Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nothing new under the sun.

Then all the liberals of America gathered themselves together, and came to the president, and the courts, and the legislature. And said unto them, Behold, our system is old, and our sons walk not in our ways: now make us a socialist healthcare plan like all the nations. But the thing displeased the ones who understood history and economics, when they said, Give us a socialist healthcare plan. And they said, This will be the manner of the socialist healthcare plan: It will take your sons, and administer sex changes without parental consent. And it will take your daughters and perform abortions on them, and sell the body parts of your murdered grandchildren. And it will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to the bureaucrats. And it will take half of your seed, and of your vineyards, to pay for the healthcare of the lazy and the reprobate. And it will force you to pay for contraceptives and abortions and sex changes for your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men. And it will create death panels to decide whether thy father’s father is worth saving, and whether thy mother’s mother still adds value to society. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your socialist healthcare plan which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of reason; and they said, Nay; but we will have a socialist healthcare plan over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our socialist healthcare plan may pay for all our procedures, and we may be seen as progressive and hip. And the LORD hearkened unto their voice, and gave them over to the socialist healthcare plan.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

In defense of using gospel tracts.

As God has chosen to use the written word as the primary means of revealing to us not only himself, but the sum of all truth in the Holy Writ, we can hardly overemphasize the importance of communication in this manner. Christianity has always spread furthest and widest among people groups who could generally read and write as a populace. Nor has it only been through inspired scriptures that people have been informed of God’s truth, but from the careful record keeping of the kings of Israel, to the copious volumes written by the Jews concerning their history, laws, and traditions, to the overwhelming amount of doctrine written by the early church fathers, to the reformers and puritans who were famous for their detailed writings on the effect of scripture on every aspect of life, the written word has helped God’s people in all ages not only in their own day but as a way of preserving orthodox truth from generation to generation.
It is also helpful to recognize that a work does not have to be lengthy and comprehensive in order to be impactful and serve the purpose for which it was written. The Apostles’ Creed is a very short statement, yet it has been the standard of Trinitarian Christianity for millennia. Some of the letters that were written as inspired epistles were only a couple of paragraphs long. Paul’s statement to the Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Is a poignant message that needed later teaching in order to be brought to fruition, but was the proverbial “foot in the door” that God used to begin the process of salvation to that jailer and his household.
These truths being recognized, it then follows that there is a real and helpful place for gospel truths that can be communicated through the written word. Nor does every piece of literature have to be fully comprehensive of every gospel truth, but some may present the truths of God’s law condemning sinful man, others may more fully explain the propitiation of Christ through his perfect life, death and resurrection, still others may exhort and teach particular ways in which those who have believed are to live and think and act.
As Satan used even the very words of God in an evil way in his temptation of Christ, so we must recognize that the depraved human heart will find a way to twist every good thing for his own devises and we are not exempt from some of those temptations. When we use such good pieces of truthful literature as have been afore mentioned in order to check off a legalistic checklist, as a means to hide our identity as Christians by only anonymously leaving them places for people to later find, or for other sinful reasons, God may and will use the dissemination of truth for his glory and purposes (Phil. 1:15-18), but we will be judged for our sinful motives. Some lawful uses for such tracts might be to leave somewhere in a public place for someone to later find with whom you would never otherwise have the chance to share truth, to hand to someone with whom you do not have time to engage in lengthy conversation (grocery store cashier, delivery man, etc.), to give to someone who has asked you a specific question that you believe is better explained in the pamphlet than you could explain yourself, etc.
Whether such tracts must be simply black and white booklets, or may be designed to draw the eye to them seems to me an obvious answer. So long as we are not using ungodly means in an attempt to justify a “godly” end, I suppose we ought to be more creative, purposeful, and bold than we already are in drawing in the lost world’s attention that we might tell them of Christ and pray that the Spirit would give entrance of the light into their hearts! I suppose that there are many in today’s Christians circles who would condemn Paul for using an alter to an unknown God to capture the Athenians attention only to tell them of Christ. But I believe we ought to all be more like Paul, using every means that is afforded us to share the glorious truths of the gospel, understanding that it is only by the word that faith comes!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Active commands found in Hebrews

1. Give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. (2:1)
2. Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. (3:1)
3. Exhort one another daily. (3:13)
4. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (4:1)
5. Labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (4:11)
6. Hold fast our profession. (4:14)
7. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace. (4:16)
8. Follow them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (6:12)
9. Draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (10:22)
10. Hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. (10:23)
11. Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. (10:24)
12. Exhort one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (10:25)
13. Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. (10:32)
14. Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. (12:1)
15. Run with patience the race that is set before us. (12:1)
16. Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (12:2)
17. Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (12:3)
18. Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. (12:12)
19. Make straight paths for your feet. (12:13)
20. Follow peace with all men, and holiness. (12:14)
21. Look diligently [for sin]. (12:15)
22. Let brotherly love continue. (13:1)
23. Entertain strangers. (13:2)
24. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. (13:3)
25. Be content with such things as ye have. (13:5)
26. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. (13:7)
27. Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (13:15)
28. Do good and communicate. (13:16)
29. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves. (13:17)
30. Pray for us. (13:18)
31. Suffer the word of exhortation. (13:22)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Active commands found in Titus

1. Speak the things which become sound doctrine. (2:1)
2. Aged men: be sober. (2:2)
3. Aged men: be grave. (2:2)
4. Aged men: be temperate. (2:2)
5. Aged men: be sound in faith, charity, and patience. (2:2)
6. Aged women: be in behavior as becomes holiness. (2:3)
7. Aged women: teach good things.(2:3)
8. Young women: be sober. (2:4)
9. Young women: love your husbands. (2:4)
10. Young women: love your children. (2:4)
11. Young women: be discreet. (2:5)
12. Young women: be chaste. (2:5)
13. Young women: be keepers at home. (2:5)
14. Young women: be good. (2:5)
15. Young women: be obedient to your own husbands. (2:5)
16. Young men: be sober minded. (2:6)
17. Young men: show yourself a pattern of good works. (2:7)
18. Young men: in doctrine show uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned. (2:8)
19. Servants: be obedient to your own masters, please them well in all things. (2:9)
20. Servants: show all good fidelity. (2:10)
21. Deny ungodliness and worldly lust. (2:12)
22. Live soberly, righteously, and godly. (2:12)
23. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. (2:15)
24. Let no man despise you. (2:15)
25. Be subject to principalities and powers. (3:1)
26. Obey magistrates. (3:1)
27. Be ready to every good work. (3:1)
28. Be gentle. (3:2)
29. Show all meekness to all men. (3:2)
30. These things affirm constantly. (3:8)
31. A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject. (3:10)
32. Learn to maintain good works for necessary uses. (3:14)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Active commands found in II Timothy

Keep in mind that the epistles to Timothy were to a specific pastor, in a certain place, at a particular time. Therefore, many of the commands are to particular groups of people (pastors, widows, deacons' wives, servants, etc.) and are not for all people everywhere to obey. That being said, we can all learn from these commands and if you happen to fall into one of the unique groups, the command is indeed still for you today!

1. Stir up the gift of God which is in thee. (1:6)
2. Be thou partaker in the affliction of the gospel. (1:8)
3. Hold fast the form of sound doctrine. (1:13)
4. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost. (1:14)
5. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2:1)
6. The things you have heard of me commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others. (2:2)
7. Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. - 2:3
8. Charge them before the Lord not to strive about words with no profit that only subvert the hearers. (2:14)
9. Study to show thyself approved unto God. (2:15)
10. Shun profane and vain babblings. (2:16)
11. Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2:19)
12. Flee youthful lusts. (2:22)
13. Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord. (2:22)
14. Avoid foolish and unlearned questions. (2:23)
15. Be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. (2:24-25)
16. Continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of. (3:14)
17. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. (4:2)
18. Watch in all things. (4:5)
19. Endure afflictions. (4:5)
20. Do the work of an evangelist. (4:5)
21. Make full proof of your ministry. (4:5)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The humility of Joshua

Josh. 3:7 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
Josh. 3:8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.
Josh. 3:9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.
Josh. 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
Josh. 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

Note here how Joshua takes the influence that God gives him with the people and uses it to increase their faith in God. Although God tells Joshua that the parting of the Jordan would be the means by which he would cause Joshua to be magnified in the eyes of the people, Joshua turns right to the Children of Israel and tells them that this would be the means by which they would know that God was among them and would not fail to drive their enemies out before them. The selflessness that was exhibited here by Joshua should be an example for all of us. How easy would it have been for Joshua to turn right around and say, "God has told me that he will part the Jordan in order for me to be magnified in your eyes!" However, he had a mind of service toward the people, to do what was best for them, and he knew that what was best for them was always more of God. More faith in him, more love for him, more obedience to him, and more trust in his words. If God's plan was for Joshua to be magnified in the eyes of the people, there was no reason for Joshua to grandstand or pontificate, God can and will accomplish his plan without our egotism.
What a lesson in humility and service is here to be gained for us, how often is our first priority on making sure we look good or we get our due instead of doing what is best for others, particularly the children of God? Let us commit to be more like Joshua by using whatever influence or respect we have with others to point them back to Christ, if we use it simply to make ourselves feel better or to increase our material wealth we have prostituted one of the good gifts of God, and using what could have been used to glorify God as a means of glorifying ourselves makes us guilty of idolatry!