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Things That Must Not Be Lost

grandpa2.jpgGather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:12

I have a Bible in my library that I prize very highly. It belonged to my grandfather, Reverend Alexander B. Anderson, and he inscribed his name in the front of the book, both in Greek and in English. He signed it in Greek because he was born and raised in the tiny Greek village of Mabria. He also pasted a label on the front piece with the words from John 6:12 printed in Greek, “Sunagagete ta perisseusanta klasmata, ina ma ti apolatai.” Translated, it means, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Above this scripture he placed the title, “This Precious Truth.” He was referring to the message of the Mighty God in Christ, the revelation of the name of Jesus and full salvation through the birth of water and Spirit. His Greek background gave him an insight into the language that most others lacked, and he became absolutely convinced of the Apostolic doctrine. I have met few people who are as passionate about the doctrine as he. He believed we ought to cherish this truth above anything else in life.

Knowledge of the truth is one thing, but loving the truth is equally critical. One grants us understanding. The other governs our attitude. We cannot afford to handle the precious truths that God has graciously revealed to us carelessly, treat them disrespectfully, or trade them in for lesser truths. Many church groups who have started down that road have piecemealed away their fundamental doctrines. For example, an AP release, 5-16-01 , tells of changes in baptismal requirements for members transferring into a large church in Greenville , SC. “’Baptism is not a prerequisite of salvation’, said the church’s minister for pastoral care, ‘so what’s most important is the faith response.’” Baptism formed the roots of this particular church. Now, it’s just an expendable chip at the negotiation table.

The oneness of God is a precious truth. Apostolics must never view the oneness of the Godhead as simply an alternative view. The oneness of God is truth. Colossians 2:9-10 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” While we do not preach condemnation, neither must we preach compromise. Some wonder why we avoid close fellowship with non-oneness groups. It’s not that we’re trying to be elite, arrogant or exclusive. We just know that this message is too important to be minimized. II Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” How can we say that Jesus is the Almighty God, and, out of the other side of our mouths, say that Jesus is the second person in a contrived threeness? It would make us unstable at best, and intellectually dishonest, at worst.

The message of full salvation is a precious truth. Repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost, with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues are non-negotiable, non-expendable doctrines. To preach less that this would be to deny people the experience of true salvation, and would represent a gross dereliction of duty. “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”

Living a separated and holy life, close to God, is a precious truth. Our cultural environment exerts a constant drag on every individual in the church and exerts pressure to conform to the world’s standard of life. Romans 12:2 “… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Those who are willing to express their love for God through behavior and appearance are more likely to cling to doctrinal truth.

Should anyone think that our insistence on doctrinal propriety displays a haughty intransigence must read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 again. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” These are sobering words that set the importance of truth in sharp relief.

Loving one another is a precious truth. John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Many people who whoop it up for doctrinal purity fail miserably in relationship purity. Yet, this truth received Jesus’ highest commendation. Too many times we make our love conditional upon whether or not someone has pleased us, or has lived up to our standards. Our goal of maintaining doctrinal truth grows best out of love. We work harder to help each other if we are motivated by love.

When Coach Mike Krzyzewski played college hoops at West Point , he developed a philosophy that made him one of the best basketball coaches in America . He said that when he went after a loose ball, as far as he was concerned the ball did not have the name “Wilson”, or “Spalding” on it. It had the name of Krzyzewski written boldly across it,. “I dove for every ball like it was my own personal property.” Let us look at this precious truth as our own personal property. We must not let anyone steal anything away from us. Let’s look at each other the same way. If God brought you into the church, he considers you as a precious and loved possession. We must not let you go! “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”

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