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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
"The life that Jesus lived, the Christian life, is characterized by truth, and love, and righteousness. And prayer is the perfect example and expression of all three of these. Love is prayers motive, truth is its expression, and righteousness is its goal." ~ Ray C. SteadmanIt is by the grace of God alone that we have been given such a sublime gift as prayer. In the words of Dr. William Evans, "The Christian life cannot be sustained without it; it is the Christian's vital breath." This provision is even more valuable to us than water. One cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven with water, but through a man's humble supplication to Jesus Christ is eternal life granted him. Therefore it would be wise to understand how the originator of prayer has ordained its use. Our Holy God has ordained a distinct way that His children must approach Him in prayer. His infallible and wholly inspired Word gives us clear commandments on exactly how we are to pray. The Bible teaches that there are at least four essential elements of prayer. That these four things in particular militate against all other forms of prayer found in the world is clear by their nature and inimitability. In this essay I will expound on the essentials of prayer, and conclude by illustrating their value in man's relationship to the holy, triune God. In The Name Of Jesus Christ John 14:13-14 - "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."This instruction from Jesus Christ gives us the knowledge of the proper way to pray, and differentiates our prayers to God from the prayers of those in other (false) religions. The phrase "...in my name" means that where there is no other name whereby a man can be saved (Acts 4:12), neither is there another name in which a Christian can pray. This also tells us of the personal nature of prayer intended for man by the perfect love of God. As compared to the prayers to the impersonal deities and idols of false religion, the Christian's prayer is based on an ever-deepening relationship with the triune God. I have encountered Him in my own prayer life, and can give personal testimony to the importance and dependence upon that wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ; with God.Of John 14:13-14, David Guzik writes, "this signifies both an endorsement (like a check) and a limitation (requests must be in accordance with the character of the name). We are coming to God in Jesus' name, not in our own." That we are coming in Jesus' name and not our own means we are to actively seek the will of God over our own desire. Not only does this verse tell us that we must pray in the name of Jesus Christ, but that in knowing Jesus, we have at least an inclination of His will, which should affect what we are praying for, and how we pray. The phrase "in my name" can only mean one thing: Agreement with and adherence to God's will. That is because the following phrase, "I will do it," must be taken to mean that God will do only what is in His nature. Being that God's nature is holy and absolutely perfect in every moral attribute, we can only ask Him to do for us what is in agreement with His nature. John14:13-14 are implicit with the truth that praying in Jesus' name is intrinsically linked to the will of God. According To The Will Of God 1 John 5:14-15 - "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."The word "confidence" in this passage has also been rendered boldness, openly, plainly (and other variants thereof) throughout the New Testament. Therefore, our confidence, which is not of ourselves but is "in him," is that whatever we ask in accordance to His will shall be heard by Him. It is important to note that it is first stated here that our boldness or confidence is that we have been heard. This implies that the fact that our prayers to God our heard is enough to give us confidence! That alone is wonderful news to the believer, and should settle many matters of personal doubt we sometimes experience when coming to the Lord in prayer. The phrase "And if we know that he hear us," uses the condition "if", which is to say that, "if we have asked of Him according to His will," which we have. Here the apostle John is restating the obvious, probably for emphasis, because in the verse prior to this he has propositioned that we already have confidence or boldness in the fact that we asked something of God according to the will of God. Thus, whatever we ask, we know that not only does He hear us, but we have His petitioning on our behalf with God the Father. According to Ray C. Steadman, "Prayer is not a means by which we get God to do our will, Prayer is a means of obtaining the will of God, and is limited always by the will and purpose of God. If we pray outside of the purpose then there is no guarantee that our prayer will be heard." Prayer in Jesus name, and according to God's will, must be accompanied by a third essential element: belief. Belief In Prayer Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."In the life of the Christian, prayer is preceded by belief. This is evident in that we must believe in order to be saved (Romans 10:9). As we come to believe, we know to whom we are confessing to and believing in, and we ascend to this through our prayer. Being witnesses to the love of God we believe; we are motivated by the truth, and given to prayer knowing full well that the end of prayer is to bring glory to a righteous God. In 1 John 5:10 we read, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." We must believe, for to not believe is a sin! (See also Hebrews 3:12). Indeed, belief is so essential a part of prayer that the prayers of a man with a doubtful heart are hindered. The verse in Mark 11:24 says, "...when ye pray, believe..." Jesus Christ uttered this the day following His cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. In Mark 11:17 He says, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." Is it not striking that the day after the cleansing of the temple, and Christ referring to the temple as a "house of prayer," He gives the apostles a strong admonition to believe in order to have their prayers heard? Jesus was setting them up for a time to come that He foreknew he would not be with them physically, in person. His temple would be in each person's body, in each personal "house of prayer," and belief in Him would be more vital than ever for them to reap the freedom that is given to one who seeks to bring glory to God through his prayers. And no other prayer could accomplish that but one that is done in the name of Christ, according to His will, with a believing heart, and as we shall see next, with perseverance. Perseverance In Prayer Luke 11:5-10 - "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."After teaching His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1-4), Jesus then continues with a parable that illustrated the necessity of perseverance in prayer. This parable, seen in conjunction with another portion of the book of Luke (The Parable of the Unjust Judge, Luke 18:1-8), fully substantiates the point that Jesus was making: the tenacious prayer of the believer will, without fear or doubt, be answered. In light of the facts about prayer that I have expounded on thus far, it is clear that Jesus did not mean simply that anyone who prays fervently gets what they want. Again, the prayer in Jesus' name, following the will of God in relation to His character and His revelation, from a heart that believes, is the prayer that is heard and answered. This excludes all other forms of prayer, such as that which uses beads, idols, the intercession of the dead, or other demonic devices. The perseverance that is implicit in these parables does not mean repetitive. From the parable of the importunate friend, we find the word "importunity" in verse 8. In the original language of the New Testament, this word actually means "shamelessness." The implication in the context surrounding that word is shameless perseverance. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary illustrates, "If shameless persistence can obtain a boon from a neighbor, then certainly earnest prayer will receive our Father's answer." Therefore it is not simply tenacity or continuation that must accompany belief in prayer, but child-like earnest and humility as well. Hindrances and Helps In Prayer It would be reasonable at this point to mention both the hindrances and helps to prayer. To paraphrase Dr. William Evans, some of the hindrances are as follows: Indulgence in known sin, willful disobedience to God, selfishness, resentfulness and blame, faithlessness and idolatry. Some of the essentials to prevailing in prayer are sincerity, simplicity, earnestness, persistence, faithfulness, unison with others, certainty, effort and with fasting. Each of these deserves at least a paragraph unto itself, however to keep to the nature and flow of this essay I will astutely conclude this section by saying that the Word of God is not short on its lists of hindrances and helps to prayer. It is brimming with examples, parables, illustrations and commandments that are integral to the prayer-life of the believer. Conclusion There is so much to be said on the subject of prayer that choosing what I have felt to be its fundamentals seems to be injurious to prayer's myriad of aspects. Prayer is made mighty in its meekness and humility by the power of God, who is faithful to the repentant believer. It is this vessel of prayer which brings us closer to God. In my own limited experience, irregular or insincere prayer can quickly degenerate every aspect of my relationship with God. I recall the many ups and downs I've had along the way, and in reciprocity to that line is the degree of nearness to God that I was cultivating at the time. I recall the many times when God Himself has told me, "Aaron, now is the time to pray." It is in those moments that I have wanted to be the most obedient, falling to my knees, and either praying, or just listening. God is gracious and longsuffering towards His children, and I praise Him for that because my prayer life has been everything but perfect. In His continuous sanctification of the saints, His love is made manifest in our response to Him in prayer. James writes in his epistle, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:15b). I will conclude by saying that the four essentials of prayer as discussed in this essay are succinctly stated by James in his use of the words "effectual" and "fervent." Thusly, the good and perfect will of God prevails.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2 Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007. He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church. For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." ~ Genesis 5:21-24There are two notable dispositions in the life of Enoch: before and after he begat Methuselah. The Bible teaches that he was sixty-five years old when his son was born, and after that he walked with God. Therefore the first disposition is that he did not walk with God in the first sixty-five years of his life; the second then being that he walked with God for the remaining three-hundred years before his death. The significance of his latter disposition will be dealt with in this article. In Genesis 5 the phrase "Enoch walked with God" is repeated twice. (This repetition, however, is not verbatim in the original language. The Hebrew text in the original MS includes the word â€˜with' in the first rendering of this phrase, possibly offering a clue as to the depth of this relationship he had with â€˜elohiym). This is significant in that it is unique throughout the entire Bible. The only other person who we know "walked with God" was Noah, and to him was this tribute ascribed to but once (Gen. 6:9). I'm not implying that repetition is indicative of a â€˜closer,' or â€˜better' walk, but just that it is noteworthy. It is because of this small but significant detail that I chose to write about Enoch as on of my favorite peoples from the history of the Old Testament. Part 1: Enoch the Prophet Before examining the latter disposition in Enoch's life, it will be important to note the meaning of his and his son's names. Enoch fittingly means â€˜dedicated', while Methuselah means â€˜his death shall bring'; or â€˜when he dies, judgment.' Of Methuselah's name, Matthew Henry writes, "it was fair warning to a careless world, a long time before the judgment came." We know that in the year that Methuselah died came the flood. It would be reasonable to assume that God foreknew he would be taking his dedicated servant Enoch early (Gen. 5:24), and left a prophetic message bound within the name of his progeny. This aptly illustrates a mere fragment of the boundless wisdom of God, and of His sovereignty. The prophetic naming of Enoch's son and the subsequent change in his disposition are not simply coincidental. It would appear that they are somehow linked in implication.So with this knowledge of the coming catastrophe through his son, what did Enoch do for three-hundred years? We can't look any further into Enoch without examining what is said of him in the New Testament epistles: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." ~ Jude 1:14, 15 From Jude we learn that Enoch was a genuine prophet of God. The Holy Spirit sealed this information about Enoch into the Word of God through the writer of this epistle and that is all we need to know. Jewish legends aside, it is clear that the early church had at least an oral tradition about the prophecy of Enoch, and that it was important enough to God to be included in His holy book. And what was the prophecy? In the context of these verses from Jude, we understand that he prophesied that Jesus, with a multitude of His saints, is coming and they will execute judgment upon all of the ungodly men of the world. In Enoch's day, only seven generations from Adam, he was proclaiming the coming of a Messiah and the judgment on the wicked. His prophecy applied both to the antediluvian society in which he lived, and to the ages to come. These prophecies set the tone for the three-hundred years of Enoch's walk with God. They may be exemplary of his preaching in an increasingly evil and God-hating world. One would have to be quite intimate with God to continue in this work. Perhaps this life was passed on to Methuselah. Perhaps he trained his son for those three-hundred before he was, as the epistle to the Hebrews expounds, translated. Part 2: Enoch Walked With God Hebrews 11:5 - "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." The first prophecy of the Bible is in Gen. 3:15. The seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, will crush the head of Satan. This speaks of the hope of the Savior to come and his breaking of the curse brought on by Adam. Enoch's prophecy concerning the Messiah, as recorded in Jude, fits as the Bible's second prophecy (it would have been uttered during the 300 years after the birth of Methuselah; a time when we have no other recorded prophecies). This speaks of the judgment of the coming Messiah on the ungodly. Enoch, a righteous man, would have to have known the prophecy of Gen. 3:15 through oral tradition. We can assume this because it was spoken by God to Adam and pertained directly to Adam's lineage. Enoch, being only the seventh generation from Adam, would indeed have clung to the very words of God as they had been passed down through his contemporaries and forefathers. Some time after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch began walking with God. Undoubtedly he, knowing this prophecy of the coming Savior, and having had received himself a prophecy of God of this Savior's coming judgment, began to draw nearer to God than any of his forefathers had. The book of Hebrews tells us two more things about Enoch that pertain to his relationship with God: 1. In the book of Hebrews we read, "By faith Enoch was translated..." By faith in what? I believe this is tells of his pure, unrelenting faith in God which included everything God had spoken to man at that time. He had faith in the three prophecies of the eternal God that had come down to man thus far: the coming savior (the Lord had spoken this to Adam), the prophecy that God had revealed to him of the judgment of the coming Savior and His saints, and the prophecy of the coming catastrophe spoken of through the name of his first son, Methuselah. 2. Also in the book of Hebrews we read, "...for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." We know from the verse in Hebrews that follows this that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Enoch's life was a living testimony of faith and that he diligently sought after God, the rewarder of faith. From this we can also ascertain that Enoch must have had thoughts which were in alignment with the moral nature of God. Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" It is absolutely clear that Enoch was a man who walked with God, and in so walking with God he was in complete agreement with whatever God had to say. Enoch was surely in agreement with God's coming judgment on the wicked world that he lived in. Conclusion The Bible says that Enoch was translated, or, taken up to be with God. Little is known about this man of God except from what a few verses in Genesis, Hebrews and James tell us. However Enoch's testimony, as extrapolated through diligently studying the Word of God, reveals a great deal about this man. "He walked with God," it says twice about Enoch. He prophesied. He listened. He had faith. Although not always, because it is clear that for the first sixty-five years of his life he walked apart from God. Then, after a revelation from God in the prophetic naming of Enoch's son, we can imagine that he seems to put the pieces together: The coming Savior who will crush the head of the serpent; the coming catastrophe that will follow Methuselah's death; the newly revealed prophecy of God of the coming judgment of this Savior along with ten thousand saints. "And Enoch walked with God: And he was not; for God took him." His faith is counted among the faith of those who we regard as the patriarchs. It is a faith worth examining, for we live in an era not unlike that of Enoch, just before the flood. The kingdom of God is at hand, and we could be taken up at any moment.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2 Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007. He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church. For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
"This know also..." Paul's words to Timothy (and to the Church), describing the perilous times to come, were not just a warning to turn away from these characteristics, but to turn away from those who portray or embody them as well. To any child of God it is obvious that these characteristics absolutely define the times we live in now. There is no place in history where these things have been so utterly fulfilled as to the point where they seem to be overflowing and ready to explode, as today. If fallen, sinful man is a vessel for these things, I cannot imagine how he could hold any more of it. Even the world's heroes, icons, leaders and entertainers manage to glorify and justify these things to those who follow them. Simply turn on your tv, or walk through a bookstore, or go to a university campus, or even sit down to dine at a local restaurant. These characteristics are pervasive, invasive, and almost overpowering. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5These verses were read from the pulpit a few weeks ago, and I was suddenly struck by the following understanding:Turn away from people who love themselves.Turn away from people who are covetous.Turn away from people who boast.Turn away from people who are proud.Turn away from people who are blasphemers.Turn away from people who are disobedient to their parents.Turn away from people who are unthankful.Turn away from people who are unholy.Turn away from people who are without natural affection.Turn away from people who are truce breakers.Turn away from people who are false accusers.Turn away from people who are incontinent.Turn away from people who are fierce.Turn away from people who despise others who are good.Turn away from people who are traitors.Turn away from people who are highminded.Turn away from people who love pleasure more than they love God.But this is nothing new. What I am writing has been written many, many times before. So why write about it now? For personal reasons. I write about this now to share my convictions with you. I've heard this passage before, but this was the first time I thought to apply that last phrase from verse 5 to each of these characteristics of the last days. I have only just realized the scope of the words "...from such turn away". This resonated through me during the service when I heard it. Why? Because I don't always turn away from these things. How? Every time I allow myself to be "entertained" by this world's media. Am I so prideful and self-assured as to think that I can somehow filter out this garbage from the things I let into my home, in the form of "entertainment"? Why would I ignore this warning before? When I watch a program that I may even deem as "innocent," yet plainly it contains some element of the characteristics from 2 Timothy 3:1-5, why do I not turn away? Why have I been so prideful for so long, thinking that I could pick and choose which parts of the Bible I want to ignore because they infringe upon my use of time, and the lusts of my flesh? Why do I turn away from only a few of these things: the ones that are gratuitous, glaring, outwardly dangerous, and avoidable? Why not all of them? Am I in less need than Timothy of this prophetic warning? Do I know more than Paul? Does my confidence in my flesh outweigh my fear of God, who breathed these words into existence? These are perilous times today. Timothy saw a vision of the future through the apostle Paul's words that was comparable only to the days of Noah. Now, in the nearness of the extent of their fulfillment, do I heed them? Or do I obey the flesh? "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." ~ Romans 13:14Make no provision for the flesh. There is my answer. And to what end? Obedience to my Lord and Master; glory to God the Father; separation from the world; and the edification of God's saints - my brothers and sisters in Christ.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007.Â He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church.Â For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
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