Archive for the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ Category

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

December 8, 2018

Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13 - Seed, Soil, wayside, stony ...HT graphic:  gbcdecatur.org

That’s a question that Ligonier.org – The teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul answers in a video presentation. There is also a transcript to read.

Excerpt:
He actually answers that question Himself, or gives one answer to it, when He tells the parable of the sower and the soils and His disciples don’t get it. They come to Him and say, “What was that all about?” and He explains it to them.

He says, “I’m giving these explanations to you because you’re my disciples. But one of the reasons I tell these parables is because when I tell the parables it actually makes clear whether people really grasp the meaning of the kingdom or not.” (See Matthew 13:11-17, Mark 4:10-12, or Luke 8:9-10.)

I don’t know if it’s said so often these days, but there was a time when people constantly said to ministers, “You should tell more stories like Jesus so that we can understand.” But Jesus didn’t tell these parables so much so that people would understand. They were really test cases of whether they understood the gospel that He preached in other words. When you think about it, that’s the case.

The Parable of the Sower is the gateway to all of the parables of Jesus.

Parable of the Sower | BibleOpia BlogThis explains why people can be at different levels of belief in their lifetimes.  It explains why people can “fall away” from faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible is an honest book, telling us the truth about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, while also informing us about the sins, errors and failings of mankind.

Personally, I have gone through several “crises of faith” in my 64 years on this earth.  A person who once loved (the agape kind in Christ, no less!) my husband and I made a sudden and devastating decision to abandon us.  Why?  Over a simple argument that could have easily been resolved.  In addition, he also rejected any family members, friends, acquaintances that he perceived as “siding” with us.  This occurred over a year ago, but when it first happened I cried day and night for three months.  I thought, how could this person do such a drastic, painful and heartless thing? Where is the forgiveness?  Where is the reconciliation?   I asked and prayed, “God?  Where are you in this?”  Now, I realize that it is a situation that needs to be resolved in the life of this person.  We are just the “collateral damage,” so to speak.  If this person is supposed to be a true Christian, then why this rejection, even after apologizing and asking for forgiveness?

Apparently, a person can reject those that he used to love unconditionally; and be totally indifferent about it.

Last Christmas, the pastor mentioned to pray for those who are in estrangement situations.  Much weeping and sniffling could be heard from the congregation.  I never knew how prevalent the act of disowning family members was until I did some research on it.  Rejection hurts – terribly!  But with faith and love in Jesus Christ, we can overcome.  Why?  Because He has “overcome the world” through His death and resurrection to life!  In eternity, there will be no tears, pain, hate, indifference, warfare, sin, or rejection.  Why?  Because the imperfect world we live in now will be gone, and a new life of love, peace, joy and worship of God will replace all of those negative and painful things that we endure while on this earth!  That is why the lovely list (love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, goodness) in “the fruit of the Spirit” also contains the term longsuffering.

As Jesus told us in Scripture, there will be those who will reject Him – and the Gospel.  Then, why would we ever expect to never be rejected by people who have obviously been negatively convinced against us?  I really don’t know how this person can live with himself.  It’s very sad.  However, people make bad choices all the time and then need to live with possible regret and future consequences.

Moving on with this post.

One of the more popular posts here at this blog is entitled, The Importance of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.

Within that post, we also read about the Parable of the Sower:

Jesus told us that there will be those who will reject the Gospel in the Parable of the Sower

Mat 13:18

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

Mat 13:19

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

Mat 13:20

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

Mat 13:21

“yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

Mat 13:22

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

Mat 13:23

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

As Christian evangelists, we are to “plant the seed” through spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God does the rest! The verses in Matthew reveal the many ways that a person who hears the Gospel either “goes by the wayside,” or, “receives it with joy but only endures for while and then stumbles because of persecution,” or,  “allows the word to be choked out because of the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches.” All of these can cause a person to become unfruitful.

We may inquire further to discover what Jesus meant when he stated (in Matthew 13:23) “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it.”

David Guzik has a good commentary about that verse:

d. Good ground: As seed falling on good ground brings a good crop of grain (Matthew 13:8), so some respond rightly to the word and bear much fruit.

i. This soil represents those who receive the word, and it bears fruit in their soil – in differing proportions (some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty), though each has a generous harvest.

e. Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: We benefit from seeing bits of ourselves in all four soils.
– Like the wayside, sometimes we allow the word no room at all in our lives. – Like the stony places, we sometimes have flashes of enthusiasm in receiving the word that quickly burn out. – Like the soil among thorns, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness. – Like the good ground, the word bears fruit in our lives.

i. We notice that the difference in each category was with the soil itself. The same seed was cast by the same sower. You could not blame the differences in results on the sower or on the seed, but only on the soil. “O my dear hearers, you undergo a test today! Peradventure you will be judging the preacher, but a greater than the preacher will be judging you, for the Word itself shall judge you.” (Spurgeon)

 

Guzik goes on to reveal another aspect of this parable, and it has to do with “good soil” and ultimately asking ourselves, “what kind of soil am I?”

ii. The parable was also an encouragement to the disciples. Even though it might seem that few respond, God is in control and the harvest will certainly come. This was especially meaningful in light of the rising opposition to Jesus. “Not all will respond, but there will be some who do, and the harvest will be rich.” (France)

iii. “Who knoweth, O teacher, when thou labourest even among the infants, what the result of thy teaching may be? Good corn may grow in very small fields.” (Spurgeon)

iv. Even more than describing the mixed progress of the gospel message, the parable of the sower compels the listener to ask, “What kind of soil am I?”

The Ligonier essay continues:

Think about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). We all know what the answer is to the question “Which man went down justified?” but that’s only because we don’t really grasp the parable. Nobody listening to Jesus thought it would be the tax collector who went away from the temple justified.

I sometimes say to people, “Just think about these two men. You’re an evangelical Christian. Which of these two are you more like? Don’t you say to God, ‘I thank you that I’m not like other men’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to discipline my life’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to give away money rather than hoard money’? When you begin to think of those things, actually you sound more like the Pharisee.” And that’s very, very uncomfortable: to discover that, even though you trust in Christ, there’s a Pharisee deep down inside you.

Jesus tells these parables to probe inside us to see whether we really understand the gospel and whether the gospel is really beginning to transform our lives.

They’re not just stories. They’re weapons in spiritual warfare.

Hat tip: Ligonier.org

The Mental Battlefield

June 24, 2017

I have been watching a series on Nat Geo entitled, “Genius.” It’s about Albert Einstein’s life and times. It was fascinating to see how he developed his theories; particularly the theory of relativity. Other scholars (especially his professors) seemed to enjoy continually trying to crush his intellectual endeavors.

Could be lots of reasons for this, but mostly, I think it was because he challenged the status quo in the scientific world and they didn’t want to change what they have believed for most of their lives. Even the Nobel prize people shunned Einstein’s work and theories at first, giving the award year after year to other scientists (some of whom created awful ways to kill people).

For me, however, it was more disappointing to find out that he was a philanderer, very nasty towards his first wife, and an absent father. In all of his “success,” he failed at two of the most important… being a faithful husband and good dad.

It was interesting to hear him state in a synagogue where he made a speech that it had been years since he set foot in one. When challenged about his spiritual beliefs, he did say that God must have created everything. However, it appeared to me that he “put all of his faith in his own arguments” and though he may have believed in God, he didn’t make Him Lord over his life.

Several weeks ago, I watched the movie, “The Theory of Everything.” It was sad to see such a brilliant “mind” as Stephen Hawkings’ treat his wife and family with such bitterness and disdain. What is it with these “intellectuals”?

I found it deeply sad that these “geniuses” who are ‘worshipped’ by so many in the scientific arena, appear to have failed in what matters most in life. God first, family second!

This month’s Turning Points magazine and devotional discusses the topic of “all thoughts captive.”

Most people are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

That phrase comes from 2 Timothy 3

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

Our minds are made for truth.

Biblical meditation involves filling your mind with God’s Word.

We are encouraged to study His truth and assimilate it to every part of our spirit.

We are all born with a certain level of gifts.  In the scientific world, Einstein was gifted with a brilliant mind for scientific theory discovery.  His last name is often used as a substitute for the word, “genius.”  What a great honor that is!  Yet, I can’t help but wonder whether or not he also grew in the wisdom of God’s Word?

Dr. Jeremiah:

Jesus said all the parts of one’s life–heart, soul, mind, and strength–must manifest love for God.

We must give Him all our heart and acknowledge Him as Lord in all our ways.

Acknowledging God is like acknowledging a very close friend.

People who are given a larger platform to speak and be heard (i.e. actors, actresses, politicians, media pundits [MSNBC, CNN] etc.), unfortunately, develop sharp tongues and say the most awful things about people with whom they disagree politically.  I cannot think of a time during my life where the rhetoric has been as disgusting, mean, vicious and downright dangerous!

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

The apostle Paul warned how easily our thoughts become futile, our hearts darkened, and our minds debased (Romans 1:21, 28).  Proverbs 15:26 says, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD.”

Satan can quickly seize control of a mind that isn’t submissive to God.  According to Paul, the god of this age (Satan) blinds the minds of those who do not believe (2 Corinthians 4:4).   He uses skepticism, unbelief, false arguments, empty entertainment, pornographic images, addictive patterns, genetic traits, faulty logic, and erroneous religious notions to make sure people do not glorify God but become darkened in the foolishness of their hearts (Romans 1:21).

That’s why we must inventory our minds and ensure we are cultivating a Spirit-controlled thought life.  The Bible states this in strongest terms in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

What a phrase!  Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Life is made up of thoughts, words, and actions–all of which spring from the heart.

We are told in the book of Jude that resistance to Godly thought will increase the closer we get to the end times.  I have seen such hatred manifest itself in people over the course of my life, and now such darkened hearts and debased minds often ridicule those who hold to Christian faith.  Fortunately, God’s Word warns us that this will, and is happening!  Despite the fact that much of the ugliness that is being spewed on the news these days is evidence of the rejection of God’s will for our lives (see Romans 1:21), as Christians, we have the ability to renew our minds and fill our hearts with God’s truth (Romans 12:2).  Moment to moment, we can find our responses being pleasing to God.

Dr. Jeremiah:

Our brains only come alive when redeemed by the power and knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ.  The Bible says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  Ephesians 4:23 tells us to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind.”  Our minds are made for truth.  God created our brains to need the truth of His Word just as He made our bodies to need the food and water He built into the material world around us.

Amen!

Strife in this World. Where Are You? Where Are You Going?

January 24, 2017

I recently listened to one of the Dave Matthews Band’s greatest hits entitled, “Where Are You Going.”

You can watch the video here:

YouTube: Dave Matthews Band: Where Are You Going? [Lyrics below post]

I have always liked this singer’s voice and many of the band’s songs. Matthew’s singing style is often very calm and soothing. In this particular song, Dave Matthews  asks  the “where are you going?” question.  At certain spots in the song, he (sadly) states that he “has no answers for you.” But he does state, “where you go is where I wanta be.”

So, where does one look for the ultimate answer to “where are you going?” Where do YOU ultimately want to be and with Whom?

Before we get to those important questions, let’s look at a few words that describe what most of us go through at times in this life.

The first word is “strife.”

The meaning of the word “strife:”

noun
1. vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism:
to be at strife.

2. a quarrel, struggle, or clash:
armed strife.

3. competition or rivalry:
the strife of the marketplace.

4. Archaic. strenuous effort.
– Dictionary.com

The Bible utilizes the term “tribulation” [“trouble” in some versions]

noun

1.  grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.

2.  an instance of this; an affliction, trouble, etc.

tribulation in the Bible:

trouble or affliction of any kind (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 13:21; 2 Cor. 7:4). In Rom. 2:9 “tribulation and anguish” are the penal sufferings that shall overtake the wicked. In Matt. 24:21, 29, the word denotes the calamities that were to attend the destruction of Jerusalem.
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary
– Dictionary.com

The NKJV at the Blue Letter Bible website informs us that the term “tribulation” occurs 22 times in 22 verses.

The plural version of “tribulations” occurs 8 times in 8 verses.

I encourage readers to click on the individual verses and read the surrounding Scripture. It always helps to clarify the content and keep it in proper context.

When we read this portion of a verse in 2 Thessalonians, one could accidentally take it out of context.

2Th 1:6

since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

Reading all of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 reveals what we are to be, do, and endure on this earth. There will come a time when those who wrought trouble upon believers in Jesus Christ will be “repaid with tribulation” by God Himself.

Did anyone reading here today hear about the recent clash between a female anti-Trump passenger and a male passenger sitting next to her on a plane?

You can view the video clip HERE.

In the video clip, Martha McCallum also interviews the man who was verbally attacked, and you might be surprised at what he says near the end of the interview. He didn’t want to press charges against her, saying that “maybe they were just having a bad day, or something.” And he ended the interview by saying, “I just wanted to show them the love of Jesus.”

Perhaps the Christian man heard that the woman and her husband were flying back from the funeral of her mother-in-law? Now THAT would have been a very bad day for anyone! If the woman and her husband were not kicked off of the plane, perhaps he could have shared the Good News of the Gospel with her.

Maybe not…

But this man showed grace towards two individuals – one was silent (the husband) while the other verbally abused and cursed at him (the cursing part isn’t in the video clip, but several witnesses said he was cursed at during this encounter).

Jesus warned us that “in this world, we would have tribulation (or trouble).”

Matthew 24 describes it vividly, and we learn that such trouble and strife will increase the closer we get to the end times.

Mat 24:7

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[fn] and earthquakes in various places.

Mat 24:8

“All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Mat 24:9

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

Mat 24:10

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another

Mat 24:11

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Mat 24:12

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

I am seeing a huge increase in “the love of many will grow cold.” Even relatives, friends, and acquaintances are turning on each other over the election results last month! It’s truly sad…

Matthew 24 informs us:

Mat 24:13

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Mat 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The truth contained in the Bible knows no equal! We are told that Christians are going to be persecuted. Notice that “the fruit of the Spirit” contains the term “longsuffering.”

Gal 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Gal 5:23

gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Longsuffering is why Christians are told (in Matthew 24:13)  to endure till the end.

What are we seeing since the election (as well as before it)? A huge increase in the following as described in Galatians:

Gal 5:19

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[fn] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Gal 5:20

idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Gal 5:21

envy, murders,[fn] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

No matter what is thrown against us, we have the promises of Jesus Christ to sustain us through it all.

Jesus tells us:

Jhn 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[fn] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Paul reiterates this in Romans:

Rom 8:38

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Rom 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our true and ultimate home:

Jhn 14:2

“In My Father’s house are many mansions;[fn] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[fn

 

Jhn 14:3

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

NKJV Footnotes

(14:2)

Literally dwellings

Hat tips to all links and graphics.

*******

Lyrics to “Where Are You Going” by the Dave Matthews Band.

Where are you going
With your long face
Pullin’ down
Don’t hide away,
Like an ocean
That you can’t see
But you can smell
And the sound of waves crash down.
I am no superman
I have no reasons for you.
I am no hero,
Aw that for sure,
But I do know one thing,
That’s where you are is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I wanta be.

Where are you going,
Where do you go.
Are you looking for answers,
To questions, under the stars
Well if along the way,
You are grown weary,
You can rest with me
Until a brighter day
When you ok.

I am no superman,
I have no answers for you.
I am no hero,
And that’s for sure.
But I know one thing,
That’s where you are, is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I want to be.

Where are you going
Where do you go.

Where do you go.
Where are you going,
Where do you go.

I am no Superman
I have no answers,
For you.
I am no hero,
Aw that’s for sure.
But I do know one thing,
That’s where are,
Is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I wanta be.

Where are you going
Where do you go.

And a where are you going.
Where…lets go!

Songwriters
HARRISON, GAVIN RICHARD / BYER, RICARDO A.

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: Dave Matthews Band – Where Are You Going Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Why Does God Require Faith to Please Him?

September 1, 2016

Have you ever contemplated why God requires faith to please Him?  We know from Hebrews 11:6 that it is not only a requirement, but that not having faith in Him makes it impossible to please Him!

Heb 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

That verse explains that God is also “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In Dr. David Jeremiah’s current series, “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking,” this past Sunday’s broadcast on faith was one of the best!

Readers can view it at this link:

David Jeremiah.org: What Is Faith?

When I come across skeptics, (seekers and/or outright deniers of Jesus Christ included) they often cite humanistic reasons for not being able to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They use the same humanistic “wisdom” (minus the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures) to claim that any and all of their “reasons” for unbelief are valid. For them, the following verse either offers confusion or an excuse for their unbelief:

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

1. It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that he has promised to us in Christ; and this persuasion is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of possession and present fruition of those things, gives them a subsistence in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them: so that believers in the exercise of faith are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ dwells in the soul by faith, and the soul is filled with the fullness of God, as far as his present measure will admit; he experiences a substantial reality in the objects of faith.

  • 2. It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good; it helps the soul to make application of all to itself with suitable affections and endeavours; and so it is designed to serve the believer instead of sight, and to be to the soul all that the senses are to the body. That faith is but opinion or fancy which does not realize invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.

 

Christians would inevitably nod their heads in agreement with what Henry wrote in his commentary.  On the other hand, it is likely that nonbelievers might have the tendency to deem what he has written as “opinion or fancy.”

Why? 

Because he or she cannot (or refuses to learn) “the invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.”

Rejection of the Gospel truth in the Bible is often likely because of ignorance about the Scriptures and the Person in whom the Scriptures point to as Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.  But what about those who claim to have studied Scripture and yet do not believe?  Henry explained quite well why they might reach such a conclusion.

Another way of putting it is the fact that no Christian can MAKE someone believe in Jesus Christ.  All we are to do is to point the way towards the truth of the Gospel.  The knocking on the door of the heart of the hearer of the gospel message is done by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus Christ to indwell believers.

Heb 11:2

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Henry writes:

II. An account of the honour it reflects upon all those who have lived in the exercise of it (v. 2): By it the elders obtained a good report-the ancient believers, who lived in the first ages of the world. Observe,

  • 1. True faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.

  • 2. Their faith was their honour; it reflected honour upon them. They were an honour to their faith, and their faith was an honour to them. It put them upon doing the things that were of good report, and God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the strength of this grace. The genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honour of true believers.

Notice how Henry includes the word “true” when he describes believers.  This brings to mind the need to avoid those who have fallen into, ( and in today’s era, unfortunately preach),  the heretic and apostate beliefs as described in this Syncretism Stew post.

The book of Jude provides the warnings and signs about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[fn] (1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

 

Heb 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Henry writes:

III. We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, v. 3. The grace of faith has a retrospect as well as prospect; it looks not only forward to the end of the world, but back to the beginning of the world. By faith we understand much more of the formation of the world than ever could be understood by the naked eye of natural reason. Faith is not a force upon the understanding, but a friend and a help to it. Now what does faith give us to understand concerning the worlds, that is, the upper, middle, and lower regions of the universe?

  • 1. That these worlds were not eternal, nor did they produce themselves, but they were made by another.

  • 2. That the maker of the worlds is God; he is the maker of all things; and whoever is so must be God.

  • 3. That he made the world with great exactness; it was a framed work, in every thing duly adapted and disposed to answer its end, and to express the perfections of the Creator.

  • 4. That God made the world by his word, that is, by his essential wisdom and eternal Son, and by his active will, saying, Let it be done, and it was done, Ps. 33:9.

  • 5. That the world was thus framed out of nothing, out of no pre-existent matter, contrary to the received maxim, that “out of nothing,  nothing can be made,’ which, though true of created power, can have no place with God, who can call things that are not as if they were, and command them into being. These things we understand by faith. The Bible gives us the truest and most exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest or run down the scripture-account of the creation, because it does not suit with some fantastic hypotheses of our own, which has been in some learned but conceited men the first remarkable step towards infidelity, and has led them into many more.

    Hat tips to all links and graphics sites posted here.

March 22: Nothing Can Thwart God’s Purpose

March 22, 2016

Those of us who know Jesus Christ and have studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, understand God’s sovereignty, His purpose, and the fact that believers are being shaped into His divine mold!

Loving God and His Son Jesus Christ brings forth the fruit of the Spirit. Notice that in Galatians 5:22, the term longsuffering* (or patience) is included. This is truth! Jesus told us that “in this world you will have trouble (or, tribulation).” But we are to “take heart, because I (He) has overcome the world!”

Gal 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Gal 5:23

gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The fact that NOTHING can thwart God’s providence and ultimate purpose should deepen our faith and trust in Him!

Ephesians also has a lot to say about the fruit of the Spirit vs. deceitfulness, disobedience, deception, darkness, shameful things, foolishness, and the days of evil.

Eph 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Eph 5:7

Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Eph 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Eph 5:9

(for the fruit of the Spirit [fn] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Eph 5:10

finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Eph 5:11

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Eph 5:12

For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Eph 5:13

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

Eph 5:14

Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Eph 5:15

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

Eph 5:16

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

______

* I prefer the term “longsuffering” because I think that it more accurately describes what Christians forbear when confronted with people who hate us (because they hate Christ) and those who are involved with “the wiles of the devil.”

From David Guzik’s study guide:

i. Longsuffering in itself is a work of the Spirit! “Longsuffering is that quality which enables a person to bear adversity, injury, reproach, and makes them patient to wait for the improvement of those who have done him wrong. When the devil finds that he cannot overcome certain persons by force he tries to overcome them in the long run … To withstand his continued assaults we must be longsuffering and patiently wait for the devil to get tired of his game.” (Luther)

 


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