Seek The Old Paths

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Jer 6:16 KJV) Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

A few days ago I went to visit an old cemetery here in New Jersey. It was the cemetery of the oldest Baptist Church in New Jersey. It is called the Old Yellow Meeting House and it was constructed in 1737. On the same grounds was the first smaller worship house which was constructed in 1720. That structure is no longer there. The oldest tombstone there is on the grave of John Saltar dated at 1723 and is in excellent condition for being out in the weather for 293 years. Many of the tombstones were faded and no name was readable. These are known but to God. There are about sixty headstones dated before 1800. The oldest in New Jersey is found in my birth town of Perth Amboy, NJ and it is dated 1687. As I walked around the graveyard of the Old Yellow Meeting House, my mind went back to those times. One thing we know is that beneath every stone is a life with a story. Their stories have long been silenced by both time and human attrition. I looked around to see if anyone else was there but I was alone, so in my inimitable Hungarian manner, while standing among the tombstones, I said to the many Saints buried there, “It won’t be long now Saints.”

One of the things that runs through my mind when visiting an old graveyard, is the thought of the gospel they were preaching in those days, and if I am using a King James Version, then I am privileged to be reading the same words that the old time preachers proclaimed the gospel from. In 1989 I had the opportunity to visit the Old South Meeting House in Boston, which was a hot bed of preaching against the rule of the British before and during the Revolution. Some of the old sermons were saved and were recorded so you were able to sit in the pews and listen with the headphones, you know the way some people come to church with their Sony walkman today. I was able to purchase some of these “seditionist” sermons and they would stir you while you were sitting there listening to them. I can imagine how the people were motivated when they heard them at the time they were being preached.

In our verse, we see that God is counseling us to seek the “old” paths. The word “old” in the Hebrew is the word “Olam,” and it means “ forever or everlasting.” God is counseling us to seek those everlasting paths. These were the paths that the Apostles and Prophets took. In our day, many are trying to modernize the Gospel and within that preposterous mindset, they are neutralizing the Gospel and making it a Gospel with the roots in the world instead of Christ. (Col 2:7 KJV) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. As you read the writings of Christians in bygone eras, you will always read a sense of urgency in getting right with God and seeking salvation before you are gone. There was always preaching that sinners were guilty before God and would eventually face the coming judgment. Now that we are closer to that judgment than at any time in history, the pungency of Bible based sermons are disappearing at an alarming rate and is being replaced with the “love” sermon. What I mean by that, is the brotherhood of man has replaced the accountability of man. Love is telling people they are headed for Hell and a Christless eternity. Love is not letting people go on without at least a warning. (Ezek 33:3 KJV) If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; When I visit these old cemeteries some times I almost come to tears in that the spiritual legacy that we were left has been betrayed by the worldliness of our generation.

This is why God still commands His people, and not only the organized church, but individuals also, to live our lives on the paths of the eternal glory of God. Nowhere in the Bible are we ever given permission to compromise. We must stand on the teachings of Scripture and let the world sacrifice their principles. Ever since Vatican II in 1963, the Roman Catholic Institution began a program to reclaim all the “Separated Brethren.” They have been quite successful at this. Those who have not seen the evil behind this program have been duped into believing that compromise could be worked out. Not if Rome can help it! We see Protestants becoming more Catholic but we have never seen Rome becoming more Protestant. It is a unilateral condition which favors Rome.

The Old paths is what God wants us to follow. These old paths are found in the Bible and are there to guide us when we believe we are being asked to compromise but are not sure. Our Bible is not just a reading book, when I finish my required 3 chapters a day, I can put it down. It is to be our guidebook for all our life. When was the last time you read Psalm 119? 171 out of 176 verses in that Psalm mentions the law of God. What is the law of God? It is the entire Bible! As Christians we do not keep the law for salvation. We are ruled by a different Biblical law. (Rom 3:27 KJV) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. We live by the law of faith. We go from faith to faith and that faith is only fed by spiritual food and it is not found in prophecy or theology books, it is found in the Scriptures. Take a walk through an old cemetery and you too will go back to a time when the Gospel was preached unfettered and then you will realize something has happened in our generation. Solution: Seek ye the old Paths!  (7/25/03)