William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
It is true that some folk have the mindset of concrete: thoroughly mixed up and profusely set. They would argue with the proverbial signpost, but they cannot argue with God, neither may they box with Him because their arm is too short! So, it is not the burden of men to convince one another that they are sinners. The Holy Spirit witnesses that in every heart. But the idea of sin may be better understood in the simplistic terms of “Use” and “Misuse.” Think about it!
Get it straight, and never forget it! God is righteous, but men are not. If men are not righteous; they are sinners, big time! Some jovial chap will roar that all sin is sin, and there is no difference! Others will say that there is no difference to God. I find it amusing that so many seem to know the mind of God in these matters without a specific scripture reference. Stay with me for a moment.
If all sin is the same, why are there at least three categories of it: transgression, iniquity, and sin? Psalm 32:5. If all sin is the same, why were some sins worthy of death, and others could be atoned for? If all sin is the same why did Jesus say the Pharisees would receive the greater condemnation? Certainly, one sin of any sort severs one from God as Adam and Eve sinned in Eden. But, beyond that the saints have to deal with their sinful nature every day of their life, and there is a wide array of sins. So leaving “Iniquity” and “Transgression” for another time, let us focus on the term “Sin.”
“Sin” means “to miss the mark!” To miss the mark of anything assumes the mark was intended to be hit, but missed. Thus, sin is the misuse of every possible thing in life.
Think about the common sins of men. “Greed” is the misuse of things material or immaterial acquired in access, and restricted to the individual, when enough of those things are already made available for one to serve and honor God day by day. It is use vs misuse. Alcohol and drugs were made by the same God who created everything else. They have a purpose: medicinal, not recreational. It is a simple matter of use vs misuse. Sexual activity was created to insure the survival of the species, thus placed within honorable perimeters. Outside of those perimeters it is misuse; hence, sin. Language may be loving or vile; a matter of use vs misuse. Human Relationships may be gentle, kind and loving or abusive, harsh, and mean. It is a matter of emotional use vs misuse. In the wide spectrum of all things, the apostle Paul boldly declared, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” I Cor. 10:23. In short, all things God created have purpose and rightful use, but the practices of men have established misuse; it does not edify. Simply put, it is sin!
“A meeting like he had never witnessed”
1868 – The James McDonald family joined the Rome, Georgia Baptist Church. Weak, sick, and feeble, McDonald died a few months later on April 25, 1869, at 71 years of age. His bachelor life ended when he married when he was forty-four. God blessed them with eight children all of whom had Bible names, the boys being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. His testimony was that he had been born in popery, lived in wickedness and rebellion but received Christ at seventeen. At thirty-nine James had left a successful pastorate in Darien, Georgia to go to East Florida to preach the gospel at the time of the Second Seminole War. An Indian party had murdered and scalped General Wiley Thompson. Major Francis Langhorne Dade and 103 of his men lay dead from a Seminole ambush. President Andrew Jackson ordered General Winfield Scott to take command of Florida. The fear and insecurity of the frontier settlers did not discourage McDonald he went forward with his Bible and musket. As soon as he crossed the St. Mary’s river he held a three day protracted meeting in a barn and had, “such a three day meeting like he had never witnessed.” He had to continue to console families as he preached. He recorded that, “he saw Mrs. Johns, who was scalped, and whose husband was killed…Her husband had been burned to ashes; she escaped crawling away, the blood from her head quenching the fire. Another woman reported, “When they killed my husband, he was ploughing the field, making bread for my poor children. He and my brother were both dead.” McDonald planted seventeen churches and ministered to seven personally. [Robert G. Gardner, Viewpoints of Georgia Baptist History (Atlanta: Georgia Historical Society, 1986), p. 71. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 636-38.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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“And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs,” Mark 7:28.
One day during Jesus’ earthly ministry, a Gentile woman humbly came to Jesus begging Him to heal her daughter who was demon possessed. Jesus responded with a statement meant to test her faith, instructing her that His immediate task was to enlighten and correct the wayward Jews and that it was not time to begin His ministry to the Gentiles. “Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs” (Mark 7:27). The woman’s response was remarkably humble and persistent. She said, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (verse 28). When Jesus saw the woman’s faith, He honored her request and healed her daughter. Jesus was focused on the task at hand but was available to extend grace and healing to this woman. She believed He had the power to heal, and she persisted in faith.
We have all been in situations that seemed hopeless. Like the distraught Syrophoenician woman, we must come to the realization that we are absolutely helpless to control our circumstances and in desperate need of God’s intervention. Similarly, we should come to Him with humble persistence, acknowledging that it would only take a few “crumbs” (verse 28) of God’s power to deliver us in our times of need. Jesus honors the simple, persistent faith of those in need.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you come to God today in simple, persistent faith?
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son,” Colossians 1:13.
Light repels darkness. Let there be Light! Throughout the history of man, God has likened Christ’s presence to light. The Gentiles will come to your light. The Old Testament closes with the promise, “The Sun of righteousness [shall] arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). In the New Testament, we see Jesus the Light of the world, calling out follow Me and you won’t walk in darkness.
Jesus took Peter, James and John upon the mountain of transfiguration. Mark states, “His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow” (Mark 9:3). Open the first page of the Revelation. “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14).
“And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; . . . his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (verses 15, 16). In the last pages of Revelation one finds the city of light, no need for light, the Lamb is the Light thereof. Paul taught, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day” (1 Thess. 5:5).
Christians are the offspring of eternal Light. Christ’s kingdom living in the children of Light casts out the darkness of fear and replaces it with the light of His love (Matt. 5:14-16).
Moses had just spent thirty days with God on the mountain and he had to put a vail on his head to talk to the people of Israel without frightening them. Get out of your prayer closet and shine on.
JUST A THOUGHT – Each of you can depend upon the Light of the world, Jesus.
Robert A. Brock