Daily Archives: June 28, 2013

4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

The Orthodox Church remembers the apostles Peter and Paul each year on June 29, commemorating not only their divinely inspired writings in the New Testament but also their efforts as apostles of Christ.

Here are a few interesting facts about their lives and ministry:

Peter and Paul both ended their ministry as apostles in Rome. The Gospel had reached Rome before their arrival, but they both saw it necessary to journey to Rome and bring apostolic leadership to the church there. Since Peter is not mentioned by name in Romans 16, he arrived in Rome at some point afterwards, perhaps in the late ’50s or early ’60s.
Paul was called to be an apostle on the street called Straight. Acts chapter 9 tells the story of Paul’s mystical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Pharisee, he was committed to the persecution of those following “the Way” (Acts 9:2), but was now being confronted by the Lord for his actions. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Christ himself, for the Church is his Body. Interestingly enough, this street called Straight exists to this day in Damascus, and is the headquarters of the Church of Antioch.

The apostles were at first divided over the treatment of Gentile Christians. This controversy came to a head in Antioch, where Paul opposed Peter “to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal. 2:11). Much of the New Testament is devoted to the issue of whether one must become a Jew before one can be a true Christian, and it was a great controversy in the early decades of the Church. Paul was resolute: we are justified through our faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of one’s adherence to Jewish law (Gal. 2:15–16).
Both apostles died as martyrs in Rome. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, it seems that he was given the more “merciful” death of beheading in the mid-’60s, during the reign of Nero (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, II, XXV). St. Ignatius of Antioch is an early witness to Paul’s martyrdom (ca. AD 98–110), as he writes to the Ephesians (XII):
“Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.”

Peter was to be crucified, and he requested that he be hung upside down, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

Nothing Safe About Secret Sin – John MacArthur

Jesus’ exposition of the law is a devastating blow against the lie that image is everything.

Our Lord taught repeatedly that sin bottled up on the inside, concealed from everyone else’s view, carries the very same guilt as sin that manifests itself in the worst forms of ungodly behavior. Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as culpable as wanton adulterers (Matt. 5:21-30).

So Christians are not to think of secret sins as somehow less serious and more respectable than the sins everyone sees. Here are three reasons secret sin is especially abhorrent:

1. Because God sees the heart.

Scripture tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). No sin–not even a whispered curse or a fleeting evil thought–is hidden from the view of God. In fact, if we realized that God himself is the only audience for such secret sins, we might be less inclined to write them off so lightly.

The Bible declares that God will one day judge the secrets of every heart (Rom. 2:16). He “will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14).

Not only that, secret sins will not remain secret. “The Lord [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness” (1 Cor. 4:5). Jesus said, “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3). Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all.

It is folly to think we can mitigate our sin by keeping it secret. It is double folly to tell ourselves that we are better than others because we sin in private rather than in public. And it is the very height of folly to convince ourselves that we can get away with sin by covering it up. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper” (Prov. 28:13).

All sin is an assault against our holy God, whether it is done in public or in secret. And God, who beholds even the innermost secrets of the heart, sees our sin clearly, no matter how well we think we have covered it.

2. Because sin in the mind is a fruit of the same moral defect that produces deeds of sin.

When Jesus said hatred carries the same kind of guilt as murder, and lust is the very essence of adultery, He was not suggesting that there is no difference in degree between sin that takes place in the mind and sin that is acted out. Scripture does not teach that all sins are of equal enormity.

That some sins are worse than others is both patently obvious and thoroughly biblical. Scripture plainly teaches this, for example, when it tells us the sin of Judas was greater than the sin of Pilate (John 19:11).

But in His Sermon on the Mount Jesus was pointing out that anger arises from the same moral defect as murder; and the one who lusts suffers from the same character flaw as the adulterer. Furthermore, those who engage in thought-sins are guilty of violating the same moral precepts as those who commit acts of murder and adultery.

In other words, secret sins of the heart are morally tantamount to the worst kind of evil deeds–even if they are sins of a lesser degree. The lustful person has no right to feel morally superior to a wanton fornicator. The fact that she indulges in lust is proof she is capable of immoral acts as well. The fact that he hates his brother shows that he has murder lurking in his heart.

Christ was teaching us to view our own secret sins with the same moral revulsion we feel for wanton acts of public sin.

3. Because hidden sin involves the compounding sin of hypocrisy.

Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. Hypocrisy is a grave sin in its own right. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin. And the only remedy for any kind of sin involves uncovering our guilt through sincere confession.

Hypocrisy therefore permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1).

Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, soul-coloring, character-damaging secret sins. Thus hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.

Beware that sort of leaven.

No matter who suggests to you that appearances are everything, don’t buy that lie.

As a matter of fact, your secret life is the real litmus test of your character: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life–especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word, and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart.

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A214
COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Three current elders resigned from the board at Harvest Bible Chapel.

Earlier today, 22 June 2013, an emergency meeting of the Harvest Elders was called. This meeting was necessary to address a new crisis that had emerged from within their own ranks, threatening the unparalleled unity of Harvest.

Read More Here:
Three HBC elders, Marquardt, Phelps and Slabaugh, have resigned from the Elder board, and HBC releases a statement.

James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel blaming former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis?

Over the past several months, numerous reports have circulated back to The Elephant’s Debt alleging that James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel were blaming the former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis that has threatened to overwhelm the church. But unfortunately, in most cases, these alleged remarks were not being offered in front of the church congregation as a whole; and thus there was little that we could report.

But now, as of last Sunday (16 June 2013), the situation seems to have changed. In his sermon entitled Who Needs a Resurrection?, James MacDonald has offered the following remarks, which can be found at the 22:10 mark.

Read More Here: http://theelephantsdebt.com/2013/06/19/recent-developments-19-june-2013/

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 28 June 2013

I tuned in briefly last night to IHOP’s (that’s International House of Prayer, not pancakes—pancakes would be better) 24/7 “prayer and worship” live stream. When I finally awoke from my mind-numbingly-repetitive-music-induced trance early this morning, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Wow, I hope that’s not what music is like in Heaven, because if it is, count me out.” The second was, “Wow, the Great Deceiver surely is good at what he does.”

By the grace of God, I see and hear what is sung and taught at IHOP and it never even crosses my mind to entertain it as viable, true, biblical worship and teaching. Yet, there are many who are involved in IHOP or movements like it or those who if not involved directly, at the very least acknowledge it as a legitimate expression of Christianity. The key words then in that first sentence are “by the grace of God.” By the grace of God, I’ve not been deceived by the wacky, unbiblical teachings of IHOP. By the grace of God I, as an unregenerate, false convert college freshman, found myself repulsed by one professor’s required reading of Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water when many of my classmates were enraptured by the same book. By the grace of God I later was saved out of the seeker-driven mindset that I could look and act like the world, love and treasure my sin and still call myself a Christian. By the grace of God.

By that same grace of God, then, there will be those who will be saved out of the dangerous, deceptive IHOP movement. You see, the Great Deceiver may be good at what he does, but the Savior is greater. Satan knows his time is running short, and there will soon come a day when he will never again deceive a human soul. Until that time, let us Christians be about proclaiming the gospel of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. Let us do all we can to pull men from the fire of these devilish deceptions.

If you’ve never “visited” the IHOP prayer room, take a few minutes to hop on over there (no pun intended) sometime. But, please wait until you’re done with your This ‘n’ That. I’d hate for you to lapse into a trance before you’ve had a chance to get all the way through your week in review (kind of):

Read More Here: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/06/this-n-that_28.html

‘… They Even Applaud Others Who Do The Same’

Zwinglius Redivivus

43234_StPaulTheApostleThe retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things.

And so these people have no excuse: they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is…

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How Should Christians Respond to the Changes in Culture?

When you behold the direction the culture is taking, do not ever let anger get the best of you. Recognize that not only does God have a specific purpose in it but that part of that purpose is to make a clear distinction between truth and falsehood. It may even have the positive effect of clearing out the false believers in our ranks. When the world sees more of the genuine article, by God’s grace, they will probably be more interested in what we are all about. So the political and social situation should never have us change the core message of the gospel. The Apostle Paul said, when in prison, “the gospel is not chained”. We can observe this phenomenon in more recent history when we see nations such as China who had the greatest revival in the history of mankind under the severe persecution of Chairman Mao. We should learn from this that no government or culture will EVER stop the advance of the kingdom of God. So while God would have us always to promote righteousness in every sphere, including the way we vote, our hope does not find its root there, not even by a long shot. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who is coming to judge the living and the dead.

Read More Here: http://www.reformationtheology.com/2013/06/how_should_christians_respond.php

Shall We Preach the Gospel or Morality? Part Two: Natural Virtue and Common Grace

Some contemporary Christians think it is counterproductive or even sinful to proclaim moral standards to unsaved people. One of the reasons they think this is because unsaved people are totally depraved. One of the effects of total depravity is that, apart from special or saving grace, people have no ability whatever to please God. Furthermore, apart from the administration of divine grace, natural humans will never even believe the gospel. Therefore, the question is, “Why do we expect people who openly admit to having no knowledge of or experience with God to act like they know God?”

Read More Here: http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/in-the-nick-of-time-archive/465-shall-we-preach-the-gospel-or-morality-part-two-natural-virtue-and-common-grace?tmpl=component&print=1&page=

Our Proverbs 29:2B Society: Not Just Politics As Usual

Scripture Thoughts

For today, some observations concerning the recent news, the U.S. Supreme Court rulings concerning laws about homosexual marriage. First, a few good articles for reference:  Al Mohler’s commentary and two posts from The Cripplegate (Jesse Johnson):  this first one  and this follow up.

A nominal Christian friend, generally indifferent about spiritual things, casually dismissed the recent news as basically “politics as usual.” Among the comments were platitudes about how we’re all corrupt and so even if we get rid of one bunch of politicians and form our own government, soon enough that government would become just as corrupt because people are corrupt and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Also, “remember that this world is not our home” (suggesting complete indifference to the overall moral breakdown of our society in recent decades).  As to the Supreme Court’s striking down the DOMA law passed by both House and Senate in 1996, he…

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Questions about Cults and Religions: How should Christians view the book of Mormon?

When Mormon missionaries (properly called Latter Day Saints or simply “LDS”) come to your door they will often offer a free copy of the Book of Mormon and tell you about its author Joseph Smith. Smith, they will say, translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates he dug up in a hill in New York in the early 1800’s. This is supposed to confirm his calling from God as the new prophet on the Earth in these latter days. Further, they will tell you that the Holy Ghost will confirm the truth of the Book of Mormon truth by producing good feelings in you. Next will come the invitation to “Read the Book of Mormon, pray, and ask God to show you it is true.” Of course you must do this with sincerity or it won’t work.

Before you fall to your knees, there are some things you need to know that they are not telling you (and won’t unless you ask). The first concerns many LDS beliefs that separate them from historical, orthodox Christianity. These are not found in the Book of Mormon. In fact, there is really very little in that book that is doctrinally disagreeable to orthodox Christians. The real meat of Mormonism is found in their other scriptures, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. These books, however, Mormons do not hand out at the door—and for good reason. If people knew up front what they were really going to be asked to believe (things such as God once being a man, denial of the Trinity, Satan being Jesus’ brother, pre-existence of souls, etc.) they may not be quite so willing to put aside their skepticism.

The second thing to realize is that to accept the Book of Mormon, one is in fact accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet. So what about this test of a prophet? Isn’t it legitimate to “give this question up to God?” No, it isn’t. This is because God has already revealed His test for would-be Prophets, and it has nothing to do with prayer or feelings, and God has no obligation to answer prayers that he has already answered! We do not have to ask God whether or not we should rob a bank or murder someone. Rather, James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God … and it will be given to him.” Wisdom is applied knowledge, not lack of it.

God never tells us to pray about what is true. When we want to know how tall a wall is, we don’t pray about it; we get something that we know is true (a ruler) and compare it to the wall. The Bible, God’s word, is true. That is our measuring stick for truth. See Acts 17:11, for example, which describes a group of people who were considered noble because when Paul came to them with the Christian message they “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.”

Feelings are unreliable because they are subjective, easy to produce, and are not meant to discover facts but to tell us how we feel about facts. Psychological persuasion techniques, intensity, eye contact, or mere desire can produce feelings that feel real because they are real! But real feelings are still just letting us know how we are reacting to something, not the truthfulness of that thing. The Mormon missionary handbook specifically details these techniques and missionaries go through training on how to persuade people before they ever leave the house.

What are the biblical tests for a prophet? They are in God’s Word: Deuteronomy 18:21–22 says, “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” Did Joseph Smith ever claim “in the name of the LORD” that something would happen when it did not? Yes—many times in fact.

Joseph Smith prophesied that New York would be destroyed if they rejected the [Mormon] gospel (D&C 84:114–115). He also prophesied that the rebellion of South Carolina and war between the states would result in war being poured out upon all nations; slaves would revolt; the inhabitants of the earth would mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result (D&C 87). Oddly, this prophecy is the one most often cited by Mormons to prove Joseph Smith’s prophetic power!

Further, Deuteronomy 13:1–3 says that “if a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Did Joseph Smith lead his followers to other gods? Yes.

Joseph Smith was a polytheist. History of the Church 6:474 records Smith stating, “I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.” Joseph Smith declared that “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345). This is clearly not the biblical God.

Galatians 1:6–7 says that people may be “turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all … trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” And he pronounced a curse upon them for doing so. In Romans 1:16 Paul tells us that the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation”—that’s pretty important. Did Joseph Smith teach a “different Gospel”? Yes.

Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the gospel.” The Book of Mormon says so itself in its introduction (see also Doctrines and Covenants 20:9; 27:5; 42:12; and 135:3). So what is the gospel according to Mormonism? It’s a tough question for many LDS to answer. According to Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie, author of the book Mormon Doctrine, the gospel is “the plan of salvation [that] embraces all of the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men.” In other words, the whole of Mormon theology. In the Mormon gospel we see belief + repentance + baptism + laying on of hands + temple work + mission work + church ministry + tithing + ceasing from sin + abstaining from the use of intoxicants and strong drinks and tobacco and caffeine + confessing Joseph Smith as Prophet + temple marriage + baptism for the dead + genealogy research … the list could go on and on and on. Only upon completion of all these things may Mormons attain to the third and highest level of heaven thus achieving the ultimate goal of the Mormon gospel—godhood. (see McConkie, Mormon Doctrine 116–117; Book of Mormon [3 Nephi 27:13–21]; Doctrines of Salvation 1:268; 18:213; The 4th Article of Faith; Smith, Gospel Doctrine pg. 107; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:93; 3:247; 9:312; Gospel Principles 290; Doctrine and Covenants 39:5–6; 132:19–20). In essence, Christ’s death means nothing more to a Mormon than the gaining of the ability to be resurrected so that their works may be judged.

While we cannot judge another person’s motives, we can and must judge what a person does or says. Joseph Smith, and hence the Book of Mormon, fails the twin tests of Deuteronomy 13 and 18. God takes false prophets very seriously. Deuteronomy 13:1–3 says, “That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God …; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 18:19–21 says, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death …” And Galatians 1:8–9 says, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

The gospel is God’s power to bring us to Him. He will not stand for those who pervert it. He has given us the ability and the responsibility to discern whether or not this is happening. We must carefully investigate the claims of the LDS if we are to follow what God has commanded. In fact, we are invited to judge by Mormons themselves: “Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any.” LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p.15[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the End Times: What does Revelation chapter 12 mean?

In Revelation chapter 12, the woman is described as “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). Note the similarity between this description and the description that Joseph gave of his father Jacob (Israel) and his mother and their children (Genesis 37:9–11). The stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. So the woman in Revelation 12 is Israel.

Additional evidence is that in Revelation 12:2–5, the passage speaks of the woman being with child and giving birth. While it is true that Mary gave birth to Jesus, it is also true that Jesus, the son of David from the tribe of Judah, came from Israel. In a real sense, Israel gave birth—or brought forth—Christ Jesus. Further evidence for this is in 12:5 where the Scripture says that the woman “gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” Clearly, this is describing Jesus. Jesus will one day establish His kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:4–6), and He will rule it. This verse also makes reference to Jesus’ ascension to heaven 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:9–11), speaking of the son “being caught up to God and to His throne.”

When it speaks of the woman fleeing into the wilderness for 1,260 days, it is referring to the future time called the tribulation period. Twelve hundred sixty days is 42 months of 30 days each. 42 months is 3 1/2 years. Halfway through the tribulation period, the beast will set an image of himself up in the temple that will be built in Jerusalem. This is the abomination that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. When the beast does this, he breaks the peace pact he made with Israel, and the nation has to flee for safety (also see Matthew 24; Daniel 9:27). This is the picture of the woman fleeing into the wilderness.

Revelation 12:12–17 speaks of how the devil will make war against Israel, trying to destroy her (Satan knows his time is short, relatively speaking—see Revelation 20:1–3, 10). It also speaks of how God will protect Israel while in the wilderness. This wilderness place where Israel will flee is believed to be a place called Petra. Note Revelation 12:14 where it says that Israel will be protected from the devil for “a time, times, and half a time (a time = 1 year—3 1/2 years).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Theology: GOD HAS PURPOSE

Purposive according to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary is, “…..having or tending to fulfill a conscious purpose or design…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.) Purposive is acting upon some goal or design that is yet future in the mind.

 

In God’s purpose we see a completed aspect to it, as well as an active aspect. He has a specific purpose in mind and is now acting toward that end, however He, in His mind has accomplished that purpose. We are justified and glorified yet we are in the process toward that end. We have the standing before God, however our state at present is not quite adequate.

 

His purpose is seen in a number of ways.

 

He Will Judge: Isaiah 14:26

 

God has a number of purposive lines of action, however they are all along the line of His one main purpose. Here we see his purpose is in the area of judgment however this is in line with the general purpose of showing the Devil who’s boss — so to speak.

 

He Will Direct: Romans 8:28

 

God has called us according to His purpose. He has a goal or plan in mind and is acting upon that goal or plan. If we are open to His direction through the Word and prayer, He will lead us into the things of life that He desires for us. This includes a spouse, a ministry, an occupation, schooling, investing, etc. He is interested in gaining as much benefit from our lives on this earth as He can, not only for His own glory, but for our benefit, joy and reward.

 

He Will Work Through Christ: Ephesians 3:11

 

Christ is included in this purpose and the purpose is eternal in nature. Christ has accomplished some of His purpose in the work of the cross, yet has the ongoing duty of interceding for us, as well as the future work of setting up the kingdom, and ruling over the earth for a thousand years.

 

He Will Carry Out His Plan: 2 Timothy 1:9

 

The purpose of God was set before creation and is His Own Purpose — not something man dreamed up, but HIS.

 

Why would we say that purpose is an attribute or distinctive of personality? The beasts of the field have no purpose for themselves. They react to what is going on now, and have no thoughts to the future. They react to only that which is going on at the moment, and at times they react to their instinct and the seasons.

 

A snake does not go out looking for someone to attach. They attach only out of fear. An animal on the highway isn’t there because he wants to make you late for an appointment. It is there because they walked across, and the sun felt good so they stopped to warm themselves.

 

Man on the other hand has future purpose in mind. This is not fully developed in the child for if you offer them a $.25 candy bar now or a

$1.00 bill tomorrow they will probably take the candy bar. They operate in the NOW.

 

On the other hand most people, including Christians, are tied up in their plans for the future. They are opening savings accounts, IRA’s, investing in homes and all of those neat things.

 

Purpose is not bad in man. Without some future purpose man becomes akin to a beast of the field. He becomes bored and tends to react to the NOW situation. Can you picture a woman or a man that spends hours in front of a television set for soaps or sports? She or he, as the case may be, is reacting to the NOW and has little thought to anything further future than the next commercial breaks for a snack. It can and does become their life.

 

When servicing televisions, quite often when in the homes of these addicts they would talk to me about the characters on the shows as if they were part of their family. Now and then when returning a set, one of them would get all excited because they hadn’t seen Joe Blow for two weeks and they were dieing to see how he was doing.

 

Thus, we must conclude that purpose is a characteristic or attribute of man. So, in God the thought of purpose is that of a trait or attribute that makes God what He is. It is part of His very nature.

 

APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE

 

1. Prayer changes me and not God’s purpose, ways, plans or whatever. He sees all things complete and I need to see it His way and conform to it. Prayer changes Things only. (Daniel 6:27, Philippians 2:13) He is working within us to bring about His purpose. Daniel 4:35 mentions, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” As If Anyone In Their Right Mind Would Ever Ask God If He Knows What He Is Doing.

 

Then again, I’m not sure that many of us don’t question what God is doing in our lives when He moves counter to what we had planned and get upset with Him.

 

2. Are you on the right side of His purpose? This can involve one of two things. WALK: Are you walking with Him as you know you should? He has a goal for our lives and we need to be seeking that goal and be working toward it. IF we are God’s children, He has a plan for us. IF we aren’t heading for that plan — THEN He will bring problems into our life which will help us change our direction. SALVATION: Are you on His side spiritually?

 

The old 45 rpm records were famous for having a good side and a bad side. The Lord has a good side and a bad side in the spiritual realm. Side one: Eternal life with Him as a reward for being obedient to His purpose in

 

 

Salvation. Side two: Eternal damnation as a penalty for being on God’s bad side in His plan of salvation.

 

I would like to illustrate this doctrine with a story. Friday P.M.: A man developed a toothache. He had very poor sleep that night. Saturday A.M.: He made an appointment for 1:00 PM Tuesday. Saturday noon: Pain was terrible. Called the dentist and the nurse said come in. Saturday 2:00 P.M.: Pain quit. Saturday 4:30 P.M.: The dentist couldn’t find the problem — come back Tues. and we’ll x-ray and fill it. Saturday 4:50 PM: Pain began. Sun.: Misery upon misery. Monday: Agony upon agony. Tuesday: The dentist pulled the tooth. Wednesday: The same toothache returned only worse. Called Dentist — It was his day off. Thursday A.M.: The dentist pulled the correct tooth. Thursday P.M.: Same tooth ache returned only worse. I went to the dentist and he started a root canal.

 

Thoughts Of The Man: That stupid idiot dentist. He must have gotten his diploma out of a Cheerio box. There’s a guy in California with a law suit for $35,000 over one wrong tooth pulled. That’s $70,000 for two teeth. However, the man was a believer and the Lord brought a verse to his mind. Romans 8:28, “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,”.

 

Some of his possible conclusions “for good” were as follows: Maybe God saw bigger trouble with the teeth if they remained in the mouth. They weren’t prize specimens anyway. Maybe God was going to send him to a far off country where there were no dentists. Maybe God was going to allow him to witness to the dentist. Maybe NOTHING — He waited to see how God would use it.

 

He was able to use his experience in his Sunday School class that Sunday. His lesson was on God’s everyday purpose for our life.

 

THE DOCTRINE OF PURPOSE

 

Before the dawn of time God said, “I can — I will” and He did. He had a plan — He began moving toward the completion of that plan.

 

He created — He formed man — He breathed into man the breath of life — man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7) — thus began God’s trek down a bumpy, if not rutted road with mankind. We are thankful that He had a plan, for if He hadn’t, He wouldn’t have continued past the first road block with such as we.

 

Man tried to trip God by eating the forbidden fruit, but (Genesis 3:5) God tripped man right out of the garden (Genesis 3:23).

 

The coats of skin (Genesis 3:21) showed God alive and heading toward His goal. The skins meant shed blood — the only way to rectify the wrong in any age.

 

As time wore on, God saw wickedness across the land. None were seeking His goal save one (Genesis 6:5-8). Noah and his family found grace in the eyes of God.

 

Mankind gathered at Babel with a purpose — to build a tower to heaven. This however, as is normal, was not God’s purpose — He scattered them across the face of the earth (Genesis 11).

 

God purposed to move toward His goal through the line of Abraham. This ultimately will happen but no thanks to man (Genesis 15).

 

God made a nation from Abraham which found itself in bondage in Egypt (Exodus 1). Pharaoh was there for one purpose — God’s — to declare God to the earth (Romans 9:17).

 

Out of this nation came Jesus Christ — the one that would complete the plan. Christ was to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8) — Christ was to set up the church which would show God’s wisdom to the heavenly powers (Ephesians 3:8-11). Christ’s blood enabled God to gather unto Himself a people — a people desiring to follow and serve Him (Titus 2:14).

 

God set the path with the coats of skin — all sin must be dealt with by shed blood — the blood of Jesus Christ — God’s purpose was to gather a people for His own — the people were sinful — God provided a remedy — those washing themselves in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, become a part of His people — a part of His eternal goal — a part of the people in His eternal city (Revelation 21).[1]

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A./Denver Baptist Bible College and Seminary. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.