February 23, 2014

Teach The World – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

With this command, often called the “great commission,” Jesus dramatically shifts the focus of the teaching effort of His disciples. Jesus had sent His disciples out to teach before, and the scope of their efforts had been much narrower.

“These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matthew 10:5-6)

Now, it will be different. Of course, it had never been necessary for the whole world to obey Jewish law in order to be pleasing to God. Old Testament law was given specifically to the Jews.

“…the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…” (Jeremiah 31:32)

The Jewish prophets had foreseen that the scope of God’s special covenant blessings would change, though most of the Jews refused to understand.

“”Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…’” (Jeremiah 31:32)

“Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.”…(Isaiah 2:2-3)

“In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. …” (Isa.11:10, NLT)

Paul explained this change to the Athenian philosophers.

“…God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Now, that time was fulfilled. Now, they were to proclaim to whole world that the Jewish Messiah has come to save all men.

This “game changing” charge from Jesus is found in somewhat different form in each of the four gospels and in still another form in the first chapter of Acts. To get the full message of the commission, all five accounts should be considered together.

The most familiar statement is in Mark 16:15 above. This was in the upper room and appears to have followed the words recorded by John:

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)

The commission was then further defined in Luke 24:47-48:

“and that repentance  for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Still later, on a mountain in Galilee, He told the disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Not only were they to preach to the world that Jesus was the divine Son of God, they were to make disciples of the world. They were to indoctrinate the world in all His teachings.

Finally, just before His ascension, He summarized their responsibility once again:

“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up…” (Acts 1:8-9)

New Testament Christians understood this responsibility and when forced out of Jerusalem by persecution, they left their familiar, comfortable surroundings and “went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)

The Devil resisted this courageous effort. New Testament Christians were opposed, but they were not deterred. The prophets had foreseen and Jesus had commanded. They obeyed. The world was evangelized in a relatively short time.

“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven…” (Colossians 1:23, NIV)

The Devil did not like that and He hasn’t changed His mind. Today’s Christians are likewise resisted. “Let’s be pluralistic.” “Respect, don’t try to change other’s religion.” “Keep your religion to your self.” Today’s more subtle efforts may be more effective, but the basic message is the same. “Do not try to “make disciples of all the nations.”

The Devil says we shouldn’t. Jesus says we should. To whom are you listening?

 

 

 

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February 16, 2014

Watch Out – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. (I Peter 5:8) NLT

The New Living Translation, quoted above, is not intended to be a literal translation of the inspired words recorded by men “moved by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21). It focuses on what the translators believe are the thoughts communicated by those inspired words. If we understand that it is more of a commentary than a Bible, the fresh expression of familiar ideas can be useful.

Peter’s words are a serious warning about a really, real danger. No, we don’t have to look out for lions as we walk through the beautiful woods of Arkansas, but there are a few snakes, and even occasional bears. If a wise, knowledgeable woodsman seriously warns you about what he, himself, has seen, it’s time to listen. When he is trying to impress you about real danger from snakes and bears where you are hiking, the words quoted above communicate well. “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Near Benton, Tennessee, in April of 2006, a family was camping at a campground in Cherokee National Forest at a waterfall when a black bear attacked and killed a 6-year-old girl and mauled her mother and 2-year-old brother.

Joe Clark, a wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Geological Service who has been studying black bears for about 20 years, said, “As the populations of people and bears continue to grow there will be more opportunities for this type of thing. We are dealing with a large, powerful wild animal.” He said there have been 42 bear sightings in the area in the past couple of weeks. There have been only 56 documented killings of humans by black bears in North America in the past 100 years, but if you are in this neck of the woods, you better, “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Physical danger scares us. What about spiritual danger? Since eternity is infinitely greater than our temporal existence, and eternal torment is the danger, you really need to, “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Peter could speak from bitter experience. Someone who knew had warned him of the danger, but Peter refused to heed the warning and was overcome.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;…But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

We know the sad, tragic result of ignoring this warning from Jesus. No wonder Peter could warn with such urgency: “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

In the immediate context Peter is now warning against spiritual dangers to young and old, against the dangers of greed and pride.

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain,” (I Peter 5:1-2)

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,…” (I Peter 5:5-6)

Likewise, the Apostle Paul had been greatly deceived by the Devil’s cunning. In spite of his uninformed, clear conscience, this sincere, devoutly religious man, put Christians to death. He warns of similar danger to us, lest…

“advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, there is never an excuse for falling for his temptations. God promises that we will never be tempted beyond our ability to resist. (I Corinthians 10:13) But, we must “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

James succinctly expresses the powerful promised solution.

“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

 

 

February 9, 2014

What Is Sin? – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.” (I John 3:4) TEV

The Bible warns that sin is real. It is serious and it has serious consequences.

“…the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

“The person who sins will die.” (Ezekiel 18:20).

Our judicial system was based on the assumption that we have a basic knowledge of right and wrong. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo L. Black said, …

“It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what words meant, and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.’” New York University Law Review, April 1960.

According to the journal Therapy, “Insanity is a legal term pertaining to a defendant’s ability to determine right from wrong when a crime is committed.” In other words, our courts have held that those who do not have a basic sense of morality (a knowledge of right from wrong) are considered legally insane. Unfortunately, their number is multiplying.

 

With an awareness of right and wrong comes guilt, designed to drive us toward repentance. Far too many stubbornly balk and refuse to travel that path. But, how do they deal with their sin problem? They just deny, and attack anyone who disagrees. Many, today, follow the course of those rebuked by Isaiah.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; …” (Isaiah 5:20).

We hear the proud skeptics challenge, “Who is to say what is right and wrong?” The answer, of course, is God. However, if they deny God, this question cannot be reasonably answered. Influenced by such “thinking,” even our U.S. Supreme Court now has implied that there are no “absolutes.”

“Striking down the judicial precedent that established the legal supremacy of right over wrong more than two centuries ago, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned Right v. Wrong.

“The landmark reversal—a bitterly contested 5-4 decision that has been widely praised by murderers, rapists, bigots, usurers, and pro-wrong advocates nationwide—nullifies all previously lawful forms of right and makes it very difficult for Americans to make ethical decisions or be generally decent human beings without facing criminal charges.”    The Onion, Jan 18, 2012

At the heart this tragic foolishness is the denial of a Creator, a God who has the right to define sin. It is Creator who has the right to judge sin. The one who spoke this universe into existence has justly infused the basics of His law into our hearts together with a sense of yearning for truth and awareness of eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,” (Romans 2:14-15)

It is this infused awareness of sin that weighs on the conscience of every honest heart. Our merciful God has provided a perfect solution in the sacrifice of His Son. He has revealed a perfect plan and invites all to the feast of forgiveness from the heavy consequence of the reality of sin.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

 

February 2, 2014

Mt. Ararat and the Resurrection – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4)

Good Bible students have recognized that the story of Noah’s preservation through the destructive catastrophe of the Flood is a beautiful picture, a type of the death and resurrection of Christ. Though often ridiculed today, it was believed and applied by Jesus (Matthew 24:37). It a historical narrative that actually happened the way the Bible describes, but it is also a beautiful analogy.

The Flood was sent as a judgment on the sinful world of Noah’s day and its reality demonstrates to the world today, God’s inability and unwillingness to tolerate sin.

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” …Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. …“Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.” (Genesis 6:6-17)

It is popular today, to preach about God’s love, but many have forgotten that God is also a just God and justice demands punishment. “Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Psalms 97:2)

The apostle Paul taught this eternal, inescapable principle. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

But, God provided a way of escape, a means of salvation (i.e., the Ark which Noah built) to Noah and his family, those eight souls who believed.

“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark — you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. “ And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you;” (Genesis 6:18-19)

Although the analogy is not perfect, this historical account does provide a vivid illustration of the fact that the punishment for sin is still death, and that God is still merciful and willing to provide a means of salvation to those who believe in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son.

In that connection, it is interesting to realize the significance of the date referenced in the verse with which we began (Genesis 8:4). At the time of the Passover, God prefigured the work of Christ when He, Himself, changed the calendar by which the Jews observed their many ordained services.

The seventh month became the first month (Abib).

“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be

earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. …“Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.” (Genesis 6:6-17)

It is popular today, to preach about God’s love, but many have forgotten that God is also a just God and justice demands punishment. “Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Psalms 97:2)

The apostle Paul taught this eternal, inescapable principle. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

But, God provided a way of escape, a means of salvation (i.e., the Ark which Noah built) to Noah and his family, those eight souls who believed.

“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark — you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. “ And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you;” (Genesis 6:18-19)

Although the analogy is not perfect, this historical account does provide a vivid illustration of the fact that the punishment for sin is still death, and that God is still merciful and willing to provide a means of salvation to those who believe in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son.

In that connection, it is interesting to realize the significance of the date referenced in the verse with which we began (Genesis 8:4). At the time of the Passover, God prefigured the work of Christ when He, Himself, changed the calendar by which the Jews observed their many ordained services.

The seventh month became the first month (Abib).

“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)

The Passover was to be observed on the fourteenth day of that first month and each year following.

“‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” (Exodus 12:5-7)

The apostle Paul reminded Christians…

“…Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast…” (I Corinthians 5:7-8)

“Our Passover” was sacrificed for us on the day specified, the fourteenth.

Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the   sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!”… (John 19:14-15)

He rose again the third day, the seventeenth day of the first (formerly the seventh) month. This was the anniversary of the landing of Noah’s Ark on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), providing its inhabitants new life following judgment of the world and its destruction because of sin. What a spectacular picture our deliverance from sin and resurrection with Christ.

Adapted from an article by John Morris