THE REMAINS OF ANTIQUITY TESTIFY (Philippi)
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
The ship left the port of Athens at night. Calm seas allowed land lovers to have a peaceful sleep. Next morning, a cold front brought rain showers and rougher seas, allowing some to experience sea sickness, but calmness soon re-appeared, and following a delicious breakfast, the ship docked in Kavala, a thriving city biblically noted as Neopolis. With sack lunches in hand, a tour bus began the fairly short inland trip to the ancient city of Philippi. Along the mountain road one could view below the ancient Roman highway made of cobblestone, and wide enough for one automobile. Here Roman soldiers of old marched four abreast, and chariots were driven to this ancient Roman colony outpost.
The ruins of Philippi are situated at the base of mountain into the side of which was constructed an amphitheater, attesting to the many civic gatherings and entertainment events its citizens enjoyed. The city ruins constitute approximately two blocks in width and three or four blocks long. Surely, one would find some evidence of the apostle Paul’s visit to this place. They were there.
There was a large open area around which were the remnants of shops and municipal buildings. This would be the place where the demon-possessed woman harassed the apostle until he drove it from her. Also, there was on the western outskirts of the town a small, swift stream still flowing freely. It was deep in places, and in some areas narrow enough that an athletic person could jump across it. This is the stream where some of the ancients gathered to pray, and Paul preached here and won and baptized Lydia, a seller of purple from Thyatira.
Ruins of the prison at Philippi still stand. The cubical cells of thick rock construction gives vision of Paul and Silas singing and praising God in the dead of night with wounds on their back still smarting severely from the lashes of the whip laid on them. They had deprived men of the city their fundraising opportunities by exorcising the demon possessed woman who no longer could serve them as before. It was here that God sent an earthquake, loosed the prisoner’s bands, and brought the jailor to his knees, and Christ Jesus into his heart.
At one end of the colony excavations there remains ruins of a church house dating back to the third century A wall, marble flooring, and a deep water baptistery constructed in the form of a cross all testified of the influence of Paul, Silas, the jailor and his house, and so many others that led to its construction and use. The marvelous book of Philippians testifies of the worship that ensued for decades.
I thanked God for Paul, Silas, and so many unnamed others whose lives counted for Christ Jesus: His person, words, and works. Antiquity still testifies: this is the place; this is where it happened, and we are blessed as a result.
Parson to Person
An arresting concept emanating from the scriptures is that of being separated while united. No, this is not double-speak, so think with me about it.
Jesus had much to say about the doctrine of separation while in His earthly ministry. He came to separate families. He forthrightly declared He had not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that His teachings received would make the members of one’s household to be his enemies in spiritual things. The family would still be united, but at the same time separated.
The apostle Paul spoke in detail about personal, inner separation while being united. His writing in Romans Chapter Seven underscores what most every Christian of any degree of maturity experiences. Not doing what should be done, and doing what should not be done is universal among people of God on earth. The higher calling of God in Christ prompts us ever onward in the right direction, but the warfare with the flesh ever yields challenges to those accomplishments. By these things, one is separated while remaining united in the Christian pilgrimage. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus knows exactly what I am talking about from his own personal experience.
Another aspect of the subject is what is obviously manifested in the Lord’s churches. Some have managed to get their name on the church roll, but have never been saved. Still others who are legitimate members of the church find it often cramps their style, and they rejoice when they find another excuse to not participate either in worship or other important kingdom activities. It must be admitted that they are members of the church even if one has cause to doubt that Jesus would say so. Hence, the church is separated while still being technically united. It will be judgment before the Lord that finalizes and eliminates such fragmented status.
Still, in another sense being separated while united is often a cause of great joy. As one experiences war between the spirit and the flesh, and through prayer and understanding, the spirit wins over the flesh, it brings great happiness. This is the kind of separation while being together that pleases the Lord. It also adds to the growth in grace that builds Christian warriors.
The enemy of every disciple of Jesus lies within, and it cannot be uprooted. It can be overcome to a great extent as one dedicates himself to learning and following the Lord in harmony with His Word, and that brings rich reward in the end. Until then, victory in life through separation while being united goes on in the sure knowledge and hope of final unification of the total man without the separation sin has brought to us.
“The Apostle of Education”
Richard Furman began to preach at the age of 16 and became popularly known as the “boy-evangelist.” Reese and Evan Pugh ordained him two years later, on May 10, 1774, as pastor of High Hills. After a fruitful ministry there of 13 years, he became pastor of the Charleston Baptist Church, which he served for the rest of his life. “In the community no minister ever enjoyed so large a share of general confidence and reverence.” For 38 years he made “annual excursions” into various parts of the state, preaching the gospel and promoting the interests of the denomination. This itinerant ministry resulted in numerous revivals and the formation of many churches. His eloquence and fame as a preacher once opened for him an opportunity to preach in the United States Congressional Hall.
During the time that education was suspect for ministers in the South, particularly among the Separate Baptists who feared that schools would dilute Baptist spirituality, divert mission money, and lead to a hireling ministry, Richard Furman become known as the “Apostle of Education.” He led the association to form a General Committee in 1790 to administer educational funds. This committee provided funds for scholarships to attend the Baptist College in Providence, Rhode Island, and for young men to study under pastors who would also lead them in the reading of theology.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 191 -192
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26 – January 26 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST
He did not dread the dungeon
Pg. 34 – JOHANN ONCKEN THE FATHER OF THE MODERN GERMAN AND EUROPEAN BAPTISTS – 19TH CENTURY – Johann Gerhard Oncken, the “Apostle of the German Baptists” was born on January 26, 1800 and for fifty years he served the Lord tirelessly! He was also known as the “Father of the Continental Baptists.” H. Leon McBeth in, The Baptist Heritage said, “Oncken served as a one-man mission society, theological seminary, and literature distribution center. Seldom has one man contributed so much to the development of a denomination nor left his stamp more indelibly upon it, not only in Germany but throughout Europe.” Oncken’s motto was “Every Baptist a missionary”, and by 1850 the First Baptist Church of Hamburg supported three missionaries and assisted in erecting more than 20 church buildings in Europe. In 1847 Oncken baptized converts and formed a church in Switzerland. The same year he did the same in Austria. In 1855 he was in Latvia. In 1858 a church was formed in Bucharest as well. Some Hungarians came in contact with Oncken in Germany, and after being converted, went back as missionaries to their own people. Oncken could not be intimidated nor silenced; he paid no heed to the prohibitions of the authorities; neither did he dread the dungeon.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ pg. 34.
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REPENTANCE AND FAITH
word for repentance
means, to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling – to repent; to make a change of principle and practice – to reform; a change of mode of thought and feeling – reversal of the past. These are the three senses in which it is used.
John preached no literary review or entertaining message. he did not attempt to appeal to the higher nature in man. Though an unpopular doctrine, repentance and faith are as old as man.
:Just confess Jesus” is the rule of modern evangelism, but such a confession must be the result of a changed mind and feeling toward God, must stem from the heart.
I. NOTICE THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE.
1. Repentance is taught in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 14:6).
2. John the Baptist taught repentance (Matt. 3:1).
3. Jesus taught repentance (Luke 13:3-5; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; 2:17).
4. The disciples were commanded to preach repentance (Luke 24:47).
5. The disciples preached repentance (Mark 6:12).
6. The Apostle Paul preached repentance (Acts 20:21).
7. God commands all men, everywhere, to repent (Acts 17:30
II. REPENTANCE AS IT IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE INVOLVES:
1. A knowledge of what sin dies, and of personal guilt (I John 3:4; 5:17).
2. Personal, self-examination.
a. Sees sin as committed against God (Psalm 51:4).
b. Hatred for sin generated in the heart (Job 42:6).
c. Sorrow for sin because it is against God (II Corinthians 7:10).
d. A purpose or will to sin against God no longer, involves a sense of helplessness to accomplish this purpose by one’s own self.
III. FAITH TOWARD CHRIST.
Bible faith is: trusting, relying, entrusting or committing to the power of another.
1. There is no merit in faith as such-the merit is in the object of faith.
Example” One might have faith in a ladder, but the ladder breaks. One might have faith in baptism, church membership, dedication in infancy, or in personal virtue, but such faith does not save because the object is wrong.
2. One must have a belief in God before saving faith in Jesus Christ can come (Hebrews 11:6).
3. The meaning of faith in Jesus:
a. A reliance upon Him (John 3:16).
b. A faith from the heart (Romans 10:9,10).
c. A faith which receives Jesus (John 1:11,12).
d. A faith which commits to Jesus (II Timothy 1:12).
e. A faith that will pray to God (Romans 10l:13).
IV. WHY IT MUST BE BY FAITH IN JESUS.
1. Because none can come to God in any other way (John 14:6).
2. Because the Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
3. Jesus is the heart of the Gospel. There is no gospel without Him (I Corinthians 15:1-3
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