Oct 23

LOVE (6)

Yes, it is true, that I was only going to write five articles but I have decided to write one more thus article number six. In this last article about love, this question is before us: “What is love?” For all the married folks, go back to the time you were dating your present mate. What was it, that you called love? What caused you to give a second look at the girl or boy, that was so great in that person, that made you desire to see her or him a second time?
As we try to answer the question, “What is love?” Was it the good looks of the other person, that made us “fall in love?” Was it only looks or was there something deeper? I guess, before we really get to answering our question, we need to know, if we can actually remember that far back. If we try hard enough, we will be able to take that look, that made us give a “second look” at the one we finally married. Many times, it is only the “good” looks of the other person, that caused us to give a second look; that made us go on that second date.
So, what is love? Were you “in love” at the first sight of the other? More than likely, looks did play apart in our making the decision to go on that second date. After all, most of us were young at this time in our lives. As we look at our mates today, we understand neither of us look like we did when young. We may look at photos of the two of us, and say, “I don’t remember you looking so young!” Therefore, we still have the question before us: “What is love?”
Here we will notice once more the words Paul wrote on love; first Paul covers the negative part of love: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Here the apostle gives us some very striking information. If I, at the time the letter was written, could “speak with the tongues of men and of angels (messengers), what good does it do for me? I am only like “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” Let us understand just here, that speaking in “tongues,” the languages of men, was very desirable. Yet, Paul says, “nothing more than “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Maybe just a “blowhard!” The apostle takes us to “the gift of prophecy,” and being able “understand all mysteries, and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, … I am nothing.” Third, even if, I gave all “my goods to feed the poor;” which is truly a good thing; nevertheless, “it profiteth me nothing.” Then, if for some “reason,” that I perceived as good, “it profiteth nothing!” So, what is the qualifying thing that is missing in these points? It is “charity!” Did I hear someone say, so love is most important in all our deeds! There may be many reasons that a person does something that is “good” but if love is not the motivating factor, I may receive the praise of men, but not of God! What did you do to get the attention of your “first love?” It may have really impressed him or her, but did it impress God?
Now, looking at Paul’s positives, here taking them one by one; as he wrote: 1) “Charity suffereth long,” Now many of us are old and have many needs, which we cannot do for ourselves? Is it not good to know that our mate will endure them. That is how our mate is forbearing with us! But not only so, Paul added, “is kind!” What is this “kindness?” It is understood in the words, “act benevolently.” Is it not a joy to know that our mate is “benevolent” toward us when we cannot help ourselves? 2) “charity envieth not;” that is to have warmth against us, as we become more and more helpless. 3) “charity vaunteth not itself;” that is to say, our mate is not a braggart. When we are near helpless, just think of what we would have to endure, if our mate was a “braggart!” I can just hear one say, I don’t need you but you are dependent on me! Of all the things we might need, to hear such words just makes it harder to endure! 4) “is not puffed up,” and these words mean: “sense of blowing; to inflate.” Here you are, after many years of marriage, and now you are so dependent on your mate, and all you hear, day after day, in your mate “inflate” their importance to you!
Let us here conclude this series of articles on love, with Paul’s last words: “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth!” As you read these words, please think of your mate and what he or she may think of you! The good looks are gone, and what we have left, is love! So, what is love?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-6/

Oct 17

LOVE (5)

At times, our words deceive us! What is meant by this? Think about the word “love” under which we are writing. Have you ever heard, or said, “I love my dog?” Then, later you say, “I love God.” This has never seemed to be right to my feeble ears! How about your ears?
Let us look back at the three Greeks words translated “love.” First recalling the three Greek words, they are: 1) “agapao” 2) “phileo,” and 3) “storge”. First, looking at the verse which everyone knows, “For God so loved (agapao) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This “love” coming from God is the highest kind of “love,” and used here to embrace the greatest number of people. Here John wrote, “God so ‘agapao’ the world,” and the Greek word for “world” is “kosmos,” here meaning all those who live upon the earth. Second, the Greek word “phileo” is used when Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me more than these?” The change of words in the text is lost in English but is important in the Greek. You see, the Lord did not use the same Greek word three times, as Jesus said in verse seventeen: “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me?” Here Jesus used the Greek word “phileo;” it is clear in the Greek text that Jesus changed words from “agapao” and it appears that Peter is very upset. Strong gives this as the meaning of the Greek word “phileo:” “to be a friend to (fond of that is, have affection for.” “Phileo” is clearly a lesser word the “agapao,” which Jesus had used the first and second time he spoke to Peter. To which Peter replied: “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Now, which word did Peter use in his reply? The text will answer our question as it has the Greek word “phileo.” Here is a question that I have never heard nor read from anyone; is Peter “grieved,” as the text says he was, as it reads: “Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?” So, what is my question? It is, was Peter “grieved” because Jesus said unto him, “lovest thou me more than these?” Or was he “grieved” because Jesus changed words, and used a lesser word than “agapao?” You can study on this for yourself! The third Greek word translated “love” is “storge” and is used in these words: “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection (astorgos), implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:31). The “a” at the beginning of the word reveals that it is used “as a negative particle” (Strong). We will not study this word, as it has nothing to do with our study.
Now, when you say: “I love my dog” which of these two Greek words: 1) “agapao,” or 2) “phileo’”would you be using if spoke Greek? I trust that you and I would use the Greek word “phileo,” as we would be expressing I “have affection for” my dog. But, we speak English, so how do we express a difference, that is expressed in the Greek but not in English? Maybe we should say, “I like my dog” but “I love God!”
Of course, the greatest passage which expresses the true meaning of “love” are in Paul’s words to the Corinthians; when he wrote: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13: 1-3). Now, just how is love truly expressed: “Charity (agapao) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: …” (verses 4-8). Love cannot be defined any better than in the words the Holy Spirit gave to Paul. Each time the word “charity” is used in these two texts (1Cor. 13:1-3 and 1 Cor. 13:4-8), it is the Greek “agape.” Thus, the apostle is using the greatest Greek word for “love.”
In the above two texts, Paul has given us a lifelong challenge! How are you doing, in everyday life, in measuring up? It is hoped that we all are improving! I trust that in these five articles on “love,” that I have taken you into everyday life as we deal with our fellows! It is understood that some people, appear to have been born in the “negative” mourned; thus, making it hard to follow Paul’s words. Yes, but let it not be us, that makes others have a hard time loving and living with us!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-5/

Oct 09

LOVE (4)

How “much” must a husband love his wife? Paul will answer our question, as he wrote: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). Husbands really need to think deeply, as they study this verse. The love the husband is to have for his wife, “even as Christ also loved the church.” How many husbands even think about this as the preacher stands before the man who will be the husband and the woman who will be the wife, who is getting married? Many a man has said to the woman he desires to be his wife, “I love you!” But he is not even aware of the words Paul wrote: “even as Christ also loved the church.” Just how much love was that, that Jesus loved the church?
Paul, when addressing the elders of the church in Ephesus, said this: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). This is a beautiful verse, but it is more than beautiful! It has the “blood” of Jesus within it. He, in his “love” for the “church” “purchased” her “with his own blood.” There is the love that Christ had for the church; thus, this is how much love the husband is to love his wife! Maybe the preacher, or whoever is joining the man and woman is marriage, should stop his words and ask the man, “Do you love this woman you are taking in marriage enough to die for her? How many men might turn and walk away from the woman? No, few if any men whould turn and walk away. Why? Because they have never thought about such love; they would just answer the question with a “Yes,” having no idea to what they have really said. If the preacher, would stop and ask the man this question then, before the man could answer, the preacher would give a short lesson on this kind of love. Then, tell the man, if you do not truly love this woman, that much, you are not ready for marriage!
You know, Paul never said that the woman, who is the wife, is to love her husband. No, he said about the woman: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). The Greek word translated “submit” is “hypostases” and means: “to subordinate; reflexively to obey: – be under obedience” (Strong). Before continuing, it is my thinking, that this whole idea of the wife being “subordinate” to the husband is most objectional in today’s world. What was common a hundred year ago, sets the “world on fire” today! Do you know why the “wife” will “submit” to her husband? Because she loves him! One more verse just here; as Paul continued: “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (verse 24). Why would any woman be willing to “submit” to the man who is going to be her husband, it is because she loves him? Many a woman who is getting married, has never even had one thought about “submitting” to the man she is getting married to. Oh, she has said to him, “I love you,” and has done so many times. I do think the women, more than likely, have given more thought about loving this man who she hopes will be her husband than do men. It may be the nature of women to do so! She is even more prone to say, “I love you,” more than the man. On the other hand, some men use the word “love” almost as a threat! As in, “I love you,” therefore, you had better obey me! Those words never are an expression of love!
As the family generally has a child or more, let us turn our attention to parents and children. Noting first, Paul’s words: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). It is a matter of authority, that a child is to obey the parents! Authority must be viewed as what is for the betterment of the child, however. Never is “love” used tyrannical; as a man may do, who has no right to even be a parent, father! There is something radically wrong with a parent, be the parent male or female, who does not love the child. There is no human more helpless and lovable than a baby, a child. But the world has set their attention on perverting the child today. If the child can be perverted, as in leading them away from respecting and loving the parent, then, they are ready to be turned into a radical, who will rebel from the parent and also the government. Just look at the streets in America!
Yes, “love” always looks at what is best, be it the husband, the wife, or the child, who is being loved! Love is demanding, love is obeying, love is willing, and love always looks for the best! If we can see these points in God’s love for mankind, we should be able to see it in mankind!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-4/

Oct 02

LOVE (3)

Love does not mean approval nor acceptance! We do not have to look any farther than God himself! The “golden text” expresses this very clearly: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is not one word of approval nor acceptance on the part of God in this text! On the other hand, it does express God’s unconditional love for all mankind. There is no greater love, than is found in the words, “For God so loved the world.” We have the greatest being loving the greatest number of mankind, “the world.” At the same time, Isaiah expresses God’s view of sin and what it does; as he wrote: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). Did God love those of whom Isaiah wrote? Yes! Was it unconditional love? Yes! At the same time these words show clearly that those who were “sinners,” those who have sin as a manner of life, those who live in a state of sinning, were not acceptable to God.
Paul wrote: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The Greek word translated “commendeth” is “sunistao” and Strong gives us, as one of the meanings to this word, as “to constitute.” Therefore, “God constituted his love toward us, while we were yet sinners.” How did God “constitute” “his love toward us, while we were yet sinners?” Four words answer this question: “Christ died for us!” No greater love, no greater act, for no greater number of people, and no greater forgiveness was ever “constituted!” Now, get this point! We, moral humans, learn from God! We learn about love from God! We learn what love is at its highest level, and we learn how to deal with those who are sinners! Yes, we learn from God how to deal with family members who live in sin! We never stop loving, but we let it be known, that sin is unacceptable and that it has consequences! Do you remember what Isaiah wrote? Here are part of his words: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear!” Dealing with family and close friends who are “sinners,” is one of the hardest things that we, as Christians, must do. Do we learn from God and his love for us, or not? Whoever said, “Loving is easy?”
As we think on the last thought of the above paragraph, we need to recall the words of Jesus: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Who ever said, “Being a Christian was easy?” As we interact with others, do we keep these words in mind? If not, why not? No, I know for sure, to obey Jesus’ words are not easy! We humans have a way of making it hard, for others to even like us, let alone “do ye also to them.” Oh, we like doing unto others, but not so much, “as” we would that they do unto us! Here is a good question: “Why do we make it so hard for others to obey Jesus’ words? This is a good time to write about a story, true story, that was told to me. A certain preacher was “holding” a gospel meeting in a place that he had done so several times before. In fact, before the nights meeting was to take place, he was eating with a family, which he had done several times before. The father of the family was sitting at one end of the table and the preacher at the other end. As they were eating, the preacher looked at the man at the other end of the table, which he had done a number of times before; he had tried everything he knew, to convert this father. This time, as he by now knew the man well, said unto him,” You are going to hell!” Have you ever been so bold? More than likely not! But, here was a man, who in fact, “Was going to hell, if he died in his present spiritual state.” So, how far would you go, if you sat where this preacher sat, facing a man in such a spiritual state? You know you have been and may in fact, be in such a state as you read this article! Do you know what happened to this man? Of course, not; that is until now. Would you believe it? This man obeyed the gospel that night! Granted, before you ever say the words this preacher said, you MUST know the person well. We do not go around telling people they are going to hell. However, there is a place and time for such, or nearly such! Over the fifty some years of preaching and dealing with people, both Christians and non-Christians, I have learned, that you must deal with people differently. Some people I have learned, that I could be very blunt with but others, I could not! Sometimes, your actions, if true, say all that need be said.
Who ever said: Being a Christian is easy? Keep in mind, “Love is demanding!” The world does not generally understand this point and some Christians do not understand it either!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-3/

Sep 25

LOVE (2)

In this second article on love, we need to learn what kind of love is more demanding of us! We have looked, ever so briefly, at the three Greek words translated love. Just to refresh your memory, they are: 1) Agape, 2) Philia, AND 3) Storge. There is a fourth Greek word (Eros) translated “love” but it is not used in the New Testament; therefore, we will not look at it.
In my search, I found this that might be helpful in our understanding of the three Greek words; 1) Storge – empathy bond, 2) Philia – friend bond, and 3) Agape – unconditional “God” love. You can see why we tend to lean toward “agape” – love, as it is said to be “unconditional.” But, we must never forget that “unconditional love” does not mean the one who is so loved, never means acceptable! It is easy to prove that God loves humanity “unconditionally and desires that all humanity is saved. Here read these words: “Who (God, frw) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). No question, God loves all mankind! The words in Romans, also shows this: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). As we read these words, it is clear that God’s “unconditional” love, never means that we are acceptable to God, only that he loves us!
Let us now move to the hard area! So, you are saying, what do you mean, “the hard area?” The “hard area” is our love for each other. You see, we are far from being “perfect” in our actions toward each other. In fact, we sometimes make ourselves hard to love! However, before continuing this thought, let us notice a few things that are inseparable. One is that love obeys. Jesus said, and this is a universal truth, as it never changes; here are Jesus’s words: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). These words were true in the “garden of Eden,” they were true throughout the Mosaic age, and it is true in the age of Christ. John wrote: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). But, John did not stop here but wrote these “hard to accept” words: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (verse 4). The person who “twists” the word of God to fit his own desires, is one that does not love Christ! Even if the things written by inspiration are “hard” to understand in places, it is no excuse for us to cry, “It is too hard for us to understand!” Here let us turn to Peter’s words about some of the things Paul wrote, they are: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (1 Pet. 3:16). The Greek word translated “hard to be understood” is “dusnoetos” and means: “difficult of perception” (Strong). Being “difficult” does not mean impossible! Here is a good place to call attention to Luke’s words about the Bereans: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). It is the responsibility of the individual to study, to study hard enough and long enough, in an effort to “search” the scriptures daily to see the truth! This is true of our subject, “love,” as “love” is a requirement, if we are to be acceptable to God! There is no greater goal
So, Jesus said: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12). It is easy to do unto others, but it is hard to do unto others as you would have them do unto you! This is a quotation from Leviticus 19:18 and it is called “the golden rule!” This would not be so hard, if we were always easy to get along with but we are not! Therefore, the “golden rule” requires us to do unto others, even when they are not acting as they should. Is this not what we would like others to do unto us? This is what love calls for; not only in others but in ourselves toward others! We might say it this way, “How would we like others to react toward us, when we are less than “good?” Are you ever less than good toward others? Be honest now!
Let us take a look at what Paul wrote: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Eph. 5:21). The Greek word translated “submitting yourselves,” is “hupotasso” and means: “reflexively to obey: – be under obedience.” (Strong). Have you ever thought about this requirement? This is to be done, “in the fear of God!” This comes in a context of: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (verse 22). Yes, it is the same Greek word as in verse twenty-one, “submitting” and “submit.”
Who said, “loving one another was easy?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-2/

Sep 18

LOVE (1)

What a subject! How many sermons have you heard, and how many articles have you read about love? You do not know, and I do not know the answer to this question. It is a great subject to study and to gain a deeper understanding of love. I ”Googled” in my search on the Greek words translated love and here is what I found: “Ancient Greek has four main words for love. Two of them are used often in the New Testament: agapao and phileo. Therefore, we will look at the three Greek words that are used in the New Testament.
First, the word is “storge.” It is used in the following verse: “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:31). It is the English words “without natural affection” that is the Greek word “Astorgos” and means: “hard hearted towards kindred;” here the “A” at the beginning of this word shows the negative” (Strong). It is used with reference to family “love;” thus, also the spiritual family of God. It is used in Romans 12:10 and is translated “kindly affectioned.” It is a compound word, philo-storgos.” You can see the Greek “philo,” then, “storgos” in the Greek word used here.
Second, the Greek word “phileo” which means: “that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment) as a matter of sentiment or feeling.” It is used more naturally of intimate affection. It is used of Jesus and his love for Lazarus; as it is written: “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3). The word “lovest” is the Greek “phileo.” Therefore, it is used of the love that Jesus had for Lazarus.
The third Greek word is “agape” and means: “highest and noblest form of love which sees something infinitely precious in its object” (Google). It is used to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, and humanity. As John wrote: “And I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved (agape) me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. Love is greatly misunderstood! Love does not mean acceptable, that is love does not mean that the person loved is pleasing to the one who loves! God’s love for man, does not mean that mankind is acceptable to him. Paul wrote, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Why does God “will have all men to be saved?” Let John answer this question: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In respect of “agapao” as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being toward entirely unworthy objects, in our case, mankind! Before leaving this part of our study, we need to notice Paul’s words: “But God commendeth his love (agapao) toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Now, turning our attention to “love” of each other. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love (agapao) one another” (John 13:34). Here we have now reached “where we live!” Jesus said to the apostles: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). This is one of those universal truths! It is never acceptable to God that we do not love one another! This is one of two, highest callings! The first being loving God, the second being, loving each other! With all our failings, our weaknesses, and our bad attitudes, it is hard for us to love each other as we, not should, but must! Love is very demanding! Sometimes, it is so hard from a human point of view, that we just fail.
Here is our challenge! Let me just say, we must live so as we are easy to love! Are you living so you are easy to love? Do we have some work to do?

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/love-1/

Sep 11

GOD OUR FATHER

How often do you really think about this great truth, “God Is our Father?” Of course, this is only true if you have obeyed the gospel of Christ! For Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). But why is this true? Why is “the gospel of Christ” God’s power unto salvation? Paul reveals this great truth, as he answers our question, as he continued with these words: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (verse 17). The little word “for” is so important here, it is the Greek, “gar” and is one of my favorite Greek words. It is so important but is so often just read over! Nevertheless, as we make an effort to understand the truth. Here is what Strong writes about this little Greek word: “A primary particle; properly assigning a reason.” With this little Greek word, Paul gives us the reason for the power in verse sixteen, “the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The “reason” is, “therein is the righteousness of God” revealed. You will never know the “righteousness of God,” until you know “the gospel of Christ!”
The supreme being is our Father; therefore, we pray, “Father, Father, have mercy on my soul!” I hope you understand that we all need mercy from God, our Father. If not, we have no real hope of eternal life with God. Humbleness and honesty are necessary if we are to have any real understanding of God’s righteousness! The “gospel of Christ” is the means that God uses to reveal his “righteousness” by which we have the means of salvation! Just stop for a moment; and think of God. His desire is that all mankind be saved; as Paul wrote: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). If you are lost, having never known God’s righteousness, you have never known the will of God! Speaking of who is responsible for one being lost, it is against the will of God! God has in fact, given unto us, all things that will make us acceptable to him. The apostle Paul wrote: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). Not only is the word of God: 1) “profitable for doctrine,” 2) “for reproof,” 3) “for correction,” but also 4) “for instruction in righteousness.” Why are these four things so important? Let Paul answer our the question as he continued: “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (verse 17). The “that” word at the beginning of this verse, is the Greek “hina” and means: “in order that (denoting the purpose or the result)’ (Strong). So why the words of verse sixteen? It is “in order that, denoting the purpose!” Now this question, In order “that” what? Paul wrote, “the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Not one little thing is missing, in making man “perfect, thoroughly furnished.” The word “perfect” is the Greek “artios” and means: “complete.” Then, there are the words “thoroughly furnished,” which is the Greek “exartizo” and means “to equip fully” and to “accomplish.” In other words, not one thing is missing in the word of God, not one thing is lacking, but all things that man needs to be “complete,” in what God requires for man to be acceptable, prepared for heaven!
Thus, God our loving Father in his perfection, in his love, has given to us every little and every big thing, that is necessary for preparation for Heaven. We may have loving fathers on earth, but in their weaknesses are not able to do what God our loving Father, can and has given to us! The best-known verse in the Bible reveals this love. Let us notice the verse that never gets any attention: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15). The pronoun “him” in this verse refers to Jesus Christ; therefore, the one we are to “believeth in” is the Son of God. With this in mind, notice verse sixteen: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I would be amiss, if I did not call your attention to my little favorite Greek word, “gar” which is here translated “for,” and remember, this word expresses “reason.” The “reason” God “gave his only begotten Son” was for the express purpose that man may be saved and not lost! The Greek word “gar” also means, “no doubt,” in that there is “no doubt” in the purpose of God in giving his Son that we may, in fact, have eternal life. There is our loving God, our Father!
It is hoped, that after reading this article, that your understanding may grow and increase in our hearts our love for God! When we love God our Father, we will also desire to grow spiritually, in order to please him! In doing so, we will be preparing ourselves for heaven. We will also be a better example for those who know us!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/god-our-father/

Sep 05

THE FATHER

The two words under which this is written, uses the definite article “the” and is followed with the word “Father.” It is to call attention to “God, the Father,” and he is one! It occurred to me that we may not have given enough attention to this subject of correctly using the pronoun 1) “My” or 2) “Our,” when addressing “God? Both are personal pronouns, but one is more “personal” than the other one. You see “Our” is you and me and “My” is only me. So, is it proper to say, “my God,” or “Our God?”
The first thing that comes to my mind is when Jesus was asked by the disciples to teach them how to pray. Please notice the words with which Jesus starts the prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven.” It is the pronoun “our” that attention is called, just here. When you pray, with which pronoun do you start to prayer: 1) “My Father” or 2) “Our Father?” It is understood that it was the disciples who asked Jesus; therefore, the plural pronoun is used. Nevertheless, the question is for Jesus to teach each one, as in the singular, how to pray. Each one would be praying to “the Father,” as they might pray as a group at times but individuals at other times. Therefore, the question, was Jesus teaching them to use the plural pronoun when addressing God, the Father, in prayer both individually and as a group?
Of course, when leading the congregation in prayer, it is only right to use the plural pronoun, “Our,” as in “Our Father,” and not the personal “My Father.” As a starter, it is only right to look at the times people are praying in the New Testament and see how they started their prayers, if such can be found.
Jesus expressed his personal relationship with “God the Father,” by using the personal “My Father” but he was showing his close relationship as “The Father and The Son,” which no one else has. Nevertheless, we do have a relationship with “God the Father” as “Father and son;” thus, it may be harder for us to understand, when we use the same personal pronoun when we are addressing “The Father” in prayer. It may be the case, that you have never even thought about the subject! Nevertheless, read Jesus’ words when he prayed: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). The words, “O my Father,” can never be used as Jesus did, as his relationship to “the Father” come from the lips of one whose relationship “to the Father,” was like none other! To help with this, let us turn to these words of Jesus, as he answered a question from Philip: “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). Jesus replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (verse 9). Then, Jesus continued: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (verse 10). These words are here given to help us understand that the relationship between Jesus and God the Father, was different from any other! Nevertheless, if we are saved by the blood of Jesus, we may address God in prayer, with the words, “my Father.” One more verse just here: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Johm 14:6). No one else can in truth utter such words!
It was common for Paul to use several phrases when praying, such as:
1) “May God himself, the God of peace …” (1 Thess. 5:23);
2) “For what thanks can we render to God again for you …” (1Thess. 3:9);
3) “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, … “ (Phil. 1:3);
4) “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, …” (Eph. 1:17);
5) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, …” (Eph. 1:3);
6) “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, …” (Rom. 1:8)
7) “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, …” (2 Thess. 1:11);
8) “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,…” (2 Thess. 2:16); and
9) “I always thank my” God as I remember you in my prayers,…” ( Philemon 1:4).
Truly it is a blessed privilege to use any of the phrases, that Paul used when praying! However, we must notice, that these are Paul’s personal and private prayers; private as in he was not leading others in prayer.
By way of concluding this article, even when Paul was not leading others in prayer, we are blessed in that we can use any of the phrases Paul used. It should be noted that to use the words, “my God,” while leading the congregation in prayer, is not a place to use such words, “my God,” as “my” is a personal pronoun and would not include others who are present!
If you have never thought about this subject, when is the proper place to use the personal pronoun “my,” and when to use a plural pronoun “our,” I trust that this article will be helpful.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-father/

Aug 28

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? (3)

Here I start this third article under the above title “Who is responsible,” for you knowing the word of God? Just here, I will quote the words of Dave Miller found in “Reason and Revelation,” (August, 2020 – Vol. 40 – No. 8); he wrote: “He (God, frw) has made available to mankind, and He expects every person to use mental faculties and cognitive powers to understand that truth, (The word of God, frw). It is clear, that God gave his words to mankind and he expects us to study, to learn, and to know it!
God has made both the Old Testament and the New Testament very clear, and that the responsibility for knowing his word rests upon us! In the Old Testament, Isaiah wrote: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18). The Hebrew word here for “let us reason together,” is most interesting. It is the Hebrew: “yakach” and means: “reciprocally to argue; causatively to decide” (Strong). The word “reciprocally” refers to God and man; as this is seen by Isaiah’s use of the pronoun “us,” as in God and man are to come together in the word of God. If it were the word of man, it would be no higher than man! However, Paul made it clear, that God reasons with man in the “scripture,” as Paul to Timothy: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). Here let us notice one word, the word “profitable,” which is the Greek, “ophelimos,” and means: “serviceable, that is, advantageous” (Strong). The word of God, the “scripture,” is to our “advantage,” to our being pleasing and acceptable; but only if we know it and do it! Paul followed with: “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (verse 17). The word “that” is of interest here, but so often we just read over it. It is the Greek, “hina,” and has this meaning: “in order that (denoting the purpose or the result)” (Strong). So, what is the “purpose” that God gave to humankind, the “scripture? It was so that man, has the ability to be “perfect” which is the Greek, “artios” and means: “complete;” “complete” to the point, that man is “throughly furnished;” which means: “figuratively to equip fully” (the Greek, “exartizo”), (Strong). The word of God is the only, as in it stands alone among books, with the ability to make man “complete!” But,, it does not help us, any of us, or all of us together, if we do not search it; as Paul wrote; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (Tim. 2:15). Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote what is required of man, all of us, “approved unto God” and “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” Do you desire to be such a person, as to be “approved unto God and a workman that has no reason to be “ashamed” while standing before God?
Here once more I quote the words of Dave Miller: “We must use our God-given rationality to think clearly, accurately, and logically in our treatment of Scripture, as well as in sorting out the daily affairs of life.” (Reason and Revelation). Are you still ready to put the responsibility on someone else? No, God will not allow such! Here you stand alone, it is your responsibility, and you are not allowed to shift it to anyone else! Even if everyone one else has failed you; in that they could not answer your questions! Do you remember the words of Moses: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29)? As you try to reach an answer for “this and that,” you are not allowed to dwell in the “secret things” that “belong unto the LORD!” No, your responsibility belongs in “those things which are revealed, as they “belong unto us!”
Being lazy, until willing to search what God has revealed, will not stand on the day of judgment! No, we will not be able to plead that our parents did not teach us; neither will we be able to point the finger at our teachers and their failure to teach us how to logically reason; finally, God will not look at us through the failures of our professor and say, “Well, they could not answer my questions!” Why did you not study until you found for yourself, the answers to your own question?
Here I will conclude this three part series with the words of Dave Miller once more: “Sadly, many people dwell on matters that cannot be fully known, while they neglect those things for which they will be held responsible in eternity.”
My friends, it will be you, that stands before God; as Paul wrote: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/who-is-responsible-3/

Aug 21

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? (2)

Let us say, that you are in one of “our” Christian schools, and you have a question, let us say about proving that God exists; so, you put it to your professor. After some thinking, and an effort or two, he simply says: “I cannot answer your question.”
First, no one has seen God, as John the apostle of Christ wrote: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). So, if no man has “seen God at any time,” and no man has, how is man to know God? Here is a good question, that will help us, just here, can you know someone you have never seen? This brings on a second question: Have you ever had someone describe another so well, that you know him/her before you see him/her? The answer is “yes!” Well, let us return to the words of John, he wrote: “he hath declared him.” It is true, that no person can describe another, as did Jesus when he “declared” God! Let us continue the thought, we will notice the Greek word used by John, it “exegeomai” means: “to consider out (aloud), that is, rehearse, unfold (Strong). Jesus literally “unfolded” God before the eyes of those who followed him. Then, when Philip said to Jesus, “shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” What was Jesus’ answer? Here are his words to Philip: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9). Was Jesus not saying to Philip, that you can know another without seeing him? Yes!
Now, here I quote Dave Miller in “Reason and Revelation,” he wrote: “Sadly, many people dwell on matters that cannot be fully known, while they neglect those things for which they will be held responsible in eternity. No wonder God frequently issued warnings against being ignorant, uninformed, or resistant to knowing.” It is here that he gave the following passages 1) Isaiah 1:3: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;” 2) Isaiah 5:13: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.:” 3) Jeremiah 9:6: “Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD;” and 5) Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” While I was in the Northside Preaching School in Harrison, Arkansas, one of the students, would always say “Deuteronomy 29:29.” This was his answer to every difficult question. After a few times of this, I thought it only right that I look up this passage and see how it was the answer to every difficult question; it reads: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” This student and I formed a lifetime bond! However, I did point out to him, that Moses wrote: “but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” It is up to us, to seek the revealed answers to our questions! It will never do, for us try and put the responsibility on others! Our ignorance of the word of God will not be acceptable on the day of Judgment!
Our plea, “I just cannot understand the word of God;” just will not do as we stand before the judgment seat of Christ: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10). Solomon wrote: “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them” (Pro. 8:8); then he followed with these words: “They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge” (verse 9).
Let us conclude this second article on the subject: “Who is responsible?” with these words from the wiseman: “I love them that love me (God); and those that seek me early shall find me (God).” (Pro. 8:17). So, who is responsible for you knowing the word of God? Yes, your parents had the first responsibility; your school teachers hold some responsibility; and your college professors hold yet more responsibility; but when it is all said and done; the responsibility for you knowing the word of God, rests upon you!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/who-is-responsible-2/

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