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by Tom Ross
"Hearken unto this O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14).
In our text Elihu is found rebuking Job for his presumption and impiety. Job had offered up many complaints unto God during the time of his affliction. Elihu wants Job to see the absolute power and greatness of the God that Job was contending with. Our God is not to be trifled with. His power and greatness is beyond finite human comprehension. Job 37:23 declares: "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict." Elihu points Job specifically to the wonders of God's creation. When an individual takes an honest look at the vastness and variety of God's creative powers he must bow in wonder and humility before the sovereign throne of the Almighty. It would be good for all of God's children to hearken to the exhortation of Elihu. We are all much like Job. We are oftentimes consumed with our own self interest and so caught up in the rat-race of life that we fail to meditate upon the wondrous works of our great God. We need to stand still and contemplate the greatness and glory of our God and the wondrous works that He has performed.
There are four wondrous works of God that I want to consider in this treatise: 1) Creation; 2) Revelation; 3) Salvation; and 4) The Institution known as the Lord's Church. God alone is responsible for beginning and sustaining all of His wondrous works. Man cannot duplicate the wondrous works of God, though he always attempts to imitate and pervert the works of God. Depraved mankind has always sought to rob God of His power and glory, in spite of the fact that God has declared He will not share His glory with another: "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isa. 42:8).
The very first verse of the sacred Scriptures opens with an express declaration of God's creative power: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were the direct agents in the creation of the world. God alone existed and inhabited the realms of eternity. Men, angels, and principalities had no existence when God sat alone in the solitude of eternity. When God created He manifested the greatness of His power. He did not need the assistance of man in the creation of the world. He created by mere fiat. He merely spoke the world into existence by the breath of His mouth. Psalms 33:6; 8-9 declare: "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth . . . Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." Men can make things from already existing materials, but God alone has the power to create something from nothing. Jeremiah 10:12 declares: "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." How we ought to bow in wonder and amazement as we consider the omnipotence of the Almighty in creation!
Not only did God create the world, He also sustains all of His creation by His mighty power. Hebrews 1:3 states: "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power . . ." II Peter 3:7 declares: "But the heavens and the earth, which are now by the same word are kept in store . . ." The very fact that we have air to breathe, water to drink. and food to eat is because of the sustaining power of God. If the hydrogen and oxygen levels in our atmosphere were just slightly altered the air would be unfit for human and animal survival. If God did not send the gentle rains and the enriching snows our earth would not be fit to raise the crops that sustain us. If God did not sustain the health of men by His goodness all would quickly perish from off the earth. If the distance and orbital cycles of the planets from the sun were altered the existence of the entire universe would be in danger. But God holds all these things in place according to His own good pleasure and purpose. Psalms 145:9; 15-16 state: "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works . . . The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
Because God alone is responsible for the creation of the world, He alone is fit to rule and reign over all the world. God is the Majestic Monarch and Sovereign Owner of all the universe. All things that happen in our universe in time are according to the wise discretion and counsel of our Holy Lord. As Creator He alone has the right to determine how He wants his universe to be governed. Psalms 115:3 declares: "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." Daniel 4:34-35 declares: ". . . And I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: AND NONE CAN STAY HIS HAND, OR SAY UNTO HIM, WHAT DOEST THOU?" Because God is the Creator and Owner of the Universe, all men are accountable to Him for their thoughts, words, and actions.
If an individual acknowledges that God is the Creator of the universe, he must also acknowledge that He is the Sovereign Governor to whom he is accountable. It is for this reason that the lie of evolution was hatched out of Hell. Men try and rob God of His glory by declaring that the heavens and the earth just came into being by themselves through some atmospheric catastrophe. They also contend that men and animals have evolved from lower life forms over billions of years. One of the most basic laws of science, the second law of thermodynamics, declares that all things are running down in the universe, not getting better. The law of entropy completely contradicts and refutes the lie of evolution and the principles of uniformitarianism upon which the system is built. Scientists (falsely so called) have forged the lie of evolution in an attempt to dethrone God and rob Him of His creatorial rights and glory. The truth of creation by God and the lie of evolution forged by infidels must both be accepted by faith. No one but God was around to observe the origin of the universe. Evolutionists must reject the greatest book in all the world and believe the lies and speculations of sinful men to establish their theory. Evolutionists must place their faith in the systems of men rather than in God: "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." Jeremiah 8:9 describes the condition of all evolutionists: "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" It is far wiser to accept by faith that the wondrous work of creation is attributed to God alone who is pleased to sustain and maintain our world. Hebrews 11:3 states: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Another wondrous work that is attributed to God alone is the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Bible is God-breathed. The Sacred Scriptures are not the work of men, but rather the work of a Divine Author. It is true that God used men to write down His thoughts and words, but those men did not write according to their own will but according to the will of God. II Peter 1:21 declares: "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Timothy 3:16 declares: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The writers of Scripture were merely penmen who were Divinely guided and inspired by the Almighty.
Because the Bible is an inspired Book it is infallible and inerrant. That is why the Scriptures are called "the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). If God is the Divine Author of the Holy Bible then there can be no errors or mistakes contained in the Holy Book. Proverbs 30:5-6 declares: "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." The children of God ought to rejoice in knowing that they have a Book that is inspired by God and without error! We have a Bible that reveals the nature and mind of God as well as His way of salvation. The Bible contains the answers to many of life's knotty questions. The Scriptures are a perfect Book of instruction. The Bible tells us who God is, what He requires, what His laws are, the way of salvation, how to live our lives, how to have a happy home, how to raise our children, what kind of church to go to, as well as many other things that pertain unto life and godliness.
The Bible is full to overflowing with truth and moral virtue. It is a wondrous Book of unity and conciseness. Men have written literally millions of volumes commenting upon certain aspects of the Bible, yet God's inspired Word is concise and accurate. All that God wants man to know about spiritual things is contained in one volume consisting of the sixty six books of the Old and New Testaments. There is a wonderful harmony found in the Scriptures in spite of the fact that God used many different types of men over a period of years to declare His infallible will. Basil Manly, the Baptist theologian, wrote the following in The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration: "Here is a volume made up of sixty-six different books, written in separate sections, by scores of different persons, during a period of fifteen hundred years, a volume antedating in its earlier records all other books in the world, touching human life and knowledge at hundreds of different points. Yet it avoids any absolute, assignable error in dealing with these innumerable themes. Of what other ancient book can this be said? Of what book even one hundred years old can this be said?" To deny the Divine inspiration, authority, and harmony of God's Holy Book is to be void of reason and common sense. To further illustrate the marvelous unity of the Holy Book I quote David James Burrell who wrote: "If forty odd persons of different tongues and degrees of musical education were to pass through the organ-loft of a church at long intervals and, without any possibility of collusion, strike sixty-six notes each, which, when combined, should yield the theme of an oratorio, it is respectfully submitted that the man who regarded that as 'fortuitous circumstance' would by universal consent be regarded-to put it mildly-sadly deficient in common sense." It is the height of folly to deny the Divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures! Without the Scriptures men wander in darkness and ignorance with nothing of value to guide and instruct them. How much wiser it is to submit to the Scriptures and agree with the Psalmist when he wrote: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psa. 119:105).
Not only has God inspired the Bible, He has preserved it down through the ages for our edification. Psalms 12:6-7 declares: "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psa. 119:89). All of God's truth has been miraculously preserved and accurately maintained by the mighty hand of God. Just as God upholds and sustains His creation, He also has sustained and maintained the contents of His Holy Word without fail through the ages. Even though the Scriptures were written thousands of years ago we can be sure that they are accurate, trustworthy, and our final authority for all faith and practice today because God is the preserver of the sacred documents of truth.
What is even more astounding is the fact that God has been pleased to raise up men of learning and piety to accurately translate the ancient Scriptures from the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts into the common language of the people. God has been pleased to raise up men to translate the ancient Scriptures into literally thousands of languages over the face of the whole earth for the benefit and edification of all peoples and races of men. As English speaking people we are most blessed to have the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. There was probably not a more august company of linguistic scholars assembled at any one time to produce this sterling translation out of the original languages. It was first published in 1611 and there is not another English translation that even compares to it for accuracy, flow, and beauty. It was translated when the English language was at is zenith in purity and beauty. It is the height of folly for English speaking people to use inferior translations rather than the King James Authorized Version. All modern translations of the Scriptures are taken from the faulty Vaticanus and Sinaticus manuscripts which are loaded with error. The Vaticanus and Sinaticus were Catholic manuscripts that had long since been discarded and unusable when Westcott and Hort (both Mariolators) began to promote them as the oldest manuscripts. The reason why they were the oldest manuscripts is not because of their superior accuracy and faithfulness to the originals. Rather they had been discarded and deemed unfit for use until Westcott and Hort began promoting them. The King James Bible on the other hand was translated from the Majority Text or the Textus Receptus, otherwise known as the Received Text. Any translation that is taken from manuscripts other than the Received Text will have errors and omissions. That is why I can take you to all the modern translations and point out several places where entire passages have been omitted, or where the blood sacrifice of Christ and His essential Deity have been removed. If the ancient Christians discarded the Vaticanus and Sinaticus manuscripts as inferior, then God's people today should likewise reject any translation that has come from them.
Because man is depraved and ungodly he wanted to cast doubt upon the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures. In the latter part of the 1800's college professors and self proclaimed scholars began to cast doubt upon the authenticity of the Bible. It started with German rationalism, which led to higher criticism, which led to a flood of inaccurate translations. Because of the doubts raised by infidels and higher critics the Bible is no longer considered as the Word of God in many circles. Because of the flood of inferior translations people are confused and dismayed. Many preachers are so bent on trying to correct the King James and show off their limited knowledge of the original languages they cast doubt upon the veracity of the Bible in the minds of their hearers. Brothers and sisters, you don't have to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar to read God's Word! We don't need popes and priests to tell us what we are to believe or not to believe. We don't have to go to Greek and Hebrew scholars in order to get the proper interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. We can humbly go to the Word of God itself and plead with God the Holy Spirit to open our eyes so that we may behold wondrous things out of God's law. We have an accurate and trustworthy translation in the King James Authorized Version that is unsurpassed. It is the only Bible that God has used among English speaking people during times of great awakenings and revivals through the years. You can trace the current apostasy back to the time when men began to use other translations and cast doubt upon the authoritative Word of God.
How blessed we are to have free access to God's revelation of His mind and will as contained in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is the Word of God. Since the Bible is Holy, infallible, trustworthy, instructive, and inerrant we ought to devote our lives to the study and application of its blessed contents. There is not a more important book in all the world than the Holy Bible. Why then do a majority of people rarely open the Sacred Book? Why are men and women engaged more in pleasure and worldly pursuits than the consistent perusal and application of the Holy Scriptures? May God stir both writer and reader alike to obey the admonition of II Timothy 2:15 which declares: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." May God be pleased to stir us up to diligently search and apply the blessed truths of Scripture to our lives. May we be able to say with Job: "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).
Another one of God's wondrous works is that of salvation. Salvation, which is the deliverance from the penalty, power, and ultimately the presence of sin is all of work of God alone on behalf of sinful man. Like Jonah of old I ascribe to the Scriptural sotieriology which says "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). Every aspect of salvation from beginning to end is a sovereign work of God on behalf of a helpless sinner. God purposed, purchased, and appropriates salvation in the behalf of His elect. Thus salvation is not a work of God along with the work of man, it is solely a work of God's amazing and sovereign grace apart from the works of man. The earnest student of Scripture will search in vain for any passage in the Bible that attributes salvation in whole or in part to the works of men. Every head of sotieriology, whether it be regeneration, justification, redemption, sanctification, or glorification, attributes salvation to the work of God. One of the most classic passages where this is abundantly clear is found in I Peter 1:2-5 which states: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Where are the works of man mentioned in this passage? I read of the work of the Father, Son and Spirit, but not the works of man in the grand and glorious plan of salvation. God is the designer, architect, buyer, builder, and worker of salvation in the hearts of His elect!
Before the world began God the Father entered into a Covenant of grace and redemption with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The terms of the agreement were as follows: God the Father unconditionally elected a specific number of individuals out of Adam's fallen race unto salvation, God the Son agreed to be Surety for all those whom the Father chose to save by paying their penalty for sin and redeeming them with His own precious blood, God the Spirit agreed to appropriate the purchased redemption to the elect in time through the work of regeneration. Ephesians 1:4-5 declares: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." According to this verse God chose a people in Christ before they ever existed and predestinated them to be saved and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ according to His own sovereign and wise counsel. Man was entirely passive in the decree of unconditional election. This election by the Father was according to God's own free will, not man's. Man is merely the recipient of sovereign grace. God the Father did all the choosing in eternity. Everyone who was elected by the Father will be saved by Jesus Christ the Son without fail according to John 6:37-39 declares: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
Because of the total depravity and inability of the natural man to understand the things of God the Holy Spirit must quicken the elect in regeneration and grace him with the gifts of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The natural man is considered to be dead in sins (Eph. 2:1), incapable of comprehending spiritual things ( I Cor. 2:14), unwilling to come to Christ (John 3:19-20), and unable to come to Christ on his own (John 6:44). The condition of the natural man is adequately stated in Romans 8:7-8 which states: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. SO THEN THEY THAT ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD." The natural man's heart, mind, will, and affections are enslaved to a fleshly nature that hates God and is averse to all of His ways. The natural man cannot rise above his own nature and choose Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 13:23 states: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." We may as well expect the river to cease to run into the sea, as expect the natural man to turn from the current of his sins. The enmity of His will must be slain by the effectual work of the Holy Spirit. When the total depravity and inability of the natural man is understood then it becomes perfectly clear that salvation is a wondrous work of God alone through sovereign grace apart from the works of man.
The Holy Spirit begins the work of salvation in man when He regenerates the dead sinner by His sovereign power. The sinner is totally passive in the new birth, it is solely a wondrous work of God the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the truth of God's Word applied to the heart in conversion. This truth is in total contradiction of today's theology which attributes regeneration to man's will or his decision making process. Preachers today say that repentance and faith are the moving causes of the new birth. However, man is dead in sins, he cannot repent and believe. He must be made alive by the Spirit in the new birth in order to repent and believe. There is not one Scripture in all the Bible that attributes regeneration or salvation to man's free will, but there are several Scriptures which attribute it solely to God's will and power. John 1:13 declares: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD." Romans 9:15-16 declares: "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." James 1:17-18 states: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." I Peter 1:23 declares: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." In each of the foregoing Scriptures God is said to be the moving force behind the new birth, not man. In regeneration God creates a new man within the sinner in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). Thus the new birth is to be viewed as a creative act in the heart, soul and spirit of the dead sinner. Salvation is solely a work of God as Ephesians 2:8-10 declares: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
When the Holy Spirit performs the new birth on the elect sinner, and enables him to turn from sin and embrace Christ by faith as Lord and Savior the sinner is justified from all things. It is faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ that saves, and keeps a sinner saved. When Christ shed His precious blood upon the cross of Calvary He cried "It is finished", meaning that the work of redemption on behalf of His elect was accomplished through His sacrifice. Absolutely nothing can be added to the work of Christ for salvation. The elect are declared to be "accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:7), and "complete in him" (Col. 2:10). It is the wondrous work of Jesus Christ that saves sinners, not the vain works of men.
Just as God sustains and maintains His wondrous works of creation and revelation, He also preserves His elect in persevering grace. Philippians 1:6 declares: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." It is impossible for one of God's children, who have been born of the Spirit, and exercised saving faith to lose God's salvation and be ultimately lost. Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep, promised that He would not lose any of His people. John 10:27-28 declares: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Those who believe that God's children can lose their salvation are in essence calling Jesus Christ a liar and doubting His power and ability to keep His sheep. Jude 24 declares: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." The righteousness of Jesus Christ which is imputed to the sinner in justification can never be abolished or taken away according to Isaiah 51:6 which states: "Lift up your eyes to the heaven, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: BUT MY SALVATION SHALL BE FOR EVER, AND MY RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL NOT BE ABOLISHED."
Just as in all the other wondrous works of God, man has always tried to duplicate the work of salvation. Baptismal regeneration, legalism, good works, free-willism, and church membership for salvation are all vain attempts of sinful man to duplicate and imitate the wondrous work of God in salvation. Those who preach works salvation and glorify the merits of men must be regarded as antichristian promulgators of heresy and error that seek to rob God of His glory and honor. God alone is the author and finisher of salvation. Man gets no glory or credit for the salvation of his soul, it belongs to God alone! As the eternal ages roll on the blood washed saints of God will be praising God for His wondrous work of salvation! Not one saint in Heaven will ever try to take any of the credit or glory that belongs solely to God. Rather the multitude of the redeemed will be found attributing all glory unto God as Revelation 5:12-13 makes abundantly clear: "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and of the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." It is the height of folly to attribute the wondrous work of salvation to anyone or anything other than our Sovereign Lord and His matchless grace. Romans 11:6 should forever settle the issue: "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Just as the wondrous works of creation, revelation, and salvation are solely attributed to God alone, the institution known as the Lord's New Testament church must also be regarded as a wondrous work of God that cannot be duplicated by man. Through the years men have attempted to start churches and denominations through their own ingenuity and instrumentality. However all denominations of human origin must be regarded as perverse imitations of the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the builder and sustainer of His church. And I am not ashamed to say that the Lord's church throughout the centuries would today be identified as a Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist Church.
Jesus Christ started and organized the first church during His earthly ministry out of the materials prepared by John the Baptist. The first church had its beginnings prior to the day of Pentecost. The church was not started by the Holy Spirit as many Protestants falsely believe, but rather by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Matthew 16:18 declares: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The first mention of the word "church" in the Bible should forever settle all controversies concerning the origin of the church. By calling it "My church", Jesus distinguishes His kind of church from all previous assemblies before He came on the earthly scene, as well as all assemblies that claim to have originated after He left the planet earth. From a simple reading of the verse we may conclude that Jesus Christ is the foundation and founder of the church which implicitly dates the origin of the church's existence to the time of His earthly ministry. Jesus clearly stated that He Himself would build His church, not the Holy Spirit, or Paul, or Martin Luther. We must either take Christ at His word or call Him a liar. The verse also implies that the powers of darkness would never be able to prevail or overcome the church that Jesus started, meaning that it would have an uninterrupted existence. He either did or didn't start His kind of church and promise it perpetuity during His earthly ministry. I choose to accept the plain words of Christ rather than the deluded notions and theories of Protestants and Scofieldites! Any date assigned to the origin of the church prior to or after the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ must be regarded as inaccurate and false in light of this verse. A church is a called out assembly of baptized believers. In John chapter one Jesus called out the disciples who had been baptized by John the Baptist to follow Him, thus the first church was started during the first year of Christ's earthly ministry.
Jesus not only founded His kind of church during His earthly ministry, He also emphatically stated that He would personally perpetuate His church through the centuries until He comes again. Jesus Christ promised to preserve and sustain His church through the centuries without fail. After giving the responsibility to carry out the Great Commission to the church in Matthew 28:20 He declared: "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. AMEN." The force of this statement by Jesus Christ must not be underestimated. He promised that His kind of church would enjoy His presence and power until He returns. Since the times of Jesus Christ up until this present day there have been Baptist churches in existence that have been Scripturally organized, founded upon New Testament principles, carrying out the Great Commission, and earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. John 15:16 contains another promise by Christ regarding the preservation and perpetuity of His kind of church: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen, you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, AND THAT YOUR FRUIT SHOULD REMAIN . . ." The fruit of the first church at Jerusalem was the church at Antioch that believed and practiced the truth. From the church at Antioch Paul, Barnabas, and later Silas were sent out with authority to establish and organize New Testament churches that would likewise bear the fruits of Scriptural doctrines and practice. The fruit of the first church is still remaining up until this present day through Baptist churches that are still standing for the same truths that the Jerusalem church did. Like begets like, and Baptist churches have been begetting Baptist churches in succession through the centuries, bearing fruit, just as the Lord promised, without fail.
Ephesians 3:21 declares: "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus THROUGH ALL AGES, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN" It should be immediately apparent to even the most casual reader that this verse means that Christ will receive glory in His kind of church throughout all ages. This logically leads to the conclusion that the kind of church that Jesus started during His earthly ministry must be preserved and sustained by Him in order for Him to receive glory in all ages. Christ has been receiving glory in His churches in every century without fail, and will continue to do so as the eternal ages roll on as He dwells with His Bride in the New Jerusalem. The institution started by Christ will be forever maintained and preserved by Christ. Scriptural and historical evidence point to the truth of Baptist succession and perpetuity.
If the foregoing promises of Christ regarding the preservation, perpetuity, and succession of His kind of church be true (and they are) then every Catholic, Protestant, and Cult member must be regarded as being in unscriptural organizations that have no authority to exist from the Scriptures or from Christ. Christ did not start, not did He promise to be with and perpetuate the Roman Catholic Church. She is described as the Mother of Harlots in Revelation chapter seventeen. Those churches that emerged and evolved from the Protestant Reformation trace their authority to exist, as well as their ordinances and ordinations back to the Roman Catholic Church, which is an impure source. Martin Luther is the head and founder of the Lutheran Church, not Jesus Christ. King Henry VIII is the founder and head of the Episcopalian Church, not Jesus Christ. John Calvin is the founder and head of the Presbyterian Church, not Jesus Christ. John Wesley is the founder and head of the Methodist Church, not Jesus Christ. Alexander Campbell is the founder and head of the so-called Church of Christ, not Jesus Christ.The Nazarene, Church of God, Free-Will Baptist, and Hardshell churches were all likewise movements whose founders and heads were men, not Jesus Christ. All of the cults and Charismatic churches that have arisen through the years have been founded by men. Every one of these false organizations have several things in common. They were not started or promised perpetuity by Jesus Christ. They all trace their authority to exist back to a human founder. They are all permeated with doctrinal heresy and some form of serious error. The errors of infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, church hierarchy in government, works salvation, continuing revelation, universal invisible church, and a variety of other heresies are found in these organizations that were not founded by Jesus Christ. They all have vainly attempted to duplicate and imitate the institution which Christ started during His earthly ministry. They all exist on the basic premise that Jesus Christ lied when He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His kind of Church, and that He would be with His Church until He returns. All of these false organizations named above were started by men who rejected the authority of New Testament Baptist churches to administer the ordinances of Christ as they were once delivered.
Our Baptist forefathers were hated, hounded, persecuted, tortured, and put to death for defending the precious truths that we maintain today. They braved dungeon, fire, sword, and incomprehensible cruelties for the cause of Christ. In every century our Baptist forefathers have shone as beacons in the night, preaching the truth and exposing error. They have not bowed to the dictates or threats of men, but rather chose to suffer affliction and worship Christ in Spirit and in truth. May God enable us to maintain and defend the precious truths of the Lord's church by obeying the admonition of Jude 3 which states: "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."
1. As we consider the wondrous works of God in creation, revelation, salvation, and the institution known as the Lord's church our hearts should be filled with praise for our God who alone has the power to begin and maintain these wondrous works. God's purpose regarding His wondrous works can never be thwarted by men or devils. We must agree with the writer of Ecclesiates 3:14: "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."
2. As we consider the wondrous works of God the depravity and sinfulness of man becomes painfully apparent. Sinful men have always tried to corrupt and pervert the wondrous works of God. Men have always tried to rob God of the glory and honor due to His holy name concerning the wondrous works of creation, revelation, salvation, and the institution of the church. The heart of sinful man has always been set upon evil in an attempt to dethrone God and reject His sovereignty and authority. We must conclude with the writer of Ecclesiastes 7:29: "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright: but they have sought out many inventions."
3. Lastly, if God has been pleased to reveal the truth of His wondrous works to you mind and heart respond with a life filled with thankfulness, service, and worship. If God has opened your eyes to the truth of creation, if He has blessed you with comprehension of His revelation, if He has graced you with the gift of salvation, and if He has placed you in His institution, the church, lift up your voice in praise and adoration to the Most High. Hearken to and obey the admonition of the author of all these wondrous works in Ecclesiastes 12:13 which states: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."