- ReadTHE INFORMERMay 10, 2020Satisfaction
By Dee Bowman
We are a grasping society. We want more things. We want more entertainment. We want more things. We want more recognition. We want more things. We want more advancement. We want more things. We want more control. We want more things.
Fact is, we want more things. We’re not satisfied.
There is a sense of frustration which accompanies dissatisfaction. There is a reason for such frustration. We tend to try to satisfy with that which can only pacify. We find things that gratify for a while, but they soon wane and our thirst reappears, often with an even fiercer bite to it. Off we go, searching for some new invention, some new bauble which will give us some satisfaction, only to find that the same voracious appetite reappears.
We’re trying to satisfy ourselves with paltry means. Satisfaction can come only when we feed the whole man--and with the things He intended. It’s not wrong to have things; things satisfy. But what about the other appetites we have?
God has given us an intellect. He satisfies the needs of that intellect by giving us information and by allowing us to “subdue” the earth (Gen. 1:28). There is a sense of satisfaction when the mind is given its learning exercise. When there is no learning man shrivels mentally; he feels empty, unfilled. Man was made to learn.
God has given us an aesthetic nature. Man naturally tends toward lovely things. Of all of God’s creatures, He alone is fitted to appreciate the beauty of art, the harmony of music, the symmetry of fine piece of sculpture, the song of a bird (Psalm. 19:1-4). God has provided what we need to satisfy this appetite by giving us beauty in nature, color, harmony, design, order. When man deprives himself of this natural tendency he will have a deep feeling of dissatisfaction. Man was made to appreciate.
God has given us an emotional nature. This basic characteristic makes him tune in to his surroundings. Emotion is especially pertinent to human relationships--friendship, camaraderie, erotica. Man loves, he hates. He laughs, he cries. He appreciates, he disdains. He hurts, he feels good. He gets angry, he is passive. “Jesus wept” (Jno. 11:35) is a statement about his emotional nature. When the situation calls for it and we don’t cry we’re apt to have it well up in us until sometime later a veritable emotional explosion takes place. Furthermore, something is seriously wrong with a person who sees no humor in life. Contentment in this area is hard to achieve, but is a supreme satisfaction when it is achieved. Man is made to feel.
God has given us a soul. This soul must be fed just like the body (Mt. 4:4). There is a hunger that attends man’s moral nature just like that which is physical, and when it is not attended to there is not only an unfulfilled appetite, but serious consequences may result to the body’s health. God has given His word to satisfy man’s hunger for the soul (Jno. 6:35). His conscience cries out to God for relief out of his recognition of his sins, and God provides (I Pet. 3:21). “The appeal to God for a clear conscience” is an effort to satisfy the longing for forgiveness. Worship is the provision for man’s inherent need for recognition by his Creator. The local church and its various activities serve to provide man with the need for spiritual fellowship. Man is made to glorify God.
With faith God appeals to a man’s intellect. With repentance He appeals to man’s emotions and will. With obedience (first baptism, then faithful participation) He appeals to man’s desire to be recognized and be in fellowship Him.
Special things satisfy special needs. When I’m hungry for popcorn, only popcorn will satisfy. When I hunger for exercise, only some strenuous activity will satisfy. When I long for good music, nothing else will do. When I long for my beloved Norma, only she can warm my heart. And when I have an ardent longing for recognition by my Creator, only He and His methods will answer my needs.
Satisfaction is a fine feeling. Being unfulfilled has a gnawing effect on a person. The only real satisfaction is that which comes from the knowledge that you’ve done your best to serve and reverence God (Eccles. 12:13). After all, that’s what man is all about.
- ReadTHE INFORMERMay 3, 2020Attitude Toward Truth
By Ron Hall
The truth of God is a marvelous consideration. It is wonderful in its completeness and has a great attraction because of its functional capabilities. It is sufficient to meet any and all the needs of mankind (II Timothy 3:16-17) and is marked with a stamp of identifi- able inspiration. The truth of God is for everyone; no one is excepted (Mark 16:15-15). What is your attitude toward the truth of God? There are several ways people consider the word of God. Some are merely convenient, some are foolish, some bring praises to Him who gave it. What is your attitude toward the truth of God?
The I don’t care attitude? Many people today are not interested in the word of God. They are so busily engaged in “things” and “gadgets” they never have any time to give to His truth, nor do they want to be bothered by anyone about their attitude. The result? They are left alone to wallow in the squalor of ignorance and degradation. When you mention gospel truths to them, they offer the same time-worn excuses made by those who just don’t care to be bothered. Read Romans 1:21, where we are warned that such an attitude results in a darkened and hardened heart. Is this your attitude toward the truth of God?
The I care, but don’t do attitude? Far too many members of the Lord’s body are infected with this malady. It is not the knowing of the truth. They may even attend services and Bible classes, and compliment the preaching, but they just never get around to doing anything about it. They know–they just don’t do. The Lord tells us that if we know what to do but don’t do what we know, we sin (James 4:17). To know and do not is a dangerous attitude.
The I do, but don’t know attitude? This one of the saddest of all attitudes. And there are hordes of people who have this problem. They are good people who are merely misinformed. For instance, they have been told that as long as you are honest and sincere, you are religious. They have not read the truth of God, they have merely heard some well-said information, then without any investigation of the scriptures, they accept it as so. It is not enough for a person to be sincere–he must be sincerely right! In I Peter 4:11, we are told that a man must “speak as the oracles of God,” not some man-made supposition. What is your attitude? Do you seek diligently to find the truth which will make you free (John 8: 31-32), or are you content to follow same man-made creed or teaching?
The I do, because I know attitude? “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). This is the attitude described in Jesus’ parable of the sower (Luke 8) as the productive servant of Christ–the seed in a good and honest heart that produces abundantly. These are the folks who “having and honest and good heart ...” “hear the word and keep it.” Truth is both definitive and available. Further- more, it is wonderfully functional. When it is applied to life’s situations it not only functions efficiently, but brings peace to him who uses it properly and glory to God who gave it.
The I know and will grow attitude? This is a vital and necessary attitude for the child of God. It is imperative that the follower of Christ continue to grow in their love for the Father and for His word of their salvation. We are admonished to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). We are to be those who, “...speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Each of us would do well to make sure we have a good attitude toward our Lord and His word of truth.
- ReadTHE INFORMERApril 26, 2020JOHN 14:6
By Charles Brian Knight
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV).
In a world of many ways, Jesus was claiming to be the way. In a world of many different religions, Jesus was saying that He was the way to God.
The essence of what Jesus taught is that all people everywhere, including you and me, have been created by God, but we have all turned to our own ways (Isaiah 53:6). It looks different in each of our lives … each of our stories is different … but what unites us all is that we’ve all turned from God’s way to our way. This is “Sin.” And it separates us from God.
According to Jesus, this is everyone’s biggest problem. We have all (in different ways) rebelled against God and we stand under the judgment of God. The Scriptures reveal that all people are under the wrath of God … the just judgment of God … because we’ve turned away from him (Romans 1:18-25; 3:9-19). And at the same time, Jesus says that He’s the way to be saved from that wrath and judgment. Not just a way, but the way and all who don’t believe in him and obey Him remain under God’s wrath:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
Jesus’ claim in John 14:6 denounces the mountain theory of religions that’s so common in the world …This idea that all religions are fundamentally the same and equally valid, so religion is just a matter of preference or personal taste, and no one of them is more true than the others. Faith is kind of like ice cream … just like you choose your favorite flavor of ice cream, you choose your flavor of faith. You choose whatever way works for you.
“I am... the TRUTH
Amidst a culture that questions truth, Jesus claims to be the truth (John 14:6). We live in a culture that sets truth aside and says faith is a matter of personal taste or even tradition. And into a culture that sees faith as a matter of taste (whatever works for you) or tradition (whatever’s most acceptable around you),
Jesus says that faith is a matter of truth:
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ ” (John 8:31–32).
This makes sense because all religions can’t be true at the same time. Either God does exist or God doesn’t exist (which atheism or agnosticism would either claim or lean toward). This is not a matter of taste or tradition; this is a matter of truth. Either God is or God isn’t. And either atheists or Christians, for example, are basing their lives on a lie … they can’t both be right. (See 1 Corinthians 15).
Eternity is dependent on what’s true here … not on where we were born or what we prefer. Jesus claimed to be true … the true representation of God … speaking the truth about God … that all people have turned away from God … and that the only way to be brought back to God was through what he would do on the cross (Colossians 1:20-23). Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross makes it possible to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is not a matter of preference, tradition etc.
“I am... the LIFE.”
To all who long for peace and joy in life, Jesus claims to be the life.
Three days after He died, of His own accord (John 10:17-18), He was alive. This makes Jesus utterly unique in the history of the world. No one else has conquered death! Which is why Jesus was always talking about life … and eternal life at that. He would meet people at different points in their lives … and He would find them with the same longings that you and I have … longings for peace, for comfort, for meaning, for joy, for life to its fullest. And so He said to a woman at a well who had had numerous husbands, and yet found herself alone, he said:
“Everyone who drinks of this water [at this well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14).
He said to a crowd of hungry people:
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall NOT hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
He said to a people looking at darkness in the world around them:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
He said to a people whose joy and peace were constantly being taken from them in this world:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Truly, Jesus alone is... the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.!
- ReadTHE INFORMERApril 19, 2020Identity With The People of God
By Kent Bailey
The people of God have always been identified by that of an obedient faith. In Hebrews chapter 11 we are given an inspired definition of faith. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is therefore trust, or reliance (Hebrews 11:1-6).
In noting great heroes of Biblical Faith we take note that such faith was always demonstrated in their obedience to God (Hebrews 11:4-19). While those mentioned in our text were never amenable unto God under the New Testament of Christ, they were amenable to God under which covenant that they lived. For one to be identified with the people of God, one has always had to be an individual of an obedient faith.
Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Enoch was translated that he should not see death. Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his own family. Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed. He trusted God so much that he was willing to offer up Isaac his only begotten son accounting that God was able to raise him from the dead to keep the promise made unto him.
The elements of a Biblical Faith was also found within the lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. As they trusted God they demonstrated such by their willingness to obey Him in all things. Understanding the elements of faith leads tone to also understand the fact that there can be no blessing resultant from faith only or faith alone. All blessings contingent upon one’s faith is also contingent upon one’s personal obedience.
While in Egypt Moses lived as a prince (Acts 7:20-22). The Egyptians, during their time, were the most enlightened people on the earth. The Hebrews were a despised people in bondage. The Egyptians were a people of false religion being polytheistic in nature in the worship of a multiplicity of false gods. In spite of all of their brilliance, advanced scientific learning, and great accomplishments these individuals were separated from God and alienated from fellowship from Him. The Hebrews were God’s people who recognized Him as the one and only true God of heaven and earth.
In the providence of God Moses was brought to prominence both in Egypt and among the people of God. Such prominence placed Moses into a situation where he could not remain in dignified silence. Because of his love of truth, he chose to accept affliction with the people of God and be identified with them (Hebrews 11:23-29). Let us note some specific elements of identity with the people of God.
The importance of an obedient faith (11:23). The fact that Moses is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 identifies him as an hero of an obedient faith. The case that the element of faith is that which is learned from proper information as well of the fact that the parents of Moses saw the importance of protecting Moses demonstrated that they had a great faith that they imparted unto him (2 Timothy 1:1-5; 1 Timothy 5:14; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
The need in standing against one’s own privileges (11:24). Being reared in the comfort of the Egyptian palace Moses was accustomed to the finer things in life. However truth had so impressed him he was willing to cast aside the prestige that he had received in the royal household in order to be right with God (Philippians 3:1-14).
The choice of suffering affliction in identity with the people of God (11:25). While no one desires the elements of suffering, and while sacrifice without purpose is pointless. Identity with Christ and the people of God at times demands that one be willing to make such a choice (2 Corinthians 11:20-28).
Esteeming the reproach of Christ as being greater than the riches of this world (11:26). Moses was not ashamed of truth and was willing to forgo everything given to him from power, prominence, and riches to identify with the people of God. Such prefigured the suffering of Christ and must find identity in the lives of all Chris- tians today (1 Peter 4:1-4; 11-16).
A willingness to forsake society, not fearing the powers that be (11:27). Moses was certainly aware that even though he had been favored in the past within the Egyptian palace, things had changed within his life that brought about a change in not only circumstances but also in identity. When one becomes identified with both God and his people the circumstances in life will change that will not always bring continuation fore the things of this world remaining favorable on our behalf. Society had so much hatred for Christ that they crucified him. Modern day society has so much hatred for truth that they will hate us with the same hatred that they had for Christ (Matthew 10:24-28).
Develop an endurance seeing Him who is invisible (11:27). Regardless of the difficulties and sacrifice let us endure and not give up the faith looking unto God (Hebrews 12:1-4).
Remember that faithful obedience unto God is the key to victory and eternal life (11:28-29). Faithful obedience unto God is never attained in a single step or only one act. Obedience is iniated by our acceptance of truth, activated by our obedience to truth, and maintained by our faithfulness to truth as long as we live (Hebrews 5:8-9). May we see the need for identity with the people of God in obedience to the gospel of Christ as well as in faithfulness to him in all things.
- ReadTHE INFORMERApril 12, 2020Christians & Easter
By Charles Brian Knight
Were you aware...
1) That the church in the NT did not observe a YEARLY
observance of the Lord's resurrection, but did it on a weekly basis (Acts 20:7).
2) The word "Easter" is found only once in the KJV Bible (Acts 12:4) and was forced into the text by translators. In fact, Easter did not exist yet! The word in the Greek is actually "Passover" and is correctly translated so in other Bible versions.
4) The NT contains no reference to a YEARLY celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
5) The observance of Easter was fixed by the 1st Council of Nicea (325 AD), NOT BY JESUS OR THE APOSTLES!
"At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement?
And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind.
Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of the festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept from the
first day of the passion until the present time...."
— Emperor Constantine, following the Council of Nicaea (AD 325)
Quick Background Info on Easter:
1) That the word "Easter" actually comes from " ĒOSTRE ", the
Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.
2) To her was dedicated a month corresponding to our April.
3) Her festival was celebrated on the day of vernal equinox. Many of the customs associated with Easter illustrate this and other pagan connections.
4) "The rabbit was sacred to 'Eostre', the goddess of fertility and springtime... And if you stop to think about it, rabbits are an extremely appropriate symbol for springtime, because of what they
are famous for--having more rabbits."
Why does the Easter bunny carry eggs? Rabbits don't lay
Rabbits and eggs are both symbols of fertility and new life. Like Christmas, Easter is a pagan holiday in its origins, originally
celebrating the new life of spring after a long dark winter.
This ought to prompt some questions in the minds of
How did the YEARLY observance of Jesus' resurrection get
started? How did pagan names and traditions become associated
with a "Christian" holiday (esp. one considered "the most
holy")? What bearing should all this have on Christians today?
Should the Lord's church involve itself in such a holiday?
How about observing certain elements of it as individuals?
LOOKING AT EASTER FROM A "HISTORICAL" PERSPECTIVE
THE YEARLY OBSERVANCE OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The practice began early, in the form of a "Christian"
Passover. The Passover was already an important feast to the Jews
Instituted by God (through Moses), commemorating their
deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 12). It was during this feast that Jesus instituted the "Lord's Supper" (Matthew 26:26-29). Many Jews continued to keep their Jewish customs and religious festivals after their conversion to Christ.
Paul was not opposed to observing such Jewish customs
(Ac 18:18-21; 21:17-26). John and Philip were said to observe the Passover every year (cf. Eusebius).
But the Passover (and other Jewish festivals) was never bound upon the Gentiles! Shortly after the death of the apostles, some of the"Jewish" festivals began to be observed as "Christian" festivals, i.e., the Passover was now observed in memory of
Christ's death--Who died during Passover week, Who was offered as our Passover lamb for our sins (1 Cor. 5:7-8). Thus began a YEARLY observance... Even though Christ instituted the Lord's Supper as the only proper memorial to commemorate His death (Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26) i.e., the Passover was now observed in memory of Both Biblical and historical evidence indicate that this was a WEEKLY observance (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:20-22; 10:16-17).
THE INTRODUCTION OF PAGAN CUSTOMS
Assimilation of pagan ritual into "Christian" observances was a common practice. When people took the gospel into a pagan area...
Many unfortunately would not discourage the local residents to discard their pagan rituals (Acts 14:8-18). Instead, they would attempt to give such customs a "Christian" flavor. With the advent of Christianity, the egg, still taken as a symbol of life, was simply borrowed to be a symbol of the Christian holiday. The earliest Easter eggs were dyed red to represent the
blood shed by Christ.
The custom of the Easter egg originated among the early
Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory
of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion. The Christian
Church officially adopted the custom, regarding the eggs as a
symbol of the resurrection; in A.D. 1610, Pope Paul V
proclaimed the following prayer:
“Bless, O Lord! we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance to thy faithful servants, eating it in thankfulness to thee on account of the resurrection of the Lord.”
Without the help of historical research, we would have forgotten the pagan origins. But it also leaves many people with erroneous conceptions: Having people believe that Christians have always
observed a yearly festival regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the case of Christmas, leading people to believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25th, not knowing that it was originally a Roman feast day.
PAUL GAVE WARNINGS REGARDING FEAST DAYS
Paul expressed his concern for the churches in Galatia (Gal 4:8-11)
He does not say that their practice was wrong per se, only
that he is concerned. From the context, his concern pertained to "why" they were doing these things.If they believed it was necessary to be saved, then Paul's labor among them was in danger of being in vain. Seeking justification through the Law, religious
feast days, etc., causes one to fall from grace and become estranged from Christ! (Gal 5:4).
Paul admonished the Colossians not to let anyone "judge" them (Col 2:16-17) about such empty observances. Some were seeking to bind the Law upon the Gentile believers (Acts 15:1,5). Gentile Christians were told not to let any one judge (condemn) them, for salvation is in Christ, not in the keeping of the religious feast days of the Law. But, as we noted before, Paul was not opposed to observing certain feast days himself: He did not hesitate to keep Jewish customs when expedient (1 Corinthians 9:19-20). He had Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:1-3). He took a vow (Acts 18:18). He sought to keep a Jewish feast in Jerusalem (Acts 18:19-21). He participated in purification ceremonies, which included animal sacrifices (Acts 21:17-26; Numbers 6:13-20). However, in his teaching it was made clear, that those who practice such things: Should be kept on an individual basis (Romans 14:5-6); Should not be bound on others (Gal. 2:3-5); Remember that It had nothing to do with our justification in Christ (Gal. 5:4-6). Where Paul drew the line was in making such matters church doctrine or practice, where people were compelled to do them!
LOOKING AT EASTER FROM A "BIBLICAL" PERSPECTIVE: JESUS WARNED OF THE DANGER OF HUMAN TRADITIONS:
Jesus rebuked the scribes Pharisees for their use of traditions
(Mark 7:1-13). They made their traditions necessary for all to observe (Mark 7:7). Furthermore, in keeping their traditions, they laid aside the purpose and commands of God (Mark 7:8-9).
Traditions of men are wrong, then, when they: 1) Become matters of doctrine or required practice, bound upon all. 2) Displace the commands of God by the very keeping of the traditions.Traditions are therefore like the feast days; in certain situations they can be matters of expediency, but if we are not careful they can become a stumbling block to us (Romans 14:13!
MAKING APPLICATION IN REGARD TO EASTER
The Bible is silent regarding any YEARLY observance of
Christ's resurrection. God and Jesus evidently did not deem it necessary for the church. Any yearly observance is based upon human tradition, not God's Word. As a human tradition, we must be very careful (Mark 7:7-9) It cannot become a matter of doctrine, which is bound upon others. It cannot displace the keeping of God's commandments.
An annual observance by the church is unwise, if not wrong: It intertwines human traditions with God's commands for His church. It forces people to observe what is a human tradition. On an individual basis, however, if one wishes to esteem one day above another: It is between him and the Lord (Romans 14:5-6). But one must be careful not to condemn those who differ (Romans 14:4,10-12). And we must be sensitive to the convictions of others (Romans 14:13-19; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
As for the pagan elements… Again, perhaps this is best left on an individual basis: My own understanding is that we are free in Christ to change what may have been a religious practice at one time for personal use as an expediency (1 Corinthians 10). For example: 1) Using circumcision for personal hygiene purposes. 2) Using Christmas as a holiday to share gifts out of kindness for friends, & loved ones. 3) Using colored eggs and hiding them for family
As Christians we should give thanks everyday for Christ's life, death, and resurrection! (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:20). But, seeking to "continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine“ (Acts 2:42), the Lord's church should refrain from adding human traditions to its identity, work, and worship.
- ReadTHE INFORMERApril 5, 2020What is the Most Important Thing To You?
By Tommy Thornhill
I am addressing this question to readers who believe in God, who believe in heaven and hell and who believe that every person has an immortal soul which will spend eternity somewhere after this life is over. But, before you answer the question maybe you ought to give some serious thought to what it will be. Now to the question.
Is your FAMILY the most important thing to you? Before you answer, let me reply, “It should not be!” Remember, Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” Matt.10:37. In his account Luke adds, “…brothers and sisters” Lk.14:26. Jesus is not denying family love is important, for it is. His point of emphasis is that when He and His Father are given their proper position (placing Them first – Matt.6:33; 22:36-40) then man will know how to interact in family relationships since God not only formed the family unit He gave the laws to regulate it. Following God’s law will make the family what it should be, and you will learn how to properly direct your love.
Is your PHYSICAL LIFE the most important thing to you? It should not be! The Lord Jesus said, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” Jn.12:25.
Is WORLDLY PLEASURE the most important thing in your life? It should not be! It was those who “are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life” Lk.8:14 which caused them to be lost. Paul warns that such people are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” and describes them as people “having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away” 2.Tim.3:4-5.
Is MAKING A LIVING more important to you than living the Christian life? When “making a living” interferes with your responsibilities to God, the church and your family; it becomes a liability. Making money should not be the most important thing in your life. Jesus Christ said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” Lk.16:13. Mammon is money.
Is HAVING WORLDLY FRIENDS more important to you than anything else? It should not be! God tells us in Jas.4:4, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And again, “Do not be deceived; evil company corrupts good habits” 1.Cor.15:33.
Is BEING POPULAR WITH OTHERS the most important thing to you? It should not be! The divinely inspired apostle Paul said “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” Gal.1:10.
Is LOVE FOR THE WOLRD more important to you than love for God? It should not be! God tells us “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1.Jn.2:15.
Conclusion: What is the most important thing to YOU? After you eliminate the above matters, you can begin to clearly see what the child of God has left as the most important thing in life. To me the answer is very clear. There is nothing more important in life than to know God and His Son. WHY? Let Jesus answer. “And this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” Jn.17:3.
In his “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” W.E. Vines points out that the word “know” (ginoske) is frequently used to indicate a relationship between the person knowing and the object known i.e. what is known is of value and importance to the one who knows, hence the establishment of a relationship. In other words, to know God and Jesus Christ is to realize, recognize and understand completely that only by establishing and maintaining an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son will one be able to gain eternal life, to live forever with Them in heaven. What could be of greater importance than this?
So, how do we come to know God and Jesus? “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” 1.Jn.2:3-6. How well do you know Them?
- ReadTHE INFORMERMARCH 22, 2020"God isn't Bound by Time!"
By Eric Lyons
Although for millennia Genesis chapter one had been understood as the original creation of the Universe that took place in six literal, majestic days, within the last two centuries many have been duped into believing that the billions of years required for evolution must fit somewhere within the first chapter of the English Bible. For numerous “Bible believers,” evolutionary dating methods have become the father of biblical interpretation. Therefore, we are told that God spent, not six literal days, but billions of years creating the Universe and everything in it. We frequently hear such statements as: (1) “God is not bound by time”; (2) “God could have taken as much time as he wanted while creating the Universe and everything in it”; and (3) “Billions of years could have elapsed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3.” To say that Creation did not last millions or billions of years, supposedly, is to limit Almighty God.
There is no question that God is not bound by time. He is the infinite, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. The point, however, is not whether God is outside of time (cf. Psalm 90:2), but what God has revealed to us—both in Genesis 1 and in the rest of the Bible. God could have created the Universe in any way He so desired; in whatever order He wanted, and in whatever time frame He so chose. He could have created the world and everything in it in six hours, six minutes, six seconds, or in one millisecond—He is, after all, God Almighty (Genesis 17:1). But the question is not what God could have done; it is what He said He did. And He said that He created everything in six literal days. When God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments, He stated:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11, emp. added).
This Sabbath command can be understood properly only when the days of the week are considered regular 24-hour days.
Based upon God’s use of words throughout Scripture which represent time periods that are much longer than a regular day (cf. Genesis 1:14; 2 Peter 3:8), we can rightly conclude that God could have revealed to man that this world was created over a vast period of time. [He could have used the Hebrew word dôr, which means long periods of time.] The fact is, however, God said He created this world and everything in it in six days (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; cf. Psalm 33:9; 148:5; Mark 10:6).
Question: What’s wrong with the way God said He did it?
- ReadTHE INFORMERMarch 15, 2020“Scientists Don’t Have a Clue How Life Began”
By Kyle Butt
Twenty years ago, John Horgan, staff writer for Scientific American, wanted to write an article titled, “Pssst! Don’t Tell the Creationists, but Scientists Don’t Have a Clue How Life Began.” His editor at the time did not like the title and changed it. Horgan has waited 20 years, however, and the original editor is gone who did not like his title, so he simply re-used it for an article he wrote in February of 2011, two decades later (Horgan, 2011). The fact that Horgan could accurately say that the scientific community did not have a clue 20 years ago about the origin of life, and the situation has not changed in two decades of intense research, speaks volumes about the false theory of evolution and its explanation of the origin of life.
The reason that “scientists don’t have a clue how life began” is because those whom Horgan is labeling as “scientists” have prejudicially eliminated the only viable option for the origin of life. What Horgan means is that scientists who believe in evolution cannot give any plausible, naturalistic scenario that would make life possible. Horgan mistakenly equates “scientists” with “evolutionary scientists.” The fact of the matter is, thousands of scientists across the country know exactly how life began—God created life during the six-day Creation week. In fact, we at Apologetics Press have several highly qualified staff and auxiliary scientists who have studied the evidence and know how life began.
The quandary that Horgan and evolutionary scientists are in arises from the fact that, according to evolution, life had to spontaneously generate from non-living chemicals—and there is no plausible naturalistic accounting for this. To defend his position that “scientists” do not have a clue, Horgan explained that the idea of DNA molecules forming spontaneously has major problems: “DNA can make neither proteins nor copies of itself without the help of catalytic proteins called enzymes. This fact turned the origin of life into a classic chicken-or-egg puzzle: Which came first, proteins or DNA?” (2011). Horgan then noted that origin-of-life scientists have postulated that RNA might be the answer to the beginning of life. But he concluded: “The RNA world is so dissatisfying that some frustrated scientists are resorting to much more far out—literally—speculation” (2011). The far out ideas to which Horgan eluded are notions that life was dropped off by aliens, or that microbes from outer space “seeded” our planet. Horgan correctly observed that such outlandish suggestions only “push the problem of life’s origin into outer space. If life didn’t begin here, how did it begin out there?”
In his concluding paragraph, Horgan wrote: “Creationists are no doubt thrilled that origin-of-life research has reached such an impasse…but they shouldn’t be. Their explanations suffer from the same flaw: What created the divine Creator? And at least scientists are making an honest effort to solve life’s mystery instead of blaming it all on God” (2011). Horgan is exactly right when he says that scientists (read that “evolutionary scientists”) do not have a clue how life began. He is wrong, however, to insist that the evolutionary scenario of life’s origin rests on the same footing as the concept of creation. The origin-of-life research has not shown that a naturalistic origin for life is merely improbable; instead, it has shown that it is impossible—life does not and cannot spontaneously generate from non-living chemicals. That being the case, the only truly “scientific” idea left would be to follow the evidence where it leads—to an intelligent, supernatural creator. Antony Flew, at one time the world’s foremost atheistic philosopher, came to just such a conclusion when he wrote: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind” (2007, p. 132).
Flew, Antony and Roy Varghese (2007), There Is No God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York: HarperOne).
Horgan, John (2011), “Pssst! Don’t Tell the Creationists, but Scientists Don’t Have a Clue How Life Began,” Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=pssst-dont-tell-the-creationists-bu-2011-02-28.
- ReadTHE INFORMERMarch 8, 2020Jesus is the Savior of the World
By Shane Scott
The biggest deception in advertising is the phrase, “One size fits all.” Well, at least if you are a guy built like me! There are very few clothing items I have come across that are supposed to fit everybody that also work for a man of my stature. The first time I tried to baptize someone using “one size fits all” waders, I split them right up the seam, and got more wet than the new Christian did!
In John 4:42 some new believers in Samaria described Jesus as “the Savior of the world.” The world is an awfully big place. So many different kinds of people facing different challenges. How could a single Savior truly fit the needs of this diverse, sin-ridden world?
In John 3-4 the evangelist describes three very different kinds of people, from radically disparate backgrounds, each facing their own unique sort of issues. And yet the “Savior of the world” provides exactly what each of these people needed.
The Religious But Lost
John 3 tells the story of Jesus’ visit with a “ruler of the Jews,” a Pharisee named Nicodemus. This man had impressive religious credentials. As a Pharisee, he was part of the largest and most devout sect of the Jews. As a ruler, he possessed great prestige in society that treasured people of the status Jesus later afforded him, “the teacher of Israel” (John 3:10). In John 7 we learn that Nicodemus was even a part of the illustrious Jewish council, the Sanhedrin (7:50).
Did Nicodemus not want to openly risk his standing by coming to see Jesus during the broad daylight, and seek the cover of darkness by coming at night (John 3:2)? Perhaps. Regardless of what Nicodemus intended, given the heavy emphasis on the theme of light vs. darkness in the fourth gospel (see 3:19-21; 9:4; 11:10; 13:30), it is hard not to draw a negative inference from the fact that he came at night. And what is implicit becomes explicit when Jesus completely ignores the pleasantries extended by Nicodemus and says to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus’s fleshly accomplishments – his great learning, his family pedigree, his social standing – are completely irrelevant to the kingdom of God. All that matters is an inward transformation so comprehensive it is described as being born anew by the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
The deeply entrenched religious rulers Jesus encountered were the least likely to respond to His message. John later explains that they did not openly acknowledge Jesus for “fear of the Pharisees” and that “they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (12:42-43). But the Savior of the world came to save Pharisees, too. And throughout the gospel, there is a progression in the life of Nicodemus – from the dumbfounded inquisitor in John 3, to the fair-minded council member in John 7, and finally to the partner who helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus in John 19. This suggests to me that faith had sprung up in his heart.
Jesus is the Savior of the religious but lost.
The Immoral and Outcast
The woman introduced in John 4 could not be more dissimilar to Nicodemus. He was a Jew; she was a Samaritan. He was a religious leader; she was an immoral woman (“You have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband,” v. 18). He was a man of standing; she was drawing water from a well for herself. But even though her background was completely different from that of Nicodemus, the Savior of the world came to save her as well.
In her case, Jesus initiated the conversation – “Give me a drink” (v. 7). The woman was confounded that a Jewish man would breech societal convention and speak to her (a sentiment shared by the disciples according to v. 27). And just as quickly, Jesus turned the conversation from literal water to the spiritual water she needed to quench her soul’s thirst.
But sometimes those who are dehydrated don’t really know how desperately thirsty they are – like this woman. And so Jesus made a simple request that at once sensitized her to her parched spiritual condition: “Go, call your husband” (v. 16). When Jesus then proceeded to describe all of the skeletons in her closet, the Samaritan woman realized she was in the presence of a prophet (v. 19), and immediately changed the subject (v. 20).
Every time I read this story, I am always amazed by Jesus. His ability to establish rapport and then shift the conversation to the kingdom is astonishing. And His mix of compassion and conviction is also incredible. He unhesitatingly confronted this woman with her sin, and her erroneous ideas (v. 22). But at the same time, He reached out to her, and gave her one of the few clear professions of His identity found in the gospel – “I who speak to you am he [the Messiah]” (v. 26).
Here is another case of a progression of faith:
-“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (v. 19).
-“I know that Messiah is coming” (v. 25).
-“Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29).
-“Many Samaritans believed…because of the woman’s testimony” (v. 39; cf. v. 42).
Jesus is the Savior of the immoral and outcast.
The Desperate But Seeking
There is one more story in John 4, totally different from the account of a presumptuous religious official and sullied immoral woman. It is the story of a desperate father, an “official” (probably in the service of the government, i.e. a Gentile) in Capernaum whose son was at the “point of death” (v. 47).
This despairing father chose to travel the 14 miles that separated Capernaum from Cana in order to find Jesus and get Him to come back to intervene on the boy’s behalf. What an incredible gamble! What faith this man had to leave his child on his deathbed to find a total stranger and beg Him: “Sir, come down before my child dies” (v. 49).
If the trip to Cana required faith, though, the trip back home required far more, because Jesus did not return with him. Instead, He simply said, “Go, your son will live” (v. 50). And rather than scramble to find another healer, or insist that Jesus come to minister to his child in person, “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way” (v. 50).
Since he did not arrive home until the next day (v. 52), this meant that the father had to spend a night away from his son, not knowing whether he lived or died. But when his servants finally reached him on his way home, he learned that his son began to get better at the very hour Jesus had spoken to him. “And he himself believed, and all his household” (v. 53). His initial faith that prompted him to go to Jesus, borne out of desperation, matured into deeper trust that Jesus was indeed the Savior of the world.
Jesus is the Savior of the desperate but seeking.
These three people had nothing in common but the one thing that matters most of all. They needed Jesus. And Jesus provided exactly what each of them needed. There are many religious people today who need to learn the full truth of who Jesus is and what it is to be in His kingdom. And there are many immoral people whose lives are a wreck and need to be lovingly confronted by Jesus. And there are many desperate people frantically dealing with crises and need the Savior who is unimpeded by time or geography. Jesus is what they need, and Jesus is what we need to give them. He alone is the Savior of the world.
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