December 16, 2018

God’s Ways Are Best – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (I Kings 17:8-9)

The “what” and the “why” of God’s requirements for our lives are often puzzling to us. We scratch our heads and think, “That makes no sense at all.” Of course, we are wrong, not because we see the sense, but because we know the source.

We should not be the least bit surprised that the Creator’s thinking is different from our own. God’s will and purpose is far beyond ours and is infinitely wise. It is perfect. How arrogant to imagine that we are qualified to sit in judgment.

Elijah had been supernaturally guided to safety and fed by ravens until the brook of Cherith dried up, due to the very drought Elijah had prophesied. Then, instead of supernaturally providing water into the dry stream, God told Elijah to move to a village in Zidon (of all places) to stay with a rich benefactor….poor widow who would feed him.

Recall that James reminds us, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…” James 5:17). He got discouraged and disillusioned as we do. How would you react to God’s plan? It’s not difficult to imagine Elijah thinking sarcastically, “Oh, now I understand. That makes perfect sense.” Zidon was the home of Elijah’s sworn enemy, the infamous idolater, murdering queen Jezebel.

“Now, Elijah (after your magnificent victory on Mt. Carmel) you are to humble yourself, asking a non-Jewish stranger, a poor starving widow with a dependent son, to give to you what she thinks will be her last meal. This is your plan for survival. Go for it.”

Elijah obeyed. So did the widow of Zarephath. The result? Foolish embarrassment? Disaster? Absolutely not.

God was able to meet the spiritual, as well as the physical needs, of this unlikely duo — the greatest spiritual leader of his age and an apparently insignificant widow. An amazing daily miracle of continuing creation of oil and meal took place as long as the drought continued. And then an even more astounding miracle was performed. For the first time in all history, so far as the record goes, one who was dead (the widow’s son) was restored to life (I Kings 17:20-24). God determined to perform two of His mightiest miracles and then demonstrate the divinely designed, appropriate, response…faith.

Faith was produced in the heart of a foreign stranger. She came to believe that Jehovah was the true God, not by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, not even by the testimony of the written word (as is often the case). Rather, faith came into her heart by honestly evaluating the evidence, facts that could be reasonably explained only by a supernatural God.

“Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (I Kings 17:24)

God’s ways are certainly not our ways, but they are always best. May He give us the determination to always obey His word, whether we fully understand, or not.

 

 

Advertisements

December 9, 2018

Humble Submission To God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Perhaps the greatest challenge to producing submission to God’s will, in ourselves or others, is realizing that our own wisdom is not ours, but a gift and it is pitifully inferior to the much higher, infinite wisdom of God. If that understanding is impressed on our heart, then humble submission follows easily. If, on the other hand, we think we are pretty wise, submission will be difficult.

A powerful illustration of that lesson is seen in Daniel chapter two.

“In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. His mind was disturbed and he suffered from insomnia. The king issued an order to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men in order to explain his dreams to him. So they came and awaited the king’s instructions.” (Daniel 2:1-2)

The “wise men” of Babylon claimed great wisdom. The king was not so sure and devised a means of testing their pompous assertions.

The king effectively said. “You claim to be all-wise?” “Let’s see about that.”

“The king told them, ‘I have had a dream, and I am anxious to understand the dream.’ The wise men replied to the king: “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its interpretation.”

The king effectively said. “You claim to be all-wise?” “Let’s see about that.”

“The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm. If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble! But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation!” (Daniel 2:3-6)

They complained about the test, because it did test and exposed their foolishness. “The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret,…” (Daniel 2:10). Of course, they were right, but simply telling the dream would be nothing, if they could truly interpret the dream. The king demonstrated they could do neither.

The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful…” (Daniel 2:8-9)

The wise men were frauds, perhaps even deceiving themselves as do many today who claim to know the wise course, even when God says otherwise. “You think we should do what?” “That makes no sense,” (per my wisdom). When the one who spoke the universe into existence speaks, it is time to dump our pitiful ideas and say, “Yes sir.”

But we think that really seems dumb. “I think it would be much wiser to do it my way.” It is time to remember who we are, who God is and bow our heads in humble submission.

Daniel knew he was not the source of wisdom but that God revealed answers.

Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised the God of heaven, saying, ‘Let the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. …He gives wisdom to the wise; he imparts knowledge to those with understanding;'” (Daniel 2:19-21)

Wisdom is from God. In the Lord Jesus Christ …are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3). The wisdom God revealed in Christ, is both omniscient and omnipotent. True wisdom must come from Him.

Therefore, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5).

Daniel was speaking to the most powerful monarch on Earth, with access to all the wisdom of the most highly educated men of the age. But human wisdom could not solve his problem. Only Daniel, drawing on the wisdom and power of the God of creation, could meet his need. God’s servants, even today, have this privilege and responsibility, because our God is “for ever and ever.”

 

 

 

December 2, 2018

Giving Thanks For Christian Friends -Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, (I Thessalonians 1:2-3 NET).

When we rationally consider how helpless we are without God’s blessings, it becomes obvious that it is irrational to fail to be thankful. If we understand that our blessings come from God, it is certainly appropriate to express thanks for our daily bread, whether in private, at a family meal, or in public at a fine restaurant. In fact, Jesus set the example. When He miraculously fed the multitude beside the Sea of Galilee, He began with a prayer of thanksgiving:

he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples, who then gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. (Matthew 15:36-37)

If we should give thanks for our food and shelter and clothing, then it certainly stands to reason that the blessing of having Christian friends is even more worthy of thanksgiving. Paul thought so and set an example we should follow.

The first letter to the Thessalonians was possibly Paul’s first inspired letter to Christian friends, and Paul began with the expression of thankfulness to God for them (see text above).

Consider the similar beginning of Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3)

Likewise, his letter to the Colossians started with thanksgiving:

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;” (Colossians 1:3-4)

He began his epistle to the church at Corinth similarly:

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,” (I Corinthians 1:4)

Even when writing to the Christians at Rome, brethren he had not yet met personally, he wrote,

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you, (Romans 1:8-9)

He also thanked God for his personal friends, Timothy and Philemon.

“I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” (II Timothy 1:3-4)

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;” (Philemon 1:4-5)

Throughout our life journey, we develop cherished Christian friends and we should follow Paul’s example, thanking God for all of them. What a marvelous blessing. How fitting it is to be thankful and to express our thankfulness.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

November 25, 2018

Choosing Your Parents – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

On a television show the other day, a man said to his neighbor that she and her husband were such good parents his own kids wanted to be adopted by them!  None of us really get to “choose” our parents, though many of us couldn’t have chosen better that we got.  Others didn’t or don’t do so well in the parental lotto.  It’s OK, remember they didn’t really “pick” us as children either!

But what if we, as adults, got a chance at a do-over; a chance to actually select whom our parents would be for the rest of our lives?   Obviously, this choice would also determine grandparents for our children, and great-grandparents for our grandchildren.  What an opportunity!  We could select, with all the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom we have acquired, the best parents (and thereby grandparents, etc.) available for ourselves, our families, and even future generations.  However, if we were actually given such an opportunity, one of the first things that would likely “hit” us would also be the gravity of such a choice…. the responsibilities involved.  We would be making a choice that would not only dramatically influence the rest our lives, but also those of our descendants.

Genesis 6:2 says “that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”  I realize there are theories that suggest these “sons of God” were angelic beings that chose to cohabitate with the daughters of men” (contrary to what Jesus said about that, cf. Matthew 22:30), but there is a much simpler explanation provided by the context.  Genesis 4 records not only the sin of Cain, but also the sinful legacy continued by his descendants- Lamech was a polygamist, v.19; and evidently a very violent and vengeful man, vv.23-24.  But note that with the birth of Seth (another son of Adam and Eve), and subsequently his son, Enosh, the record says, Then men began to call on the name of the Lord,” v.26.  Thus, the godless lineage of Cain is set in contrast to the godly lineage of Seth.  Genesis 5 continues with the lineage of Seth, and rather than highlighting sinful behavior as had been done in chp.4 with Cain’s descendants, righteousness and godly desires are emphasized, cf. Genesis 5:22-24,29.  All of which brings us to chapter 6, where the “sons of God”- the godly lineage of Seth (cf. Luke 3:38, was corrupted through the “daughters of men”- the godless lineage of Cain, to produce a world that God was willing to destroy with a flood.  Now, with that bit of history clarified, let’s get back to the business of choosing your parents…

Cain and Seth had the same physical parents, but their lives- and that of their descendants, took dramatically different courses.  Why?  Simply put: they chose very different spiritual parents.  Cain chose the path of faithlessness and rebellion, which ultimately led him to go out “from the presence of the Lord,” Genesis 4:16.  He selected Satan as his spiritual father.  But Seth chose differently.  He preferred “to call on the name of the Lord,” Genesis 4:26.  Seth selected God as his spiritual father.  These contrasting selections obviously influenced the courses of their families for generations to come- even to eternal consequences.   So too will the choice of spiritual parentage you and I make.

We can choose to be a “son of the devil,” as did Elymas, and be “full deceit and fraud,” an “enemy of all righteousness” who does “not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord” and in the process turn others “away from the faith,” cf. Acts 13:8,10.  Or, we can opt to be children/sons of God by choosing: to “believe in His name” (John 1:12), through faith be “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:26-29), and be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14-17) to a life of obedience in which we hold “fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16.

You get to decide.  Whom will you pick to be your (spiritual) parent?  The Father of light, love, and salvation, cf. James 1:16-18; or the murderous father of lies, cf. John 8:44?  But remember, choices have consequences.  And this particular choice has eternal consequences not only for you, but perhaps also for those that you love and call “family.”  Pick your parent carefully, won’t you?

(Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ;

7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

 

 

 

November 18, 2018

Behold A Baseball Team-Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The following article is adapted from a bulletin I published about fifty years ago (from an anonymous author) DRP

Behold a ball team that went forth to play a game of baseball. Just as the umpire was saying, “Batter up,” the catcher for the home team arrived and took his place behind the plate. The center fielder and the second baseman did not arrive until the second inning.

The first baseman did not come at all, but later sent his regrets, saying he had to go to a birthday party at Aunt Sally’s. The third baseman likewise failed to show up, having been up late the night before and he preferred to spend the day in bed.

The left fielder was at another game across town. The shortstop was present, but left his glove at home. When the pitcher entered the field and walked to the pitcher’s mound, he looked around to see his teammates and lo, his heart was heavy as he saw so many empty places in the lineup.

He tried to recruit some of the regular fans to play but they said they had rather sit back and watch. They complained that they had been attending for years (the best attenders in the league). They said they hadn’t seen many runs scored, but claimed it was not really their job. They considered themselves loyal faithful fans, but had never scored a run in their lives and certainly were not going to start now.

The game had been announced and the visitors were already in the stands to see the game. There was nothing left for him to do but go ahead and pitch and hope for the best. So the pitcher tightened his belt and stepped on the mound.

He did his best to throw a strike over the plate. But for some reason he could not find the strike zone. Some of his teammates began to ride him for the wild pitches, and loud boos began to come from the stands.

This is a humorous, ridiculous picture. But, it is absolutely tragic that is sounds so familiar to Christians. “Behold a preacher that went forth to preach.” Could some churches be similar to this baseball team? Do we need to reconsider our fundamental responsibilities as member of the Lord’s team?

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12)

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

“For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.” (Thessalonians 1:8)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

 

November 11, 2018

Righteous Judgement To Come-Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity... (Psalm 9:8)

Judgment is coming. It is coming for every person.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27).

Many people don’t believe it, and still more don’t seem to care, but judgment is coming! Be certain of this. Ready or not, we will all meet our Creator.

Furthermore, “…he will judge the world in righteousness…”

As humans, who have become immersed in sin, it doesn’t seem so terribly bad. God views sin differently because of His different, absolutely holy nature. Habakkuk explains that this is why judgment is not optional. It is absolutely necessary.

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. (Habakkuk 1:13).”

We tend to think differently, so God persistently reminds us that He will judge and that the necessary judgment is righteous.

For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness(Psalm 96:13).

Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;…He will judge the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 96:10).

He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:9).

Because God judges righteously, all are hopelessly lost. All sin. God is too pure to tolerate sin, therefore all must be judged.

“The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:2-3)

Paul quoted David, reaffirming, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; (Romans 3:10).

Moses taught the children of Israel,‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26)

Paul quoted Moses, reaffirming,

under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” (Galatians 3:10).

All are hopelessly lost, but our infinitely wise and absolutely pure Creator, determined that the just requirement of judgment could be satisfied. We could be restored by the sacrifice of His sinless Son.In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. …God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:19, 21, NET).

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, NET).

Consequently, God will do what He must do, judge (condemn) righteously and yet graciously judge righteous (save) all who are in Christ. Contrary to the distortions of our Calvinist friends, this gracious salvation is not unconditional.

The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Matthew 13:41).

God’s judgment includes those who have entered into a covenant relationship with God.

“…‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31).

It is a sobering thought. You and I, our family, our friends, everyone we have ever known and everyone else…everyone, will stand before our infinitely holy Creator and be judged.

For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed…” (Acts 17:31 NLT).

Jesus Christ is not only our Creator and righteous Judge, but also our Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate, and Savior! Have you been baptized into him?

Adapted from an article By Henry Morris

 

 

 

November 4, 2018

How To Please The Lord – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Therefore also we have as our ambition,

whether at home or absent,

to be pleasing to Him.”

(II Corinthians 5:9)

This is one of many verses where the apostle Paul expresses the strong desire to be pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ (“well-pleasing, acceptable,” Thayer). This should likewise be our own ambition, whatever we do and wherever we are, to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!

God revealed through His word, a number of specific ways that we can confidently know that we are pleasing Him. For example:

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1).

Paul says that the criterion of strong Christians, for determining what to do and where to go, should be what is pleasing Him, not ourselves.

Notice that Paul warned the Christians at Rome that…“…those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

That is, God will not be pleased if our thoughts and actions are governed by worldly considerations.

Some believe Christians deserve the best and therefore their life should be a “rose garden.” Peter disagrees. He says that by suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him.

“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor [well pleasing] with God.” (1 Peter 2:20)

Consider this expression from different translations.

…God is pleased with you.” NLT

“… this is pleasing to God.” BBE

“…you have God’s approval.” RSV

The author of the book of Hebrews says…

“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Throughout the Old Testament, this was the essential element that was responsible for monumental acts of service to God by great men of faith who…

who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:33-38)

You want to please God? Work on your faith.

God is pleased with generosity.

“And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)

Self-service is our natural tendency. We all know how to do that. If you want to please God you must learn self-sacrifice.

This certainly involves our material possessions as well as sharing the gospel.

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

When our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise:

“…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (I John 3:22)

Therefore, we determine to make Paul’s ambition to please the Lord our ambition. The reasons overwhelm any alternative today and determines our eternal destiny.

Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:9-10)

 

 

 

October 28, 2018

Overcoming – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:4-6)

Do you ever feel like the world is getting the best of you? Christians need to know that this foul, stinking, rotten idea is the Devil’s lie and absolutely refuse it. Yes, we are “little children” but we are not depending on our power. We are from God and have already overcome the world.

The word translated “overcome” (nikao) is defined by the Greek lexicon BDAG to mean:

  1. to win in the face of obstacles, be victor, conquer, overcome, prevail,
  2. to overcome someone, vanquish, overcome

Christians have been there, done that…and are continuing to do so.

As Lenski puts it, we “have been and continue to be victorious over them (perfect tense).” There is a very simple, powerful justification for that claim…“because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

There are no empty promises in the Bible. The one who spoke the universe into existence is in you. Defeat is unthinkable. But there are times when I do not feel like I am wining over anything. Just what does this promise promise?

Perhaps the answer will come into focus when we look at other, similar promises,

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Note: The phrase mistranslated “will reign” refers to present action, continuing now, not way off in the future.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (I John 5:4)

“Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:5)

Overcome who? The “them” in the immediate context is false teachers.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)

But, how do we know which teachers are false? Overcoming comes with simple instructions … Don’t listen to the majority. Listen to God’s inspired Word.

“…the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:5-6)

These promises extend beyond the threat of false teachers. They apply to all of the Devil’s efforts to defeat, cantankerous, covetous, proud brethren included. God has given us sufficient armament to defend against and defeat all threats.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

You have the power of the Creator in you. You have perfect, complete instructions. Trust in God’s power and follow His instructions and you can’t lose. That’s why losing is forbidden.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2018

A Valuable Lesson Learned – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Shortly after I began to preach, some dear friends, brethren whom I had known growing up, showed up as visitors one Sunday morning. After warm greetings, I heard disheartening news about a congregation I knew well. The story involved immorality being ignored by the elders. “Everybody” knew about it. It was “common knowledge,” but the elders refused to do anything about it.

My father also knew the congregation well and was preaching nearby. I called him, related what I had heard and asked how in the world those elders could allow such.

I heard silence for a moment. Then he asked how the accusations were sustained. “Uh…it was common knowledge,” I stammered. He responded, “That’s not good enough.”

He knew all about the situation. Those elders had asked him to help investigate the matter and they had done so. They did discover a lot of gossip but found that nothing was established scripturally. The elders were proceeding by scripturally disciplining the slanderers.

“Oh. …I see…. I didn’t know that.” He proceeded to drive the point home. “You did not ask the right questions. ‘Common knowledge,’ is a phrase that is often a red flag signaling a lack of scriptural evidence. The right question is, ‘Are there witnesses?’ … ‘Can you sustain the accusation?’”

He said he would send an article that should be helpful. He found it useful in his efforts to teach. Since then I have printed and reprinted it many, many times in my efforts to teach New Testament Christianity. It is a concise, precise statement of essential truths.

 When Accusations Are Made

Frank L. Cox, Gospel Advocate, 1959

When an accusation of wrongdoing is made, an obligation falls upon the accuser. His obligation is to sustain his accusation. He cannot sustain his accusation by rumor or gossip or hearsay or opinion, not even by the testimony of a witness. It can be sustained only by the testimony of a plurality of witnesses. It is written, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established.” (Deut.19:15; Matt.18:16; II Cor.13:1; I Tim.5:19; Heb.10:28.) God’s word is right.

If the accuser can sustain his accusation, an obligation falls upon the person accused: for his guilt is established. In the spirit of gentleness, he should be restored (Gal.6:1, 2); if possible, he should be brought to repentance. If he will not repent, he should be marked and avoided.

If, however, the accusation cannot be sustained, an added obligation falls upon the accuser. By making a charge he cannot prove, an accusation he cannot sustain, he becomes involved in crime. He becomes a false accuser. If possible, he should be brought to repentance. If he will not repent, he should be marked and avoided.

With these things before us, the obligation of the hearer in such matters is obvious. When an accusation of wrongdoing falls upon our ears, let us ask for the proof, for sustaining evidence. If sustaining evidence is given, we should consider the person accused guilty and endeavor to restore him; if sustaining evidence is not supplied, we should consider the accuser guilty and endeavor to restore him. The person accused should be considered innocent, unless the charge is sustained. And the accuser should be considered guilty, unless he can sustain his charge.

 

 

 

September 30, 2018

The Masquerade Is Over -By David Diestelkamp

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

You’ve seen the television shows that “make- over” people so they are hardly recognizable even to those who know them. Experts are brought in to choose just the right clothes, hairstyle, and makeup for them. They look and even act like different people. Paul says that sometimes Satan does the same thing—he “…transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). It’s a clear warning to those of us who think we know him. But we need to take this a little farther to see it in our current culture.

What do you suppose an “angel of light” is like? In Scripture, light is a consistent metaphor for the pure nature of God and the way of righteousness (1 Tim. 6:16; Jas. 1:17; 1 Jn. 1:5). Darkness is the way of sin from which we have been called “…into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). So, an “angel of light” would be a “messenger” or someone who presents himself as being consistent with the nature of God and the way of righteousness and one who claims and appears to be in “His marvelous light.” It is someone who is an advocate for the things of “light” (righteousness and truth) over the things of “darkness” (sin and error).

So, the obvious point of 2 Corinthians 11:14 is that things aren’t always as they appear. False apostles and deceitful workers don’t always wear black hats. It’s an old trick: “…as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Now this may state the obvious, but Satan only needs to masquerade himself and his ways when people are truly interested in the light and in avoiding darkness. Just how hard does he have to try to disguise himself today?

Do we think nothing of letting Satan enter our houses through our TV’s and portray fornication in front of us? Where is the masquerade? Do we laugh over Satan’s silly drunken behavior? Do we accept his greed and covetousness and selfish ambitions as success and happiness? Where is the deception? When lewdness is style, lies are the “loving” thing, and heresies are just being politically correct, Satan doesn’t even need to wear a mask. Why would Satan pretend to bear the fruit of the Spirit when the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-23) are the accepted norm?

It should come as a shock to us that Satan generally need not mask himself among us, but it gets worse. If Satan were to disguise himself as an angel of light, it would likely seriously harm his influence today. Angels of light are not popular on TV or in the movies. Angels of light are not generally elected to government office. Angels of light are not tolerated long in pulpits. Angels of light seem boring on dates or backward, weird, judgmental, or hateful.

Look at Satan. The mask is off and he is not hiding. Pure evil is before us. We must not harden our hearts (Heb. 3:8, 13) or allow our consciences to be seared (1 Tim. 4:2). Actively “Set your mind on things above, not on the things on earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:2-4). Satan is not afraid to show himself in our world today. Look at him and his filthy, evil, death-filled world. Look at Jesus and His pure, righteous, eternal life-filled kingdom. Take a good, long look. The masquerade is over. The choice is clear.

 

 

Next page