Antipodean59's Blog

Restored New Testament Christianity

Archive for the tag “God”

Thought for the week

What The Rich Man In Torment Would Have Us To Know

Have you ever stopped to consider what the rich man in torment would say to us if given a chance? Make no mistake about it, he would speak to us if he could, but he can’t (cf. Luke 16:26-31). God gives us all the information we need in His Word and it’s up to each of us to find those facts and apply them to our lives (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3)! But let’s suppose for a minute that it were possible for him to speak to us. What would he say?

The rich man would tell us that our time on earth is limited and that death is inevitable. He’d fared sumptuously every day. He had it all, and I’d dare say that death and eternity were the furthest things from his mind, as they are with many still today. But despite the comforts and pleasures he’d enjoyed in this life, time ultimately came for him to cross over into eternity. We’re all going to die (cf. Heb. 9:27; Jam. 4:14). Cemeteries are proof that our time is limited. People of all ages and from all walks of life can be found buried therein! Thus, what time we do have in this life should be spent in preparing for that life to come!

The rich man would tell us that hell is real! It’s amazing to hear people talk about there being a heaven, but in the same breath reject the notion of there being a hell. Hell is a prepared place for an unprepared (spiritually) people, make no mistake about it (cf. Mat. 25:41; 2 The. 1:8-9; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 21:8). Because hell is real we must fear it and use it as motivation to keep us on the straight and narrow (Mat. 7:13-14).

The rich man would tell us that earthly things have no eternal value. What do you suppose his fare and sumptuous life before death meant to him after death? Those things he had enjoyed in this life could not help him, comfort him, or aide him in eternity! It’s what we do in this life that will follow us into eternity, not what we have (cf. Rev. 14:13; 2 Cor. 5:10; Mat. 6:19-20; 2 John 2:15-17; 2 Pet. 3:10-14).

The rich man would tell us to quit making excuses and obey God today! He will spend eternity in torment thinking about the excuses he made and the subsequent opportunities he squandered to obey God’s Word. Opportunities to obey God’s will are quickly passing and will soon cease! Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:15)!

Where we spend our eternity will be determined by how we spend our time on earth. Let’s not make the same fatal mistake as did the rich man. Let’s spend our time in this life preparing for and looking forward to that life in the hereafter.

Terry R. Townsend (October 9, 2012)
Terry preaches for the Curry Street church of Christ, Jasper, Alabama
http://www.currychurchofchrist.org/

Thought for the week

One Place I Don’t Want To End Up In

As we say in New Zealand, gidday, how are ya? Hope you are having a great day.

I’ve been thinking, just as I’m now on the cusp of reaching the age of sixty, that I feel somewhat fortunate to have attained such a mile stone. I mean to say, there have been many instances where I have dodged the proverbial bullet, so to speak. Like the time I was driving home to Wellington forty ton all up and drizzling with rain on the treacherous Desert Road (Central North Island, New Zealand) when around a bend in the road I come across a minor accident scene. I pass cautiously noting the unfortunates mulling over their plight when out of the blue an empty logging truck towing its trailer appears over the brow of the hill in front of me. The driver sees the accident scene in front of him and naturally hits the brake causing the trailer to jack-knife in the slippery conditions. The trailer is coming straight for me. I instinctively pull to the left and all I see is the rear of the logging trailer slide by my right hand mirror then neatly slide down the combing rail of the semi I am pulling, cutting half a dozen tarpaulin ropes as it goes by. I stop at the top and pause to reflect upon what was a close call. I was milliseconds from certain death, that I am certain. What then had I died? What would be my destination, Heaven or Hell?

By that stage in my life I had obeyed the gospel call to listen to God’s word, for that is where faith in God is formed (Romans 10:17). I believed in Jesus Christ as my Saviour to set me free from the awful effects of sin of being separated from God for eternity (Isaiah 59:2). Christ set me free because I obeyed His command to repent of my sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30), confessing before men that Jesus is Lord; that is, He will rule my life because in my heart I know from many eye witness accounts (I Corinthians 15:6) that He is risen from the dead (Romans 10:9) but not before I was baptised in order for my sins to be remitted; that is, have them washed away by His blood through the act of a watery burial which occurs when one is fully immersed in water (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-7). As I stand outside the truck and survey the scene of near death, I am in Christ; a son of God; a member of His church, the one and only place to be if one is saved (Acts 4:12; Galatians 3:26-27; I Corinthians 12:13; II Timothy 2:10). I stand confident my eternal home is with God and along with all those faithful to God’s commands throughout the ages.

However, just a little over a year before hand it would have been a different scenario had I died, for as one who was ignorant of God’s word I, like billions of others of accountable age before me, would rue my eternal fate that can be summed up in two sets of passages. The first is Luke 16:19-31 where a certain rich man died and lifted his eyes up in a place called Hades describing his condition as “torments”. Christ uses a Koine Greek word that simply means torture i.e. extreme pain. The man is conscious and alert and is even able to communicate with the father of faith, Abraham expressing his utter grief at what besets him (v.24). He has none to blame but himself for if he had obeyed “Moses and the Prophets” then he would be with his neighbour Lazarus over on the other side.

The second passage is truly frightening, for Paul says there is an expectation “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). That would have been me folks because prior to August 23, 1985 I did not know God and therefore had not obeyed Him. I, too, would have been in the certain man’s predicament had it not been for my listening and consequent obedience to God’s word.

Now, this place of “torments” is one place I do not want to end up in and I am certain you don’t want to end up there, either. Fortunately, you are alive and well because you are now reading this. If you have not already taken the certain man’s advice in Luke 16 that he wanted his brothers to hear i.e. obey God in order to avoid the place of torment he found himself in, then I urge you without delay to seek and find a faithful church of Christ near you. Sit down and hear, believe, repent, confess and then be baptised in order to have your sins “washed away” before it is everlasting too late.

Graham

Thought for the week

You Don’t Know Me

I don’t know about you but I like to reminisce about old times, look up old names and faces using Google.com. Sometime ago I became curious about whatever happened to Helen Shapiro (born East End district of London, 28 Sept., 1946), a dark haired 14 year old Jewish girl who in 1961 had two memorable hits called, You Don’t Know
and Walkin’ Back To Happiness. Her husky voice for one so young was of exquisite timbre. I well remember at the time, saying to my mother, that she surely could not be a girl for her voice was, to me, very boy-like.
It appears Helen is alive and well but has changed in a number of ways. It seems her fame of the early ‘sixties diminished being supplanted by the warm-up group in her entourage, none other than The Beatles. She turned to Jazz and eventually Gospel. Helen, a girl born of a Polish immigrant family and raised in the strict confines of the Hackney, London synagogue eventually heard about Jesus. I will let her tell you the story: “The State school I attended taught the Bible and I loved the Bible stories very much. However, because my school had a Jewish Headmaster and a large Jewish contingency among the pupils, we Jewish kids had separate R.E. (religious education) classes and assemblies. As a consequence, I never heard of a New Testament or a Jesus until I was around six years of age. One day, a non-Jewish girl came up to me in the [school] playground in quite some distress and blurted out, “You killed Jesus Christ!” I was devastated and confused by this accusation. I had never killed anyone in my life, and who was this person with the strange name, Jesus Christ?”
Helen drifts through life wondering about this man called Jesus even supposing as most Jews do that he and his New Testament is a conspiracy of the gentiles. She lurches from Judaism to New Age confusion, praying for God to show her the way until one day in the 1980’s her musical director Bob Cranham proclaimed “He was a Christian and more than once he had spoken of what his ‘Lord’ had done in his life.” It seems he planned to spend the rest of his life being a preacher. Helen is curious to know who Jesus really is. She finds a book entitled “Betrayed” by Stan Telchin. She says, “The book was a total shock…Here was a book by a normal, successful Jewish businessman who believed in Jesus and I couldn’t ignore it.”
She eventually meets Stan and asks him to explain Jesus. He responds by quoting Isaiah 9:6, where it’s written “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”. I had always thought that verse was in the New Testament as I’d only ever seen it on Christmas cards. But there it was in Isaiah! One of ours!” He further enlightens this Jewish mind about other Old Testament (Tenarch) verses such as Isaiah 7:14 a child (Jesus) born to a virgin; Micah 5:2 the child’s birth place – Bethlehem; Psalm 22 prophesying the child’s final words on the cross; Isaiah 53 of the suffering, redeeming Jesus and she says, “All of these prophecies seemed to be painting a picture that I wasn’t sure I wanted to see. How come nobody ever showed me these things before? How come all I got was ‘You Killed Jesus Christ!’?
August 1987 Helen is finally convinced that Jesus Christ is genuine. She says, “I telephoned Bob [Cranham] and said, “I think I’m on the verge of becoming a believer.” He and his wife asked me over… I told Bob and his wife that I believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God and God the Son. I believed that He died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day… They explained that I needed to repent – to turn from my sin back to God. I learned that I was a sinner. We all are. Bob asked me if I would like to respond by praying and asking God to forgive me on the basis of what Jesus has done. Only He can forgive me and only the Blood of Jesus can atone for me. I could then commit my life to Him as my Lord and Saviour.”
However, as interesting and rich the story may be, have you noticed that Helen has still fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)? She has been duped by denominational mischief, for they miss out what the 3000 plus were told they must do on Pentecost (Acts 2:38); what Jesus said Ananias would tell Saul what he “must do” (Acts 9:6 and 22:16); what the Philippian Jailer and household were told to do in answer to, “What must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30); what Paul said the Galatians had done, i.e., “clothed themselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and finally what Peter says is an action that appeals to God for a “good conscience” (1 Peter 3:21) – yes, she has not been baptized for the acquittal of her sins and subsequently be added to Christ’s church (Acts 2:47) and as a consequence, salvation wise, Christ, sadly, does not know her (Matthew 7:23).
I pray that Helen to discover this vital link between now and eternity.

Graham

Thought for the week

Be Perfect

To be perfect is something Jesus expects His disciples to be: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). How can that be, you ask, when it is simply not possible even though you try as hard as you can. In fact if Jesus meant to be perfect like Himself; that is, having not sinned (II Corinthians 5:21) then He contradicts His own scriptures which state, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:10). So, is the meaning of perfect as used by Christ to be sinless? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that one can only be such by being “perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28); that is “perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12) and no, for try as we might “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

A simple analysis of the word “perfect” comes up with the answer as to its meaning. According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary the word as used by Jesus is “tel’-i-os
From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: – of full age, man, perfect.” In other words the word means to complete a task; be mature; reach the end.

Jesus wants those who decide to follow Him to reach a point whereby they are not only in Christ but are striving to reach the goal of maturity. This was something the Hebrew converts were lacking in according to Hebrews 5:12-14 “when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” He is saying they were still feeding like infant babes from the elementary “principles of the doctrine of Christ” instead of being mature and eating the protein of doctrinal “perfection” (Hebrews 6:1).

So this is Jesus plea in Matthew 5:48 that you be perfect so that you may know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to the will of God.

Are you perfect and complete in all the will of God? Are you in Christ having been baptised for the remission of sins? If not, then I strongly urge you to seek out a member of God’s church to find out exactly how to become perfect in His will before you die because “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27) and you sure don’t want to face this frightening prospect: “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31).

Graham

Thought For The Week

A Word To The Wise

A few weeks ago I wrote that the Law of Moses has been abolished, for Paul said it had been “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). However, in stating such one should not underestimate the old law still remaining as a great teaching tool. Once again the great preacher Paul says, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The Law, it is said, conceals the New Testament, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). One such teachable premise is contained within the Levitical code which states “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbour, lest you incur sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17 ESV). I believe God declares that communication in the brotherhood in respect to a sharp disapproval concerning specific or implied offence must be open, honest and direct lest a deep resentment is harboured in the heart. The New Testament reveals the same sentiment in Ephesians 5:11; that is, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Many do not adhere to this authorised practice for fear of the sometimes inevitable consequence of alienation. They fear they may make too many enemies. Paul would no doubt encourage not to be fearful but simply retort with “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth” (Galatians 4:16).

You see it is far better to be straight forward and let your feelings be known with the appropriate dignity and gentleness (I Peter 3:15) than to hold back resentment and anger in the heart of which the latter is sin (Ephesians 4:26).

Graham

Thought For The Week

A Sad Day For New Zealand Ethics

Today I awoke to hear the sad and horrible news that the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its first hurdle in Parliament last night by having its first reading to the tune of a vote by two to one in favour along with our homosexual condoning Prime Minister John Key saying it is a “strong endorsement for equality of rights” and “It puts the bill in a strong place to potentially become law given you’ve got more than two thirds of Parliament voting for it” [NZ Herald 30 August 2012]. This is a Bill presented by an opposition MP who happens to be homosexual and drawn out of the ballot box that has now put New Zealand firmly on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah’s condemnation. These two cities are famous for God’s wrath and condemnation because of their wicked homosexual behaviour recorded in Genesis 19. Sodom is where the term sodomy comes from and is the term of intercourse used by homosexual men for sexual pleasure; hence, the name sodomite stands for a homosexual man. This behaviour which the Bible describes as “against nature…shameful…debased…not fitting” (Romans 1:26-28) is so abhorrent to God that such who commit this type of wickedness cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthian 6:9).

Why would New Zealanders want to engage in such a radical departure from what was, until the late 1970s, a crime punishable by prison sentence? Simple really, the vast majority do not believe nor take God and His word seriously enough to warrant His inclusion in their thinking just like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, just as man’s wickedness increased in those days whereby the sodomites were invading homes and raping boys and men to their fancy (Genesis 19:4-5), so too, I believe we will see the day when these perverts will not be satisfied with their parliamentary gain but will want to engage in with impunity more debauched acts some of which they are now well known for such as paedophilia and the likes.

The warning issued in the book of Psalms to Doeg for the betrayal of King David is, I believe, applicable to the lawmakers of New Zealand for betraying the people with this evil, despicable bill: “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever” (Psalm 52:1-5). God will not be mocked, for, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

New Zealand, you have been warned.

Graham

Thought for the week

God of Convenience

“Convenience” means suitability to one’s needs (Oxford Dict.). Many see and use God as a convenient tool to blame for their misery. Take the homosexual community for example. They count those that appeal to God’s word such as Romans 1:18-32 which condemns homosexuality as bigoted hate mongers and by implication blame God for the difficulties of being ostracized in this life. Still others see God as a convenient altar to hide behind in order to excuse or perhaps escape the consequence of their wrong doing. Perhaps the most memorable person who did this was Adonijah, King David’s favourite and oldest son, after Absalom, whom he mistakenly promised would inherit the regency. However the prophet Nathan reminded David that Solomon was to be the rightful heir according to a promise he had made to the Lord and Bathsheba much to the dismay of Adonijah and friends who were busy prematurely celebrating. When word reached the pretender that Solomon now sits on the throne, “all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose, and each went his own way.” Adonijah “went and took hold of the horns of the altar” as if appealing for clemency from God of which, it turns out, was successful (I Kings 1:1-50). On the other hand there are those, when life is good and no afflictions trouble, have no use for God. He is absent from their lives because they cannot see or understand He is necessary beyond this life for eternal happiness. Prosperous souls when on the day that is appointed for them to die will try to behave like the aforementioned examples of blame and appeal at their judgement (Hebrews 9:27-28) but, sadly, the reply will come as no comfort, for Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

Don’t treat God as a means of convenience; rather, “this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:11-14).

Graham

Thought for the week

The debate that is raging at the moment is all about “gay marriage” and the rights and wrongs of it that I feel compelled to add it is fuelled by liberal politicians such as US President Obama and New Zealand Prime Minister Key to garner political “Brownie Points”. My question is: Is it possible that this issue can ever be solved through a method devoid of higher authority? I say no! For as the Bible says, ” No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Let’s be honest, man’s premise of atheism cannot account for moral behaviour such as marriage, for atheism itself is mere opinion devoid of objective proof. Go ahead; prove to me there is no God. Tolerance, remember, is that one man’s opinion is no better or worse than another’s so you must objectively, as God says, “prove all things” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

Soon after the Second World War 22 high ranking officers of the Nazi regime were brought to justice in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, the birth place of the Nazi Party. The Allies used the newly created London Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which differed from individual Allied nation’s laws, to prosecute these criminals. The Nazi defence argued on the grounds of subjectivity saying they were “only acting under orders”. That is to say, as it was legal in Germany to pursue war and the associated atrocities that thereafter occurred, each officer was merely following a superior’s order. Instead of arguing the defenders’ point, the Allied prosecution appealed to a higher authority’s objectivity; that is, The “Nuremberg Principals” which consisted of seven articles with this basic principal in mind: that an individual or head of state “who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.” To this day, no nation has the subjective right to sanction murder without consequence from an international high authority.

So the “gay marriage” argument pursued without a higher authority’s input is merely an argument devoid of objective proof. Many people of all sorts of secular backgrounds and viewpoints now argue for the right of homosexuals to be legally married. In a similar fashion many people in Nazi controlled Germany from all sorts of secular and even religious backgrounds argued for the right to exterminate Poles, Dutch, French, British, and Jews etc. through their act of war. Yet, in both cases, while being legal according to constitutional governance that does not mean it is morally right.

As I stated in the beginning, man is not the inventor of morals, for if so, that would constitute morals based upon mere opinion. The God of the Bible claims He is the higher authority regarding morals (Mark 10:18); therefore man needs to appeal to He who is “good” for the right for homosexuals to marry. Without fear of a true and valid contradiction I will point out from His New Testament (mankind is subject to the new covenant today so don’t do as many are apt to do in this debate and appeal to nonsensical arguments based on the old covenant’s statutes) that giving homosexuals the right to marry would be sinful. Go to Romans 1:18-32; I Corinthians 6:9; I Timothy 1:10 where the Holy Spirit guided apostle states unequivocally that practicing homosexuality is condemned.

Graham

Thought of the week

Preparation

As I sat in my favourite coffee shop drinking a cup of vanilla chai latte this afternoon, I watched many people going about their daily business and I got to thinking that many, of whom I feel certain, would be blissfully unaware that this life is a preparation for that which is to come. They were laughing and frowning; playing and toiling and just living life as though this is all life has to offer. But what if there is something more to this life as we know it?

The Bible tells man there is definitely more to life than that which he experiences in the here and now. The wise man said, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes” (Proverbs 16:2) but the God of the Bible thinks and says differently, for just as He warned the Israelites to “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12) so, too, the warning is just as relevant for man today to be prepared! John the Baptist said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). He was of course speaking of the realization of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) as foretold by Isaiah 750 years beforehand. This same Lamb of God says to “Repent or perish” (Luke 13:3). That word “repent” is given meaning by the Apostle Paul’s preaching as he recalls to King Agrippa in Acts 26:20 that men “should repent, turn to God and do works fitting to repentance.” That is to say, do due preparation to turn and meet God or you will, as Jesus says, “perish”.

What do you need to do in this preparation? Well, here is a web site that will be a good start: www.churchesofchrist.net/authors/David_B_Brown then click on “How to become a Bible Christian”.

God bless you as you travel and study through His word.

Graham

Godhead United In Word and Deed

In this week’s thought for the week let’s consider the unity of The Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who make the Divine Godhead of the Bible.

The idea that each of the Godhead is divorced of the thought and actions of the other is strange to say the least. For instance, some say that Jesus is love but God the Father is wrath. So, they suggest through implication that God the Father is not love, hmm!
This nonsense has grown, in my opinion, from the thought that people only want love and not the consequence of sin which is wrath.

To show that all three of the Godhead are united in all they think and do, let us consider three separate verses dealing with the topic of sanctification.

• Jude 1 “Sanctified by God the Father.” The Father sets the Christian apart.
• I Corinthians 1:2 “Sanctified in Christ.” Jesus sets the Christian apart.
• I Peter 1:2 “Through sanctification of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit sets the Christian apart.

Each of the Godhead is in total harmony regarding the sanctification of Christians which is just as true with all the other workings of the Godhead, for Jesus acts just as wrathfully (Revelation 6:16) as God the Father (John 3:36) as much as the Holy Spirit is just as grieved at sin ( Ephesians 4:30) as Jesus is grieved (Mark 3:5).

Jesus said in His prayer to God the Father “that they (the holy apostles GJW) all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21). The purpose of Jesus’ words is to show He is united in thought and deed in order to create faith in unbelievers, for the opposite creates disorder and confusion which leads to faulty ideas such as this thought opened with.

God bless as you travel and study through His word.
Graham.

Post Navigation