April 27, 2014

Something More Sure – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” (II Peter 1:19 ESV)

Peter begins this epistle addressing “those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours.” (v.1) And proceeds with powerful assurances that their faith is absolutely, certainly justified. Therefore, they should apply “all diligence” and“moral excellence.” The reason is “we did not follow cleverly devised myths.” He assures them that “we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” He personally heard the very voice of God on the Mount of Transfiguration. “‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ We ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” (vv. 16-18). There could be no doubt of God’s special plan for His Son. As eyewitnesses, they bore the onus of bearing witness to the facts.

absolutely correct. Peter said there is something even more powerful. The “something more sure” that he recommends outshines any human testimony. It was the “prophetic Word.” No human being can write history before the events of history occur. Only God can do that. Therefore, when this is done, repeatedly and perfectly, we can know God did it.

Oral or written testimony of human observers, no matter how trustworthy they may be, is still subject to human error and not “inerrant” in the same way as the prophetic Word. Christians must always remember that the written Word, confirmed by prophecy, is more certain than personal memories or impressions. The experiences we have must never be viewed as validating God’s Word. Rather, God’s Word validates our experiences. The early church only had a few portions of the New Testament in those days of beginning, but thankfully, we now have it all and we have ready access to it. Peter recognized that it was superior to any personal testimony.

In view of this teaching of Peter, it is amazing to look at the information many prefer to rely upon, in order to guide them to heaven.

“But, my preacher said…”

“Don’t you know almost everybody thinks…”

“I know in my heart of hearts…”

God’s prophetic word is “something more sure” and therefore is more authoritative and trustworthy.

Adapted from an article by John D. Morris

 

 

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April 20, 2014

Defeated By A Single Word, Twice – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:03 am by sranderson0103

“No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” (Matthew 22:46)

The Jews of Jesus day were denominated into separate, completive sects, much as those who consider themselves Christians today. The two most influential divisions were the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

It is amazing that many can easily see inconsistency in the fact that both groups devoutly affirmed the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, yet at the same time, the Sadducees denied the resurrection and the reality of angels, while the Pharisees continually added their own laws to God’s. Many today understand that if one believes that the Scriptures are the word of God, that one should not behave the way Sadducees and the Pharisees did. But they still do.

The allegiance to God’s will in Jesus’ day was superseded by an inflated estimate of their own will. They didn’t see that. Can we?

It was this great esteem for their own righteousness that blinded their eyes to the Messiah in their midst.

“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

Their spiritual myopia combined with competitive envy produced an escalating friction that reached a climax when Jesus went to Jerusalem for His last Passover. Both sects plotted to trap Him with doctrinal questions, devised to show their own superior insights and to embarrass this “blasphemous imposter.”

Jesus confronted the Sadducees, who rejected the doctrine of resurrection, saying:

“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: ‘ I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)

We are told that this exposition silenced the Sadducees. Then we read:

“But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,” (Matthew 22:35-36)

He answered them brilliantly then parried, asking them a question regarding the Messiah described in the Psalms. How David could call the Messiah Lord if He was David’s son? (Matthew 22:45)

“No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” (Matthew 22:46)

Please consider the fact that each group was silenced with a single word from the Scriptures. To the Sadducees, the word was “am,” indicating that Abraham had not ceased to exist, but was still living. To the Pharisees, the word was “Lord:” that is, “Jehovah said unto Adonai”, proving that the Messiah was both human and divine, descended from David but also David’s Lord. Both of Christ’s arguments reveal His attitude toward the authoritative, determinative power of one word of scripture. And both the Sadducees and the Pharisees understood and acknowledged the force of such an argument.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those who consider themselves children of God today had as much regard for the authority of Scripture as the Sadducees and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (even if they did not obey it)? Of course, the appropriate attitude requires both respect and obedience. Today, we need more of both.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris.

 

 

 

April 13, 2014

Why Homosexuals Are Receiving So Much Attention – Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:01 am by sranderson0103

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV)

[Updated research into the literature of the society of the New Testament, has produced a fine tuning of our knowledge of what was being said, resulting in the following, more technically precise translation.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.” NET]

We are sometimes accused of unfairly singling out “homosexuals” from the list of sinners in the above verses for our condemnation more than others. While I deny unfairness, I admit that there is a tendency to single them out. There may be good reason for this.

But before discussing that, for the record, I want to say that I don’t think any of those on the list in the above verses should be mistreated either by individuals or society as a whole. Instead, society should do what it can to rehabilitate them. And more importantly we as Christians need try to do whatever we can rightly do in order to reach them with the saving power of the gospel.

But, having said all of that and admitting that we may give more attention to homosexuals, at the present time, than the others listed, I am prepared to suggest a reason of it. It may be because they are the ones who are openly and boldly flaunting their sinful lifestyles and pushing society to accept them as they are, even giving them special rights, without changes in their behavior. We would likely be giving as much attention to the other sinners listed if they organized orchestrated events and lobbied governments for “rights” like “gays” do. So far we have not seen many Fornicator Pride, Idolater Pride, Adulterer Pride, Thief Pride, Drunkard Pride, Reviler Pride, or Extortioner Pride events to push their agenda for special rights. The reason homosexuals are getting more attention is because are drawing more attention to themselves.

We would also like to point out that every sinner on that list was able to change. How do I know? The next verse says “such were some of you.”   They were no longer such, having been washed, justified, and sanctified in the name of the Lord. There were no longer those things because they had been forgiven and no longer practiced those sins.

Does that necessarily mean they would no longer have any propensity toward such sins? No. The former drunkard might be more tempted than others toward alcohol. The former thief might be more tempted to shoplift than others. The former fornicator might be sexually tempted by the opposite sex morethan others. But, all of them must realize that they can resist the temptation with God’s help and not return to their former sinful practices – and that they will have to do that to be saved.

 

April 6, 2014

Be Strong and Courageous – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:04 am by sranderson0103

 

Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you,” (I Chronicles 28:20)

It is not unusual to hear comments that imply strength and courage are qualities like hair and eye color. Some randomly have this. Others randomly have that. “Wow, she has a lot of courage. I wish I did. I’m just not that strong.”

One can almost hear a complaint against God, as if it were really His fault. “Some get it and some don’t, but it certainly is not my fault.” “God forbid that anyone imply it is a matter of responsibility.”

The admonition to be strong and courageous is found 11 times in the Bible and it is never a suggestion. Moses delivered this command three times. Joshua five times, then twice from David, and once from Hezekiah. Although these inspired instructions all involved specific challenges confronting God’s people at the time, the principles behind them indicate the requirement for courage is for all God’s people at all times. It is not a happening. It is a choice and God requires it.

Inspired leaders did not believe the modern mantra, “Protect the self-image.” They taught, if you fail, you are a coward, and that is inexcusable. “But for the cowardly…their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). This is what God demands of me and of you. The Judge has spoken.

Furthermore, when we tell people what the Judge has said, it is not our judgment. It is the judgment of the Judge. We are not being “judgmental.” He is, and He has every right (Acts 17:31). Judge Jesus has commissioned us to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 18:20, TEV).

The first occurrence of God’s command to be strong and courageous is given by Moses to the Israelites just before his death as they were about to enter the Promised Land. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). In the next verse, Moses gave a similar exhortation to Joshua, their leader.

The next-to-last occurrence is quoted at the beginning of this article, and contains almost the same words as in the first occurrence. David this time is exhorting Solomon to build the great temple in Jerusalem. Whether entering a new field of service for God or beginning a great work for God, the people of God will encounter opposition and must be strong and courageous to carry it through.

The word “courage” occurs more in Joshua than in any other book of the Bible, and specific exhortation of our title is given five times: three by God, once by the people to Joshua, and once by Joshua to the people. In all these, the context stresses obedience to the Word of God, especially in resistance to sin and pagan belief systems.

The Bible does not teach the “name it and claim it” “Gospel of Prosperity” heard so often from mega church preachers. God’s definition of success is often very different from our own and certainly that of the world. However, “success” (as God defines it) is connected by a divine promise to our choice to be strong and courageous.

“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7)

Forget the world’s excuses and your special, unique circumstances. You have a choice. God does not allow you to be a wimp. God commands you to, “be strong and very courageous.”

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris