July 15, 2018

Are You Sound In The Faith – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Are You Sound In The Faith

By Ken Weliever

Through the years, I have been asked regarding the “soundness” of a specific church, Christian, or a preacher. “Are they sound?” the question is raised.

Usually the definition of “soundness” was based on specific brotherhood issues regarding the work, worship, and organization of the church.

Some would say a “sound” church spends their money in a certain way. A “sound” Christian would not attend a church that engages in “unsound” practices. And a “sound” preacher condemns all of the above, plus teaches the truth on baptism, music, and salvation. And does not read the books of certain authors who are “unsound.” This definition seriously limits the meaning of “sound.”

This morning I was struck by Paul’s usage of the word “sound” in Titus 2. To this young preacher, he exhorts to speak the things pertaining to “sound doctrine.” To use “sound speech” that is beyond reproach. And to admonish older men to be “sound in the faith.” Three times in 8 verses the word “sound” is used and not once is money mentioned.

In fact, the application of being “sound” in this text relates to the behavior of Believers. It has to do with their spiritual health and well being. Titus is to be aware of several groups of people and encourage them to be “sound in the faith” as he preaches “sound doctrine.” Older men. Younger men. Older women. Younger women. Bondservants. And Titus himself.

The older men and women who exhibit the characteristics of a sound life are to equip younger men and women to live a life that is “sound in the faith.” These qualities speak to the development of character and integrity. Living a life that is dignified, respected and temperate.

As the wise man expressed “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31). As we get older, not only chronologically, but in spiritual maturity, we should be able to offer wisdom, insight and sound counsel to younger men and women.

This text addresses issues of Christian conduct and attitudes that evidence a pure heart and a holy life. He specifically speaks to the domestic role of wives and mothers in the home. Teach them to “love their husbands” and to “love their children.” What does this mean? How is it applied?

Too often even ladies classes in the church are just another Bible class like Sunday or Wednesday with no application to their unique, God-given role. And more often than not, they are scheduled at a time when the majority of the young women who need them cannot attend. Sound teaching in the church addresses these needs. Older women by virtue of their years of experience can gently guide today’s modern mother and offer advice far superior than she’s receiving from secular sources.

Just the understanding of love and femininity has been perverted by the world. The virtues of purity, chastity, modesty and respectable behavior should be modeled by older women and taught to younger women.

Men need leadership training. How to be God’s man, which is so much different than the world portrays. How do you lead a home and love your wife? And understand her needs? What qualities must be developed to Shepherd God’s spiritual flock? A successful life is more than making money and providing for the family. It delves deeply into one’s inner being. His soul. His heart. His character.

It’s not too soon to begin in High School with separate classes for boys and girls with Biblical instruction relating to their lifestyles, future relationships, and spiritual growth. We are serious about preparing them for college and a career, what about equipping them to be “sound in the faith” when they leave home?

There is so much to be considered in the text that goes beyond our normal definition of “soundness.”

It’s possible to attend a “sound church,” refrain from engaging in unscriptural practices, yet never developing a sound and healthy spiritual life.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

 

 

 

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July 8, 2018

Determine In Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10 Holman)

The original Hebrew word translated “determined” or “set” is defined by the lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs to mean…

be firm… 1. be set up, established, fixed:… securely determined;… be fixed aright, steadfast;

That which is to be “fixed” is the heart, often misunderstood in scripture. Of this Hebrew tern Brown Driver Briggs says…

inner man, mind, will, heart — The inner, middle,… 1. the inner man in contrast with the outer,… 2. the inner man, indef. the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will,… thinking, reflection,…conception of thoughts of mind;…set the mind, consider,

Our hearts do not easily conform to God’s holiness. Our finite understanding is understandably different from God’s infinite holiness. Contrary to what false teachers want you to think, “hearts” are not dependable guides to God’s viewpoint. Jeremiah reveals that, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Therefore, a prophet, a “man of God,” had to exert determined effort to fix his inner self to think differently. To accomplish this, Ezra had to study and that did not come naturally. He had to work at fixing his mind to study, and fix his mind to yield (“obey”) and fix his mind to teach, not his own ideas but God’s “statutes and ordinances.”

This is what Ezra did, even in the court of a foreign king, in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even surrounded by the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on God’s thinking revealed in His laws.

Prevalent thinking today is that Ezra’s course was fine for himself, as long as he kept his religion to himself, but he should not try to impose his views on others.

The fundamental flaw in such thinking is the confusing God’s laws with Ezra’s ideas. Have you noticed how slick that deceitful, bait and switch takes place? …from generous, respectful, honoring of religion to the slandering accusation of opinionated, bigoted meddling…all in the same sentence. Keep your guard up. Satan is “crafty” and effectively uses what appears to be righteous messengers (II Corinthians 11:14).

It’s not hard to imagine unfaithful, guilty Israel telling Ezra to keep his own meddlesome notions to himself. Instead, the Holy Spirit reveals the example of this righteous man resisting the temptation to fit in and determining “to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

In stark contrast, we read of King Rehoboam whose self-serving, sinful rebellion led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. The judgment of God came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “he did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

We have work to do. Like Ezra, we need to prepare, determine, fix our hearts to study, obey and teach. It’s not easy, because of the misleading of our own mundane perspectives and because these appealing ideas agree with the surrounding, deafening crowd. We need help. God will, if we humble our stubborn hearts and ask.

“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,” (Psalm 10:17 NKJV).

 

 

 

July 1, 2018

A Song From God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

A Song From God:

Great, Perfect, Just, Reliable, Fair

Israel finally finished their forty-year wilderness wandering. The children of the unfaithful were approaching the Promised Land, when God revealed to Moses that he would soon die. But first, God gave His law to Israel for a second time and renewed His covenant with them. He commanded Moses to write down the law in its entirety.

Then, God gave them a song.

“Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. …So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, …you must acknowledge the greatness of our God. …his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.” (Deuteronomy 31:19, 22; 32:3, 4 NET)

God intended for these thoughts to be in their minds continually, as they thought about God’s law and were guided by it in years to come.

One of the most common excuses for rejecting or doubting the existence of the God of the Bible is the foolish opinion that His ways are unfair. Even Christians are prone to complain about the way God deals with them. When we stretch our feeble comprehension toward trying to understand who God is, we are forced to conclude that our understanding will not approach His, that our pitifully uninformed attempts to pass judgment on the ways of God are utterly foolish.

Again and again and again God reminds us in His Word that His way is perfect and expects us to be singing about it.

“Sing to him a new song! …. shout out your praises to him! For the LORD’s decrees are just, and everything he does is fair. The LORD promotes equity and justice; the LORD’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.” (Psalms 33:3-5 NET)

“The law of the LORD is perfect and preserves one’s life. The rules set down by the LORD are reliable and impart wisdom to the inexperienced. The LORD’s precepts are fair and make one joyful. The LORD’s commands are pure and give insight for life. The commands to fear the LORD are right and endure forever. The judgments given by the LORD are trustworthy and absolutely just.” (Psalm 19:7-9 NET)

We need to settle in our hearts the unwavering conviction that God’s ways are always perfect, whether our feeble understanding appreciates them or not. Since our thinking, our sense of justice, does not approach His, His will be different from ours. Unless we think that we think like God, we should not be surprised. Reaching the same conclusions reached by the eternal, infinitely holy God, is not expected on the part of sinners. His ways are always in the context of eternity, but we leap to judgment in terms of present inconvenience. What He does is necessarily, absolutely right, and fair and just and pure. Whatever He says is perfect. The difference reveals our foolishness.

His perfect way is seen fully in Christ, and His truth is heard clearly in Christ, for “I am the way,” He said, and I am “the truth” (John 14:6). Yet, Christ’s way was through the cross, and His truth was opposed by the father of lies (John 8:44). God’s way for us may also lead us into suffering and great opposition, but His way is always perfect, and His Word is tried and true. If we trust Him through it all, He will be our buckler as He was for David. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

Adapted from an article by Henry M. Morris