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Orderly House

By J. A. McNutt

religion, articles, christianity
Hezekiah was sick unto death. And the prophet, Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, thus saith the Lord, Set shine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech the, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight, And Hezekiah wept sore (2 Kings 20:1­3).

Hezekiah was one of the good kings. He ruled over Judah for 29 years. He feared and served Jehovah. He was a courageous, capable leader, who abolished idolatry in the land and called for the people to return to God. It was Hezekiah who cleansed and reopened the Temple of God. He "walked before God with a perfect heart."

Yet, in the middle of his reign, he becomes the victim of a fatal sickness, and the prophet brought him a message from the Lord, saying, "thou shalt die." This reminds us that good people die as well as the sinful. Young and old, the rich and famous in this world, and powerful rulers, must face the grim reaper (Heb. 9:27).

What Did Hezekiah Do?

Hezekiah wept and prayed. Are you surprised? What would you have done? I am sure he prayed to God many times. His voice was not that of a stranger. He prayed and wept and God heard his cry for help, saw his tears, and added fifteen years to his life.

On the third day he entered the Temple of God to worship and praise God for his deliverance from death. Don't you know that he was happy to go to the "House of God"? If you had lived through the same crisis would anyone have to plead with you to come to church and worship God? Not all men are grateful.

Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one came back to thank Christ for deliverance (Luke 17:12­19).

Set Thine House in Order

Death stands at the door. Hezekiah was a righteous ruler, but after Hezekiah died his son, Manasseh, ascended the throne, did evil in the sight of the Lord by rebuilding the altars that his father had destroyed. He turned the nation of Judah back into idolatry, which ultimately resulted in the fall of Judah and slavery in a foreign land. Manasseh was only 12 years old when his father died. Wicked people influenced the young king to reject his father's counsel, and he refused to serve the God whom his father had served.

Our God, a God of Law and Order

God's dealing with man has never been haphazard and inconsistent. God is the Father of lights "with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." He tells us in Malachi 3:6, "I am the Lord, I change not." "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). We serve a God who never changes in his nature or his purpose to save man. He has the right to specify the conditions upon which he will save sinful man.

There are two great principles that never change. They are faith in God and obedience to his Word. We are free from the Law of Moses, but we are not without law since we are subject to the Perfect Law of Liberty under Christ (James 1:25). It is by this law that all men will be judged (James 2:12). Paul speaks of himself as "being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21).

Liberty is granted by the grace and love of God, but that liberty must not be used as a license to sin (Gal. 5:13). If you have been deceived into believing that salvation doesn't depend upon any action or response upon the part of man to receive God's gift you have no promise of salvation.

The World Needs to Be Set In Order

I need not tell you that the world today is in a state of chaos and confusion. Crime is an increasing problem. Human life has become of no value in our society. Gangs rule our streets. Children take guns into the class rooms. Shootings and murders occur daily. Law­abiding citizens live behind locked doors and barred windows. The courts set rapists, perverts, and hardened criminals free to roam the streets and repeat their crimes against innocent victims. What can be done? When will senseless crimes cease?

This world [America] needs to be set in order. The major problem is a little three­letter word, sin. Sinners need a Savior. A return to God and his Word would solve the world's crisis.

Materialism creates a fool's paradise. Men seem to be determined to destroy themselves and wreck the world. Sin is a form of insanity. When the prodigal son left home for a "far country" where he wasted his heritage in the pursuit of sinful pleasures, it is said that he "came to himself." He "came to his senses." He came to himself and therefore had not been "at" himself.

To Set the World in Order Begins with Man

We want to convert the world to Christ, but conversion is an individual matter and is done one person at a time. The soul that is saved saves another. The greatest number ever added to the Lord's church at one time, was 3,000 souls on Pentecost (Acts 2:38­40). The Lord added those who had repented and been baptized for the remission of their sins.

If we hope to set the world in order we must begin with self. Are we faithful? Are we living a righteous life? Have we been born of water and the Spirit? Are we really following the Lord? Are we spiritual leaders in our homes, setting the example for our children?

Example: Man reading newspaper doesn't want to be interrupted by his small boy who keeps coming to him with questions. Tells him to go play. The boy keeps coming back until the father tears up a map of the world and asks the boy to put it together and shortly the boy is back with map restored. Father asks, "Son how did you do that so quickly?" Boy replies, "Dad it was easy there was a picture of a man on the back. I put the man back together and the world was OK."

If we can change the hearts and minds of men we can change the world. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). When it is heard, believed and obeyed it will save men and change the world. It would be free of drugs and violence. Peace would prevail. Are you old enough to remember when you could leave your doors unlocked and walk the streets without fear of being robbed and killed? It can be like that again if mankind changes.

Did Christ Set His Church in Order?

In the beginning the earth was without form and void, but God corrected the situation by setting everything in order. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork" (Psa. 19:1). "The stars singing as they shine proclaim, the hand that made us is divine."

The God that made the world is a God of law and order. He always has a plan-a program and design in all that he does. The types of the Old Testament were always accurate in picturing future events that would occur in the New Testament age. There was a divine purpose in the shedding of the blood of animals as a type of the sacrifice made by Jesus who purchased the church with his blood. Paul tells us that "without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore, it was necessary that the pattern of things in heaven should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (Heb. 9:22­26).

God Gave the Pattern for the Ark

Some preachers abhor and reject pattern authority -could it possibly be because such specifications require explicit obedience, and they desire to set their own standards. When God commanded Noah to build the ark, he gave the exact dimensions of the vessel, specified the materials to be used, arranged the door of entrance on the side and the window above. Noah, accepting God's pattern, made no unauthorized additions or subtractions. We are told, "Thus Noah did, according to all that God commanded him, so did he" (Gen. 6:14­22). If some of my liberal friends had been in charge of constructing the ark, it would have been launched as a very strange boat and the passengers would have drowned in the flood. Such a humanly designed craft would be no type of what God proposed for the salvation of man under the New Testament.

God's Pattern for the Tabernacle

God gave the orders for the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Everything down to the smallest detail was specified. It was designed as a portable tent for the worship of God by the nation of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness. It was erected by Moses at Mount Sinai under direct instructions from God. It housed the divine emblems of worship and served as the place of worship for 400 years, until a permanent temple was erected by Solomon in Jerusalem.

The departments of the Tabernacle consisted of the court, the altar, the laver, the tent, the Holy Place, and the most Holy Place. The exact dimension of each department and its contents were ordered by Jehovah and built as he directed. Why did it have to be so exact? Because God's pattern is always correct, and each part was typical of the church Christ would build (Matt. 16:18).

The Temple was a permanent place of worship after Israel settled in the land of Palestine and Jerusalem became the center for worship to God. The Tabernacle ceased to be used but all of its compartments and contents became a part of the Temple in Jerusalem. Now if you will open the New Testament and read Hebrews chapters 8­10 it will be clear that all the types and shadows of the Old Testament had to be exact because they became a reality under the New Covenant.

When liberal theologians start altering God's pattern, they all talk of a new hermeneutic and adapting to cultural situations. They regard the Bible as a love letter. Grace only replaces the necessity of man's obedience to God. Every person does "what seems right in his own eyes"?

We are being told that if the church is to survive, it must enter the market place, put on a show, entertain the crowds, and water down the message. Excuse me, if I don't accept this assertion.

In this age of change and rebellion against any authority whether it is civil or religious, we should recognize that there are some things that never change. Human nature has never changed. Sin is still sinful and the penalty is death (Rom. 6:23). Our Savior does not change (Heb. 13:8). The appointment of death is certain (Heb. 9:27). Hell still exists to punish the wicked (Rev. 21:8). Heaven is still the home of the righteous where sorrow is unknown (Rev. 21:3­4.) How dare the "change agents" tamper with God's pattern? God's Word is immutable.

Published June 1997