March 30, 2013

Greater Progress Of The Gospel – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:49 pm by sranderson0103

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,” (Philippians 1:12)

The infrequently used word translated “greater progress” (also translated “advancement”) is used to describe what happened to the cause of Christ as a result of Paul’s being in jail. Paul wrote this epistle while he was unjustly imprisoned in a Roman jail, and no doubt he remembered the time when he had first met many of his Philippian Christian friends as a result of being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-40). In fact he had often been imprisoned (II Corinthians 11:23) and had suffered severely in many other ways for “the greater progress of the gospel.”

During the two years or more he was a prisoner in Rome, he not only taught God’s Word to many who visited him there (Acts 28:30-31) but also wrote at least four of his inspired epistles there (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon). And these have been of untold blessing to millions down through the years. In ways which Paul could never have imagined, it was true indeed that these things which had happened to him had turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.”

The apostle Paul had the spiritual insight to realize that what seemed like great problems and difficulties could be used by God to the “advancement” of the gospel. Rather than complaining or even quitting when the Christian life gets hard, we must remember that God can make even “the wrath of man” to bring praise to Him (Psalm 76:10).

Of course, such difficulties do not have the same effect on all. The proud were turned off by this preacher who spent time in jail. Paul described the effect on a significant number when he said, “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me…” (II Timothy 1:15). He implied that some were embarrassed by him when he commended Onesiphorus who, “was not ashamed of my chains;” (II Timothy 1:16).

The proud are turned off. The humble are unaffected. This is the way God planned it. The bottom line is “the greater progress of the gospel.” In fact, Paul informs us of the extent of the progress during his lifetime. He says “…the gospel that you have heard,…was proclaimed  in all creation under heaven.” (Colossians 1:23).  The New King James Version says, “the gospel which you heard,…was preached to every creature under heaven.”

There are times we are tempted to think that if we could just build a more impressive building than the denominationalist, if we could just have better, more impressive entertainment, then we could really advance the cause of the gospel. Many around us obviously think this way. However, that was not the way Paul did it and that was not the way it worked in New Testament times.

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March 23, 2013

King Of All The Kings – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:20 pm by sranderson0103

“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

John, exiled on the isle of Patmos, was already feeling the wrath of the beast, the persecuting element of the Roman empire. And it was not long after John wrote the above words, that the terrible conditions he foresaw and described in the previous verse, actually prevailed. “These [Allies of Rome, DRP] have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.” (Revelation 17:13)

John had already forewarned of the great power of the opposition, making it clear that it was not unexpected or an indication that God’s plan had failed. It was God’s plan. “It was also given to him [By God, DRP] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” (Revelation 13:7). EVERYBODY united and gave their allegiance to this world dominating, overwhelming power, which appeared to be ready to exterminate the church… all the kings and rulers of the world.

Long, long ago David foresaw this united power. “The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, …” (Psalm 2:2). Now, John says it is coming to fruition. “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” (Revelation 19:19).

Who could possibly stand against such a power? …the poor little slain Lamb of God and His beleaguered army, the church. All the world will proceed to “make war with the Lamb,” but they lost!

 “… the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

David saw the outcome long ago. “He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.’” (Psalms 2:4-6).   

History now records that these utterly improbable prophecies were perfectly fulfilled. The all-powerful persecuting element of the seemingly invincible Roman empire was soon destroyed and the Kingdom of God marches on.

No longer as the submissive Lamb before His shearers (Isaiah 53:7), but the “Word of God,” out of whose once-silent mouth, now “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:15)

The necessary conclusion is bravely stated by Paul, soon to be beheaded. His admonition to young Timothy is just as appropriate to us today.

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of  kings and  Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and  dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” (I Timothy 6:13-16).

 

 

 

March 9, 2013

The Foundation – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:55 pm by sranderson0103

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,” (Ephesians 2:19-20)

A solid foundation is the beginning place of any significant, substantial building. A great deal of effort is justified to make sure it is firm and sure. Without it, even monumental effort will be futile. The building will not stand.

This concept is the basis for a figure that is used again and again, throughout the Bible. In the above passage the Apostle Paul says the church was built on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets…”

One function of these men was to receive and transmit God’s revelation to His people–first verbally, then written in permanent form in the New Testament. “which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;” (Ephesians 3:5).

By inspiration, the apostle Paul said that such prophecies would cease once they were no longer needed. Prophets with continuing revelation are not needed when God’s revelation is complete. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” (I Corinthians 13:9-10). The context of this plain statement refers to the complete revelation of God. This becomes even more obvious when we understand the word translated “perfect” means:

“τελιος; (telos), …brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness; perfect: …” Thayer.

When the last book of the Bible was transmitted to the church by the last living apostle/prophet, the Lord warned us neither to “add unto” nor to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (Revelation 22:18-19). The foundation was finished. We must not tack on our own “additions.”

But many additional foundations have been laid by false apostles and prophets and we should not be surprised. Jesus himself warned,

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)

The Apostle John warned: “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). The result, observed today, is just as Jesus warned. They have “deceived many.”

One of them, a self-asserted seventh century “prophet” from Arabia, received certain “revelations” from a “god” that were different from and in addition to those of the God of the Bible, and his followers now number over a billion.

There have been others, before and since, and the Lord Jesus warned us always to “beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15). The basic criterion by which to test any alleged prophecy, ancient or modern, is whether or not it fully conforms to the written Word of God, the Bible.

After warning us of false prophets and commanding us to “test,” the Apostle John teaches how, with specific directions. “…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 4:6). Likewise, Isaiah instructed: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

March 2, 2013

Drink Of My Water – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:19 pm by sranderson0103

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Water is an astounding creation. It was designed by God with very special, unique qualities. We will resist the temptation to launch into a chemistry lecture, but the content would be amazing. Without water’s mind-boggling qualities, many things we take for granted in this world, including life, would be impossible. Our bodies are mostly water and without constant replenishment, our bodies quickly die. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, he used these obvious, familiar facts to teach essential truth, both to her and to us.

Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament, using the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. Today, we have excellent English translations that communicate well the thoughts originally revealed in Greek words. However, there are times when a consideration of the original words provides additional insight.

The two occurrences of the word “drink” in the above verse are actually in two different forms. Greek “tenses” describe the kind of action involved. In the first case, the Greek word is in the present “tense” which implies a durative, continuing drinking. In the second instance, a punctiliar, one-time, finished action is indicated. In other words, the original language indicates, “Everyone who keeps on, continually drinking this well water will have to do it again and again. Whoever drinks of my water is done.”

Likewise, consider that the woman referred to a “well” (v. 12), literally “a hole in the ground.” The Greek lexicon BAGD says of φρεαρ: “1. a construction consisting of a vertical shaft, covered with a stone,…” The water Christ offers comes from a different kind of “well.” He uses a different word. His “well” is a spring. Consider BAGD’s definition of this word πηγη: “1. a source of something. that gushes out or flows, spring, fountain, flow…”

Furthermore, when our translations tell us that Jesus said one who drinks from His spring shall “never thirst,” considerably more is indicated in the original. An unusual order of words, in the English language, just sounds weird. In the Greek, a different order can imply special emphasis. When Jesus said, “shall never thirst” the order of the words implies this was emphatic. In our emails, we communicate this by using all caps, “SHALL NEVER THIRST.” And, in the original we have a double negative (taboo in English). The two negatives precede the verb “thirst” which is further strengthened by the powerful word “forever” (in different order). Now, let’s do “in other words” again: “SHALL NOT, REALLY SHALL NOT THIRST, FOREVER!”

One who drinks from the wells of the world will thirst again and again and again, because sinful pleasures never satisfy, certainly not for long. But a punctiliar drink from the spring of “living water” (John 4:10; 7:38) of which Christ spoke, eliminates that durative thirst and absolutely eliminates it forever.

The lingering, tormenting guilt (Psalm 38:1-4), the hollow yearning for the eternal (Ecclesiastes 3:11) that God placed in the hearts of men, is vanquished and replaced with satisfied joy (I Peter 1:8). This drink of the living water of life becomes in the believer a veritable spring, inexhaustible in its quantity and unsurpassed in its quality. It provides for us “everything pertaining to life and godliness,” (II Peter 1:3).

Are you thirsty? “…the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.” (Revelation 22:17, Holman).

Adapted from an article by John Morris