. . . fully after the LORD                  I Kings 11:6                      by Steve Flinchum

Chapter 15


    In I Timothy 3:15, Paul states the purpose of the epistle of I Timothy as:

. . . that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    By reading I Timothy it is clear that it is not only talking about "how thou oughtest to behave thyself" while meeting is going on, but also how each member of the Lord's congregations, each person that is a member of one of His bodies, "oughtest to behave thyself" twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Jesus' congregations continue to exist daily and continue to operate daily. The New Testament gives thorough instructions on "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God." There are general instructions that are for each and every member and there are some that are specific to the pastors, the deacons, their wives, men, women, children, husbands, wives, widows, mothers, fathers, elder men, younger men, elder women, younger women, the rich, the poor, masters, and servants. Some instructions are for all the time and some are for "when ye come together" (I Corinthians 11:18).

    Ephesians 5:15-21 says:

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be ye not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    When "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" is practiced it is done "as unto the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22), "as unto Christ" (Ephesians 6:5), "as the servants of Christ" (v. 6), and "as to the Lord" (v.7). "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" does not mean that husbands should be hen-pecked, that children should be the bosses, that employers ("masters" Ephesians 6:5) should tolerate insubordination of employees ("servants" Eph. 6:5), nor that Jesus' congregations should allow their teaching and practice to be dictated by or adjusted to suit the world (or worldly members). Submission or insubordination that is contrary to that which God has ordained and instructed is rebellion "as unto the Lord."

    Angels, as well as people, were created by God, and were and are supposed to praise Him (Psalm 148:1-5).

    That angels have sinned and been cast down is seen in II Peter 2:4 which says that ". . . God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell. . . ." The nature of their sin is given as that they "kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation," in Jude verse 6. We see here that their sin was that of rebellion, following the desire to do things their own way rather than following God's plan.

    Satan, an angel himself, was the originator and the leader of rebellion. Ezekiel 28:12-18 is seen as a double reference, being not only an address to an earthly king, but also making reference to Satan in his unfallen condition and to his fall, showing the source and origin of the king's attitude and arrogance (verse 2).

    Another double reference concerning Satan's fall is found in Isaiah 14:12-15 which says:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Here, again, we see Satan's desire, his intention, and his determination to go around God and His authority and to do things his own way. He was the original "pro-choice" advocate. He is the founder of counterfeit "Christianity" whose followers reject the instruction of God's Word and choose to do things their own way. In II Thessalonians 2:4 Paul describes "that man of sin" that is to be revealed (v.3):

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

It is apparent that Satan is the originator of rebellion against God and all that is of God. The angels mentioned in II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 have followed his example.

    God created Adam and Eve and had a plan for them. He told them what was expected of them. Satan, who had fallen when he said, "I will be like the most High" tempted Eve with the promise that she would become "as gods" (Genesis 3:5). Here we see the similarity between Eve's sin and that of the fallen angels described in Jude 6 and of Satan's described in Isaiah 14:12-14. Satan still operates in the same manner. He first implies that God is being too strict, as he did in Genesis 3:1. Next, he implies that the path to knowledge is other than God's Word, as he did in Genesis 3:5. Eve had no business submitting herself to the teaching of that false prophet, Satan. A member of one of Jesus' congregations has no business submitting himself to the teaching and preaching, nor the "gospel singing," of those who proclaim a perverted "gospel", a salvation by works, and blaspheme God's sovereign grace. It is NOT entertainment--it is blasphemy and we should not participate nor show approval of it.

    Next, we read about Adam's sin. The promise to become "as gods" is not mentioned in regard to Adam's sin and in fact, I Timothy 2:14 states that "Adam was not deceived." Adam was not deceived; he knew what he was doing. He knew that if he did not follow the error of his wife that there would be a major difference and disunity between them. Adam chose to try to keep peace in the family. God placed Adam as head of Eve, and Adam chose to improperly submit himself to his wife rather than obey God. In rebelling against God's order Adam was rebelling against God. Ephesians 5:22-25 says:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

    If the approval and blessing of God is desired in the family or in a congregation, His order must be accepted. What kind of success would a ball team have if each member tried to play the same role or position? If a husband is to be the best husband he can be, he can do no better than study and follow the example of Christ. If a wife is to be the best wife she can be, she can do no better than to study and mirror the New Testament teachings concerning Jesus' congregations. If a father is to be the best father he can be, it is essential that he learn about God, the Heavenly Father as He is represented in the Bible and make God's way his way. Not only can husbands and wives learn from the Bible teachings concerning Jesus' congregations, Jesus' congregations can learn much from the Bible instructions to husbands and wives and by considering the marrriage relationship as an example. How would you feel if your wife were unfaithful? How does Jesus feel when His congregations "get the Christmas spirit"? Or when they play around with false religion? How does it look when a wife shows disrespect and disregard for her husband? How does it look when one of the Lord's congregations shows disrespect and disregard for her head by ignoring His teachings and doing as she pleases? What would you think about a wife who would make no attempt to come home but one night out of four? What do you think of a member of one of Jesus' congregations who will attend Sunday morning preaching but make no attempt to attend Sunday School, Sunday night, nor Wednesday night?

    I believe God instituted the marriage relationship as an example to teach us "concerning Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:32). Ephesians 5 should leave no doubt about that.

    Each member of every one of Jesus' congregations has the responsibility to teach according to the ability that God grants and in proper order. Each member is, within his or her God given order and method, charged to "edify one another" (I Thessalonians 5:11) and "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Our most effective teaching may be by example. Since actions can speak louder than words, the example of submitting ourselves one to another in God's order is of extreme importance.

    Colossians 3:16-23 says:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    In Titus chapter 2 a similar list of admonition is given with the counsel of verse 7:

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

[underlining added]

    We should "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:10). I sometimes hear that verse misinterpreted as meaning that we are to adorn ourselves with the doctrine of God. Adorn means "to decorate; to deck or ornament; to set off to advantage" (Webster's Dictionary). It is "the doctrine of God our Saviour" that is to be adorned (decorated or decked), not ones self. We are to adorn "the doctrine of God our Saviour" with "good works" (Titus 2:7), and holiness (I Peter 1:15 and II Peter 3:11) in all things.I Peter 1:15-16 says:

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

II Peter 3:11 says:

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness[?]

Being "holy in all manner of conversation" includes what we say, what we do, AND how we look! Each person should serve faithfully in the role that God has assigned. Men should be men, women should be women, Jesus' congregations should be Jesus' kind of congregations. Men should look like men, women should look like women, Christians should look like Christians "as unto the Lord."

    Besides the responsibility to "edify one another" and "preach the gospel to every creature" the members of Jesus' congregations have another ministry that is mostly ignored. We have a responsibility for teaching and setting a proper example for the angels. It was shown earlier, from Psalm 148:1-5, that the angels were created by God and are commanded to praise Him. It was also seen that some angels have fallen by the sin of rebellion.

    First, let us consider some verses that show how angels are of service to us. Hebrews 1:14, speaking of angels, says:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

It was angels that announced the birth of our Saviour. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said:

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

    When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, "angels came and ministered unto him" (Matthew 4:11). The night Jesus was betrayed, "there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him" (Luke 22:43).

    In Luke 16:22, Jesus said that when Lazarus the beggar died, he "was carried by the angels." In Matthew 13:39, explaining the parable of the tares, Jesus said, ". . . The reapers are the angels."

    It was "the angel of the Lord" that opened the prison doors for the apostles in Acts 5:19. It was an angel that directed Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26:

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

    The three men who were sent from Cornelius to Peter in Acts 10 told Peter, in verse 22, that Cornelius "was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee." And in Acts 12:6-11:

And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

When they were past the first and second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

    And, in verse 23, when Herod allowed the people to praise him as a god:

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    An angel came to Paul during the storm at sea (Acts 27:23) and assured him that their lives would be spared.

    Revelation 1:1 says, of the book of Revelation, that Jesus Christ "sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."

    Remember what Hebrews 1:14 says about angels:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

    Hebrews 12:22 says:

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

    Hebrews 13:2 says:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    Why was even backslidden Lot willing to turn his two virgin daughters over to the homosexuals in the streets of Sodom in order to protect the angels who visited him? I believe Lot recognized the danger of offending or influencing the angels with the rebellion against God's natural order as practiced by the Sodomites. We should take care not to be party to any behaviour that may influence an angel to rebel against God's order and keep not their first estate or leave their own habitation, as those in Jude 6. I Corinthians 6:3 says:

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? . . .

    Think of the awkwardness of judging an angel for following your own example.

    I Corinthians 11:3 teaches about God's order in proper headship:

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    The verses that follow give some instruction concerning when "ye come together" (verse 17). Many teach that some of these verses only applied to one particular congregation at one particular period of time. The second verse of the book of I Corinthians says that it is "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth" AND "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." The next verse in I Corinthians 11, verse 4, says:

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

    Very few, it seems, have any problem accepting that verse as simply meaning what it says. For almost two-thousand years now, men who wear hats have taken them off at the door of the meeting house and left them off until going out. Why, then, is there so much contention with verse 5 which is a counterpart to verse 4? Why is there so much maneuvering around to try to neutralize verse 5? Should we not consider verse 5 to simply mean what it says, just like verse 4? Verse 5 says:

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

    Illustration is made by likening and comparing the shame of the appearance of a woman with her head uncovered in the assembly of one of Jesus' congregations with the shame of a woman appearing in public with her head shaven. It "is even all one as if she were shaven." Verse 6 says:

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her  be covered.

Going back to the man's head, verse 7 says:

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Verses 8 and 9 further explain:

For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Verse 10 says:

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

"For this cause" (because of God's ordained order that man "is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man") ought the woman to have hair on her head in public and an artificial covering on her head when she assembles with the Lord's congregation--"because of the angels." We should be careful to not offend nor give example that may cause angels to keep not their first estate. We have the responsibility to glorify God in word and example both to people and angels. Verse 13 says:

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

Nature is again used to further illustrate the principal of the matter in verses 14 and 15:

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Every day and everywhere a man should have a man's hair style and a woman should have a woman's hair style. Likewise, when one of Jesus' congregations assemble together to pray or to learn from God's Word, a man's head should have no artificial covering and a woman's head should have an artificial covering. Popular styles may change, but God's style DOES NOT. There should be a distinct difference in the style and manner of dress for men and women for all the same reasons.

The subject is concluded with verse 16 which says:

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Any custom of contention against the plain teaching of the Word of God has no place in "the churches of God."

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,  (Titus 2:7)

. . . adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.  (Titus 2:10)

    Hebrews 10:23 says:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    "Forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" has become the style in most places in recent years, a time when "so much the more" it should not be. It is the fault of the congregation. We can not blame it on the Devil. We can not blame it on "so much going on." What has happened? Check the old minutes and record books. Common procedure in most Baptist congregations used to be that, two or three would be appointed to visit the careless member and "invite them to fill their seat at the next meeting or give just cause for not doing so." If reconciliation was not made, the member was excluded. Such is the responsibility of Jesus' congregations. It is part of "teaching them to observe all things." It has become stylish to consider one hour almost every week as regular attendance. Someone may argue,"they didn't used to assemble as often." They stayed longer. Remember the verse above said, "so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

    When a person is joined to a congregation, it is an indication of the person's approval and acceptance of the faith and practice, and submission to its teaching. The member should assemble himself as faithfully as is practical. What would happen if an employee accepted a five days a week job, but only showed up on Fridays?

    The Bible is a complete and thorough guide for "how thou oughtest to behave thyself." The topics discussed here represent only a small fraction of the rich instruction God has blessed us with in His Word. In Luke 12:48 Jesus said,"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." I Corinthians 4:2 says:

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

    II John 5-6 says:

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

In John 14:15 Jesus said:

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

In verse 21 He said:

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    So much more could be written about going "fully after the LORD," but let us conclude with notice of the advice given by Mary to the servants at the wedding in Cana, regarding Jesus' instructions, in John 2:5:

Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

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