Thank you, Dr. Peter Vial, Pastor Kevin Starcher and the DMPC congregation for being gracious hosts during Holy Week. Most of all, we thank Almighty Jehovah God, His Son Jesus Christ whose sacrificial atoning blood made this all possible, and for the Holy Spirit's anointing. Sallie and I traveled Good Friday evening through early Resurrection Sunday to visit with our oldest son David and daughter Stephanie in Pennsylvania. We skyped visual communication with our son Jonathan in Oceanside, Calif.
Our title, "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth," is taken from Paul's writing (KJV) in 2nd Timothy 2:15: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Many opinions concerning the harmony of the Gospels with proper Bible context are out of focus with many churches, and persons who claim to be born again in Christ. Wrongfully dividing the word, for example, would be: "Judas went out and hung himself, Go and do thou likewise."
In defending the smoking of cigarettes, some might refer to Genesis 24:63-64: "And Issac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lift up his eyes, and saw, and behold, the 'camels' were coming. And Rebekah lift up her eyes, and when she saw Issac, she 'lighted off the camel.'" Rightly dividing the word of truth is found in 2nd Corinthians 7:1: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Again, in James 1:21, the use of tobacco is unscriptural; "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." Revelation 14:11a describes: "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever." This preacher, ladies and gentlemen, desires with God's grace to live in Heaven with Jesus for eternity in "the non-smoking section."
More than 400 years ago, in an authored book, King James denounced tobacco use. Preachers Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon reportedly, casually, smoked pipe tobacco or cigars. We must ask the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts on this matter. Is lung cancer and heart disease worth it? Is the pride of it all worth losing our soul?
I heard a preacher describe another preacher disavowing gambling: "There's gambling in Charleston, There's gambling in Morgantown, and I bet you $5 there's gambling in St. Albans." Dear hearts, using hard-earned money to be thrown away in every facet of gambling reminds me of passages concerning Christ's clothing being gambled among Roman soldiers. When "Rightly dividing the word of Truth:" This event is mentioned in each of the four gospels and Psalm 22:18 in prophecy by David:
"They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." This hideous practice occurs, at the foot of the cross, while Christ is being crucified and shedding His precious blood for our sins. Concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages, we understand that Noah was drunk in his tent, then immorality occurred, perpetrated by his son Ham. Lot's two daughters "liquored up their father" to reproduce nomadic children.
David, to cover up his sin with Uriah's wife, deliberately served enough strong drink to totally inebriate her husband. In rightly dividing the word of truth we read in OT and NT scripture: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise," Proverbs 20:1. Proverbs 23:29-33 mentions: "Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixt wine.
"Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." Verse 33 declares: "Thine eyes shall behold strange women, (or men), and thine heart shall utter perverse things." Habakkuk 2:15: "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink (alcoholic beverages), that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness."
Paul declares in Ephesians 5:18: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but (only) be filled with the Spirit (Holy Spirit), speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
"Rightly dividing the word of Truth" demonstrates that Jesus Christ, the word of God, didn't turn the water into strong wine, but "fruit of the vine."
His Holy Spirit, our last heavenly agent on earth, inspired those many writers of Old and New Testaments. All four gospels harmonize that Christ only served "the fruit of the vine" (fresh grape juice). Let's humorously look at, perhaps, imaginary country bumpkins whom had recently wed. The groom's name is George Knottben Sobar, and the bride's former name is Lizzie Ann Wynotte. George couldn't stay sober and Lizzie had been frivolously married to eight previous husbands. Let's biblically speak and say, "They both had a 'few too many.'"
One night Lizzie decides to rent a devil's costume to scare George into sobriety. She dons the attire, pitchfork and all, and hides behind the shrubbery. George came stumbling in from the beer joint. Lizzie jumps out and says: "Boo, I'm the devil!" George staggers and says: "Well, shake my hand, I married your sister." They both then sought a divorce lawyer. The lawyer, a country bumpkin as well, was named I. W. Fleecem. The 'W' stands for "Will." He was kin to a couple of dentists named Dr. I. Yankum and Doc "Will" Pullem.
The lawyer asked George if he had a grudge. George replied, "Yep, that's where I keep my tractor and truck, in the 'grudge.' And I want one of them day-vorces from Lizzie." She replied: "He ripped my devil's suit and I owe for the damages at the cusstoom store. He won't pay up and I want a day-vorce too! I know the Lord will forgive me and give me another husband." (Humm?)
Mr. Fleecem asks how much money they had. They replied: "We sold some food stamps and bought some luttery tickets. We won a thousand dullars, too."
The lawyer said: "I'll take that." Yes, George and Lizzie were day-vorced. After the trial, Fleecem skiped town! He later wrote the former Sobars, informing them of their stupidity, and that Judge Julie on the local TV station would have handled their divorce for a hundred dollars! Where is the proverbial "innocent party" in that scenario? In the garden, The Lord showed no favorites when he condemned Adam, Eve and the snake!
Jesus reminded the Pharisees that it was "For the hardness of men's heart that Moses gave them a writ of divorce and that in the beginning it was not so." Adam and his wife were made "one." "Righty dividing the word of truth": Romans 7:2-3, "For the woman which has a husband is bound to the law of her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
"So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man." 1st Corinthians 7:39: "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord."
This is applicable to the husband as well. I personally believe the Bible declares "Until death (not divorce, not separation) do us part." Remember the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet?" David's adultery with Bath-Sheba resulted in further sin. He arranged that her real husband Uriah be killed on the front line of battle. Nathan the prophet confronted David over this issue. David repented and God forgave him. He later married Bath-Sheba. She gave birth to Solomon who became the next King of Israel.
Uriah was dead and David seemingly was free to marry Bath-Sheba? However, "Rightly dividing the word of truth": we read in Matthew 1:6; "And Jesse begat David the king: and David begat Solomon of 'her that had been the wife" of Urias. Solomon's polygamous indulgences produced 700 wives for political reasons, and 300 concubines for personal reasons. Solomon later writes, "There's nothing new under the sun, life is vanity and vexation of spirit."
Summarizing: "Now therefore saith the Lord of Hosts, consider your ways;" Haggai 1:5, 7. Will you continue to sin that grace may abound? Will you frustrate the grace of God, fail it, or turn it into lasciviousness? Jesus' blood can completely set us free from all sin!