Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Church And The Body

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

It is important, I think, to be reminded often that the body of Christ and the church of Christ are the same thing.

Our Catholic friends want to make the body of Christ and the church of Christ to be the same, but theirs is a universal, visible body and church, a church of which a person must be a member in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Our Protestant friends make the body of Christ to be universal but invisible. The body of Christ, according to Protestants, includes every saved person on the earth. As to the church of Christ, Protestants admit to two churches, which is, quite frankly, confusing. On the one hand the church is a local assembly of believers, but there is another invisible church which includes all believers. It then would be synonymous to the kingdom of God and the family of God.

Even some Baptists have fallen victim to the idea that there are two churches and one universal body of Christ. This is a fallacy. The word translated church in the New Testament is a word which means "assembly." An assembly is always local, because only a local group can assemble; a universal one cannot assemble.

We must know that the body and church of Christ are the same in order to understand the truth of the matter. At least three verses in the New Testament verify the fact that the body of Christ and the church of Christ are the same.

Ephesians 1:22-23  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

 In regard, then, to the meaning of the body and the church, we must see that, if the body is universal, then the church is universal; and, if the church is universal, the body is universal. If, on the other hand, the church is local, the body is local; if the body if local, then the church is local.

So, both the body and the church are local, visible entities. First Baptist Church of Harrison, Ohio, is a body of Christ, and it is a church of Christ. It is visible, and it is local, as all churches of the Lord are.

Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Negative Side Of Baptism

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – July 4, 2017

Introduction

    Most people, especially those who are Baptist, know the positive side of baptism. Baptism is a beautiful picture, an illustration, and a memorial of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know that it has no saving power and that it does not bring anyone near to or into the covenant of grace.

    Baptism is the act of obedience to Jesus Christ to fulfill all righteousness in our lives. A full righteousness we cannot fulfill, as Jesus did, but we can press toward the mark of the high calling of God (Phil. 3:14).

    Baptism is also a prerequisite to our being a member of a local church. Three thousand were born again, baptized, and added to the local church at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. When baptism is done scripturally, it satisfies this requirement for church membership, and the candidate for scriptural baptism, upon his baptism, becomes a member of a local church with all rights and privileges of any other church member.

The Negative Side Of Baptism

    Besides being an act of obedience to Jesus Christ, baptism also has a negative aspect attached to it. The act of baptism not only symbolized our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is also a symbol of our turning away from our own righteousness to the perfect and completely fulfilled righteousness of Jesus Christ.

        Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
       
        Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    Our own righteousness is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, we must turn away from our own righteousness and trust the righteousness, the perfect obedience and purity of our Savior, Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

John’s Baptism

    John the Baptist said to many who came to him for baptism in Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.  A change of heart must exist in a candidate for scriptural baptism. John refused to baptize anyone who did not show evidence of that changed heart.

    The baptismal candidates in John’s day were also to turn from their Judaism to a freer way of life, a life that was ordered by the Spirit of God and the freedom of conscience to serve the Lord Jesus Christ through the word of God and through love and not through obligation.

    This is the negative side of baptism. Baptism is illustrative of a complete change of life, for we read in Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
   
    In scriptural, water baptism, the candidate is raised symbolically from death unto life in reference to the death of Jesus Christ, in symbolism to Christ’s literal death, burial, and resurrection with no spiritual merit upon the soul from the water, only a real and apparent merit in the real and literal work of Christ in his perfect life and his substitutionary death and his resurrection.

The Case Of Circumcision

    After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the meaning and purpose of circumcision faded away, and there was no further need for circumcision. The New Testament is very clear that circumcision has no meaning to New Testament believers – 1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    Circumcision was a strict order under the law of Moses as we read in Romans 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Since we are not under the law (Romans 6:14), we are, then, no longer obliged to circumcision.

    Baptism, then, especially to the Jew in New Testament days, was performed as an act against the need for circumcision, and yet it was not a replacement for circumcision, as some say. Circumcision was a mark of distinction for the Jews as against the Gentile world; so baptism is a mark of distinction against circumcision and against the world and is for Jew and Gentile alike, being made one by the Spirit of God, the middle wall’s having been broken down between us (Ephesians 2:14).

An Illustration Of Repentance

    Baptism is not only a looking forward to a new life in Christ (Romans 6:4), but it is also a turning away from that which is behind us, that which was bondage to us and was a hindrance to our coming to the Lord in faith; that is, our works, our human and evil mind, depraved by our sinfulness totally so that we could not attain to the righteousness of God.

    The negative side of baptism here is that we have turned our backs on our former life; and, whether we have had a life that is good in men’s eyes or a life that is evil in men’s eyes, the need for salvation by grace was then prevalent and necessary, for with men it is impossible, . . . but with God all things are possible (Matthew 10:27).

    The moment a candidate for baptism is immersed in the water, submerged beneath the water, and emerges from the water, he is to walk in newness of life and to forget those things were before – Philippians 3:13-14  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion

    In this short and incomplete article on the negative side of baptism, we see the importance in knowing that baptism in symbol pulls us from the world, turns us symbolically in a new direction in public profess of our faith in Christ with the understanding and the attitude that we should be repenting from our sins on a consistent basis and serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).

    In the positive side of baptism, one joins himself to a local assembly of believers who are come together to serve Jesus Christ according to the pattern laid down in the New Testament, and the negative side of baptism encourages us to never turn again to the weak and beggarly elements of the world to serve the devil or the world (Galatians 4:9).

    May God prick our hearts to steadfastly stand for our faith, being baptized as a sign of our commitment to Christ and his commandments to be obeyed with love in our hearts. May we be true to our own church, through which God received the glory; and may God be honored and Jesus be glorified in our efforts to turn away from our former life to live in our new life in Christ. There is so much to be gained by obeying and so to lose by disobeying.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Jesus Went To Heaven By His Works


Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
April 1, 2017

No one is saved by works, good or otherwise; but Jesus went to Heaven because of his good works, accomplishing the will and purpose of God in his sacrificial life and death. It is imperative that every believer have a righteous life by which we can receive imputation of righteousness from God. Jesus accomplished that life in his journey on earth within a short period of time.

Jesus knew no sin:  2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus did no sin:       1 Pete 2:22
Jesus had no sin:      1 John 3:5

This is our assurance of eternal life: all of Jesus' works were good and righteous works, for he went about "doing good" (Acts 10:38). Only God is good (Matt. 19:17).

Jesus was righteous, also, in his surrendering to be put to death in great humiliation that he might be made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

So, Jesus died in my place, taking my sins upon him, God's imputing our sins to Jesus to be borne under the eternal wrath of God so that God may in turn impute Christ's perfect righteousness to us by grace through faith.

Jesus told his Father in John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. In the very next verse Jesus asks his Father to glorify him with the Father.

In John 17:13 Jesus said, And now come I to thee . . . . He went to his Father after his resurrection, because he had finished the work that God gave him to do on the earth. He went to Heaven by works.

Now that his works are attributed to us by imputation and the wrath and condemnation of God have been satisfied by his suffering, we can go to heaven without the works of the law, without effort or merit.


It is only by the merit of Jesus (his works) that we go to Heaven. Fundamentally, then, we all go to Heaven by works, not by our works but Jesus' works.

We are born again by his grace, cleansed by his blood, and saved by his grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that alone.

To God Be The Glory. Great Things He hath Done.
______________________

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eric In Emergency Room

I took my grandson, Eric Wolfe, to the emergency room last night a little after 7:00 PM. He had complained about a stomach ache for about five days, and the pain was not getting better. He was sick at his stomach and had pain moving across his lower stomach. I thought it might be appendicitis, so I took him to the emergency room.

There was a CT Scan done, and nothing abnormal showed up, so he will have to just be careful and get a lot of rest. He thinks it might be a little stress coming from his work, since he works all night. He has some choices to make.

Two of his friends came to visit him while he was there, and that cheered him up.

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Visit To The Doctor 8-25-2016

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
 
I went to an orthopedist today, because I have "trigger thumb" on my left hand. I had surgery on my right thumb several years ago.
When the doctor came in, he talked about what trigger thumb is. He squeezed my thumb really hard (and it hurt really bad) and told me how the trigger thumb worked (as if I didn't know). He pressed the top of my thumb and explained all the parts of the thumb. I thought I might be in an anatomy class.
He said he thought I should not have surgery right now but should first have a shot of a steroid first. He just happened to have brought a needle with him.
He asked me to place my left hand face up on the stretcher (bed), which I did. Then he said, "I will explain each thing that I will do before I do it," and he did.
He said, "I am now going to wash your thumb with some antibiotic stuff to make it clean, which he did. Then he told me to relax my hand so he could give me the shot. I was all ready for the shot when he said, "Now, this is the smallest needle in the world so that it will not hurt so much." I didn't believe him.He said he would stick the needle in my thumb and that I would feel a little stick. Why didn't he just do it? He said, "The pain will be short, but the pressure will go up into the upper part of your thumb and hurt pretty bad, but it won't hurt but just about three seconds.
Before I could process all that information, he surprised me by sticking the needle in my thumb and shooting the medicine in the thumb. I groaned really loud, and he said, "I knew you would do that." Then he said, "It's all over." Well, it was not over. My thumb really hurt until the Novocain took effect.
That was the longest 10 minutes I ever spent in a doctor's office. When I got to my car, I reached for the keys and almost dropped them, because now my thumb is numb, and I cannot feel anything with my thumb.
He encouraged me by saying that I must wait four weeks; and, if the thumb is not better, we can do it all again (maybe three times total).
I am home now surviving, my thumb feels better, but it still clicks every time I bend it. I am not sure that four weeks will do the job, but at least the doctor is not here to describe those four weeks to me.
 
 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Misty Night Sunset

By Ronnie Wolfe -- 8/11/2016


I settled in for the misty night
And watched the sun go down.
My peaceful heart, exhausted self
Gave in to the silent sound.

My heart slowed down its altered beat
And soon the dreams would come.
But soon awakened I will be
With the dawn of morning sun.

More brilliant than the day before,
Each day brings godly peace,
Since God is in each sunset, 
And His wonders never cease.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hot Milk Before Bed

By Pastor Ronnie Wolfe --August 8, 2016 
 
I don't know if you have ever heard anyone speak of drinking hot milk, or warm milk, before going to bed; but I have heard about it nearly all of my life.

Once, when we in the quartet were visiting a home on one of our trips (I cannot remember whose house it was), Bro. Bob Jones was in one of his kidding moods. He, as usual, began to harass me. He said "Well, you know that Ronnie needs to have his warm milk before he goes to bed." It was a nice "putdown," and we all laughed a little.

When the time came for us to start thinking about going to bed, the woman of the house wandered into the kitchen without my noticing. Shortly, she came out with a small glass of milk. She brought it over to me and handed it to me. I said, "What is that for?" She said, "Don't you want your warm milk before you go to bed?" I said, "Well, I'll drink it, but Bob was just harassing me."

Then we all had a good laugh, although I was a little fearful of drinking warm milk before bed, because I had been told that it causes constipation. After I worried for a couple of minutes, I went on to bed, and all is well.