October 30, 2016

You Have Overcome Them – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:4-6)

Do you ever feel like the world is getting the best of you? Christians need to know that this foul, stinking, rotten idea is the Devil’s lie and absolutely refuse it. Yes, we are “little children” but we are not depending on our power. We are from God and have already overcome the world.

The word translated “overcome” (νικάω—nikao) is defined by the Greek lexicon BDAG to mean:

  1. to win in the face of obstacles, be victor, conquer, overcome, prevail,…
  2. to overcome someone, vanquish, overcome

Christians have been there, done that…and are continuing to do so. As Lenski puts it, we “have been and continue to be victorious over them (perfect tense).” There is a very simple, powerful justification for that claim…“because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

There are no empty promises in the Bible. The one who spoke the universe into existence is in you. Defeat is unthinkable. But there are times when I do not feel like I am winning over anything. Just what does this promise promise?

Perhaps the answer will come into focus when we look at other, similar promises,

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Note: The phrase mistranslated “will reign” refers to present action, continuing now, not way off in the future.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (I John 5:4)

“Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:5)

Overcome whom? The “them” in the immediate context is false teachers.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)

But, how do we know which teachers are false? Overcoming comes with simple instructions … Don’t listen to the majority. Listen to God’s inspired Word.

“…the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5-6)

These promises extend beyond the threat of false teachers. They apply to all of the Devil’s efforts to defeat. God has given us sufficient armament to defend against and defeat all threats.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

You have the power of the Creator in you. You have perfect, complete instructions. Trust in God’s power and follow His instructions and you can’t lose. That’s why it’s forbidden.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III

 

 

 

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October 23, 2016

Preaching of the Cross – Paul K. Williams

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

It happened in about 1950 when I was on a two-week Texas National Guard training camp at Fort Hood. A Baptist boy accepted my invitation to go to mid-week service at Killeen, and to my surprise the service was a rip-roaring sermon against denominationalism. I thought, “My friend will never come back!” But as we were leaving the building he said, “Paul, I want to talk to you about these things.” And at midnight on Friday, after he and I had studied for hours, he was baptized into Christ.

I never forgot that lesson. The unvarnished truth has power with one who loves the truth. Calling names and telling it like it is will not drive that one away.

I have been reading with concern the pleas of some for us to preach the cross instead of preaching “a lot of anger and name-calling” And I personally resent the implication that the kind of preaching I grew up on, and the kind of preaching I have done all my life, is not preaching the cross. The preachers I heard in my youth repeatedly quoted Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I heard prayer after prayer from men who pleaded that the preacher would “hide behind the cross.”

 

It happened in about 1950 when I was on a two-week Texas National Guard training camp at Fort Hood. A Baptist boy accepted my invitation to go to mid-week service at Killeen, and to my surprise the service was a rip-roaring sermon against denominationalism. I thought, “My friend will never come back!” But as we were leaving the building he said, “Paul, I want to talk to you about these things.” And at midnight on Friday, after he and I had studied for hours, he was baptized into Christ.

I never forgot that lesson. The unvarnished truth has power with one who loves the truth. Calling names and telling it like it is will not drive that one away.

I have been reading with concern the pleas of some for us to preach the cross instead of preaching “a lot of anger and name-calling” And I personally resent the implication that the kind of preaching I grew up on, and the kind of preaching I have done all my life, is not preaching the cross. The preachers I heard in my youth repeatedly quoted Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I heard prayer after prayer from men who pleaded that the preacher would “hide behind the cross.”

How people can say that such preaching is not cross-centered is beyond me.

This morning I decided to take note of how cross centered our worship was. Before classes we sang for our usual half hour. Thokozani led “Rock of Ages” in Zulu. The English translation of the second verse goes: “Though my tears flow, Though I try everything, Nothing can take sins away Except the cross. Nothing can I do Except to cling to the cross.” And we sang, “To God Be the Glory” in which the second verse says, “0 Perfect redemption, the purchase of blood.” Thokozani took time to emphasize certain things from the songs, bringing our hearts to praise and devotion. During our regular worship we sang “The Old Rugged Cross.” When Eric rose to wait on the Lord’s Table he led, “I Saw the Cross of Jesus” and used that as the basis for his talk before the Lord’s Supper.

Every Sunday in every church of the Lord Christians eat the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the Christ who died on the cross. This proclaims that the center of our lives is the sacrifice of Jesus, our Lord. Every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper we are preaching the cross.

In my sermon on certain truths which show that there is a God, and that he is the God of the Bible, I did not specifically refer to the cross of Christ. But I was preaching the cross in the same way that Paul was preaching at Athens (Acts 17).

Those who say that Baptists are preaching the cross are sadly deceived. Paul said that a distorted gospel is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:6-7). Though the Baptists preach about the cross, they distort the gospel of the cross by refusing to baptize people into Christ’s death (Rom. 6:3-4). Sentimental talk about the cross of Christ which does not lead people to obey that Christ is not preaching the cross!

My brethren, plain preaching of the gospel truths which condemn denominational error is preaching the cross. Tearing down the false doctrines which keep people away from forgiveness through Jesus Christ is preaching the cross. Naming the names of false religions and pleading with people to follow Christ instead of men is preaching the cross. When we “shrink not from declaring to you anything that was profitable” (Acts 20:20) and we declare “the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27) we are preaching the cross because only in that way can people be brought to the obedience that the crucified Jesus requires.

Those who condemn that kind of teaching do not love the cross of Christ! They love a distorted theory about the cross and are putting themselves in danger of being rejected by God (Gal. 1:6-9)!

Brethren, let us stand against error and for obedience to Christ. Only in this way can we truly preach the cross.

Guardian of the Truth—September1994

 

 

 

October 16, 2016

Speak Up – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

In Ephesians 4:25 the Apostle Paul commanded, “…speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” This passage clearly teaches us not to lie but that is not the primary thought. The order of the verb “speak” in the original Greek indicates an emphatic emphasis. Paul is ordering us to speak, to speak up. He requires that we must not be silent. We must have the courage and determination to speak the truth when we are tempted to be silent.

The following story illustrates one such occasion.

A man and his wife were angry and giving each other the silent treatment. The next week, the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight to Chicago. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and lose), he wrote on a piece of paper, “Please wake me at 5:00 AM.”

The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and that he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife had not awakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. The paper said, “It is 5:00 AM. Wake up!”

We laugh at this and it is funny, but it is also sad and it is sinful. Love and the instruction of the Holy Spirit prohibits this conduct.

All too often husbands and/or wives clam up when they should speak up. Unresolved differences, pent up, unexpressed accusation of sin fester into destructive bitterness and more and more sin. Such tragic circumstances are not resolved by time but by confrontation of sin, repentance, confession and forgiveness.

Brethren sometimes find themselves in similar circumstances with other brethren and clam up, perhaps out of ignorance, then again it may just be cowardice or even rebellion. The instructions of the Holy Spirit are emphatic. We must speak up. Likewise, Matthew 18:15 commands, “Go,” go and win your brother. A failure to go may cause two souls to be lost, yours and theirs. Determine to speak up and say what needs to be said, “for” as Paul reminds us, “we are members of one another.”

When we have opportunity to teach a friend the gospel, we have to decide, will we speak up and risk our warm fuzzy relationship, expose ourselves to the possibility of belittling ridicule, or will we fold under the negative possibilities. The early church understood this difficulty and prayed, “grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,” Acts 4:29. The Contemporary English Version says, “make us brave enough to speak your message.” Let’s pray this prayer and determine to do our part to make it come true.

 

October 9, 2016

Show MORE of You -Al Diestelkamp

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Show MORE of you. So says the tagline of a TV ad promoting a product claiming to combat the “heartbreaking” disease of psoriasis. It seems, however, that an increasing number of Christians have adopted this motto in the way they dress in public.

Many Christians are careful about dressing modestly when assembling with the saints, but many are not so careful when out in the world. There was a time not so long ago when Christians enjoying leisure activities could be distinguished from others by how they were dressed. Too often this is no longer true. When Christians dressed more modestly, their attire was not so drastically different that they drew stares from onlookers, but they didn’t follow the world in exposing their nakedness.

The trend even among Christians to “show more of yourself” is apparent when viewing pictures posted on Facebook. Past efforts to discourage the wearing of revealing shorts and rising hemlines have been ignored. The objection has been raised that the Bible doesn’t tell us where to draw a line between what is modest and what is not. While there is some truth to this assertion, not even those who use this argument really believe there is no way to determine what is modest.

Otherwise, the logical end of that argument would justify any amount of exposure including total nudity. So, because we can’t “draw a line,” we occasionally see brothers going around shirtless and sisters wearing cleavage revealing tops and pants tight enough to leave very little to the imagination.

Though the biblical instructions regarding modesty are stated in a context mentioning women, this does not mean that principles of modesty are not applicable to men as well. I also recognize that the apostle Paul’s instruction “that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel” (I Tim. 2:9) is addressing an over-emphasis on external beauty. Yet, one can violate this teaching by wearing anything that draws undue attention to the flesh. The apostle says adornment is to be “with propriety and moderation” [NKJV]. Other translations use terms or words such as “with shamefacedness” [KJV], “proper,” “discretely” [NASB], “respectable” [ESV], or “with decency” [NIV]. The bottom line is that it should be that “which is proper for women professing godliness” (v.10). Peter’s instructions for wives to manifest “chaste conduct” (1 Pet. 3:2) would necessarily include wearing apparel that reflects an inner beauty. Immodest exposure of one’s nakedness is not consistent with “chaste conduct.”

To be guilty of nakedness does not require total nudity, as illustrated by God’s instructions to Moses regarding the altar that was to be built: “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it” (Ex. 20:26). Throughout the pages of the Bible, the word “nakedness,” whether used literally or metaphorically, is usually connected with shame. Even in the case where Peter was only partially clothed [“naked” in KJV, ASV] while out on a boat, he “put on his outer garment” before coming ashore (Jn. 21:7). It seems quite unusual for one to put on more clothing before plunging into the sea unless there was good reason to do so. Shame and modesty are good reasons.

Without minimizing the need for men to dress modestly, it is especially needful for women to do so. It may be why Jesus’ words “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28) were addressed to men. Obviously, it would be just as sinful for a woman to look at a man “to lust after him.”

Finally, here is no excuse for looking upon others to lust after them, regardless of how they are dressed. Unlawful lust is always the sin of the one who is lusting. Always! There can be no blame-shifting. Sinners are always responsible for their sins. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the Serpent; but in the end each was guilty for their own sins. Yet, this truth did not absolve Eve or the Serpent of being complicit in causing others to stumble. As Christians, we must avoid putting stumbling blocks in the paths of others. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Matthew 13:41; Cf.18:7)

Dressing modestly will not prevent all lustful looks, but it will absolve one from being a stumbling block for that sin. Immodesty is a contributor to lust. “Showing more of yourself” may involve eternal risks for self and others.

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Adapted from and article published in

THINK On These Things

October-November-December, 2016 • Volume 47, Number 4