June 25, 2017

Enoch: A Man of Faith

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Enoch: A Man Of Faith By Don R. Patton

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. The entire lifetime of Enoch was 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and then he disappeared because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:21-24 ESV)

We are confident that Enoch was one of the most godly men that ever lived. He is one of only two, before the flood, of whom it is said that he “walked with God.” Noah did too. “…Noah was a godly man; he was blameless among his contemporaries. He walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NET)

Enoch is also one of only two individuals who never died.

“As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a fiery chariot pulled by fiery horses appeared. They went between Elijah and Elisha, and Elijah went up to heaven in a windstorm.” (II Kings 2:11 NET)

Genesis reveals a precious little about him, but the New Testament tells us more. Together they reveal Enoch to be exemplary among men and special to God.

Hebrews emphasizes that he was man of faith.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:5-6 NET)

We don’t know all that was revealed to Enoch but he certainly saw what Paul says the Gentiles saw.

“…God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV)

He “perceived” the obvious evidence of a Creator. He did “believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” and it affected how he lived. He honestly, nobly yielded to the necessary implications: humble submission (the real barrier to many today who refuse faith). Enoch’s faith produced a close walk with God. This faith pleased God.

The book of Jude tells us more about how Enoch lived. Unlike the pluralists of today who do not believe in the exclusive nature of truth, Enoch’s faith impelled him to denounce strongly the false teaching and ungodly living of his day because he believed a real judgment day was coming.

“Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15 NET).

We should also take note of the fact that Jude was a creationist, who not only believed that Adam and Enoch were real characters, but also believed the genealogies were real and dependable. (Enoch’s birth was only 192 years after Adam’s death, according to the Septuagint)

Enoch certainly belongs in the list of the great heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews chapter 11. We should all look forward to meeting him, perhaps today.

Adapted from ideas in an article by John Morris

 

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June 18, 2017

Spreading The Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Spreading The Gospel

By Don R. Patton

“I want you to know, beloved that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel,” (Philippians 1:12 NRSV)

Other versions express this phrase with similar terminology.

furtherance of the gospel” King James Version

advance the gospel” English Standard Version

greater progress of the gospel” New American Version

Consider Thayer’s definition of the verb form of this word.

“1. to lengthen out by hammering (as a smith forges metals); metaphorically, to promote, forward, further;…”

The original, basic concept of this word, which involves spreading by means of hammering, seems to fit exactly what Paul is saying about the progress of the gospel. Paul wrote these words while unjustly imprisoned. Recall Paul’s first contact with of many of these Philippians was the result of being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-14). Paul had been and would be often imprisoned and beaten.

“…far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” (I Corinthians 11:23-27.)

We should be thankful that such persecution is virtually unheard of among American preachers, but should remember that it is commonplace today, in other parts of our world.

Later, his imprisonment in Rome provided eternal opportunity.

“And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:30-31)

Also, Paul wrote at least four of his inspired epistles from prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon).

Paul understood and said the result of his “hammering” was beneficial. In addition to opportunities to teach, it resulted in favorable impressions on millions of Christian and non-Christians for centuries since. I suspect even he could not imagine the extent of the truth he expressed when he said, “…what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel.”

Rather than complaining or even quitting when the Christian life gets hard, we must remember that God’s providence assures, Human wrath serves only to praise you,” (Psalm 76:10 NRSV). Let’s get our eyes off our own suffering selves and look ahead. Consider the far-reaching consequences of our action. Understand the impact of our example on the world around us. Make sure our conduct will not be a hindrance but rather help spread the gospel.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2017

Three Fronted War

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Three Fronted War

By Philip C. Strong

Those recognizing the sovereignty of, and pledging allegiance to, the God of the Universe are sometimes biblically described in military terms, such as a “soldier,” “armor,” and “war/warfare.”   In keeping with the analogy, they’re urged to take up a soldier’s mantra and methods.  For instance:

  • 2Timothy 2:3-4, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”
  • Ephesians 6:10, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
  • 2Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

However, understand that this particular war is composed of at least three distinct battlefronts…

Personal- the Battle for Self.  Each Christian soldier must first wage spiritual war for his own soul.  Paul described this fight in Romans 7:13-24.  Note a few excerpts from this text, “For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…. for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good the good that that I wish, I do not do; but I do practice the very evil that I do not wish.”  Every Christian soldier feels this way at times.  We feel as if we’re losing on this most-important front.  But remember two critical things:  1) as long as you feel this way, you haven’t lost yet- you’re still fighting and haven’t surrendered; and, 2) you’re not alone- Jesus is fighting with you and for you, Romans 7:24-25!  You also have battle buddies in your own local church company ready to step into the fray with you at a moment’s notice, cf. Galatians 6:1-2, if you’ll call for backup and let them know you’re in trouble and need help.  So, arm yourself according to Ephesians 6:11-17, and then “…be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might,” Ephesians 6:10.  Your soul is worth the fight!

Kingdom- the Battle for Church.  Each Christian soldier must also wage spiritual war for the souls of his company- the local church of which he is a member.  In attitude and activity he must “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; and give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” Romans 12:10-11.  He does “nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind” he regards his fellow-soldiers “as more important than himself,” and doesn’t merely look out for his “own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,” Philippians 2:3-4.  His kindred spirit and fellowship with his fellow soldiers leads him to answer the age-old question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” with a resounding, “Yes, with every fiber of my being and all the strength I can muster because I love him!”   Hear two passages regarding these things.  “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1John 3:16.  And, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal,” Hebrews 12:15-16.  The souls of your fellow-soldiers are worth the fight!

Dominion- the Battle for Souls.  And finally, each Christian soldier must wage spiritual war for the souls of others.  Beyond our own souls, and those of our fellow-soldiers, the souls of others- even those actively fighting for the opposition forces, are just as valuable.  This is why the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” said, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” cf. 1Timothy 6:15; Matthew 5:44.  Assuredly, this is the most difficult of all battlefronts.  It is one thing to wage spiritual warfare, even to the death, for our own or the souls of our fellow soldiers, but it is quite another to be willing to love enough fight and lay down our lives for the souls of those actively opposed to us!  But isn’t this exactly the legacy let us by our Lord? To borrow from His words in Matthew 16:26, what will we give in exchange for the souls of others?  Are we willing to love sufficiently to battle for their souls?  True soldiers of the cross do just that!

So, fight “the good fight” for the souls of others, finish “the course” you began as soldier yourself, and keep “the faith” by helping your fellow-soldiers to final victory, cf. 2Timothy 4:7.  It is a three-fronted battle, but through God’s mighty power you can and must win!