July 31, 2016

She Was Not A Christian

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

She Was Not A Christian By William J. Stewart, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

The end of June and beginning of July has been a difficult time for me.My mom passed away on June 28 from complications after colon cancer surgery. She was not a Christian. As it became apparent that she was not going to survive, all my family were sorrowing over her impending death. I was too, but in addition to that, I was grieved by the knowledge that she was not ready to meet the Lord. I sat by her side in the hours leading up to hear death, helpless to do anything for her. My family must have thought, “See how much he loved her,” when I broke down in tears at her last breath. Luke 16:23-24 has never been so real to me as it was in that moment.

I have experienced regret and guilt – I did not do enough to admonish her. I’d invited her to study, but not near enough. I’ve spoken about the Lord with her around, but not as firm, not as assertive, not as boldly as I needed to do. She knew where I stood on choices she’d made in her life, but I failed to adequately warn her of the eternal consequences of those choices. And now there is no longer an opportunity to admonish her, to invite her, to speak about the Lord to her, to warn her about the judgment and hell.

In her will, she stipulated that she wanted me to preach her funeral. How sadly ironic. She wasn’t interested in hearing me preach while she was alive, but she gave me a podium and an audience to preach Christ to in her death. We remembered the dead, and we preached to the living. I doubt most of the people there ever heard the gospel proclaimed before. I don’t know if they’ll have the opportunity to hear it again. So I made sure that as we buried my mom, who was not ready to meet her Maker, no one who was present could claim before God when they die – I didn’t know.

Time will take away the grief of losing a loved one; but there is no remedy for the pain caused by knowing someone died outside of Christ. May this heart wrenching loss produce greater zeal and urgency in me to warn people before it is eternally too late.

Who are the people in your life who are not ready to meet the Lord? Proclaim Christ to them. Warn them. Admonish them. Whether to obey or not to obey is their decision, but make sure you do your part. May no one be able to say in eternity, “You never mentioned Him to me.”

 

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July 24, 2016

The Messiah Rules – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

When we follow the history of Israel in the Old Testament, it is obvious that God rules, not just in the affairs of Israel, but all the nations.

King Jehoshaphat, one of the better kings of Judah, was being threatened by several foreign nations, when he prayed for deliverance.

“… “O LORD, the God of our fathers,…are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations….” (II Chronicles 20:6)

Likewise, the Psalmist declared, “For the kingdom is the LORD’S

And He rules over the nations.” (Psalms 22:28)

Proud Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, heard God’s voice from heaven saying, “…sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field…until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’” (Daniel 4:31-32)

It is not as well understood that the role of God as ruler of the nations is now exercised by His Son, the Messiah.

Jesus speaks to the church at Thyatira and quotes David’s prophecy of Himself, “AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father;” (Revelation 2:27)

Consider the commentator Lenski’s observations on this passage.

“καγω” is emphatic, ‘as also I myself have received from my Father.’ The perfect implies that Jesus still has what he has thus received. This clause refers directly to Ps. 2 and the appointment of Jesus as absolute King over the nations.”

The picture of Christ in Revelation chapter 12 depicts Him as “a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron;…” (Revelation 12:27).

In chapter 19 we read, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:15)

Therefore, Christ now rules as God ruled in the Old Testament. When we see the moral decline among the nations and in our own, this is not a comforting conclusion.

The Amorites attacked God’s people as they approached the promised land, but they were not as wicked then as they became later. God said of them, “the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” (Genesis 15:16). When they completed their declining moral spiral, God decreed that they be utterly destroyed.

God reminded the Israelites that the same would happen to them if they followed the same path.

“‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination …‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations…so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.’ (Leviticus 18:22-28)

The Democratic Party has officially endorsed “gay-rights” in its party platform since 1984. President Obama did not lend his support to “gay marriage” until 2008. The LBGTQ agenda will no doubt be front and center in next week’s Democratic convention.

We do see an encouraging contrast in the official Republican Party platform.

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. …we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, …

…we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. … American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion. … We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.

We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. …

Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. …We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation.

It was disheartening, to hear the party’s presidential nominee appropriately condemn the Orlando shooting, while implying sympathy for the country’s LGBTQ community, and then thank the audience for their supportive applause. “As a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering,” he said. He has described himself a “friend of the gay community.”

The ruling Messiah is watching and listening and I’m concerned.

 

 

 

July 17, 2016

The Truth – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We wonder if Jesus’s effort to help Pilate understand the significance of truth had any impact. He said…

“I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

Was Pilate sincerely seeking information or was he being cynical, as postmodernists today who deny the reality of truth? We don’t know, but if it was a serious conversation about the nature of truth, his hand-washing act indicates he didn’t learn much.

The Bible teaches that “truth” is what it is all about. It makes all the difference in the world and is more valuable than the world.

Solomon knew something about worldly riches and relative values. His conclusion was in an unqualified “buy order.”

“Buy truth, and do not sell it,…” (Proverbs 23:23)

The price doesn’t matter. Once you have obtained it, nothing should persuade you to sell it.

Those who do not have this attitude are unworthy of the truth and will be deprived of it.

“…because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth,…” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)

Perhaps Pilate illustrates that the attitude is not new, but we should be disturbed by the intentional manipulation, the overt mutilation of truth, so obvious in the political arena, from partisan pulpits and throughout our society.

My wife was in downtown Dallas Thursday, next door to the tragic shooting and I have close a friend and brother who is a policeman with the Dallas Police Department. We have followed the news with special interest.

The comments of the shooter’s sister provide a dramatic illustration of the acceptable malleability of “truth” in the minds of some.

The sister of the shooter, the night before the shooting (July 6, 10:50 PM) posted a revealing Facebook message.

“Tired of y’all trying be on these cops side…White ppl have and will continue to kill us off…hiding behind that blue suit and get off easy murdering civilians. …I for one think these cops need to get a taste of the life we now fear.”

Two days after the shooting she tries to paint a very different picture. The Dallas Morning News reports…

“Nicole Johnson took to Facebook to express her shock. “I keep saying it’s not true,” she wrote. “My eyes hurt from crying.” She later deleted the post, but added: “The news will say what they think, but those that knew him know this wasn’t like him.”

It is considered appropriate at funerals to eulogize, which in some instances turns into what appears to be a lobbying effort, to get the deceased into heaven. It is the thing to do. Telling the truth is not the thing to do. We see politicians succeeding by distortion, twisting, spinning. At times it appears to have become our national pastime.

Christians must determine not to be influenced.

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25)

Nothing is more important, not sensitive feelings, not social, financial or political success…not anything. The truth will not be moved when this earth burns up. The truth, and only the truth, will lead out of this perishing world to the yonder world of eternal life.

 

 

July 3, 2016

The Beginning of the Creation – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.” (Mark 13:19)

Inspired writers refer to “the beginning of the creation” at least six times in the New Testament. It should be obvious that these men were creationists. The Holy Spirit who moved them (II Peter 1:21), no doubt foresaw, but was undeterred by the vicious opposition we endure today for such convictions. The expression unequivocally affirms that the world was created at a definite beginning-point of time. On the other hand, evolutionary cosmogonies, deny a real beginning for the space/time cosmos.

Some pretentiously pretend to address the issue, often oblivious to the fact that they are not even beginning to start to talk about it. The big bang imagines an exploding “cosmic egg” which came from….? When Harlow Shafley, the dean of American astronomers, was asked he famously replied, “I beg to be excused from that question.” Some resort to outer space as a “solution.” But where did what came from outer space come from? A thinking child can see they have not broached the subject.

When their vain imaginations are exposed, they typically, mockingly cry, “Well where did God come from.” It doesn’t take a deep thinker to realize that a first cause is ultimately necessary. Then, it becomes a question of the adequacy of your first cause. When foolish evasive attempts evaporate, one is forced to the realization that there are only two, an infinite, eternal creator or nothing.

The naturalist depends on nothing, seriously. Lawrence Maxwell Krauss is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project. His view is obvious from the title of his best selling book, “A Universe From Nothing.”

  1. K. Chesterton’s observation on the subject is rather convoluted but absolutely profound.

“It is absurd for the evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

Truly, it’s God or nothing. Which makes more sense to you?

Mark’s reference to “the creation which God created” (Mark 13:19) almost seems a redundancy. The Holy Spirit chose an expression that provides a double emphasis on the fact of divine creation. Those to whom Mark wrote needed to view the coming tragedy (the death of over a million Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem) in the context of eternity and the wisdom of an infinite creator.

The expression “the creation which God created” refers explicitly to the cosmos. Matthew’s parallel account makes this clear when he records the same prophecy.

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will,” (Matthew 24:21).

The word translated “world” is actually the Greek “κοσμος” (kosmos). The Greek lexicon DBAG defines it to mean…

“the sum total of everything here and now, the world, the (orderly) universe,”

The Holy Spirit’s choice of this word (I Corinthians 2:12-13) affirms that the entire universe (including time itself) came into existence at the “beginning of the creation which God created,” as recorded in Genesis 1:1.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Consider the similar expression used in Mark 10:6-9.

“But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Mark records that Jesus was quoting from the account of the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27). Here, Jesus includes an almost incidental expression, to identify when God created the first human beings. It was not after billions of years of cosmic, then biologic evolution, but from the very beginning of creation!

The naturalist has to resort to double talk or pretentious nonsense to speak about the subject of beginnings. The Christian has no such problem. We know what happened. Jesus was there. He told us all about it.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris