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

 

 

 

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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)

 

 

 

October 28, 2018

Overcoming – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:4-6)

Do you ever feel like the world is getting the best of you? Christians need to know that this foul, stinking, rotten idea is the Devil’s lie and absolutely refuse it. Yes, we are “little children” but we are not depending on our power. We are from God and have already overcome the world.

The word translated “overcome” (nikao) is defined by the Greek lexicon BDAG to mean:

  1. to win in the face of obstacles, be victor, conquer, overcome, prevail,
  2. to overcome someone, vanquish, overcome

Christians have been there, done that…and are continuing to do so.

As Lenski puts it, we “have been and continue to be victorious over them (perfect tense).” There is a very simple, powerful justification for that claim…“because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

There are no empty promises in the Bible. The one who spoke the universe into existence is in you. Defeat is unthinkable. But there are times when I do not feel like I am wining over anything. Just what does this promise promise?

Perhaps the answer will come into focus when we look at other, similar promises,

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Note: The phrase mistranslated “will reign” refers to present action, continuing now, not way off in the future.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (I John 5:4)

“Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:5)

Overcome who? The “them” in the immediate context is false teachers.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)

But, how do we know which teachers are false? Overcoming comes with simple instructions … Don’t listen to the majority. Listen to God’s inspired Word.

“…the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:5-6)

These promises extend beyond the threat of false teachers. They apply to all of the Devil’s efforts to defeat, cantankerous, covetous, proud brethren included. God has given us sufficient armament to defend against and defeat all threats.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

You have the power of the Creator in you. You have perfect, complete instructions. Trust in God’s power and follow His instructions and you can’t lose. That’s why losing is forbidden.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2018

A Valuable Lesson Learned – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Shortly after I began to preach, some dear friends, brethren whom I had known growing up, showed up as visitors one Sunday morning. After warm greetings, I heard disheartening news about a congregation I knew well. The story involved immorality being ignored by the elders. “Everybody” knew about it. It was “common knowledge,” but the elders refused to do anything about it.

My father also knew the congregation well and was preaching nearby. I called him, related what I had heard and asked how in the world those elders could allow such.

I heard silence for a moment. Then he asked how the accusations were sustained. “Uh…it was common knowledge,” I stammered. He responded, “That’s not good enough.”

He knew all about the situation. Those elders had asked him to help investigate the matter and they had done so. They did discover a lot of gossip but found that nothing was established scripturally. The elders were proceeding by scripturally disciplining the slanderers.

“Oh. …I see…. I didn’t know that.” He proceeded to drive the point home. “You did not ask the right questions. ‘Common knowledge,’ is a phrase that is often a red flag signaling a lack of scriptural evidence. The right question is, ‘Are there witnesses?’ … ‘Can you sustain the accusation?’”

He said he would send an article that should be helpful. He found it useful in his efforts to teach. Since then I have printed and reprinted it many, many times in my efforts to teach New Testament Christianity. It is a concise, precise statement of essential truths.

 When Accusations Are Made

Frank L. Cox, Gospel Advocate, 1959

When an accusation of wrongdoing is made, an obligation falls upon the accuser. His obligation is to sustain his accusation. He cannot sustain his accusation by rumor or gossip or hearsay or opinion, not even by the testimony of a witness. It can be sustained only by the testimony of a plurality of witnesses. It is written, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established.” (Deut.19:15; Matt.18:16; II Cor.13:1; I Tim.5:19; Heb.10:28.) God’s word is right.

If the accuser can sustain his accusation, an obligation falls upon the person accused: for his guilt is established. In the spirit of gentleness, he should be restored (Gal.6:1, 2); if possible, he should be brought to repentance. If he will not repent, he should be marked and avoided.

If, however, the accusation cannot be sustained, an added obligation falls upon the accuser. By making a charge he cannot prove, an accusation he cannot sustain, he becomes involved in crime. He becomes a false accuser. If possible, he should be brought to repentance. If he will not repent, he should be marked and avoided.

With these things before us, the obligation of the hearer in such matters is obvious. When an accusation of wrongdoing falls upon our ears, let us ask for the proof, for sustaining evidence. If sustaining evidence is given, we should consider the person accused guilty and endeavor to restore him; if sustaining evidence is not supplied, we should consider the accuser guilty and endeavor to restore him. The person accused should be considered innocent, unless the charge is sustained. And the accuser should be considered guilty, unless he can sustain his charge.

 

 

 

September 30, 2018

The Masquerade Is Over -By David Diestelkamp

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

You’ve seen the television shows that “make- over” people so they are hardly recognizable even to those who know them. Experts are brought in to choose just the right clothes, hairstyle, and makeup for them. They look and even act like different people. Paul says that sometimes Satan does the same thing—he “…transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). It’s a clear warning to those of us who think we know him. But we need to take this a little farther to see it in our current culture.

What do you suppose an “angel of light” is like? In Scripture, light is a consistent metaphor for the pure nature of God and the way of righteousness (1 Tim. 6:16; Jas. 1:17; 1 Jn. 1:5). Darkness is the way of sin from which we have been called “…into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). So, an “angel of light” would be a “messenger” or someone who presents himself as being consistent with the nature of God and the way of righteousness and one who claims and appears to be in “His marvelous light.” It is someone who is an advocate for the things of “light” (righteousness and truth) over the things of “darkness” (sin and error).

So, the obvious point of 2 Corinthians 11:14 is that things aren’t always as they appear. False apostles and deceitful workers don’t always wear black hats. It’s an old trick: “…as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Now this may state the obvious, but Satan only needs to masquerade himself and his ways when people are truly interested in the light and in avoiding darkness. Just how hard does he have to try to disguise himself today?

Do we think nothing of letting Satan enter our houses through our TV’s and portray fornication in front of us? Where is the masquerade? Do we laugh over Satan’s silly drunken behavior? Do we accept his greed and covetousness and selfish ambitions as success and happiness? Where is the deception? When lewdness is style, lies are the “loving” thing, and heresies are just being politically correct, Satan doesn’t even need to wear a mask. Why would Satan pretend to bear the fruit of the Spirit when the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-23) are the accepted norm?

It should come as a shock to us that Satan generally need not mask himself among us, but it gets worse. If Satan were to disguise himself as an angel of light, it would likely seriously harm his influence today. Angels of light are not popular on TV or in the movies. Angels of light are not generally elected to government office. Angels of light are not tolerated long in pulpits. Angels of light seem boring on dates or backward, weird, judgmental, or hateful.

Look at Satan. The mask is off and he is not hiding. Pure evil is before us. We must not harden our hearts (Heb. 3:8, 13) or allow our consciences to be seared (1 Tim. 4:2). Actively “Set your mind on things above, not on the things on earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:2-4). Satan is not afraid to show himself in our world today. Look at him and his filthy, evil, death-filled world. Look at Jesus and His pure, righteous, eternal life-filled kingdom. Take a good, long look. The masquerade is over. The choice is clear.

 

 

September 23, 2018

A Father’s Love – By Joe R. Price

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

God described Israel as His child in Hosea 11:1-4: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images. I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” A father guides and teaches his children (11:1-3). In love, God called Israel out of Egypt, guiding His son to freedom. Fathers teach their children, from their formative years to maturity and beyond, with the guidance of wisdom and understanding (Prov. 3:1-2; 4:20-23). Israel did not always and immediately follow the guidance of God, their Father.

In fact, Israel often turned away from its Father and served idols (Hos. 11:2). Children are quite similar. They do not always and immediately follow their father’s instruction and guidance. But, just as God sent His servants the prophets to Israel to call the nation to repentance and back to His law, fathers must repeatedly teach and guide their children even when they disobey. Do not lose heart when your child does not immediately follow your guidance. Keep training and calling your child to walk in the way of truth. That’s a father’s love. A father nurtures his children (11:3-4). God embraced Israel and nurtured His child, even as a father must cultivate his relationship with his children. Give your children your time and attention. Take them in your arms and draw them to you with gentle cords of love. By doing so you begin to know your children in a way that helps you address their problems and burdens. God healed and sustained Israel in times of distress, just as every father wishes to do for his own children. With strength and tenderness, a father engenders his child’s trust and reliance by developing his bond with his child. That’s a father’s love. A father corrects his children (Hos. 11:5-9). God did not ignore His child’s transgressions. When He punished Israel His heart churned within Him (Hos. 11:8; Amos 4:6-12). Yet, He applied the punishment with love, not with the terror of fierce anger (Hos. 11:9; Heb. 12:6). When you must correct your child, do not do it with hot anger. Your goal is to correct the child’s behavior, not provoke him to bitterness against you (Col. 3:21; Heb. 12:10-11). Fathers apply corrective discipline when their children sin. That’s a father’s love.

 

 

God Hates Divorce – By Bill Hall

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“I’m getting a divorce, but I don’t plan to marry again” These words are being heard with increasing frequency. Usually the spokesman is thinking that God allows the right to divorce, but would disapprove remarriage. The truth is, however; divorce itself is sinful unless it is for the cause of fornication.

Consider Matthew 19: 3-6. The question originally asked Jesus by the Pharisees was not concerning remarriage, but concerning divorce: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Jesus’ reply to that question: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” It was only after further questioning that Jesus discussed the problem of remarriage and adultery.

Consider Malachi 2:16. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away.” Even under the old covenant God did not approve of indiscriminate divorce. It is likely that the “tears” of verse 12 that “covered the altar” and caused the Lord to refuse their offering, were the tears of those who had been wrongfully put away.

Consider Matthew 5:32. “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” Observe the words, “causeth her” or maketh her” (ASV). This writer understands this verse to say that if one divorces his wife he places her in a position of temptation to commit adultery, and shares the guilt when she does commit adultery. On the other hand, if he puts her away for the cause of fornication, he has put her away legitimately and shares no guilt in whatever adultery she may subsequently commit. Consider I Corinthians 7:16: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband.” Observe the word “command” or “charge” (ASV). The following verse (verse 11) does not negate or nullify this command, but simply recognizes that one might disobey the Lord’s command (in which case he sins; 1 John 3:4), and states his options if he has disobeyed. Not only does the Lord command husband and wife to live together but also he commands them to meet one another’s physical needs (I Corinthians 7:3-5) and to love one another (Ephesians 5:25). If one companion in a marriage fails along these lines, the other must still be obedient to God, seeking to be what He would have him or her to be in the marriage relationship. Never should the thought of divorce or separation ever enter the mind unless fornication occurs. We are not suggesting that divorce itself is “adultery,” but we are saying that divorce for any cause other than fornication is sin. Christians must not be influenced by the loose standards that prevail in the world in which they live.

September 16, 2018

Two Men Try To Worship – Bill Hall

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Worship under the best of conditions can sometimes be difficult. Distractions, human error, and sometimes funny situations can occur to take one’s attention away from the Lord. Attitudes, however, can prove to be a major factor in acceptable (or non-acceptable) worship.

For instance …

Two men sincerely try to worship. The first man, though, is frustrated throughout. His frustrations begin with the opening announcements when the man in charge takes ten minutes to say what any normal man could say in three. He is hardly over that when the song leader adds to his frustrations, selecting a song he is sure contains an unscriptural phrase. The man who presides at the table doesn’t help when he uses the term “loaf” instead of “bread,” and then the man who is called on to “give thanks for the bread” gives thanks for everything but the bread. The preacher makes a major contribution by totally misapplying a passage of scripture (“He probably didn’t spend enough time on that one,” the man thinks). When the worship period is finally dismissed, he tries to share his frustrations with those around him, but no one seems to care.

The second man observes many of the mistakes the first man observes. In fact, without fanfare he just doesn’t sing the questionable phrase in the song and he silently thanks God for the bread when he realizes the leader’s failure to do so. But while observing mistakes, he focuses attention on the good sentiments of the songs that are used, and on the death of his Savior during the Lord’s Supper. He makes the prayer that is led his own and appreciates the good thoughts presented in the lesson. He has come to worship God. He makes allowances for human frailty on the part of the leaders in worship, appreciates their sincere efforts, and refuses to let their mistakes keep him from his purpose.

The first man is to be pitied. His ability to “worship” is dependent on the ability of the leaders in the worship period, and any half-observant person knows how inept that leadership can be at times. He comes to worship, but spends the hour criticizing. He blames others for that which is really his own problem. Consequently, his problem with worship becomes a problem also with his brethren; but one cannot have a problem with his worship and his brethren without having a problem in his relationship with God.

The second man, by maintaining a positive attitude toward his brethren, even when they make mistakes, is able to worship acceptably and is drawn closer to God by his worship. We are not condoning sloppily conducted worship periods. Leaders in worship should seek to avoid mistakes and to do their work effectively. But acceptable worship depends far more on the heart and attitude of the worshiper than on the abilities of leaders. Our first man may point the finger of blame at others, but his real need is a total change of attitude within himself.

(It is obvious to me that that the attitude of the “second worshiper” is the prevailing attitude of the brethren here at Hot Springs. We are thankful for, and deeply appreciate that. Nevertheless, all of us are tempted to drift from time to time. Please consider the insightful thoughts by brother Hall, examine our own hearts and renew our resolve to worship acceptably, with reverence and awe. DRP)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1)           

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;…Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach…”(Philippians 2:1-3,14-15)

 

 

September 9, 2018

Make IT As Sure As You Can – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Pilate said to them, “Take a guard of soldiers. Go and make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the soldiers of the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” (Matt. 27:65-66)

Pilate had endured many different, disturbing experiences leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Both he and some close to him had wanted to release Him, finding no fault in Him.

“As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.” (Matt. 27:19)

“He asked, ‘Why? What wrong has he done?’ But they shouted more insistently, ‘Crucify him!’” (Matt. 27:23)

We wonder about the inner struggles of Pilate. His own wife had interrupted his judicial proceedings with an urgent, conscious appeal. He was the proud representative of Roman justice. He listened to the shameful accusations and was likely very aware they stemmed from envy.

But, the mob was unhappy. They were shouting their displeasure. (sound familiar?) “Come let us reason together” is crushed by “survival of the loudest.” Noble Roman justice folded. Known injustice prevailed. Political expediency ruled. Pilate determined to pacify the Jewish leaders and quell a riot, ignobly agreeing to the execution of an innocent man.

But once Christ was dead and in the grave, Pilate’s tormenting troubles did not end. I would like to know what he was thinking when said, “make it as sure as you can.” I wonder.

Fear of the promised resurrection? Would prove his injustice.

Maybe a guard could prevent his fears from becoming reality.

Fear the promise would appear to be fulfilled by theft of the body?

Sarcasm ridicule? Now He is dead. What could a dead man do?

Sarcastic fear of the inevitable? Guard the tomb if you want.

From our perspective, however, we can see divine irony in these words. Satan had seemingly won a great victory at the cross, for the Heir had been slain. Therefore, the one thing Satan had to prevent to secure his victory was the resurrection. The purpose Christ’s coming depended on His victory over death. This is the keystone. Without it, all fails. With it all is proven true.

Note the limitation in the words “as sure as you can.” How tightly sealed and well-guarded must a tomb be to contain the Creator of all things? If His purpose was to die and rise from the dead, would man’s or Satan’s efforts be able to thwart it? “As sure as you can” was surely not sure enough!

Today we know that the tomb’s sealed entrance was breached, not so much to allow Him out (walked through closed doors, John 20:19) but to allow us to see the empty inside. Satan’s henchmen still deny the resurrection, but their efforts are just as futile as those who tried to keep Him inside. The fact remains, He left the tomb, triumphantly proving and offering eternal life.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

September 2, 2018

“You Must Memorize It” By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

That Joshua had a big job on his shoulders is a huge understatement. The momentous job of leading God’s people into the divinely chosen land of promise (full of giants and walled cities) had now fallen on Joshua’s shoulders.

 

The typical modern-day reporter, trained in humanistic philosophy would ask, “Joshua, how do you feel about that? Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel adequate for the job?” Most reporters are oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t matter how he felt about it. When God said do it, feelings are immaterial. It’s time to “Get ‘er done.” Three times in three verses God commands Joshua…

“Be strong and courageous.”

(Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.)

That should be clear enough, but how do you do that? How do you fearlessly succeed (where Moses had failed) in accomplishing a task that seems impossible? It is typical of God’s always practical directions to include “how to” instructions. God instructs…

“This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful…” (Joshua 1:8 NET)

This divine directive contains the first use of the Hebrew verb for “memorize,” (hagah), often translated “meditate.”

The Theological Lexicon Of the Old Testament says the word translated “memorize” or “meditate” means:

“to remember,” is the basic meaning… memory, mention, name”

Joshua is commanded to “remember,” to “memorize,” “meditate” on the Scriptures. The word has nothing to do with daydreaming, or contemplating your navel, but is remembering with a purpose…“so you can carefully obey all that is written in it.

David got it. Using the same word he says:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,” (Psa. 63:6)

“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:” (Psa. 77:6)

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. (Psa. 143:5)

Memorizing or meditation to show off or as an end in itself is often useless or even harmful. Witness the Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (T.M., etc.) in recent years, which lead their devotees into pantheism and occultism.

God’s prophet warns against those who…“Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” (same word). Then he admonishes, “should not a people consult their God?” (Isaiah 8:19). It’s not about how it makes you feel. It’s about filling ourselves with God’s word, His wisdom.

David condemns those who “…imagine [same word again] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1). He understands that the blessed man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2).

In other words, if we fill ourselves with and are continually guided by the Holy Scriptures will we be happy and successful.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for meditate” (melatao) is used only twice. Once, it is translated “imagine” (Acts 4:25) and is in a quotation of Psalm 2, as above. The last time it is used, however, its emphasis reverts back to the context of its first usage, as in our text above. Paul instructs (according to the NKJV)…

“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. …Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NKJV)

Or…

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. …Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NLT).

The modern fad promises wonderful benefits from the goal of meditation to, “clear our minds of things,” but God wants us to “meditate on or to memorize these things,” the life-giving, life-directing doctrines of His Word. The world’s humanistic, temporally centered counsel is worse than useless. God’s divine wisdom is different and is accompanied by God’s realistic promise…“for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8.

 

 

 

 

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