What Fishermen and Fishers of Men Need to Know

Now, just for your information, I am no fishermen.  In other words, I am not an expert on the topic of fishing, with a net or a line.  I am seeing this in my reading of Scripture for today. Which was Luke 3 – 5.

In the first three verses of chapter five we see Jesus being crowded by people, and wanting to hear more of His teaching.  He borrows Peter’s boat, is rowed off the shore a bit, and teaches them.  Peter and the others had been fishing all night, and had caught nothing.  The place in the text is called the Sea of Gennesarat; also called the Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1; 21:1), and the Sea of Galilee. It is a large, inland freshwater lake.

Let us hear our text for today…

“Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.’ And Simon answering said unto Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.’ And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.”  Luke 5:4-11  (KJB)

What do Fishermen and Fishers of Men need to know? Simply this.  We must have our net (or line) in the water; and we must hear the words of the Master; and we must know that it is the Master who gives the catch.

Come to Jesus for Rest

“I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.  All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.  Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 11:25-30)

The Word Jesus Has Spoken

“He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me.  And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me.  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.  And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.”  ~Jesus (John 12:44-50)

Heaven’s News – No Condemnation

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” ~Jesus (John 3:11-21)

Evangelism and Creationism

The following is an article from Kairos Journal…

23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. . .
Acts 17:23-26 (ESV)

In 1799, the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher published On Religion. His seemingly noble aim was to promote Christianity to its “cultured despisers,” people who had moved on from religion. Yet, to remove stumbling blocks, he eviscerated the gospel of many key truths. For similar reasons, in 1984, the then Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. In an effort to appeal to skeptics, it is all too tempting to downplay “incredible” biblical truths. Today, this temptation is nowhere more apparent than over the doctrine of creation.

Although Paul’s evangelism consistently centered on Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, the precise way he presented the gospel varied from audience to audience. When evangelizing Jews, he emphasized the biblical text (e.g. Acts 13:13-41), but when preaching to pagan polytheists, he emphasized the doctrine of creation (Acts 14:15-17; 17:22-31). For Paul, the fact that God created everything is foundational to the gospel.

Amongst the Athenian altars to Zeus, Athena, and Demeter, Paul spotted one to the “unknown god” (v. 23); Athens kept its options open and tried to cover every base. Yet, in the midst of this plurality of idols, Paul went on the offensive, proclaiming that the God whom the Athenians did not know is the true Creator of all, the only God. Unlike their pathetic idols, He does not require housing or food (vv. 24-25). Rather, He gives life and a dwelling place to humans (vv. 25-26). In other words, He is not man’s debtor—He does not depend upon the religious devotion of humanity to provide His needs. Quite the reverse: all people depend on Him; all are indebted to Him. Only with this foundation in place could the Athenians have any hope of grasping their debt to their Creator; only then would they fear His coming judgment and repent (vv. 30-31).

The doctrine of creation is integral to the gospel. Modern men and women will never understand their need of Christ as a Savior from God’s wrath if they do not first have some comprehension that they owe their generous Creator everything. Nor will they grasp the wickedness of rejecting Him and running life their own way. Divorced from belief in a sovereign, holy, gracious Creator, the gospel makes no sense at all.

In the face of frequent public ridicule, holding on to the truths of creation requires clear-thinking courage. But, if the gospel is to grow and spread in the modern West, Christians dare not follow Schleiermacher and Jenkins by cutting and pasting the Bible to appeal to the modern mind. Embarrassed silence concerning creation will help no one; if God did not create, Christians have no gospel.

When we “Cut and paste the Bible to appeal to modern mind” we are actually making a god after our own image.  Let us stick to the God of the Bible as He presents Himself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Words for Christian Living 060613

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, ‘He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.'”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (KJV)

It seems to me that far too much of our time and efforts today when we are speaking to others of Christ Jesus is spent in debate.  Now, do not take me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with debate.  The idea of debate is to try and persuade someone who is persuadable; is it not?

The message of Christ is not up for debate.  No one will change my mind concerning Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, His second coming; even the Pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.  So it is a waste of effort with me to try and change my mind on those matters.

I only mention these things because we hear of Christians spending much time in debate with atheists, and trying to persuade them that God exist, using our own “Persuasive abilities”, knowledge of Scripture, and seem to forget that the persuasion is not in our own power, but the power of the Holy Spirit.  If an unbeliever wills not to see; they will not see by our words.

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…”  Let us quit casting pearls before swine, and seek those who might possibly want and need the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Five Years Ago

Five years ago when my wife and I were living in Farmington, Missouri and I was pastor of Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church I started Fire and Hammer blog.  It was in January of that year and on Blogger.

I was writing almost everyday and rewriting online things I had written years before.  Studies in Revelation and such.  I also began writing about former pastors and such; then one day I lost everything on the blog; including the blog.  The host was doing some work improving their servers and programs and things like that; and I hit the wrong button; or something.  To this day I have never figured out what happened.  It was gone.

I came over to WordPress and started again.  I have been here ever since.  I am now well into my sixth year blogging here.  Thank you WordPress for allowing myself and others to have a place to leave the message of God’s Word on the web.

I know it is not a real whiz bang blog.  My intentions is not to impress any one or everyone.  My intentions are to get the Word of God out.  I thank God for the privilege of doing so.  I know I am not the only one doing it; and thank God for all who are being faithful in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of God.

To all who are subscribed to this blog, and to all who read the articles.  THANKS and I pray you have been blessed.  God bless you all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Manna

When looking at the series of “The Scarlet Thread” my intention in doing this is to show Jesus Christ.  As we look at the manna – “What is it?” – is the actual meaning of the word.  We must remember Jesus’s words, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:32-35).

Manna was a special bread provide miraculously by GOD for the children of Israel to gather each morning for each day.  It could only be gathered for six days, and enough could be gathered on the six day for the seventh day.  It was given in Exodus 16:14-15.  There is more scripture dealing with it in verses 16 -36.  For the verses we will look at in the book of Numbers I want us to remember Exodus 16:31,

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Remembering the taste of it was as “Honey”, or “wafers made with honey”, so it had the taste of sweetness in it.

We read in Numbers 11:8,

“And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.”

Then, they go around murmuring that “There is nothing at all, beside this manna”.  Well!  Is it any wonder?  They have taken a perfect substance, made by the hand of God, miraculously provided, a daily provision; and they try to “Improve” it.

According to Jesus in John 6 He Himself is the Bread of Life.  It is not an overstatement for me to say that there is much people today trying to “Improve” on Jesus.  When people are bored with worship of Jesus preachers try to improve it by adding to the Word of God, adding entertainment to draw a crowd, adding worldly music with spiritual words, and that don’t always include the cross of Christ.  All just so they can have a crowd.  They lose their love for Jesus.

When we look at Jesus and think of Him, worship Him, adore Him; what more could we need?  What more could we want?  We are to desire to be like Him.  How can we be like Him.  He desired to do the Father’s will (Luke 2: 49; John 8:29).  We are to live for Him, just as the Scriptures proclaim; nothing of the flesh.

We are not called to draw a crowd.  We are called to be a witness.  We are called to bear the image of Christ.

The manna is the Bread of Heaven who is Christ.  Follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 032611

We begin reading through the gospel of John in today’s reading.  Chapters 1 – 3.

John’s gospel is clearly showing forth the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God comes in the flesh; in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin.  It is clear from reading verses 1-5 of chapter one that the WORD is God, and God is the WORD.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

To remind you of the four evangelists who were inspired by God to write this “God-breathed” Scripture, Matthew appears to write of the King and His kingdom; Mark writes of His service; Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man – His humanity; and John shows Him as Deity – even as being the Creator of all that is – “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”  Ezekiel 1:10

and the apostle John writes in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7

Of course you will notice that Ezekiel calls one animal an “Ox” while John refers to that animal as a “Calf”.  These are from the Bovine created animal. The picture is still clear.  Jesus came to serve us and to give His life a ransom for all who will believe in Him.  Notice too that John writes of the “Flying eagle”; certainly declaring the All Present, All Knowing, All Powerful, and never changing character of GOD.

John also declares to us…

“And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” 1:14

He is also declared by John the Baptist as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29).

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, Son of the Living GOD.  John writes…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 3:36

That is the Observations from John for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sowing Seeds

I attended the Bible Evangelism Conference of Barry County Southern Baptist Association this morning and heard some very passionate, heart pounding, convicting messages from God’s servants the evangelists who God sent our way for the week.

The one for which I get my title comes from our new Director of Missions who was filling in for an Evangelist who had to leave because his wife became ill and he had to go home.  Brother Randy challenged us to sow seeds of the gospel and for the invitation we were challenged to come and take a small packet of seeds, in a sealed plastic bag to keep where we could see it everyday and it would be a reminder to us to be faithful in sowing the seeds of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The final verses of Scripture he read were Psalm 126 which says,

 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.  The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.  Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

and focusing on those final verses,  “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy…rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”.

May I be a daily gospel seed sower, and trust God to give the increase.

-Tim A. Blankenship

King Jesus And Greatness

Ever since Cain and Abel there has been a struggle over greatness and who is the greatest.  Cassius Clay alias Mohammed Ali considered himself the greatest, and now is the shell of what he was.  If that.  I don’t say this to mock or ridicule a well know personality and  sports figure from the past but to make a point.

The point being all who have ever though themselves to be great, greater, or the greatest soon find themselves humbled even to death.

“Who is the greatest?” is a question asked the King by His disciples;

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  Matthew 18:1 (KJV)

The question of taxes had been asked previously by the temple tax people, and Jesus answered it by sending Peter to retrieve a fish with a coin in its mouth from waters. It was enough for the disciple and for Jesus’s taxes. Now the question is “Who then is greatest”, and by considering the matter of “Strangers” and “sons” listed previously we can see that the children are to live so as not to offend needlessly.

The message of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection – the cross in particular will offend many.  We need to be humble in Christ Jesus, respect others, and treat them, and their beliefs with respect while proclaiming the cross of Christ as the only means of salvation by the grace of God.

We should not be so concerned about greatness as we are about living for the One who is truly the Greatest.  He is the One who created all that is; seen and unseen.  He is the One who gave His life to pay our sin debt, was buried; carrying the guilt, burden, and death of sin far, far away; then rose from death, and is alive forever more; coming again in all His glory.  H

He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.  His name is Jesus.  No one is greater than Jesus “…the fulness of the godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

When you get too full of yourself, remember Jesus. Empty yourself of you and ask Jesus Christ to come in.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Look only to the One who is greatest.

-Tim A. Blankenship

How Are We Doing?

In the past thirty years or so it would appear to me that Christians have fallen away from the idea of evangelism.  We have turned to the political arena, and there have been some good things happen from going to the polls and letting “our vote count”, and we must continue to do that.  However, dependence upon the political to legislate change, moral change in particular has given us government out of control.  We are gradually losing our freedom of speech, and will eventually lose it entirely.

The power of changing lives of individuals is solely in the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Forcing moral change through law has never worked, and never will.  Paul the apostle wrote many years ago –

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16 (KJV)

It would appear that we [Christians] have stopped believing in the power of the gospel of Christ.  We place more hope in our government than in Christ.  We have more confidence in the power of the president’s pen, than in the quiet, soft voice of the Spirit of God.  We have more faith in the politicians power than the power of the Word of God.

Why do I say these things?  We will strongly urge everyone, “Go and vote on election day”, but rarely do we say something like, “Be sure and tell someone about Jesus today, or this week”.

Let me give you a personal example.  I am often asked, “What do ya know?”; and my answer is always disappointing to me.  “Not much”.  Though the question is often asked as a means of getting a conversation going it should give me the chance to tell what I do know about Jesus Christ, His life, death, burial, resurrection; and His second coming.  Boy!!! would that be a conversation grabber.  Now I know that everytime someone asks me “What do ya know?” they don’t really want to know what I know, but I should and could share with them anyway.  I have responded a time or two, “Do really want to know?”

At any rate the hope of this world is not power, popularity, politics, or prestige.  The hope of this world is Christ Jesus.  Paul said he was not ashamed.  No Christian will be ashamed of the very one who delivered and delivers us from our sin and eternal destruction.

Someone gave an acrostic for GOSPEL  as God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life.  That is what Jesus has done for us on His cross, and proved the power of the cross by the resurrection.  He lives, and because He lives we live.

There is no power greater than the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He possesses the power to change a murderer into one who loves life – his own and others lives.  He empowers the child molestor to become a man or woman who loves children, and would never do anything to harm, molest, or torment them.  He empowers the sexual deviant to become one who is moral, and respects his/her gender and the opposite gender in the correct, moral and Biblical manner.  He empowers the sinner to become a lover of God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word; and live according to the directives of His Spirit and Word.

We must never forget that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  That means me, and that means you.  That means all with one exception, and His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Let’s be faithful in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ; “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”; and it matters not what sin they have sinned.  Legislate morality all you want, still lives are not changed until we meet Jesus, surrender our wills to His, and then we are changed with the desire to be like Him.

In answer to the question, “How Are We Doing?”  It does not seem too well.  We can do better.  I can do better.  God has not failed us. He will never fail us.  As the Lord has told us in His Word,

“The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Perfection is only through His Son Jesus.  Believe on Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship