Jan 30, 2020
I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us – Romans 8:18
There are many things we do not know about the end of this life or the end of the world. But God has given us all the assurance we need in order to look joyfully, expectantly forward.
Paul knew enough about what was coming to say, I reckon — an accounting term, meaning he had taken a careful inventory, done the calculations, and come to a careful and reliable conclusion. And what Paul was comparing was the sufferings of this time (with which he was intimately and personally acquainted) and the glory to come for every believer in Jesus Christ.
As Paul added up the multiple trials, heartaches, losses, and sorrows of this world and carefully considered this sum in relation to the glory afterwards, he came to this stunning realization: the two should not even be compared, because the amount of the one is so far greater than the mass of the other.
Anyone who has experienced even a fraction of the pain that this world holds will find this hard to imagine. We cannot conceive of a happiness so deep, a pleasure so complete, a glory so glorious that our grief here is swallowed up by it. But God does not ask us to fathom such a claim; he simply requires that by faith we believe it.
Are you living by faith in the enormity of glory, in the expansive joy that is found in the presence of Jesus?
“Barnabas” is a Greek word, but it is spelled the same in Greek and in English. The name means “Son of rest, or consolation” according to Greek lexicons. Biblically, it is the name of a Levite, native of Cyprus, who was a distinguished Christian teacher, missionary companion, and colleague of the apostle Paul.
Since his name appears in the New Testament some twenty-nine times, the question naturally arises, “What did Barnabas do that was so right?” Think with me!
Barnabas contributed heavily to the need of the saints in Jerusalem immediately following Pentecost, Acts 4:36-37. This is the first mention of his name, but far from the last.
Barnabas was first to receive Saul as a changed man after the Damascus Road experience. He brought him to the apostles, being quick to recognize the work of God in the life of another. Acts 9:26-28.
Barnabas answered the call to help the newly formed church at Antioch. He realized the enormity of the task and immediately went to Tarsus to enlist the help of Saul. He and Saul taught much in the church at Antioch for an entire year. Then he, with Saul, carried relief for the suffering saints in Jerusalem. Afterward, he answered with Saul, the call to carry the gospel to regions beyond.
Barnabas preached the Word in Cyprus, and Galatia. He suffered persecution with Saul in Derbe and Lystra.
In spite of considerable dissention between himself and Saul, who had now come to be known as Paul, over the weakness and failure of John Mark, he teamed up with Mark and went on preaching the gospel in regions beyond, not letting a strong difference of opinion become a stumbling block to his God-called ministry.
Barnabas is last mentioned in Colossians 4:10 as a relative to Mark who though once rejected by Paul was encouraged to be received and used of the saints.
In short, Barnabas lived an admirable life of dedicated service to God, and to his fellow men. And that is so right!
As it was with him, so it is with many modern day disciples. The obstacles, the persecution, and the fleshly desire for one’s own comfort zone will be there, and exert themselves more than once. But the gospel burns a fire in the bones, and the grace of God that is sufficient for every man comes to the forefront. We love God because He first loved us. He took our place on the cross, and opened wide heaven’s gates for us. We must tell it, and that is so right!
array of Biblical characters is as broad as life in any generation,
this one notwithstanding. They are presented unshielded, fully
depicting the depravity of man, and they are also presented in the
marvelous glory of sinful men serving the Lord in righteousness
through the grace of Christ Jesus. One such character that stands in
the biblical spotlight is Apollos, introduced to us in Acts
18:24-19:7. Think with me about him.
One outstanding attribute
of Apollos was his educational level. He was an Alexandrian Jew. This
meant he was native to the thriving city of Alexandria on the
northern African coast. The city was commensurate with Carthage and
Rome. It was especially an educationally motivated city with the best
libraries of the world, and renown teachers. Consequently, Apollos
excelled in arts. He was a polished speaker commanding a large
vocabulary and great skills in debate.
It is to the credit of
Apollos that he had received Christ Jesus as his personal Savior, and
answered the burden to preach the Word. However, his understanding of
much of Christianity was incomplete. Consequently, he did not preach
or practice correctly. Paul discovered the error of Apollos as he
came upon a group presenting themselves as a New Testament church,
but without the obvious blessing they should have had. The error of
their baptism previously administered by Apollos was corrected, but
neither the spiritual salvation of this group nor the baptism of John
About that time, two of Paul’s faithful
helpers, Aquila and Priscilla heard him preach. Noting his lack of
information, they took him aside and expounded the way of the Lord
more perfectly. Perhaps it was over a fried chicken dinner on Sunday
How did that work out? The truth which Aquila and
Priscilla shared fit perfectly with the incomplete information
Apollos had. He received that truth, and he was thankful for the
spiritual help afforded him. He went on to become a respected
minister by Paul who recommended him, and used him to confound the
Jews, and to edify the saints. His name is called a number of times
in the Pauline epistles. His humility, dedication, and sharing the
gospel as uniquely as only one with his background could do was so
right. It is also right that all of us should follow that example.
expressing the unity of the faith, Paul told the Ephesians, “One
Lord, one faith, one baptism…” Eph. 4:5. But. one reads in the
scriptures about the baptism of the Spirit, water baptism of
believers in Jesus, and the suffering of Jesus is referred to as a
baptism. So just what does it mean to say “one baptism?”
word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which mean
to dip or plunge. It is consistently referred to as a total
inundation so much so that it is also portrayed as a burial. There is
a sense that anything one may immerse himself in could be called a
baptism. This is how it is used with reference to the suffering of
Jesus. He would be immersed in pain and suffering.
mainstream, biblical context of the word references water baptism of
a professed believer by the authority of a New Testament Church. The
other main reference using that word is the baptism of the Holy
Spirit that came upon the church on the day called Pentecost. So, how
then is it to be referenced as one?
Some would have you believe
that only Spirit baptism is important and that occurs in the minute
of one’s spiritual salvation. Not so! That line is pure universal
Still others would have you believe that Holy
Spirit baptism can only occur AFTER water baptism, and that upon the
select few who diligently implore the Holy Spirit to so accommodate
them. Not so! That is pure holy roller heresy!
The truth of the
matter is settled in long ago typology in the Old Testament. When the
Hebrews were freed from Egyptian slavery, they came out after
applying the blood of the Passover Lamb. Then they were all baptized
unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Did you catch that? IN THE
CLOUD AND IN THE SEA. It was a simultaneous thing. Baptism is an
immersion in water. A cloud is water even though it was a
manifestation of the Spirit of God. The Hebrews were completely
immersed with walls of water about them and the cloud of water even
the Spirit of God over and about them.
Today when a professed
believer is scripturally baptized, it is in water, but he is baptized
to fellowship in the New Covenant, the practical expression of which
is the New Testament Church where the baptism of the Holy Spirit
still abides since Pentecost in special office work. By this the
obedient believer is enabled to be led to spiritual maturity. So, it
all occurs at once, as the scriptures plainly state: “….one lord,
one faith, one baptism.” Scriptural baptism last forever, it can
never be repeated.
THE FIRST THINGS FIRST
once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main
thing! How true!
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, one
often finds his focus shifted away from the things of the Lord to a
sort of cultural Christianity. Religious holidays are not observed
true churches of theLord, but, such days are recognized
as federal holidays intended to honor the Christ of our salvation,
and to some extent we are carried along in the force of it even
though our understanding of it is quite different to that of the
Throughout the year we focus on our relationship with the
Lord Jesus Christ. We should be studying about Him, praying to Him,
talking about Him, and seeking to advance His cause. We must not get
carried away from truth, in worldliness nor in misguided piety as
some do pointing to Romans 9:3. Here they either pretend to love lost
souls more than any human possibly could or else they live in anguish
because they cannot love others to the degree they think is mentioned
here. That verse states, “For I could wish that myself were
accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the
flesh.” This verse needs to be looked over realistically in context
of what Paul had experienced and was, in fact, saying.
known tremendously great and very dedicated people of God, but I have
never known one who was willing to go to hell himself for others.
Would that not mean that others were loved more than the Christ of
one’s salvation? Such simply is not possible. But is this not what
Paul was saying, or did he actually say something else?
Literal Translation of the scriptures translates this verse, “For I
was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ for my
brethren, my kindred, according to the flesh.” Notice “Was.”
The apostle was referring to his past. Surely, this is what Paul
meant: while he was a practicing Pharisee, he was zealous in
persecuting Christians, and wanted nothing to do with the Christ. He
wanted to please his kindred according to the flesh.
following verses in Romans Nine explain that there is a difference
between the fleshly Israel (whom he sought to please earlier) and the
true seed of promise. In context then, this verse makes a lot better
sense than painting a pious picture that no human could fulfill, and
one that would be wrong if it were possible.
So what shall we
say then? Share the gospel! Help others as much as possible, but love
God more. Remember the first and greatest commandment. Also remember
the witness of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the
conclusion of the matter. Fear God and keep His commandments for this
is the whole duty of man.” It is Jesus first, not humanity first!
SELL ME THIS POWER
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
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.
MARCH 25 – Fear changes People
Est 8:17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
What a time to be alive and living in Persia and Media. A time when the people of God were hated with a vengeance. A time where the God of the Jews was hated with great a passion. Esther would not reveal that she was a Jew to the King. He ended up marrying a Jew girl and it was by the great providence of God.
Persecution of God’s people is not new. It has been happening for a long time. The evilness that man has hates the authority of God. The King had John the Baptist head lifted by the influence of a pagan girl and a hateful mother and wife. John was ushered into paradise to wait three years for our Savior to descend and lift him into heaven and the presence of God. For John the Baptist this was not defeat, this was victory. His work was done.
Paul persecuted the church by throwing them in jail and killing them. He stood and held the coats of the ones that stoned Stephen to death and was on his way to kill more when the Lord struck him with a conviction that called for repentance. He was so faithful after being transformed that he became a missionary and suffered many things for Christ. I am reminded that he was stoned and left for dead. He revived and continued the work he was called to do. Suffering for Christ is a privilege that some never get to enjoy. Because they do not have the joy of suffering, they seldom find the sublime joy of showing one that is lost how to be saved. They seldom point the way to the cross.
A Jewish maid in the hands of God faced all these things and was at the place to help her people, the Jews to defend themselves and show the people that assailed the Jews, the fear of God. Notice what is said – “And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
God can put you in the place to be a great influence. You might experience some trials and tribulations but is worth it. You are needed, “for such a time as this.”
William Andrew Dillard
A DEADLY SIN
Parson to Person
Warning the church of the Living God at Corinth, the beloved Apostle Paul called attention to the terrible failures of Israel in the wilderness wanderings. In I Cor. 10:4, he recalls a most intriguing and interesting phenomenon. A certain Rock appeared wherever the Hebrews made camp, as though it were (because it was) following them. Now this was not an ordinary rock. Paul calls it a spiritual rock. Doubtless it appeared as a large hunk of stone to the Hebrews, but something was very different about this rock. It’s story begins early in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. It is first mentioned in Exodus 17:5-7. Moses was instructed to smite the rock which would produce water in abundance for the people.
Since that spiritual rock followed them, it is not known how many appearances it made or how many times the Hebrews took special note of it, or how many times they may have depended upon it for life sustaining water. But, it comes into significant play some forty years later as water was desperately needed, and the Hebrews were complaining because there was none. God’s instruction to Moses now was different: “Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.” Num. 20:8.
Most who are passingly familiar with the Bible know Moses and Aaron did not follow God’s instructions, but in frustration with the people smote the rock twice. Yes, life giving water flowed, but God was not sanctified in the eyes of the people, and it cost Aaron and Moses their life.
That rock was not Jesus, but it was anointed (Christ is a Greek word that means anointed in English) of God to typify mighty things about Jesus. It showed among other things, God’s protection, solidarity, presence, and sustainment of life. What God has to give mankind is freely offered in Jesus, the Christ. He willingly died to give to all the water of everlasting life. He is with His people and will never forsake them: He is there! He never changes! Either He is one’s life into the age of the ages, or that life shall be forfeited. Being once smitten, He will not be smitten again, but forgives all who call upon Him in repentance and faith.
The recipients of His righteous blood’s cleansing that flowed from the smitten Anointed One commit a similar sin as Moses and Aaron when they claim they have become lost, and now must return to the Rock for a washing in His blood the second time. He will not be smitten again, but he may be spoken to in prayer and….”if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 Hallelujah! What a Rock is our Savior!