Monthly Archives: April 2018
APRIL 21 – The Fear of the Lord
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The beginning or starting place for the greatest relationship is the Fear of the Lord. It is obvious that the starting point of a relationship is respect and fear of the Lord. This leads to the beginning of knowledge. The greatest knowledge is the gathering of facts that come from the Lord. He is the creator of the Universe and the molder and maker of man. From Him, we breathe and move. In learning about God we gain facts that if we will live based upon those facts that God reveals to us, we will be pleasing to Him. Our lives will be enhanced, and we will live fuller lives that are productive. We will respond to His instruction and gain wisdom.
The fear of the Lord brings intellectual responsibility and activity to our daily life. We ponder the majesty of the Lord and His Holiness as compared to our sordid sinful life and mull over how God has been so good to us by providing a savior to cleanse us. We see the need to inquire into his attributes and character to learn more about the one who so graciously gave His Son that we might live.
I think about the ones that do not want to know more about our God, our Lord, our Savior. How tragic their lives must be to live a short life not knowing the depths and riches of our Lord.
The fear of the Lord brings reverence and worship and submission.
William Andrew Dillard
WAS PETER A POPE?
Much usage of the term “Pope” has been employed of late in international news. It is an interesting word that many attribute spiritually to one man, and credit him as father (pope. papa) to the church: the successor to the apostle Peter, they say. Around Easter, the subject appears more frequently. Never mind that Peter was never a pope or a papa to any church, or that he was a married man with a stated mother-in-law. Think about it!
“Father” comes from the Greek word “pater” meaning “father”. From this word, we get the extended adjective “paternal,” etc. Several languages have a similar form of “pater” to indicate that basic idea. The specific term “Pope” is often listed as Pope (from Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας pappas, a child’s word for father. Of all the many ways these terms may be used, the basic idea of them all is that of origin, progenitor, and creator. We correctly recognize our male parent as “father” and although the idea of caregiver, provider, protector, and instructor may be associated with that person in one’s mind, the basic idea remains progenitor even in the synonyms of “Dad” or “Pop.” These terms certainly are most appropriate in designating our earthly relationships, but in the dimension of the spiritual world greater, more respectful, and worshipful restrictions apply.
Spiritually, the term “Father” became especially endearing to New Testament disciples of Jesus through Whom we came to know our Creator, not so much as “Lord God” but as “Our Father:” a much more loving, mature, and endearing term of close-knit, day to day relationship, as we live within the scope of His holy will. Jesus clearly and commandingly said, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matt. 23:9. Jesus also forbade ecclesiastical hierarchy in His church; Matthew 20:20-29. Moreover, those who minister spiritual things in the church are not to be considered priests any more than other members of the church because the entire church is a royal priesthood. I Peter 2:5. Neither is there any man on earth who may take ascendancy over others in regard to approaching God or finding acceptability or blessings from God. There is one mediator between God and man and it is that man Christ Jesus, I Tim. 2:5.
So, what does this writer think about all the hoopla? Well, it is just that,“ Hoopla.” But, it is more profitable to point out truth and errors than to negatively criticize. There is one Judge of us all. No one will escape an appointment before Him, and He will not deviate from His Holy Word. The personal responsibility to know, and to do righteously is too immense to entertain such foolishness for very long. So, is that fried chicken I smell coming from the kitchen? Maybe there is a biscuit and a little gravy there, too!
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A fairly short distance north of the ancient city of Ephesus lies the ruins of the city of Smyrna. There, a great church of the Lord Jesus Christ was established under the ministry of Paul and his companions. The church at Smyrna is one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three. The message of the Lord to this great church, and to those who would follow after in the same environment was one of great encouragement. They, in their trials, were to take the longer look at what was really important; to discern the beginning from the end. Accordingly, Jesus presented Himself to them as the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. They were assured their trouble was not unnoticed by the Lord. Then, they were admonished to not fear the suffering that was coming. In their poverty, they were accounted as being rich. Moreover, they were promised a crown of life for their faithfulness. What a wonderful message to the church folks in their trials and suffering for the Lord.
It was my privilege to visit this ancient site some years ago. Being on a “Journeys of Paul” tour, Turkey was approached by ship from Greece. As the ship came within a few miles of land, an outline of the modern city of Izmir came into view. The alabaster buildings gleamed in sunlight piercing, scattering clouds that had bathed them in fresh, cool rain. In the foreground was the beautiful deep blue water of the Aegean Sea, and above the city in the few remaining clouds, a rainbow graced a scene that begged to be on canvas.
Izmir, the surviving, thriving city of ancient Smyrna hosts a population of perhaps two million. When I arrived there, the city had installed the first traffic lights, and most did not know what they meant. So the operating law of traffic was who had the loudest horn, and who was bold enough to push forward first. I observed that any desirable dwelling had armed guards patrolling the property however small. Inquiry revealed the country observed squatter’s rights. Any four walls and roof was home and occupants could not be moved, so the constant vigil to keep people away.
The ruins of Smyrna are not as prominent or large as some others, but enough remains to testify of a thriving city in which dedicated saints of the Lord paid a heavy price to advance the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our group paused and gave thanks for what the Lord’s church did here among so many enemies of the gospel, even the synagogue of Satan.
Being there was a grim reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Modern churches conquered by the world, and its synagogues of Satan soon turn to belittle and marginalize true churches who love the Word and seek to advance its cause. Because that cramps their style, their wrath is often incurred. It is just in such a time that the faithfulness of Smyrna should be remembered, and their example followed.
APRIL 20 – The Blessedness of Unity
Psalm 133:1 A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Unity, often discussed, difficult to attain. Unity is so important in the work of the Lord. There are times where dis-unity causes the work of God to be hindered. Unity promotes and encourages the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We should be united in Sentiment. Sentiment is a tender feeling or emotion for others that are engaged in the work of the Lord. It is that part of mankind where joy is shared by all and death is mourned together and those that leave our union brings great sadness. This sentiment is coupled with a union of feeling. This feeling brings a confidence among those that are in union. When we are in union with sentiment and feeling, we will be united in effort. When we are united in effort, the Lord’s work will be accomplished.
Church union is very important. The Church must be united in the teachings of the Scriptures. We must agree on core doctrines that relate to God, Jesus, and the Church. Without this union on Scripture, there is division which hinders the work. Unity is strength. Where there is unity there is strength to do the work. Unity brings happiness. When all are pulling the yoke together we have a unity of purpose that brings us together to pursue a goal. Where there is unity, there is love. A love that overshadows the work that is done for the Lord. Through all of the discussions on God, Church, and Doctrine, we should have unity even in our disagreements.
May we unite for the sake of the work of the Lord.
APRIL 19 – Listen, Pay Attention
II Chronicles 20:15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
What would we hear if we would listen to God? I mean that in reading His inspired Word that He has given us we would really see the message that God has for us. We often fight our battles without the help of the Lord. We are alone and on our own battling others and situations in a weak manner because we have made this battle, this altercation, this misunderstanding a battle that we personally take on.
Judah, Jerusalem and the king were in dire straits. Enemies had come up against them. Several enemies were aligned against God’s people. Because of fear, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast in Judah. This brought Judah to the altar to seek the Lord. Here are the people admitting to God that they did not have the might to defeat their enemies. We need to learn to admit that we are powerless against the enemies that face us. We do not need to face them alone. We need to call upon God for help. We need to turn our eyes, our hearts, and our minds upon the Lord from whom we have salvation.
This is where the Lord said, “…the battle is not yours, but God’s. What peace we will have if we turn these things over to God. There are times I have worried and paced over a problem or situation and did not find an answer or peace and simply turned it over to the Lord. Then peace came because God always has the answer.
What God did is such an amazing thing. God won the battle without involving Israel. He turned the enemies against each other. They destroyed themselves. Israel sang praises to God during the self-destruction of their enemies. They among the dead and gathered the spoil and the riches of the fallen.
Here is what God said: You don’t need to fight, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord. Jehoshaphat said to the people, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”
We need to learn the battle is the Lord’s. Give it to Him. We need to learn to witness and allow God to convict. The Battle is the Lord’s.
APRIL 18 – Prosperity
2Chronicles 26:4 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
How often today we hear of prosperity from the pulpit and the people. It is only natural for the ungodly to seek the money that most people consider prosperity. Some align themselves, in a religious manner, with prosperity being wealth and health. God’s Word addresses prosperity in II Chronicles 26. Here we find the story of Uzziah when he is made king. It is said of Uzziah that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. This is a tremendous commendation for a person to have. “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” Now here is the commendation from God. “… God made him to prosper.”
What does that mean? In what way did God make him prosper? The inspired word says that he “prospered in warriors.’ He prospered in battles. He prospered in building protection for the cities. He invented machines for the protection of the cities. He prospered in digging wells to sustain the people. I do not see anything about health or wealth and prosperity in this chapter. His prosperity was in caring and protecting the people.
Sometimes the benevolence and prosperity that God shows toward His people bring about a change in them. The Scriptures say that when he was strong his heart was lifted up. He had a moral failing called pride. What a terrible thing pride causes us to become. Because of his pride, he intruded in the office of the priests. He, apparently decided that he would burn incense upon the altar. What could possibly be the attitude here? Surely God would not reject my worship. Certainly, God looks upon my heart and sees my intent that I do this to worship Him and He will accept it. The pride fooled the mind of Uzziah and hid his eyes to the truth that God had prescribed a way for the incense to be offered and proscribed any other way.
The high priest and fourscore priests of the Lord withstood him. God punishes those that allow pride to cause them to sin against the plan and instructions of God. The king became a leper and was a leper till he died. Leprosy was a disease that called for a person to be ostracized from others. A Godly man that was made to proper in several areas of life was punished by God with a heinous disease.
God hates pride. God will punish pride. Let us prosper in the Lord, not health, even though we want good health, not in wealth, even though we want to pay our bills, but in obedience to God and helping others.
APRIL 17 – An Ensign
Num_2:2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
Whose child are you? This is a very important question today. Who is your father? What family do you belong to? Who do you associate with? Who do you obey? Do you carry the family name proudly or do you give cause to bring shame upon the name of your family?
It appears that some lose their way and forget the family. They have lost track of their family values. That is why the Lord has an ensign, a flag, a standard so that those that see can recognize where the family should be. I have seen those that have been involved with a different family and then find out that family was not what it seemed to be on the surface. Then they have to cast around to find that familiar ensign or standard and thereby find their family again.
We know the Lord’s standard and the Church that He personally built while here on this earth. Our national flag of the United States is very distinctive. In the left upper corner, there is a field of blue with white stars. The rest of the flag has horizontal alternating red and white stripes. The Lord’s ensign or standard is also very distinctive. It is the Church that teaches, believes, and practices what the Lord has given it as an identification. These are:
1. Salvation by grace through faith only. Nothing more and nothing less. Ephesians 2:8,9.
2. Once saved, always saved. Salvation is based entirely upon Jesus and his shed blood. Hebrews 10:10; Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:12 – Eternal redemption.
3 Local visible Church only. Philemon 1:2 Church in thy house. Galatians 1:2 – Churches (plural) of Galatia. I Corinthians 1:2 – Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth.
4. Baptism; Scriptural authority, Scriptural Candidate, Scriptural mode. Authority was given to the Church – Matt. 28:19,20. Scriptural candidate -Acts 8:36-39, Luke 3:7-9 Fruits meats for repentance. Show me you have repented. Scriptural Mode. – Immersion like being buried in the earth. Mark 1:9-11
5. Lord’s Supper restricted to that local church membership only. I Corinthians 1:2-13. Shows church discipline by putting outside the church membership to deny them the Lord’s Supper.
We have an ensign or standard that the Lord has given us. He gave us these things purposefully. The Lord’s people have gone into captivity because they have ignored the ensign or standard that has been given to us. Their captivity is the ignorance that blinds them to the ensign or signs of truth. Isaiah 5:26 says that God will lift up His ensign after his people have been scattered because of their unfaithfulness and will hiss and the people will come. Isaiah 11:10 speaks of the stem of Jesse that will reign during the thousand years and His ensign the Gentiles shall seek and the rest of the Lord shall be glorious.
Are you in the family of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, “ye must be born again.” John 3:3. You must be born into the family of God. If you have been born again, are you as close to the ensign as you can be? Are you following the truths of Gods Word faithfully? Our overwhelming desire should be to follow as close as we can the truths delivered to us.