How to Prove Something

How To Prove Something
Robert Wurtz II

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

In this entry I wish to examine the Divine imperative to prove all things and hold fast to what is proven to be good. By implication, we are to reject and discard that which is not good. Our text uses the Greek word dokima¿zete (dechomai) and it means to test as one would metals. Mounce gives the renderings: “to test, assay metals; to prove, try, examine, scrutinize; to put to the proof, tempt; to approve after trial, judge worthy, choose; to decide upon after examination, judge of, distinguish, discern: approve; discern; test.” The verb is in the present active imperative, meaning that it must be done and done continually. Secondly, we have the Greek word pa¿nta (panta), meaning “all” or “every.” The word “things” is added by the translators. We are to “test all.” If we test all and find that which is good, we are to hold fast to it.

The process of proving

The process of proving something in the kingdom of God is one of guarded suspicion. Things are not added and then if they are found to be “not good” they are removed later. They must be proven to be good before they can be “held fast.” We live in a fallen world that is under the sovereignty of God, but also under the general control of the Prince of the Power of the Air (Satan). Things of this world are not to be blindly trusted. Prophesies are not to be blindly trusted. Methods are not to be blindly trusted. 

Prove thyself before proving the thing

We have an important instruction given to us by Paul in Romans 12:2: And 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.” Notice the phrase, “that you may…” This suggests that our ability to prove is conditioned upon the previous requirement, be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. If we allow the world to conform us to its manner and mode of thinking, we are dead in the water to prove anything to be “good, acceptable, and perfect.” So our first step is to prove our own way of life and ask if our mind is in agreement with God’s mind. Is it more in agreement with the world’s collective mind? Notice also that this is something that we must do, “Be not conformed…” It will not happen by chance, it must be deliberate. Until this is done, it is meaningless to read on.

Important questions in Paul’s theology

There are two basic questions that Paul typically moves in when judging things:

1. Does it glorify God?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)

2. Does it edify the born again. 

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.  (1 Cor. 14:26) 

Does it glorify God?

This is a general question: “does the ________ glorify God or does it glorify___________. In order to answer this question in the affirmative God has to be in view as the overwhelming recipient of glory. Many things have the potential of dividing the worship of God by placing the emphasis on the _________. Does the thing draw attention to God as the almighty sovereign God of all creation or does it bring God down from His lofty place. Is Christ exalted or is man exalted in the exercise or utilization of __________? 

There is a common saying that the “message is sacred, the method is not.” It probably originated with Charles Finney as he began introducing new measures into the churches and defended against folk that had concerns about them. If the method contradicts the message then we are in error. For example: if someone sought to utilize the vehicle of mixed martial arts to promote non-violence most rational people would say that the method contradicted the message. Likewise, God is not going to bless any method that simultaneously militates against His word. This is common sense. God is glorified when the method is in harmony with His purposes.

Does it edify the born again?

You will notice that I have italicized born again for emphasis. People that are unconverted are built up by partaking of carnal things. They are repulsed by spiritual things. This is why there is often a mixture of carnal/spiritual in certain circles. They are trying to suit both groups. Paul asked in effect, “does it edify?” Does _________ build up believers in their most holy faith? Does it promote true godliness and holiness? Does it contribute to their spiritual growth in the Lord? Does it equip them to be salt and light or does it corrupt the salt and shade the light? Does it build the person up to walk in the Holy Spirit? This is a different question than asking if someone “likes” _______ or is “entertained” by __________. 


The essential nature of testing

Radio altimeters are used to determine the distance between the plane and the ground. Without such an instrument, a pilot will not know how high of low he/she is flying and may crash into the ground. These instruments are electronic and subjected to rigorous testing. They are powered up and tested in extreme environments. Extreme heat and cold are but one phase of the testing. If the meter fails, it must be repaired before it can be fitted to the plane. No need to ask if we are glad these meters are strictly tested. To slapdash a test of this kind could cost hundreds of lives. So too in the churches of God, everything that is implemented into the service of God has to pass the test. It must be proven. It must be proven to effect the intended purpose of glorifying God and edifying the born again or it is to be rejected. 

Summary

We have briefly demonstrated the Divine imperative to proves all things holding fast only to that which is good. We have said that all things must either glorify God or edify the born again (or both). This agrees with Paul’s admonition to “take heed” how we build upon the foundation that has already been laid (Christ). Methods cannot contradict the message; if they do, they must be rejected. 




The Human Relay

The Human Relay
Robert Wurtz II

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 KJV)

Several weeks ago I shared an article I entitled Commercial Christianity that sparked some interesting and insightful conversations on sermonindex.net. I would like to visit an important point that was brought up by bro. Mike C. that has had me thinking ever sense. He writes:

“Over 100 years ago, Samuel Morse demonstrated how long distant communication would soon become mass communication. The invention he used to anticipate mass communication was not the telegraph but the repeater. Morse’s telegraph had an upper range of less then 300 miles, and so every 200 miles the railroads would hire a man to sit in a remote outpost to receive and resend the incoming messages. It wasn’t long before they realized this repeat could be achieved just by mechanically linking the receiver coil to another sender coil, to begin a new 200 mile loop. In this way a single message was able to criss-cross a national network.

So the telegraph enabled long distant communication, but it was the invention of the relay or the repeater that opened the door to mass communication.

We human beings often overlook, or can’t see, that we can be just another type of relay or repeater in the circuitry of mass communication if we aren’t careful. I find that many people can hardly tell the different between someone else’s mind and their own.” 

The resender

While visiting a Museum in southern Missouri last week I came across a display that was a visual for M.C’s comments. 

This relay is a simple electromechanical device that resends a message identical to what was sent to it. It has no way whatsoever to discern, nor is it concerned with the accuracy or relevance of what it transmits. As the old saying goes, “good in = good out” or “garbage in = garbage out.” M.C. brings the application home in real terms, We human beings often overlook, or can’t see, that we can be just another type of relay or repeater in the circuitry of mass communication if we aren’t careful.” Certainly we don’t want to be blind repeaters. But we can be, if we are not careful. How can we be careful?
Prove all things
The solution for abuse is not “non-use” it is “right-use”. To prevent ourselves from becoming mindless repeaters of information we need to act more like a firewall. Firewall’s are intended to prevent unwanted intrusions into computers or literal fires into the passenger compartment of a car. We can‘t stop other people from being repeaters, but we can make sure the false information stops with us. Because once we resend something or repeat something we are responsible for passing it on. This is why everything needs to be tested. Paul gives us counsel, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24) A good question to ask is “is this helpful?” Another good question to ask, “does it edify (build up).” How can we know what is helpful or edifying?
Is it true?
As Christians we need to know if what we are about to “repeat” is true. This means, true to the facts. We also want to know if what we are repeating is true Biblically. Paul told us that our loins are to be gird about with truth. This is what holds all of our armor together. Jesus told us that we are to worship in “spirit and in truth”. This is contrasted with “soul and in lies”. What we teach needs to be true. what we sing needs to be true. Our Christian example needs to be true. Why? Because someone is going to repeat them. Are they repeatable? 
Nothing is more important to our spiritual survival than our attitude towards truth. If we have a slapdash attitude towards truth we will be deceived. If we live in the realm of approximations, we are vulnerable. That is to say, if we are haphazard about how we think about things or how we divide the word of truth and measure doctrines, teachings, miracles, prophesies, etc., then we are apt to be deceived. We have to learn to think critically. Don’t just believe everything you hear and then repeat it. Some saying sound very good and tickle the ears but they are false. Some things make sense to the natural man, but they are contrary to sound doctrine. 
Standing for truth
Standing for truth means we have to be on guard against lies. We can’t even worship God unless it is in spirit and in truth. If something is discovered to have been founded on lies we are to put it away and speak only truth. Sometimes I get apologetic emails from Christian’s that passed a story on only to find out later that it was all a farce. It is good to write a retraction when we have passed on error, but what happens when a lie is discovered and it is already embedded in the hearer? 
I recall a story of a man of God that was asked to do a radio interview in a studio. As the show comes on the host employed “canned applause” as if there were an audience. He then announced the man’s name and welcomed him. The man of God stopped him. “This is all false,” he says… “There is no one here in this studio with us!” needless to say the man of God was shown the door. but we need to have an attitude towards truth like that. Away with lies and fabrications. Away with pretense. God is not interested in a show, He desires truth in the inward parts. Our culture has ruined many of Christian for truth. Will God receive service that is founded on a lie? Obviously not, because He already said we must worship in Spirit and in Truth. If we cannot take a stand for truth in the small things, we will never stand the test when the real battle comes. 
Who am I? 
I wish to close these thoughts by examining M.C.’s final comment, “I find that many people can hardly tell the difference between someone else’s mind and their own.” I recall in High School a situation in which a student was behaving very similarly to another student. My English teacher identified the behavior as “an affected personality”. I have heard of disorders like this, but she really was searching for a way to describe how the person had become a “repeater” of the other person’s mannerisms. The danger is that the person was losing their own identity while subconsciously imitating their friend.
When we constantly feed on repeated information, we allow others to do all the thinking for us. As Christians this will never do. We have to get alone with God and in our own heart allow God to speak to us. This is not to say that good teaching is not useful, but we need to prove everything that seeks to influence us and become a part of our thinking process. This is especially true for teachers. James said that teachers (masters) will receive the greater or stricter judgment. (James 3:1 KJV) We have this historical account in Acts, Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 ESV) These events were ca. 49 AD. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians that we quoted from above dates to ca. 52 AD. They were not very discerning in the beginning, but Paul exhorted them, “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Why? Because we are accountable for what we repeat. 
     

    

  

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: