October 25, 2015

Good For Nothing Christians – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Some lessons are difficult to communicate, especially lessons that tell people what they do not want to hear. Jesus often used parables to teach these unwelcome truths.

One such lesson involves the responsibility of the child of God to work, to be profitable to the master. It has been observed by many that the majority of the work done by the Lord’s church is accomplished by about ten percent of the people. Again and again the Lord taught that the majority who sit and watch the few do the work will be tragically disappointed at the judgment. Consider how many different ways Jesus tried to communicate this terribly unpleasant reality.

Salt That Has Lost Its Flavor

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)

The seasoning quality of salt may be lost due to dilution or impurities. When it does it is worthless. Salt is a preservative. If it loses that ability it loses it’s value. Some Christians are considered  good people, but as Jesus says of useless salt, they are “good for nothing.”

A Light Under A Basket

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Light dispels darkness. It reveals the good and safe way to walk, while at the same time exposing dangers. Light, when it is covered up, is still light but it doesn’t do it’s job. Christians live in a world of darkness, but by word and deed we should show the good and expose the evil. If we fail to accomplish this, we are good for nothing.

The Apostle Paul also expressed our responsibility in terms of light and darkness.

“for you were formerly  darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as  children of Light (for  the fruit of the Light consists in all  goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph. 5:8-13)

Soil, Trees, Branches, That Do Not Produce Fruit

“So every good tree bears good fruit… . “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:17, 19)

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:2, 8)

Fruit trees that produce no fruit take up space and waste nutrients. Judge Jesus says they are to be burned. Good fruit trees are marvelously productive. Jesus says this is the way we glorify the Father, the way we prove to be His disciples. Are you glorifying the Father? Can Jesus see what He considers proof that you are a disciple? Does it really matter? Jesus says the answer to these questions will determine whether or not you are to be burned.

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October 18, 2015

Spiritual Words – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (Colossians 1:9)

Greek words were chosen under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to reveal the mind of God to Christians.

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit;…which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:10, 13)

Greek dictionaries (lexicons) can be useful in understanding these precious words, which sometimes do not have perfect one-word equivalents in English.

Paul prayed for the brethren in Colossae, an ancient city of Phrygia, a part of Asia Minor that is now Turkey. He prayed that they would be “filled” with the knowledge of God’s will.

Under the guidance of the Spirit Paul expressed this idea with the Greek word pleroo (filled). The Greek lexicon by Thayer defines the word:

“to render full, i.e. to complete; a. properly, to fill up to the top: so that nothing shall be lacking to full measure, fill to the brim”.

Another lexicon says:

to make full, fill (full)… a ship’s sail filled out by the wind…fill someone’s heart, i.e. take full possession of it” (BDAG)

Today’s religionists, practicing human traditions for their religion, emphasize the surpassing importance of “feelings” which are supposed to reassure and guarantee approval. Paul’s prayer presents a different perspective. Christians will be filled with more joyous, confident feelings when they know that what they are doing is God’s will.

That comes from epignosis (knowledge), another spiritual word used by Paul. Thayer says it means:

“precise and correct knowledge; used in the N.T. of the knowledge of things ethical and divine: absolutely,”

Paul is praying that they be “filled to the top” so that absolutely “precise and correct” knowledge has no more space to fill. False teachers hope you rely on feelings. Can you see the difference and can you understand why?

Paul said the brethren in Rome were full of the goodness that was guided by epiginosis (knowledge).

I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” (Romans15:14)

Peter says that epignosis (knowledge) was the means by which He…

“has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us…For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent  promises, so that by them you may become  partakers of the divine nature,…” (II Peter 1:3-4)

This perfect and complete knowledge of His will, with which we are to be filled to the brim, includes the wisdom, (sophia) to use the knowledge. Thayer’s lexicon defines:

“wisdom, broad and full intelligence …the varied knowledge of things human and divine,…the science and learningskill in the management of affairs,…skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth,…the knowledge and skill in affairs requisite for the successful defense of the Christian cause against hostile accusations,”

Paul use this word when he instructs the Ephesians about…

“…the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

The wonderful knowledge and wisdom that God has provided for us includes sunesis (understanding). The lexicon BDAG defines:

“1. the faculty of comprehension, intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all Christians were filled with this, in addition to knowledge and wisdom? Would it make a difference? Maybe we need to spend more time praying Paul’s prayer. Paul tells Timothy that sunesis (understanding) is available from an additional source.

“Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” (II Timothy 2:7)

Pray and consider (study) what has been revealed. It will make a marvelous difference.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III

October 11, 2015

Why Believe In God – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The evidence of God is all around us.  Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”  How could mankind and everything else in this world just have accidentally happened as the atheists try to claim?  It couldn’t.  All one has to do is to look at all of God’s handiwork.

One has no excuse to not believe in God.  Psalms 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’”.  One is a fool to not believe in God.  Why don’t people believe in God?  Jesus says concerning some of those who will be lost in Hell that, “the devil comes and takes the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).  The devil doesn’t want us to believe in God and be saved.  The devil is very successful with many people in convincing them to not believe in God.  Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  The only way we can be saved is to believe in God.  If we don’t believe in God we will not diligently seek to please God by obeying Him.  If one does not believe in God and Christ, one will not do what They say.  If one does not do what the Lord says he will die in his sins and be eternally lost in Hell.  Jesus says, “For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

But what happens if we die in our sins?  2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says at the end of time, “and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”.

What does it mean to be eternally lost in Hell?  God’s word says in Revelation 20:10, 15, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Many people don’t believe in Hell, but one day they will.  If one is eternally lost in Hell, because he doesn’t believe in God, he will only have himself to blame.  All those who are lost in Hell will then believe that there is a God, but it will be too late then.  One is a fool to not believe in God.

October 4, 2015

Able To Judge – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of  soul and  spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge (“a discerner” NKJV, ESV) the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

(Hebrews 4:12 NASV)

According to the 1931 horror movie, an obsessed scientist constructs Frankenstein from parts of exhumed cadavers. When electricity is pulsed through the assembled corpse, it begins to move. The would be creator shouts, “It’s alive!”

The analogy is crude, but there are dramatic parallels. Human efforts to bring the dead to life are often imagined but are purely fictitious. God is the origin of life. The author of the book of Hebrews says God animated dead human words with His Divine spirit; “…the Word of God living and active…” “It is alive!”

Then he says it is, “sharper than any two-edged sword,…” The original Greek literally says it is a two-mouthed (stoma, mouth) sword, possibly implying double devouring power. The sword (macaira) was commonly used for the short, two-edged sword of the Roman hoplite or legionary. It was certainly able to pierce, to sever joints, even the bones themselves, exposing the marrow.

Linski’s commentary expressed the thought well.

“All the links of our soul life, of our thoughts, emotions, etc., as well as all the inner substance of them are penetrated, laid bare, exposed in their true nature by the Word. …The Word of God is the only power that can penetrate so deeply and expose so completely the inwardness of our being. …In the light of the Word we recognize the vanity and the sinfulness of many of our earthly thoughts, strivings, purposes, and achievements, especially also our earthly, worldly, unspiritual opposings of the spirit. The world may laud many of these activities as being good, even praiseworthy; the Word pierces right through … The Word makes us see the very joints and marrow of all these things.”

Our text continues saying the word is “able to judge” or as other translations say, “is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Greek word for “discerner” is kritikosß (kritikos) and is used only this one time in the Bible. Our word “critic” is derived from it. Its discernment is a critical, judging discernment—one that convicts and corrects, as well as one which understands.

The following Greek lexicons may provide insight:

BDAG: “able to discern/judge”

Thayer: “relating to judging, fit for judging, skilled in judging”

Louw & Nida: “pertaining to the ability or capacity to judge legal cases…”

Linski observes that the word…

“passes true and genuine judgment as an infallible, unimpeachable, impartial judge. In order to escape the verdicts of the judge. In order to escape the verdicts of the Word of God many try to dethrone this judge, to alter or in some way to evade his true verdicts. …But who can escape? Heaven and earth shall pass away but not the Word (Matt. 5:18); it shall judge us at the last day (John 12:48).”

Ironically, we hear a lot about textual critics who often presume to judge the Bible when our test says it should really be the other way around. Often those called “higher critics” critique vocabulary styles and concepts, trying to show that the traditional authors did not actually write the books attributed to them. Others apply “scholarly” techniques to criticize the Bible’s miracles, morals, history etc. in what appears to be a desperate effort to justify their rebellion against the Word.

Like an anvil that wears out the hammers, the Bible is justified again and again by real evidence. It stands in judgment on our lives and our subconscious motives. It will have the final word.

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)

Wouldn’t it be better to submit to the constructive criticism of the Word now, than to hear its damning judgment later.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris