November 25, 2018

Choosing Your Parents – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

On a television show the other day, a man said to his neighbor that she and her husband were such good parents his own kids wanted to be adopted by them!  None of us really get to “choose” our parents, though many of us couldn’t have chosen better that we got.  Others didn’t or don’t do so well in the parental lotto.  It’s OK, remember they didn’t really “pick” us as children either!

But what if we, as adults, got a chance at a do-over; a chance to actually select whom our parents would be for the rest of our lives?   Obviously, this choice would also determine grandparents for our children, and great-grandparents for our grandchildren.  What an opportunity!  We could select, with all the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom we have acquired, the best parents (and thereby grandparents, etc.) available for ourselves, our families, and even future generations.  However, if we were actually given such an opportunity, one of the first things that would likely “hit” us would also be the gravity of such a choice…. the responsibilities involved.  We would be making a choice that would not only dramatically influence the rest our lives, but also those of our descendants.

Genesis 6:2 says “that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”  I realize there are theories that suggest these “sons of God” were angelic beings that chose to cohabitate with the daughters of men” (contrary to what Jesus said about that, cf. Matthew 22:30), but there is a much simpler explanation provided by the context.  Genesis 4 records not only the sin of Cain, but also the sinful legacy continued by his descendants- Lamech was a polygamist, v.19; and evidently a very violent and vengeful man, vv.23-24.  But note that with the birth of Seth (another son of Adam and Eve), and subsequently his son, Enosh, the record says, Then men began to call on the name of the Lord,” v.26.  Thus, the godless lineage of Cain is set in contrast to the godly lineage of Seth.  Genesis 5 continues with the lineage of Seth, and rather than highlighting sinful behavior as had been done in chp.4 with Cain’s descendants, righteousness and godly desires are emphasized, cf. Genesis 5:22-24,29.  All of which brings us to chapter 6, where the “sons of God”- the godly lineage of Seth (cf. Luke 3:38, was corrupted through the “daughters of men”- the godless lineage of Cain, to produce a world that God was willing to destroy with a flood.  Now, with that bit of history clarified, let’s get back to the business of choosing your parents…

Cain and Seth had the same physical parents, but their lives- and that of their descendants, took dramatically different courses.  Why?  Simply put: they chose very different spiritual parents.  Cain chose the path of faithlessness and rebellion, which ultimately led him to go out “from the presence of the Lord,” Genesis 4:16.  He selected Satan as his spiritual father.  But Seth chose differently.  He preferred “to call on the name of the Lord,” Genesis 4:26.  Seth selected God as his spiritual father.  These contrasting selections obviously influenced the courses of their families for generations to come- even to eternal consequences.   So too will the choice of spiritual parentage you and I make.

We can choose to be a “son of the devil,” as did Elymas, and be “full deceit and fraud,” an “enemy of all righteousness” who does “not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord” and in the process turn others “away from the faith,” cf. Acts 13:8,10.  Or, we can opt to be children/sons of God by choosing: to “believe in His name” (John 1:12), through faith be “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:26-29), and be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14-17) to a life of obedience in which we hold “fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16.

You get to decide.  Whom will you pick to be your (spiritual) parent?  The Father of light, love, and salvation, cf. James 1:16-18; or the murderous father of lies, cf. John 8:44?  But remember, choices have consequences.  And this particular choice has eternal consequences not only for you, but perhaps also for those that you love and call “family.”  Pick your parent carefully, won’t you?

(Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ;

7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

 

 

 

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November 18, 2018

Behold A Baseball Team-Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The following article is adapted from a bulletin I published about fifty years ago (from an anonymous author) DRP

Behold a ball team that went forth to play a game of baseball. Just as the umpire was saying, “Batter up,” the catcher for the home team arrived and took his place behind the plate. The center fielder and the second baseman did not arrive until the second inning.

The first baseman did not come at all, but later sent his regrets, saying he had to go to a birthday party at Aunt Sally’s. The third baseman likewise failed to show up, having been up late the night before and he preferred to spend the day in bed.

The left fielder was at another game across town. The shortstop was present, but left his glove at home. When the pitcher entered the field and walked to the pitcher’s mound, he looked around to see his teammates and lo, his heart was heavy as he saw so many empty places in the lineup.

He tried to recruit some of the regular fans to play but they said they had rather sit back and watch. They complained that they had been attending for years (the best attenders in the league). They said they hadn’t seen many runs scored, but claimed it was not really their job. They considered themselves loyal faithful fans, but had never scored a run in their lives and certainly were not going to start now.

The game had been announced and the visitors were already in the stands to see the game. There was nothing left for him to do but go ahead and pitch and hope for the best. So the pitcher tightened his belt and stepped on the mound.

He did his best to throw a strike over the plate. But for some reason he could not find the strike zone. Some of his teammates began to ride him for the wild pitches, and loud boos began to come from the stands.

This is a humorous, ridiculous picture. But, it is absolutely tragic that is sounds so familiar to Christians. “Behold a preacher that went forth to preach.” Could some churches be similar to this baseball team? Do we need to reconsider our fundamental responsibilities as member of the Lord’s team?

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12)

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

“For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.” (Thessalonians 1:8)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

 

November 11, 2018

Righteous Judgement To Come-Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity... (Psalm 9:8)

Judgment is coming. It is coming for every person.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27).

Many people don’t believe it, and still more don’t seem to care, but judgment is coming! Be certain of this. Ready or not, we will all meet our Creator.

Furthermore, “…he will judge the world in righteousness…”

As humans, who have become immersed in sin, it doesn’t seem so terribly bad. God views sin differently because of His different, absolutely holy nature. Habakkuk explains that this is why judgment is not optional. It is absolutely necessary.

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. (Habakkuk 1:13).”

We tend to think differently, so God persistently reminds us that He will judge and that the necessary judgment is righteous.

For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness(Psalm 96:13).

Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;…He will judge the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 96:10).

He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:9).

Because God judges righteously, all are hopelessly lost. All sin. God is too pure to tolerate sin, therefore all must be judged.

“The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:2-3)

Paul quoted David, reaffirming, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; (Romans 3:10).

Moses taught the children of Israel,‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26)

Paul quoted Moses, reaffirming,

under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” (Galatians 3:10).

All are hopelessly lost, but our infinitely wise and absolutely pure Creator, determined that the just requirement of judgment could be satisfied. We could be restored by the sacrifice of His sinless Son.In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. …God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:19, 21, NET).

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, NET).

Consequently, God will do what He must do, judge (condemn) righteously and yet graciously judge righteous (save) all who are in Christ. Contrary to the distortions of our Calvinist friends, this gracious salvation is not unconditional.

The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Matthew 13:41).

God’s judgment includes those who have entered into a covenant relationship with God.

“…‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31).

It is a sobering thought. You and I, our family, our friends, everyone we have ever known and everyone else…everyone, will stand before our infinitely holy Creator and be judged.

For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed…” (Acts 17:31 NLT).

Jesus Christ is not only our Creator and righteous Judge, but also our Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate, and Savior! Have you been baptized into him?

Adapted from an article By Henry Morris

 

 

 

November 4, 2018

How To Please The Lord – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Therefore also we have as our ambition,

whether at home or absent,

to be pleasing to Him.”

(II Corinthians 5:9)

This is one of many verses where the apostle Paul expresses the strong desire to be pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ (“well-pleasing, acceptable,” Thayer). This should likewise be our own ambition, whatever we do and wherever we are, to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!

God revealed through His word, a number of specific ways that we can confidently know that we are pleasing Him. For example:

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1).

Paul says that the criterion of strong Christians, for determining what to do and where to go, should be what is pleasing Him, not ourselves.

Notice that Paul warned the Christians at Rome that…“…those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

That is, God will not be pleased if our thoughts and actions are governed by worldly considerations.

Some believe Christians deserve the best and therefore their life should be a “rose garden.” Peter disagrees. He says that by suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him.

“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor [well pleasing] with God.” (1 Peter 2:20)

Consider this expression from different translations.

…God is pleased with you.” NLT

“… this is pleasing to God.” BBE

“…you have God’s approval.” RSV

The author of the book of Hebrews says…

“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Throughout the Old Testament, this was the essential element that was responsible for monumental acts of service to God by great men of faith who…

who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:33-38)

You want to please God? Work on your faith.

God is pleased with generosity.

“And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)

Self-service is our natural tendency. We all know how to do that. If you want to please God you must learn self-sacrifice.

This certainly involves our material possessions as well as sharing the gospel.

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

When our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise:

“…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (I John 3:22)

Therefore, we determine to make Paul’s ambition to please the Lord our ambition. The reasons overwhelm any alternative today and determines our eternal destiny.

Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:9-10)