WHO IS ON THE LORD'S SIDE?
Moses had just come down from Mt. Sinai, having received the ten commandments which was to gude Israel for the next 1500 years. He found them worshiping the golden calf and reveling in a disipated, disorderly and immoral manner. The people had thrown off all discipline and had given themselves to up to every excess of reveling and riot. The calf is hurled from it pedestal, burned in the fire, mingled with water, and the idolaters were made to drink it. Then rings out the great challenge of our text. Moses cried out, "Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come to me." All the tribe of Levi gathered themselves together to Moses, and for this show of courage and faithfulness they afterwards became the priests of God. Then came that just but terrible command to execute the idolaters, and three thousand people perished as a warning to the rest. As a result that cursed image worship was stamped out of the nation, at least for a time. My suggestion on this passage of scipture is that what Moses did on that occasion needs to be done very frequently in every age and generation. In the 21st century we need to set forth the great issues of truth as taught in the New Testament and call on members of the church and all other people to take the Lord's side on the teachings of the Bible.
First, we live in a time when there are great conflicts in society because of the doctrines of the Christian religion. The very first conflict where the "Lord's side" begins is about the existence of God. It is belief in God versus atheism, the b elief that God does not exist. Either there is a God or there is not. Christians are in conflict with science. Not all, but most scientists take the side of Atheism. This conflict concerns belief in God versus atheism and other related forms of unbelief as creation versus evolution. Evolution must be taught in all educational institutions supported by the federal government, but creation is not allwed to be taught. Now is the time to ask all followers of Christ and the world at large, "Who is on the Lord's side?" Either there is a God or there is not. There is no in-between. Beginning with the opening sentence of the Bible, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," we find the creation described in terms we can understand and accept today. For example, the various kinds of life still, "bring forth after their kind" and in no other way, just as the ancient spokesman for God said in he beginning of the Bible. Animals only bring forth animals; human only bring forth humans. Animals cannot bring forth humans, never did and never will. I give you the comment of two noted scientists on Genesis l:1 ad Genesis 1:24 which says, "All living creatures on earth bring forth according to their kind." Dr. Arthur Compton, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics has referred to this sentence as the most majestic statement ever uttered. Dr. W. F. Albright, late Dean of American Archaeologists, has spoken of the Biblical account of creation in these words, "The account of creation which we find is unique in ancient literature. It undoubtedly reflects an advanced monotheistic point of view, with the sequence of creative phases so rational that modern science cannot improve on it....In fact, modern scientific cosmogonies show such a disconcerting tendency to be short-lived that it may be seriously doubted whether science has yet caught up with the Biblical story. " It is encouraging to hear such noted scientists giving such support to the Bible account of creation. Undeniable evidence for the existence of God is found in the universe about us. David said, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. When it comes to the existence of God, it is time to ask, "Who is on the Lord's side?" Let him come to Jehovah and be separate. All true Christians are on the Lord's side.
The inspiration of the Bible is another battle ground. Some say none of it is inspired; it is only the words and teachings of religious minded men, and for the most part it is the traditional beliefs of the Hebrew people. Others say some of it may be inspired; some of it may be true, but when it speaks on scientific subjects it is not the inspired word of God. The literary, scientific and historical world rejects the first twelve chapters of Genesis as myth because it disagrees with the theory of evolution and teaches that God created the heavens and the earth. So the conflict is between the inspired word of God and the opinions of man. Either the Bible is the inspired word of God or it is not. There is no in-between on the subject. The Bible is the world's most important book. So the conflict here is the word of God versus the word of man, the wisdom of God versus the wisdom of man. The Bible claims to be the inspired word of God, and honesty demands that we let it make its own claims on the subject. The Bible says, "All scripture is inspired of God. " The word inspired means "God-breathed." The Bible asserts, "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." This teaches that the third person in Godhead is the single author of the sixty six books of the Bible and simply used the writers of the Bible to communicate God's word to the human race. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth.
Man's supreme need for the past 2,000 years and today is to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. Man needs to know His life, His teachings and his significance for each individual. These teachings can only be known through the reading of the Bible. It is only through the reading of the Bible that we can know who we are, how we got here, why we are here and where we are going. Every person needs the Bible in order to know what he should and should not believe. Christians must know the Bible in order to prevent the rise of many false religious beliefs, practices and ideas. Moreover Christians need to know the Bible in order to enrich their lives. The inspiration of the Bible is proven beyond all dispute by the fulfillment of a great number of prophecies in the Bible and the supernatural wonders and miracles performed by God and recorded in the Bible. On this important subject the challenge of Moses is in order, "Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come to me.
There is another fierce battle, still raging in the world between scripture and tradition, between God inspired word and certain tradiotional beliefs and practices handed down by Christians from ancient times. They are said to be customs of the early church for which there is no scriptural evidence. Or they are said to have been ordained by various councils or decreed by infallible popes who had no existence in the first century church. A tradition is a story, belief, custom etc. handed down orally from generation to generation. The traditions which conflict with the Christian religion are those handed down since the close of the first century. They are not found in the 27 books of the New Testament. Hence, they are only human opinions and not the commandments of God. Traditions are the opinions of men, but in process of time they are accepted as the commandments of God. Jesus strongly condemned the use of such traditions in the Jewish religion that w ere handed down by Rabbis from former generations. When the Jews condemned Jesus for not keeping the traditions of the Rabbis Jesus said, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" This is this danger of most religious traditions in the Christian religion. They transgress the commandments of God. The danger is that people obey the traditions of their religious leaders as a substitute for obeying the commandments of God. It is a religious weakness of human beings who err from the truth. We need to know the Bible to be saved from this widely committed error. Obedience to traditions cannot be substituted for obedience to God.
Two well known examples of traditions that conflict with God's word is sprinkling and pouring for immerio Novation was the first person in 250 A. D., so far as history records, to have water sprinkled on him as a substitute for immersion. Eusebius, who lived about 300 A.D., in speaking of this person said, "Who aided by the exorcists when attacked by an obstinate disease, and being supposed at the point of death was baptized by aspersion in the bed on which he lay; if indeed, it is proper to say one like him did receive baptism." Sprinkling thus originated in the baptism of the sick, but did not come into general use until after the eighth century A.D. when it was legalized by Pope Stephen(History of the Church, Brumback). Who is on the Lord's side in this battle? Christianity is bitterly divided over this tradition. There is a stern fight still to be fought over this question. The battle has long been raging, and it will continue to rage until the victory is won by the truth of God. It is my considered opinion when a person is too sick to be immersed in water, that person is out of the preacher's hands and in the hands of God.
I will briefly mention one more conflict in the world between God and man. There are also two sides to all the moral questions in the world. Who is on the Lord's side on the question of morality and right and wrong. The standard of right and wrong for the whole world in the Christian age is the moral teaching of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Wherever there is anything that is impure, unchaste, unlovely, unjust that is not on the Lord's side, and Christians should not be on that side. Christ's standard of morality never changes. The world will be judged by the moral and religious teachings of Christ. At this time this wonderful country of ours is swallowed up by cohabitaion, drunkenness, fornication and adultery and broken marriages. Divine marriage, self-control, righteousness, sobriety and goodness–these are all on the Lord's side. Let every Christian see to it that he takes the same side Lord does on the moral questions of the day. I need not go into all the questions that are prominent at the present time because they keep on changing their positions, but to almost every question that comes up there is "the Lord's Side." Upon all of these troublesome questions, the side for the Christian to take is the side that the Lord is on. May the time come when all the followers of Christ take God's side and believe there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one church"(Ephesians 4:4-6).
Finally, what must we do to show that we are on the Lord's side in the midst of all these conflicts? The first thing we can do is to have profound respect for divine truth. The truth of God as revealed in the Christian religion deserves to have bold believers and brave proclaimers. We should not be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall m ake you free." It is the truth that makes free from all confusion, misunderstanding, unscriptural, and erroneous beliefs. So if you are on the Lord's side hold fast to divine truth and never let it go. Second all followers of Christ should test the various and differing churches in Christendom by the word of God and then cast in their lot with a congregation that holds the truth most fully and clearly. There is no other way to be on the Lord's side. Having conscientiously done that we must join the people of God in the great battle against wrong and wickedness. If we are going to be on the Lord's side we must join God's people who are on the Lord's side. If that means leaving mom and dad's church, so be it.
Another thing we must do to show we are on the Lord's side is to be willing to be in a minority. From the days of Noah the followers of God have usually been in the minority. If the rightness of any moral question could be decided by counting heads, the devil would mostly be in the right, but Christians do not reckon that way. We test every question by the word of God, not by the votes of men and church councils. If Christ has said anything believe it, even if no one else does. If Christ has revealed any truth to your conscience in the scriptures hold to it, and you shall have you reward.