What’s The Big Deal?

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What’s The Big Deal?

 Warren E. Berkley

 “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)

Look at this rich promise: “…the God of peace will be with you.” So much beauty and power expressed in these few words. And if you heart is where it should be, this is immediately attractive.

But it is not automatic! You do not participate in this simply by reading the words or claiming you have the God of peace with you. Look back into the passage and context. Discover what is necessary to have this peaceful fellowship with God.

One thing you’ll see is that little word, “do.” It says, “these do,” and the God of peace will be with you.

What is to be done? The “things” we learn from the apostles! Through Paul and the other apostles of Christ, a pattern of individual behavior and collective practice was given, and it is expected that Christians follow this pattern. There is a prelude to this in the previous chapter. “Brethren, join in following my example,” and before that, “walk by the same rule,” (3:16,17). It is as Jesus said. The apostles bound on earth what had been bound in heaven and loosed on earth what had been loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:19).

What’s The Big Deal? The authority of apostolic teaching in the New Testament is widely ignored, denied or considered insignificant. This is true in the denominational world, in the “emerging church” movement, in the broader, ecumenical generic kind of “Christianity.” And in some places, among those who claim to be part of the Lord’s church. The apostolic pattern is ignored, denied or slighted. There is no reason for us to give up the word “pattern” or step back from the concept of submitting to apostolic authority. {See this in Matt. 28:18-20; John 16:13; John 17:20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:1,2; 1 Thess. 4:1-2; 1 Jno. 4:6; 2 Jno. 9.} Jesus wants us to obey the teachings giving by His apostles.

What People Think

What People Think: A Small Thing

Warren E. Berkley

From the Jan. 2017 issue of Pressing On Magazine

Do you know people who stay up at night worrying about what others think of them? Not just a passing thought occasionally, rather the habit is formed and continued, to the point of distraction and perhaps illness. (Have you heard about the preacher who stayed up at night worrying about people who were sound asleep?)

It is certainly true, we must be concerned about our influence on others. The Lord said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). I am to consider what others see in me, yet without obsessing over their conclusions or misperceptions. That may become a fine line. But Scripture is clear that we take responsibility for our influence but without getting worked up about what everybody thinks.

We cannot let people-pleasing become our priority or our source of constant anxiety. Paul said, “…with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court…,” (1 Corinthians 4:3).

Truth Connection: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10). Matthew Henry wrote: Paul “did not, in his doctrine, accommodate himself to the humours of persons, either to gain their affection or to avoid their resentment; but his great care was to approve himself to God.”

And …  if you would see into the minds of people, it might be – they are not thinking about you at all! God is.

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On the Mountain

From Expository Files Archives

By Jon W. Quinn

There’s an old song that suggests that the gospel is worth telling. The word of God is so constructed that it cries out for dispersal. It contains many grand themes surrounding the central and grandest theme of all; human redemption from sin, fellowship with God and the promise of eternal life.

The old song is entitled “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” It expresses the exciting acknowledgment that “Jesus Christ is born!” While during His ministry Jesus sometimes cautioned His disciples to keep some of the things He was telling them about Himself quiet for now, He also told them the time would come when these same things were to be widely proclaimed even from the house tops (Luke 12:2,3). Brethren, children of God, that time is now!

The early disciples had an intense need and desire to tell others about Jesus (Acts 8:4; Luke 24:25-27; 32-35). There was Steven, Paul, Aquilla, Priscilla, Apollos and Barnabas. Folks from diverse backgrounds and with various abilities united by a faith that must be told. The more faith one has, the more he needs to share it with others. Those convinced about the gospel will share it. They will go tell it on the mountain!

There are amazingly vital truths revealed in the Bible that others need to know about. They are worth knowing and worth sharing. God means for them to be made known to others. He means for you and me to “tell it on the mountain!”

“Partakers Together In One Body”

“Partakers Together In One Body”

(Eph. 3:6; Gal. 3:26-28)

Warren E. Berkley

“In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” (Gen. 12:3; 22:18).

With these words spoken to Abraham, God set in place a promise that would stay alive long after it was first spoken. God would direct the work of fulfilling this promise through the nation formed from Abraham, the law He gave through Moses, the changing fortunes of the nation, the work of the prophets and the brief ministry of John the Baptist. After the fullness of the time came, Paul wrote to the Galatian churches and said: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith,” (Gal. 3:13,14).

As a result of God’s work, bringing the promise to reality in Christ, those in Christ find themselves partakers together in one body. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” (Gal. 3:26-29).

“This passage is designed to show that one’s standing before God is not determined by nationality, social position, or sex. One stands acceptable before God on the grounds of the blood of the Jesus Christ and on the conditions that he has faith in Christ, has repented of his sins, and has been baptized into Christ,” (Mike Willis, Truth Commentaries, Galatians, p#170). Continue reading ““Partakers Together In One Body””

Endurance

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While doing some study in Hebrews 12 about running the race set before us with endurance, etc. I found this quote I want to pass on to those who follow this blog.

D. A. Carson notes, “Great endurance and patience:  the expression suggests both the kind of stamina that gets under a burden and carries it with enduring fortitude, and the kind of stamina that knows how to possess its soul in patience.

Those are not virtues that are popular in our age.  We extol champagne:  lots of fizz and a pretty good high but having no nutritional value for the long haul.  In an age when tempers are hot, quick solutions are ardently courted, success is revered, victory is cherished, independence is lauded, and easy triumphs are promised, great endurance and patience at first glance seem like less than stellar qualities.”

D.A. Carson. Call to Spiritual Reformation, A: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (p. 108). Kindle Edition.

Genesis 1:27

God’s Work, God’s Image, God’s Distinction

(Genesis 1:27)

Warren E. Berkley

A serious reading of the early chapters of Genesis is crucial to the development, maintenance, instruction and obedience of faith. J. Sidlow Baxter was right. “The major themes of Scripture may be compared to great rivers, ever deepening and broadening as they flow; and it is true to say that all these rivers have their rise in the watershed of Genesis,” (“Explore The Book,” p.#23). An example of the practical value of teachings in Genesis is this familiar statement:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them,” (Gen. 1:27). Three things stand out and need our attention:

God’s Work: “God created man.” This is the truth about our origin. God called into existence that which had no previous existence and the highest act of this divine work was to create human life. When you read the claims of the Bible, consider the evidence and decide that the document is the Word of God – you are glad to read Genesis 1:27 and accept this truth of man’s origin: “God created man.” As you hold this conclusion in your heart, you are doing what is described in Hebrews 11. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . . 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,” (Heb. 11:1,3).

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist, who lived from 1809 until 1882, and in his work The Descent of Man he asserted: “Man is descended from some lower form.” This is just where the confusion begins for Darwin and his disciples. He changed, revised and sometimes contradicted his own theory. And Darwin’s “theory of evolution” evolved.

Today, there are interpreters of Darwin who debate their interpretations. Some begin with specific observations of Darwin and build a scientific creed. They apply their interpretation of Darwin and label their fellows as either Darwinian, anti-Darwinian or neo-Darwinian (what we sometimes call “drawing lines of fellowship”). There is a growing number of highly esteemed scientists who argue vigorously against Darwinianism (Michael Behe, Robert Jastrow, Phillip Johnson). There are scientific journals published today, devoted to the theme of “Intelligent Design,” responding to the old Darwinian models. Thus, there are many, conflicting evolutionary doctrines claiming authority in Darwin, and many non-Darwinian models and theories now gaining more attention. Not all that is called “science” is academic and objective. Modern science is sometimes encumbered by myth, prejudice, politics, arrogance and human competition (just like modern religion). Continue reading “Genesis 1:27”

Who Built It?

Every House Is Built By Someone

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In December of 1977 I had a telephone conversation with the late Madelyn
Murray O’Hare, the infamous atheist. This was on a call-in radio program and she was the guest.

On the air I asked her: “Can you give us just one sound argument that proves
that there is no God?”

Her reply: “You see, sir, if you knew anything at all about logic, you would
know that a negative case never needs to be argued. Whoever poses a theory
… has the burden of proof of that theory. We don’t have to prove a
negative at all. Those persons who made up the idea of God must show that
there is a God … All we have to do is show you the flaws in the arguments
… We don’t have to prove a negative…,” {Direct quote from the tape of
the program, on KFH radio, Wichita, Ks., Dec. 6, 1977.}

But consider this: Her case, as an atheist, is not just a negative case;
she affirmed something – she affirmed that there is no God. To her, that was
objective reality.

Furthermore, I do know something about logic. There is the law of
rationality: “we ought to justify our conclusions by adequate evidence.”
So – we need to think about this and bring this up when confronted … that
atheists affirm something, but they are reluctant to offer any proof. There is no proof that there is no God. All the available evidence or proof lies on the other side of the proposition. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God,” (Heb. 3:4).

Don’t Be Like Cain

Don’t be like Cain!

 

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. – 1 Jno. 3:11-18

The Bible is rich in examples of good behavior and bad behavior. Obviously, the purpose is to instruct us to follow good examples and steer a deliberate course away from bad behavior (see 3 Jno. 11).

Cain’s story begins with failed worship, then resentment and even after God warned him, he killed his brother, Abel. John’s point is simple: Don’t be like Cain!

The positive lesson from that is, “love one another.” Love, as defined by God, defeats the resentment and jealousy and enables us to be disciplined in our responses to people, to event and to our own troubles we created.

John adds that we (Christians) will be hated. The world isn’t tolerate toward our convictions and way of life. Don’t be surprised about that. Yet, one sign of conversion is – we have adopted God’s definition of love, even toward our enemies (see Matt. 5:44).

But how bad is hatred? John is clear. Don’t try to explain this away. Just read it and believe it.

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

So, don’t be like Cain. Be like Christ, who illustrated and taught love, as God desires to see in His people.

Extra: My Sermon On Grandparenting, Click Here (Delivered at Northwest church of Christ, Austin)