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Archive for the ‘Influence/example’ Category

Disinherited Children

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Joan Crawford, the famous movie star of several decades back, left some of her children out of her will. She was not the first to do so, nor is she likely to be the last. It is the right of parents to disinherit a child or children if they choose to do so. Let it be observed, however, that such disinherited children do not cease to be the children or offspring of the withholding parents; they simply are left out of the will, cut off from receiving any of the estate.

Can—and will—God ever disinherit His children? One of the major tenets of Calvinism is “Perseverance of the saints,” which avers that if one chances to be among the elect of God he can never do anything sinful or evil enough to fall from God’s grace and lose his eternal inheritance. However, those who will read the New Testament with glasses that are clear, rather than with those colored by Calvinistic dogma, will discover a plethora of passages that teach otherwise, for example.:

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God’s Providence as Seen in the Lives of Elijah and Ahab

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Our English word, providence, comes from the Latin word, providentia, meaning foresight or to foresee. The equivalent Greek word is pronoia, but, ironically, it is not used in reference to God in the Scriptures. Divine Providence refers to the foresight of God by which He determines the needs of men and supplies the same for the accomplishment of His Divine Will. God's Providence benefits all men generally (Mat. 5:45). However, He exercises a more specific Providence toward His own faithful people (Deu. 4:40; 5:33; Mat. 6:33; 28:20). Just as we are commanded to "…do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10), so does God behave in seeing the needs of men and working to accomplish His will and our ultimate good.

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Laid Back, Hip—And Irreverent

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The general abandonment of decorum in society over a couple of generations has obviously had its impact on the Lord’s people—especially observable in our worship assemblies. I preached in a Gospel meeting several years ago before which the local preacher told me that the brethren were “laid back” in the way they dressed for worship. He was trying to prepare me for the fact that those who would be leading in worship would likely be “casually” dressed. Some of them didn’t even make that “grade.”

In another Gospel meeting in which I preached, the congregation used varied song leaders, some of whom wore neither coat nor tie. One poor fellow wore jeans, an ugly open-collared shirt, and sneakers and sported a distracting, obviously unkempt beard. Had he worn hunting boots he could have been mistaken for “Jeremiah Jones,” just down from his mountain cabin (never mind that he could hardly carry a tune). If such attire represented the best these men could do, they would have received no criticism from me. This hardly seemed to be the case, however. Rather, such behavior had thoughtless, careless, sloppy, I don’t care, and/or lazy (to say nothing of irreverent) written all over it.

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My Aims as a Gospel Preacher

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            It is always helpful to have a roadmap when traveling, whether on literal roadways or on the journey of life. With this in mind, I present the following as the “map” I aim to follow in my life and work as a Gospel preacher:

  1. I aim to be true to God’s Word, regardless of the consequences: “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you” (Mat. 5:11–12).
  2. I aim to seek the approval of God and His Son above that of all others: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
  3. I aim to gain as much knowledge and understanding of God’s Word as my abilities will allow: “…Give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching…  Be diligent in these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all” (1 Tim. 4:13–15).
  4. I aim to impart to as many as I can, by every honorable means, my knowledge and understanding of God’s Word: “And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
  5. I aim to say something worth listening to when I stand up to preach: “Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).
  6. I aim to remember that I have a family and that I have responsibilities as a husband and a father as well as a Gospel preacher: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;… And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 5:25; 6:4).
  7. I aim to provide a worthy example for all ages, especially the young, to follow: “…Be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).
  8. I aim to deal fairly and equally with every person: “I charge thee in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality” (1 Tim. 5:21).
  9. I aim to refrain from being vengeful toward those who disagree with me or treat me wrongfully: “Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).
  10. I aim to learn the difference between the more important and the less important and do the most important things first: “But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33).

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Jesus’ View of Scripture

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Is the Bible a mere curiosity piece of superb, ancient literature? Is it an irrelevant document, good for its contemporaries, but now a mere relic without modern use or application? If we could sit down with Jesus and interview Him about the Bible, what would He say to us? Would His evaluation of it make any difference? A personal interview is impossible, we can do the next-best thing—read what He said about it in the Gospel records.

The Bible He had was the Old Testament, but he came as “the mediator of a better covenant”— the New Testament (Heb. 8:6). We correctly infer that His evaluation of the New would not differ from that of the Old. How did Jesus view the Bible?

  • The Bible is authoritative. In His wilderness temptations, He met and answered each one with Scripture (Mat. 4:4, 7, 10). He declared that the smallest marking (of the Old Testament) text would not disappear until He fulfilled it all (5:17–19). He called a statement in the Psalms “law,” and said “the scripture cannot be broken” (Psa. 82:6; John 10:34–35).  
  • The Bible Is of Divine Origin. Critics, many claiming to be its friends and defenders, say it is a collection of myths and traditions, filled with errors and forgeries—a mere product of literary evolution. Jesus had full confidence in the historical accuracy of the Bible, as seen in references to Solomon’s riches (Mat. 6:29), the destruction of Sodom (11:23–24), David’s eating the shew bread (12:3), Jonah’s being swallowed by the great fish (v. 40), the meeting between the Queen of Sheba and Solomon (v. 42), and many others. He said that all things written in the Old Testament must be fulfilled concerning Him (Luke 24:44). His every statement about Scripture indicates absolute confidence in every word as revealed by God, not merely written or collected by men.
  • Jesus read the Bible. He regularly attended the synagogue, and He sometimes read publicly (Luke 4:16–21). He expounded Scripture from beginning to end to the apostles (24:27). The Gospel accounts quote more than 400 Old Testament passages, most of which He quoted and applied. Í
  • Jesus commended the Bible. “Keep the commandments” (Mat. 19:17). “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” (22: 29). Do what the law commands (23:2–3). “This do, and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:28).

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