Wednesday, January 30, 2013

                                                  THE ROCK OF AGES    
     We are familiar with the song Rock of Ages.  The lyrics read, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me; Let me hide myself in Thee.."  I thought about these words in light of recent news events, and how Scripture relates to them.  Again sin has reared its ugly head with the news of the Boy Scouts of America deciding to lift the ban of homosexual leaders and members of the scouting program.
     I'm sure there are many who will hail this as a huge step forward and yet through ignorance the consequences are being pushed aside as inconsequential.  But the consequences are far reaching.  It is these consequences that tie us to the words, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me."  These words are directly linked to the foundations upon which our life should be based as well as the standard by which all men will be judged.
     The psalmist states, "In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to the mountain?" (Ps. 11:1)  It is the rationale of man to simply say this is life and there is nothing we can do about it.  So if the foundations be destroyed (vs. 3) what can the righteous do?  The righteous must do what the psalmist has proclaimed.  Put your trust in the Lord, for He is the foundation.
     In verse 4, the psalmist brings it home to the mind of those who told him to run, "The Lord is in His holy temple."  From where the Lord sits He sees all and from His throne issues the judgments of life.  Many will say there is nothing we can do, but the truth of the matter is we must put our trust in God and stand on His foundation.  The Lord's countenance beholds the righteous (vs. 7).
     This thought is also brought home to us in Paul's words to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:19).  Concerning the sin of Hymenaeus and Philetus, Paul says in spite of such false teaching the foundation of God standeth sure.  Furthermore there is the seal of this foundation, "The Lord knows those who are His."  So if you name the name of Christ, i.e. if you stand truly on the firm foundation of God's truth, you must depart from iniquity.
     One principle taught by Jesus that must be remembered is found in Matthew 12:30, "he that is not with Me is against Me.."  Either we stand with God in all things or we do not stand with Him at all.  For this reason we must stand on the firm foundation of truth without wavering.
     The world at large is seeking to destroy the foundations of God but they will one day have to stand before Him.  The Lord is still in His holy temple, and we must keep silent before him (Hab. 2:20).  When we do we can speak those words, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee."  Rodger

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

                              A MOST UNCOMFORTABLE MEETING

     There is a lot of noise filling our airwaves and public places.  That noise stems from the multiple viewpoints being espoused by people from all walks of life.  This noise centers around political speeches, religious thought and beliefs, and social issues.  This noise will grow louder and will not go away.  So we have been placed in a position of deciding how we will deal with it.
     In the days of the early church, there was a lot of noise as well.  This noise was being advanced by a zealot known as Saul who was out to destroy the Lord's church.  This led Saul to a most uncomfortable meeting.  While traveling to Damascus shortly after the stoning of Stephen, Saul was introduced to someone he didn't want to meet.  It was Jesus Himself.  It became pretty obvious to Saul Jesus really had been raised from the dead, and now there was this accountability issue to deal with.
     Interestingly, Jesus did not have Saul cast into prison for the murder of Stephen, but there was something else to be done.  As Jesus instructed Saul what to do, we read of the conversion of one who truly hated the church and all it stood for, only to become a leading voice of God's grace and salvation.
     Many today are heading for this most uncomfortable meeting with Jesus in a much different way.  We can read words of Scripture such as Luke quoting the words of Peter, "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).  We can also read where Luke quotes Paul (formerly Saul) on Mars Hill, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
     These words cannot be allowed to be weakened.  Either they mean something or they don't.  Either we believe them or we don't. The noise I made reference to at the beginning of this article is largely looking to silence the voice of God by silencing those who claim to follow Him.  There are those who have joined the forces of Satan by advocating this God of love will not punish evil doers who practice things contrary to His word, regardless of what those things are. 
     The good news is this.  The power of God's word cannot be weakened.  Another baptism is in the process of taking place in our jail ministry.  God's word will not return to us void if we stand for what is right. Those who think God's word will not be upheld, either in the church or out, are heading for a time when they must stand before the Lord and give an account.  For them it will be a most uncomfortable meeting.  Rodger