June 24, 2018

“They Are Mine” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. “And they will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Malachi 3:16-17)

We find this assuring promise toward the end of the Old Testament period, a sad time of disgusting, idolatrous unfaithfulness on the part of most in God’s chosen nation. But, there were a faithful few, a remnant.

Today, again, Christians find themselves in the minority (as expected). We can benefit from God’s words of encouragement to those in similar circumstances in the past. We should study the former situations, the conduct of the faithful remnant as well as God’s attitude toward them. First, consider the attitude of the faithful toward God. These were the few, who “fear the LORD and who esteem His name.” In addition to the demonstration of God’ majesty, obvious in His creation, their own heritage taught them multiple lesson of God’s awesome power, His character, and generous provision when His servants served Him. Noble hearts, pondering such lessons, respond in reverence. The shallow, ungrateful majority remain oblivious.

Then, consider that these faithful few “spoke one to another.” (The King James Version adds, “often.”) The remnant (typically confronted, threatened by the majority) understood the benefit of encouragement from each other. Their conversations were not just about the weather or sports events. They talked about things that mattered, their spiritual survival.

Next, consider God’s response to the conversations of these few saints: “the LORD gave attention and heard it.” Are we aware that God listens to what we talk about? Those whose conversation indicated that they “fear the LORD and …esteem His name,” God hears, gives attention, and registers in a special “book of remembrance.” Would you be embarrassed to have your conversations in God’s book…or would God appreciate what he hears?

This faithful few, God’s remnant is assured of His ultimate provision: “they will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” They will be spared while others are being judged “on the day” when all will give account.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Cor. 5:10)

Let’s determine to be among the remnant (ignoring the influence of the majority), making sure we fear the LORD and esteem His name. And make sure that our frequent conversations with fellow Christians reflect that attitude. Know that God is watching, listening and writing. The reward of the faithful few will be great.

 

 

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June 17, 2018

Joy and Gladess – Curtis E. Flatt

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

In Luke 1:14 Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would bear a son and that he would, as a result, have joy and gladness. This combination of words joy and gladness was often used in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 35:10 they are used to describe the joyful flourishing of the kingdom of God or the church which was to come. This son of joy and gladness was born and came announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand. (Matthew 3:2) This is certainly a New Testament theme, for the word joy in its various forms is found nearly a hundred times in the New Testament. Those of us who are in the church apparently sometimes fail to find or else we forget the joy and gladness of being a part of the redeemed.

No Joy And Gladness

There are things in which people should find no joy and gladness. So often people find joy and gladness in sin. This is no strange thing, for sin has its attractions, for sure. (1 John 2:15-17) But this which seems to be of joy and gladness finally leads to destruction. We must not find joy and gladness in doing our own thing as did the Israelites when they made their golden calf. (Acts 7:41) Innovations in worship bring joy and gladness to many, but there will be sorrow one day because of them. (Matthew 7:23)

Many Things Of Joy and Gladness

There are many things in which people should have joy and gladness even though they may not recognize their attractions.

Here is contained a number of these as found in the New Testament.

  1. People ought to have joy and gladness in the temporal things God prepared, i.e., rain from heaven and fruitful seasons. (Acts 14:17). However, there are other things of much more importance to bring joy and gladness.
  2. People ought to have joy and gladness in that they have opportunity to hear the gospel—the good news. When the man of Ethiopia heard the gospel, he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:39) This was because he had found something of great importance to fill him with joy and gladness. So many miss this entirely.
  3. People ought to have joy and gladness in that through this gospel they can be in Christ. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Philippians 3:1) Herein is reason for joy and gladness for it is here (in Christ) where all spiritual blessings are available. (Ephesians 1:3) This reminds us of the importance of baptism for it is by and through baptism that people get into Christ. (Galatians 3:26,27). None are in Christ who have not been baptized correctly.
  4. People should have joy and gladness in the hope which is in Christ. (Hebrews 3.6) Nothing is so saddening as to see our loved one die without the hope which is in Christ. On the other hand, nothing fills the soul of the mourner with joy and gladness like hope. Hope is one of the abiding things. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ….” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

It should also be noticed that people should have joy and gladness in the opportunity to worship God. Even though the psalmist did not have all the advantages people have in Christ, he experienced joy and gladness in worship: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) There is but little doubt, if any, that he was talking about worship. I may be a poor judge, but I fail to detect on the part of many when it comes to worshipping God. Have we missed something?

  1. In view of all of this, is it any wonder that when Christians have to suffer for right that the New Testament teaches that they should suffer with joy and gladness? The New Testament does teach that. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” There is so much meaning in the song we sing:

Tho’ your heart may be heavy with sorrow and care,

You may others to gladness beguile,

If a face like the light of the morning you wear,

And carry your cross with a smile!

For the work that you willingly, faithfully do,

You shall reap a reward after while;

Only grace in your service can glorify you,

So carry your cross with a smile.

We conclude with David’s statement to which Peter referred in Acts 2:26:”Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:8) “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at the right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

 

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June 10, 2018

Answering God’s Call – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Former heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman said he named all five of his sons and two of his five girls some form of “George” so that when he called out “George!” someone would show up! Good plan- though I’m sure it got somewhat confusing at times.

The Old Testament has some interesting and informative accounts of various individual’s responses to God calling them….

  • Adam, after his sin, hid himself when God called to him, Genesis 3:9-10;
  • Contrastingly, when God called to Moses from the burning bush, Moses responded simply, “Here I am,” Exodus 3:4;
  • When God called to the young boy Samuel in the still quietness of the night, he responded (as advised by the much older and wiser Eli), “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant is listening,” 1Samuel 3:10; and,
  • Isaiah, after being cleansed from sin (cf. Isaiah 6:5-7), heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” responded, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of it before or not, but there is no record of any of the Twelve disciples whom Jesus called refusing to answer favorably, drop whatever they were doing, and follow Him, cf. Matthew 9:9; 10:2-4ff; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:27-28; 6:12-16ff.

Before we continue, please understand that God no longer speaks to us audibly or individually today as He did in these examples. The reason for this is simple: God now speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His gospel. Consider two passages in these regards. Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world.” And, 2Thessalonians 2:13-14, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So “Yes,” we are all “called” by God, but such is accomplished through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All of this begs the question (perhaps somewhat obviously by now), “How are you responding to God’s call?”

  • When He calls you into account for your sin and to repentance, do you refuse to answer and seek to hide yourself from Him, as did Adam? You can’t hide from God. Instead of trying to do so, you should confess our sins, and repent of them. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is no declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead,” Acts 17:30-31.
  • When He calls you to become His servant to go and save, serve, and lead others to the promised land of heaven, do you respond, as did Moses, “Here I am.”? Understand your purpose. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 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,” 1Peter 2:9-10.
    • When He calls to you regarding the course and dedication of your life to His purposes, do you respond, as did Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant is listening.”? You must not only listen, but also follow Jesus in obedience. “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the river burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built,” Luke 6:46-48.
    • When He calls you to the difficult task of condemning sin and proclaiming His salvation to the lost, do you respond, as did Isaiah, “Here I am. Send Me!”? You can’t be a “closet Christian.” “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” Jude 4; and, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

    God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit is calling you to salvation and service in the Kingdom. How are you are responding to Their call?

    (Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ; 7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

     

 

 

June 3, 2018

The Greatness of God’s Love – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

This morning reading Romans 8 reminded me of the story of little Johnny visiting his grandparents on their farm.

Johnny was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced shooting rocks, but he could never hit the target. Discouraged, he headed back inside for lunch.

As he returned to his grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. Impulsively he took aim and hit the duck square in the head and killed it. Johnny panicked and hid the duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister, Sally, watching.

After lunch that day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally responded, “Grandma. Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn’t you Johnny?” And then she whispered to him. “Remember the duck!”

So Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have?

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, and Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” But, Sally smiled and said, “Well, that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.”

And she whispered again, “Remember the duck!” So, Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed at the house!

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally could not stand it any longer. He came up to his grandmother and confessed that he killed the duck.

She knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. It does my heart good to see you admit you’re wrong and because I love you, I forgive you. But I was wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

Too many Christians are like little Johnny. They are trying to hide their sins. Deny their faults. Or cover their tracks. But the fact is we all sin. Even Christians. We’re not perfect. But we’re pardoned.

Paul reminds us in Romans that the “gift of God” through our faith in Christ and obedience to His Word offers justification from our sins. So, Paul raises these pertinent and practical questions.

Who can accuse us? Who can condemn us? Who can be against us?

Not God.

God loves us with a love that is beyond human comprehension.  Rhetorically, Paul asks “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

But to leave no doubt, the apostle emphatically and powerfully answers the question.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When Satan accuses you and tries to burden you with guilt,  turn to the love of God to receive forgiveness.

When you face some trouble, trial, trauma or circumstances beyond your control that saps your spirit, remember God loves you.

When you lament the debilitating effects of sin that impact all of us. Either directly or indirectly. Crooked politicians. Greedy business people. Hypocritical church leaders. Fickle friends. All of which can leave us feeling betrayed. Empty. And alone. Never forget God loves you.

When feelings of loneliness, doubt or discouragement surface, lean on the divine truth that God loves you.

God’s love is greater than any adversity. Higher than any hurdle. Deeper than any hole. Wider than any sea. Stronger than any wind. Sweeter than than any love.

God’s love cannot be extinguished. Bought. Sold. Compromised. Or diminished.

There is no circumstance, no person, or problem that can separate us from the love of God.

In fact, even your own rejection of God does not dampen His love for you. As a bumper sticker, I once saw said, “God loves you. Whether you like it or not.”

God has made a conscious choice to love us. Even while we were yet sinners.

God’s love is longsuffering. Kind. And unselfish. God’s love is wide enough to include all people. Deep enough to forgive all sins. And long enough to use all people for His purpose.

So when the world tries to dampen your spirit, and Satan wants to steal the music from within you, fill your heart with the melody and message of this song by Frederick M Lehman.

The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell The guilty pair, bowed down with care God gave His Son to win His erring child He reconciled And pardoned from his sin

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

 

 

May 27, 2018

God’s Perfect Way by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Song Of Our 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.” (Deuteronomy31:19, 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 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 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)

We need to settle it in our hearts that God’s ways are always perfect, whether our feeble understanding appreciates them or not. 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 must be true.

It 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)

 

 

May 6, 2018

Prophecy by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:06 am by sranderson0103

Translations are human efforts to communicate the inspired words of scripture in another language. None are perfect. Most are useful, some very, others not so much. There are some obvious problems with the Septuagint translation (Hebrew to Greek) in some places, though Jesus apparently found it useful enough to use in most of His quotations. Likewise, the New Living Translation, 2nd edition, has problems in some areas, but is exceptionally useful in others. Consider it’s clear and powerful rendering of Isaiah’s confrontation of idolaters, contrasting blind idols with the true God who sees all, past, present and future.

“Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD. “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel. “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us. But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves.” (Isaiah 41:21-23 NLT)

“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.” (Isaiah 46:9-10 NLT)

When I read such passages, the words of pompous seminary professors echo in my ears, those “main-line” denominational instructors who condescendingly ridicule “ignorant fundamentalist” for using fulfilled prophecy as evidence for faith. If consistent, they would have to add Isaiah to that group. He made it unmistakably clear that he believed prophecy was powerful evidence for faith in the Almighty.

He devoutly believed this, even though he didn’t understand it all. Peter tells us that the prophets tried, but just didn’t have enough information to answer many of their questions. But now, we do!

“This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.…” (I Peter 1:10-12)

Peter is telling us about Old Testament prophecy and while doing so, he too, answers modern “scholars” who scoff at the divine authorship of Scripture.

Much prophecy was devoted to the theme of “Christ’s sufferings” and the “great glory afterward” long before the events took place. Isaiah wrote about both the glory (chapter 11) and the sufferings (chapter 53) with no indication that he knew

how to put the two together. Peter said “the prophets wanted to know more.” “They wondered what time or situation…” They yearned for the glory, such as Solomon displayed; but sufferings? They spoke plainly about it, but how did that fit in this divine picture? Christians now know, but they were mystified.

These factors make it unmistakable that the prophets spoke what they spoke “from the power of the Holy Spirit.” They had divine knowledge of the future, but that knowledge did not come from themselves. It was and wasn’t even intended for them. It was for us!

Now, it all fits together. It was not a human plan. It was from the God who was nothing like blind idols, but from the Almighty God who could see past, present and future. He is the one who has divinely devised and divinely revealed His infinite wisdom, to us. We have been blessed with consummation of God’s plan for the ages. Let us respond in awe, in reverence and humble submission to the Word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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