March 26, 2017

The Appropriate Standard

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The Appropriate Standard:

Changing Societal Views Or God’s Word?

By Don R. Patton

“but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32 ASV)

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.” (Matthew 19:9 ASV)

Creeds are authoritative man-made attempts to express God’s will. It would seem obvious that they imply God’s inspired expression is inadequate. The compulsion to try to express God’s rules better, seems to imply that God’s inspired Word needs some help.

Creeds are reflections of man’s imperfect understanding and the imposition of man’s “wisdom” on God’s. I believe we can see this in the history of continually changing doctrine in the creeds. It cannot be denied that the doctrine of the Methodist Church regarding divorce has changed dramatically over the years. God’s Word has not. Could the changes reflect man’s increasing self-confidence as well as decreasing God-confidence.

Following are quotes taken from the Methodist Discipline over an 88-year period. As if viewing time lapse photography, we can see attitudes change right before our eyes.

“No divorce, except for adultery, shall be regarded by the Church as lawful; and no Minister shall solemnize marriage in any case where there is a divorced wife or husband living; but this rule shall not be applied to the innocent party to a divorce for the cause of adultery, nor to divorced parties seeking to be reunited in marriage.” (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church1896)

“The Ministers of our Church shall be prohibited from solemnizing the rites of matrimony between divorced persons, except in case of innocent parties who have been divorced for The One Scriptural Cause.” (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South—1914)

“No Minister shall solemnize the marriage of a divorced person whose wife or husband is living and unmarried; but this rule shall not apply (1) to the innocent person when it is clearly established by competent testimony that the true cause for divorce was adultery or other vicious conditions which through mental or physical cruelty or physical peril invalidated the marriage vow, nor (2) to the divorced persons seeking to be reunited in marriage.” (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church1940)

“Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable, but recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry. We express our deep concern for the care and nurture of the children of divorced and/or remarried persons. We encourage that either or both of the divorced parents be considered for custody of the minor children of the marriage. We encourage an active, accepting, and enabling commitment of the church and our society to minister to the members of divorced families.” (Discipline of the United Methodist Church1984)

In stark contrast, God’s word has not budged.

“Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4 ASV)

Adapted By Don R. Patton from and anonymous author

 

 

 

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March 19, 2017

Words … Taught By The Spirit – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

Paul is describing the revelation that he had received when he categorically professes that the “words” (not thoughts) revealed to him were “words” taught by the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:13)

The New Living Translation, (which is not a literal translation, but more a commentary, emphasizing thoughts, not words) does not follow the concept expressed in this passage. Ironically, their own rendition of this passage effectively rebukes their “translation” philosophy.

When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” (I Corinthians 2:13, NLT)

The New International Version, (another non-literal, thought “translation”) challenges their own approach in the following rendering.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:13, NIV)

The apostles had learned the concept of the revelation of “words” from Jesus. As He was preparing the apostles for His

departure, “He looked up to heaven and said,…”

“Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them;…” (John 17:7-8 NASV)

“Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the words you gave me;…” (John 17:7-8 NLT)

“Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. …” (John 17:7-8 NIV)

Consider some of the Spirit inspired “words” that reveal the nature of scripture.

Θεόπνευστος (Inspired) 2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired by God…” (NASV)

All Scripture is God-breathed…” (NIV)

This word does not refer to an intermediate procedure that acted on men who in turn expressed the idea. Rather is speaks of a direct process accomplished by God, Himself.

Rather than the idea often intended by “inspiration,” it speaks of an “expiration” (BAGD). It does not say, “it is breathed into by God” or it is the product of inbreathing, but it is breathed out by God. No term could more emphatically assert the significance of the “words” of scripture.

ἱερός γράμμα (sacred writings) II Timothy 3:15

“…you have known the sacred writings…” (NASV)

“…You have been taught the holy Scriptures…” (NLT))

This is a technical term used nowhere else in the New Testament. It is used by Philo (1st century Jewish philosopher) and by Josephus (1st century Jewish historian) to describe authoritative statutes constituting Jewish law. Paul believed the sacred writings were God breathed.

Φέρω (moved) II Peter 1:21

“…men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (NASV)

“…It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.” (NLT)

“…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

The Geek lexicon BDAG defines this word: “1. to bear or carry from one place to another, 2. focus on an act of transport”

This word does not speak of guiding, directing, or leading. The action is clearly beyond such ideas. One being born is passive. What is born is taken up by bearer and conveyed by bearer’s power to bearer’s goal.

The respect due “God breathed” scripture is seen again and again, throughout the New Testament. It is seen in the justification and defense of the gospel, “for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:28)

It is illustrated in Jesus rebuke of the chief priests and elders. “…Did you never read in the Scriptures,…” (Matthew 21:42)  “…“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

In order to avoid similar rebukes (“…the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” John 12:48), let us determine to reverence the words taught by the Holy Spirit.” (I Corinthians 2:13)

 

 

 

March 12, 2017

Is Your Attitude Circumstantial? By Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By “attitude,” I mean your overall outlook on things and people- including yourself.  The proverbial writer penned of mankind, “For as he thinks within himself, so his he,” Proverbs 23:7.  What God’s wisdom seems to be telling us is that we determine not only who we are, but also how we are.  Thus, “sour” people are that way because they choose to be so; and conversely, “happy” people are that way because they choose to be so.  While we may accept this to be generally true of others, we often fail to see the impact of it in ourselves.

Think about this way:  Do others cause you to be either happy or sad?  Oh sure, there are times when others say or do things which affect all of us, at least temporarily.  But is your day to day perspective determined by what someone else does?  If so, you are what could be termed reactionary- that is, you are reacting to stimuli others are giving you.  And unfortunately, you are allowing others to influence who and how you are.  Perhaps an illustration will help.

A man paused at the door, stepped aside, and opened the door for a woman who was also approaching the door to allow her to enter first.  She abruptly stopped, looked him square in the eye and began to berate him for being a “chauvinist.”  She told him that she was a mature, accomplished woman, and that she prided herself on not being “dependent” on anyone, especially a man!  He was somewhat shocked, but she wasn’t finished.  “Did you think me such a ‘helpless female’ or a ’lady’ that I couldn’t even open a door for myself?”  He calmly responded, “Ma’am, I opened the door for you not because of who or what you were, but because who and what I am.”   She promptly stomped past by him without another word.

She was being reactionaryShe allowed her feelings and attitudes to be determined by what someone else did, which she chose to perceive as an insult.  He, on the other hand, acted based on who and what he chose to be.  He chose to be polite, humble, and gracious because that’s who he was, not because of who or what someone else was, or wasn’t.  Which one of these two do you suppose had a “good” day?

Now let’s get personal.  Do you find that your attitude is dependent on what others do?  Do you react to the bad attitudes and actions of others in kind, or the way Jesus commanded, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” Luke 6:27-28?  If you’re tempted to reply, “Well I’m just not made that way,” then listen closely to what you’re thinking- that you’re not “made” that way.  Who made you?  God did.  Doesn’t He know how to love and treat well those who despise and mistreat Him?  Surely the crucifixion of Jesus provides the answer!  Didn’t God make us in His own image?  Absolutely, Genesis 1:26.  Did He “make” you that different from Himself?  Hardly!  So how did you come to be a reactionary who bases who you are and how you conduct yourself on what others do?  We all choose who we are, and how we conduct ourselves.  Choose wisely!

Do you remember the account of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-15? Abel listened to God and acted “by faith” in offering His sacrifice cf. Hebrews 11:4 and Romans 10:17.  Cain, on the other hand, made a sacrifice that was not according to the command, but expected God to accept it anyway (don’t ignore this lesson either).  When God rejected Cain’s faithless sacrifice, instead of repenting and doing right, Cain “became very angry and his countenance (facial expression/composure) fell,” Genesis 4:5.  But here’s the point: God said to Cain, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? But if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it,” Genesis 4:7.  Cain chose the latter option. He chose to stew in his anger until it mastered him instead of the other way around, and he then killed his brother!  If he had chosen “to do right” his attitude about himself, his situation, and others would have been very different.

We choose who we are, and how we conduct ourselves.  We can chose to act based on who and what we are from the Word of God which we have implanted in hearts, or we can choose to react to who and what others are- but the choice is still ours.  If you’re attitude is “sour” or “unhappy,” it is because that is how you choose to be.  Fortunately, the inverse is also true!

 

 

March 5, 2017

Encourage One Another – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

But encourage one another day after day,….” (Hebrews 3:13)

The intriguing word (παρακαλέω, para-kaleo) rendered “encourage” in the NASV, is translated a number of different ways: “exhort,” “comfort,” “warn,” “help. ”

The Greek lexicon BDAG defines the word:

  1. to ask to come and be present where the speaker is, call to one’s side
  2. to urge strongly, appeal to, urge, exhort, encourage
  3. to make a strong request for someth., request, implore, entreat
  4. to instill someone with courage or cheer, comfort, encourage, cheer up
  5. to treat someone in an inviting or congenial manner, something like our ‘be open to the other, have an open door’: invite in, conciliate, be friendly to or speak to in a friendly manner.

The importance of this word is emphasized by the fact that its noun form (παράκλητος – parakletos) is used as one of the titles of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” (John 15:26)

However, most often this word is used to describe the desired conduct of Christians. Reading the following selected examples of how the Holy Spirit used this term, in a variety of contexts, should help us absorb an unavoidable understanding of our duty. As you read, allow the concept to sink in…Paul tells us this is our job, “day after day.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)

“So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.” (Luke 3:18)

“… during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.” (Luke 16:25)

“They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.” (Acts 16:40)

“They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.” (Acts 20:12)

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, …” (Romans 12:1)

“who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. …6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort…” (II Corinthians 1:4)

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20)

“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain –” (II Corinthians 6:1)

“But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;…For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.” (II Corinthians 7:6, 13)

“I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.” (Ephesians 6:22)

For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts;” (Colossians 4:8)

“… and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, … for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;” (I Thessalonians 3:2, 7)

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.” (I Thessalonians 4:1)

“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (I Thessalonians 5:14)

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (II Thessalonians 2:16)

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (II Timothy 4:2)

“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9)

“These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:15)

“not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Christians are called to the side of those in sorrow, we are to urge, exhort brethren to do right. We are to perform the same type of service, on the human level that the Holy Spirit Himself performs on the divine level. We have a big, important job.