April 26, 2015

Now Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

1 Timothy 6:6

The apostle Paul is speaking of acquiring great “profit” but his message is very different from the “Prosperity Gospel” promoted by many TV and mega-church evangelists. The Greek word of the original text translated “gain,” is defined by the lexicon Louw & Nida as, “a means of gaining a profit or wealth.”

The New Living Translation renders the passage:  “Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth.”

Commentator Albert Barnes notes…

“If there be true religion, united with its proper accompaniment, peace of mind, it is to be regarded as the true riches. The object of the apostle seems to be, to rebuke those who supposed that property constituted everything that was worth living for. He tells them, therefore, that the true gain, the real riches which we ought to seek, is religion, with a contented mind. This does more to promote happiness than wealth can ever do, and this is what should be regarded as the great object of life.”

No, Paul would never make it in today’s overflowing mega-churches. He is not promising a great job, new car or a luxurious home, or the best (wealthy) you that you can be. In this day of the “next big thing,” an ever increasing array of technological gadgets and creature comforts, the Christian virtue of contentment is a rare commodity. The widespread idea among supposed Christians that material prosperity is a token of spirituality and divine approval is Satan’s heresy.

Actually, such affluence (if it comes) should be regarded as a testing, for Jesus said: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required;…” (Luke 12:48)

Inspiration describes Paul as a faithful and fruitful Christian, yet history indicates that he died penniless, residing in a Roman dungeon until he was beheaded. Did God not keep His promises? Consider Paul’s attitude toward material possessions and standards of living:

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

From the context of our key verse, it is obvious that the “prosperity gospel” is not new. Paul was been warning the young preacher Timothy against the influence of those who “suppose that godliness is a means of gain,” and who think that their material prosperity is proof of their spiritual prosperity. There is no doubt what Paul thought of such preachers. He describes them as, “men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth.” They are high on the popularity charts and rake in millions, but the apostle has a different opinion. Paul spoke by inspiration, words of timeless truth. Polls change by the hour and those millions and all the material goods will be consumed by by fire. By which should we be influenced?

Material gain neither produces nor denotes godliness; rather, godliness itself is the gain, if accompanied by contentment in Christ (otherwise, of course, it is not true godliness)! Even the most impoverished believer can acquire riches in heaven, where it really counts. In the meantime consider these inspired words:

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

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April 19, 2015

Not Being Ashamed – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We’ve likely all heard or said, “There’s no shame in …”  Shame can be a good, though perhaps temporarily painful, and helpful motivation (cf. 2Corinthians 7:8-13).  But if taken to extremes, it can also be devastating and debilitating (cf. 2Corinthians 2:6-8).  These negative consequences of shame have led to some seeking to eliminate it altogether. But this also eliminates the potential benefits of shame.  However, if we’re not careful, there are a few things of which we can become ashamed that we shouldn’t.

God as our Creator.  “By faith we understand that worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible,” Hebrews 11:3.  Please, never be ashamed of your faith in God as our Creator.  Evolution’s “Big Bang” is a theory that seeks to explain away the divine creative power of God.  But it is a theory that contradicts known and accepted scientific laws (Biogenesis and Second Law of Thermodynamics), and seeks to explain the Effect of the known world and universe with an inadequate Cause.  “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God,” Hebrews 3:4, is still true.

Christ as our Savior.  To admit the need of a savior is to admit the guilt of sin, and to admit the inability to take away this guilt ourselves.  While there is and should be shame associated with sin, needing a savior to expiate it for us is a boat in which we all sit (cf. Romans 1:18 – 3:23).  However, these things should never lead us to be ashamed of claiming Jesus Christ as our Savior!  He is “the power of God and the wisdom of God,” 1Corinthians 1:24.  Jesus made it clear to His disciples that even in the face of persecution, those who are ashamed of and deny Him before men, will themselves be denied at judgment, cf. Matthew 10:24-33.  Don’t be a “closet Christian” who is ashamed of your Savior.  Instead, proudly declare your allegiance to Him, and encourage others to join you!

The Gospel.  Paul, by the inspiration of the Spirit of course, wrote to the Romans to explain why he was eager to preach in Rome, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed…” Romans 1:16-17.  We must understand that the gospel contains God’s power to save.  If anyone is to be saved, it will be by and through the gospel, cf. 2Thessalonians 2:14.  But notice that the gospel also contains the righteousness of GodThis is critical for a very basic reason: man cannot determine or be saved by his own righteousness, cp. Jeremiah 10:23 and Romans 3:10-28.  So, we need the gospel to tell us how to become saved and righteous before God. And yet, many have become ashamed of the gospel, and have thus sought to change it to fit their own desires.  This would be fine if we were going to be judged by our own gospel rather than God’s – but such is not going to happen, Romans 2:16.  Never be ashamed of the gospel that saves and makes righteous!  Instead, preach it when it is popular, and when it isn’t; use it faithfully to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction that as many as possible can be saved by it, cf. 2Timothy 4:2

The Church.  In a universal sense, the church is made up of all the all the saved of all time.  Locally, a church is made up, hopefully, of individuals who share a common: belief (in Jesus Christ as God’s Son); birth (by baptism for remission of sins); and who have banded themselves together in fellowship (jointly participating in the worship and work of God’s people) in a given locale.  Unfortunately, we can and sometimes do become ashamed of either of these applications of “church.”  If our shame is of the universal church, we may turn “aside to follow Satan” (as in 1Timothy 5:15), or to anything and everything else- which only leads to eternal destruction (as in 2Timothy 4:2-4).  If our shame is of the local church, we may just turn aside in the sense of becoming useless (cp. Romans 3:12).  We may still attend occasionally, but we’re no longer really involved in the work of God or His church.  Don’t be ashamed of the church Jesus died to establish, or of a church that is striving to please Him by obedience to His will!

If you happen to be ashamed of God, Jesus Christ, the Gospel, or the/a Church, there’s no use in wallowing in it.  The cure for shame that is rightfully earned is always repentance (a change of mind that leads to a change in course/direction), and simply busying ourselves with doing the right things as determined by God.  The great news is this:  Obedience to God dispels any and all shame, 1John 3:21-24!

April 12, 2015

No Man Has Seen God At Any Time – Philip North

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Many people claim, amongst other things in religion, that they have seen the face and body of Jehovah God. They refer to various “dreams” and “visions” they say were experienced. However, no matter what be the assertion, the Bible is always right on everything, every time, and under every circumstance, due to its contents coming from the mind of an infinite, almighty, omniscient, and omnipresent mind—-that of God Himself. No other being could have that degree of mind, save our magnificent Creator. His mind is eternally unlimited, while our minds are all limited and temporary.

In all the places found in the New Testament stating most clearly that no human, save Jesus, has seen the face of God, each passage but one comes from the Apostle John. Consider the following verses:

John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

John 5:37, Jesus says, “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his face.”

John 6:46, Jesus further declares, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”

I John 4:12: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

I Timothy 6:16 says of God, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

Note the following passages where Moses is talking directly to God, and makes a request to see God’s actual form:

Exodus 33:18-23: “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”

Even righteous Moses, being the only human so fortunate as to see what God actually looked like from behind, was not allowed to see His face! Can the verses used in this article, especially the ones cited above, be any plainer? Definitely not! Look again at part of what God said to Moses: “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Moses would have died right there on the spot, had God permitted him to see His actual face. Such would have been no different with any other man, woman, boy, or girl who ever lived both before and after Moses, for again, God said, “there shall no man see me, and live.” Chapter 34 of Exodus, for that matter, tells how the face of Moses changed so much after seeing what God looked like from the back, he had to wear a veil when returning down from the mountain. What is more, the children of Israel noticed how the countenance of Moses was different. Too, the verses quoted from John and Paul earlier in this article are bolstered by those in Exodus.

Whatever the claim, regardless of how aggressive, sincerely, or emotionally made, that individual who says they saw God did not see Him! Such will not happen until the end of time, when only the righteous will see the whole of God’s indescribably beautiful features eternally in Heaven.

Truth itself never changes, where the Bible is concerned. The first part of Malachi tells us, “For I am the Lord, I change not;.” Hence, what God said to Moses, coupled with what Jesus stated, along with what Paul wrote under the pen of divine inspiration, still holds true today, as it will until time on earth ceases! After all is argued, claimed, and disagreed with, we get right back to what God’s precious and all true Word declares: “No man hath seen God at any time.”

Adapted from an article written by Philip North

Eagle Rock Church of Christ

Branson, MO

April 5, 2015

There Shall Certainly Be A Resurrection – Acts 24:15 – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Christian Apologist Josh McDowell expresses it this way, “the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men, OR it is the most fantastic fact of history.”  From the earliest beginnings of Christianity, Christians have unanimously insisted on and defended the fact of Christ’s resurrection. It is the most fundamental, essential, foundational convictions of the church and dominates the literature of the New Testament.

The book of Acts illustrates this conclusion well.

Acts Chapter 1:

Peter was describing the qualifications of one who would replace Judas as an apostle and said that, “one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:22.

Acts Chapter 2:

Peter was defending the proposition that Jesus was the Messiah with persuasive evidence. He quotes David who predicted that the Messiah’s body would not decay. Peter said, “he [David] looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, …” Acts 2:31.

Acts Chapter 3:

Peter was explaining the dramatic miracle of one lame from his mother’s womb beginning to run and leap before their eyes. He said it was because of Jesus the one whom they had crucified, “the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13.

Acts Chapter 4:

The priest, the captain of the Temple Guard and the Sadducees were infuriated, “…because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead,” Acts 4:2.

The apostles were arrested, told to shut up and threatened. Then we read, “… with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” Acts 4:33.

Acts Chapter 5:

The Apostles were arrested for continuing to do what they’d been told not to do. When asked to give an account, they responded,

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross,” Acts 5:30.

Acts Chapter 10:

Peter had been divinely instructed to preach the gospel to Cornelius who had gathered an audience in his home. Peter said… “They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,” Acts 10:39-40.

Acts Chapter 13:

Paul continues the same theme in his preaching. Traveling to Turkey, Antioch of Pisidia, he told the Jews in the local synagogue, “He whom God raised did not undergo decay. “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,” Acts 13:37-38.

Acts Chapter 17:

Preaching in the Areopagus in Athens to pagan philosophers, Paul introduced their “unknown god” and confidently affirmed, “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,” (v.31).

Some accepted but others, “when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer…” (v.32).

Without the resurrection, not only Acts but, the whole Scripture would be a distorted mutilation (exactly the result of much liberal preaching today). The resurrection is foundational and absolutely essential to Christianity. It is history or hoax, miracle or myth, fact or fantasy.

The Apostle Paul puts it this way…

“…and  if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God,… your faith is worthless;  you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (I Corinthians 15:14-19).

The resurrection is not a blind leap in the dark but it is founded on fact. It is historic, therefore defensible. It is the factor that elevates Christianity above all other world religions. By means of the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He is not like other world religion leaders, not even Abraham, not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed. Jesus Christ is utterly unique. By the resurrection we know He is the divine son of God.

And by the resurrection of the son of God, we know that we will be raised. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who  are asleep. … But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,” (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.” (I Corinthians 6:14)

 Adapted from thoughts expressed by Hank Hanegraaff in his book, Resurrection