"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Faith That Embraces The Promises (11:8-22) by Mark Copeland


Faith That Embraces The Promises (11:8-22)


1. In the first seven verses of the eleventh chapter, we saw...
   a. Faith explained...
      1) As confidence of things hoped for
      2) As conviction of things not seen
   b. Faith exemplified...
      1) In Abel (faith worshipping)
      2) In Enoch (faith walking)
      3) In Noah (faith working)
   c. Faith emphasized...
      1) Without which it is impossible to please God
      2) We must believe He exists, and rewards those who diligently 
         seek Him

2. Another aspect of our faith pertains to "the promises" in which we 
   a. We are warned not to fall short of what's been promised - He 4:1
   b. Faith (along with patience) is necessary to inherit the promises 
      - He 6:11-12

3. The faith which pleases God, then, is one that "embraces" God's 
   a. In verses 8-22, we learn of the faith of those who "embraced the
   b. Because of their faith, "God is not ashamed to be called their 

[Do we have the sort of faith that makes God unashamed to be called our
God?  To answer this question, let's use the text of our study to 


      1. By faith he "obeyed" - He 11:8
         a. When God called him to leave his country, he obeyed the 
            voice of the Lord
            1) Even though at first he did not know where he was going
            2) This is an example of conviction in "things not seen"!
         b. Here we see that faith and obedience are not contradictory
            1) Indeed, Jesus is the "author of eternal salvation to 
               all who obey Him" - He 5:9
            2) Is our faith an "obedient faith" like Abraham's? - cf. 
               Lk 6:46
      2. By faith he "sojourned" - He 11:9-10
         a. His faith required him to live "as in a foreign country"
            1) Even though it was the "land of promise", he and his 
               descendants could not have it for four hundred years 
               - cf. Gen 13:14-17; 15:13-21
            2) He therefore patiently waited for the city "whose 
               builder and maker is God"
               a) This suggests that the promises he embraced were more
                  than just those pertaining to the land of Canaan
               b) Later, we will see he had a heavenly hope as well!
         b. Our faith requires us to live "as in a foreign country"
            1) For we too are "sojourners and pilgrims" - 1Pe 2:11
            2) Is our faith a "sojourning faith" like Abraham's? - cf. 
               He 13:14
      3. By faith he "offered up Isaac" - He 11:17-19
         a. His faith required him to be willing to offer that which 
            was closest to him
            1) His son, Isaac - Gen 22:1-19
               a) Through whom the promises he embraced were to be 
               b) He assumed that God would raise Isaac from the dead, 
                  if need be, in order to keep His promises
            2) Thus he illustrated that confidence "in things hoped 
         b. Our faith often requires forsaking things closest to us
            1) Our loved ones, even our own life! - cf. Lk 14:26-33
            2) Is our faith an "offering faith" like Abraham's? - cf. 
               Ro 12:1-2

      1. By faith she received strength to conceive a child - He 11:
         a. Though beyond the normal age of child-bearing - Gen 18:1-3;
         b. Though she laughed when she first heard of God's promise, 
            she later "judged Him faithful who had promised"
         c. Through her faith, the promises of a great nation were 
      2. Our faith requires looking to God for strength, and trusting 
         He will provide
         a. We must look to God to "find grace to help in time of need"
            - He 4:16
         b. Is our faith a "receiving faith" like Sarah's? - Php 4:13

      1. He blessed Jacob and Esau regarding things to come - He 11:20;
         cf. Gen 27:1-40
      2. This illustrates how Isaac by faith "embraced" the promises

      1. Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph when he was dying - He 11:21;
         cf. Gen 48:14-20
      2. His blessing involved the promises of God, showing how he 
         embraced them also

      1. When he was dying, Joseph:
         a. Made mention of the departure of Israel out of Egypt
         b. Gave instructions concerning his bones - He 11:22; cf. Gen
      2. In so doing, he demonstrated that he had "embraced the 

[Such was the faith of the patriarchs. I purposely skipped verses 13-
16, for what is said there not only applies to Abraham and Sarah, but
to Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

As we now turn to those verses, we learn in particular...]


   A. THEY EMBRACED THE PROMISES... - He 11:13-16a
      1. They did not receive the promises during their lifetime
         a. Yet with faith they could see them afar off
         b. They freely confessed to be strangers and pilgrims on the
            1) This implies that they sought a homeland
            2) But what they desired was a better one, indeed a 
               heavenly country
      2. They died "in faith" (i.e., holding fast to the promises)

      1. He is not ashamed to be called their God
         a. He is well pleased with them
         b. It was their faith embracing the promises that pleased Him
      2. He has prepared a city for them
         a. What they waited for, He has prepared - cf. He 11:10
         b. That which He has prepared is what we look for, too - cf. 
            He 13:14
            1) I.e., the new heavens and new earth - cf. 2Pe 3:13
            2) In which will be the "New Jerusalem," that "great
               city...descending out of heaven" - cf. Re 21:1-3,10ff
            3) Indeed, even now in a sense we have "come to Mount Zion
               and to the city of the living God, the heavenly 
               Jerusalem..." - He 12:22-24


1. What kind of faith pleases God?  Certainly a...
   a. "Worshipping faith" like that of Abel
   b. "Walking faith" like that of Enoch
   c. "Working faith" like that of Noah
   ...but also a "waiting faith" seen in the patriarchs (Abraham, 
   Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph)!

2. The faith that pleases God is one that "embraces the promises" made
   by God...
   a. Patiently waiting for their ultimate fulfillment, even if it 
      doesn't happen in one's lifetime
   b. But with conviction and confidence of "things hoped for" and 
      "things of unseen"...
      1) We will "obey" His calling
      2) We will "sojourn" here on earth
      3) We will "offer" up whatever He asks of us
      4) We will "receive strength" to do whatever He bids us
      5) And we will "make mention" of His promises from generation to

3. This is the kind of faith...
   a. In those "who believe to the saving of the soul" - He 10:39
   b. In those of whom "God is not ashamed to be called their God"
      - He 11:16

May the Lord grant us grace and mercy to develop this kind of saving 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Atheist Finally “Sobers Up” by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Atheist Finally “Sobers Up”

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Nearly 30 years ago, a debate of significant proportions took place. It was September 20-23, 1976. The place was the campus of North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. The disputants were two longtime professors of philosophy—Thomas B. Warren (whose Ph.D. in philosophy was from Vanderbilt) and Antony G.N. Flew (who was teaching in the University of Reading near London, England). The propositions they debated juxtaposed succinctly the real issue between thorough-going (positive) atheism and thorough-going (biblical) theism. Dr. Flew affirmed, “I know that God does notexist,” and Dr. Warren affirmed, “I know that God does exist.”
Dr. Warren once explained why he selected Antony Flew as his opponent in the debate. His rationale was simple: if those who are on the cutting edge of philosophical thought and who are considered to be the leaders in their chosen area of expertise—the “best of the best” if you will—are unable to defend their position when confronted by a fair and accurate defense of the truth, their error will be exposed. Those who were influenced by these leading men would be forced (like the “domino effect”) to recognize the sterility of the viewpoint they had embraced. Antony Flew had been a leading champion of atheism for decades. His writings dominated philosophical journals, and he was a prolific author [his books included Hume’s Philosophy of Belief (1961), God and Philosophy (1966), Evolutionary Ethics (1967), An Introduction to Western Philosophy (1971), and even a book on logic—Thinking Straight (1975)]. Having taught at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, Flew also served as a visiting professor in many American universities, and conducted numerous debates in the process of defending his atheism.
For the first two nights of the Warren-Flew debate, Flew assumed the affirmative position in an attempt to prove that God does not exist. However, Warren’s kind-but-relentless assault in the negative position seemed to leave Flew battered, bewildered, and disoriented—so much so that when Dr. Warren assumed the affirmative position on the third night of the debate, he spent a few minutes attempting to ascertain the reason for Dr. Flew’s failure, while in the affirmative, to present a sound argument for his atheistic contention in a precise logical way:
It has been suggested that his failure is due to the fact that he is in a foreign country, but such could have little or nothing to do with this proposition. That he is out of his own country has nothing to do with how he handles intellectual material. Neither is his failure due to his not being accustomed to this style of debating. I have heard him in discussion before, and he seemed not to be bothered at all by the kind of format that was involved. Perhaps he did not know the responsibility of an affirmative speaker? But that cannot be so because, in his writings, he constantly chides a man who does not recognize his responsibility as an affirmant. Perhaps because he does not know the arguments? I deny that emphatically. In reading the works of Dr. Flew, I am convinced that he knows the arguments that are involved as well as anybody in the world. Perhaps because he does not understand or accept the law of rationality? The truth of the matter is: he has written very strongly and frequently in defense of it! But he has not acted in harmony with it in thisdiscussion. Ordinarily, when he is writing in the affirmative, and he writes almost constantly of matters that are concerned with God or very closely related to God—at least subjects that are peripheral to the subject of God. In fact, it is the case that he is almost God-intoxicatedHe constantly emphasizes in his books that the onus of proof is on the affirmative writer or speaker! But I am afraid that he has not recognized that truth in this discussion (1977, pp. 131-132, emp. in orig.).
In the very next speech—the first negative—Dr. Flew responded to Dr. Warren’s comments in the following words: “Dr. Warren may be assured that I am sobering up from God intoxication. I shall be writing considerably less, if anything, in this area in the future” (p. 143, emp. added). Now, 28 years later, Dr. Flew appears, indeed, to finally have sobered up. At the age of 81, he has announced to the world that, based upon the scientific evidence, he now believes in some type of God (“Famous Atheist…,” 2004). However, do not jump to any premature conclusions. One interviewer spoke with Dr. Flew about his recent adjustments in his thinking, and concluded:
The fact of the matter is: Flew hasn’t really decided what to believe. He affirms that he is not a Christian—he is still quite certain that the Gods of Christianity or Islam do not exist, that there is no revealed religion, and definitely no afterlife of any kind. But he is increasingly persuaded that some sort of Deity brought about this universe, though it does not intervene in human affairs, nor does it provide any postmortem salvation. He says he has in mind something like the God of Aristotle, a distant, impersonal “prime mover.” It might not even be conscious, but a mere force. In formal terms, he regards the existence of this minimal God as a hypothesis that, at present, is perhaps the best explanation for why a universe exists that can produce complex life. But he is still unsure. In fact, he asked that I not directly quote him yet, until he finally composes his new introduction to a final edition of his book God and Philosophy, due out next year. He hasn’t completed it yet, precisely because he is still examining the evidence and thinking things over. Anything he says now, could change tomorrow (Carrier, 2004).
Here is what Flew has stated about whether he believes in God in the biblical sense:
I do not think I will ever make that assertion, precisely because any assertion which I am prepared to make about God would not be about a God in that sense ... I think we need here a fundamental distinction between the God of Aristotle or Spinoza and the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations…. My one and only piece of relevant evidence [for an Aristotelian God] is the apparent impossibility of providing a naturalistic theory of the origin from DNA of the first reproducing species... [In fact] the only reason which I have for beginning to think of believing in a First Cause god is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms (as quoted in Carrier, italics in orig., emp. added).
It’s a step. But Dr. Flew has a long way to go to arrive at the truth concerning God’s existence. Observe that even when an atheist is forced to recognize that the evidence demands that a purposive, intelligent Being lies behind the Creation, he still endeavors to relegate this intelligence to an impersonal force that does not “provide a postmortem salvation.” Why? Because the same Being also would provide a “postmortem condemnation” in which humans will rightly and justly receive punishment for their sinful behavior on Earth. Can’t have that, can we?! It would mean adjusting one’s daily life choices and relegating one’s stubborn pride beneath the will of God.
Flew also stated: “My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads” (“Famous Atheist…,” emp. added). If that were true, he would have already been led to the truth that the God of the Bible exists (just read the Warren-Flew debate!). Indeed, all the available evidence leads to that singular conclusion. The very evidence that Flew now believes indicates the existence of some sort of God, is the same evidence that he once insisted supported atheism! It took him 66 years to arrive at this most recent conclusion (Flew has been a self-avowed atheist since he was 15). But given the current human lifespan, he does not have another 66 years to follow the evidence to where it leads.


Carrier, Richard (2004), “Antony Flew Considers God—Sort Of,” [On-line], URL: http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=369.
“Famous Atheist Now Believes in God” (2004), The Associated Press, December 9, [On-line], URL: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976.
Flew, Antony G.N. and Thomas B. Warren (1977), Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

Atheist Blogger Leah Libresco Converted to Theism by Morality by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Atheist Blogger Leah Libresco Converted to Theism by Morality

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On June 18, 2012 well-known, much-read atheistic blogger Leah Libresco put out a blog post titled: “This Is My Last Post for the Patheos Atheist Portal.” In the post, Libresco explained that she was no longer writing for the atheist portal because she is no longer an atheist. During the months prior to the post, her mental struggles and rational investigations led her to the conclusion that God exists.
What was the primary factor that forced Libresco to this theistic conclusion? She explained that morality was the key. Throughout her time as an atheist, she struggled to come to grips with how humans can adhere to a morality that seems objective if there is no God. As she searched for answers among atheistic thinkers and writers, she admitted that their answers were inadequate. She stated:
I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there (2012).
When pressed by a friend to give an answer for the foundation for morality, Libresco was forced to admit that her atheism could not provide an explanation. Did she know where an answer could be found? She stated: “It turns out I did. I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant.  It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth.” The Person, of course, to which she is referring is God.
In an interview with a CNN news reporter, Libresco noted that her conversion to theism was “kinda the same thing with any scientific theory, almost, that it had more explanatory power to explain something I was really sure of. I’m really sure that morality is objective, human independent; something we uncover like archaeologists not something we build like architects” (“Atheist Becomes Catholic,” 2012).
Libresco’s intellectual honesty regarding morality is refreshing to see. Theists have long understood and irrefutably shown that morality is objective, and atheism is impotent to provide an explanation for this reality (see Butt, 2002; 2010, pp. 87-123,204). Without a belief in a personal God from Whose character morality flows, the words “right” and “wrong” have no meaning in a moral discussion. Yet every person who is thinking honestly and rationally must admit that some things are objectively right and some things are objectively wrong. When such an admission is made, it inevitably leads to “some kind of Person, as well as Truth.” Thus, “In the beginning, God…” becomes the only statement with enough explanatory value to adequately deal with objective morality.


“Atheist Becomes Catholic” (2012), http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/22/prominent-atheist-blogger-converts-to-catholicism/.
Butt, Kyle (2002), “Right, Wrong, and God’s Existence,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=878&topic=95.
Butt, Kyle (2010), A Christians Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Libresco, Leah (2012), “This is My Last Post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/06/this-is-my-last-post-for-the-patheos-atheist-portal.html.

Atheist Asks: “Have You Read the Bible in its Entirety?” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Atheist Asks: “Have You Read the Bible in its Entirety?”

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Since 2008, the Atheist Agenda, a student organization on the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has hosted an event called “Smut for Smut.” The group offers to give a free pornographic magazine to everyone who will turn in the Bible or other religious books like the Quran (Hallowell, 2012). When the event began it received considerable press, but the 2012 event “barely attracted attention” (2012). In fact, only about 30 people stopped by the booth, and the Atheist Agenda collected just five Bibles, one Quran, and one Encyclopedia of Islam.
While the event was a dismal failure in regard to ramping up hype for atheism on the campus, it did bring to light a very troubling fact about many who call themselves Christians. A video clip posted in Hallowell’s article shows one of the members of the Atheist Agenda confronting what looks like a fellow student. This fellow student is holding up a sign in protest of the event and in support of the Bible. The atheist is attempting to explain why his group equates the Bible with pornography. The fellow student disagrees, and then the atheist asks the student, “Have you read the Bible in its entirety?” The student shakes his head almost imperceptibly, and in a very low voice admits he has not read the Bible. After that, he tries to walk away as the atheist follows him explaining to him all the alleged “horrible things” found “in the Bible” that the young man had not read.
The fact that the young man had not read the Bible utterly demolished any credibility he may have had. Of course, the atheist was misrepresenting what the Bible says. In no legitimate way does the Bible compare to a pornagraphic magazine. But the young student could do nothing to defend the Bible because he had not read it. Suppose that question were asked of you? Could you respond that you have read the Bible? Or would you be shamed into silence and forced to walk away as you listened to an enemy of God revile His precious Word. How in the world can Christians always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15), if those Christians have not read the Bible in its entirety?
In Romans 2, Paul explained to the Jews that their sinful lives were causing the Gentiles to speak evil of the God of Israel. He scolded them in harsh terms when he wrote: “For ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’” (Romans 2:24). In a similar way, the modern skeptical community delights in pinpointing “Christians” living sinful lives, or being so apathetic to the teachings of Christ that they do not care enough to read the Bible. Let it never be said of you that your stand for the truth was rendered useless to the cause of Christ because you could not honestly say that you had read the Bible in its entirety. “Hear the word of the Lord…. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:1,6).


Hallowell, Billy (2012), “Atheist Students Encourage Christians to Exchange Their Bibles for…Pornography,” The Blaze, http://news.yahoo.com/atheist-students-encourage-christians-exchange-bibles-pornography-013422828.html.

Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3) Joy and Peace by Ben Fronczek


Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3) Joy and Peace

Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3) Joy and Peace
Galatians 5 says that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. As I thought about this verse this past week, I realized that something is wrong.
What I mean is this. If we walk in that Spirit as these verses encourage, a natural by product of doing so should be having and experience JOY and PEACE… both of which are a state of mind and personal well being.
But unfortunately that is not what I see in very many who call themselves a Christian. Over the years I have observed Christians who are always seem to be sad and depressed; Christians who always seem to be complaining about something. There have been those who are argumentative, short tempered, some even plot against others. Some ignore others in the church, if not worst.
Quite frankly, in all the years I have been a Christian, I can think of only a handful of members who I would consider truly joyous and at peace.
So either God’s word is not true here, or there is something terribly wrong with too many of us who call our self a Christian but fail to experience these attributes on a regular basis.
About now you may be thinking, ‘Oh no, not another one of those sermons that make me feel bad about myself and guilty.’
No, I don’t want to do that, rather, I want you to leave here today equipped with the tools you need to have the level of joy and peace that God wants you to have as you live your life out in this crazy world.
As a parent it saddens me when I see my kids sad and depressed, spiteful and angry. Don’t you think God feels the same?
So what’s the problem? Why are so many of us missing out on this kind of joy and peace. I’ve linked these two together because I believe that joy and peace go together hand in hand.
The kind of joy that we are talking about here is not the kind of joy or happy feeling we have or get when someone gives us a gift, or when we have a dish or our favorite ice cream. It’s much deeper. I read where someone said, that this kind of joy is an outward expression of our inner peace. It is the kind of joy that wells up from the deep inner spring of the spirit filled life even during times of persecution, affliction, or not so favorable circumstances.
We are not talking about a giggle or pasting on a smile but rather an overall happy state of being that comes from knowing and trusting in our awesome God.
The peace we are talking about is not simply the absence of trouble, anxiety and worry, rather it is the serenity that comes from right living with our God and with other individuals. Our relationship with God and others actually should become the foundation for inner peace.
Now that I have given a brief definition of the kind of Joy and Peace Paul is writing about here, that we should be enjoying… What’s the problem?
Why are there so many cranky, miserable, depressed and sad Christians?
In my reading I came across a statement worth repeating: “An unhappy Christian is a contradiction.” How many of you would agree with that?
If you think about it, we have been redeemed, born again, given a 2nd chance before God. We are now called God’s sons and daughters, having been adopted by Him. We are co-heirs of God’s heavenly realm along with Jesus. In other words we have been promised to share in all that the Kingdom of God has to offer. Jesus told us that He has gone on ahead of us to prepare a place for us and will one day return. In the mean time God’s Spirit has entered us to help us grow and mature. God hears our prayers and answers them in a way that’s best and according to His overall plan. He has unseen angels watching over us. We have been promised a new and glorious body when this one finally wears out… and so much more.
If any people have a reason to be happy and joy filled and be at peace inside, Christian should more than anyone else. So what has happened?
I believe that somehow the devil has won some victories by getting too many of us to focus more on our self, what we want, what we think, and what we feel is right for us, causing us to ignore or forget that God has a better way.
We know that we should be experiencing this joy and this peace, we even long for it. Recently my wife showed me that Google has reported that a search of how to be happy has increase 180% since 2005.
As I thought about this I believe God helped me realize that having this Joy and this peace comes down to what, or who we are going to depend on to give us this joy and peace. Some of depend on the wrong things, for example:
– Should you going to base your over all joy on what you possess? Do you expect having certain things will give you lasting joy and peace? How many possessions will it take to give you this lasting Joy and Peace in your spirit? Will a big bank account or winning the lottery give you lasting joy and peace? Will building a new house or getting a new car, or new furniture, or new boat or camper, or clothes. Will any of those things give you lasting Joy and peace? They may make you happy for a little while, but will it last?
What happen if that house burns down and your new car and boat is in the garage, and your new furniture and new clothes are in the house? Are you doomed to a life of sadness until your buy replacements?
– Or should you expect having a relationship with certain people will give you lasting joy and peace? How many of you’ve said, “If only I get married, if I marry so and so I will be so happy.” And then you get married and three years later you wonder, ‘What was I thinking?’
Do you think you will have true and lasting happiness, joy and peace of mind because you have a good relationship with a certain person, a man, a woman, a friend, a son or daughter, a friend? Yes we can and should enjoy these kinds of relationships, but to base or center our life on them…I don’t thinks so. What about those who can’t find a significant other and never get married? Are they doomed to a life without joy and peace? What if you can’t have a child, or if you have one and later he dies? Are you doomed to life a misery and everlasting sadness?
Yes it’s nice, even wonderful to have a spouse, children, good friends, but what happens if that person lets you down? If you haven’t figured it out all ready, sooner or later people are going to let you down.
– Or what about getting or having that dream job or career? Should you depend on that to give you lasting Joy and peace of mind?   Well then what happens if you don’t get that dream job or the career you went to school for? Are you doomed to live a life without joy and peace? See where I’m going?
I believe all to often what we want, what we think, and what we feel isn’t the best choice if we want to find this special kind of Joy and peace… that is unless you want a better relationship with God, unless you seek to think and feel like He thinks and feels about things. That’s what walking in the Spirit is all about.
I am convinced that if we want the kind of peace and joy that Paul talks about here, having an intimate relationship with our Lord is the best way, maybe the only way we are going to have it. We need to believe and have faith in Him and know that He loves us, and cares for us, and helps us, and wants us to live with Him in Glory forever, AMEN.
I believe this is why the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians telling them, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Why do I believe there are so many miserable, depressed, sad, cranky, even mean Christians? Because they are building their house, their life on the wrong foundations, on the wrong things. Rather than basing their mental health on what can truly give them joy and peace, far too many of us Christians run after what WE want, what WE think, and what WE feel is right for us, only to be disappointed over and over, and over.
Paul said, “Rejoice (not in what you have rather rejoice) in the Lord”. He also said if you want this peace that transcends all understanding, He said, ‘don’t fret or be anxious about anything, instead turn it over to God, thank Him, and He will guard you heart and mind because of Jesus.’ Can your job, your bank account or your house do that for you? Of course not.
I don’t believe that there is anything or anyone else in this whole world that can make that promise like this and keep it.
Do you want peace of mind, do you want some harmony in your life?
Do you want to be happy. Listen to a few other suggestions Paul makes here in this context.: 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” NIV   If you do right and think right God will bless you with peace!
Do you what these fruits or not? Do you what them to be evident in your life, so much so people wonder how and why you can handle hard stuff so well?
Deny yourself. Sometimes you have to deny what you want or just feel like doing and you have to take up your cross (whatever that may be) and follow Jesus.
Choose to keep in step with His Spirit.
Trust Him. Put all your hope in Him.
Develop a closer personal relationship with Him. Talk to Him throughout the day, everyday.
Court and fall in to love Him.
Depend on Him and His direction for your life.
Make a commitment to do what He says even if you don’t understand or want to, or feel like it at the time. Believe His will is a better way.
Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding and I believe you will eventually see these fruit in your life, including a deep underlying joy and sense of peace. That’s His Promise.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

God has appointed men as leaders in the home and in the church by Roy Davison


God has appointed men as leaders in the home and in the church

After Adam and Eve sinned, God appointed the husband as leader in the home: “To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you’” (Genesis 3:16).
The leadership position of men in the church is supported by Paul in this way: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13, 14).
Thus, God’s appointment of men as leaders is based on the order of creation (1) and on the Fall (2), not on temporary cultural circumstances as is sometimes claimed.

The husband is the head of his wife.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24).
The head leads the body. But this assumes that the body listens to the head. Otherwise it is an uncoordinated body, a body that does not function properly. But there is also feedback from the body to the head to which the head must listen. If the head tells the hand to pick up something hot, the hand lets the head know about it!
Providing leadership for your wife is a fascinating challenge and a big responsibility. There are no leaders without followers. Thus the admonition: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). This is much easier if the husband is obedient to the Lord’s command: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28).
But what if the husband is inadequate? “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Peter 3:1, 2). 
When the husband does not treat his wife and children correctly, godly women can find themselves in extremely difficult circumstances. In such cases, discussing the problem with fellow Christians can be helpful.
Peter goes on to say, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered“ (1 Peter 3:7).
I want to encourage you men to appreciate your wives. The wife does not have an easy position in the family.
I appreciate Rita more and more as time goes by, which means that I did not appreciate her enough in the past! We have been married only 48 years, but we have known each other for 63 years, since secondary school.
It is also good to express your appreciation, which is sometimes hard for men to do. We must not be like the farmer in Carl Sandburg’s “The People, Yes” who told his wife: “When I think how much you’ve meant to me all these years, it’s almost more than I can do, to keep from saying something about it.”
Let us appreciate and honor our wives.
In the family, both the husband and wife provide leadership for the children.1 

Men have been appointed by God as leaders in the church.
Jesus, the Head of the church, is a man.2 The twelve Apostles are men. Elders and deacons are men - since they must be “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2, 12).
As leaders in the church, men have a heavy responsibility. Paul told the elders at Ephesus: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
An elder must hold “fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
Elders are instructed by Peter: “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2, 3).
Younger Christians are to submit to their elders: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5).

Some restrictions are placed on women.
Women have extremely important tasks in the church.3 To substantiate God’s appointment of men as leaders in the church, however, certain restrictions are placed on the activity of women.
In the various passages we notice three restrictions that will be discussed individually: (1) women are to remain silent in the assembly, (2) they are not to teach men, and (3) they are not to exercise authority over men.

Women must remain silent in the assembly.
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church” (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35).
This measure applied to all congregations,4 even though there were differences in customs among Jews, Greeks and Romans.
These passages are not difficult to understand but they are difficult for some people to accept.
Sometimes they are flatly rejected. When a female cleric in Holland was asked what she thought of this passage, she replied: “I wipe my feet on it.”
Someone who wants to appear to follow the Scriptures must resort to evasive, false arguments.
Some claim that ‘remain silent’ here means ‘stay calm’ and that ‘speak’ means ‘speak noisily’, and that women may therefore speak if they speak calmly! First, this does not fit the context since it relates to a difference between men and women. Is it acceptable then for men to speak noisily? Are men then not required to stay calm? Second, anyone who has studied Greek knows that these are the ordinary words for ‘keep silent’5 and ‘speak’6. (See the endnotes for more information.)
Since men are to lead, women may not teach or lead when men are present. To substantiate men’s leadership role, and to avoid any misunderstanding, women are commanded to be silent in the assembly.
This does not apply to singing together, since in that case women are not exercising leadership or authority, but are following the brother who is leading the congregation. It is wrong, however, for a woman to sing a solo or to be part of a “worship team” that leads the singing. 
What about women who prophesied? Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). Paul mentions women who prophesied (1 Corinthians 11:4-10).
Some misuse these examples to invalidate the commandment that women must be silent in the assembly. It is never said, however, that women prophesied in the assembly. They who make that claim are not joining the Scriptures together, but are tearing the Scriptures apart! Several passages must be combined on the basis of what is stated. They may not be brought into conflict by adding something not stated. Since women were not permitted to speak in the assembly, their prophesying would have been outside the assembly.

Women are not permitted to teach men.
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:11-14).
This prohibition underpins the leadership role God has assigned to men. Also outside the assembly, a woman is not to serve as a teacher of men. This restriction is not violated when a woman teaches women or children.
If women are allowed to ask questions and make comments in a mixed Bible study that is not part of the assembly, the study itself must still be led by a man. 
This certainly does not mean that a man may never learn something from a woman! Apollos is an example of this. “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-26).
Notice that they “took him aside” and notice that they “explained” the way of God to him more accurately. These expressions depict a conversational situation.
This passage is sometimes misapplied to appoint a woman, or a man and woman together, to lead a mixed Bible class. In the case of Apollos, however, there was not a teacher-student relationship.
The example of Aquila and Priscilla does show that a Christian couple may invite a preacher into their home and explain the way of the Lord to him more accurately! Many preachers have benefited from such help!
Older women teach younger women. “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanders, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5).

Women may not exercise authority over men.
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Timothy 2:12).
Again, this restriction is simply a consequence of God’s appointment of men to lead the church. Leadership is not limited to the assembly. Just as a woman may not teach men, neither may she lead men. For this reason, prayers are led by men in a mixed Bible study, although women join in the discussion.
Some try to justify women participating in “chain” prayers (where they go around the room and everyone says a prayer) by claiming that each one is just saying his own private prayer, and is not leading the others. According to Jesus, however, private prayers should be said in private (Matthew 6:6).
According to Paul, group prayers should be understandable, so “amen” can be said afterwards (1 Corinthians 14:15, 16). The thoughts of the group are being led by the one saying the prayer. Thus, outside the assembly as well, the prayers in a mixed group must be led by men.
When a church has elders, decisions are of course made by the elders who are men. When a church does not have elders, since women are not to exercise authority over men, decisions must be made by the men of the congregation. Good leaders discuss decisions beforehand with those being led, which includes getting feedback from women as well as men. Only then can informed decisions be made.

Man’s leadership is compared to Christ’s leadership.
This applies both in the home and in the church.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).
To the church at Corinth, where some women were rebellious, Paul wrote: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). 
Man’s leadership does not mean that he may be a tyrant. He himself is under the authority of Christ. His leadership must agree with the word of God. He has no right to contradict God’s word or to exercise authority that belongs to the Scriptures. In such a case Peter’s explanation to the Jewish leaders would apply: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Let us respect God’s appointments.
God has appointed the husband as head of the wife, and men as leaders in the church. As a consequence, women are not to teach men, are not to exercise authority over men, and are not to speak in the assembly. Decisions for the church are made either by the elders or, if there are none, by the men of the congregation. God has appointed men as leaders in the home and in the church. Amen.
Roy Davison
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

1 “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Fathers have a great responsibility: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers are responsible for bringing up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. This requires much wisdom and constant attention from birth until the child is grown.
Bringing up children in the training and admonition of the Lord means that their upbringing must be according to the word of God. It also involves teaching children the Scriptures, not only in word, but even more importantly, by example.
Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). The genuine faith which first dwelt in his grandmother Lois and in his mother Eunice, was also in him (2 Timothy 1:5).

2 In Acts 17:31 it is stated that God “will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” The word used here is ἀνήρ, which is the specific word for a male, rather than the generic word for man(kind): ἄνθρωπος. 

3 The contribution of women is extremely important in the body of Christ. There are many examples of godly women in the New Testament.
a. Women provided for Jesus from their means (Luke 8:1-3).
b. A woman anointed Christ’s body beforehand for His burial (Matthew 26:6-13).
c. Dorcas was full of good works and charitable deeds. She made tunics and garments for widows (Acts 9:36-39).
d. Aquila and Priscilla explained the way of God more accurately to Apollos in private (Acts 18:26). Paul calls Prisca and Aquila his fellow workers in Christ Jesus (Romans 16:3).
e. Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9).
f. Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea, was a helper of many including Paul (Romans 16:1, 2).
g. Euodia and Syntyche were fellow workers with Paul in the gospel (Philippians 4:2, 3). 

4 The Greek word for ‘church’, ἐκκλησία, means ‘assembly’ sometimes in the actual sense and sometimes in the definitive sense. Someone who speaks in an unknown language must “keep silence in church“ unless there is a translator (1 Corinthians 14:28). This refers to the actual assembly. That “the women should keep silence in the churches“ (1 Corinthians 14:34) and that “it is shameful for a women to speak in church“ (1 Corinthians 14:35) also refer to the actual assemblies. In 1 Corinthians 14:33 we find the definitive sense (“As in all the churches of the saints“) followed by the actual sense in verse 34 (“the women should keep silence in the churches“). Thus, “all the churches of the saints“ does not refer to the actual assemblies, but to all local churches of Christ. In other words, in all churches of Christ the women remain silent in the assemblies.

5 The Greek word here for ‘remain silent’ is σιγάτωσαν, the present, imperative form of σιγάω. What do Greek lexicons say? Analytical: ‘To be silent, keep silence’; Thayer: ‘To keep silence, hold one’s peace’; Arndt & Gingrich: ‘Be silent, keep still ... in the senses: a. say nothing, keep silent ... b. stop speaking, become silent ... c. hold one’s tongue, keep something (a) secret.’ A. & G. classify 1 Corinthians 14:34 under meaning a. ‘say nothing, keep silent’.
Here are all passages where σιγάω is found:

  • Luke 9:36 - “And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.“
  • Luke 18:39 - “And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent.“
  • Luke 20:26 - “But marveling at his answer they were silent.“
  • Acts 12:17 - “But motioning to them with his hand to be silent...“
  • Acts 15:12 - “And all the assembly kept silence.“
  • Acts 15:13 - “And after they finished speaking...“ [became silent].
  • Romans 16:25 - “Kept secret for long ages“.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:28 - “But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church“ [referring to speaking in foreign languages].
  • 1 Corinthians 14:30 - “If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.“
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33,34 - “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches.“

6 The Greek word for ‘speak’ (“For they are not permitted to speak,“ “For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church“) is λαλεῖν, infinitive of λαλέω. Anyone who has studied even a little Greek, knows that this is the common word for ‘speaking‘. It does not have the special meaning of ‘speaking noisily’.

Published in The Old Paths Archive