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The Iron, The Silver, The Golden

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged; and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

(Matthew 7:1-20)

The lives of humankind have always been ordered through the institution of rules and law, discipline and government. Without these only chaos and mayhem result and certainly have resulted. We are disposed to be ruled. God has given us order and we have in some places also authored more. But every government has its laws and courts, as every school must have its rules and disciplines. The arbitrary case still crops up but they are usually short lived, as those things cannot be sustained but through tyranny. And the outlier does not argue against the need for order, but rather offers the proof for it.

With every society schools appear to identify the case for order and to teach the disciplines necessary for the state or government to constitute itself and to continue. In its purest form the school is nothing more than the father and mother teaching their children; and at its most complex it becomes the modern system that exists to enhance and perpetuate civic life and to drive and protect the lives of the governed.

It is safe to say then that we are disposed to rules. They exist all around — in the science that turns the gears within our lives, to the daily trappings of order that form the fabric and seams within families and communities. The more fragile and unbalanced these are and the farther they are removed from the Word of God, the more the society becomes fragile and set on a course for eventual destruction.

The church of Christ is a school. And all members are pupils, students, teachers and disciples. Its curriculum is the Word of God, and its text is the sixty-six books and letters that make up that Word. Jesus is our Headmaster, Teacher, Author and Captain and Guide. He is the only lawgiver and rule maker. And the Almighty God who conceived the institution and its particulars is the molder and upholder of all things good and pure. So it is a God given institution – and this assembly is finished and sealed in the blood of his Holy Son and is the government, court, school and legal body that constitutes the only Holy Monarchy – the Kingdom of Heaven. And make no mistake, it is not a democracy, even though the widest of freedoms may be found within and may exist for its members within its constitution under God, protecting all who believe and follow the Word of Christ, our founder.

With this all noted, you already know that you cannot get into Harvard without meeting the qualifications and applying. And the same is true of this great school. You must qualify yourself and then make proper application through the adherence to its guiding principles and by upholding its practices. You cannot make up your own, and any who do will be rejected, just as the Headmaster has said. You must follow the given pattern just as you would if you sought admittance to some local, state, or national university.

Without these things the schoolrooms and lecture halls would in time be empty, as they are in many churches that call themselves after the title of Christ, yet who do not follow the pattern and discipline. And without the previous order of rule mentioned, they cannot please God. You cannot rise to rule here as it is solely ruled by God, and all who oppose that and seek their own, the Christ has said, “have their reward.”

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
(Matthew 7:21–23)

You cannot escape this order and logic no matter how you might try. The Word of God lasts forever, and remains true whether or not “we” pay any attention to it. If we turn away, it remains, perhaps even unused as in some dark age, but nonetheless — it remains. And God has said it will not return to him empty. We may over time empty ourselves of it. Yet it remains in form and principle. And the school is open to all students and disciples who would apply and comb through its rules and curriculum seeking access to Christ and God and the offer of life everlasting.