April 29, 2018

Learning by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:56 am by sranderson0103

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:29)

The yoke of sin is burdensome, promising freedom, but producing bondage now, and an eternity of torment. Jesus offers a marvelous alternative. It still involves a yoke, but His yoke is entirely different. There is no empty, deceitful promise of freedom, but a life of service to Him that provides a fulfilled rest from the burdensome torment of guilt and assurance of an eternity of bliss.

A basic requirement of this yoke involves learning.

In spite of the popular teaching of John Calvin to the contrary, learning is necessary to become a Christian…unlike the conditions of the Old Covenant. Jews entered their covenant, not by being taught, but by being born Jews. Jeremiah foresaw new circumstances promised under what he described as a “New Covenant.”

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 31:34).

Jesus quoted and explained Jeremiah’s prophecy saying, “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” (John 6:45), Everyone one who is a child of God under this New Covenant will “know” because they do not get to be under the New Covenant without being taught.

Calvin and many who seek salvation today, do not understand this. They think it involves an experience, a feeling. Rather, it involves learning and obeying. Jesus was teaching that learning is necessary to become a child of God. Learning is also necessary to continue to be a child pleasing to God. Jesus said we are to take His yoke “and learn from Me.”

So, He spent His time teaching and setting an example in order for us to learn.

“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:15)

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree:…” (Matt. 24:32)

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the “Helper” (John 16:7) to enable prophets to teach learners.

“For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;” (Cor. 14:31)

Jesus sent the apostles to teach so that we could learn.

Paul encouraged the Ephesians who were, “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:10)

He rebuked some Christians at Corinth for failing to follow what they learned.

“But you did not learn Christ in this way,…” (Eph. 4:20)

He emphasized to Titus the importance of learning.

“Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” (Titus 3:14)

He encouraged Timothy to remember what he learned.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,” (II Timothy 3:14)

Even the Lord Jesus Christ had difficult lessons to learn.

“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8).

Some lessons are hard to learn and require time, effort, and sacrifice.

But, learning God’s divine wisdom, His absolute truth is an incredible, thrilling privilege, and must be a compelling, driving ambition of Christians.

 

 

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April 22, 2018

Gamaliel’s Folly – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:04 am by sranderson0103

The New Testament portrays Gamaliel as perhaps a prudent and pragmatic man, if not a wise one. He was the grandson of Hillel “the elder” (one of the most revered legal scholars in Judaism of the first century B.C.), and in the eyes of the Jewish people, followed in his grandfather’s hallowed footsteps. The Talmud somewhat famously records of him, “When Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died,” said the Jews, “the glory of the Law ceased and purity and abstinence died,” (W.W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary; Vol.1, p.426). Gamaliel was one of only seven to whom the title “Rabban” (supreme teacher) was given. This lauded praise notwithstanding, Gamaliel wasn’t as wise as some might assume. Consider, first, some background from Acts 5:17-42 leading to our introduction to this esteemed leader of Israel:

  • The apostles had been jailed (due to jealousy over their successes with and favorable regard of the people) by the High Priest and the Sadducees, vv.17-18;
  • The angel of the Lord had subsequently released them from prison, and commanded, “Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this life,” vv.19-20;
  • They fully complied, v.21a;

But when the Jewish leaders sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail, and it was reported that they were not there but had been seen in the temple “teaching the people,” they were rearrested and brought before the Council, vv.21b-27a;

After hearing the apostles’ defense of their actions and the primary tenets of the gospel (vv.29-32), the Council was “cut to the quick” and “were intending to slay them,” v.33.

This is the point at which Gamaliel, “a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people,” stood up and calmed the situation. He had the apostles removed, v.34b, and then addressed the Council…

  • He first urged caution regarding the Council’s intention to kill the apostles, v.35;
  • Next, he provided two examples from Israel’s past in which what were surely viewed as insurrectionists had arisen and aroused a following among the people. In both cases, he reasoned, the leaders were slain and the movements subsequently “dispersed and came to nothing,” vv.36-37;
  • He then advised “in the present case”- meaning Jesus whom they had already slain/crucified, cf. vv.28,30, and His apostles whom they similarly proposed to slay, cf. v33, that the Council should “stay away from these men and let them alone,” v.38a;
  • His reasoning seems sound- that if this work (the proclamation of Christ and resultant Christianity) was the mere product of men, it would soon likewise perish, v.38; but that if it was “of God,” they would not be able to overthrow it, and even worse, would find themselves in the unenviable position of “fighting against God,” v.39.

On the surface, this sounds like wise counsel, and the Council “took his advice,” v.40a…. sort of, v.40b. But consider some fatal flies in the ointment of Gamaliel’s reasoning:

  1. While the largely Sadducean Council that he addressed did not believe in resurrection, cf. Acts 23:8a- and thus their past efforts to slay insurrectionist leaders made some sense, Gamaliel, as Pharisee, did believe in resurrection, cf. Acts 23:8b. Thus, killing the leader of a movement that was “of God” and who’s adherents proclaimed that “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross” (v.30) is at best disingenuous and at worst hypocritical. As a Pharisee who believed in resurrection, Gamaliel’s advice shouldn’t have been “let them alone,” but instead “let’s investigate further” or “join them!”
  2. Gamaliel also, and very unwisely, equated the “movements” of false Christ’s with that of the true Messiah. As a man looked to as a “teacher of the Law,” he surely should have recognized and pointed out the decided lack of fulfilled prophecy regarding Theudas and Judas of Galilee, and thus identified them as imposters for it. But with his credentials, he, of all people, should have also recognized how “Jesus of Nazareth” fulfilled each and every one of the prophecies regarding the Messiah and, along with John the Baptist, should have been declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” to everyone (cf. John 1:36; cp. Matthew 11:4-6 and Isaiah 35:5ff; 61:1).3.And finally, Gamaliel took the very unwise tact of equating “success” as defined by men with “success” as defined by God. He apparently viewed the death of the leader and scattering of followers as an indication of falsehood and failure. But Jesus was crucified, v.30, and His followers were scattered, cf. Matthew 26:56 and Acts 8:1; 11:19. However, Jehovah God used these very events to bring about salvation and spread its “good news” to “the remotest part of the earth,” cf. vv.31-32 and 1:8!

    Who knows what might have happened in Jerusalem and for the Jewish people of that time to the present if Gamaliel had only been wise enough discern the signs of fulfilled prophecy regarding the Messiah (cf. Matthew 16:1-4; 11:5-6), and bold enough to stand on his own Pharisaic convictions regarding Jesus the Christ’s resurrection of the dead? Gamaliel and his advice to the Council may have prudently pragmatic in some senses, but neither he nor it surely was truly wise!

     

 

 

April 15, 2018

Right Now by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” (I Peter 2:10)

There are many things awaiting faithful Christians in heaven that are unimaginably wonderful.

“in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (II Tim 4:8)

Paul prays that we will gain enough insight now, to begin to appreciate those things.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18)

But –

there are also many wonderful gifts and privileges we have right now.

In the first place, we have the assurance of eternal salvation. Paul quoted a passage, originally given to Israel, that reminds us that children of God are forgiven, saved by the power of the blood of Christ, which reaches backward and forward.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation–” (II Corinthians 6:2)

This is quoted from Isaiah 49:8 where at verse 13 we find…

“Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.”

Faithful Christians, as well as faithful Israel, were assured that they were free from condemnation, and that is true now.

In fact, He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; (Romans 3:21-22

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (I John 3:2-3)

Consider also the fact that, as Christians, we have the assurance that, right now, the Son of God, the creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16) is praying for us. He has entered into heaven

For Christ has entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Hebrews 9:24).

This amazing blessing exists now and will forevermore.

“…Jesus…continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:24-25)

Hallelujah!

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

April 1, 2018

Critical Errors – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

The Sadducees were the theological, philosophical, and scientific elite of Jesus’ day. They could not answer Jesus with reasonable arguments so they determined to embarrass and discredit Him with a trick question. Instead of the respectful response expected by the “Reverends” of that day, Jesus responded with the stinging rebuke quoted above.

The Sadducees’ denial of the resurrection was the “sore spot,” the issue that was generating the heat. Scriptural evidence and reason was the enemy, so they devised a trap, challenging Jesus with a scenario that apparently had negative consequences either way He answered.

His response dealt specifically with the fact of a resurrection and the nature of the afterlife, but His twofold evaluation of these proud “scholars” fits today’s liberal “intellectuals” perfectly. They are just as determined to defeat Biblical claims of supernatural activity, such as a six day creation, a world-wide flood, the story of Jonah, the exodus, fulfilled prophecy, the virgin birth and, of course, the resurrection.

Darwin led the way and set the stage for today’s elitists. By the time he had published his book Origin of Species attributing evolutionary progression to natural selection, he had probably become an atheist and determined to ascribe creation to natural causes. He knew something of the Scriptures, but his memoirs show that he knew pitifully little and had an obviously distorted understanding of the basics (such as the consequences of sin and the fall; thorns, thistles, suffering and death). He felt that if there was a God, He demonstrated power or had just not been involved in the affairs of this earth. Most atheistic evolutionists today follow Darwin’s intellectual footsteps.

But what about “Christian” intellectuals, theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists, or advocates of the framework hypothesis, who claim to know God but yet deny the awesome power of a six-day creation? They, just as surely, reject the clear teaching of Scripture, relegating God to the mundane task of overseeing the evolutionary process, reducing His power to something many believe time can accomplish. Peter describes this attitude in the scoffers of his day.

For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water.” (I Peter 3:5-6).

Jesus said Sadducees were deceived. Then, does it really matter? Jesus rebuked those who should have known better but did not. He thought it mattered. Therefore, it does!

Jesus said the problem was they just didn’t know the Scriptures. Some today think, “Well, that’s true of a lot of people and you can’t hold them accountable if they don’t know.” Jesus disagreed and rebuked, specifying not knowing the Scriptures as His reason.

Jesus taught that the underling problem of all these errors is that they don’t know the power of God. It’s a matter of faith. If God really had the power to create in six days, why would He use millions of years of death and suffering (before the fall) to do what He said He did in six days?

Since God said,…

“…I, even I, am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh…” (Genesis 6:17).

What’s the problem? Answer: Faith in the power of God!

Likewise, we see exactly the same problem with the story of Jonah, the exodus, fulfilled prophecy, the virgin birth and the resurrection. If you believe in an all-wise, all-powerful God, there is no problem. If you doubt an all-wise, all-powerful God, all kind of problems arise.

Jesus knew the hearts of the Sadducees and He identified a problem they did not see and rebuked it. He still sees hearts today and His attitude has not changed, nor will His attitude be different at the judgment.