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

Balance

Balance

Balance can be a real challange! “It was Friday night, 15 June, 2012. Millions watched the ABC television network as 33-year old Nick Wallenda (largest of the two falls that make up Niagara Falls) on a two-inch cable. Though others had crossed the Niagara River in a similar way, he was the first to cross directly over the falls. The mist and winds about halfway across were Wallenda’s biggest challenge in completing the historic event” (*Gromstyn). Wallenda’s effort was an amazing feat requiring incredible balance, among other things. One has to be amazed at the determination and focus necessary to complete such an enormous undertaking. New Testament Christians are called upon by Scripture to live lives that are balanced.

It is not an easy thing to remain balanced in following the Savior’s example and being guided by the inspired Scriptures. It is the delight of Satan to cause Christians to become unbalanced or out of balance as he hurls his fiery darts toward them (Eph 6.16). Satan’s challenge must be used as motivation for faithful Christians to seek, with great zeal, to be balanced. Paul gives assurance that the necessary equipment to stand the onslaught is available (Ephesians 6.11-18), but will it be used? One of the more difficult matters of seeking balance is the task of understanding just exactly what balanced living is. Christians have not been given impossible expectations to achieve. Jehovah God is not a God who tantalizes, but One who expects from His people that which is indeed possible.

The word BALANCE is found in the King James Bible eighteen times, but only one of these is a New Testament text (Rev 6.5). All of the occurrences of the English term pertain to a device for measuring weight. In none of the uses of the word in Scripture does the word refer to a quality of life or state of being which New Testament Christians are to seek. This latter fact does not mean that balance is undesirable or unnecessary for success in living the Christian life. Balance, as being used here, is somewhat difficult to define. In one dictionary, the fourth of fourteen definitions of the noun form is as follows: “A state of equilibrium or equipoise; equality in amount, weight, value, or importance, as between two things or the parts of a thing.” Without a proper understanding of the meaning of “balance,” the term becomes a source of much confusion. It is possible that someone who is entirely out of balance may conceive of himself as being perfectly balanced. Some may thing of balance as a vital and positive attribute while others might deem it to be just another descriptor for compromising the truth. When Christians speak about balance, there is a need to communicate clearly what is intended in using the term.

Is there another way of thinking about the kind of balance that New Testament Christians are to be seeking? The general concept of balance seems to have a lot to do with a reaction to the tendency of ranking certain commands or teachings as being more important or vital than others. When a given command or attitude is ranked above others, normally there will follow the response of specializing in that particular command or attitude. Often this specializing results in neglecting other parts of God’s will for faithfulness. Sometimes this develops into “riding a hobby” or more often simply failing to realize what has been done. Ultimately, this latter course leads to becoming unbalanced, perhaps all the while claiming perfect balance. Is not the better plan to be a generalist with regard to applying Scripture to life? What about considering the weighted end of the balance scales as the ENTIRETY OF GOD’S WORD and placing application of that word on the side to be measured? To this model for balance, the words of Jesus conform: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12.48). On Judgment Day, having rejected NONE of the Savior’s words will be the ground upon which the saved shall stand by the grace of God.

* Gromstyn Alice and James Michael S. “Nick Wallenda Walk.” ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. 16 June, 2012. Web.

Part of a sermon David Lemmons preached at MSOP Lectures in 2013.

WHAT’S YOUR READINESS QUOTIENT?

DRL

What’s Your Readiness Quotient?

by David Lemmons

In the context of teaching the disciples that no one but the Father knows the day and hour of the coming of the Lord in judgment (Mark 13:32), we find our Lord urging in the simplest of terms, soul-saving vigilance or READINESS!  Out of love and concern for precious souls, Jesus would have us be ready for that great day.  In beautiful words impossible to misunderstand our loving Savior has commanded us to be on guard (Mark 13:33, ESV).

A careful study of the original text of verse 33 will help us to know that the words “take ye heed,” and “watch,” (KJV) are in the imperative mood, the mood of command.  In addition, they are in the present tense, indicating the action is of a continuing nature.  I like the way some of the other versions use the grammar of the verse to give this stronger warning: (1) “Be on guard, keep awake,” ESV; (2) “Watch out!  Stay alert! NET; (3) “Take heed, keep on the alert,” NASB.

And yet, this most serious of commands from the Lord of Glory, it seems, is so easily dismissed from our minds or else allowed to lie in places there which seem to be dormant so much of the time.  How can this be?  How can we allow so important a command from our Lord and Master to be so easily forgotten, neglected, or ignored?

I want to suggest that we may need to learn from the secular organizations and work on coming up with a Readiness Quotient.  I find on the internet that there is a place you can go to test your Readiness Quotient (RQ).  Now this particular site was set up by The Council for Excellence in Government and claims to be “…a leader in homeland security issues and emergency preparedness, particularly focusing on the citizens’ perspective.”  At this site you can get your RQ by answering ten questions.  Now, these are questions like: “Do you know how to find the emergency broadcasting channel on the radio?” and “Have you taken first aid training such as CPR in the past five years?”  Just for the fun of it, I took the RQ test and scored ZERO out of ten.  The national average is 4.41.  I think even that would be failing in just about any kind of measurement scale!

If there was such a thing, for spiritual readiness, I certainly hope and pray that I would come up with a better RQ.  What about you?  How do you think you might score on an RQ Test relating to readiness for the coming of the Lord?

The fact of the matter is that we have been richly blessed by our Lord with plenty of material to help us know about our RQ.  He has told us plainly the basis upon which we will be judged on that Great Day.  The basis of the Judgment will be His Word (John 12:48).  While I would not presume to be the one to develop such a test for you, it might be interesting if you would spend a little time thinking about what kinds of questions you might include in your own RQ test.  Further, how do you think you would come out on such a test?

Of one thing I am confident, the know-how which I need to be totally prepared to meet the Lord on Judgment Day has already been revealed to me in the form of the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  If I am unprepared for Judgment Day it is not the fault of the Lord.  If I do not take seriously enough the commands of Jesus to watch out and stay alert, I am placing at risk my own eternal destiny!  As I consider the stakes involved in this issue, how foolish am I if I leave my Bible closed except at the assemblies?

That Holy Guide is filled with warnings about matters concerning which I need to be extremely vigilant!

  • There is the danger of listening to false teachers in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-20).
  • There is the danger of neglecting the Word of God (Hebrews 2:1).
  • There is the danger of forsaking the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • There is the danger of leaving our first love (Revelation 2:4).
  • There is the danger of an uncontrolled tongue (James 3:1-12).
  • There is the danger of loving this present world (1 John 2:15-17).
  • There is the danger of saying and not doing (Matthew 23:3ff).
  • There is the danger of being defiled from within (Mark 7:20-23).
  • There is the danger of being over-confident (1 Corinthians 10:12).
  • There is the danger of not having the fear Paul had of doing something that would HINDER the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:12).

It is indeed a considerable task to have a readiness quotient that is acceptable.  Have you given it much thought lately?

ELDERS’ PROBLEMS

Elders’ Problems

by Jim Dearman

Doctors tell us that more and more business men are afflicted with ulcers. Several causes are to blame such as labor problems, keen competition, high overhead, and other expenses. While sympathy is extended to business men bothered by these situations, I wonder what would happen if some of these men worked under the circumstances of some elders I know.

Just suppose…

  1. That you were never able to see all your workers on the job at the same time.
  2. That a slight headache or “company coming” justified a worker in taking the day off.
  3. That rain and threatening weather kept 30 to 40% of your workers away.
  4. That your workers worked only if they felt like it and when questioned about phases of their work, would immediately show their tempers and threaten to quit.
  5. That when slightly dissatisfied with some minor thing in the company they would threaten to quit and become part of another company.
  6. That after you have committed yourself for several thousand dollars’ worth of work during the year, only a faithful few helped you succeed.
  7. That week after week your employees would misappropriate funds belonging to the owner of the company, which would have gone into the working capital of the company.
  8. That most of your employees thought that just showing up was working.
  9. That your workers felt no obligation to explain where they had been when they were absent.

–via East Hill Church of Christ, Pulaski, TN

Studies in James

by David Lemmons

JamesHeader

STUDIES IN JAMES… Our next New Testament Book to study on the radio program: WALKING IN TRUTH, is the Book of James. What a powerful book! It has only 108 verses, yet covers an amazing array of topics having to do with Christian living. It contains 59 imperatives. It is often referred to as THE GOSPEL OF COMMON SENSE. We are so much richer to have this wonderful epistle in our New Testaments.

Below we are listing both the audio files used on the radio and study guides for each chapter (each 8 to 10 pages long in PDF format). If you are helped by these study guides, please tell others about their availability.

WALKING IN TRUTH audio files

STUDY GUIDES FOR JAMES

Do What You Can Do

by David Lemmons

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

DRL NoteSometimes the search for illustrative material winds up as a CIRCLE. In preparing a sermon one is always looking for good illustrations to make the point stick. Here is an illustration I will use tomorrow, as I preach in Benton, KY. I found it from a friend who preaches in Macon, GA. It was in his bulletin, which I receive weekly by Email. He found the illustration from the blog of Mark Ray, who is a fellow preacher in Benton, KY. I hope it causes YOU to think and do.

Do What You Can Do, by Mark Ray

In Elmer Bendliner’s book, The Fall of Fortresses, he describes one bombing run over the city of Kassel:

Our B-17 (the Tondelayo) was barraged by flack from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular day our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the wonder of a twenty millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching of an explosion, our pilot Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple. On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief said that not just one shell, but eleven had been found in the gas tanks—ELEVEN UNEXPLODED SHELLS—where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn. He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that intelligence had picked them up. They could nto say why at that time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. Apparently when the armorers opened up each of the shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? not all of them. One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was scrawled a message in Czech. The intelligence people scrounged our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read: “This is all we can do for now.”

What are you doing to help the Lord’s cause? Sometimes we become discouraged by our insignificance and helplessness in the face of all the world’s big problems. God does not call us to fix everything; he calls us to do what we can. As Jesus said concerning the woman who anointed Him, “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14.8). If each of us does one more good deed a day than usual, this will become a much better place. If each one of us says one more prayer than usual, the Lord will be greatly praised. If each one of us invites a lost soul to church, then the gospel message will be extended. If each one of us teaches one lost soul about Jesus, then heaven’s gates will be filled. You and I may not be able to do much alone, but with God’s help and everyone’s participation there’s nothing that can stop us.

Try our BUTTONS

by David Lemmons

LetPeaceOfGodRule

Please TRY OUR BUTTONS. At the bottom of each post on this site is a row of buttons. You may or may not have noticed them. These buttons provide a convenient way for visitors to share an individual post with others. You can send this post or any other post on this site to certain social media spots (if you are registered on them). Here is a list…

  1. You can Email a post to anyone whose Email address you know.
  2. You can print on your printer any post.
  3. You can post it to Facebook.
  4. You can tweet out a post on Twitter.
  5. You can Google + a post.
  6. You can send a post to your Kindle.

If you would like a little practice with the buttons, I have placed an image of a puzzle up above. You can make use of one of the buttons by clicking the PRINT button. The puzzle will print out on your computer, and you can spend a little time in Matthew 6.24-35, to your benefit, filling out the puzzle.

You can be a GREAT HELP to this website by regularly making use of these buttons. The more people who visit (the more people YOU send here), the greater the opportunity we have together to teach! Thanks so much for your marvelous cooperation!!!