July 29, 2018

With Authority and Power – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority, … And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out. (Lk. 4:31-32, 36)

The pompous Pharisees taught, but claimed the authority was from Moses. Jesus taught very differently. Again and again, dozens of times, Jesus is recorded validating His teaching with the words, “I say to you…” Then it really disturbed them when He substantiated His necessarily implied claim of authority with undeniable miracles.

He spoke and acted as God which is exactly who He was.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

The Pharisees understood the implication when Jesus backed up His teaching with the weighty words, “I say to you…”

When He spoke, He was speaking with the authority and power of God. Of course, this is also true of words “breathed out by God” in Scripture. ” (II Timothy 3:16 ESV)

Consider how many and varied are the physical analogies used to characterize, illustrate and emphasize its power.

For example, the prophet Jeremiah says, “‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jeremiah 23:29)

The fire analogy is also stressed when the prophet became weary of the negative reaction against his preaching:

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

God’s Word is called a sharp sword wielded by the Holy Spirit. As part of the Christian’s spiritual armor, we are exhorted to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:17)

The Hebrew writer describes it in a similar manner.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Perhaps even more authority and power is indicated when the word is compared to light, the most basic of all forms of energy, or power.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. …The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:105, 130)

The first spoken words of Christ our Creator were “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3)

But no earthly form of power can compare to the power in the words of the One who is Himself the living word of God the Lord Jesus Christ, for He actually “…upholds all things by the word of His power…” (Hebrews 1:3)

 

 

 

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July 22, 2018

“Even If It Means …”-By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Far too often, I am reminded that the earthly, temporal attitudes of the world exert a powerful influence, shaping and molding the thinking of those who should be guided by the light of God’s divine wisdom.

Perhaps most would recoil from the charge that they believe in “situation ethics,” but, just confront them with a situation where obeying God’s word means significant consequences, especially physical harm, and many feel confidently justified in disobedience.

Too many follow the cowardly example of the Apostle Peter, who folded under the threat of consequences he saw Jesus enduring.

“Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.” Matt. 26:74

Contrast the world’s wimpy waffling with the courageous declaration of Queen Esther, determined to risk her life in service to God and His people.

“Bring together all the Jews in Susa and tell them to go without eating for my sake! Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. My servant girls and I will do the same. Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.” (Esther 4:16 Contemporary English Version)

It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to face such a threat in order to do the will of God.

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to endure the fiery furnace rather than worship as “everyone” worshiped in Babylon. They courageously said to the world’s monarch, Nebuchadnezzar…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith. History indicates that Peter learned from his failure and together with all the apostles, save John, died as martyrs. So have countless others throughout bloody centuries. In the view of the world, that makes no sense. But from the perspective of eternity, it is perfectly understandable that, “…they did not love their life even when faced with death. ” (Revelation 12:11)

Recall that it was Peter who exhorted…

“…be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. …In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word…” (I Peter 2:18-20; 3:1 NET)

John urged the Christians in Asia Minor…

“Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.” NET

Believers in many nations around the world today are suffering such persecutions. If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul…

“according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

May we courageously say, as Esther said, I’ll serve God “even if it means I must die.”

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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