The Proverbs of Solomon

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He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame (10:5 ASV).

It should go without saying there is great productivity in working. It should go without saying, but it can’t. I have heard time and again the generation coming out of high school the last few years have little interest in working and being productive. They have adopted the mindset they are to be given something rather than working for it. If they get it not, they cry foul and blame others for not getting it. Not all who are coming out or have already graduated are of this selfish way of thinking, but there are many who think this way. I have heard, at least three times, employers can hardly keep the younger generation employed. They come in to the work force after being hired with a very good start-up wage, only to leave when the going (job) gets tough or when they learn there is responsibilities day to day that must be met. The proverb deals with this type of thinking. What makes it worse are those who bail out the people who refuse to work. Why not let them learn hard lessons? “It’s so unloving” we are told. How loving is it to bail out the lazy, not teaching them to be responsible? When your child misbehaves make your discipline worth the effort, when he refuses to work let him go hungry. RT

 

THE PRICE OF LIBERTY

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One can’t live in this country without hearing from some the significance of those who have gone on before us, some even paying a high price for liberty so you and I can live in freedom. I agree with this expression in whatever form it may be expressed. I was willing to serve my country because I believe in the ideals of its founding. While some are chipping away at those foundations, doing their best to make us pay for the mistakes of those who have gone before us, it’s the Lord who reminds us that when we put our trust in Him, the dreadful mistakes of the past are carried and paid for by Him. What He requires of us is our commitment to His way, which expresses itself in faith and obedience. The price of Liberty is that Jesus paid a debt I could not pay. RT

 

Is It History or not?

As one opens the pages of the Bible to read, it’s easy to see the book presents the material within as factual history. It plainly states, in simple terms, propositions that can be either affirmed or denied, that are either true or false. Consider, for instance, Genesis 1:1-3, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (ASV). In each sentence or independent clause, there is an assertion that God did a specific thing. This is true or it is not. No middle ground.

If one denies the statements, then there is no logical reason to accept anything else one reads in the Bible, otherwise one falls into a trap of being very selective in acceptance or not-acceptance of the written record, and this is done on a rather arbitrary basis. This is revisionists-history. On the other hand, if one accepts the statements as they are written, then there is every reason to accept everything else in the Bible.

History is the record of man in time. “Time” is only measured in a material universe by people with people at its center (created on day six). Apart from man, the use of the word “history” is meaningless. The material universe “experiences” time, but man measures and chronicles it. So, with man in mind, the Bible begins with God’s creation. The words of Genesis 1, are they true or not?

Many people don’t want the Bible to be a true, factual history. For if it is, then the words of Jesus haunt those who reject. Which will it be for you? RT

 

MY LIFE

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“Lord, depart from me because I am a sinful man!” What is a sinful man? A sinful man is a person who lives life in the way he or she wants to without regard to anything the Lord wants. In other words, that “want to” is contrary to the Lord’s way. In my view, it’s not any more complicated than that. A sinful person is not one who necessarily lives life in an overly vile way, but one who lives life in a different way than the Lord’s. For the Christian, presumably the life one has chosen to live is expressed  by Paul himself: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me (Gal. 2:20, ASV).

Think about what Paul is saying. First, his life without Christ is now dead; second, the life he has chosen to live is the life of Christ; third, he understands what it is Jesus did for him and for all those who love Him, therefore he chose to serve the Almighty. If we do not embrace the life of Jesus as Paul expressed it here, we are only kidding (or deceiving) ourselves that all is well. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his second letter, “Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate” (2 Cor. 13:5). How are you living your life? RT

 

BAPTISM AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS

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In the context of our congregation, the biblical teaching of baptism for the remission of sins is not a teaching that troubles any of us (at least, with regard to what I am aware). The other day I was talking to a Baptist preacher, a man with whom I am very impressed; he was saying to me that he has trouble over the idea of someone making a decision for the Lord, then instantly dying without being baptized, how that person would not be pleasing to the Lord. I understand the nature of the problem as he posed it and I understand how some will use a similar scenario to speak against the Lord command of baptism in water as essential. Though I understand, those who think along this line are mistaken. How do I know? The scriptures teach that baptism is directly connected to the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16). Since this is so, consider: any command of God directly connected to the forgiveness of sins is a command essential for a person to obey in order to be saved; baptism is a command of God connected to the forgiveness of sins; therefore, baptism is a command of God for a person to obey in order to be saved (1 Peter 3:21). RT

 

Jesus, Growing in Grace

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It does not take much wisdom to understand the importance of growing up physically; with one’s physical growth there is to be growth in the maturation of one’s mind. In life, one who is retarded in growth due to circumstances outside their control generates compassion from many people; vulnerabilities and the innocent can be preyed upon.

When Jesus was but a little boy, he would have experienced the same things other little boys would have enjoyed. Perhaps he played in the dirt, got muddy, had a messy room (so to speak). With Jesus, just as with other little boys, he grew both physically, mentally and emotionally. With him, however, there was something different than other little boys experienced. Sometimes we have difficulty putting our arms around the fact that he was similar to us because he was so different. Yet, though different, the Scripture says, “And as Jesus grew older He gained in both wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52, Weymouth English Translation).

Whatever difference there might have been in Jesus in comparison with other children his age, the fact is, he had parents dedicated to the Lord’s will in their own lives. Jesus’ education would have been, like it should be in our case, was at home from his parent tutelage. He grew into a mature young man in a dark world of sin. Jesus saw all that was about him; by the age of twelve, he had a clear sense, more than his parents did, of what his mission would be. He asked them a question when they came looking for him, thinking something might have happened to him that was terribly horrifying.  “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, New English Translation or NET).

As Jesus was in his Father’s house, we are to be also. It’s not a physical structure that is in view, but the Lord’s church. Because of obedience to the holy will of God, the Lord took each of those who obey his will from the realm of darkness and placed them in the realm of light; the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8, ESV). This expression pertains to growth in the Lord; just a few verses later, Paul said, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:17).

There is a natural process in growth, if the body is given what it needs. If not, then growth is stunted, it is retarded and in short-order withers. This applies to one’s physical well-being and it also applies to one’s mental faculties, but even more so, in our context, to one’s spiritual health. If one does not grow in the Lord’s grace, then the one who does not grow is not prepared spiritually.

In the long ago, Jeremiah struggled greatly in handling the oppressive spirit of the people. The Lord understood, but the Lord’s understanding was expressed in an exhortation that was to generate in Jeremiah the proper response of preparing himself for the struggle ahead. “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (Jer. 12:5, ESV).

To grow as the Lord would have his saints grow takes effort, but it also takes desire. Within your heart you need to instill the Lord’s word because it is the Lord you seek to please. One can’t please the Lord without knowledge. Thus, to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, one needs to learn his will and make specific applications to living a holy life.  RT

 

Modus Ponens (Calvinism and Free Will)

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A recent discussion I had with a brother in the Lord who accepts the false teaching of limited atonement, a portion of Calvinism. In our discussion (last week of Mark) he gave not a single bit of attention to either one of these arguments. Instead, he dismissed them with a wave of the hand by saying “you need to use things like syllogisms to try and make your point but in the end you have zero scriptural support for your point.”

Anyone who turns against formal logic does so because formal logic turns against him.

He said I didn’t use Scripture. You have to be the judge of that.

1) If Scripture teaches God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, then any teaching which teaches God chooses only some to be saved (those He desires; limited atonement) is a false teaching.

2) The Scripture teaches that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10).

3) Thus, any teaching which teaches God chooses only some to be saved (those he desires, to whom He limits His atonement) is a false teaching.

Or another argument from our discussion:

1) Since it is the case God wants none to perish (1 Ti,. 2:4), and

2) Since it is the case that whoever calls on the name of God shall be saved (Acts 2:21),

3) Then it is the case anyone (or whosoever) calls on the Lord’s name can be and will be saved (Rom. 10:12-13)

Colossians 2:14-15 and the Sabbath

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I offer this in syllogistic form, it’s called modus ponens (if / then argument). This means, if the first half of premise #1 (represented by the letter “P”) is sustained, then the second half of premise #1 (represented by the letter “Q”) will be shown to be true.

Summary remarks of Paul’s point in Colossians 2:1-17 (I am offering no argument in these summary remarks). In Christ are hidden all the wisdom and treasures of God (2:1-5), with gratitude and being firmly rooted in the Lord Jesus walk in accordance with His will (2:6-7), wisdom is found in Christ not the philosophies of man (2:8-10), circumcision (directly connected with Abraham and Law of Moses) under Christ does not correspond to a fleshly matter (2:9-11), instead, circumcision under the authority of Christ is in baptism (2:11-12), those dead in sin were made alive in Christ having canceled the debt made in decrees that were against people, nailed to the Cross (2:13-14), those decrees that were nailed to the Cross are directly connected to the Law of Moses (2:14-17).

My Argument in syllogistic form:

  1. If that which was nailed to the cross includes festive days, the sabbath and decrees of a general nature, this can only be identified with the Law of Moses, then the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross.
  2. The festive days, sabbath and decrees of a general nature are identified with the Law of Moses.
  3. Therefore, that which Paul identifies by these terms was the Law of Moses and it was nailed to the Cross.

EVIDENCE to support premise #2 (or the first half or premise #1). The general tone of Paul’s remarks in the New Testament is on the topic of the Law of Moses being dismissed by God as a system or standard by which to measure man, declaring him righteous or not. Paul said the following: “Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: and by him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39, ASV). Peter says the same in Acts 15:10, speaking against those who would hang the Law of Moses around someone as a yoke. In Romans 3:20-31, Paul demonstrates the same when he said no one could be justified by the Law (Law of Moses) because it was not designed by God to justify a single person, illustrated by Abraham being justified long before the Law of Moses was revealed to the Israelite nation. The Law of Moses was designed by God to point one to Jesus so one is justified by faith, that is the Law of Christ, the New Covenant (Heb. 7:19-22; Gal. 3:24-27).

Lutheran Scholar, Marvin Vincent, wrote: “The law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s death, as if crucified with Him.”

The hypothetical syllogism of modus ponens (P implies Q, P is affirmed, therefore, Q is demanded) is sustained.

 

 

Expressions & Impressions

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Are you approachable? It is likely each of us can say, “Yes, I am approachable. Why do you ask?” It was not long ago that I heard a sister say to the preacher, “You’re approachable.” This is an interesting remark. Is the case that some in the congregation, perhaps Bible class teachers, other saints, elders are not? Perhaps. On the other hand, maybe all that was meant is the preacher is approachable and easy to talk to.

Are you judgmental? Some time back, a good way in fact, I heard a person say of an elder, “He is judgmental!” The context of that remark had to do with “Let us not approach him lest we be given a judgmental lecture about how we have done this or that wrong.” The idea behind the word “judgmental” is negative in just about every use of the word. We all have a standard by which we live and judge. Most of the time the standard is of our own making, but the standard by which we live and judge is to be the Lord’s. Then, putting that into practice, we form our opinions along with our experiences into a firm decree by which we live. When that decree by which I live is compelled on another person without them asking for it, I become judgmental. I have learned long ago this is a recipe for separation.

Again, not too long ago, I heard a brother say that when something was introduced into his mind, say some failings or struggle that belongs to a particular saint, the brother who is told this information – told because there is a desire to receive help to overcome – the brother told now can’t get the impression from the mind. Consequently, whenever the struggling one presents him or herself to the preacher, the impression made is the only image seen. The preacher now has to get over the hurdle to be of any help, while the one needing help does not realize the extra height that needs to be scaled.

Have you come across a saint who mumbles much, says nothing in the mumbling worth hearing, but is judgmental in the saying of it? I have. Rather disappointing. Murmuring/mumbling destroyed the nation of Israel (1 Cor. 10:9-10) and it destroys the saint who engages in the same.

This goes a long way to solving all of the above: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Each of us should put it into practice. RT

The Sixth Command – Murder

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     You shall not kill. The Hebrew word for “kill” is a word modern translations render “murder.” The Hebrew word can be used in contexts where one is killed intentionally or unintentionally. In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus develops what we are to understand. The command “thou shalt not kill” is a moral failing that begins in the heart before it shows itself in criminal activity.

Consider some numbing information: some in Western society are supportive of the moral failing associated with euthanasia, otherwise known “mercy” killings. If the outcry surrounding abortion is any indication, the current outcry surrounding “mercy” killings will soon die down (pun intended). It’s a shame that so many people now recognize such killings as part of our lives. In Holland, euthanasia has been in practice for decades. In December 1998 the British Medical Journal reported that in 1995 there were 900 cases of non-voluntary euthanasia victims.

The Dred Scott case of the Supreme Court in 1857 said slaves were not legal persons. The Supreme Court, in 1973, said in effect that children in the womb are not either. It was two lawyers who defended Norma McCorvey’s right to kill her child. These lawyers, it is said, had no interest in Norma as a person (surely, they did not have any interest in any child that would be in the womb either!).  They just wanted to challenge the law prohibiting killing of the innocent in all 50 states. They got their wish when in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Satan’s work.

Some argue, in their lack of moral wisdom, the child in the womb is not viable; it may be life, but not viable life. This is man’s attempt to justify an action the Lord will never accept. “Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they may enlarge their border” (Amos 1:13, ASV, emphasis added, RT).

The shame of it all is associated with people who have become hardened to the moral failings of society. We all have our own political interests. They are varied. We ought not to think, however, our varied political interests are an acceptable approach to the Lord as we vote one political philosophy, relegating the Lord’s holiness and virtue out of our public sector under the banner of “separation of church and state.” When a person votes into office a man or woman who compromises the Lord’s way, this is a contribution to the slaughter of the innocent. The attorneys who defended the killing of the innocent to the Supreme Court will give an account to the Lord, as those who ruled against moral virtue back in 1857. Why do we think it will be any different with our individual votes?

Capital punishment does not fall under the Lord’s prohibition, as can be seen throughout the Scriptures. Capital cases are not related to the innocent, but to the guilty. Capital cases are seen for the following crimes/sins: striking or cursing a parent; blasphemy; sabbath breaking; witchcraft and false pretensions to prophecy; adultery; unchastity (of various sorts); rape; incest; abducting people for slavery; idolatry; false witnessing; murder (N-ISBE, volume 3, pp.1052-1053).

APPLICATION. The principle of this command, in a New Testament context, is our obligation to the Lord as far greater than any obligation given to man, including the political arena as well. It is a moral outrage that any Christian would support what is inherently evil! We will answer for it. One violates the Scripture because of where the heart is. RT