April 24, 2016

“Majestic In Holiness” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The classic scene depicting Israel passing through awesome walls of water in the movie The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille, was probably pitiful in comparison to the real event. The collapse of those terrifying walls destroyed the Egyptian army. Today’s God hating atheist (an oxymoron) fire up their atheistic righteous indignation (another oxymoron) and rail against God’s judgment. Richard Dawkins of Oxford calls God a “vindictive, bloodthirsty, …sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

The Holy Spirit understands our shortsighted, mundane view of justice and proactively revealed the contrasting truth.

Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.   When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses. Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. …Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” (Exodus 14:30-15:1, 11)

God is infinitely holy. We are not. That makes a difference in how we see things. The holy eyes of God see our perverted sense of justice as foolishness. That we see God’s wisdom as foolishness is expected.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:25)

“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (I Corinthians 2:14)

The Holy Spirit has tried to communicate God’s unfathomable holiness to our earthbound minds.

Consider Isaiah’s overwhelming vision.

“…I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!…” (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Consider the definition of “holy” from the Hebrew lexicon by Brown, Driver, Briggs.

“1. of God, as separate, apart, and so sacred, holy: …

  • separate from human infirmity, impurity, and sin.”

How utterly foolish it is to pit our separate, perverted notions against God’s perfect holiness.

“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.” (I Samuel 2:2)

“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.” (Revelation 15:4)

The Creator of the universe should be reverenced as absolutely transcendent, above and beyond all.

“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,…Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,…” (Isa.46:9-10)

As we feebly stagger toward a realization of who God is, it should begin to dawn on us that all these mind-boggling concepts apply to God’s word as well. Paul exhorts us to “recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” (I Corinthians 14:37)

The only sane response to the infinitely holy Word of God is illustrated in words of Samuel, “‘…Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” (I Samuel 3:9)

 

 

 

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April 17, 2016

“Seeing” Jesus As The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Written By Philip C. Strong

“Seeing” Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life” We’ve been attempting to “see” Jesus as He was/is (based on John 12:21 and Matt.13:14) rather than as we might want to see Him with several lessons lately. We’ve looked to His humility, submission, teaching, compassion, sacrifices, exaltations, and salvation to do so. But we’ve also begun to consider the express statements He made about Himself in this effort- specifically, the “I am” statements as recorded in John. Today, we’ll consider His declarative statement, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” from John 14:1-6.

The Setting

  • This is the betrayal night (starting at 13:1).
  • Jesus is addressing His disciples for the last time prior to His betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection.
  • Outside of the Sermon on the Mount, this is one of the longest recorded discourses. It spans 13:1 through 17:26.

The Context

  • Context is always critical to interpretation, and often dictates it. This passage (John 14:1-6ff) fits into both categories.
  • In these last hours spent with His disciples critical information is given for them, and for us, to enable them to truly “see” and “know” (cf. vv.7-10ff) Him. Apparently from His words here, some of them did not yet clearly “see” or “know” Him.
  • Let’s illustrate the importance of context toward interpretation with a question regarding “the way.” Is Jesus referring to the way into the church (as some claim), or heaven?   As the way clearly refers to the path or direction to a certain place, identification of that place becomes relative and important to our understanding of exactly how He is the way to it. So, does the way refer to the church or heaven? Please consider the following in these regards:

1) He equates the place to His Father’s house, v.2;

2) If the way is to heaven, then He is going there to prepare places for His disciples within it, v.2b;

3) But if the way is to the church (the kingdom of God on earth), then He is going to prepare places for His disciples in a house that does not yet exist, cf. Acts 2.

4) When Jesus left the earth, He went to heaven, not the church, Acts 1:9-11.

5) Therefore, Jesus is describing Himself, in the context of our text at least, as the way to heaven. John 13:33,36 further supports this interpretation. The disciples could and would soon enter the church, but would only “follow (Jesus) later” into heaven.

“Seeing” Jesus as “the way”:

  • Implies singularity- He is the only way, Acts 4:12; and, • Implies access- He is both the door and the way, 10:7,9; 14:6b;
  • This way is not always easy, cf. Matt.7:13-14; but it is always available while physical strength prevails.

“Seeing” Jesus as “the truth;”

  • Within Him (as the truth) is the embodiment of all knowledge essential to be in/on the way, 1:17-18; Heb.1:3; Matt.11:27.
  • We must “see” Jesus as the truth of who was/is, vv.7-11; 20:31a; and,
    • We must “see” Jesus is the truth that was revealed in person to those who saw and heard Him in person vv.7-10, AND as revealed in Him through the word to those of later generations, v.10; cf.1:1,14; Heb.1:1-3.We must “see” Jesus as the truth of His purpose, vv.12-17; 10:10b; 20:31b.

“Seeing” Jesus as “the life:”

  • Again, “the” implies singularity. There is also physical life, obviously. Those who are born attain it. But “the life” to which Jesus refers is the spiritual life entered by being born again, John 3:3-5.
  • Many search for “the meaning of life” in various ways, purposes, and places. It is only found in one Person, Jesus Christ. Anything and everything else pales by comparison, and fails to be true life, 1:4; 11:25; 1John 5:20! This means that He must be “seen” as the purpose, center of existence, and sum total of our lives!

Conclusions

We must “see” Jesus as:

  • “the way”- the only path leading to God and heaven;
  • “the truth”- the personification of all saving truth and knowledge; the revelation of God, truth, and knowledge; and,
  • “the life”- both the source and preserver (by resurrection) of eternal life!

 

Can you now “see” Jesus, 1 John 5:10-12?

 

 

 

 

April 10, 2016

Fruit Filled – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Dunkin Donuts makes a really, really delicious concoction, a donut that is beyond good. The secret…fruit filling. We all know that. What you may not know is that the idea came from Paul, who got it from the Holy Spirit. Aha.

having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11)

In fact, similar ideas are planted throughout the New Testament.

Jesus taught that He was the vine and Christians are branches that are expected to be filled with fruit (“much fruit.” John 15:5).

Paul taught the Philippians that the fruit filling came through Jesus Christ. Likewise, Jesus said …

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).

Not only does our spiritual existence, our life come from Christ, but the ability to produce godly fruit can only come through Him.

Several years ago in Texas, my next-door neighbor had the most impressive fig tree I had ever seen. (I planted three, which promptly died.) When fig producing season came, it was awesome. Some branches were so full of fruit, they were in danger of breaking. Visitors would comment, “Wow! Just look at all that beautiful fruit.”

We know talented, productive Christians like that. Some of them, and the rest of us, need to be reminded…

“…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me…,for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).

The Corinthians thought Paul and Apollos were really something. Paul rebuked them, and taught that they (themselves) were nothing.

“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (I Corinthians 3:5-7)

Isaiah taught that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;” (Isaiah 64:6)

That helps us understand the appropriate results of impressive, abundant Christian fruit. Not sticking out our chest and saying, “Look at me.” Rather, as Jesus taught, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit,” (John 15:8). We, ourselves, are nothing and can do nothing. Jesus is everything and through him we “…can do all things through Him who strengthens…” (Philippians 4:13) Therefore He and Father are glorified (not us).

Some Christians have been given wonderful gifts (like the ability to grow fig trees). Some of us have to sit back and say, “Thank God.” To the gifted Paul reminds…

“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (I Corinthians 4:7)

Paul produced much fruit and understood that this was the “ballgame.” This is what Christians are about. It is what they do. It is why Paul wanted to go to Rome.

“…I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, …” (Romans 1:13)

As Paul indicates here, the primary fruit of Christians is another Christian. By this standard, Paul was a very fruitful Christian. How about you? Failure is not an option.

“…he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” (John 15:5-6)

We have no choice. Let’s roll up our sleeves, get busy working so that we can reap a glorious harvest.

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. …“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:8, 11)

Don’t leave out the filling.