Being LIKE God

drl

David Lemmons

WHEN are WE Most Like God? Could it be We Are Most Like God: AS SOON AS WE ARE BORN?

When are we most like God? Not sure that there is a definitive answer to this great question, but I would like to consider it briefly in this article. I suspect one correct answer would be as soon as we are born. At that particular point in our development and growth, we have not sinned. God and sin are not compatible! God can’t even be in the presence of sin according to Isaiah 59.1-2. Even though our Calvinist friends consider that little baby to have inherited Adam’s sin and that the baby has sinful blood running through the veins, they CANNOT sustain that presumptuous idea with book, chapter, and verse. Also, if this Calvinist position were true, how is it that Jesus could make the following statement: SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN AND FORBID THEM NOT, TO COME UNTO ME: FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (Mt 19.14)? Obviously, Jesus does not consider little children to be mired in sin!

Could it be We Are Most Like God: WHEN FORGIVING SOMEONE?

When are we most like God? If we search for another point in time when I am most like God (not exactly, but most like), perhaps we would suggest: THE TIME WHEN I AM FORGIVING SOMEONE. Isn’t that a fairly obvious answer? Isn’t the entire Bible about forgiveness. Searching for a theme or purpose line for the Bible, it would be hard to beat the one I was taught at the Brown Trail Preacher Training School. I think the original source of this statement might have been Roy C. Deaver. The purpose line that runs throughout the Bible from Genesis 1.1 through Revelation 22.21 is: The glory of God and the salvation of man through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yes, we serve a God who loves us and who wants every single one of us to be saved. He actually wants to forgive us of our many sins. Can we substantiate that claim? Yes, of course we can. Notice 2 Peter 3.9… The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Notice here that the inspired Apostle Peter wrote that God does NOT will that any of us should perish! The Apostle Paul wrote—1 Timothy 2.1-4… I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Through the writing of the Apostle John we are informed that WHOSOEVER WILL can come and take of the water of life freely (Rev 22.17).

God is willing to forgive; God desires to forgive. How can we conclude anything except that from these three passages, and then added to them, statements that we find on just about any page to which we might casually open up our Bibles?

Matthew 18 is a great chapter about FORGIVENESS. It is the chapter where Peter asks the important question of Jesus: HOW OFT SHALL MY BROTHER SIN AGAINST ME, AND I FORGIVE HIM? TILL SEVEN TIMES? (Mt 18.21).

Does God REALLY CARE if I AM LIKE GOD–FORGIVING?

In the study guide for Matthew 18 which I sent to the website today, I have included a rather lengthy discussion about the question: Are we to extend this forgiveness without limit and condition as some claim? The answer to that question is NO, but I will let you read that discussion on your own (You can find it by clicking H-E-R-E). What Matthew 18 is chiefly concerned about is getting you and me to understand how very important it is for us to be working to develop a FORGIVING ATTITUDE. Does God really care all that much if we are  forgiving of others?

There is no way to read and study carefully Matthew 18 without coming up with a resounding YES as answer to that question. I would just challenge you to open up your Bible to Matthew 18 when you get home from the assembly and read these 35 verses.

After Jesus gave Peter an answer to his question (UNTIL SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN), He presented The PARABLE of the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18.21-35) as a further magnification of that answer.

How crystal clear Jesus was as He presented this parable to His precious disciples! Do we think enough about forgiveness? Do we understand it well?

If we are lacking in our understanding of the importance and value of forgiving others, one great place to begin a study is Matthew 18.21-35.

As I was studying this great chapter this week in preparation for the radio program, I came to appreciate more fully a certain fact revealed in this parable about forgiveness. That is: what the REAL PROBLEM was that was plaguing the unforgiving servant. His real problem was that he lacked understanding of HOW VERY MUCH HE OWED. Burton Coffman, in his commentary on Matthew put it this way: “The fault of the unmerciful servant was his failure to realize the enormity and absolute hopelessness of his debt. His earnest promise to repay it showed that he did not have the slightest conception of how much he owed.”

In another reference I included in the study guide, there was an attempt to put into focus how great that debt owed by the unmerciful servant really was. If we put it in years of work it would take to repay the debt, one estimate has it as: 273,973 YEARS! In other words, Jesus was telling us we owe a debt that we cannot pay for being able to get forgiveness of our sins.

Let’s all think seriously about the matter of forgiveness. Isn’t it truly the case that when we are willing to forgive a brother or sister or a neighbor or friend, that this is the very time that we are MOST LIKE GOD?

–by David Lemmons

Ananias–Truth for February 2016

Ananias

Roger & Donna Campbell

“The Dishonesty and Death of Ananias and Sapphira,” by Roger D. Campbell.  In Acts 4, we read for the first time about persecution against the early disciples. That challenge to the Lord’s Cause came from without. The first segment of Acts 5 paints a different picture. It shows the church facing an internal challenge, a mess caused by two of its own members, the husband and wife duo of Ananias and Sapphira. Let us consider some lessons from this memorable historical account.

On the human side, it is pretty clear that not everything was smooth sailing in the early church. In contrast to the beautiful unity and sincere generosity which we see at the close of chapter four (4:32-37), Acts 5 begins with the word “But.” Here we will see a different mindset and course of action. Just as the Bible records the appealing and pleasant stuff, it also reveals instances in which children of God acted in a deplorable manner.

Ananias and Sapphira had a possession, and that possession was land (5:1,3,8). There was nothing wrong with having material possessions.

Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession (5:1). There was nothing sinful about that, either. Other disciples had done the same thing (4:34). Jesus once commanded a man to sell his things (Mark 10:21).

Before they sold that land, it was theirs (5:4). How they obtained the land, the Bible does not say. But, it was theirs. We understand that, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness” (Psalm 24:1), so all which we possess came from the Lord and belongs to Him; we are mere stewards of those things. Yet, at the same time, the Bible employs language that shows that it is correct to refer to material, earthly possessions as belonging to a person. Andrew and Simon left “their” nets (Mark 1:18), and Jesus told a paralytic to take up “your” bed” (Mark 2:11).

After Sapphira and Ananias sold their land and collected the money from that sale, the money was still under their control. Peter’s question to him shows that to be the case: “And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?” (Acts 5:4).

Ananias… Continued…

Click H-E-R-E, to read the rest of this article and four others.

  1.  How Jesus Tried to Motivate People to Make the Right Choices.
  2. Brief Takeaways from Deuteronomy 15
  3. Brief Takeaways from Deuteronomy 16
  4. Struggling with Sin
  5. Acts 5.1-11: The Dishonesty and Death of Ananias and Sapphira

Matthew Studies

Matthew

Matthew contains 28 chapters which are so vital for our proper understanding of the Christ. This post links together a set of study guides which includes an introduction to the book and 28 individual study guides for each of the chapters. These are used in connection with our radio program: WALKING IN TRUTH, which is broadcast each Sunday morning at 7:00 (Central Time) on station WCBL, 1290 AM and 99.1 FM, Benton, KY. If you are not in the western Kentucky area, you can listen by means of the TUNE-In app. We began this study of Matthew on 7 February 2016, and it will continue for 28 consecutive Sundays. The study guides will be added as they are completed. Please help us to get the word out about these study guides by using the social media boxes below this post.

Wayne Jackson has this to say about this wonderful book…

… is doubtless the most frequently read narrative in the New Testament. In spite of this, the scope and grandeur of this divine document is probably overlooked by many. Theodor Zahn declared: ‘In grandness of conception and in the power with which a mass of material is subordinated to great ideas, no writing in the New Testament, dealing with a historical theme, is to be compared with Matthew.’ … Each of the Gospel writers, under the divine leading of the Holy Spirit, had his own theme to develop. Each was primarily addressing his narrative to a different class of people. Mark was directed toward the Roman culture of the first century, while Luke’s Gospel was designed to appeal to the Greek mind. John’s account is universal in scope. But Matthew’s narrative is decidedly Jewish in flavor. It is a book written by a Jew for Jews about a Jew! The purpose of the Book of Matthew might be briefly stated thusly: The design of Matthew is to demonstrate (primarily to the Jews, but ultimately to all men) that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures and the author of the kingdom of God in which all peoples of the earth may be saved. With great care, the apostle develops this theme [Wayne Jackson, “The Living Message of Matthew,” in The Living Messages of the Books of the New Testament, Editors: Garland Elkins, and Thomas B. Warren, 1976, pp., 34-35].

Individual Study Guides for Matthew:

Introduction to Matthew

Chapter 01     Chapter 02     Chapter 03     Chapter 04     Chapter 05     Chapter 06

Chapter 07     Chapter 08     Chapter 09     Chapter 10     Chapter 11     Chapter 12

Chapter 13     Chapter 14     Chapter 15     Chapter 16     Chapter 17     Chapter 18

Chapter 19     Chapter 20     Chapter 21     Chapter 22     Chapter 23     Chapter 24

Chapter 25     Chapter 26     Chapter 27     Chapter 28

A merged PDF document containing ALL of the above files (341 pages; 17.72 mb) is available by clicking H-E-R-E.

Introducing Matthew

Matthew

I have begun a new series of sermons at Maple Hill on Sunday nights. I will be introducing the 66 books of the Bible. Along with a sermon, I will be placing in our library a more detailed introduction to that Bible book. I also will be placing those introductions on this site as a PDF file. With this post, we are introducing Matthew. You can reach that file by clicking H-E-R-E.

We will be involved with this project for quite some time. Please continue to check on the Bible book introductions we will be placing on this page.

We are beginning our series with the book of Matthew and will proceed from there in alphabetical order. Our next study will be an introduction to the Old Testament book, Micah.

If you find the material helpful, please tell others where they can come to find it.

TRUTH for December 2014

Roger & Donna Campbell

Roger & Donna Campbell

by David Lemmons

Today I received by Email the December 2014 issue of TRUTH from Roger D. Campbell. It has, as always, excellent content. Four outstanding articles. I hope you will read them and consider them carefully. Tell others where they can find them, as well.

  1. Is it True that Christians Sin? (1 John 3.9)
  2. The Prophet Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37)
  3. Sitting on 12 Thrones Judging (Matthew 19.28-29)
  4. Philippians 4.8-23: Power and More Power

You can read these great Bible Study materials from a PDF by clicking H-E-R-E.

What God Says about MDR

DRL NoteI heard a good sermon today and wanted to make it available here on this site. I am particularly thankful to hear this sermon, because it was preached by Brandon BaggettBrandon is one of the students that Maple Hill had a part in supporting during his training at the Northwest Florida School of Biblical Studies. We are thankful to Brandon for the good work he did in his time of study and preparation for preaching. We are thankful for the souls he has and will influence to accept and obey the truth. We are thankful for his love of the truth. We are thankful for this particular sermon he preached.

Brandon & Caitlin Baggett

Brandon & Caitlin Baggett