3 Jno. 13-15

John’s Third Epistle

3 Jno. 13-15

Face to Face

13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

– 3 Jno. 13-15

“Final Greetings” at the end of a New Testament epistle follow a pattern, and we often find nothing that requires much comment. It is the close of a letter. The bulk of the teaching comes before the close. Thus, we generally spend little time with it.

But there is something here directly relevant to our time. John wrote to them “with pen and ink,” but with a predominant hope. He said, “I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.”

Do you see it? There is something here so relevant in our age. Let me re-translate or paraphrase into our age: “I had much to type to you in email and social media, but I would rather not … I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face!!”

An apostle is telling us, by implication, that personal face-to-face communication is better than written or digital. I hope our modern obsession with digital communication never replaces direct, personal, face-to-face communication. It is the preferred way to connect to people, bond, help, love and serve.

This concludes the series on 1st, 2nd & 3nd John.

My Isaiah Insights Podcasts are located here (Click).

No Bum Steers

Isaiah and Success, read Isa. 6:9-13

Comments by Dale Ralph Davis 

I say this because sometimes our Christian sub-culture gives the impression that if you have enough faith, if you practice biblical principles of relationships, if you bathe your activities in prayer, if you formulate a creative ministry strategy, if you devise a workable vision statement, if you attend the latest how-to conferences, subscribe to certain Christian magazines or listen to particular Christian blogs – well then, you cannot help but have success in Christian service or ministry. Really? I don’t know if Jesus swallowed that. He told his disciples some pretty tough stuff (John 15:18-27) and then said, ‘These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling’ (John 16:1, nasb). Isn’t God so very good to tell you how very nasty and difficult and cruddy it may be? Can’t you trust a truthful God like that, who does not give you ‘bum steers’ about the service he calls you to do?

 

Source: Davis, Dale Ralph. Stump Kingdom: Isaiah 6-12 . Christian Focus Publications. Kindle Edition.

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Pull on the Rope

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(From the 2006 Florida College Lecture Series, as documented in Logos)

PULL ON THE ROPE

Dee Bowman

Our hope is “stored up” in heaven (Col. 1:5). God cannot lie and He is the progenitor of our hope (Tit. 1:2). Our patience is connected with our hope in Christ. We are told to hold on to our hope in Christ (Heb. 3:6), since it is the anchor that has been thrown off into eternity and lands at the throne of God Himself (Heb. 6:18–19). And so,

When you’re down and out and it seems no one cares,

Pull on the rope.

When you’ve lost your way momentarily

and everything seems blurred,

Pull on the rope.

When depression seems your lot

and you call and no one answers,

Pull on the rope.

When your friend turns and walks no longer with you,

Pull on the rope.

When you’re tired and it still must be done,

when you feel you can’t take another step,

Pull on the rope.

When you suddenly realize it’s your fault

and I’m sorry sticks in your throat,

Pull on the rope.

When shame and disgrace have cast you into a pit of despair

and no one seems to care,

Pull on the rope.

When death has come and robbed you

of someone near and dear to you,

Pull on the rope.

When you must come to face your own mortality,

Pull on the rope.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13–18)

There is hope. Thanks be to God, there is hope!

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.

Oh! Blessed Hope![1]

 

[1] Bowman, D. (2006). Wings like Eagles. In D. W. Petty (Ed.), Portraits in Isaiah (pp. 40–41). Temple Terrace, FL: Florida College Bookstore.

Heb. 11:6-12

“By Faith”

Hebrews 11:6-12

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. – Heb. 11:6-12

Do you want to please God? Faith is required. Faith that is active in response to God’s Word, trusting that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Noah is an example. God spoke to Noah about things Noah could not see. Noah believed in God, and that belief led to action; he constructed the ark. “By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

Abraham is an example. God spoke to Abraham about places and things Abraham could not see. He believed in God and that belief led to action; he went where God told him to go, looking forward to “the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Abraham was convinced that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”

What does all this mean? These are people from the pages of the Old Testament. What is their testimony? That belief in God when activated through obedience – has great reward. That’s true today. And you can embrace this truth personally. Hear, believe and obey God. Because of who Christ is and what He did – you can be forgiven of your sin, enter into fellowship with God and all this – knowing that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Watch Out

(Often requested and favorably received, here is another piece by Dee Bowman from Pressing On Magazine)

Short Sermons

Watch Out! (I Thessalonians 5:6)

  1. A lamentable fact: “some sleep”
  2. The disinterested world
  3. The indifferent Christian
  4. A stern warning: “let us not sleep”
  5. We know better
  6. We are reflectors of light

III. A remedy offered: “watch”

  1. Look where you’re going
  2. Danger of worldly inebriates
  3. Equip yourself

 

Warren’s Podcast, Click Here

Laurel Heights Church of Christ, Here

What do you do with this?

What do you do with this?

Jesus said, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)

Imagine – You have never heard of any denominational group, creed or teaching. You have no strong religious history. You’ve never heard of Billy Graham. No internet search experience.

You just read this verse in the context of the New Testament writings. What do you understand about baptism, just reading what Jesus told His disciples to do?

You know about God’s gracious offer of salvation, based on the death of Christ. You are fully aware of His grace in making such an offer to sinners. You know you have sinned, and nothing you have done or will ever do, will merit or earn salvation.

But knowing all that – which is called THE GOSPEL, you want to change. You want to get out of sinful living, be a child of God – and live right, and go to heaven.

What are you going to do with this, where Jesus said – Go, preach the gospel, make disciples of people from all nations … baptizing them?

I believe your conclusion will be – I’m going to consider this necessary; I’m going to do this to become a disciple of Christ.

It is part of my reception of what God offers. My response to and my faith Jesus Christ – will be, to be baptized.

Bless Jehovah At All Times

Note: I often look back at the issues of Christianity Magazine and re-discover valuable writing, like this from the pen of Brent Lewis.

The Psalms in Practice

What It Means to Magnify the Lord

Brent Lewis

PSALMS SNAPSHOT:

“I will bless Jehovah at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in Jehovah: the meek shall hear thereof, and be glad. Oh magnify Jehovah with me, and let us exalt his name together” (34:1–3).

 

We are told in this great psalm what one who magnifies the Lord will do and when he will do it. The Christian must never forget that his aim in life is lofty and sublime. He seeks, as Paul did, to magnify Christ in his life (Philippians 1:20). Just what is it that such a disciple will do?

  1. He will bless and praise God (verse 1). “I will bless Jehovah at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Too often we heap praise on undeserving men and neglect the praise of the Almighty. Let us never become so enamored with the rich and powerful of this world that we are unimpressed with God. He alone is the proper object of our praise, and among His creatures we have the unparalleled privilege of offering Him praise. We are assured that He accepts it, for He says, “whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me” (Psalm 50:23).
  2. He will do this “at all times” or “continually” (verse 1). It is easy to become forgetful. We have a perpetual duty to God to praise Him for His mercy and kindness. The Christian fully recognizes that “It is of Jehovah’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23). If we will cultivate an awareness that His mercies are “new every morning,” it will be hard not to magnify Him. We must habitually develop a thankful spirit under every circumstance, in every situation; before, in and after trials; in bright days of happiness and somber nights of sorrow. Our God can bring sunshine into the darkest nights. In the same way that Paul and Silas praised God in prison (Acts 16:23–25), that Job blessed His name amidst tragic personal loss (Job 1:20–21), and the beaten disciples rejoiced in their suffering for His name (Acts 5:40–41)—so can we “bless Him at all times.” We have abiding reasons for blessing God even in the face of sorrows and trials. If we will think upon them and enumerate them, the scale by which we weigh God’s mercies will grow heavy, and the scale by which we weigh our difficulties will grow light.
  3. He will boast in Jehovah (verse 2). “My soul shall make her boast in Jehovah.” Man’s boasting is usually in himself (Luke 18:9–14). The Christian will fail to magnify God by mundane, arrogant self-boasting. God says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me, that I am Jehovah who exerciseth lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith Jehovah” (Jeremiah 9:23–24). Yes, our boasting must be in Jehovah. Perhaps the greatest boast in all of Scripture was made by Paul, and can be echoed by every disciple today—“I can do all things!” (Philippians 4:13). But even this boast takes on humility when he adds, as I must—“in Him that strengtheneth me.” (See 1 Corinthians 15:10; Psalm 44:8).

Finally, notice in verse two the result of magnifying God in one’s life. “The meek [humble] shall hear thereof and be glad.” If you will praise God in all the circumstances of life and boast only in Him, you can be a significant influence on others for good. “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). It is true that all men will not be constrained by your example. But the “meek”—those who have been brought low in their own esteem because of life’s adversities—will sit up and take notice of what such a person does.

Would you magnify God in your life? Put this psalm into practice: praise God at all times, boast only in Him, and good results are sure to follow.[1]

 

[1] Lewis, B. (1985). The Psalms in Practice: What It Means to Magnify the Lord. Christianity Magazine, 2(5), 25.

3 John 9-12

John’s Third Epistle

3 Jno. 9-12

Imitate What Is Good

 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

–3 Jno. 9-12

You may have heard people say about various local churches, “there is this one brother…”

That’s often about a stubborn man, a controlling man, an angry impulsive reactor when something goes against him. That was Diotrephes. A church boss, who did not acknowledge the authority of the apostles. John promised to deal with that when he came. (This is a position of zero tolerance for trouble-makers.)

A refreshing follow-up comes with the mention of Demetrius, who received a good testimony from good people and from the truth itself.

The lesson for all readers is: “Beloved, do not imitate evil, but imitate good.”

The Challenge of 2 Cor. 10:1-6

2 Cor. 10:1-6

The Challenge Stated

 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

 Can I be confident without being contentious?

         Clear without being careless?

         Candid without being callous?

         Calm without being cold?

         Capable without being carnal?

         Charitable without being compromising?