Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Drew a Line

I once drew a line in the sand,
I drew it straight and deep.
Then I wondered upon which side to stand;
Right or left? North or South? Ah, which shall I keep?

Though the line was mine and done by my hand,
I suddenly realized that a divide I must keep.
My world afore had had no dividing plan
Yet now I was forced upon a place to seek.

Not quickly to the left or right for I am not such a hasty man.
To go to one is to approve that certain place and cause the other to reek,
But which shall I choose and to which shall I eventually land?
What if afterwards a love of mine came from the other side of my line straight and deep?

Ah, the waters that roll and erase with foaming tide upon the sand
Are far from reaching my line that formed a divide that I now must keep
Regardless of what others may do the line I drew has caused me to stand
Where the right or left that was not there afore decides what I shall reap.

The stranger that passes by no doubt does not understand
Why I drew a line so straight and deep.
And sometimes I wonder about my line-drawing plan
But a man without a line so straight and deep is a man over which to weep.

So I drew a line in the sand so very straight and deep .......to choose which side to take.

Pastor James Groce
jlg '09

God's Farmers

A Man to Till the Ground

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” - Gen 2:5

I happened upon a book recently titled, “An Edible History of Humanity.” The author, Tom Standage, began his work by writing how that man took several centuries to move from the “hunter/gatherer” type of existence to the “farmer.” As I read his assumptions about how that process took place I recalled how that in Genesis 2:5 the Bible had stated that in God’s process of creation there was a time before Adam when there was no cultivation of the land because “there was not a man to till the ground.”

So with the forming of Adam and God giving him breath there came into the world a “farmer.” Mister Standage was incorrect – because the “farmer” came before the “hunter/gatherer.”This fact, concerning Adam as a tiller of the soil, caused my mind to traipse across the ages and see God’s newly fashioned man plowing the earth from which he was created. This event is made clear in the farther verses of Genesis 2 where they tell us: “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. . . And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

The spiritual application of this situation presents an intriguing set of circumstances. First, the fact that Adam must “farm” (till) the very ground from which he owed his existence seems to shout the message of evangelization. Adam must seek to turn the ground into something productive – to not let it remain the grower of weeds but rather a source of productivity—through his labor and the “seeds” that God has supplied him with. The only method of turning the earth into something profitable for God was to work with it in order to make it a place for the good seed. (The parable of the sower comes also to mind).

Also we might envision how that only through careful husbandry is it possible to produce a very different plant from its worldly counterpart. The nurturing of corn, for instance, changed it dramatically from the wild Mexican grass that it derived from. The maize that grows into a full and large ear of corn was once only a small and wild grass with little “fruit.” But God’s farmer, Adam, tilled the ground and “dressed” it causing a transformation under God’s radiant sun and rich earth.Without farther elaboration, I think we can see how that God Who called us into the ministry desired a “man to till the ground.”

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1Co 3:6-9


Thursday, March 05, 2009


What is “false doctrine?” At first glance, this question appears to be easily answered. False doctrine is the opposite of true doctrine. Now, that is a correct answer—but there is more that is demanded of such a question. For instance, if a man teaches something that is incorrect because of a mistaken concept of, let’s say, the gathering of the animals into the ark—by saying that ALL the animals were in pairs, by twos only (when it is clear that there are two divisions of the groups-by twos and by sevens.) But the point of this is—is the man that is unlearned, for the moment, teaches “by twos only” a false teacher? He is in error but is the “false teacher” label truly deserved? Is this preacher an anti-Christ?

I think that we shall see that there are degrees and nuances for those that are correct on salvific points and err in some way in other non-salvific doctrines. Even though there may exist a measure of error in some non-salvific teachings (of which we might all be surprised to learn that we ALL fall into such a group -- yes sir, I am certain there are points in which we all err) it does not make that teacher one that is inspired by demons. However, there are those teachers that are demon-inspired and teach “doctrines of devils.” These teachers ALWAYS broach salvific doctrine. These are the ones Paul addressed as “preaching another gospel, which is not another.” These teachers are false teachers—These doctrines, and many others like them, are doctrines of demons, and those that are used in such a way are truly false teachers—they are anti-Christ in nature. Also doctrines taught that lead men to destruction, such as worldly acceptance, are doctrines of destruction because they led men astray—“Without holiness no man shall see the Lord…”

When we look into 1 Cor. 3: 10-17

we see a clear distinction of the differences in teachers:1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 1Co 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 1Co 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 1Co 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

(1) There are the teachers who build with gold, silver and precious stones.
(2) There are the teachers who build with wood, hay, and stubble.
(3) Then there are the teachers who destroy the temple of God.

The first teacher, his lesson, is using true doctrine and stands the test. The second teacher’s lesson has used improper (incorrect) material, or at least some of his material was incorrect, that will not stand the test—this teacher has erred somewhat in his lesson. The last teacher is a continual destroyer and is destroyed himself—this teacher is a true false teacher in that he teaches doctrines of devils that destroy men (a false salvation).

The bottom line is; IF the doctrine taught is in error and that error causes the destruction of a soul then that doctrine is false—and is taught by a false teacher. IF the doctrine taught has certain inaccuracies unknowingly to the teacher but was not a destroyer of souls and that teacher teaches true salvific doctrines then that teacher is a “mistaken teacher” and not a true “false teacher” as those which receive the wrath of God.We, of course, do not condone even “mistaken teachers” yet we ALL have been mistaken teachers and will be again—we should, however, seek doctrinal purity with our whole heart. We as preachers need not only to preach and teach but also to receive preaching and teaching from others-there is safety in an honorable and instructive brotherhood.