Maurice M Johnson
January 8, 1961
Only God knows why we are here this morning, individually. Why you're here, why I'm here. Only God knows whether, in the case of some, it's just a habit and no more spiritual than the Lutheran habit, though there may be some people in the Lutheran congregation this morning that are not there as Lutherans, but they don't know but that they could best honor the Lord, I mean they don't consciously know, best honor the Lord by being in such a meeting. Similarly with other religious organizations. But we're not supposed to be here for any other reason, we're not supposed to have any purpose whatsoever here to draw us together, but Christ Himself. We make no profession, and (as far as I'm concerned) make no effort, to attract people by ornaments, trying to improve upon the beauty of the One altogether lovely. Trying to add wonderful music, or wonderful this or wonderful that so-called, to Him whose name is properly, Wonderful.
We who have been brought together by the Lord Jesus Himself, the Holy Spirit leading us, because He came of course to glorify Christ, we who have been brought together by the Holy Spirit will be kept together in our walk, talk, our fellowship, our worship and work, by no other spirit. Knowledge puffeth up; love edifies, builds up. Paul said, "If any man thinketh he knoweth anything, let him be a fool; he knows nothing as he ought." However, it is also true, as he says in that same epistle, 1 Corinthians 2, "We have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." Now the kind of knowledge that puffeth up is carnal knowledge, and that may be a head knowledge of much of Scripture, "Though I understand all mysteries and all prophecies and have faith so that I could move mountains, and haven't love, I am nothing," I am nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:2.
"Now in Christ Jesus neither circumcision," referring there I'm sure the word 'circumcision', I'm sure to the practices that God gave Israel, physical religion, types and shadows, "Now in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision but faith which worketh by love." "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Spiritual knowledge doesn't puff up. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Be free with the liberty wherewith Christ has set you free, we're admonished as Christians. Stand fast, in the liberty we have in Christ here, we're also admonished.
If I had subject for what I'm going to give the rest of the time this morning, it might be, "The Gospel of the Grace of God." Or it might be, "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth," for I'll give more than the simple plan of salvation. But I'm sure that what I'm going to give is the corrective for every sect, every ism, every cult, in Christendom. And that it is the foundation upon which we must stand or we'll be shaky, and the walk therefore will be shaky when we meet people.
The devil wants to do all in his power to destroy, and he's been very successful, wants to do all in his power to destroy a testimony of two or three or 200 or 2,000 or how ever many there are that are endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by our walk not our talk. "Only by pride cometh contention," God had the wisest man that ever lived next to Jesus Christ, Solomon, wrote. "Only by pride cometh contention." The parallel to that in this present dispensation, in scriptures that refer to it, for instance is found in 2 Timothy 3, some of the characteristics of the last days among religious people will he heady, high-minded, heady, high-minded. May God deliver me and deliver you from that impudent and unchristian attitude.
In the church which is Christ's body there's one head. Some of you heard me try to bring out there, bring out some things about the pope. The pope of Rome is the head of a body that's not his. That's a funny thing. And he's the head of a body that gets along very nicely when it doesn't have a head. During the election of popes after one dies ? And there are several other things I could bring but I won't now along that line of the headship of the Roman Catholic Church. They profess there's one head, spiritual. They all say that when you see one, ? long enough to talk to on the subject. "Well certainly the church teaches that Christ is the head. Why certainly, we know that. But He's in heaven, He's too far away." So forth.
Well anyway, we know from the Word of God that there's one head of the church which is His body. Christ is head over all things to the church which is His body. I believe in the unique character of the apostle Paul's ministry. But since I'm sure there is such a ministry that no other apostle had, and that it is a ministry that is characteristic for this present time period...
By the way we need to be very careful when we use the "dispensation' as though it means time. It doesn't necessarily mean time at all. The word 'dispensation' and the word 'age' are not synonymous. They may not be used synonymously. The word 'dispensation', the word 'stewardship', economy, the rule of a house. I believe God's rule for His people today, how to walk as members of the church which is His body, was given peculiarly, specifically to Paul. He said, "Mark those which walk as you have me for an ensample, for many walk", and so forth, Philippians 3.
I have believed that with increasing conviction for ... well I began to believe it when l was acquainted personally with brother O'Hair. I met him in 1916, and I heard him say for the first time I ever heard it in my life, that I knew I'm sure, "I believe Christ may come any minute, and I wouldn't walk across this street to see anything the world has to offer." Now whether he told the truth then I don't know. He said that in a big tent meeting in Brooklyn, 1916. He was there with a ? of a Bible meeting party in a tent seating 6,000, 26 or more churches cooperating. He was there as a Bible teacher, and personal work teacher (teaching classes before the evening meeting, personal work), and the shop work, had charge of shop meetings. I took him, I was driving a jitney in those days.
I pulled off with the jitney, my drive, in time to meet him, as a big wholesale paper company or stationer company, where he was to have the first noon meeting, shop meeting, during those meetings. I was the only Ft Worth person there to meet him. He and I were alone. Of course he preached. I sang the "Ninety and Nine." The next day, I met him, took him in my Model T Ford, pulled off from my business, jitney driving and combination street car (pulled the sign off from the front of my jitney, the street sign, route sign), and was with him again. And thus formed a very personal acquaintance with brother O'Hair.
Years later when I went to Chicago to attend the Moody Bible Institute, he was there at that time. Pastor of a little independent ... they called it "Independent" ... "Madison Independent Church", met in a store building. I got much more from my association with brother O'Hair, from the Bible, the Word of God, than I did from all of my classes I took in Bible in Moody Institute. When I could I would get away, or many times I'd get away and go to brother O'Hair. He was very gracious, and very kind, very personal.
In 1935 (I was assistant pastor to him in 1924), in 1935 he wrote me saying, "We are having our second Berean Bible Conference. As you may know we had one six months ago. Had a fine bunch of young fellows, fine students, come. And many more are coming this year we understand. Wish you could come." He didn't know that I could. But two Christians here made it possible, financially, for me to go. And I went to Chicago, 1935.
At that time, brother O'Hair was teaching the extreme Bullinger position that the church which is Christ's body, referred to in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Timothy could not have begun till after Israel as a nation was finally broken off as recorded in Acts 28:28. 1 was the only man at that conference during the entire week who contended the church of 1 & 2 Corinthians and Romans and 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Galatians was the same church as that of Ephesians. I got up over and over again, and the last thing 1 said before I left the conference, I said, "Brethren, I would like to remind you, that when the apostle Paul got to Rome he did not speak over an international radio hookup with all the Jews listening in, and make a formal international pronouncement of Acts 28:28." ?... well let me ... turn in your Bibles to Acts 28. Now my friends, what I'm giving now I tremble as I give it. It is so important. There are many abortive movements. I have said for years, and my conviction grows, that brother O'Hair more or less definitely led an abortive movement. He was the human being, more than all others put together probably... anyway the movement that started the Milwaukee Bible Institute. Later they changed to Milwaukee Bible College. And they're turning out young preachers; there are several of them in this area, some older.
Brother O'Hair ... I wrote a study shortly after I came back from the conference in Chicago in 1935. I wrote a study entitled, "Why I Reject Bullingerism." And I took up some of the arguments that I gave in Chicago, but in the meantime I had studied more, and had some clearer, more convincing things. Brother O'Hair and several others backed up from that extreme dispensational (that is, what I think is extreme) Bullinger position; the late E.W. Bullinger of England.
One reason I mention that is because some people who could know better, and others who don't care to know any better, call us "Bullingerites". I think one of the reasons that that's a fond attack is that the word 'Bullinger' starts with a "Boo", and if you're a Bullingerite you're a dangerous fellow, see. He's a Bullingerite. I have said to individuals, written letters to individuals, and otherwise on the radio and all, given reasons that I have never accepted the extreme Bullinger position. I never believed that the church of Romans 12, one body in Christ and Paul was in it, I have never believed that that's a different church from the one body in Christ in Ephesians. Paul was in both of them. No, he was in the body. And I so argued in Chicago.
But we need to know, in the first place, the truth of course, and we need to know the most subtle counterfeits or detours or departures from the truth. I have said for years that the most hurtful man in Ft Worth, Texas or that area, hurtful so far as those of us, Bob Thompson now (living in Ft Worth), getting out the truth of the one body and the walk of the believer's concerned, so far as our getting people to believe and cooperate with us, walk with us, in the walk of Ephesians 4:5, men like Ike T. Sidebottom in Ft Worth are more dangerous than the out-and-out ordinance people (Baptist, Presbyterian, and so forth, Lutheran) because they have so much truth but have some essential error.
I jotted this down several days ago as a seed thought for a tract, or anyway a messageable "Why", and I was going to make it a personal testimony, "Why I am regarded by many as a dangerous" ... or "Reasons why I am regarded as a dangerous man". Not reasons, but Iíll say that word. And the first one I jotted down because I had it vivid in my mind, wanted to jot it down before I forgot it, was that I believe a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Now any man who believes that and makes an intelligent use of it in discussing present day religion is a dangerous man. When you try to help people to see, do it passionately, prayerfully, humbly, courageously, Biblically, you try to help people to see that a little leaven just does one thing, if allowed to remain. Whether in morals (1 Corinthians 5), or whether in doctrine (mixing law and grace in the book of Galatians, those expressions occur). "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
Now Acts 28 please, Acts 28. Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome saying, "I don't have any other place to minister around here so I hope to come there," 15th chapter of Romans. But now here he gets to Rome, and he first calls the chief of the Jews together, and reasons with them for hours. Look at the 17th verse, Acts 28:17.
It came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have said nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you,
? ...the leading Jews you see,
to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
And they said unto him, We neither received reference out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or stated any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect'
Now that's what they said Paul and other Christians were, but Paul didn't accept their description did he. In Acts 24 we find the Roman prosecuting attorney calling Paul a pestilent fellow, but he didn't accept it. I give that because the Baptists say, "We got our name given us by other people, ridiculing." The Methodists likewise. Well Paul never took a name that was given him by the enemies of Christ. And you and I should never take a name given us by enemies of Christ, but take the name that's above every name, the name that describes Christianity; Christ.
All right again now, or continue. "We know that this sect is everywhere spoken against." Let me stop for a moment and say there isn't but one group of Christians on the face of the earth today that's everywhere spoken against, and that group consists of Christians who are walking in the Spirit, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. Because every sect, no matter how much truth it has, is against the people who are walking endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Don't forget that. There isn't but one group of people on the face of the earth who are everywhere spoken against. The people who are walking in Christ Jesus the Lord, who are walking in Christ Jesus the Lord. You can't walk in Christ Jesus the Lord and be a Baptist. You can't walk in Christ Jesus the Lord and be a Presbyterian, be a Berean.
Brother Stam who is the leading teacher, at least so far as ability and aggressiveness, so far as I know he's definitely the leading teacher now, succeeding brother O'Hair. He accepted a call to the pastorate following brother O'Hair shortly after O'Hair's death in Chicago, but he decided not to stay there as a pastor because he couldn't do the pastoral work there and carry on his sect, other sect, the Berean Bible organization. So he resigned as pastor and went back to his organization, and with a nice new building in Chicago, and he's going great guns. I got a letter from him the other day, not knowing whom he's writing, some other name, relative of mine, requesting money, all pray about it and get money to start in several thousand weekly newspapers. over the nation with a little one or two or three minute Bible study each day. He's reaching out! ? And there are two or three congregations in Riverside, there are two or three congregations in Riverside ? and the folks there built. But they call themselves the Bible Church, and the Grace Church, and I forget what's the other name. And they are disgraceful because they will not walk worthy of the calling wherewith they're called. They will not receive ... I would no more have a part in rejecting anybody, I said I wouldn't have a part (I have no authority to do it), but I wouldn't have a part in rejecting anybody that wants to speak in this meeting place. But I'll have a part in telling, by the grace of God, I'll listen to you humbly and prayerfully, by the grace of God, prayerfully and with an open mind and an open Bible. And we won't call the police, we'll call on much more powerful weapons if you don't give the truth: the "Word of God handled.
And that's the way I've gone for years and years and years, and God has protected this testimony here, for instance, in an amazing way. Not that we haven't had some fights that some people thought were ugly on both sides, but I'm quite sure they were ugly only on one side. We can, we can maintain a clean cut clear Biblical testimony. We can' t do it, then let's blame God. We can maintain a Biblical testimony, thank God!
All right now, Acts 28 continuing.
We desire to hear thee, what thou thinkest, for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it's spoken against. And when they had appointed a day, there came many into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
Now when he went back and expounded the Old Testament Scriptures the things concerning Jesus and the kingdom of God, you think he said anything about the death of Jesus Christ?
When Philip was led by the Spirit of God down into a desert place, and then when he got down there was shown a man in a chariot (the Ethiopian eunuch), he was told to join himself to that man, and the eunuch was reading out of Isaiah 53, "As a lamb before his shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." Philip said, "Understandest what thou readest?" "How can I lest thou explain it." And beginning at that place Philip preached unto him Jesus. You think he told him how to be saved? You think anybody could spiritually expound Isaiah 53 and not say anything about the shed blood of Jesus Christ? You think ("a lamb before his shearers is dumb"), you think anybody could expound, spiritually expound Isaiah 53 and say nothing about Jesus Christ bearing our sins? "We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and that with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, but God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. God will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied." Philip began at that place and preached unto him Jesus.
We read a splendid statement (of course it's splendid, it's. inspired) in the 10th chapter of Romans. Now I'm on this subject right now: did Isaiah preach the gospel of the grace of God? Did Isaiah preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for sinners? Paul in the 10th chapter of Romans said, "But they haven't all believed", "Isaiah says, But they haven't all believed our report, haven't all obeyed the gospel." And he used the word 'gospel', Paul did, in Romans the 10th chapter reference to Isaiah's preaching. Some of you know brother Bob Thompson wrote a tract, "Isaiah Preaches the Gospel", and he just deals with the prophecies and all in Isaiah regarding things of the gospel of the grace of God. It's a very... worthwhile thing, very worthwhile.
Look again now please. Paul expounded unto them
and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out oil the prophets, from morning till evening.
In 1925 my wife and I were in some revival meetings, 1 was the preacher, evangelist, in Phoenix, Arizona. That was when 1 was a Los Angeles District Southern Methodist evangelist, appointed that. I already was saved, already believed in the second coming of Christ, believed in the security of the believer, believed in the inspiration of the Bible. Sad to say 1 didn't know anything of the truth of the one body, the walk of the believer. I'd been invited to conduct meetings sponsored by the young peoples ? leagues of all the Southern Methodists in the Phoenix area. There were five came together. Meeting was in the Central Church downtown, mid-downtown Phoenix.. Before I got there, after I was called, l was called with the endorsement of the pastor at the time the call was sent to me, whom l knew the pastor, and he was nominally evangelical, and knew my stand: that is the Bible, and against evolution, and second coming of Christ. But the annual conference of the Methodists met before I got there, and the pastor was changed. The one who was pastor when I got there, and therefore the host, was a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and postgraduate in theology from Chicago University Divinity School, the rankest rottenest baptized infidel factory ... well, seminary.
I preached one afternoon on "Is the Bible Original Revelation?" At the end, ? several young people around me asking questions, and the preacher Dr Cook came up. 1 can see him now. "Brother Johnson, when you referred 'while ago to those baptized infidels at Chicago University Divinity School, I don't know whether you knowingly referred to me. Did you know I went to the Chicago University?" I said, "No, 1 didn't. But I'm still of the same opinion." He said, "I'd like to ask you what is your idea of inspiration of the Scripture? I'll first tell you mine. l believe the Bible's inspired because it inspires me." But he said, "I don't believe it's all equally inspired. There's a whole lot of it that doesn't inspire me. For instance, I'd hate to try to preach a gospel sermon out of Leviticus."
Did you know my friend, you can't preach a gospel sermon without going to Leviticus. Paul went to Leviticus when he said, "1 preached unto you the gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." And Leviticus has more about blood sacrifices, types of Christ's sufferings, death, and resurrection than any other one book in the Old Testament. But that's what this big man in ? said, "I would sure hate to get a gospel sermon out of Leviticus. It doesn't inspire me."
I heard a preacher years ago say, "You think Christ was crucified by religious leaders for saying, Consider the lilies of the field? No, I'm sure He wasn't," he said. "But then He said, From within out of the heart of man proceedeth evil surmisings, adulteries, fornications, murders. Except ye repent, you shall all likewise perish." He said, "That's why they hated Him. That's why they hated Him." I believe this book's inspired from Genesis one to Revelation the last verse, word. I believe holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Scriptures cannot be broken. I believe it's God breathed.
Now lets continue please, Acts 28:24.
And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they shall hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and,
now from a dispensational standpoint I'm sure it's very important to notice this conjunction, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding.
Now, what is the plan of salvation ? from the guilt and penalty of sin. Turn to the 19th chapter of Romans please. Turn to the 19th chapter of Romans. I had two very delightful and I think very profitable long evenings in Farmville, Virginia some months ago. Brother James Cox and I went down to meet at a little Bible class in a room, the jury room in the county courthouse. The most delightful part of it probably was, my part of it was, bringing to the attention of the Jew there, and especially the manager of the biggest department store there who had been saved some years and is quite a Bible student. He had been very much enamored, swept off his feet by a Plymouth Brother Bible teacher from a neighboring city, and had been there several times. The young, ex-Baptist, heard me on the radio, and James Cox and Bob Thompson both had talked to him over and over again, Tom (oh, for the moment I forget his last name) Anderson, Tom Anderson. Pray for him, he's a dear young fellow. He's been working with this Plym, coming in there occasionally to have Bible conferences. This Plymouth Brother, Bob Thompson met him, with a joint discussion I understand when Bob was back there this summer.
Well I took up the question of the Abrahamic covenant, that we're saved today exactly like Abraham was saved. And the Abrahamic covenant, so far as it applies to Gentile salvation, is as pure grace as Paul ever preached, and Paul preached that. And when Bob Thompson took it up with this man on the Abrahamic covenant, he all but raved I understand (this is the recording of it I have), he all but raved in trying to refute what Bob gave. Because he was teaching a new covenant supper for today, physical supper the new covenant. And Bob tried to show him that the new covenant in no sense at all belonged to Gentiles, nor even to Jews today. That the new covenant is the Jewish part of the Abrahamic covenant. That the new covenant is the Jewish part of the Abrahamic covenant.
Brother Ross? Where's brother Ross? Oh, he's out of town, that's right. Brother Ross drew a chart. I went into his office years ago in Glendale, oh years ago. Twenty years ago maybe. And he said, "Brother Johnson, I want to show you something." And he went back into a little office behind his optometrist reception room and all, and he showed me a chart he'd just been working on, he'd drawn, on the covenants. And he said, "I tell you, that teaching about the Abrahamic covenant ..." Well anyway.
The Abrahamic covenant. There is more confusion today in theology, in religion, as to the covenants than probably any other one thing, because even real Christians are confused on that, the covenants. I don't know that I can ... I wouldn't try to prove that Scofield (whose Reference Bible I have here) was right in the number of covenants he mentions, but I'm quite sure that God made a covenant with Noah. The token of which was what? That there never again be a world wide flood of judgment from God. And then God made a covenant with Abraham. And then God made a covenant with David about the king, and maybe the Palestine covenant might be included. Then God made a covenant, before David, made a covenant with Israel and Judah in the wilderness. He said, "In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt."
Now, you cannot prove, anyway as conclusively as you could otherwise, that the physical supper isn't for today unless you are clear on the covenants.. Because the Lord the night He was betrayed said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood." Now this Plymouth Brother teacher thought he was just going great guns when he said, and then the younger man, the manager of the department store there had accepted his argument too with me there for awhile, he said, "If you reject the new covenant brother Johnson, then you reject salvation. Christ said Matthew 26, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins."" And he said, "How can you have remission of sins then if you don't have the new covenant?"
I said, "My dear brother, you have read hastily. Let's read slowly. "This covenant is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins."" I said, "laid Abraham have the new covenant? Why of course not. When did God first promise the new covenant? Years after Abraham died, and the pinpointing of that is brought out so carefully in Galatians the 3rd chapter. God made a covenant with Abraham, and He confirmed it before in Christ, saying, "In thy seed, which is Christ, shall all nations be blessed." And Abraham believed God. He believed the gospel. He believed the gospel. He believed the gospel of the grace of God. That's why a person that's saved today is a child of Abraham as to his salvation. That's brought out specifically in Romans 4 and Galatians 3.
But anyway now, God made a covenant with Abraham. And Paul said, "And He confirmed it in Christ." And then Paul said, "Even if it's a man's covenant, if it's confirmed, no man dis-annulleth or addeth thereto. They should make the promise of none effect." I buy a piece of real estate. Suppose I... Jack, I buy your million dollar bank building. Papers are made out and you transfer the property to me for the consideration, financial consideration stipulated in the document, the bill of sale, the deed, the transfer. And we go, I said, "I want it confirmed, I want it confirmed." He said, "Well my name's here." "It's not good enough, brother Potter, Mr. Potter. I want the State of California to back it with it's legal department." So we go to the County Clerk, representative, and the County Clerk reads it over, and if he's a notary public, gets our oath, and then the County Clerk representing the State of California puts the "Bear", the seal of the State upon it. Now it is a confirmed covenant. Now suppose next day Jack goes back and he says, "By the way,, 1 want to change that covenant Mr. County Clerk. I didn't get enough money for my bank building." He says, "I'm sorry, sorry can't do anything about it." "What do you mean you can't?" "Well, it's been confirmed. That transfer, that document's been confirmed. And the legal department of the State of California's back of it. You can't touch it."
Well, Paul uses that argument (not about California), even if it's a man's covenant, he said if it's confirmed, no man dis-annulleth or addeth thereto. He said God made the covenant with Abraham, confirmed it in His Son, 1900 years before Christ was horn on earth. Then Paul said, now, what about the law then? It was added 430 years later, and that's the old covenant, what God called the old covenant.
You ask the average Christian (and I don't mean to insinuate that I'm smart, it's just a question of experience, and a little knowledge of religionists today), you ask the average preacher why is the old testament called the Old Testament? He might say, "Well, because it begins with Genesis 1:1 and ends with Malachi the last verse." And ... is that what God calls the Old Testament? Now God uses the term old testament, 2 Corinthians 3, 'old covenant'. Testament and covenant are used interchangeably for the same Greek word in our English, covenant and testament. Why does God call the Mosaic covenant 'old'? It didn't begin with Genesis 1:1. The men that divided the Bible into two testaments were impudent, they were heady, high-minded. It's only confusing and very far reaching in it's confusing character. In no sense at all does the old testament begin with Genesis 1, what God calls the old testament. And in no sense at all does the old testament end with the birth of Christ. You ask the average Bible teacher and preacher, say, "Why did Christ ... why was Christ circumcised as an eight day old Jewish baby boy, as we read in Luke 2:21? Wasn't that old testament, an Old Testament rite?" "Yes." ? Well why did Christ submit to it in the New Testament when an eight day old Jewish baby boy ? Not only that, why did Christ say, "I didn't come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill" ? And why are we told in Galatians 4 that He was "made of a woman, made under the law"? That's the old testament law, the old testament, the old covenant. And why did Christ say as late as Matthew 23 just before He went to the cross, Christ said, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat," that's Moses' cathedra which the pope gets cathedra supposedly sitting in Peter's seat, and when he speaks from that seat it's ex-cathedra, from the seat. Christ said Matthew 23, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat," Matthew 23, thirty, one or two, nearly three years maybe after the Old Testament's supposed to have ended according to the people that divided the Bible into Old and New Testaments. Thirty-odd years after the New Testament was supposed to begin, Christ said, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, all things therefore whatsoever they bid you observe and do, that observe and do. Carry on the Mosaic economy, Mosaic dispensation. Carry on the Mosaic dispensation. All that the scribes and Pharisees who sit in Moses' seat bid you observe and do, that observe and do; but don't do what they do because they say and do not." Now was that old testament truth or new testament? Class? Old testament of course; old testament truth having to do with what God calls the old testament.
It's so important, look. This should be more interesting to you and me than things like I saw just the other day passing by a park, you may see them often of course at the park. Down at Pershing Square the other day. Checkers. Chess. Do you like to see the movements of Almighty God, and how He moves His people and His kings and His covenants and His ordinances, how He's going to move kingdoms; we have verses on that subject. Oh, let's be more thrilled with God's Word. Let me ? this book, and enjoy studying this book. It's really interesting. All right let me continue now please.
The new covenant, the old testament. What did God make with Abraham? He made a many sided covenant. Abraham for instance is the father of at least four people or peoples, with at least one exception. He's the father of the Ishmaelites who came from his son by Hagar, Ishmael, Ishmael. And he's the father of the Mohammedans today, ? Abraham's the father of Isaac, who had a son by the name of Jacob who had children that were called the children (his name was changed to Israel), called the children of Israel. Jacob's twelve sons called the children of Israel, and then twelve tribes from them and all. So Abraham's the father of Ishmaelites, he's the father of Jews, and in a very particular, of course, and glorious sense he's the human father of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord from glory who lived as a Jew for thirty-three and a half years. Son of Abraham, Christ is traced back in the genealogy in both Matthew and Luke. "And in thy seed," God said to Abraham, "thy seed, which is Christ, shall all nations be blessed." Then in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 we're told, as I said awhile ago, all Christians, whether after the flesh Jew or Gentile, all who have salvation through faith in Christ are Abraham's children spiritually. We're his spiritual children.
In Chicago at that Bible conference in 1935, I heard like this before I got up and spoke, "Now we read in Galatians brethren, "As many as have been baptized in Jesus Christ have put on Christ,"" they didn't emphasize that, ""we are children of Abraham." But we read over in Ephesians 2, we are new creatures in Christ. Thank God for our glorious position, not children of Abraham, but new creatures in Christ." I got up after awhile and said, "Brethren, I read in Galatians about new creatures. I read in Galatians." They were saying Galatians ... they were saying Galatians and Romans were the old church, and Ephesians and ... "but... in Galatians," I said, "I read not only that we're children of Abraham, but I read in Galatians 6, "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision but a new creation."" I said, "Paul in Galatians preaches a new creation just as clearly as he does in Ephesians." And I said, "Paul in Romans, one body in Christ, just the same as Ephesians, one body in Christ, and Paul ? ."
I was just going to say, in 2 Corinthians which they said was not in the church which is Christ's body, Paul (and I'll come in a moment mind you to the teaching), that Paul was saved by grace but he had to be baptized in water, they say. I would like to sit in on a joint discussion with any of the advocates of this doctrine, a joint discussion on his part with a Campbellites. A smart Campbellite debater could embarrass them and whip them and make them sick if they were honest at all. And so could a Mormon, so could a Seventh Day Adventist, so could a J.W., so could a Roman Catholic, so could a Lutheran, so could an Episcopalian -- but I'm not dealing with that now. But let's come back to this please.
Romans 11:16. Well let's begin at the first part of it.
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.
By the way, in just above, Paul quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures, prophecies regarding Gentiles being saved while Israel was broken. And O'Hair, Stam, and those who teach that (so far as I know their writing, and of course I'm glad to believe they're brethren in Christ. And God forbid that I should speak unkindly, I mean what God would call that as far as energy of the flesh, but only contending for the truth as it is in Christ, and then anybody whose in the wrong place take what he should take ... but anyway ... from that kind of preaching and teaching).
Back again to Romans... I was calling attention to the fact that in Romans 10 ... look at 10:19,
But I say, Did not Israel know? For Moses said, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will I anger you. But Isaiah is very bold, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest to them that asked not after me. But to Israel,
in other words, there are Old Testament prophecies of Gentile salvation before the kingdom of God is established in Palestine. Here's a part of it right here, very clearly brought out.
And the mystery of Romans 11:25, "l would not have
you ignorant, brethren, concerning this mystery, lest you should be wise in your
own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness
of the Gentiles." Bullinger brings out correctly there. He says the mystery
... the fact that Israel was broken off, was to be broken off, was
mystery. But the length of time
was a mystery. "Until the fullness
of the Gentiles come in." That of course was what was not prophesied back
in the Old Testament Scriptures. The fact of Israel being broken off is
not a mystery, and the fact
that Gentiles are being saved before Israel
is even a nation, that's not a mystery. That's given here in the prophecies Paul
quotes. Now watch. This may not seem important to some of you, but it is. You
try to believe that... I know it is, listen prayerfully and carefully. Some
recognize the importance of it, some of the importance. None of us recognize it
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people which he foreknew.
God foreknew what they were going to do.
Know ye not what the scripture saith unto Elijah,
how he maketh intercession unto God against Israel, saying, Lord they kill thy prophets, and dig down thine altars; I'm left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved unto myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 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.
Now... if you'd been alive and heard brother O'Hair, some of you here have -- the Brissey sisters. One of you used to be in his congregation. Well anyway, you folks have heard him many times haven't you. One of the sisters has since departed this life was in ... wasn't it she that was in the congregation that met in the North Shore Church? Blanche? Well I met the Brissey sisters (pardon my ... ), I met them in Chicago when I was with O'Hair there. Had you heard brother O'Hair like some of us did on Romans. 11:6, oh-h-h-h-h he was powerful ...
(end side of tape)
... so far as I know he later took it up, the Bullinger doctrine and so on. And Stam of the Milwaukee Bible Institute teaches it now, that Peter was saved by grace but he had to have works to prove he had faith for salvation. And that Peter in Acts 2:38 preached water baptism for remission of sins. But it's grace.
Now my dear friends, I don't believe anything that I have to sweat over in order to uphold like anybody who teaches that has to. It wasn't ? brother O'Hair ... when I asked two brethren, my brethren to go, I mean (and I know him) to go and see him when he was out in a Bible conference several years ago, and ask him if he would meet me in public joint discussion on the two gospels; the idea that the plan of salvation used to have to have water baptism essential and so forth under Peter and others, but now it's pure grace. And brother O'Hair said, "Now I'm too old. It would be too strenuous on my nerves and so on." Well that might be quite all right in his case. Then when Stam was out here, and he's a good deal younger than I am, virile, powerful fellow physically, big basso voice, and an able man, I had some of my brethren ask him if he would meet me. "No! No." And two of the brethren out here I think, brother Ross was one. Brother Earl LaForce, you were one that went to see Otis Sellers, and ask him if he would meet me in joint discussion. He said, "No!" And his wife spoke up and said, "But brother Johnson is perfectly welcome to come here and sit in brother Seller's class." And what did Otis say?
(Earl LaForce from audience) "Yeah, that would be all right if he'd just sit there and not say anything."
Now I don't say that to be smart. My dear friends, Paul said ... by the way, ? Jude said, "When I wrote unto you of the" what kind of salvation? Common salvation. I was saved today exactly like Abel was saved. Abel didn't have to bring that blood sacrifice to be saved any more than I have to read a lot of scriptures. Abel had the inspired type of Christ. I have the inspired history of Christ. Both are physical. This was physical, this is physical. Faith ... Abel by faith! offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain we're told. By faith. And what he did you see was not what he did, but to prove that he realized he couldn't do anything! It's what the lamb did that Abel believed as a type. Abel believed that that lamb's death, that lamb's shed blood was a type of it.
I don't want to stop this morning till I get to the ... 40th Psalm, but I should turn to it right now, please. Look at 11:6 again, Romans 11:6. And don't forget my friends, because I'm sure this is true, not only do the Lutherans have a new plan of salvation, I mean different from Abraham and Moses and David, the Roman Catholics have a different plan, the Campbellites have a different plan (so-called "Church of Christ", the "Christian Church"), the J.W.s have a different plan, the Seventh Day Adventists have a different plan. All of them have things that are supposed to be New Testament things in connection with their doctrine of salvation. The plan of salvation my dear friend has never changed in any degree, any particular whatsoever! from the way God prophesied in the hearing of Adam and Eve, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." And when the Lord God made coats of skin and clothed Adam and Eve, you think they didn't understand anything about what that meant?
You think Abel ... I asked Stam when I went hundreds of miles out of my way to meet him when I heard, I was in that general neighborhood (a few hundred miles away). I went to Lima, Ohio years ago, twelve years ago when he was having a Bible conference. Bob Haines in Toledo wrote me and said, "l hope you can meet brother Stam," Cornelius Stam, "he's the ... I think the humblest man in all this crowd of so-called Grace Gospel Fellowship men. He's going to be at a Bible conference in Lima, Ohio with Hat Reed and brother," what's his name, that came out here with ... Enoch Clum, "brother Clum. "And I converged to him. Bob and I converged there in Lima, Ohio. I met Stam. In talking with him, he said, "No Old Testament patriarch ever heard! that Christ was going to die for their sins. Nobody heard it until it was given to Paul."
An old scholarly man in that whole group, so far as I know, now departed this life, was Dr Bultema of Muskegon, Michigan. After the conference in 1935, a brilliant young fellow whose now thrown the whole thing over and gone back into Presbyterianism, and is quite a popular lecturer with Youth For Christ and others, been up in my town San Luis Obispo twice in a Baptist Church up there. He's no more Baptist than I'm Lutheran. Vincent Bennett, brilliant speaker, Englishman, speaks like G Campbell Morgan. Graduate of Moody Bible Institute, graduate of McCormick Presbyterian Seminary, college and the seminary, scholarly chap, able. He was the one that O'Hair asked to come up and answer me the first time I spoke in the conference in 1935.
Three or four days later, Bennett came to me and said, "Brother Johnson, I'd like to have a talk with you privately." He was pastor in Muskegon, Michigan, of a tabernacle or congregation. A few blocks away, Dr Bultema was in the Berean Church; he had come out of the Christian Reformed, Dutch Reformed, and they started what they call a Berean Church there, I believe it was. Bultema and Bennett were both in Chicago where I first met them. Bennett came to me, he said, "Can't we miss this next session and take a walk out by the lake ? Chicago?" I said, "Yes." Walking along he said, "Brother Johnson, I'm ashamed of the way I spoke. I don't think brother O'Hair should have asked like he did, "Come up and answer Maurice," that's what he said. He said, "I've got to go to the radio now. I've got twenty scriptures against every one Maurice gave." You see, I used to be his assistant, so it was kind of hard on his dignity for his former assistant to try to refute what he's giving. "I've got to go to the radio. Bennett, come up and answer Maurice." And he came up and gave the stock in trade stuff that I had heard years before in the same class that you used to be in brother Morey, ? extreme dispensationalism, and I repudiated some years before. Bennett said to me, "Brother Johnson, I'm ashamed of the way I spoke, and I don't think brother O'Hair should have said, "Come up and answer Maurice." This is supposed to be a Berean conference." But he said, "I believe you're giving things that this conference has never heard before, at least were not being given." And he said, "I want to talk to you some more." He said, "I'm perfectly frank to tell you that I have just soaked up like a blotter all the Bullinger ... I've wrote to England and got Bullinger's books, and Welch's books, and I wrote to California and got all the past magazines in volume form of Hadden and Bunce's "Christian Fundamental League." And he said, "I've been reading, reading, reading, just soaked it up." And he said, "You've given things I know we're not answering."
At the close of the conference he said, "Can't you come over? Do you have to go back to the Pacific Coast? Can't you come over to Muskegon? I would like you to give these things to my people." I said, "Well I'll make it a matter of prayer, communicate with my wife in California." I went to Muskegon, was there several days, studying with Bultema, and preaching in Bennett's place. And I preached these things I'm giving today.
Well anyway, year-r-r-r-rs later, I was out at brother Ed Stevens' in Riverside and who should drive up but a man by the name of Luther (not Martin), an extreme dispensationalist, with Dr Bultema in his car. Brother Bultema you see is Dutch like brother Ed Stevens racially, and they used to be in the same denomination, and they correspond to each other. And Bultema asked Luther, Luther ? if he wouldn't drive him over to brother Stevens. I said, "Well, I'm glad to see you." I said, "Dr Bultema, brother Bultema, I hope and pray that you and I can have, and other brethren here (brother Stevens), have the opportunity of sitting down and studying together before you go back to Michigan." I said, "I believe that O'Hair and you, those with you, are teaching very dangerous error. And if God spares my life physically, and gives me breath and stickability, I'm going to expose it as widely as I can. I think it is very hurtful, especially because you teach so much beautiful truth. But since you're here, I would so much prefer sitting down and studying with you. Can we do it?"
"I'd be very glad," he's a gracious sort of a fellow in manner, "I'd be very glad brother Johnson." Brother Luther said, "I'm against you. But Luther, well we're going over to South Gate to visit a brother Rich," he's now in West Riverside, preacher, about my age or older, "and let's wait and see ..." "All right," well I said, "Hereís my name and address, brother Bultema." I'm waiting now. Never heard a word since then. Bultema's gone to be with the Lord; So I made effort after effort after effort to get these leaders to meet me.
And if you know anyone that'll meet me in public joint discussion, any representative of them, I'll he very happy to meet them because it's necessary.
But let me go on now for a little bit more because I'm not going to stop yet; this is too important. If you have to go, you can go, but I'm not going to stop right now. And I have no ... listen, for years now, with increasing conviction I've seen this: what have I ... we're facing it now in the income tax proposition as it comes on, I talked to brother Dalford Todd over the telephone this morning, he wrote me an air mail special letter about these points, and I called him this morning, long distance phone to Dallas, about this income tax case that's coming up the first week in February.
I don't want to suffer, I don't want to be accused in the paper and otherwise of being a tax evader and a renegade and so forth. I've taken the name of Christ not in vain. And I want to be able to stand and look not only the devil in the eye, I want to look the income tax people, and you in the eye, and say, "I'm wide open for any criticism you've got." By the grace of God, I'm wide open for any attack my God will let come my way. Because I'm not a contender for victory in time and cents, but I'm a contender for the truth as it is Christ Jesus.
I started to say, what have I, what provision am I making, ? ... similarly of course with Bob and these other, Bob Thompson, and these other fellows that are giving full time preaching, but if we're not contending for the whole truth ... Look, if I'm contending for anything that is carnal, the Holy Spirit knows it, doesn't He? And the Holy Spirit won't lead you to support me in anything that's not right. And I have no guarantee that I'll have anybody standing with me unless I'm standing for the Lord Jesus, preaching the truth, and the Holy Spirit therefore knowing that will cause you, that are right with God, to stand with me. That's... it's glorious! To say, "I can ...", brother B.D. Johnson used to say, "This commends itself to every man's conscience." That's a beautiful expression. It commends itself to consciences.
Well now back again now please to Romans 11:6.
And if by grace,
if these remnant of Jews including Paul saved by grace,
if by grace, then is it 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.
Now was Paul one of the remnant of Jews? Of course. How was he saved? Turn to Acts 22. Now let's see if we can afford to mix works and grace in here with Paul who not only gave the truth in Romans. 11:6, but what did he give in Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit."
Are we correct in giving that as a text of pure grace? Why of course, of course. Well Paul said, "I'm going to let God ... I'm going to say it that way." And these men to whom I'm referring in their doctrine, they say Paul, Saul of Tarsus, in the account of Acts 9 didn't know anything about the gospel of pure grace because he only knew the gospel of the circumcision which they say is a mixture. So Paul himself was saved by a mixture, but when he gives his testimony he never says that. He says he was saved by unmixed grace. And if you try to mix it, it's not grace, it's not grace.
Acts 22. Paul is giving his testimony when he's on trial before the court. He tells about being stricken dead, I mean stricken blind. Tenth verse, 22:10, Acts 22:10.
And I said, What shall I do, Lord?
he saw that blind ? from heaven, the voice he heard,
And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
Now lest somebody think, like the Campbellites argue, the word 'do', there it is 'do', "What shall I do?", Acts 2:38, "What shall we do?" Well let's stop for a moment and quote John 6:28-29. Some of the Jews said to Christ while He was on earth, "What are the works of God that we might do?" W-o-r-k-s. "What are the works of God that we might do?" And what did He say? "This is the work," singular, "This is the work of God that you believe." Is that pure grace? Is that pure grace? Are we correct in quoting that today to an unsaved person? John 6:28-29. Well I do. It's just as pure grace as Paul was ever given to write, speak, write about and speak. Do you see that? Of course it's pure grace.
Christ, while He was on earth, a minister of circumcision, ? as the plan of salvation. You should read Stam's efforts to try to get out of His types, talk about John 3:14-18 and 3:36 and 4th chapter of John with the record where the Lord Jesus said to that woman of Samaria, "if you knew who it was that asked a drink of thee, and what the gift of God was." thou would ask and He would have given thee water, that would have been in thee a well springing up with everlasting life. You knew what the gift of God was." Is that pure grace? Is that pure grace? You find any purer grace anywhere in the Word of God than the plan of salvation as given by the Lord Jesus in John 4? No, you can't.
Is it correct to give John 5:24 as pure grace today? I had a good time giving it to a Roman Catholic priest (I've done this several times). Opened their own Duoay translation of the Bible ... (By the way, don't ever call the Duoay translation the Catholic Bible, don't ever call it the Catholic Bible. They say, "All the Bibles are ours", and I say none of them are. This is God's 'Word; I don't care what translation. Say Roman Catholic translation when you refer to Duoay.). I opened the Duoay translation of the Bible to a Roman Catholic priest, I have a few times, and I said, "Would to God," words to this effect, "I would to God you believed it. You'd read it and believe it." In the Roman Catholic Duoay translation it's like this, "Amen, amen, I say unto you," Christ speaking, "he that heareth My word and receiveth Him that sent Me hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed out of death into life." Is that pure grace? "He that heareth My word and believeth on Him, he hath eternal life." That pure grace? Yeah, that's pure grace. You won't find any purer grace than that. In fact, there's no such thing as impure grace. There's no such thing as adulterated grace. If it's grace, it's not works! If it's works, it's not grace, Romans 11. That's plain isn't it?
(from audience, "What is Stam's argument on John 3?")
Well I won't take time to give it now. He asked, "What is Stam's argument on John 3 ? " He's like the bad woman of the 5th, the 6th, the 7th chapters, and the 8th chapter of Proverbs, his ways are devious lest you ponder it. They can't give ... nobody can give a clear consistent answer to an error. And the more they talk and the more they write, the more they've got to cover up their last mistake. So that some of his arguments that I have are, and I got his magazine now, I've got the latest edition, some of his arguments are, "Well John ... it is true that in John we have pure grace." You see he's been confronted so many times with his error on that point. "It is true that in John we have pure grace. But let us not forget that the book of John was probably written after Paul wrote his last epistle." Well what difference does it make when it was written that Christ said, When did He say it? While He was on earth. And I don't care if it was written 1970, whether it was 1970. The important point was when was it said, and by whom. It was said by the Lord Jesus on earth before Saul was ever saved. And so since the Lord Jesus on earth gave the pure, pure grace for salvation, it's begging the question, it's debater's trick to say it was written ... it was written probably 90 or 95 A.D., and by that time the truth of pure grace was out. Well Christ let it out at the time of John. Christ let it out when He was on earth, didn't He. And it was let out way back here too.
That means undeserved goodness my unsaved friend. Salvation by unmerited favor. You can't merit the gift of God. And you insult Him if you try to give Him a thing.
Turn to Acts 22 please, and let's see a little more about Saul's conversion. The Lord said, "You go and you learn what you should do." What verse was I? (from audience, "Eleven") Thank you.
And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. One Ananias, a devout man according to the law,
that's very significant, but I mustn't take time now to try to bring it out now,
having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers has chose thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou past seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
(question from audience by brother Hill)
Ah, that question is a very, very familiar question to me because I've met a lot of Campbellites, and they all pose exactly the same question, which doesn't mean that isn't a good question. He said, "How can you be baptized with the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins, and then receive the Holy Spirit?" Your failure there my dear brother is a failure to distinguish between the two phases of the work of the Holy Spirit. Baptized with the Spirit is one thing, receive the Spirit is another phase of the same thing. Just as we have in 1 Corinthians 12:13. In ...
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
... in 1 Corinthians 12:13 we're told, "For in one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." There are the two aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit, of the Lord Jesus baptizing, the Holy Spirit. So, Acts 2:38, "Repent" ... and you see his contention means nothing if it doesn't mean what he said in his writing that Peter told them to be baptized in water for remission of sin. For remission of sin, that's the text. Now if it's water baptism, it's nothing but works, because you can't mix grace and works. You can't mix works and grace.
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
Beg your pardon?
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
Very good. He gives that out in his study too. Very good. James said, "If a man say you show me your faith without your works, I'll show you my faith and my works." No! "Iíll show you my faith by my works." "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when" he obeyed the commandment, and when he did this and was kind and loving. Let's let the inspired record tell us. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works. when he offered up Isaac." That's what James was inspired to write. Now why did he say, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac"? Because the Abrahamic covenant, a promise which Abraham believed, given us in the 15th chapter of Genesis, Abraham... God said, "Abraham," Abraham said, "God, what are you going to give me seeing I'm an old man, don't have any children, one born in my house will have to be my heir. God said, "Can you count the stars? If you think you can, you can count your seed. In thy seed shall all nations be blessed." And Abraham believed and it was counted to him for righteousness, Genesis 15. And that's dealt with in great detail in the 4th chapter of Romans.
I would to God brother Hill that you would study Romans the 4th chapter and Galatians the 3rd chapter more carefully before you wrote that study. I would to God you had. My dear brother, let me plead with you. Let me plead with you. Don't contend for error. I'd be delighted to meet you, but I hope it won t have to be.
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
? and Iím going to stop of course in a few minutes because I should. Abraham was justified by faith without works! Romans ... Genesis 15, Romans 4! Galatians 3. Over ... "Why would we say that Abraham our father hath obtained as pertain to the flesh? If Abraham were justified by works, then he has whereof to glory but not before God. Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord will impute righteousness without works. Saying, Blessed are they whose sins are forgiven," and so forth.
When Abraham had no child, God showed him Jesus Christ. Nineteen years ahead, yet to be born. And He showed him that Jesus Christ was going to be the blessor, was going to die and be raised again, preached the gospel to him, Genesis ... Galatians 3:6 and so on. Abraham believed; he had no son. Now watch. Justified by faith without works. When... a little bit later, Abraham still had no son and his wife Sarah was too old to be a wife naturally. And she said, "You better go in to my handmaid Hagar. Maybe God will give you a son and we'll... we'll help God out. So you can have a great, great, great grandson and a name." So Abraham ? mixed works and grace, works and faith. He goes into Hagar, she conceives, and a son is born, Ishmael. God said, "He's not the one.
Then in the 17th chapter God said, "Abram, I'm going to change your name to Abraham," which means father of many nations. "Well! got no son." And God's changed his name now, later, to Abraham, father of many nations. "I have no son" ... had rejected the son that he had by his ... I mean his physical son. God rejected the son he had by Hagar. And now by faith Abraham's name, Abram's name Abraham, father of many nations. And then what did God do? "Abraham, I'm going to give you a covenant." What?! "Circumcision." Just going to touch this in passing. When did God give that? After Abraham was saved! After He changed Abram's name to Abraham! After Abraham had tried to help God out by going into the handmaid. Works and faith, the works and faith so-called. God said, "Abram, I'm going to change your name to Abraham father of many nations. Now your wife's dead so far as a potential mother's concerned. I'm going to change your name to Abraham, father of many nations. Now your wife's. dead so far as a potential mother's concerned. I'm going to kill you too, as a father. Circumcision. "Then God said to Sarah, "I'm going to quicken the womb," she can conceive. She did. Isaac was born. Now Abraham has faith and sight. Faith, that his great, great, great grandson's going to be the Savior; going to have a nation and so on, too. Faith, he's got the promise of God, and he's got a boy now. Now he's got faith and sight.
When Isaac is old enough to reason with his father, maybe twelve, maybe twenty some Bible teachers think, God said, Genesis 22, "I'm going to prove Abraham." Didn't say, "I'm going to save him. I'm going to prove him. Abraham, get thee up and take thy son, thine only son Isaac whom thou lovest, offer him up." What?! Break the only flesh and blood visible connection that's between me and the Savior? Between me and the nation? Between me and all the blessings that God said might be, and the nation would be to the other nations? Cut off all hope now, offer up his only son. "Abraham staggered not."
Said to his son, "Come on." Went up on the mountain, built the altar, carried the wood there. Isaac said, "Father, here's the altar, here's the wood, but where's the sacrifice?" You talk about a graphic picture, you talk about a touching picture. We may get a look back on that in the glory. Abraham said, "Son, God will provide a sacrifice." But God had told him, "Offer him." So he put his son on the altar, tied him on the altar, and took the sacrificial knife; "I'm going to do a work that will strengthen God's promise" ? seemed to be against it. "I'm going to do a work that'll prove I got faith in God's promise. I don't have faith in my son that I've got now that could be the father next to me of ... I've got faith in God." "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac?" He did a work that proved he had faith!
I close with this. Because ... God willing (I hope you can stay this afternoon), I want to take up the word 'gospel' and the 'gospel of God'.
Brother Hill, since you've spoken up, let me say again, I plead with you, my dear brother, don't be stubborn and proud because you've written. I said to several brethren when they told me they'd gotten copies of your study, "You didn't say a word to any of us, say, "I don't want to write anything divisive. I've come among you ... I'd rather study with some of you leaders first." You didn't do that. You begin to write and send out ..."
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
The first argument. That's right, but not the second, which I'm dealing with now. I haven't dealt with your first argument at all. But the second one, you see. You did, and contended. So what I'm doing is exhorting you my dear brother. I have some experience, far more than you have, with the difficulty of men honestly and humbly facing what they have already created with their brain and sent out. It's an awful test.
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
Well, I haven't been giving the almanac, or "Peck's Bad Boy", or the funny papers this afternoon.
Now watch. Abraham was justified by faith when he offered up Isaac. His works proved his faith.
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
Now watch. I give it this way sometimes in my own, which of course isn't inspired. Suppose when the Lord said to Simon Peter, "Come and walk on the water." Some of the disciples. around there said, "Do you think you can do that?" Simon said, "The Lord commands me to. Yes, l can do that." All right Peter said, "Just a minute, Lord," and he got two water wings or life preservers and put them on his shoulders. ? Would that have been a work that proved his faith? That would have been a work that proved he didn't have faith. But suppose he'd already had life preservers when the Lord said, "Come and walk," and some of his disciples had said, "Do you think you can do that? Walk on top of that water by the help of ..." "I certainly do." "Then you throw those water wings away. You throw those water wings away." He would have shown his faith by throwing them away. And had perfect faith, nothing but faith. Nothing but faith. That would have been grace and no works mixed, you see.
Iíll touch this for you to study between now, God willing, and later this afternoon, the latter half maybe, first half want to talk about family affairs, boys, playgrounds, baseball games, things, for the parents, and then go on.
What I was saying when brother Hill spoke up was, and I want you to get the force of this too my friend, some of you remember when a man that left us years ago; I tried to deal with him the same way, not take up personally to embarrass him but take up the doctrine, and I did the same years ago when John Owen... you remember. I was gone when he began to disseminate his doctrine, I was out of the state, I came back, and I thought I'd take up a study on that subject, would never call his name. I hadn't gone long before he spoke out, like brother Hill did, John Owen. I went back with John Owen on the subject of Christ conquering the last enemy. I went back and gave my experience in dealing with ? 25 years ago, because God had given me those experiences. And I wanted to make it appear, because it is true, I wanted to bring out, that... I wasn't attacking somebody in the audience. These are teachings that go the rounds. And that's what I did this afternoon, you see.
And I hoped and prayed; I prayed this morning, asked my wife and other folks, before we came into meeting; some that had got these studies. And the other night in Long Beach, I asked one of the boys to call you if you would come to the meeting Wednesday night. I didn't want them to ... but ask if you would come, invite you to come... I didn't want them to think that I was gunning for you at all, but that we might study together. He said he hadn't planned on coming, I'm not blaming him for that. But I don't want a breach. I'm not young and rarin' to fight. I don't want hard feelings and breaches. On the other hand, as I said awhile ago, to the degree that this testimony here has been a pure, virile, spiritual testimony (humanly speaking), it's because some of us have loved the Lord and loved God's people, and we want to do all in our power to avoid the entering wedges of false doctrine.
Now brother Hill is very different from O'Hair and Stam and the preachers, he doesn't have a congregation. We will give him a congregation. Kind of like the man I've just met, the Campbellites, several times you remember. He... didn't have any congregation, of any ? couldn't get one here, but we did the advertising. But I'll be glad to invite all of you that want to come if and when we get the planned public meetings with brother Hill's study. I'd so much rather that he would listen humbly this morning, and let me go on with some other things that ? because I know brother Hill, I know your error. I know your fundamental delusion.
(comment from audience by brother Hill)
I'll be very happy, I can assure you with great confidence in going into them because they are as new as 40 years ago to me, which doesn't prove of course that I've answered them, I realize that.
Let me ask you, those of you who won't be able to be here this afternoon, get a good concordance and look up the expression 'gospel of God'. It occurs in Romans 1 and then over and over again in Paul's epistles, and Peter mentions it.
I'll close with this about the pure grace of God. Brother Hill mentions in his study what O'Hair, so far as I know, popularized. Stam and others of that school use it over and over again. They said, "Yes, there was grace back here, but this is the dispenser... beginning with Paul, but this is the dispensation of grace. And there is a difference between grace in a dispensation, and the dispensation of grace." Now that's clever phraseology. Let's read in 1 Peter the 4th chapter. l mean to some types of minds it's intriguing terminology. But let's come, as brother Hill said we should, and I've been doing, to the Word of God. 1 Peter 4. They tell us that Peter and James and John did not go out to preach pure unmixed grace. That they hadn't done it before Paul, and they didn't do it later. That they preached the gospel of the circumcision which this school says was faith and works mixed. Works that demonstrate you have faith, like water baptism, so forth. And that Paul had the dispensation of grace. 1 Peter 4:10.
By the way, I got up at the first session ... second session I spoke in 1935 in Chicago, and I said, "Brethren, I looked pretty carefully in the Scriptures, and so far as I know (if I'm wrong I want to be corrected), so far as I know, the first man who ever used the expression, "saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" was the apostle Peter, Acts 15:11." The first man who ever used the expression, "saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," was the apostle Peter at the conference at Jerusalem, Acts 15. He said, "Why brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knoweth the hearts gave them witness, purified their hearts by faith, and gave them the Holy Spirit even as He did us. Now why trouble ye the disciples, the Gentiles, to put a yoke upon them that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear."
Were they God given works to prove their faith? No! They were God given works to shut their mouths. And after they saw the truth, as in the ... I said awhile ago I hoped to get to the 40th Psalm but I'll just touch it. I said to Bob Thompson after he first came out of the service and we met, sat in my car on Hill Street in Los Angeles, I said, "Bob, I want to give you something that's the most glorious truth I've seen in 15 years. The 40th Psalm with the 10th chapter of Hebrews." "Sacrifice and offering and burnt offering, offering for sin Thou didst not desire. A body Thou hast prepared Me. In the volume of the book it is written about Me." David, what are you talking about?! Go to the 10th chapter of Hebrews and see. There's a prophecy David said, "I see. The Lord didn't want the blood of bulls and goats, sacrifices, those things. They're all pictures, types. Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness. without works." Romans ... 32nd Psalm, Romans 4:6, without works.
1 Peter 4:10.
As many as have received the gift, even so minister the same one to another
as good dispensationalists, word in the Greek is the same exactly as the word 'dispensation' in other ... in Ephesians 3 for instance, oikonomia, something like that, economy,
as good dispensationalists the manifold grace of God.
That's just as clear and beautiful a statement of the dispensation of grace as Paul gives in Ephesians 3. Just as good. Just as good. As I said in the beginning, Paul's unique ministry was not the plan of salvation. His unique ministry was the mystery of the gospel, the walk of the believers in this present dispensation.
Shall we stand. And I hope you Christians will remember what you witnessed here this morning, that so far as you know I tried to be spiritually tactful and not offend anybody, hoping and praying that the truth would be received, and that like those spoken of in Acts 17, first the Bereans were "more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so."
(prayer by Maurice Johnson) Our Father, we know that the enemy, the thief, is come but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. We remember that Thou didst say through Thy servant Paul, and have him say, "Though you have ten thousand instructors, you haven't many fathers." Thou dost know, our heavenly Father, that I desire to be a father to these people under Thee, where I can and should. Don't allow the enemy Father to snatch good seed away till they have fallen ... or lodged in receptive minds and hearts, brought forth fruit to Thy glory. In Christ's name we ask. Amen.
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