A successful farmer was asked why he did not raise a certain kind of livestock responded with the above statement. While he did not use the best grammar, the statement was (is) easily understood. He was prosperous as a farmer because he could properly evaluate the necessities of success, which he pursued. It is obvious that this farmer had material prosperity in mind. Yet, it can have a spiritual application. When properly considered it will be beneficial to any one as we try to evaluate what is important in life. All people should take the statement to heart, as it would make each of us a better person.
Jesus taught a lesson on properly evaluating things to those of His time. “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Lk. 12:16-21). There is not a word or indication in this story indicating the farmer had acquired his wealth by dishonest means, or that he was immoral. His fault was putting emphasis on material things, trusting this for the everlasting well being of his soul. He had not discovered, if there ain’t nothin’ in nothin’ I don’t fool with nothin’. Let’s apply this statement to some of the things that can bring us profit.
NOTHIN’ IN THE WORLD
The world is a tool used by Satan that has enticement for most people. It was a weapon that he tried without success on the Lord. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil…the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him the kingdoms of the world, and all the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Mt. 4:1, 8-10). There are those who are of the opinion that Satan lied because “the earth is the Lord’s and the glory thereof.” However man has in the past, does so now, and I suppose will continue as long as the world stands to transfer what belongs to God when used to His honor and glory, to the evil one for his purposes and intents. If, indeed, Satan did not (does not,) have control of the world then this was a farce and not an actual temptation for the Savior. I’m convinced that Satan has possession of the world and has the power to transfer it to whomsoever he will. Make no mistake about it; we can choose the world and the things that are within it instead of the Lord. When we do so, in that very act (whatsoever it may be), unlike the Lord we have selected the world and played into the hand of the Devil. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (Js. 4:4). Jesus declared, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jn. 15:14). The friends of God and the Lord Jesus are on one side while the friends of the Devil are on the other. The line must be drawn deep and wide by all of us. Why? “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (I Jn. 2:17). A word to the wise, there ain’t nothin’ in the world—we should not fool with nothin’.
NOTHIN’ IN DENOMINATIONALISM
Denomination is defined as “a religious sect: as, a Protestant denomination” (Webster). When Jesus began teaching men to ready themselves for the Kingdom, there was a multiplicity of sect or denominations among the Jews. For all practical purposes, they were likened to modern Protestant denominations. No, they were not the same, but they were the same in principle, as they protested against one another, held their own particular beliefs and practices which separated them from other groups to which the Jews belonged. Jesus’ work was to unite all men under the same canopy. The Jews would not have it. They looked upon the founding of Christianity as just another sect. Upon his arrival in Rome, the Jews approached Paul saying, “we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.” (Acts 28:22). We know they were wrong and that the church was not a sect (section) of anything the Jews had believed and taught. The church is the “body of Christ” nothing more nor anything less. Not knowing this, many use their energy to promote denominationalism among those who have named the name of Christ. Jesus came to unite all men (Lk. 2:10-14). He prayed earnestly for the unity of those wearing His name (Jn. 17:20-21). He abolished the wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile to create peace (Eph. 2:11-22). Apostolic writings condemn as sinful division and the promotion of such by wearing names other than the name of Christ. (I Cor. 1:10-15). Fellowship is to be withdrawn from any who form groups that exist contrary to the doctrine of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:16-18). Jesus could not have warned us in a simpler fashion, than when He said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Mt. 15:13-14). To every sincere reader of these words who are seeking the truth, remember, there ain’t nothin’ in denominationalism—we should not fool with nothin’.
NOTHIN’ IN THE IDEA THAT “ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHY SOMETHING IS DONE—OBEDIENCE IS ALL THAT IS IMPORTANT”
Admittedly, some things are hard to understand, such as why anyone would promote such an idea as the aforementioned one. Usually this is presented in order to cling to a pet theory or practice. For example, some advocate that one must be baptized (immersed), but the person need not understand (or for that matter, believe), the purpose for which he is to be baptized. To clarify this, if one is baptized he is added to the church (Acts 2:41 +47), which is the family of God (I Tim. 3:15), meaning that such an one is a “child of God.” First of all, those in Acts 2 who were added to the church knew exactly what they were baptized for—the purpose of it. When they inquired of Peter what they should do to be forgiven, he told them, what they were to do and the purpose for doing so. Observe, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38). Furthermore, when Paul came into contact with certain disciples in Ephesus, who had been baptized, but for the wrong purpose, he explained that baptism was to be in the “name of the Christ Jesus,” they responded by being baptized properly (Acts 19:1-5).
Carrying the point further beyond baptism, everything the Lord requires of us has a purpose. Failing to recognize the purpose discredits and makes void the effort to please God. To eat the Lord’s Supper without recognizing the purpose is worse (if possible) than not eating it at all. After stating the Lord’s example when He instituted the Lord’s Supper (which we are to follow), Paul wrote sobering words to the Corinthians. “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (I Cor. 11:27-29). The same applies to singing and praying to God. When we pray or when we sing it is necessary that we know the meaning of what we are praying for and are singing about for our benefit and for the benefit of others. “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (I Cor. 14:15). Our hearts must grasp and cling to the purpose for doing what the Lord asks of us. If there ain’t nothin’ in nothing’ let’s not fool with nothin’.
NOTHIN’ TO THE IDEA THAT—BROTHERHOOD AND FELLOWSHIP ARE EQUAL
When a man or woman becomes a Christian they at that very moment cease to be a child of the Devil (Jn. 8:44) and are children of God (Gal. 3:26-27). A relationship is created anew with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Likewise, one now has brethren and sisters that are in the family of God. The brotherhood is one’s forever, regarding or disregarding whatever is done or left undone from that moment forward. A Christian may “err” yet he remains a brother and she a sister. In fact, the need of restoration may exist, yet brotherhood is never lost, destroyed or liquidated. The steps to enter the household of God are emphatic. Upon hearing the Gospel a desire may be created to enjoy the promises and privileges of it whereupon the conditions are sought to obtain these. It is necessary to believe the good news (gospel) of Christ, for as Jesus said, “ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (Jn. 8:24). We are called upon to repent of the sins in our immediate or extended past, again the Lord proclaimed, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). Secret discipleship is contrary to all that the Gospel calls for, therefore the Lord stresses the need to confess Him publicly, “Whosoever shall therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 10:32). All that remains is to experience the new birth, the particulars of which Jesus stated, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:5). Entering the kingdom makes us a citizen, a member of the body (I Cor. 12:13), a child in the family of God (Rom. 8:14-16), etc. Citizenship, membership, sonship is forever more. Be it understood that one then can take up with the world, sin against God, become defiled in relation to the church, bring shame on the family name, yet brotherhood remains—it cannot be taken away, until the judgment day of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). In the natural realm, this holds true. Once a person is born into a family a consequence of birth into a family is—there is no getting out. One may renounce his family, be rejected as an heir, and denied by other members, but brotherhood remains.
Fellowship is a different matter, as indicated above, the family can reject one of its members and have no association with that member. In the family of God, there are circumstances that demand that the family reject certain members or withdraw the fellowship that the member would otherwise be entitled too. But, withdrawal of fellowship is not equal to withdrawal of brotherhood. The elders of a nearby congregation decided that a member has acted in such a way as to no longer be a part of the family and is now an unbeliever. This authority does not belong to elders and is therefore NOT theirs. In this action, they have attempted to become “lord’s over God’s heritage” (I Pet. 5:3). If and when withdrawal of fellowship is necessary each individual is still a brother or sister. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (I Thes. 3:14-15). Withdrawal of fellowship is necessary for at least two reasons (maybe others). (1) For the salvation of the offending one’s soul. To the guilty of fornication Paul demanded, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (I Cor. 5:5). The hope was that the erring would be brought to repentance. Evidently they acted on the Apostle’s command and the desired effect occurred (II Cor. 7:8-13). (2) For the preservation of congregational purity. Otherwise, all would be affected, as “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” It remained for them to “purge out the old leaven , that they may be a new lump” (I Cor. 5:6-7). When a member of God’s spiritual family wishes to be restored to the church and her work (Gal. 6:1-2), the process is different from being added to the family in the first place. Repentance is necessary, as Peter told an erring Christian (Simon), “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness” (Acts 8:22), whereupon Simon asked Peter to pray for him (Vs. 24). Confession of his sin and the prayer of a faithful brother effected his restoration. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Later on we’re told, “Brethren, if any of do you err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converted the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (Js. 5: 16,19-20). A brother can so sin that he needs to be saved from eternal death and is in need of conversion. Praying for him to be saved, is never done for an alien sinner. There ain’t nothin’ to the idea that brotherhood and fellowship are equal, don’t fool with nothin.’
Barney Owens 1409