December 25, 2016

Youths, Remember Your Creator – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“So remember your Creator in the days of your youth – before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NET)

This passage provides very wise counsel from a very wise man. He lived thousands of years ago, but his words are as relevant as ever, if not more so. Today our youth are bombarded by angry, loudmouthed skeptics shouting, “What creator?”

Christian youths are immersed in a society that endorses the philosophies and practices that follow from acceptance and enforcement of evolutionary humanism. The world’s drummer beats loudly and persistently. Christians march in another direction to a different tune.

The conviction that we come from an all wise Creator makes a difference. Christian youths must constantly remind themselves that they are not accidents of nature but are a special creation of an all wise Creator, to whom they owe everything, Therefore, it follows that they are to act differently. The Devil opposes this view, with powerful societal pressures, enticing with the temporary pleasures of sin. But Christians must remember they have an infinitely wise Father who loves them and guides them. He insists on a different path that is infinitely wise now, that leads away from eternal punishment and toward true bliss, eternally. His rules are not onerous, but an amazing blessing, for which we should be grateful. Yes, the world around us sees it differently, but they are wrong.

If youths embrace this fact, acknowledging God, in Christ, as Creator and Savior while they are young, trusting and obeying His Word as they mature, they can confidently anticipate a life of fulfillment in time and a home with God in eternity. If they refuse their Creator in the days of their youth, however, then it will become increasingly difficult to remember their Creator as the years go by. Few are converted in later life. They can only anticipate the unfulfilled bitterness and regrets of old age and death without God, as described so vividly in the verses following our text.

“when those who keep watch over the house begin to tremble,

and the virile men begin to stoop over,

and the grinders begin to cease because they grow few,

and those who look through the windows grow dim,

and the doors along the street are shut;

when the sound of the grinding mill grows low,

and one is awakened by the sound of a bird,

and all their songs grow faint,

and they are afraid of heights and the dangers in the street;

the almond blossoms grow white,

and the grasshopper drags itself along,

and the caper berry shrivels up–

because man goes to his eternal home,

and the mourners go about in the streets–

before the silver cord is removed,

or the golden bowl is broken,

or the pitcher is shattered at the well,

or the water wheel is broken at the cistern–

and the dust returns to the earth as it was,

and the life’s breath returns to God who gave it.”

(Ecclesiastes.12:3-7 NET)

The figure of a decaying house symbolizes aging bodies. The forlorn picture is drawn of fading eyesight, trembling hands, buckling knees, sleepless nights, easy irritability, increasing senility, and other aspects of approaching death—all with no pleasure in them because they long ago had forgotten their Creator.

Remember now thy Creator, young man, young woman!

“For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation!” (II Corinthians 6:2 NET)

“Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity.” (I Timothy 4:12 NET)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

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December 18, 2016

You Have Already Won The Fight – 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.” (I John 4:4)

The New Living Translation is not intended to communicate precisely the inspired words and those words only. Calling it a translation is somewhat misleading. However, if we understand that it is a paraphrase which includes human commentary, it can be useful for helping us to understand, as a Bible class teacher whose human words must be checked and confirmed. Consider its expression of this passage.

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (I John 4:4 NLT)

There are no words that could be translated “false prophets” in this verse, but we do know that is the subject from verse one, “…many false prophets…” (I John 4:1).

So, we understand that we are in a war with those who do not teach the truth (no Pluralism here). The word translated “overcome,” or “fight” is from the Greek word “νικάω” and is defined by BDAG to mean:

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

In verse five we are told “the world listens to them.” We should not be surprised that they are in the majority or that they appear to be winning. Nevertheless, we are told, “You have already won your fight with these false prophets…” “Uh…have you checked the polls lately? Look at the crowds in the mega-churches. It seems that no one is paying attention to the truth.”

The Holy Spirit not only says you can win. He says you already “have overcome.

Commentator Albert Barnes says:

“Have triumphed over their arts and temptations; their endeavours to draw you into error and sin. … they had frustrated or thwarted all their attempts to turn them away from the truth.”

Many of our Calvinistic friends find support for their idea of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit within Christians, from the reference to “He who is in you…” The question is not whether, but how this is true.

The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesian Christians to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,..” (Ephesians 5:19-20). In a parallel passage he tells the Christians in Colossae to Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,…admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,…” (Colossians 3:16.) The implication is that he is expressing the same idea to both. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts and provides complete and powerful guidance because we have filled our hearts with His word.

Because divine guidance from the words of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, we have already been declared victors.

What a marvelous, reassuring promise for the believer. There are times when we do not feel like we are winning, but those feelings are wrong. Because “we are from God” and because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and He is “greater…than he that is in the world,” we have already overcome! The world sees a battle in which Christians are pitiful losers. God says we have already won.

Many other passages confirm this reassuring promise.

“…the ruler of the kings of the earth…has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father…” (Revelation 1:5-6)

“…they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign [present tense DRP] in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5;17 ASV)

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:4-5)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III

 

 

December 11, 2016

The People Said, “Amen” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, ‘Amen.’” (Psalm 106:48)

From time to time a gospel preacher will hear a voice from the audience…“Amen!” Unfortunately, some may find such an expression out of place. We need to understand this is a scriptural practice.

The original Hebrew term (אָמֵן), translated “Amen,” means:

“…firm, secure…2. to be lasting, continue, be dependable, be faithful” 3…understanding, official agreement” Theological Word Book Of The Old Testament

The Greek term translated “Amen,” is “ἀμήν,” defined:

  1. strong affirmation of what is stated…a. as expression of faith let it be so, truly,…” Greek English Lexicon Of The Old Testament (BDAG).

Let’s consider Biblical examples of the use of this term. The translation, “Amen,” occurs 23 times in the Old Testament, 29 in the New Testament.

We find it often in the Old Testament, expressing agreement on the part of the children of God, when curses, the expression of judgment, is expressed. Deuteronomy chapter 27 express the curses that would come on those who disobeyed God’s law. The people gathered on Mt. Gerizim heard the law read, then spoke across the valley to those on Mt Ebal. Twelve times the consequence of disobedience of a particular law was pronounced. Twelve times the people responded, “Amen.”

Imagine the impact of such conduct when last example in this sequence was read: “‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26)

When Jerusalem’s wall restoration was being delayed Nehemiah rebuked the people for their covetousness. He threatened God’s judgment on them if they did not repent.

“I also shook out the front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.” (Nehemiah 5:13)

The effect of discipline can be easily dissipated by a very few who follow their feelings and conclude that God’s pronouncements are uncalled for. The rebuked sinner soaks up the sympathy, which in turn, reinforces rebellion. The full force of what God is trying to accomplish is brought to bear on the disobedient, only when “all the assembly” sanctions, “Amen!”

Educators understand the positive impact of audience participation. Simply standing in front of an audience and telling them what they should know, is a relatively poor way to produce learning. Education students are often required to participate in elaborate experiments to demonstrate the higher percentage learning that takes place when the audience is involved, rather than simply sitting and listening. (Yes, they prefer sitting, but they learn more when they do something.)

If we follow biblical precedent, therefore, whenever God’s Word is read to a congregation, either in denunciation of sin or thanksgiving for blessing, or simply in praising the Lord for His eternal goodness, it is appropriate for the people to respond with a heartfelt “Amen!”

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris