December 30, 2012

Created Suddenly! – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” II Corinthians 4:6

Even a superficial reading of the account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 impresses the reader with the idea of suddenness. God simply called the universe into existence from nothing and then quickly set about the rapid formation of certain features, interspersed with other direct creative acts. All of the events, whether creative or formative, happened over a brief period of time, such as the formation of the plants.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12

The animals were likewise created abruptly.

“Then God said, Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” v. 20

The sun and stars were created with no hint of great periods of time.

“God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.” v. 16.

David understood the suddenness of the creation of the heavens.

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. … For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9.

Even aspects that were evidently formed by a process such as the continents and oceans (v. 10) and humankind (2:7, 22) seemingly took no great length of time.

This is especially true of the creation of light. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (1:3). No slow and sporadic arrival of light from distant stars is mentioned, nor a gradual heating up of the sun as interstellar gas collapsed and fused. Some evangelical advocates of the old-earth concept hold that God slowly cleared the atmosphere of left-over interstellar, dust which allowed the light from the sun and stars to penetrate to the earth. But, there is no hint of this from Scripture. Unmistakable evidence of supernatural origin is seen in the nature of creation in the Holy Spirit’s account, sudden and spectacular.

Over and over again, the Holy Spirit uses the time element as evidence of the supernatural when describing New Testament miracles.

“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” Matt. 20:34

“Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” Mark 1:42

“And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.” Luke 4:39

“Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.” Luke 5:25

“And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.” Luke 8:55

“And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God.” Luke 13:13

“Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.” Luke 18:43

“And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” Acts 3:7

“Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed. Immediately he got up.” Acts 9:34

Can anyone doubt that supernatural action was intended to be implied, in that these healings did not happen gradually but suddenly? Likewise, we know, if creation was quick, it was not natural.

Another illustration and clarification of this point is seen in our text. Paul speaks of God’s creation and says it happened just as suddenly and just as supernaturally as a new creature is created out of a dead creature at the moment of salvation. Sanctification may be a life-long matter, but “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (II Corinthians 5:17), literally creation. No more time is required for the transformation than for darkness to turn into light at the Creator’s command.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

Advertisements

December 23, 2012

The Reasons Matter – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Have you ever said, or had said to you, something along the lines of, “I pray for _____ all the time, but never seem to get it.”? Even when the petition is made in the full assurance of faith that God has the ability to grant the request, it often just doesn’t come to fruition for us. In light of the promises made by God in such passages such as Matthew 7:7-11, why is this? While there may be several answers (such as, I’m asking God to do something for me that I ought to be doing myself, or at least doing my part to achieve, or asking for something that is not according to His will {i.e. what is ultimately right or best}), the short one is “The reason matters.”

“The reason matters” relates not only to the request itself, but also why you/we desire it. For example, do you pray for patience constantly without really sensing any improvement in that area of your life? If so, then perhaps you should back up and ask yourself a searching question: “Why do I want God to give me patience?” If the answer is “So my life will be easier” or “less stressful,” or some other selfishly motivated reason, such could be well be the reason that particular request hasn’t been granted. If, on the other hand, the answer was, “So I can be a better servant of God, and more beneficial to others in becoming the same,” do you suppose that such a motivation would garner a different response from the Father?

Note an example of exactly the point I’m trying to make from 1Kings 3. Solomon was given the opportunity to ask for anything he wanted of God. His decision is manifested in the prayer of vv.6-9, the crux of which is found in v.9a, “So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil.” Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom so he could be “the wisest man on the planet”- that would have been selfish. Instead, he: acknowledged the past loving-kindness God had shown his father, David, v.6; acknowledged his unworthiness to be king due his youth and inexperience, v.7; acknowledged the enormity of the task before him to rule the great people of God, v.8; and then asked for the ability to perform God’s will in the best manner possible to carry out the task God had laid before him. In other words, he asked for the ability to serve God and God’s people in a way that would glorify the Father, rather than himself! Now, is that a different premise from which most of your unanswered prayers are formed?

In James 4:1-4, the Lord’s brother first identifies wrong pleasure sources as being the cause of “quarrels and conflicts among you,” v.1. I really don’t think James is addressing, in this verse, conflicts between people as much as conflicts within the individual; which seems to be borne out by the internal sinful motivations of “lust…envy” which produce the outward sins of “murder…fight(ing)…quarrel(ling)” mentioned in v.3 (see also Romans 7:14-23, where Paul likewise addresses this conflict within). Additionally, the Greek preposition en, which most all of the major translations render here as “among you” in v.1, can just as accurately be translated as “in you,”- which strengthens the notion of internal rather than external conflict. But, let’s not lose the point: wrong pleasure sources existed, which, in turn, prevented their petitions from being granted by God. Note v.3 specifically on this, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures”- and their pleasures were, as previously noted, wrongly sourced!

So, if your prayerful requests aren’t being granted, it could be that you are asking: 1) for wrong things, or at least asking for things God knows you don’t need, and/or that aren’t best; or, 2) with wrong motives. If the objects of your requests are selfish, or even selfishly motivated, it seems pretty clear that those requests are going to be denied by the Father. But, if your requests are for the purpose of making you a better servant, and therefore enable you to bring glory to God rather than yourself, well, that’s a completely different matter! Before you pull out “your list” of prayer requests the next time, remember the words of Solomon and James, and the humble and selfless motivations they exemplify.

 

December 16, 2012

Old Testament Prophecy – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries.” (I Peter 1:10).

This verse and the verses that follow tell us a great deal about Old Testament prophecy. When correctly understood, they refute many of the challenges hurled by modern “scholars” who delight in scoffing at the divine authorship of Scripture.

The verse is but one illustration of the fact that Old Testament prophets spoke again and again about “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory to follow,” (v. 11). They sometimes went beyond the accurate general picture and wrote in specific detail (Cf. Psalms 22:6-8, 16-18). These events were described long before they actually took place.

Do we see history written in detail before it actually takes place today? Obviously not. Then, how did this happen? It does not happen naturally. Detailed knowledge of the distant future is evidence of the supernatural. This explanation is consistent with the claim that these prophecies were due to “the Spirit of Christ within them,” (v.11).

Isaiah unequivocally said that the words he spoke were not his own. They were God’s words.

“For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). “I have put My words in your mouth…” (Isaiah 51:15-16).

Isaiah further explained that God intended His words of prophecy to be evidence that the prophet’s words were not his own but God’s.

“I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. ‘Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew, And your forehead bronze, Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them,’ ” (Isaiah 48:3-5).

Jewish prophets wrote about the shameful rejection of the promised Messiah. Instead of the expected magnificent, resplendent glory, they described one rejected, humiliated, even crucified (Isa.53:3-5).

Notice also that the prophets themselves did not fully understand what they were writing. For instance, Isaiah wrote both of the glory of the coming Messiah (chapter 11) and His sufferings and death (chapter 53) with no indication that he knew how to put the two together. Peter claims that the prophets “made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating” (I Peter 1:11). Indeed, even “angels long to look” (v. 12) into these mysterious passages and doctrines. They did not understand who or when, but from our perspective in time (after the fact) it has become obvious.

Finally, the prophets evidently knew that the mysterious prophecies were not for them to understand, but for us to understand. “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you…” (v. 12). The amazing ideas that so puzzled them “now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (v. 12).

Words written long ago were written for you. Just think about it. Details of history, contrary to what was expected by the proud Jews, were written long before they actually happened by men who didn’t understand what they were writing. How do you explain that? What is the most reasonable explanation?

The only reasonable answer is that these were supernatural messages, ultimately authored by the Holy Spirit, and eventually explained by the same Spirit. They provide reasonable evidence for the inspiration of Scripture, clear reasons to trust in the message of Scripture, and a grounded faith in the consummation of God’s plan for the ages.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

December 9, 2012

God Answers! – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)

What an incredible promise. The incomparable creator of everything in the universe has promised, over and over again, He will answer our prayers. This tremendous resource of prayer is far too often neglected by far too many Christians.

Conditional

We have all had our faith challenged by asking and not receiving. God’s amazing promise is not unconditional. For example, the Holy Spirit explains:

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,…”(James 4:2-3.)

The Apostle Peter explained that prayers may be hindered by our sin.

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (I Pet. 3:7)

The Bible plainly teaches that our faith is a condition.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

Sometimes our request is not wise, or it is not wise now. Thankfully, He answers, but says, “No.” Sometimes we separate ourselves from God and His promises by our unforgiven sin.

Do not let God’s plainly stated conditions become a stumbling block for your faith. These marvelous promises assume that those who ask are abiding in His commandments, truly desiring His will, having His priorities, thinking His thoughts, and are asking in faith and in His son’s name. Understanding and believing this provides powerful motivation, both to submit to Him and to ask Him for the desires of our heart.

Stand On His Promise

If, by the power of His blood, nothing is standing between us and the Lord to keep us from asking effectively (sin, unbelief, selfish motives, etc.), then God, for whom it is impossible to lie (Hebrews 6:18), has promised. He has promised to act when we ask by giving us our request or something better. Believe it!

Consider just a few of the many promises to those who ask:

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

“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:24).

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:913).

“… and 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).

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (I John 5:14-15).

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14).

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

December 2, 2012

The Only Way – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We live in a “pluralistic” society that demands tolerance intolerantly. All religion must be accorded the same respect. Not reverence, but “respect.” In other words, “We know that none are really true” (that would be bigotry). “We, the politically correct, will smugly, self-righteously allow anyone to believe whatever foolishness they want while we in the know vow not to disturb their foolish ignorance.” Of course one must not point out the self-contradicting hypocrisy of this position. That would be the ultimate “sin” (which they don’t really believe exists).

Even more amazing than this logically twisted maze of mental garbage, is the fact that they claim this is true Christianity. It pleases them (self idolatry). As the Apostle Paul put it, it “tickles their ears.” (II Timothy 4:3)  Therefore, it must be true. “Move over God. I’ll tell you what you should have said.”

If we believe that Jesus is God, then He is the ultimate source of truth and that truth is absolute. (Of course, pluralist are not believers.)

Ironically, in one of the best known, clearest, verses in the Bible, Jesus Himself effectively says pluralism is nonsense.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

The Contemporary English Version says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.”

The Bible absolutely affirms that there is no other way to come to God except through Christ, no other truth than that which is founded and centered on Christ, and no other eternal life except the life of Christ imparted to the believer–through faith in Christ.

Jesus said all who teach otherwise are “thieves and robbers” of the soul.

“So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:7-10)

There is no other door to heaven and no other Shepherd of the sheep. He is the only “light of the world” (John 8:12) to illumine a world otherwise blackened by sin, “The Scriptures say, “God commanded light to shine in the dark.” Now God is shining in  the dark.” Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6)

He is “that bread of life . . . the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:48,51), and there is no other such life sustaining eternal food for the hungry soul.

Likewise, He is the “living water.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37-38). No other water satisfies. He is also the one “true vine” in whom we must abide for fruit-producing life. He said, “for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:1,5)

The Scriptures have made it abundantly plain that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

The Contemporary English Version puts it this way, “Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.”

There is no other way; the Lord Jesus Christ is only way, the all-sufficient way, and the perfect way to God. It is not that He shows the way; He is the way, and all who want to come, can come to God through Him.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris