May 25, 2013

The Father’s Love – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:02 pm by sranderson0103

“and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Those who know the blessing of having a son should understand the very special love described in this passage, especially when the son is praise-worthy. Even when that son is not, there is a powerful emotional bond that weighs heavily on the heart. Recall the deep emotion that existed in David toward his wayward son.

“Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years. The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom;…” (II Samuel 13:37-39)

Even though his son plotted to destroy him, David loved him and was devastated when his son was killed.

“The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Sam.18:33).

“The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “ O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Sam.19:4).

We know that the relationship between God, the eternal Father, and His divine beloved Son must not be exactly the same thing, but the Holy Spirit used this intense human connection to communicate God’s relationship with His Son. “This is My beloved Son…”

In this remarkable verse, the Father is speaking from heaven, and is introducing His Son to the world. This is the first New Testament reference to “love.” Actually, the Father’s love for the Son was the first love ever documented to exist. Christ referred to it as He prayed in the upper room, “You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24).

There are many other references to the Father’s love for the Son, including two references to the Father’s voice at His baptism (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) and two more in the upper room prayer (John 17:23, 26). One great reason for that love is the following: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.” (John 10:17-18).

The extent of the Father’s love for His blessed Son was all-encompassing. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35). Furthermore, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing;” (John 5:20).

God also spoke of His “beloved Son” on the Mount of Transfiguration, as cited four times (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; II Peter 1:17). There are seven references in the New Testament to the Father’s heavenly testimony to His beloved Son. Similarly, there are seven passages where the Son Himself testifies of that Fatherly love. In addition to the six cited above, Christ said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you;” (John 15:9).

Seven testimonies from the Father and seven from the Son! Surely the Father loved the Son with a perfect love. And yet—

In spite of His the intense emotional bond that He shared with His son the heavenly Father gave up His son in an act of truly supreme love. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”      (I John 4:10).

Such amazing love for unworthy, hell-deserving sinners, merits more thanksgiving from us than we could ever generate, much less express.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

Advertisements

May 18, 2013

Amazing Teaching – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:33 pm by sranderson0103

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; (Matthew 7:28)

Many popular preachers today teach only that which reinforces  what most already believe, lessons designed to make people feel good and pat the preacher on the back. This verse tells us that the preaching of Jesus was different. The audience that had the opportunity to hear Jesus teach His sermon on the mount was “amazed.”

Consider the definition of this word provided by Thayer’s Greek lexicon.

“(εκπλησσω) …to strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away; to cast off by a blow, to drive out;… to strike with panic, shock, astonish; passive to be struck with astonishment, astonished, amazed;”

The word implies that the teaching did not “fit in” with popular opinion. As is often the case with those who do not know the truth, it “struck them between the eyes.” It hit with the force of a sledgehammer.

There are four other verses that use this same word to describe the results of the teaching of Jesus, Matthew 22:33; Mark 1:22; 11:18; Luke 4:32. In addition, we learn that the proconsul Sergius Paulus was “amazed” (same word) at the doctrine of the Lord when he heard Paul preach, (Acts 13:12).

One astonishing aspect of the doctrine of Christ is indicated by Mark. “They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:22). Jesus did not appeal to opinion polls or follow the deep ruts of tradition practice. He emphasized the contrast between what they had been hearing and what, “I say to you.” He was not suggesting that they comply. He commanded obedience.

While Jesus was here on earth, before He sat down at the right hand of God and began to reign with all authority, His lessons still required obedience. At this point, He explained, “My teaching is not mine,” He said, “but His that sent me,” (John 7:16). For the same reason, Paul could also teach this “astonishing” doctrine because he was careful to teach only the word of God. Likewise, gospel preachers today, and you, can speak with authority, when we believe and teach only the inerrant, doctrinal authority of God’s word.

When husbands or wives are emotionally involved in fierce conflicts with spouses, surrounded by biased friends who are encouraging them not to take it any more, they need more than suggestions. The overwhelming tide of what “everybody” thinks cannot be swept back with recommendations. We need the powerful force of the Creator’s word.

God’s divine institution, the home, will be stable when it is founded upon and maintained by “astonishing” authority. You will not be able to help in such tragic circumstances until you forget self-serving opinion trends and teach what the Judge demands.

It has become fashionable today, to avoid “indoctrination” in favor of “discussion” and “personal Christianity.” This is a great mistake and largely accounts for the increasing secularization of our society and the weak influence of Christians on our deteriorating society. Jesus commissioned Christians to “observe all that I commanded you,” (Matthew 28:20). It is imperative that we, like Paul, “not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God,” (Acts 20:27), because whoever “does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God,” (II John 9).

Ideas suggested by an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

May 11, 2013

Giving or Receiving – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:45 pm by sranderson0103

While Jesus was training the twelve disciples to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), He also told them, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now,” John 16:12.  Have you ever wondered why this was so?  Though we are not specifically told, I suspect that the answer has to do with growth, development, understanding, and time.  With their spiritual growth and development, their understanding would increase so that as the events of time unfolded, they would later be able to “bear” truths that they currently could not.

It’s really not any different for would-be disciples today- it often takes some growth, development, and time for us to really understand and be able to “bear” (practice) some of Jesus’ words.  For instance, consider His statement recorded in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  (By the way, though these words are quoted by Paul and recorded by Luke- both through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they are not otherwise recorded by any of the four gospel writers.)  When we are younger- in life or in faith, we may admit that such is true in principle, but have a hard time really seeing the value of it in practice.

But, the principle was not given as a maxim to promote a “holiday spirit” of charity, nor was it provided to be relegated to mere gift-giving applications. Jesus is instead describing a code of conduct in life for those who would be His disciples. While still immature in faith, we may submit to this rule because we know it is right, but not really “feel” the way we should about it. In other words, we may do the right thing in this regard without really believing or seeing the value in it ourselves. But with the growth and maturity that time allows, true understanding of the principle is gained. Let’s consider some specifics to illustrate our point. Do you think (in your mind), feel (in your heart), and believe (in your soul) that it is better for you to give:

Attention rather than to receive it? Or do you still crave, or even demand other’s attention like a little fella who wants everyone to focus on him? Read Philippians 2:1-4, please.

Support and Encouragement rather than to receive them?  Are you one who always expects others to “help” and/or “support me,” but never seems to be found on the giving end of the matter? Please read 1Thessalonians 5:14-15.

Compassion and Sympathy rather than to receive them? Do you always expect others to listen to and commensurate with all your troubles and how “bad” you feel, and to provide sympathy and compassion to you, but rarely (if ever) are truly compassionate and sympathetic to anyone beside yourself?  Read Colossians 3:12-13, please.

Education and Enlightenment rather than to receive them? When it comes to spiritual education and edification (to build up), are you a “giver” or just a “taker”?  Please read Hebrews 5:12-14.

Forgiveness rather than to receive it? Are you one who wants (and expects) everyone else to forgive you whenever you ask and whether there is any true sorrow for the offence or not, but are very begrudging when it comes to forgiving others? Read Ephesians 4:32 and James 2:13, please.

Love rather than to receive it? Do you desire or even demand unconditional love from others, but are quick to place conditions upon the love you give?  Please read Matthew 5:44-48.

Now do you see why some divine directives require the growth and maturity that only time and experience can provide to really understand, “bear,” and practice?  While we are yet spiritually immature, we would much rather receive than give all of these things.  In fact, our still adolescent faith may not allow us to be able to give them at all.  Have you matured in your faith sufficiently to not only understand, but also to “bear” the principle that “It is more blessed to give than to receive”? If not, then maybe it is time to get busy and “grow up”!

May 4, 2013

Is The Bible The Inspired Word Of God – Jason and Ron Carlson

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:27 pm by sranderson0103

During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked me, “Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?”

Now this is a very interesting question, and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves. What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God?

In answering this student’s question, I encouraged him to consider the following facts about the Bible. First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic, just to name a few.

Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.

Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1,500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.

Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.

And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia , and Europe . Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.

Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline – the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme – God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message – salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.

In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!

After I had shared the above facts with this student, I offered him the following challenge. “If you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if you do not believe that the Bible is of a supernatural origin, then I challenge you to a test, I challenge you to go to any library in the world, you can choose any library you like, and find 66 books which match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible. You must choose 66 books written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different
languages, written on 3 different continents. However, they must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions.” I went on to say, “If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God.”

The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, he emphatically stated, “But that’s impossible!”

It truly is impossible, for any collection of human writings. However, the Bible passes this test. The Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.

The next time you encounter someone who asks you why you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, try sharing this challenge with them. Better yet, don’t wait until you’re asked, just go ahead and share this challenge with a friend today. You don’t even have to mention the Bible up front, just ask them if they think it would be realistic to assemble such a collection of books. After they say, “But that’s impossible!” you’ve got a ready-made opportunity for sharing the truth of God’s word with somebody!