Spiritual Swimming

SPIRITUAL SWIMMING

“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (Ezk. 47:1-5)

The waters that issue out from the Lord’s house serve as a type of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39), and we learn that some of God’s people are ankle deep in the water of God’s Spirit, some are knee deep, some are loin deep, and some are swimming.

To swim is to have one’s feet off the ground and rely totally on skill and the mercy of the river. Both are important, and a man won’t do much swimming if either turns against him.

Having the feet off the ground, of course, points to the fact that the Christian ought to be heavenly-minded (Col. 3:2). The swimming has to do with moving and being productive for God.

In the account of Paul’s shipwreck, we read that everyone made it to land safely, but not everyone swam to land. Some just floated to land by hanging on to boards and broken pieces of the ship (Acts 27:43-44). That’s what’s going on in modern Christianity. All born-again believers in Christ will make it to heaven’s shore, but some won’t be swimming. They’ll be floating in on the broken boards of Laodicea: religious emotionalism, political correctness, religious correctness, contemporary worship, the ecumenical movement, campground Christianity, etc. There aren’t many swimmers around these days.

Abraham was a swimmer, but Lot was a floater. Lot was saved, but that’s about all he was, and that’s about all any floater is. If you want to be a floater, suit yourself. You’ll certainly have plenty of company. But you can be a swimmer, if you’d like.

I believe it was Jack Hyles who said there are three kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who don’t know what’s happening. The ones who make things happen are the swimmers. The rest are just floaters.

If you want God to use you to make things happen, you need to learn to swim. Floaters only float and watch. You need to do some swimming, if you plan to make things happen. Regardless of your gender, your size, or your age, you can swim for God, and He wants you to swim. Maybe a few pointers can be helpful . . .

I. GET INTO THE WATER

You can’t learn to swim by watching or listening to others. You can’t learn it in a classroom. You must get into the water and learn swimming first hand.

By the way, that is always a step down, isn’t it? Whether you step down into a pool, down into the water at a beach, or you walk down the river bank or creek bank to the water, it is always a step down.

That pictures salvation in Christ. The sinner must humble himself by stepping down from his pride and self-righteousness and stepping into the kingdom of God by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 2:14 says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” In Christ: that’s where the victory is, and that’s where you can do some serious swimming.

But some people never do learn to swim for that very reason: they won’t get into the water. Some don’t want to get wet; others don’t like the water temperature, and others are just scared. So they never learn to swim. The fact that others have adjusted and are swimming just fine doesn’t seem to matter to them. They simply refuse to get into the water.

Many sinners are the same way. They can give you a dozen reasons for not getting saved, but it all boils down to one simple fact: they refuse to step down in order to step way up.

II. LEARN TO RELAX

I remember my father trying to teach me to swim. He couldn’t do it because I wouldn’t relax. He’d say, “Now, boy, you’re going to have to relax. I’m not going to let you drown, so relax.” It didn’t help a bit. I was as stiff as a board and would sink every time. I didn’t learn till I was probably in my late teens.

That’s like the Christian who spends his life doubting his salvation. He has a testimony just as solid as can be, yet he still worries about going to hell. You can show him verses on eternal security, but he still doubts his salvation. Did he (or she) pray right? Did he repent right? Did he believe right? His testimony doesn’t match that of someone else, so he thinks maybe he isn’t really saved. What’s wrong with a Christian like that? He refuses to relax and enjoy his salvation. Instead of swimming in the water, he keeps trying to figure out if he’s really in the water. He’ll never swim in Christ until he conquers that fear. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

III. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

When you swim, the only part of your body that stays above the water is your head. The arms go in and out of the water, but the head stays up all the time, takes in fresh air continually, and leads the way.

So it is with spiritual swimming. Colossians 1:18 says, “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.” A real Christian swimmer sees to it that his “head” stays up, and he regularly takes in the fresh “air” of the Holy Spirit. Christ must be exalted so that He might lead the way and get the preeminence in all things. If Christ is not preeminent, then you are not a swimmer. Like that bunch in Acts 27, you are a floater.

If you cover a candle, the flame can’t breathe, so you smother it. If you put your head under water, you can’t breath. So it is with the Christian who fails to exalt Christ in his life. The waters of this present evil world smother him, and he becomes a floater. Keep your head up.

IV. GRAB ALL THE WATER YOU CAN

You don’t swim because you’re in the water; you swim because you pull yourself through the water. This is done by continually reaching out and grabbing water and not stopping.

Some Christians never learn to swim spiritually because they never reach out and grab anything spiritual. They attend church and tolerate spiritual activity, but they don’t want it enough for themselves to reach out and take it. Consequently, they are nothing more than floaters.

Paul told young Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (I Tim. 6:12) A Christian swimmer must lay hold on eternal life. One can be on a horse and just sit there without holding on to the reins, but he won’t go anywhere like that. One can be in a pool and float around all day, but he won’t do any swimming until he starts grabbing some water. One can be in Christ without laying hold of eternal life, but he cannot be a good Christian swimmer until he starts claiming some promises and taking some spiritual strokes for God.

Proverbs 30:28 says, “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” The spider may have been in the kingdom already, but she wasn’t in the palace until she took hold with her hands. Friend, in material things, live on the least, but in spiritual things, reach out and grab all you can. Be a first class swimmer for the glory of God.

V. KEEP MOVING

A swimmer’s arms and legs must keep moving. He doesn’t have to move them aggressively, but he does have to keep moving. It’s similar to riding a bike: you don’t have to work fast, but you do have to work steadily. As someone has said, “If you don’t go on, you’ll go off!”

Paul told the Galatians, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Gal. 5:7) They had been swimming, but they stopped. Paul went on to tell them in verse 25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” It doesn’t say to run in the Spirit, nor does it say to sit still. The command is to walk. Isaiah 40:31 says much the same thing. There are times for flying and running, but the normal day-to-day thing is walking: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Our Christian duty is to press forward day by day, not to reach a place of satisfaction and then stop. If we are going to be good swimmers for God, we must never yield to any temptation to stop moving forward. If we stop moving, we start sinking. That’s why these emotional-based Christians never amount to anything. When they start feeling good about their service to God, they stop. With them, it isn’t about swimming and getting somewhere for God; it’s about getting enough good feeling to sustain them for another week or two.

God help us to be good and faithful swimmers. Anything less is either floating or drowning, both of which are unacceptable to our Lord.

 

-James L. Melton

Independent Fundamental Sectarians

1 Corinthians 1:10 – Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

I wont gain any friends for this article – and that is alright, it is not my goal to make friends, or to make people feel good about anything.. My goal, my duty to the Lord is to put the truth out into a place that it can be seen, heard, and acted upon. I pray that this is read with the truth of God’s Word in mind, the leading of the Holy Spirit and a prayer in your heart for the guidance needed in this issue.

I would also like to say – this has been a difficult article to write.. One that I have worked on for several days, through prayer and seeking out guidance from the scriptures. So let it begin –

I Hail From Someplace

You have undoubtedly seen it somewhere – someone comes in on a whirlwind, preaching a great message, mighty things happen.. The pastor talks highly of this man of God, and the event is repeated yearly. Down the road however, there is another independent fundamental church. Their pastor is cordial to yours, however there is never anything that goes on between the two, and the congregants don’t really know each other. No one knows why, but they know that they are different, and not in a good way. There has never been anything BAD said about them, but they know there is just something a little weird going on.

What is it? Does one pastor have a different belief? Does one use a perversion of the bible? No – they both believe in the proper way of salvation, use the King James Bible and are preaching the same messages.. So what is the problem?

Pastor Joe*, graduated from Such-So* Bible College, however Pastor Schmoe* graduated from Something-or-Other* Bible College in that one state. For some reason, Such-So’s founder, and Something-or-Other’s, just didnt like the way the suit was worn differently on the other.. Or maybe they didnt think ‘Hold The Fort’ was to be sung as often as the other does. Either way, they avoid each other like the plague, and now their graduates have the same mentality, as do churches started or pastored by them.

I ask you – what is this nonsense?! Now I will grant you this one – ONE – caveat. If a preacher, teacher, pastor, deacon, Sunday School teacher, Author, college administrator – or otherwise titled so-and-so holds apostate doctrines, and teaches unbiblical lies, then this does not – and WILL NOT apply to them. This only applies to those who may have one or two odd quirks – but overall preach and teach the RIGHT way to heaven – the RIGHT KJB, and are trying to win the lost.

It astounds me to see pastors, grown men, who will denounce one another over the oligarchy found in a certain college. Whether it be the biggest one, a small one, a medium one, or otherwise – men of God, called to serve and win the world, will revile each other based on wherever they come from at some point in their life.

An old time evangelist, spent decades preaching great revivals across the USA from the 40’s up until the 90’s. Starting as a Southern Baptist, back when the SBC was not an apostate organization, the Word moved mightily and God won many to the fold. As time wore on, and the SBC turned its back on God, this old time evangelist left the convention. Despite this however, and the fact that his preaching was Fundamental, his affiliation was independent, and he was as biblical as one can be –  the Independents, the Fundamentalists, the ‘good guys’ shunned him. SBC churches would not call him as he was not within the SBC, IFB people would not call him because he USED to be SBC.

Vanity – Pure Vanity.

Because a preacher hails from a specific college, or even a specific mega-Baptist church means absolutely nothing.. Does it not? Was there not a well known Baptist preacher who claimed abortion was not murder? Was there not another Baptist preacher who kept being accused of sexual misconduct, and within his church it was found his successor indeed WAS guilty of such?

I do not care your pedigree – whether you learned from the best, who your daddy was, or God called you from the back of the church one Sunday morning – if you preach the Gospel, if you preach by the book – if GOD IS WITH YOU – then so should we be.

1 Corinthians 3:1-7 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

If you have a hero – they will have flaws, and if someone points out those flaws? Your level of defense will determine who you worship.

NOTE – There is an old concept of taking what is good and leaving the rest.. and I believe this applies. If a preacher wrote the best soul winning outline, but can’t quite seem to write out the right manner the rapture happens?? Take the outline and leave the rest!! If a preacher had a great sermon on standards, but had the tithing issue completely messed up, TAKE the standards and leave the rest!! Getting hung up on gnats and destroying the brethren only gives Satan another tool in his arsenal.

I Think That…

How many times do personal interpretations of God’s Words lead to strife within the church? How many times do personal opinions tarnish the work of a man of God, simply because preconceived falsehoods exist within the mind of a church, or a grouping of churches** –  and they act accordingly. Now, before you try to have me banned from every pulpit that exists, let me make this clear, I do not condone any sort of oversight other than Christ and the KJB that is above the local church and its pastor. That being said, it is perfectly fine to point out things that buzz as gnats to be strained at, while brethren bicker and souls go to hell.

Many churches have something embroidered on their uniforms, that is unable to be missed. It will likely be stated in the ‘What we believe’ section of their website, most likely buried under a hot button topic that really has no place there. Is it sodomy? Transgenderism? Women preachers? Hymns? No – it isn’t.

What may it be? You may be asking – is it women wearing pants?? I must admit that some of them do go that far, however it is not even that.. I will single out one however, as it is something that seems to be labeled as a crime against God, worse than any other, and seems to be the most hated act a preacher could commit, OR have happen to them.

Divorce… The dirty word that seems to doom preachers, or other pillars in the church to a fate worse than death. They become reprehensible to the church, to the preacher-boys, and to many churches that are seeking a pastor. Why is that? They all point to two things – first, the law, which was quoted by Jesus Christ –

Matthew 5:32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Oh wait – sorry – that is the wrong one… Is it not? They do not point to that one – They point to this one –

Luke 16:18Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from [her] husband committeth adultery.

Now you may say – why on earth did you do this here? Is this pray tell a contradiction?? No.. It is not.. It is fully understanding what is going on.. However, Paul the Apostle was much more specific –

1 Corinthians 7:15 – But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

Legalism despises this.. Jesus said, that fornication and adultery were cause to justify divorce, and Paul said that an unbelieving spouse – who chooses to leave a believing spouse, releases the believing spouse from the law. So, for all intents and purposes, these two causes, should remove any stigma from the word divorce.

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Now, there are those who will leave their wife, and run off with the church secretary.. This is not the type of divorce that is biblically sanctioned. I believe that any church that is seeking a pastor, and they find out a candidate is divorced, must ask for reasons, must seek out the truth of the matter, and then make a choice. After all, if a divorced man cannot be a pastor, then God cannot be God – right?

Jeremiah 3:8“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”

This is not limited to divorce however, as there are many who disagree on what soul-winning is.. They disagree on what an evangelist is, whether the rapture is coming, or so on.. However the main issues, are the small inconceivably stupid reasons which cause problems. However they all show up from a mans teaching or opinion, and stem from a twisted method of spinning God’s Word.

The Bible says that Judas Iscariot hung himself.

The Bible also says that Jesus said “Go thou and do likewise.

Jesus also said in a passage of Scripture “What thou doest, doest quickly.

By the logic of some, I have just proven that our Lord commanded us to go hang ourselves.. THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

With One Accord

The end of this rather long piece is almost here.. Just getting to the important part.

Philippians 2:2 – Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Romans 15:5,6 – Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now – this is where the rubber meets the road, and it is the biggest point that can be made. We are to be of one accord, one mind, and one mission. While everyone is off chasing a program – (HINT HINT SBC) or chasing a mission board, a conference, or some other tiddly-wink, we have one thing we are ordered to do..

Matthew 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Psalms 96:3 – Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Let me ask you friend – what did Jesus come for? Did he come to venerate a college? Did Jesus come to pick one specific pastor or preacher? Emphatically NO.. He came to do what?

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

That’s it.. He did not come to set aside a special college, or a special camp program.. He did not come to set up a hierarchy that decides what sort of person is a preacher – or what sort of person is not. He came to SAVE THE LOST. So what does that mean for US?? WE are to be out there reaching the lost. Yes – we are to be teaching the saved how to act, how to live right – but most importantly we are to be teaching them how to REACH THE LOST. That is our ONLY mission. Not to argue over a name – not to fight over a church..

I think – it is high time we returned to this mission. We do not have much time left.

I am not telling you that we should not have a method of teaching the young adults we raise about the Bible.. I am not saying a bible college is bad – I am not saying that using that which a well known preacher wrote is a sin, and I am not saying that STANDARDS are wrong.. But what standards do you have? Do you have standards that line up with God’s Word? Or is it something Brother Such and So pounded into your head every time the opportunity came up? It is not that difficult to get back into the right path.

There will be some that scoff at this.. Some who blow it off, or others who get downright mad.. I may never speak to some again because they do not like this… However – it is not my duty to tickle your ears.. Or in this case your eyes, but rather to tell you the truth. You may be guilty of one or many of the above.. You know what? That’s alright.. What you have been doing may have been wrong, but there is always a chance to get back into the fight..

And I always am honored to fight alongside my brethren – I know where I will be – Where will you be?

Evangelist Jake Nicholson

*Note to the reader – * indicates that these are fictitious people, and so are their organizations. IF there is a real pastor Joe and Schmoe etc, then understand this is not about you.

**I have to put this note in here – regardless of what many would want to believe, there are groups of IFB churches.. All hailing back to specific colleges as discussed earlier, or progenitor preachers who set the standards they are based on. They all fellowship together, preach the same stuff, go to the same camps, and ostersize the same people.