"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" Perilous Times And Perilous Men (3:1-13)

Perilous Times And Perilous Men (3:1-13)


1. Paul often warned his brethren of difficult days ahead...
   a. He foretold of a coming apostasy - Ac 20:29-30; 2Th 2:1-3
   b. Likewise he told Timothy of such things - 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:1

2. Paul's words to Timothy in 2Ti 3:1-13 are especially helpful...
   a. They describe the "perilous times" that are to come
   b. They warn of the "perilous men" that we are to avoid during such

[Lest we think that Paul's words are only for those living just before
Christ returns, let's take a close look at what is revealed about


      1. It will be "in the last days" - 2Ti 3:1
      2. This phrase often used to describe the gospel dispensation or
         Christian age
         a. Used by Joel, and applied by Peter - Ac 2:16-17; cf. 2 Pe 3:3
         b. Used by the writer to the Hebrews - He 1:1-2
      3. Similar phrases are also used to describe the times in which we
         a. "the ends of the ages" - 1Co 10:11
         b. "the latter times" - 1Ti 4:1
         c. "the last hour" - 1Jn 2:18
      -- Since the cross of Christ we have been living "in the last
         days"; therefore we should therefore expect to experience the
         "perilous times" of which Paul wrote

      1. As described in our text - 2Ti 3:2-5
         a. People will be lovers of themselves and money
         b. They will be boastful, proud, and blasphemers
         c. They will be disobedient to parents
         d. They will be unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving
         e. They will be slanderers, without self-control, brutal
         f. They will be despisers of good, traitors, headstrong and
         g. They will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
         h. They will have a form of godliness, but denying its power
      2. Compare with those in Paul's day - Ro 1:28-32
         a. People were filled with all unrighteousness and sexual
         b. They were filled with wickedness, covetousness and
         c. They were full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and
         d. They were whisperers, backbiters, haters of God and violent
         e. They were proud, boasters, inventors of evil things and
            disobedient to parents
         f. They were undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving
            and unmerciful
         g. They approved of those who practice things deserving of
      -- What Paul said would occur "in the last days" already existed
         in his day!

[Note well:  It is the conduct of people that creates "perilous times",
and we are certainly living in such times today!  What then should be
our concern for living "in the last days"?  According to our text, there


      1. Who will lead gullible families and women astray - 2Ti 3:6-7
         a. Through trickery and deceit ("creeping into households")
         b. Through appealing to the lusts of their victims - cf. 2 Pe  2:3,18
         c. While their victims are ever learning, they never come to
            the knowledge of the truth - cf. 2Ti 4:3-4
      2. Who themselves resist the truth like Jannes and Jambres - 2 Ti 3:8-9
         a. Though not mentioned by name, it is thought these two men
            were among the magicians and sorcerers who resisted Moses
            and Aaron - cf. Exo 7:11,22; 8:7,18
         b. Those who resist the truth are of corrupt minds, rejected in
            regard to the faith - cf. 1Ti 1:19-20; 4:1-2
         c. Whose folly will eventually become evident to all, as
            happened to Egyptian magicians - cf. Exo 7:12; 8:18; 9:11
      3. Such men will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived - 2 Ti 3:13
         a. Their profane and idle babblings will lead to more
            ungodliness - cf. 2Ti 2:16
         b. Their messages will spread like cancer - cf. 2Ti 2:17
      -- This sounds like many TV evangelists, liberal theologians,
         college professors

      1. A man whose doctrine and manner of life is easily followed
         - 2Ti 3:10
         a. As the Corinthians were encouraged to do - 1Co 4:17; 11:1
         b. As the Philippians were encouraged to do - Php 3:17
      2. Whose purpose, faith, longsuffering, love and perseverance is
         well documented - 2Ti 3:10
         a. As he reminded the Philippians - Php 3:8-14
         b. As he reminded the Corinthians - 2Co 11:23-28
      3. Who endured persecution and affliction, as would others living
         godly lives in Christ Jesus - 2Ti 3:11-12
         a. Paul was awaiting his death by Nero in writing these words
            - cf. 2Ti 4:6
         b. Peter also knew that he would face an unnatural death for
            his faith - cf. 2Pe 1:14
      -- What a contrast between the apostles like Paul, and many false
         teachers today!


1. It is evident that we are living "in the last days"...
   a. Many people are certainly just like those described by Paul
   b. False teachers abound just as Jesus, Paul, and others warned
   -- We truly live in "perilous times", with an abundance of "perilous

2. How will we survive living "in the last days"...?
   a. By avoiding those who reject the truth and lead astray by
      appealing to our fleshly desires
   b. By carefully following the doctrine and manner of life of men like
      the apostle Paul
   -- It may mean persecution, but the Lord will deliver His faithful

What kind of "men" are we following in these "times" in which we

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

Religious McCarthyism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Religious McCarthyism

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

On February 9, 1950, a United States senator from Wisconsin delivered a routine speech that ultimately attracted the attention of the nation and the world. On that date, senator Joseph McCarthy launched his infamous tirade against the U.S. government, alleging Communist infiltration of the U.S. State Department.
McCarthy single-handedly succeeded in arousing the American population to an unprecedented state of panic and alarm. For two years, he sustained an enormous following of supporters by exploiting the legitimate mood of apprehension that had permeated the nation. This vulnerability to fear—which caused many Americans to believe McCarthy’s charges—was due to a number of circumstances: the genuine threat of Soviet atomic power; the fall of Chiang Kai-shek and Communist takeover of mainland China; the arrest and conviction of several Americans as Soviet spies; and the onset of the Korean War.
McCarthy exploited these fears, and in the process focused attention on himself. By accusing his opponents and critics of Communist sympathies, he gradually bullied them into silence. When questions were raised relative to the substance of his charges, McCarthy would respond, not with evidence, but with even stronger accusations—accusations that overwhelmed his opponents and kept his name in the headlines.
In 1951, on the Senate floor, he announced “a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man.” When it came down to actually verifying his viewpoint, the allegations were without substance. He was a master at marshalling a shrewd blend of innuendo, half-truth, distortion, and theory that he then promoted with a brash, reckless, even unscrupulous manner that created an atmosphere of intimidation and “forced comformity.” An apparent opportunist with an enormous ego, McCarthy was not dissuaded by either persuasion or confrontation. His brashness, bullying tactics, and lack of meaningful evidence to support his charges, nevertheless, came across convincingly.
More than fifty years have passed since the McCarthy era. Looking back on it all, at least two observations are apparent: First, his charges were essentially without substance. Make no mistake: the problems he addressed were real enough—the threat of Communism was a fact. But the issues were so exaggerated, contorted, and misrepresented by the McCarthy approach to resolving the problem that, for all practical purposes, he succeeded only in compounding and aggravating the situation. In the process, an entire nation went through anguished soul-searching, bitter suspicion, and animosity. Second, there is absolutely no justification for publicly accusing people of disloyalty without sufficient evidence. McCarthy did not succeed in identifying any Communists employed by the government. Even if he had identified five, ten, or fifty, his soiling of the reputations of the innocent was inexcusable. Such reckless disregard for other people is both callous and despicable.
How does God view these two matters? In Deuteronomy 19:15-20, God underscored the fact that a single witness was insufficient to convict a person of sin. Two or three were necessary to confirm the factuality of a matter. By “witnesses,” God meant independent witnesses—not one who then relates his observations to two or three others who, in turn, take his word for it and become official members of a group of putative “witnesses.” Rather, each of the witnesses must be independent, firsthand observers. God wanted thorough investigation—not hearsay—before any action was to be taken against a person. If an accusing brother’s charges were found to be false, the false witness was to receive the punishment that he hoped to inflict on his brother.
If every person who accused another person had to verify and substantiate his claims or suffer severe consequences, far less gossip and innuendo would be generated and perpetuated. If a person had to prove a clear-cut, solid charge against a brother, or else be punished himself, he likely would keep his suspicions to himself until he could prove his point conclusively. That is precisely what God desires!
Yet someone retorts: “But if you wait to remove all doubt, it may be too late to prevent damage!” This mindset is not only an indefensible perspective, but also betrays an attitude of presumptuousness in questioning the wisdom of God’s own directives. Indeed, the human tendency is to spread one’s premature assessment of a situation and, when pressed to be more specific and to verify the assessment, to magnify, amplify, embellish, and “beef up” the charges so that they will sound more credible than they actually are.
In Deuteronomy 13:12-14, God made provision for the eradication of “liberalism” among the Israelites. But He enjoined a threefold prerequisite to such purging: “investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly” (NASB). How easy it is to pride oneself in the ability to sniff out supposed “error” and to color one’s perceptions to see what one is predisposed to see, and then to compound this sin of the heart by going public with one’s half-baked conjurings. What motivates a person who seems to wantto find error? If he fails to “investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly,” the evidence suggests his motives are, at best, questionable, and at worst, impure.
In Joshua 22, the Israelites heard that the two-and-a-half trans-Jordanic tribal groups were apostatizing—going “liberal” (i.e., loosing where God had bound). The whole nation was so upset that they prepared to go to war. One cannot question their zeal for faithfulness to God. But, according to the Bible, enthusiasm for adherence to doctrinal purity must be tempered with a love for truth, justice, and fellowman—lest one’s zest for conformity cause one also to disobey. Fortunately, some within the western tribes had enough sense, discretion, and wisdom not to “jump the gun,” but first to send a delegation headed by Phinehas to investigate and ascertain the facts.
Some members of the church seem to have been born into the kingdom in an “attack mode.” Their propensity for running roughshod over others, under the pious guise of loyalty to Truth, is painfully evident in the host of congregations that have been rent asunder without genuine justification. They seem disinterested in acquiring all the facts or making certain they have not embraced a slanted, inaccurate perspective. Rather, they seem more interested in simply “striking while the iron is hot.” They are actually situation ethicists who believe “the end justifies the means,” as long as the “end” is purported to be doctrinal purity. They seem to think that as long as they are upholding Bible doctrines, they can be as brutal, unscrupulous, and careless as they choose. Do they believe their obvious lack of love for their neighbor is hidden from view? Are they honestly convinced that such behavior is excusable on the basis of their self-righteous love for straining gnats (Matthew 23:24)?
How ironic that those who think they are dedicated to righteousness and doctrinal purity are, in fact, conducting themselves in an unChristlike manner. Jesus wants every fact confirmed (Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). Christians are not even to consider a charge made against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). These passages are attempting to head off the very thing that occurs so frequently among Christians. The passages are not intended to shield the guilty. But they do demonstrate that it is extremely important to God that fellow Christians not be prematurely accused or condemned.
God wants every individual Christian to possess a genuine love for fellowman (Romans 12:9-21). If we had that kind of devotion for each other, we still would oppose error, still covet doctrinal purity, and still ardently defend the faith. But we would engage in all of these actions with a kind and gentle spirit, giving each other every benefit of the doubt, approaching each other out of an attitude of humility and lowliness, harboring no animosity or envy in our hearts. We would patiently hope, think, and believe the best about one another (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Such a mental posture would put an end to the “shoot first, ask questions later” temperament with which some seem to be obsessed. It would replace the panic and hysteria being generated in our perilous times with a sensible, rational, mature appraisal of each individual—in or out of the church—on his own merits. We would couple that appraisal with genuine attempts to assist him in coming to a correct understanding of God’s will—before we go public.
While Jesus was on Earth, His strongest denunciations and severest criticisms were leveled against those who were guilty of this accusing mentality. If anyone in the church today deserves to receive similar condemnation, it is those who manifest this attitude. On the other hand, it is easy to allow one’s heart to be infected with feelings of resentment, animosity, and contempt for such individuals. Satan is constantly on the alert to lure a person into a heart condition that places his soul in jeopardy. Therefore, each one must rise above and transcend the personalities, the pettiness, and the inflamed emotions that only serve to sidetrack one from the single-sighted commitment to God’s will for people. Neither emotional attachment nor detachment must be allowed to derail one from the course of clear thinking that God expects in light of His written revelation.
Joseph McCarthy’s erratic and truculent behavior eventually discredited him in the public eye and, in December, 1954, the Senate formally censured him for his unconscionable conduct. He lost interest in public affairs at this point, neglecting his Senate duties, and drinking heavily. His health suffered accordingly. He died on May 2, 1957, at the age of only forty-eight.
Are there “liberals” in the church? Absolutely. One need not rely on hearsay or what someone thought they overheard. Books, tapes, and articles that promote doctrinal laxity within our ranks are abundant. We must not allow the over-reaction of some to cause us to under-react to a very real problem. However, we must learn from God’s Book and from history. We must be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). We must be certain that our own consciences are clear, unmotivated by pride, popularity, or pettiness (James 3:13-18; 4:1-12). We must not allow ourselves to be swept into the whirlpool of hysteria and thereby neutralize our ability to wage war with Satan intelligently and effectively. We must not be guilty of prematurely accusing our brothers, or lacking substance in verifying our viewpoint. The cause of Christ is not helped by such erratic, reckless displays of zeal. In fact, such tactics aid Satan’s assault on the church. They “cloud the water” and obscure the true issues, making Satan’s ploys more difficult to identify and address.
In order to prepare ourselves for the conflicts that face the church in our generation, we need a healthy dose of Peter’s inspired instruction: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).


Allswang, John M. (1987), “Joseph R. McCarthy,” Great Lives from History, ed. Frank N. Magill (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press), 3:1432-1436.
McLellen, David (1987), “McCarthy, Joseph Raymond,” Encyclopedia Americana (Danbury, CT: Grolier Inc.), 18:557.
Bartlett, Charles (1989), “McCarthy, Joseph Raymond,” The World Book Encyclopedia (Chicago, IL: World Book, Inc.), 13:331.
Griffith, Robert (1987), The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press).
Oshinsky, David M. (1983), A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (New York: Free Press).
Rovere, Richard H. (1996 reprint), Senator Joe McCarthy (Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press).
Thomas, Lately (1973), When Even Angels Wept (New York: William Morrow).

Reincarnation and the Bible by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Reincarnation and the Bible

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The American Heritage Dictionary states that reincarnation is the “rebirth of the soul in another body.” For many years, the belief in reincarnation was generally associated with eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to proclaim a belief in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, yet still maintain a belief in reincarnation. The obvious question arises from such a situation, “What does the Bible say about reincarnation?”
One straightforward statement that speaks directly to the idea of reincarnation is found in Hebrews 9:27-28: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” Without any vague terms, the writer of Hebrews explains that the general course of man’s existence is to taste death only once, and then be judged based on the actions that were accomplished in that one life. In order to underscore the number of times a person dies, the inspired writer declared that men die the same number of times that Christ was offered on the cross—only once. Such a statement goes a long way to prove that the Bible does not teach for reincarnation. (This verse deals with the generality of man’s existence, and excludes miraculous situations, where Christ, an apostle, or a prophet raised someone from the dead.)
Another biblical passage that militates against the idea of reincarnation is found in Luke 16:19-31. In this passage, Jesus told a story in which a poor man named Lazarus, and a rich man, both died. The Bible explains that Lazarus died and “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (16:22), but the rich went to “torments in Hades” (16:23). The text further states that the rich man “lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom” (16:23). Here we have three men who once lived upon the Earth but have died, yet we do not see their souls or spirits reinhabiting some earthly body. Instead, we see the three men—Lazarus, Abraham, and the rich man—in a fully cognizant state in the realm of the dead, separate and apart from any earthly ties. In fact, the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to Earth to warn his brothers, but Abraham refuses. Therefore, if Lazarus had died, and his soul no longer was on Earth, then he could not have been reincarnated to another earthly body or person. Furthermore, Abraham’s presence in this “realm of the dead” shows that Abraham had not been reincarnated either.
Again, in Luke 23:43, Jesus told the penitent thief who was crucified next to Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” One must ask, if the body of the thief was going to remain on the Earth, and the soul of the thief was going to be with Jesus in Paradise, then what part of that man would be left to reincarnate into another earthly body?
Matthew 17:1-13 poses yet another situation that speaks against the idea that reincarnation occurs. In this passage, Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus to a high mountain where Jesus was “transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him” (17:2-3). The presence of Moses and Elijah in this instance raises a very important question: If men are reincarnated, what were Moses and Elijah doing talking with Jesus? We know that the physical bodies of Moses and Elijah were not present (see Jude 9). Therefore, their spirits were present, which means that those spirits were not inhabiting some other earthly bodies. It is interesting to note that those who believe that the Bible allows for reincarnation sometimes use Matthew 11:8-14 to claim that John the baptizer was Elijah reincarnate, yet Matthew 17:3 proves that Elijah’s spirit was not in the body of John the baptizer. On the contrary, when Jesus mentioned that John had come in “the spirit of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), He simply meant that John had similar attributes to Elijah.
In looking at the Bible, one gets the clear picture that humans die only once, and that their disembodied spirits go to a “realm of the dead” to wait for the final judgment. The idea of reincarnation does not derive from nor can it be sustained by, the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible implicitly denies even the possibility of reincarnation. Because it is “appointed for men to die once,” we should be that much more diligent to make sure that the one life we live on this Earth accords with the will of the Divine Parent of the human race (Acts 17:29).


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

Reasons to Reject the Apocrypha by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Reasons to Reject the Apocrypha

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Most people affiliated with Christianity or Judaism have heard of the Apocrypha. The term apocrypha comes from the Greek word apokryphos, meaning “hidden,” and is used most commonly in reference to the “extra” books contained in the Old Testament of the Catholic Bible. Written sometime between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100, the apocryphal books, as found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (known as the Septuagint) and the Latin Vulgate, were pronounced by the Roman Catholics as canonical and authoritative on April 8, 1546, in the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent. Since that time, Catholics have read from an Old Testament that contains 46 books, instead of 39—the number of Old Testament books that most non-Catholics accept today. According to the edict established by the Council of Trent, anyone who does not accept all books of the Catholic Bible, as “sacred and canonical,” including such apocryphal books as Tobias, Judith, and Wisdom, are to be “anathema” (i.e., cut off from Jehovah without any hope of salvation) [“Council of Trent”].
In an effort to reaffirm the Christian’s confidence in the 39 books of the Old Testament, and to help the Christian in building an arsenal that can be used in defending the Truth against all error, specifically the errors propagated by Catholicism, the following brief list is provided. The Christian’s rejection of the Apocrypha is based upon solid evidence (see Woods).
  • The books never were included in the Hebrew canon. Although they appear in the Septuagint, it is very likely that they gradually found their way into later copies, yet were not in its original translation (see The New Bible Handbook, 1962, p. 39).
  • Various credible ancient sources that frequently allude to, and quote from, the Old Testament, exclude the apocryphal books from the canon. Philo (20 B.C.-A.D. 50), Josephus (A.D. 37-95), and Melito (who wrote c.A.D. 165-175), among others, rejected the Apocrypha.
  • Apocryphal books are never quoted in the New Testament. Although these writings existed in the first century, and likely were (by this time) incorporated into the Septuagint, they never were quoted or explicitly cited by Jesus or the apostles in the New Testament. Such a fact truly is significant when one realizes that the New Testament writers quote from, or allude to, the Old Testament (minus the Apocrypha) approximately 1,000 times. In all, thirty-five of the thirty-nine Old Testament books are referred to in the New Testament.
  • No apocryphal book actually claims to be inspired by God. In fact, some either disclaim it, or reveal evidence of errancy. Several historical, geographical, and chronological mistakes can be found in the apocryphal books—errors that are not characteristic of the 39 Old Testament books.
Although the books of the Apocrypha are not totally useless (they do provide much insight into ancient literature, life during the intertestamental period, etc.), they form no part of Scripture. Their entrance into the Catholic Bible simply is another testimony of Catholicism’s rejection of Truth.


“Council of Trent—1545-1563 A.D. [On-line], URL: http://www.dailycatholic.org/history/19ecume1.htm
The New Bible Handbook (1962), Chicago, IL: Intervarsity Press.
Woods, Clyde, “Fact Sheet: Reasons for Rejecting the Apocrypha from the Canon,” (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University).

Questions Regarding Handclapping While Singing by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Questions Regarding Handclapping While Singing

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Q: Is clapping one’s hands while singing a spiritual song equivalent to instrumental music?
A: Yes. No logical difference exists between slapping one’s hand on a drum (which is clearly instrumental music), and slapping one’s hand against another hand. In fact, both actions are skin on skin.
Q: Is clapping while singing the same as tapping one’s foot while singing?
A: No. The two differ in both intent and kind. Tapping the foot is more of an unconscious, noiseless, unobtrusive (hidden) action in which the worshipper is attempting to synchronize himself with the other worshippers. His tapping is not intended to be a part of his musical expression/worship. Handclapping, however, stands on its own as an inherent mode of musical expression when it occurs in concert with singing, in precisely the same way that a mechanical instrument constitutes a parallel but separate mode of musical expression. Clapping supplements vocal sound/music with non-vocal sound/music. Logically, if a person has God’s approval to slap hands together while singing, another person has the same approval to stomp his feet on the floor, while another has the right to slap his thighs, while another can flick his cheek to make a tonal sound, and still another may snap his fingers. All of these actions share in common the use of body parts for musical purposes. But God has specified the precise musical expression He desires: the human voice, mouthing meaning-laden, spiritual words, accompanied by the instrument of the human mind/heart, in concert with other worshippers who do the same thing (Ephesians 5:19). To go beyond this is to “go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6), “add to His words” (Proverbs 30:6), and “run ahead” (2 John 9—NIV).
Q: Should clapping be equated with instrumental music, though it does not interfere with singing?
A:  Yes. While it is true that the person who plays an instrument that occupies his mouth (e.g., blowing a trumpet) cannot, while he is blowing, sing as required by God, and while it is true that clapping does not interfere with the use of the mouth in singing, nevertheless, both clapping and instrumental music are condemned on other grounds. Playing any instrument that does not occupy the mouth does not interfere with singing either. Yet, all instrumental music is still unscriptural—since it is unauthorized and represents an alternate method of musical expression from the one God enjoined (i.e., vocal music). Likewise, clapping hands, though it does not interfere with the mouth’s singing, represents an alternate method of rhythmical/musical expression than the one God specified.
Q: Isn’t clapping while singing the same as the song director waving his arm as he leads the singing?
A:  No. Again, they differ both in purpose and kind. The song leader’s moving arm serves the sole purpose of keeping the worshippers together as they sing—in direct compliance with the “decent and in order” principle of scriptural worship (1 Corinthians 14:33,40). Clapping is not intended to keep worshippers together, or even to keep a single worshipper on beat. Culturally, clapping stands has its own means of musical expression—just like musical instruments. Waving the arm in song direction is not intended to be an act of worship offered to God in itself. It is only one necessary means of achieving the ordained act of worship (in this case, singing). It is parallel to the use of a songbook or announcing the song number. Clapping, like an instrument, is its own form of worship offering. Both handclapping and musical instruments may supplement or accompany vocal music, but both constitute rhythmical/musical expression in their own right.
Q: Is clapping parallel to eating meat—something that is scripturally permissible but should be omitted if it “offends” a brother?
A:  No. The principles of Romans 14 pertain to matters that are religiously neutral. Whether to eat meat or not is an optional matter in God’s sight. If a person thinks it is sinful to eat meat, he should refrain—not because doing so is a violation of God’s law—but because he thinks it is sinful, and to eat meat would violate his conscience, which would be sinful. That brother needs to be taught God’s truth on the matter so that he grows to the point that he is able to eat meat without it bothering his conscience. Romans 14 has no application to either clapping or instrumental music. Both actions are sinful (whether they violate a person’s conscience or not) since they are unauthorized and represent alternative forms of musical expression. Adults and children who are in the habit of clapping their hands as they sing have no doubt developed that practice simply out of being in places where it is done. Few, if any, began the practice because they were studying their Bible one day and suddenly came to the conclusion that God wants them to clap as they sing. More likely, in imitation of the denominations (who are not known for their sober regard for textual analysis and seeking God’s authority for what they do), someone in churches of Christ began clapping in a youth setting or worship service, others joined in, and over time, it became commonplace. What God would have wanted done is for a wise, caring, perceptive, knowledgeable shepherd to have taught the misguided practitioners what the Bible teaches about “true worshippers” and worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). They needed someone to care enough to explain to them that worship of God must be done “acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28—NIV).
Q: Is clapping permissible as long as it is a spontaneous, genuine, unplanned outpouring of a grateful heart directed to God?
A: No. Worship in God’s sight has never been left to the worshipper to define or create. For a preacher to insist that in the aftermath of his near death experience in the hospital in which he “flatlined,” he had a right while worshipping in the assembly to clap his hands out of deep emotion and gratitude for God, is an outrageous, inexcusable, biblically and logically indefensible claim—based on emotion. Such an “argument” suggests that a worshipper may logically do anything in worship to God—as long as it pours forth from a grateful, sincere heart. In other words, human emotions and subjective inclinations become the standard of authority for determining whether worship is acceptable to God. This viewpoint lies behind all denominational, charismatic worship actions—from blowing whistles or dancing in the aisles, to shrieking or rolling on the floor. Such actions should never be dignified by equating them with pure, New Testament worship. Marshall Keeble well remarked that when people get the Bible into their minds, you will find them abandoning such emotional displays, and they will approach worship “seated, clothed, and in their right mind.” The fact remains that ALL worship to God must be previously approved and santioned by Him—or it is vain worship (Matthew 15:9; Colossians 3:17).

"A Day in the Life" Trevor Bowen


"A Day in the Life"

Ahh! What a way to start the week! You only meant to sleep for 5 for more minutes, and now you're running an hour behind. Ok, time to take a quick shower, and eat breakfast on the way. You'll just have to push it on Parmer Lane and make up for lost time. Meetings, phone calls, messages piled up while you were out to lunch. Oh, where's your old jar of aspirin, filled with everything but aspirin. Good 3 antacids still left. It seems like you didn't get anything accomplished at work today, and now you're back in the car again. You're leaving 30 minutes late to make up for getting to work an hour late - but, hey, you get more done in less time than most folks. Looks like it's going to be an abbreviated workout at the gym today. Completely burnt out, it's time to head home. The wife's already fed the baby, and now he's having quiet time. You know, infants don't just fall asleep after being tossed in the air by their Dad for 15 minutes. Oh well, we'll have family time tomorrow night. It was a rough day at work. You just want to watch TV for 15 minutes. Oh this is your favorite show! "Wow the news is on already." "I just want to see what the weather is going to be like." … Well, the wife has gone to bed already. Seems like I was supposed to do something tonight, but I'm so tired. I can't stay up any longer. I will have to do it tomorrow night, whenever I remember whatever it was that I was supposed to be doing.
Ok, so you were only 30 minutes late to the office this time. But there's so much work piled up that you got to stay really late tonight. Too much work. Why has it piled up all of the sudden? Clearly your potential is not getting fully recognized. They keep piling up busy work for you, instead of giving you real, challenging work that only you can do. Guess you'll have to run through Taco Bell while on the moonlit drive home. Looks like everybody is already in bed. Things are tough now, but you'll make up for it on the weekend.
Wednesdays are always rough. Long day at work - still tying to catch up. Have to meet the family at church tonight. Maybe you'll have McDonald's tonight on the way to church - but that's ok, because you're going to workout extra at the gym tomorrow afternoon. Oh, it's time to focus our minds on spiritual things. I don't know why this teacher is so boring. He needs to make the class more practical, and that same person has to make comments every time. They must like hearing themselves speak. Invitation song? Wasn't there an invitation in there somewhere? - And now the wife wants to get home early, so the baby can get a good night's sleep. You'll just have to socialize next time. It's so hard to get to bed before 11 pm on Wednesday nights, and you wanted to get up early tomorrow too.
Ugh, the alarm clock must be wrong. The time is right, but it feels like 2 hours earlier. So much work to be done - you have to force yourself. Even the car seems reluctant to move this early. You'll let the window down for a second, just to let the morning breeze freshen you up. The cool wind feels good hitting your morning eyes. You got in early and hope to get a lot done today. Why is everybody looking at your hair? You need to hurry, if you're going to get everything done in time to go to the gym. Cell phone is ringing. Oh no, your wife is checking to make sure that you are already on your way to the soccer game. You really need to spend more time thinking about the kids and being attentive to their needs. Oh-oh, the boss has an extra assignment for you. This is a one-time emergency that will win the company thousands of dollars. Maybe this will help you get your well-deserved, but belated, promotion. Maybe then you can stop paying the accumulating interest on your credit cards and actually make progress paying off your debt that's piled up. You make a difficult call. You go to the game. It's hard to understand why your wife and son seem disappointed. Don't they know how hard you work and the sacrifices you make? Well, after promising to be more attentive next time, you explain that you will have to work late to make up for coming home early to attend the game, even if you were only present for the last 15 minutes. Another long night ahead …
Finally, it's Friday! Another "hard to wake up" morning, but it's nothing that a little caffeine and ginseng can't cure. If you could just figure out how to lose 15 pounds, you'd probably sleep and feel a lot better. Work goes well. Everybody seems talkative. They're also glad it's Friday. After asking one of your buddy's about his night classes, you think that one of these days, you will finish your degree. But you need to get some other stuff done first. … Seems to have been a slow day for some reason. You didn't get much done, but neither did anybody else. … You realize that it was your day to pick up the infant from daycare. Your wife just had to get her nails done today. If you could find your Palm Pilot, you'd make a note about getting a day planner, or something to help you get organized. Daycare workers seem upset for having to stay late again. You explain it was one-time accident, and you just accidentally forgot. It's hard to understand why some people can't accept that staying late occasionally is just part of their job. Seems to you like so many people don't appreciate their jobs. Your wife has called ahead and ordered pizza. You decide to make tonight into a fun family night, so you stop by your local Blockbusters and rent a movie - actually three, because they were running a special. After the first movie is finished, you put the kids to bed. Your wife is so tired that she falls asleep on the couch with the infant, while you put the two older ones to bed. You curl up across from her, in the recliner, and quickly fall asleep too.
It's hard to believe the middle child has already learned to turn the television on. You didn't realize that Rug Rats came on at 7 in the morning, but your 5 year old daughter knows. Well, the wife fixes pancakes and you finally get to wrestle in the floor with the kids for a few minutes. But, then you have to call it off, because you have to mow the yard today. Man, it's so hot outside. Need a few minutes to cool off. You clean up and begin to plan what to do with your free time. The wife hands you the infant as she runs out the door to meet her best friend, waiting in the car outside. She mumbles something about finally having some time to get out of the house, and that she told you over a week ago. Women are so hard to understand. She complains that you are not romantic, but she always seems to have other plans, just when you get some free time. Seems like she is gone forever, but she gets home in time to warm up leftovers for the family. The kids seem pretty eager to go to bed after playing outside with their friends all day. They come home with the strangest things, after riding their bikes throughout the neighborhood and who knows where else. Of course, eating late helps them calm down for bed. Your wife asks if you are coming to bed, but you really need to finish watching those movies, because they are due back tomorrow.
Is it Sunday already? Where did the week go? Where did the weekend go? Everybody in the family seems so sluggish getting ready for church on Sunday morning. On the way to church, you check to see if everybody did their lesson and got their verses memorized. They won't have time to get the memory verse down exactly, but they can cram enough to wing it. You help them answer their questions real quick. It would look bad if your kids came to church with blank Bible lessons. As you sit through another sermon, you begin to feel sleepy. Seems like you haven't sat down for that long, in one place, for all week. The preacher is kind of jumping around, and it's hard to keep up with his thoughts. You fight sleepiness and after a few nods, you manage to listen for the last few minutes. As he is making his closing applications, you realize that you have not been the spiritual leader that your family needs. You decide to do better, but then you realize that you have been here before. Just last week, you made this exact same promise to yourself. How did you let yourself repeat the exact same mistakes that you made last week? This time will be different. You make a silent prayer, asking for forgiveness and strength to do better. You listen intently to the last few minutes of the lesson. You shake the preacher's hand on the way out, telling him that he did a fine job. After taking the family out to dinner, to give Mom a break, the kids play for a while and you nestle down for a quick, but necessary Sunday afternoon nap. Sunday evening service goes well. It again reminds you of your need to take initiative in your life, making it more spiritually focused. You reaffirm your commitment, renewed just this morning. After evening services, some friends invite you to come eat dinner with them and play some dominoes. After 3 marathon sessions of 42, you and your wife finally decide to scoop your sleeping children off the couch and head home. After putting the kids to bed, you think about your commitment to be a better spiritual leader. You think about studying the Bible with your wife before you go to bed, but then again, you have been studying the Bible all day. You revise your daily-Bible-study commitment to not include Sunday and Wednesday, since they are church days anyway. Well you head to bed, promising yourself that you will arrange a Bible study for the family every night, starting tomorrow night. Right before you fall asleep, you promise additionally to begin every day with prayer. Somewhere in the middle of "Our Father in heaven," you doze off …
Ahh! Again! You're late again. Some distant mental note makes you feel as if today was going to be a big day for some reason. You were going to do something different today. No time to worry about it now. You're an hour late again, and you're falling behind. What a way to start the week! You only meant to sleep for 5 for more minutes, and now you are running an hour behind. Ok, time to take a quick shower, and eat breakfast on the way. You'll just have to push it on Parmer Lane and make up for lost time. …
"Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.' See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:14-18)
There is no reason for the hunter to entrap an animal and wrestle with it, when he can just lull it to sleep instead (I Peter 5:8-9). A life is made by adding up many days. Unto what kind of life are your days adding? Are you asleep at the wheel?
Please feel free to send the author of this article any questions, concerns, or feedback that you may have.
 Trevor Bowen

James (Part 13) Boosting Patience by Ben Fronczek


James (Part 13) Boosting Patience

Patience Boosters                                                                                                                                             Reading: James 5:7-11  “Dear brothers and sisters,[a] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” NLT
How many lessons have you heard, or have read of our need, as Christians, to become patient? Probably many times.
It is one of the fruits of a Spirit fill person as seen in Galatians 5:22.  Over and over in the Bible we read about the importance of becoming patient. In the book of Proverbs the wise teacher instructs us to be patient.
– In 14:29 he writes, Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” 
– In 15:18 he writes, “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.               
– In 16:32 he writes, “Better a patient person than a warrior,one with self-control than one who takes a city.”   
– In 19:11 he writes, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
The importance and encouragement to become patient is also seen over and over in the NT, especially in the apostle Paul’s writings.
– In Romans 12:12 he writes “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” 
– In Colossians 3:12 he writes, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”                          
– In Ephesians 4:2 he writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”       
–  In 1 Thess. 5:14 he writes, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 
Actually the English word ‘patient’ is a weak translation of the original Greek word used in James. It is really a compound word which means:  to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish.’  The idea is to be self-restrained and not quick to retaliate. It is seen when one goes without complaining, giving up or striking out.
So why is our need to be patient such a big deal in scripture?I actually took some time to research some on the pro and cons of this topic. As I see it, the more you understand what patience is, and how it effects you,  you begin to realize that it really does have an effect on almost every part of our life.
It effects how you think, how you act, It can affect you emotionallysocially and even on a spiritual level. It can even affect you physically; how you feel. Those who are impatient experience a rise in blood pressure, an increase in anxiety and stress, and your over all happiness goes down.
Whereas those who learn to be more patient reap many rewards; for example:
– If you are more patient you reduce your stress level, your blood pressure, you won’t get as angry as often, you’ll sleep better, you’ll actually be healthier, and happier.
– More patient people can actually think clearer and make better decisions,  and they don’t make as many mistakes. Being more patient also enables a person to hang in there longer and work toward achieving goals and dreams.
– Being a patient person also helps one cope with difficulties, hardships and obstacles graciously and they respond to life’s challenges with more courage, strength and optimism.
– Learning to be a patient person also gives you a calmer spirit, and you have more peace of mind rather than being overwhelmed and frazzled all the time.
– And finally, more patient people usually have a better relationship with their spouse, family, friends and co-workers.
In our text today, I believe that James was writing to some Christians who we struggling, maybe oppressed or even persecuted. He instruct them to be patient and hang in there; be long suffering and not to grumble and complain, but realize that God has a great reward for those who hang in there and remain faithful to Him, for the Lord is sees all and is full of compassion and mercy.
I would like to believe that as James grew up with Jesus he observed one the most patient people who ever lived.  Jesus lived His whole time here without ever sinning once yet  He was surrounded by flawed and sinful people. He knew what it was to be patient and long suffering  when it came to living in a house with many siblings as well as a world full of  sinful and foolish men.
Here in James he illustrate some who have to wait before they are rewarded, like farmers who plant and then have to be patient and wait for the harvest.  He also mentions Job and the prophets chose not to give up on God, but were long suffering and patient, as they waited on upon God.
So how patient are you?  In my reading I came across some good suggestions to help boost our level of patience.  In her book, Ryan makes a comment that I agree with, that : “Patience is something you do, not something you have or don’t have. It’s a decision you make again and again. Patience is a quality that can be strengthened like a muscle.”
So, How to Develop Patience: In some ways its like exercising and developing a muscle. First of all its about making a choice and deciding to develop that muscle. Becoming more patient involves making some choices on how you are going to act or react in a certain situation. First we need to decide to make patience a goal. Try starting by deciding to do your best to be patient in all circumstances for the entire day, then purposely try it to 2 days, and then 3, and so on. Like exercise, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Just like some of muscles are stronger and some are weaker, we are stronger and more patient with some things, and some people, but not so much with others. Take note of when you are less patient. Be more careful in those situations or with those people. Those areas where we are less patient are what you will have pay more attention to and work on more.
Also take note of how you feel. Are you tired, hungry, or off physically in some other way? Be aware of your weaknesses and be even more careful when you are not feeling 100 percent. If at all possible  when you feel off, try not to subject yourself to those things or people that frustrate you, bore you or set you off. Don’t go shopping at Walmart Friday evening if you are tired, hungry and a hurry to get home because you have a headache, because more than likely the lines of people will test your patience.   At least knowing your weaknesses will help you be a bit more cautious as you deal with the situation.
Get rest when you need it. Take care of your body. If you don’t, it will affect your mood.
#2) Practice thinking before you speak. If we pause and go over what we want to say, we can avoid hurting or offending others. Do you remember what James wrote in 1:19? He wrote “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  
In other words slow down!   Take deep breaths to try to relax when you find yourself getting impatient and anxious. When we are stressed we tend to lose our patience and get frustrated.
#3) Next time you have to wait for something, it helps to take that free time to do something useful. Do something constructive while waiting. It keeps your mind and your time occupied and helps you avoid unnecessary stress from worrying and getting yourself uptight. Even plan what you are going to do before hand just in case you have to wait.  Pray, or make a mental note of the things that you need to do that day. Or you can sing a song.  When I have to wait as I get my vehicles worked on I always take a book, some paper and pen. I have prepared a number of good sermons and Bible studies as I sat there waiting.  It’s all about preparation; having a few things you can do in case you have to wait.   Plan ahead!
#4) Take the time to help others. For example, having to deal with the elderly and the hearing impaired definitely requires patience. By choosing to help others on a regular basis, such as watching children or the elderly, you will find yourself slowing down a bit and becoming more patient. Patience can bring out the compassionate side of you.
#5) Here is a real important one:– Realize daily that no one is perfect except Jesus.  So practice tolerating and loving people even though they are flawed. We are all flawed in one way or many. So even before you get out of bed in the morning, make a conscious effort to love people no matter what. Not their sin but the person. This will help.
James wrote in verse 9, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”   Decide to cut others some slack if they mess up. Learn to be patient and even cut yourself some slack when you mess up.
#6) Cultivate Faith.  I believe patience and faith walk hand in hand.  The more faith you have in yourself, in others, and in God the more patient you will be.   If you are a very patient person it is a sign that you trust and have faith in others, especially faith in God.
Hardship, difficulties and tragedies are part of life. They will test your faith. Believe in God’s providence and care. Believe that there is a purpose in all that happens and that setback may only be temporary.
#7) Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Many times we’re impatient because we’re overloaded. Someone once said, “There’s no prize at the end of your life for doing too much, particularly doing it in a frazzled state,”
8) And finally, read, read, and learn from scripture. Over and over we not only see how patient God is with us, we also see how much we are encourage to do the same when it comes to dealing with others.  Being patient with others is actually a form of LOVE.  In 1 Cor. 13:4, Paul wrote, “ Love is patient.“
It is said that, ‘Patience is a virtue’. Why is that so?    Because learning to be patient make us better people.  I don’t know about you but I want to become a better person, the kind of person that God wants me to become
If you struggle with being patient you are not alone. Many times it’s just a matter of learning a little more and changing our frame of mind. I pray that our God will continue to be patient with us as we try to become more like Him.