Doubt It If You Will; Jesus Is Coming Again

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:1-9  (KJB)

With The Precious Blood Of Christ

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:18-25  (KJB)

…Be Found Of Him In Peace…

“…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:13-18 (KJB)

The Glory and Honor of Jesus Christ

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Daystar arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake, moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:16-21 (KJB)

The Eyes, the Ears, and the Face of the Lord

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:12-16 (KJB)

 

Also consider reading 2 Chronicles 16 and note verses 7 – 10 especially: and Romans 8.

Neither Barren Nor Unfruitful

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.  Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; to which you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 2:1-21

REFERENCES: 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 3:7; 5:12; Galatians 6:10; 1 John 1:7; 4:21; Ephesians 5:26; Romans 14:15; Psalm 119:105; Romans 12:6; Matthew 17:1-8

The Grace of Suffering

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  But the end of all things is at hand: you be therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  For the time that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.  1 Peter 4:1-19

REFERENCES: 2:20; 3:19; Ezekiel 9:6; 44:6; Acts 10:42; 17:30; Romans 12:13; 14:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 5:11; 24:13, 45; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Isaiah 10:12;

The Good News For All Who Will Hear

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.’
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 10:34-44

Sermon Points for Today August 26, 2018

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is a Certain Event

2 Peter 3:1-10

The second coming of Jesus Christ is just as certain as His first coming and it will be a cleansing world event.  Read Zechariah 14.

I.  The Stirring of the Prophet’s and the Apostle’s writings (vv. 1-2).

II.  There will be Those Who Scoff at the Promise (vv. 3-7).

III.  The Lord is Not Slack in His Promise, and Calls for Repentance (vv. 8-9).

IV.  The Thief and the “Day of the LORD” (v. 10).

Precious Faith

These sermon points are from the message Tim A. Blankenship preached on Sunday morning August 05, 2018.

The reason this one faith in God through Jesus Christ is the Precious Faith…

1 Peter 1-25

I.  It is Most Precious (vv. 1-5)

II.  More Precious than Gold (vv. 6-11).

III.  It was the desire of Prophets and Angels (vv. 10 & 12).

IV.  It is Precious to maintain Holiness; Keeping the Faith ((vv. 13-25).

Precious Faith

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)

Simon Peter a very close friend of the Lord Jesus Christ as He walked, worked, and lived and died on the cross is the Spirit-inspired writer of both First and Second Peter.  He is one of the apostles of Christ.  At one time he was influenced by the devil when he told Jesus that He would not die (Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33).

Peter writes of the Precious Faith that we receive “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”; so then we must know that “Faith” also is the “Gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  The work of faith and salvation are the gift of God.  They are in fact the same.  When you have faith in Him then you are saved.  When you are saved, then you have faith in Him.  It is the gift of God.

Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 3 that “…All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23), but in Christ Jesus, we have been called into that glory and the virtue of it.  We are no longer separated from God, and even more, because we are in Christ we are recipients of the “exceeding great and precious promises… that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.”  Having the “divine nature” means that we have been given the heart and mind of Christ. The will to think, to act, to live like Christ.  That means we no longer have the heart of sin, but we hate sin just as Jesus does, and we love righteousness, holiness, and righteousness.

We are delivered from the corruption that is in the world, and our desires are what God desires for us.

If you are still desiring to live in your sinful passions and lust, you enjoy living in sin, then you have not been delivered from the corruption of this wicked world.  You are still bound in sin and death, and you are on the road to eternal destruction and hell.  You need to call on the name of Jesus who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He will come again just as He said He would (John 14:1-3).  Call on Him today, even now.

Before the Foundation of the World

“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NKJV).

To be holy is to be set apart from the wicked society in which we live. Not as monks, or as though in a world of our own, but apart in the sense of not participating in the world system of greed, debauchery, lust, uniformity, etc..

Being holy, and since we as Christians call on the Father on a quite regular basis we also know that He is One who judges us justly, and fairly according to our works, and knowing that we will conduct ourselves with the utmost respect for Him who holds our hearts and each breath we breathe in His hands. We will live with the fear, knowing that the time of our lives is in His hands.

Knowing the Father as we do; we also know that we have not been redeemed by material things. Our redemption is not founded on how much gold or silver we possess, or how much we give away. It is not based on any form of material wealth. It is not gifts given for the fulfillment of the traditions of men, such as Old Testament ceremonial laws, and forms. Our redemption is not dependent upon someone else paying our way out of a fictitious purgatory. The price of our redemption was paid to God our Father by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our sin debt was owed to God.  God owes us nothing; not even a chance of salvation.

Jesus Christ, the precious lamb of God, paid our sin debt to the Father for us. The price of our redemption was His life. He laid it down, and no man took it from Him. As a matter of fact; the Father took His life (Read Isaiah 53:4). Jesus was that sacrificial Lamb who was without spot, and without blemish. There was no sin in the life of Jesus Christ, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the wrath of Almighty God was poured out to the max upon Him.

This was “foreordained” even before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it was fulfilled on that day when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. It is only because of this wondrous gift that anyone can call on the name of the Father, and He will hear us, save us, and give us life eternal. No one can come to God except it be given by the Father, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from death, He has been restored to the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. His glory renewed we can now have faith and hope in God. Without this, there would not be much of a point in our brothers and sisters, or any in Christ suffering for His name. Because He lives we live. Because He died for us, we can die for His name’s sake, and give Him the glory.

May God bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus.

Perspective

Byway Blessings

I have always enjoyed driving! I guess that is why when I was blessed with a job about 30 minutes from home, I really didn’t mind. Most of the time I listen to music when I am driving along, but that was not the case today. Silence reigned in the car and I was very deep in thought on my drive this morning when I focused on the road ahead I noticed it looked like mountains in the distance. Now I know there are not any mountains in Southwest Georgia at least not since last Thursday. The clouds were arranged in the sky in a way that made it look like the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. For a moment in time my eyes were playing tricks on me. My perspective was tainted; I was seeing something in a different way.

In my walk with God, I often see…

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Day Two Hundred Seventy and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to be a more watchful thinker, and use my mind for fruitful things.

We have all been to “Amusement Parks” where we go to relax, ride rides, watch shows for entertainment purposes; but how often have we stopped to think about what the word “Amuse” means?

If you do not know, it means “No thinking”.  Let us all be more fruitful in our thinking.  Think before we speak.  Think before we act.  You get the idea.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:13

“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:3

Christian Persecution

There are a few people I know who have jail, and prison ministries. They do it because they believe God has called them to go to the places where men and women are incarcerated for crimes against God and humanity. Yet, these minister to the men and women who are willing to listen to the message of Christ; the hope for all mankind; even the murderers and rapist and child molesters.

The event from Acts which we read today is not of criminals who have violated God’s laws, but violators of men’s laws which are against God. The apostles had preached when they were ordered not to preach in that name of “Jesus”; yet, they did. Hear what they said:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32 (KJV)

This takes place following their arrest, and imprisonment. An “Angel of the Lord” has come to them in the “common prison” and opened the doors, and sent them to preach in the temple. They went, and that is where they are found the next morning. Doing as they had been told by God.

When men’s laws are against God’s law, then Christian men and women are to continue their practices of being Christian; obeying God’s Word, His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments. I do not think we Christians should be surprised by persecution in a dark world. We ought rather, be surprised that we are not; because the apostle Paul has written, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV). Now, I do not want to be persecuted, but really, if I am not; am I really living a godly life? The apostles were.

As Peter stated above; “We ought to obey God rather than men”. That begins through our faith; trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour; obeying Him in our lives; being His witness.

One thing this passage of Scripture teaches is that the freedom of speech is from God, not men; therefore men cannot take it away. Let our speech be always with words that glorify our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Words for Christian Living 060913

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”  Revelation 2:4  (KJV)

By the Will of Man???

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  2 Peter 1:16-21 (KJV)

It has been said by many people, “You can make the Bible say anything you want it to say.”  In one sense that thought is correct if you take a verse of the Bible from one place, out of its context, you can have it tell you to “Go and hang yourself”, but we know that is not what it really says.

If one is to have any understanding of the Scripture it must be understood in the light of other Scripture.  “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” says Peter, so we must be aware when we interpret Scripture that we twist it by using only that point of interpretation.

Let me give you an Old Testament example.  When Moses led the children of Israel through the wilderness to Kadeshbarnea, it appears in Numbers 13:1-3 that there is a direct commandment from the LORD to send men into the Promised Land and come back with report; however in Deuteronomy 1:22 and following we see that there were people of the tribes who had came to Moses requesting that before they cross the Jordan River that spies be sent to examine the land and the people.  By knowing that we not only learn that though God may have spoken to Moses directly, He also spoke to him through the people he was leading.

There are many who try to build theologies by using a verse of scripture in one place, one book, one paragraph, or one chapter; and do not look at the whole.  If we do not trust and believe the whole for interpretation we will stand in danger of not only losing our minds, but also our hearts to unbelief.  The Scriptures are eternal; not one jot or tittle will pass away, until all are fulfilled.

-T.A.

Being Devoured???

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:8-11 (KJV)

Sometimes in life the Christian man and woman feels as though they are being attacked both on the inside and the outside.  We may wonder “Why?”, and now we have the answer.  The devil, our adversary, is voracious in his attacks against all those who love God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Do not lose heart; it has been that way for millenniums.  Every child of God who has lived has come under those hateful, demeaning, devouring assaults.

What is the Christian to do when she/he does not know what to do?  Keep on doing what you know, that is of the faith and Scripture.  The Christian is to remain sober; that is clear minded, vigilant going on in the faith, always doing what you already know to do, and do it faithfully.

You who have been “called…unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…” the devil will not win.  He has already lost.  His battle was lost at Calvary, and when Jesus cried out “It is finished” He meant that all the work He came to do was done, and now He is seated at the Father’s right hand awaiting that day when all evil will be put away; and He in His glory shall reign forever more.

-T.A.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christian and the Ordinances of Men

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 (KJV)

No one likes the word “Submit”, however the Christian is given decree, commandment by the apostle Peter, and Paul (Romans 13:1-5) to submit and be subjected to the “Ordinance of man”.  We may not like it, and we will also see that that command is when the king, or governor is doing righteously, for good, and not for evil.

The Christian is free from sins guilt, condemnation, and free to be obedient to the LORD.  In the LORD we are not to use our freedom for evil purposes, or as Peter puts it “For a cloke of maliciousness”; or a cover to do evil.

Peter ends the statement with “Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honour the king”.  And that is the direction we are to take.  We are to love the brethren, and honor the king; however we are to “Fear God”; not the king, or any form of government.

-T.A.

Day 87 – The Power of a Godly Life

The title of this reveals some inadequacy in my own life.  I do not believe that I exhibit the power of Christ in my life as I ought.  I fall short.  I read the Bible and for today particularly James’s and Peter’s Epistles; and I hear their calls to faith that works, and godliness.

My reading was James 4-5, and First and Second Peter.

James writes,

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  James 4:1-4 (KJV)

We Christians, especially today, and probably in every age do not realize the power we have with God in prayer.  Maybe I should say, at least I do not.  Part of the problem with the Corinthian church was jealousy over spiritual gifts.  Can you imagine us fighting over who is more spiritual?  The answer is “None”.  I was reading a book by E. M. Bounds, and a chapter about “Prayerless Praying”.  The following is a sentence from that chapter –

“Prayerless praying lacks the essential element of true praying; it is not based on desire, and it is devoid of earnestness and faith.”

When Brother Bounds mentions “Desire” in that sentence he is not meaning worldly, fleshly desire but rather the desire God gives (Psalam 37:3-4).  Our praying is more like rubbing a bottle for a genie, and getting three wishes; and that comes to nothing.

Notice James mentions also, the power of the prayer of the Old Testament prophet Elijah –

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  5:16b-18

I look at Elijah, then I take a look at myself.  I have something greater than Elijah, yet not the faith or the power.  Sometimes it seems my prayers have an opposite affect than what I ask; at least from my point of view.  Why did Elijah have so much authority and power in his praying?  I believe it must have been because he was jealous to glorify the LORD of hosts.  He was outraged by Israel’s departure from God; and he was willing to risk his life to restore her back to God; even approaching the king Ahab, and Jezebel.

Now look at what Peter says of holiness –

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16

Peter mentions our being “Born again” (1 Peter 1:23), and that it is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible.  That it is “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”, that we are born again.  Born from above, born of God are similar phrases and trues given us throughout the Bible.

Peter gives men instruction concerning their wives,

“…Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

A husband can be so out of fellowship with his wife, his fellowship with God is broken and his prayers hindered.  Peter has given previous instruction to the wives, to slaves (2:18 – 3:6).  They have their responsibilities in Christ as well.  Let no Christian think they can be holy unto God, if they are not following the direction of the Spirit of God and His Word.

The apostle Peter mentions Paul in 2 Peter 3:15, and this is what he says,

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”  2 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)

There had been some contention between the apostles Paul and Peter; yet in Christian love Peter acknowledges that the writings of Paul are part of holy Scripture, and need to be heard (See Galations 2:11-14ff).  Peter desires that the Christian “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 18).  That is my desire for all Christians as well; even myself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Baptist Faith and Message – Scriptures

In this article I will write about the Scriptures, or otherwise know as the Bible, the Holy Bible.  The first statement made in this article is the first statement of Southern Baptist Statement of Faith called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.  It has Scripture references with it.

“I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.”

One of the references given is from 2 Timothy 3:15-17, and is probably the most known among Southern Baptists and probably all Baptists.

“… That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV).

As Baptists we believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God.  If anyone only believes that the Bible only “contains the Word of God”, then they are not truly Baptists.

By the Word of God we can know God, His heart, His passion, and we can know that He loves the human race.  We also can know that Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, ie., teaching; for reproof, ie., the exposing of error and heresy; for correction – that is setting forth of discipline in the church; and for instruction in righteousness – showing the people the things which will be pleasing to God and will glorify Him.

A second portion of Scripture I want us to look at is 2 Peter 1:19-21:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:10-21 (NKJV)

When we study the Word of God we can rest assured that there will be no portion of it to contradict, lead us astray, or bring shame to our lives, or rob the glory that belongs only to God.  Not one verse can stand on its own, nor can one man’s interpretation of any one verse stand alone.  The verses of Scripture  must be understood in the light of the whole.

When you trust God and His Word, you have nothing to fear.  If we fear God we need fear nothing else.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)

The Living Stone

We don’t often think of a “Living stone”, though living in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri, we joke about stones growing; and it does seem that way at times.  I can remember picking rocks off the fields, carrying them off by wagon, or taking them for fill somewhere else; and they never seem to get any lower number on the fields.

Peter, the apostle, has written of vices that are not to be in the life of a Christian in verse 1 of chapter 2.  We are to be growing in the “sincere milk of the word” into the image of Christ.  That is “Christian” [Christ like]  in living.

 “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious…” 1 Peter 2:4 (KJV)

As we look through the Bible we find the terms, “Cornerstone”, “Stumbling stone’ or ‘Stone of stumbling”, (Psalm 118:22; 144:12; Isaiah 28:16; Jeremiah 51:26; Zechariah 9:15;  Matthew 21:42;  Mark 12:10;  Acts 4:11;  Ephesians 2:20) “Rock” (Deuteronomy 8:15; 32:13, 15, 18, 30, 31;  1 Corinthians 10:4).  Those who come to this Rock, Stone to stay, to abide; those who come for Him are not as those who cast Him away, or those who crucified Him.

The Living Stone is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16).

For some reason there are growing numbers of people who are believing that Jesus had thousands and thousands who believed in Him, however, the truth of the matter is that He was highly rejected, by the religious establishment of the time as well as the multitudes; many of whom He fed on the mount; many of those who laid palms in His path on the day of His presentation in the streets of Jerusalem.  On the day of Pentecost, there was only 120 gathered in the upper room praying (Acts 1:15).  That was most likely all there were who believed in Him.

The prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled in both the life and death of our Savior.  His coming, rejection by many, and His condemnation unto death are all foretold by the prophets.

He was “disallowed” (disapproved, and rejected) by the majority; showing clearly that the majority is not always right.  Who in their right mind could reject so much love, kindness, and such a great salvation which is provided through His death, burial and resurrection?  Only those who cannot see clearly; those who are blinded by their sin.

He is the chosen One of GOD; and He is precious, unique, no other like Him.  The only precious, Son of GOD.

I pray He is precious to to you.  That you have come to Him to stay, to abide with Him forever.

-T.A.

Evidence of a Dead Heart

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1-3

It is a certain fact that all men are dying.  There have been only two exceptions to this in Scripture, and those two were Enoch of Genesis 5:21-24; and Elijah of 2 Kings 2:9-11.  Even Jesus Christ died; and He did that for you and me; taking all the sins of the world upon Himself, taking the wrath and judgment of the Father; and we by faith are justified through faith in Him.

Paul the apostle says that the evidence of a new heart is bearing fruit, or the evidence,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law; and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26

It is a hard matter, but there are professing Christians who seek to do harm to their brethren, and that is malicious behavior.  Desiring the harm of another is “malice”, and comes from an evil heart.  Peter says that the Christian, follower of Jesus Christ is to lay these matters aside; and you could say “Put them off” entirely.  He includes “Guile” which would be scheming deception to achieve your own way, and or lying to protect you own skin.

The Christian is to be real.  Hypocrisy is found where ever there are people.  The Christian might be hypocritical at times, but should not be a hypocrite.  Being a hypocrite is one who dwells in that way; always pretending to be something they are not.  It is the hypocrite who goes to church, speaks the theological language on Sunday, at Sunday worship; appearing holy, yet curses his fellow employees, employer and others the rest of the time.  It is “Envy” which caused the religious rulers to crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:18).  Envy is a form of jealousy which will do anything, even murder, to get what they want.

These things which control a life are not the fruits of the Christian.  They are the Evidence of a Dead Heart.

The “Newborn babe” desires the word of God, and grows in it.  The Christian is not perfect, nor sinless, yet we are growing into the image of Christ; if indeed we have “Tasted that the Lord is gracious”.

-T.A.

Quickly Perishing

When I look at our society today I see so many who are quickly perishing, and are completely unaware of it.  Why do I say they are unaware of it?  They live as though there was no end.  They live as though there is no God.  They live as though they will answer to no one.

We are all fickle at times.  We can so easily be led astray, be deceived and deluded.  There is something we all must realize and that is, that, there is more to life, than “Me”.  “Me” will one day end, and then what.  Hear what the apostle Peter has written,

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV).

It is a terrible thing for man who is quickly perishing to give so much confidence and power to things which we cannot take with us.  I heard the story of a woman who was married to a wealthy man, on his death bed, who wasn’t leaving anything to her, and wanted it all cashed out before he died and, then,  put into his coffin with him at his burial.  She went and cashed everything out, and the day of the funeral put a box in the coffin before they closed the lid.  A friend who was with her asked, “What was in the box?”, and she proceeded to tell her of her deceased husband’s request, and that she had placed it in the box.  She went on to say, “I deposited the money in my checking account, and wrote him a check.  Now he can cash it any time he chooses.”

Any one with any sense knows when you die, that, silver, gold, or paper money will be of no service to you.  It too will rot, rust, decay, and one day blow away in the wind with the rest of the dust.

There is only the “word of the Lord” that endures for ever, and that will be in the lives of those who put their faith and trust in Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection.  “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).  Those who will come to God the Father through God the Son will have an eternity with Him in glory.  Call on His name today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Born Again

The title is a term which has been heard and used by many in various ways.  If a man falls down a steep cliff and lives he says, “It is like I have been born again.”, but there is no change in the way he lives his life.  One former President of the USA, made the term known, or better known by using it in his campaign in the seventies.

Peter the apostle writes:

 “…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,…”  1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV).

He previously wrote of having purified souls, which are connected with obeying the truth of God’s Word.  There can be no true love for God or others except by the Spirit of God and His Word.

We are enabled, empowered to love and obey because we have been “Born again”.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”.  This is a spiritual birth.  When we are physically born into this world we are spiritually dead, and separated from God.  Our eternal destination of torment  is not God’s plan for us.  He made us eternal beings to spend eternity with Him, but that was shattered by sin.  There would be found no place for fallen man (Revelation 20:11).

The new birth comes about by the supernatural power of God.  It is not by the will of the flesh; for John has written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (John 1:12-13).

The seed of man is corrupt by sin.  The seed of God is incorruptible, and by the Word of God the seed of God comes and quickens the spirit of man, giving New Birth.  The Word of God is alive and lives forever.  The Psalmist has written, “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).   When the word is forever settled in heaven it is forever sure in the heart made alive by the Spirit of God.

There may be trials and tribulations in this life, but those made alive by the Spirit of God, and His living Word are overcomers, and have the assurance of glory in God, and living forever in His presence.  Trials?  Tribulations?  In this world?  Yes!  Jesus said, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”.

-T.A.