Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 5, 1964

"They That Gladly Received His Word"

William C. Sexton

It is quite evident at times that the word is not received, when it is preached. But at other times it may not be so obvious or apparent, nevertheless, just as surely rejected.

At times men tell you that they do not believe what you preach; they reject it openly, cast it from them. Jesus often found persons who would openly reject what He said. Jesus spoke of some who would not receive His word, and gave the reason why, in Matt. 13:15-19. Paul also, found those who had openly rejected his teachings, in Antioch in Pisidia. He told them of the true nature of their actions and turned from them. Acts 13:44-46.

Others may not tell you that they do not believe what you preach. In fact they may shake your hand, and even commend you for the "fine lesson", and at the same time make no attempt to do what you preached.

But those who gladly receive the spoken words, the word of God, will be seen practicing it. On the day of Pentecost, "they that gladly received his word were baptized", thus evidencing the fact that they indeed had "received" it! The same is true today: when baptism is preached, "they that gladly receive the word, will be baptized. When there are those who have not been "baptized for the remission of sins", hear the word and are not baptized, it is clear that they did not gladly receive the word. Even if they should shake the preacher's hand and commend him for the "fine lesson". But the same thing is true with respect to members of the church. When you preach on attendance (Heb. 10:25; Acts 5:42; Matt. 6:33), yet they do not attend, it is clear evidence that they did not receive what you said. When you preach on "work" (I Cor. 15:58; Jn. 9:4; Jas. 2:24; Rev. 14:13), yet they do not work, this is positive proof that they did not receive the word. Thus our actions reveal the truth about the reception we give the word. Paul said that the word works "effectually" in them "that believe." (I Thess. 2:13).

We see brethren who are very much opposed to certain things, which they feel are unscriptural, (and they should be) yet who make little effort to do that which is right. There are those who oppose institutionalism very vigorously, yet make so little effort to practice Jas. 1:27; Gal. 6:10 and Mk. 16:15. It is correct to oppose those who would "pervert" these passages or any other, but these passages also teach a positive lesson, and they must be practiced. And it is quite evident at times that "they" have not "gladly received his word". James 2:24 teaches not only negatively, that one is not saved by "faith only"; but positively, that one is saved by "works" coupled with faith, also! Thus if one fails to receive the second part, the positive lesson, it cannot be said that he "gladly received" the word!

Nothing gives me more joy than to find those to whom I have preached doing the things I have preached; conversely, an occasion of sadness is to find persons to whom I have preached failing to do what I have pointed out from the scriptures, even if they have and do praise me for my effort. No clearer evidence could be given, that they have not "gladly received" the word, than to find them failing to practice it. Yes if we receive the word, we will obey it. May we consider then, whether or not we have "gladly received his word"?

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