Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks T.F. Tenney

Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks
T.F. Tenney

I began preaching the gospel at a very early age. Having been saved in 1949, soon after I began speaking in our local youth service. They called them "sermonettes"—five- or ten-minute little messages. It was the teething process of my ministry. Since then I've lived through the baby teeth, the adult teeth, and I guess now I'm gumming on it! I still have the same fiery call I had at age sixteen! In 1950, I launched out in graduation from sermonettes to sermons. My first full-grown sermon was in 1950 at Anacoco, Louisiana. I will never forget my text that night. I still have the notes from that first message--"Remove Not The Ancient Landmarks." That's been fifty-four years ago—but the old landmarks of the gospel are still sacred to me today.

Deuteronomy 27:17 tells us not to move our neighbor's landmark. Proverbs 22:28 says, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." Job 24:2 said some remove the landmarks, they violently take away the flocks, and feed thereof. These scriptures are plain to tell us not to touch our neighbor's landmark, not to touch our father's landmark, and not to move landmarks in order to steal flocks that belong to others. Wow! What a revelation!

God was so interested in maintaining original inheritance that every fifty years property reverted back to its original owner. Landmarks were restored. Could it not be that since I am fifty-plus years down the road it would be well for me to see if my old landmarks are still intact—and, if not, to find out who removed them? Would it not be well for me to see if I have tampered with my neighbor’s landmark in order to steal some of his sheep? Would it not be well for me to fully recognize again the ancient traditions and teachings called landmarks of our fathers?

The night I preached on the ancient landmarks I spoke of some of the great themes of the Bible. You have to go back to the original landmark to get your bearings for all boundaries. There is an old axle buried under a tree on the corner of our campground. When it was put there, I don't know . . . maybe a hundred years ago. Everything in this area goes back to that old landmark of a buried axle from an old wagon or some type of vehicle. If you move it, then everything else is going to be off sync. There are some things you just don't touch.

The apostle said in Hebrews 6:1-2: "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

You don't go back and re-examine foundations every day. You may remodel a kitchen. You may move a wall. But you never touch the foundation. Don't move it. If you do, everything built on it is in danger. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Everything goes back to the cornerstone, the landmark, of Jesus Christ. From Him our laser takes its first shot and hits the apostles and prophets. From there it beams through the ages. "For other foundation can no man lay," the apostle said, "than that is laid which is Jesus Christ." It is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This is an ancient landmark.

If it had not been for Calvary there would have been no Day of Pentecost. If there had not been a Day of Pentecost, there would have been no Acts 2:38. Every-thing goes back to Jesus and to Calvary. Don't move that landmark. There God, in bloody garments robed, courted, and won our love.

From there we take a setting on the apostles. They laid ancient landmarks in the Book of Acts. It is the yellow pages of the New Testament. That's where you go to find what works. The first time the question was asked, Men and brethren, what must we do?" in the Book of Acts, the answer was given. Acts 2:38—you know what it is. If the question is the same, the answer is the same. Don't touch that landmark!

From that landmark the settings went in different directions. The church went to the Jews, it went to the Samaritans, it went to the Gentiles. In each there was a little different flavor in trying to reach them. But the basic truths never changed. The landmarks of our fathers must never be moved.

Deuteronomy 27:17 tells us to recognize our neighbor's landmark. It may be that our neighbor's landmark is not exactly like ours. His may be a stone and ours a steel rod or an old axle. Respect it nonetheless. You don't have any right to move your neighbor's landmark (standards) any more than he has a right to remove yours. Respect one another. Hold up one another and the right of the local church to set its own standards, under its own shepherd. Never demean nor negate the landmarks of your neighbor. He said, "Leave them alone!"

Job 24:2 warns against touching the landmarks and moving them so you can claim someone else's herd. How wrong it would be for anyone to say, "Look, the landmark of your pastor is not necessary. Let me move it a little bit and you'll be very comfortable over here in my pasture with my sheep. We feed better and don't require as much." That, my brothers, is touching and moving your neighbor’s landmark--not out of conviction but out of convenience—so you can enjoy the fruit of their flock. Job said they violently take away the flock and feed thereof. One translation of that passage says, "they feed them."
Years ago a brother told me that he questioned another pastor about what he did when members from a neighboring church showed up or appeared in his congregation on Sunday night. With a smirk he looked back and said, "Feed them, man! Feed them! Then they'll stay and won't go home!" How wrong can we be? Deliberately stealing another man's flock and moving his landmark and claiming it as your own is just as wrong as literal thievery would be in life. Let's respect one another's landmarks. Let's respect our neighbor's landmarks! Let's all collectively adhere to the landmarks of our fathers.

There are certain things that we hold in common. The Bible speaks of "the common salvation" and it speaks of things "most surely believed among us." It speaks of the faith "once delivered unto the saints." There are some things that are just distinctly Pentecostal. Leave them alone!

We are biblical monotheists. "Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD!" (Deuteronomy 6:4). Leave that landmark alone. We are Holy Spirit people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is accompanied with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues. Leave it alone! We are people of the name of Jesus. We pray in His name. We rebuke the devil in His name. We lay hands on the sick in His name. We baptize in His name. It's a landmark—leave
it alone!

We are people who before God try to adhere to a separated lifestyle. There are certain things we don't do. There are certain places we don't go. There are certain words we don't use. There are certain books we don't read. There are certain videos we don't watch. There is a code of modesty in our dress. We still believe the teaching of Paul in I Corinthians 11 concerning not only the communion but hair. Leave it alone!

It takes time. It takes time when you claim territory that belonged to the devil. It takes time to clear the new ground. It takes time to make disciples out of new converts. We understand that. But enlarging in the direction of the enemy and moving ancient landmarks are two different things. As we enlarge and encroach upon the devil's terra firma and take it in the name of Jesus, let us also remember that we remove not the ancient landmarks that our fathers have set.

Remember, anything that is unpreached will soon be unpracticed. Remove not the ancient land-marks!

The above article, “Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks,” is the fourteenth chapter from the book, “The Lord Said… Or Was That Me? by T.F. Tenney.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.