin (1 Jn. 1:9; Pro. 28:13a).
2. Cease the activity for which he was disciplined or at least seek help if it’s a case of life dominating patterns (Pro. 28:13b; Gal. 6:1f; Jam. 5:19-20).
3. Make restitution and/or ask for forgiveness from those hurt as it is applicable (Phil. 18-19; Matt. 5:23-24).
4. He/she will demonstrate a genuine change of heart, a real concern and godly sorrow over his actions, not in order to be forgiven, but because of the harm caused to the glory of God and the hurt caused others (2 Cor. 7:8-11; Ps. 51:17).
5. He/she will begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and a concern for the things of Christ (Gal. 5:22f).
Proper Christian living should never be the fundamental grounds for assurance of salvation. Rather, assurance of salvation which should rest in the merit and sufficiency of the Savior and the believer’s new life in Christ, must be the fundamental basis for proper Christian living (Col. 3:1-4).
The biblical order is: Facts > Faith > Feelings. Feelings are the responders of the soul or heart. They are to follow and respond to our understanding of Scripture, but they are never a safe guide to what we should believe or of the state of our salvation.
Note what Christ taught about the inspiration of the Old Testament:
1. Its entirety; the whole of the Bible is inspired (Matt. 4:4; 5:17-18). In Matthew 4:4, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation by affirming verbal plenary inspiration when He said, man is to live by every word (plenary) that proceeds out of the mouth of God (inspiration). In Matthew 5:17-18, Christ promised that the entire Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets, would be fulfilled, not abolished. In fact, He declared that not even the smallest Hebrew letter, the yodh, which looks like an apostrophe (‘), or stroke of a letter, a small distinguishing extension or protrusion of several Hebrews letters (cf. the extension on the letter R with it absence on the letter P), would pass away until all is fulfilled. Christ’s point is that it is all inspired and true and will be fulfilled.
2. Its historicity; He spoke of the Old Testament in terms of actual history. Adam and Eve were two human beings, created by God in the beginning, who lived and acted in certain ways (Matt. 19:3-5; Mark 10:6-8). He spoke of Jonah and his experience in the belly of the great fish as an historical event (Matt. 12:40). He also verified the events of the flood in Noah’s day along with the ark (Matt. 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27). He verified God’s destruction of Sodom and the historicity of Lot and his wife (Matt. 10:15; Luke 17:28-29). These are only a few illustrations; many others exist.
3. Its reliability; because it is God’s word, the Scripture must be fulfilled (Matt. 26:54).
4. Its sufficiency; it is sufficient to witness to the truth of God and His salvation (Luke 16:31).
5. Its indestructibility; heaven and earth will not pass away until it is all fulfilled. Nothing can stop its fulfillment (Matt. 5:17-18).
6. Its unity; the whole of the Bible speaks and witnesses to the person and work of Christ (Luke 24:27, 44).
7. Its inerrancy; men are often in error, but the Bible is not; it is truth (Matt. 22:29; John 17:17).
8. Its infallibility; the Bible cannot be broken, it always stands the test (John 10:35).