Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise [are] as goads, and as nails fastened [by] the masters of assemblies, [which] are given from one shepherd.

Psalms 19:7-11 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.

“Pastor Ray, you’ve got to listen to this sermon.” “You’ve got to read this book.” Have you ever has people say this to you? Obviously, because they have been blessed or touched by the message or the book, they want you to be blessed as well.  No doubt they are sincere in their desire to bless me or help me grow in Christ. Thank God for the godly instruments, through whom God has blessed my walk in Jesus with messages and books. But let me “spoil the party” (so to speak), and pass on to you a word of caution. There is only One Book and One Author that is perfect and profitable.  All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Now other books or commentaries may contain some truth, but no book other than the Bible contains perfect, God-inspired truth and doctrine by which we are to live our lives. If there is anything that we are to glean from other books, you can be sure that it will be clearly understood by reading The Bible. Within the body of Christ, we are constantly being admonished by each other to read this book or listen to this sermon “to make a point” or to “prove that my position on this doctrine or practice is correct.” Now I am not talking about the need to pass along sermons or books that expose blasphemous, heretical doctrines or sinful lifestyles. I am talking about the plethora of books that are written about what I would call “Romans 14” matters of personal convictions and faith.

I have learned over the years that one reason why it is so important for cults and false religions to get you to read their literature is because you would never come to their heretical views of God or believe their false gospels by reading the Bible alone. May I very carefully and cautiously say to you that this same principle ought to be observed when someone within the body says to you, “you’ve got to hear this sermon or read this book.” Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, if I need to listen to that sermon or read that book to come to the same conclusion you did (or vice versa), don’t you think that we should be able to come to that conclusion by reading the Bible alone? Here is what I think. So when you read what I have to say, PUT ON YOUR SEAT BELT BECAUSE I NEED TO TAKE MY OWN MEDICINE.

We are living in an age where teachings regarding methods and biblical principles has created a God Whose ways are predictable. There is no other way to see it. Of course as Christians we so want to “know” how to pray, how to witness, how to worship and so on and so forth. So who is it we listen to within the body of Christ? The teacher of the arm part of the body? The teacher of the eye part of the body?  The teacher of the ear part of the body?  How about The Head of the entire part of the body Who in His wisdom uses different kinds of people with different kind of giftings and different kinds of temperaments and different expressions of His talents to accomplish His purposes on earth?

Face it saints, it is because of preference, not Scripture, that we may worship differently, pray differently and evangelize differently. The only wrong way to do any of the above is with a wrong heart and motive. So why are we so bent on “converting” the converted to seeing things our way? Why do we insist that our elbow and our eyes function alike? Beware, church. Remember, beloved that the religious crowd of Jesus’ day was always questioning what He and His followers did and why? They were watching what Jesus and His disciple were doing on the Sabbath day instead of minding their own business and spending time with God! They were blown away when Jesus didn’t do things “their way.”

My admonition to the body of Christ is to look to One Book alone for what to believe and how to live. If I am to believe it, practice it or do it only one way, it is going to be in That Book. That One Book defies all of our programs and methods. That One Book defies popular religious trends that come and go. That One Book transcends all culture and times. That is because that One Book’s Author Himself tells us, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Let’s not get bent out of shape or seek to “convert the converted” when God allows others to “color out of our preferential, denominational lines” of practice.rayviola