William Andrew Dillard
Ranking high among the pleasures of reading God’s Word is vicariously identifying with its cast of characters. Perhaps it is the unshakable focus and patience of Noah that inspires us or the unwavering faith of Abraham. Isaac brings calmness to the soul, while adventuresome excitement flows from trickster Jacob. Joseph inspires us in all our troubles as does Job, but what could be more of an emotional roller coaster than the life of Moses. On and on the chronicles of life itself in so many contexts speak loudly to us of what is right or wrong, good and bad. Who could have had a greater storybook life than David or Solomon, or the austerity, faithfulness, and fortitude of the impressive prophets. But some largely prefer to identify with the apostles. John was so trusting and loving. Peter was so impulsive and often wrong. Paul was a trail-blazing evangelist and doctrinal instructor. But there is another that claims a lion’s share of connection in many disciples in every generation. It is Thomas who is more often than not referred to as “Doubting Thomas.”
Often pushed into the back recesses of heart and mind, the more open doubts of our “Thomas” are hidden away. Out of view by others, he will command the mental easy chair of meditation or the center stage of a mind unwilling to surrender to nightly rest, calling into question some things deeply embedded as unchangeable truth. Our personal “Thomas” seems to strongly raise questions, affirm denial, and cause one to flounder in the pool of amazement over what is long known to be truth in the absolute.
The biblical Thomas knew the Lord, he received heaven’s baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, and positively responded to the call of Jesus. He loved the Lord and soaked up so much of Jesus’ teachings. The crucifixion threw him for a loop as it did most of the apostles. But not being present at the early appearances of the resurrected Christ, his knowledge consisted of the reports of the others who had seen Him. But no one rises from the dead. Four thousand years of consistent history proved it. But his brethren were not given to false statements. He wanted so much for it to be so, but determined he would not believe it until he had personally seen Him himself. What a time that was when Jesus appeared to them all inside a locked room, and he was bidden both to see and to feel the body of Jesus. A new level of solidification enveloped him as the turbulence gave way to tranquility.
That process of turbulence to tranquility is the prospective joy for every disciple who will stop long enough to meet with Jesus in the room of His Holy Word. When your “Thomas” finds his way to center stage, allow Jesus to speak as He did so long ago: “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27.
Sell Me This Power
SELL ME THIS POWER
William Andrew Dillard
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
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