"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" Introduction To The Epistle Of James


Introduction To The Epistle Of James


1. Not everybody who grows old, grows up; there is a vast difference
   between AGE and MATURITY

2. Ideally, the older we are, the more mature we should be; but too
   often the IDEAL does not become the REAL!

3. The result is problems--problems in personal lives, in homes, and in
   a. Problems in these areas are caused by immaturity more than by
      anything else
   b. If Christians would just grow up, they would become VICTORS 
      instead of VICTIMS

4. The Epistle of James was written to help us understand and attain
   spiritual maturity:
   a. "...that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (Jm 1:4)
   b. Or as translated by J. B. Phillips: "...any you find you have
      become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots."

5. With this lesson, we shall begin a series of expository lessons
   based upon The Epistle of James, which I hope will help us all to
   reach this goal of spiritual maturity!

6. Beginning a study of a book of the Bible is something like preparing
   for a trip...you like to know ahead of time:
   a. Where you are going
   b. What you can expect to see
   -- So perhaps the best way to launch a study of The Epistle of James
      is to answer some important questions

[The first question is...]


      1. James, son of Zebedee and brother of John
         a. A fisherman, he was called by Christ - Mt 4:17-22
         b. Together with John, they were nicknamed "Sons of Thunder"
            because of their impulsiveness - cf. Mk 3:17 with Lk 9:51-56
         c. Killed by Herod in 44 A.D. - Ac 12:1-2
      2. James, son of Alphaeus
         a. Another of the apostles - Mt 10:3; Ac 1:12
         b. Very little is known about him
         c. There is no indication that this James wrote the epistle
      3. James, father of Judas the apostle
         a. He is even more obscure
         b. One of the few references to him is found in Lk 6:16
      4. James, the brother of our Lord
         a. He is the most likely candidate for the author of this epistle
         b. Even though he humbly identifies himself only as "a servant
            of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Jm 1:1)
         c. That Jesus had a brother named James is evident - Mt 13:55
            1) Who at first did not believe in Jesus - Jn 7:5
            2) But after the resurrection of Jesus and an appearance by
               Jesus to him, he became a disciple - 1Co 15:7; Ac 1:14
            3) Eventually becoming a leader of the church in Jerusalem
               - Ga 2:9
               a) When Peter was delivered from prison, he sent a special
                  message to James - Ac 12:17
               b) He played an important role in the conference at
                  Jerusalem - Ac 15:13-33
               c) When Paul visited Jerusalem, it was to James that he
                  brought greetings - Ac 21:18-19

      1. He must have been a deeply spiritual man to gain such 
         prominence in the church at Jerusalem
      2. Tradition tells us that he was a man of prayer
         a. This may explain the emphasis on prayer in his letter
         b. It was said that he prayed so much, his knees were as hard
            as a camel's!
      3. Again, tradition tells us that James was martyred in 62 A.D.
         a. That he was cast down from the temple, and then beaten to
            death with clubs
         b. That as he died, he likewise prayed "Father, forgive them,
            for they know not what they do."

[It most likely this man who wrote the epistle bearing his name.  The
next question is...]


      1. James wrote to Jews living outside the land of Palestine
         a. "Twelve tribes" most probably refers to people of Israel,
            the Jewish nation - Ac 26:6-7
         b. Since the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, many of the
            Jews were scattered throughout different nations - cf. Ac 2:5-11
      2. James wrote his letter to Christian Jews
         a. At least nineteen times he addresses them as "brethren"
         b. That these were brethren "in the Lord" and not just brethren
            "in the flesh" is evident from Jm 2:1

      1. Being Jews, they would often be rejected by Gentiles
      2. Being Christian Jews, they would also be rejected by many of
         their own countrymen
      3. The letter indicates that most of these believers were poor,
         and some were being oppressed by the rich - Jm 2:6-7

[Another question is...]


      1. They were going through difficult trials
      2. They were facing temptations to sin
      3. They were hearers, but not necessarily doers
      4. Some were catering to the rich, others were oppressed by the
      5. Some were competing for positions in the church
      6. Improper use of the tongue was a problem, as was worldliness
      7. Some were straying from the faith

      1. Are there not in churches people who are suffering for one
         reason or another?
      2. Are there not members who talk one way, but walk another?
      3. Is not worldliness a serious problem?
      4. Are there not Christians who cannot control their tongues?
      -- It appears that James is dealing with very "up-to-date" 

      1. All of these problems had a common cause:  SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY
         a. These Christians were in need of "growing up"
         b. Look again at some the problems dealt with and you can see
            that each one of them is characteristic of little children:
            1) Impatience in difficulties - Jm 1:1-4
            2) Talking but not living the truth - Jm 2:14ff
            3) Lack of control over the tongue - Jm 3:1ff
            4) Fighting and coveting - Jm 4:1ff
            5) Collecting material "toys" - Jm 5:1ff
      2. This gives us a strong hint as to the basic theme of this
         a. In fact, James uses the word "perfect" several times, a word
            that means "mature, complete"
         b. By the expression "a perfect man" (3:2), James did not mean
            a sinless man, but rather one who is mature, balanced, one
            who is "grown-up"

      1. Spiritual maturity is one of the greatest needs in churches today
         a. God is looking for mature men and women to carry on His work,
            and sometimes all He can find are little children who cannot
            even get along with each other!
         b. As one person said, "Too many churches are playpens for
            babies instead of workshops for adults."
      2. James wrote to meet this need, so his epistle is very RELEVANT today!

[Finally, the last question to consider...]


      1. Apart from spiritual birth there can be no spiritual maturity
      2. James writes with assumption his readers have been born again
         - Jm 1:18
      3. This "rebirth" is brought about by obedience to the Word of God
         (1Pe 1:22-23)
      4. It involves being "born again of water and Spirit" (Jn 3:5),
         traditionally understood to refer to baptism (cf. Mk 16:16;Tit 3:5)
      5. So to benefit the most of this study, we must have been born
         again through obedience to the truth (cf. Ac 2:38-39)

      1. James compares the Word of God to a mirror - Jm 1:22ff
      2. As we study the Word...
         a. We are looking into the divine mirror
         b. And seeing ourselves as we really are
      3. We must be honest about what we see and not merely glance at
         the image and walk away

      1. We must be "doers" of the Word, and not "hearers" only
      2. The "blessing" does not come in STUDYING the Word, but in DOING
         the Word - Jm 1:25

      1. Whenever we are serious about spiritual growth, the ENEMY gets
         serious about opposing us!
      2. But if you wish to develop patience, you should expect some
         trials - Jm 1:3
      3. However, in the end it will be worth it! - Jm 1:12

      1. We should not measure ourselves by comparing ourselves to other
         Christians - cf. 2Co 10:12
      2. But by the WORD OF GOD, and by the SON OF GOD!


1. Remember, not everyone who grows old, grows up
   a. There is often a vast difference between age and maturity
   b. Just because a Christian has been saved 10, 20, or 60 years does
      not guarantee that he or she is mature in the Lord

2. Mature Christians are:
   a. Happy Christians, despite the trials they face
   b. Useful Christians, overcoming the temptations that cross their path
   c. Christians who help encourage others and build their local churches

As we study The Epistle of James together, may we with God's help
grow and mature together...

Note:  Much of the material for this introduction was adapted heavily
from The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2, by Warren W. Wiersbe,
pages 334-337.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does God Accept Human Sacrifice? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Does God Accept Human Sacrifice?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Twelve minutes and 45 seconds into Dan Barker’s opening statement in our Darwin Day debate on February 12, 2009, he claimed that the God of the Bible cannot exist because the Bible presents contradictory information about God’s acceptance of human sacrifice. Barker said: “Does He [God—KB] accept human sacrifice? In some verses, ‘Yes,’ in some verses, ‘No.’ Remember the thing about when [sic] Abraham; He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac” (Butt and Barker, 2009).
This brief statement is the only one that he gave as “evidence” of this alleged Bible contradiction. In our debate he did not cite any verses that he believes show this contradiction. But in chapter 13 of his book godless, he made the same claim and listed several verses. On page 240, he quoted Deuteronomy 12:31: “Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” Barker then quoted Genesis 22:2: “And he [God—KB] said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (KJV). Dan does not offer any comments on these two verses, other than to list them as contradictory.
On close inspection, however, it becomes evident that these two verses cannot be contradictory. From the biblical narrative in Genesis 22, it is clear that God never intended to allow Abraham to kill his son. When Abraham got to the top of the appointed mountain, before he killed his son, God stopped him and showed him a ram caught in a thicket that was provided as a sacrifice instead of Isaac. God knew that He would stop Abraham before the sacrifice (see Lyons, 2009), and thus, never planned to accept a human sacrifice in this instance. If Isaac was never sacrificed, due to God’s intervention, then it cannot be claimed that God accepted human sacrifice on this occasion. In fact, since God stepped in and commanded Abraham not to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22:12), Abraham would have been sinning if he had continued with the sacrifice. It is impossible to claim that God accepted the human sacrifice of Isaac when the Bible specifically states that He prevented it. [NOTE: At this point in the discussion, Barker generally changes the argument, and demands that it was immoral for Abraham to follow God’s commands. That allegation will be dealt with in a future article. It is important to stay focused on Barker’s original allegation of contradiction before moving on to refute his allegation that God is immoral.]

EXODUS 22:29

In addition to the incident with Isaac, Barker cited Exodus 22:29 as an example of God accepting human sacrifice. In godless, he quoted this verse on page 240: “For thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors; the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.” With all due respect to Barker, either he has intentionally misled the reader by citing this verse, or he is unaware of its true meaning. Based on his background of Bible study and his claims of biblical knowledge, the former, unfortunately, seems to be the case.
Exodus 22:29 was never intended to mean that the Israelites were supposed to sacrifice their firstborn sons to God. In fact, Exodus 13:13 says, “And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.” What did it mean to redeem the firstborn son? It meant that the Israelites were to give to the Lord five skekels of silver when the firstborn son was one month old (see Numbers 18:16). What was the purpose of redeeming the firstborn son? Moses explained that it was a memorial of the process by which God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 13:14-15). It is inexcusably poor scholarship for any person who has read the book of Exodus to make such an uninformed statement as to demand that Exodus 22:29 speaks of human sacrifice. We should remember, however, that Barker has admitted his belief that honesty is not always the best tactic for dealing with Christianity or the Bible (Butt, 2003).


As further “evidence” of a Bible contradiction in regard to human sacrifice, Barker cited the story of Jephthah that is found in Judges 11:30-39. In that biblical narrative, Jephthah made a vow to God that, if God would give him victory against his enemies, then Jephthah would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house upon his return. Jephthah defeated his enemies and his only daughter was the first thing that greeted him. Jephthah was very sorry for his vow, but the text says that he “carried out his vow with her which he had vowed” (Judges 11:39).
In regard to Jephthah’s vow, there are several insurmountable problems with presenting this as an example of God accepting human sacrifice. First, there is considerable evidence that the girl was not killed, she simply was dedicated to the Lord, remained unmarried, and had no children (for a more thorough discussion of Jephthah’s vow, see Miller, 2003). Second, there is no indication that God approved of Jephthah’s vow. If Jephthah offered his daughter as a literal burnt offering, he disobeyed God’s instructions in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10). The Jephthah incident cannot be used to show that God either asked for human sacrifice, or approved of it.


Furthermore, Barker cited 2 Samuel 21:8-14 as an example of God accepting human sacrifice. Barker quoted those verses as follows: “But the king [David] took the two sons of Rizpah…and the five sons of Michal…and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest… And after that God was intreated for the land” (2008pp. 240-241). Again, this narrative offers no proof that God ever accepted human sacrifice. Was it the case that God sometimes demanded that sinful people who deserved capital punishment be put to death for their sins? Yes, it was (see Miller, 2002). Could it be, then, that the descendants of Saul were guilty of offenses that deserved the death penalty? Yes.
Notice that the text indicates that the ones who were hanged were “men” (2 Samuel 21:6), who would have been old enough to be responsible for their moral decisions. Furthermore, notice that the text indicates that Saul’s “house” or “household” was a bloodthirsty house (2 Samuel 21:1), apparently implying that many of his relatives were involved in his murderous plots. In 2 Samuel 16:5-14, the Bible introduces a wicked man named Shimei who was “from the family of the house of Saul” (2 Samuel 16:5). And Saul’s wickedness is documented throughout the book of 1 Samuel. Could it be that Saul’s descendants who were hanged had followed in the wicked paths of many from the “house of Saul” and deserved the death penalty? Yes. Thus, it is once again impossible to use this passage to “prove” that God accepted human sacrifice.


Finally, Barker alleges that the sacrifice of Christ provides an example of God accepting human sacrifice. He cited Hebrews 10:10-12 and 1 Corinthians 5:7 as evidence. Once more, Barker is guilty of egregious textual manipulation and dishonesty. Did God approve of the sinful actions of those who killed Jesus? Absolutely not. In fact, Peter explained that those who killed Jesus had done so with “lawless hands” (Acts 2:23). He further explained that they had to repent of their sins or they would be lost forever (Acts 2:38). While God used the sinful actions of Jesus’ murderers to bring about His purposes (Acts 3:17-19), He never condoned those actions. Those who murdered Jesus violated God’s law; they did not accomplish their dastardly deeds at God’s request, nor with His approval.
Barker is well aware of this truth. In fact, he has spoken in other places about Christ’s atoning sacrifice. In his book Losing Faith in Faith, Barker stated:
Christians do know how to think; but they don’t start deep enough. A thoughtful conclusion is the synthesis of antecedent presuppositions or conclusions. The propitiatory nature of Christ’s sacrificial atonement, for example, is very logical. Logical, that is, if you first accept the existence of sin, the fall of humankind, the wrath of God and divine judgment. If you don’t buy the premises, then, of course, the conclusion cannot be logical (1992, p. 60).
Barker, of course, does not “buy the premises,” but his denial of them does not make them any less logical or true. And if they are true, then he acknowledges that the sacrifice of Christ, although perpetrated by sinful men acting against God’s will, fits logically into the scheme of redemption.


God has never accepted human sacrifice. The examples that Barker has listed fail completely to manifest a contradiction in the Bible concerning God’s policy toward the practice. Barker’s lack of knowledge, or his intentional dishonesty, is evident throughout his discussion of the biblical view of human sacrifice. Since no contradiction exists, the accusation of a Bible contradiction is unfounded, and cannot be used against the Bible or the existence of God. Let us all be gravely reminded that those who twist the Scriptures, and force them to seemingly say what they do not say, do so at their own eternal peril (2 Peter 3:16).


Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation).
Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).
Butt, Kyle (2003), “What ‘We All Know’ About a Lie,” [On-line], URL:http://apologeticspress.org/articles/1839.
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Lyons, Eric (2009), “Does God Really Know Everything?”, [On-line], URL:http://apologeticspress.org/articles/607.
Miller, Dave (2002), “Capital Punishment and the Bible,” [On-line], URL:http://apologeticspress.org/articles/1974.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Jephthah’s Daughter,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/4709.

Does God Alone Possess Immortality? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Does God Alone Possess Immortality?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Bible repeatedly testifies to the fact that this life is not all there is. For the faithful, the best is yet to come (Luke 16:22; 23:43; 2 Timothy 4:8). For the unfaithful, the worst is yet to come (Luke 16:23-24). The unrighteous “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, emp. added; cf. Lyons and Butt, 2005). At death, “the dust will return to the earth as it was,” but “the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7; cf. Genesis 2:7). Jesus taught: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26, emp. added). In short, the soul of man is immortal (Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54).

If the soul of man is immortal, however, some wonder how Paul could truthfully write to Timothy that God “alone has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16, emp. added)? If God alone has immortality, then how can man also be immortal?

Indeed, both God and man are immortal. God, by His very nature, is eternal (Psalm 90:2), and thus He is not subject to death (Greek thanatos). Only when God, the Word, put on flesh and physically inhabited His natural world did He willingly subject Himself to death (John 1:1-5,14; 19:30; Philippians 2:5-8). Yet, even then, death had no power over Him (Acts 2:22-36; 1 Corinthians 15:21). He defeated thanatos; He is athanatos (immortal). He not only physically rose from the dead, but His Spirit never ceased to exist.

Still, how can God “alone” have immortality (Greek athanasia; 1 Timothy 6:16), if the soul of man is also immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53-54; cf. Matthew 25:46)? The answer is really quite simple: The only reason man is immortal is because God gives man immortality. God created man differently than plants and animals; He chose to make man “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Among other things, one of the great blessings of being an image-bearer of God is that humans have an immortal soul (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002). However, in the sense that God’s everlasting nature is immortal, God alone possesses immortality.

Consider a parallel. According to Scripture, both God and His faithful children are pure and holy (1 John 3:3; Matthew 5:8; 1 Peter 1:16). They are pure and holy, however, on different levels. Whereas God is innately perfect (Isaiah 6:3; James 1:13), man can only become pure and holy through the grace of God and the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 1:3-14). God is holy; man becomesholy. Likewise, God “alone [inherently] has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16), but He has given it to man.


Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, 22:17-32, March and April.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2005), “The Eternality of Hell: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, 25:1-15, January and February.

Do Science and Scripture Harmonize? Yes (Obviously). by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Do Science and Scripture Harmonize? Yes (Obviously).

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

It has been said that the Bible and science disagree—they cannot both be true. Those Bible believers who accept such assertions comfort themselves by acknowledging that the Bible is not a “science textbook” and, therefore, would not be expected to speak with accuracy concerning scientific matters. In truth, regardless of whether or not the Bible is a science textbook, geography textbook, history textbook, or any other type of book, if the Bible is inspired by the omniscient Creator of the Universe, it should be accurate in anything it says. When it touches on scientific matters, it should be perfect in its descriptions—and it is.
In fact, according to the Bible, God Himself instituted the field of science. When God created human beings on day six and told them to “have dominion” over the Earth and “subdue” it (Genesis 1:28), He was commanding mankind to do something that would require extensive scientific investigation and experimentation. If God founded science, why would science be at odds with His Word? When God, through His servant Paul, said in Romans 1:20 that His existence and some of His attributes could be learned from studying His creation, He was putting His stamp of approval on the scientific study of creation—“the things that are made.” When He said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to
“[t]est all things; hold fast what is good,” He was essentially summarizing the scientific method. By encouraging humans to study “the works of the Lord” (e.g., Creation and the Flood), He was endorsing science (Psalm 111:2). When God wanted Adam to name the animals, He instituted the field of biology (Genesis 2:19). When He highlighted to Job the natural laws that govern the Universe, He was encouraging the study of physics (Job 38:33). Job 12:8-10 emphasizes geology, while Psalm 19:1 and Genesis 15:5 encourage astronomy. Numbers 19 even delineates a basic recipe for antibacterial soap—chemistry in action. Solomon, in his inspired wisdom, endorsed the study of biological science, encouraging the study of eagles and serpents (Proverbs 30:18-19), as well as ants, badgers, locusts, and spiders (Proverbs 30:25-28). Jesus encouraged botany when drawing His audience’s attention to the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28), seeds (Matthew 13:1-9,24-30), trees and vines (Matthew 7:16-20), and grass (Matthew 6:30); ornithology by pointing to the birds of the air as an illustration (Matthew 6:26); entomology when mentioning moths (Matthew 6:19-20); and zoology when discussing sheep, dogs, and swine (Luke 15:3-7; Matthew 7:6). In God’s sermon to Job in chapters 38-41, He chose to humble Job and instruct him by giving him a science lesson covering geology, cosmology, astronomy, physics, oceanography, nomology, optics, meteorology, and biology, including zoology, ornithology, entomology, herpetology, botany, and marine biology. Bottom line: God founded, endorsed, and even commanded science. Science is not anti-Scripture.
So, why the confusion? Some confusion comes from the nature of observational science: we cannot taste, touch, smell, hear, or see God, Creation, or the Flood. So the conclusion some draw is that biblical Creation is unscientific. While it is true that several aspects of the biblical model cannot be empirically verified since we cannot observe them today, the same can be said of several crucial steps in any naturalistic theory (e.g., the “Big Bang,” origin of life, origin of species, etc.). Such is the nature of “historical science”: deductive reasoning from indirect evidence must be used to substantiate a theory that concerns unobservable historical events, in the same way forensic scientists use science to investigate events that they did not personally witness. The biblical model, similar to any historical model, must be substantiated by indirect evidence, rather than direct. As we have shown elsewhere (see www.apologeticspress.org), the naturalistic model contradicts the evidence and the biblical model is supported by the evidence.
Further confusion comes from a comparison of Scripture with mainstream naturalistic science. It is true that several popular naturalistic theories have been advanced in modern times which contradict the Bible, but it is also true that, upon closer inspection, those models are found to contradict true science in fundamental ways. For example, one cannot be a naturalist and still believe in phenomena that do not happen in nature (e.g., cause-less effects1; the spontaneous generation of the laws of science2; matter/energy3; life4; genetic information5; design6; etc.). A theory cannot contradict itself and still be true. True science will not have internal contradictions like those of naturalistic theories.
The biblical model, however, does not espouse such internally inconsistent, pseudo-scientific theories. Instead, it states unequivocally that the Universe was created ex nihilo by Jehovah, the Grand Designer, in six days—a proposition which does not contradict the evidence, and which is supported by indirect evidence. Several hundred years after Creation week, a global Flood occurred which dramatically affected the Earth. The evidence from science supports the Bible’s narrative of that event as well, including evidence from geology, paleontology, astronomy, biology, and meteorology.7
The biblical model is scientific because it can explain the origin of the laws of science. It is scientific because it can explain the Universe and its characteristics without contradiction. The biblical model is scientific since it accurately stated several of the laws of science before they were even discovered (e.g., the Law of Causality; First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics; Law of Biogenesis).8 The biblical model is scientific since it has made many verified scientific predictions.9 Bottom line: God founded science. When legitimate scientific findings are interpreted properly and fairly, science supports the Bible and Christianity. It certainly is not at odds with Scripture—since they share the same Author!


1 Jeff Miller (2011), “God and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/article/3716.
2 Jeff Miller (2012), “The Laws of Science –by God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[12]:137-140.
3 Jeff Miller (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2786&topic=93.
4 Jeff Miller (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11.
5 Jeff Miller (2014), “God and the Laws of Science: Genetics vs. Evolution [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 34[1]:2-11.
6 Jeff Miller (2017), “Atheists’ Design Admissions,” Reason & Revelation, 37[12]:134-143.
7 Paul Garner (2011), The New Creationism (Carlisle
8 Jeff Miller (2017), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
9 Jeff Miller (2014), “Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate Review: Tying Up Really Loose Ends,” Reason & Revelation, 34[4].
Suggested Resournces

What We Are – Part 6 – God’s Children by Ben Fronczek

What We Are – Part 6 – God’s Children

Opening reading: Romans 8:14-17  14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
In this series of lessons which I have titled, WHAT WE ARE, we have looked a little deeper into what it means to be salt, and light, a branch and sheep, and also, the temple of God, as we are referred to in the New Testament.
We are actually called a number of other things in the New Testament which I am not going to get to which you may want to study on your own. Each of them is used in different ways to show us who we and responsibilities we have as Christians. We are also called, Saints, Priests, we are redeemed, building blocks , ambassadors, and of course we are also referred to as Christians.
I would like to close this series of lessons with what I feel is the most endearing and wonderful reference of all, one I am sure you are very familiar with. As believers we are also called, God’s children over and over in the New Testament.
Now you may have heard many lessons taught or preached on this, because it truly is a great honor bestowed on us to be called His children. In the New Testament, I have to admit one of my personal favorite scriptures regarding this is seen in Ephesians chapter 1, I would like to read it to read it to you from the NLT because I like how it reads; it goes as follows:
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.”
In Romans 8, it says, because of Christ and the work of the Spirit who brought about this adoption, we are God’s Children, and the Holy Spirit in us testifies along with our spirit that, we    are  His  children.
It goes on to say in vs.17, “If we are children of God, then we are heirs, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ.”
I don’t know about you, but even though we may not fully understand the full ramifications of that statement, or all of what we will inherit, this truly is a wonderful honor which is filled with a hope and a great and wonder-filled future. It is described as glory, eternity, the kingdom of God, and Heaven.
In presenting this series of lessons, where I’ve showed you how you’ve been described in scripture, I not only wanted to show you the kind of relationship you have with our God, and how much we are loved by Him, describing us as His children.
In Ephesians, Paul said that He not only wanted to adopt you and make you part of His eternal family, it also mentions the fact that it pleased Him to do so. It literally brings Him pleasure knowing that you are His and part of His family.
Giving birth to you own chil is a wonderful blessing, but when someone chooses you, picks out and adopts you, not because they have too, but because they want to, that act and expression of love should never be over looked or ignored, but should be cherished. He personally chose you to be part of His family, not as a slave, or servant, but His own son and daughter.
But with this new position in His family (like with any other family) comes responsibility. And this is what I would like to talk about in rest of this lesson. So what responsibility do we now have as God’s children?
To begin with, I thought it was interesting that the Apostle Paul wrote in Rom. 8:17 that ‘we are children of God (if) we are led by the Spirit of God.’
So first of all, we are under an obligation to pay attention to, and heed, and even choose to be led by the Holy Spirit. And I would dare to say that this is in contrast to doing what we always want to do, or what we always think we should do, or even what we feel like doing.
Paul was telling those early Christians that they should not always do what they want, or think, or feel, rather to be a good son or daughter, they should do what God wants, and what His Spirit teaches or prompts us to do.
And just like a child in any other household, being good or bad is going to come down to the choices we make. Either you are going to choose to listen to God or not. Either you are going to choose to do what He teaches, instructs, or prompts you to do, or not. You have the freedom to choose. But as with any choice, there are consequences and repercussions, some good, and some not so good. (Examples)
Scripture also teaches that we are to honor our mothers and fathers. (Exodus 20:12) So it’s obvious that we are to honor Father God whenever possible.
On-line I read a list made by Dr. Rainey of ways we are to honor our parents. I feel some of these should be considered in our relationship to our heavenly Father to honor Him. They are as follows:
#1. We need to choose to value our relationship with our parents.               It’s easy to take our parents and what they do for granted. We pay attention to that which we value. Likewise we can take our heavenly Father and the things He does and has done for us for granted. How many so called Christians forget about even doing the simplest things like giving thanks for what we have or even praying regularly? That’s like the son or daughter who calls their mom or dad 3 times a year. Choosing to put a high value on our relationship honors not only one’s earthly parents but more importantly, Father God.
#2. Taking the initiative to make one’s relationship even better also honor the parent. There are some kids who go out of their way to show their love and desire to be close to their parents. Taking the initiative to improve one’s relationship with Father God honors Him as well. No parent wants to be forgotten or ignored, including God.
#3. Doing what they want and obeying their will also shows that you honor your parents. In Romans 8, concerning God, we read the same. Jesus also said, “If you love me you will do what I say.” Ignore someone else’s desire and wishes for you is an act of rebellion, and some of us know very well what it is to be rebellious. Some of us even also know how hurtful it can be to have your own child act this way towards you. God tells us to love one another, but whe nw don’t, we dishonor Him.
#4. Recognize what your parents have done for you and noteing the sacrifices they made for you also honors them. So many parents go without so that their kids can have certain things, maybe even things that they weren’t able to have; maybe nice clothes, a nice home, or even a college education. But as you know, those things don’t come without a price to be paid, and the parents are usually left footing the bill. To ignore those nice things provided, and the sacrifices made to have them, I believe it is a selfish act on the child’s part. But to recognize, show appreciation, and give them praise for those things they have done for us honors our parents.
The same is true for Father God. It honors Him when we thank Him, and tell others of the great things He has done for us, including the Son who He sacrificed for us. We honor when we gather to sing songs of praise and worship Him togethers, thanking Him for what He has done.
#5. Another thing I would like to add is this: Years ago there was a dear Christian lady who my family cared much for. Our family called her Ma Emery. She was old, and wise, encouraging and downright sweet. When we traveled to TN we tried to make a point of stopping in to visit her. I know that she cared for us just as much are we cared for her. More than once I remember her telling me, “Ben, make me proud.” And I’d tell her I’d do my best.
I believe when we choose to do our best to make our parents or a loved one proud of us, in many ways it honors them. Maybe when you mom or dad gave you a job and you went out and did above and beyond what was expected as you did that job and you make them feel proud that makes them feel good and it honors them. It says, ‘I’m doing this good thing for You!’
Many of us have done things for our parents because we wanted them to be proud of us.
And likewise when we choose to do our absolute best because you know that it will please Father God, I can’t help but believe that it will make Him happy because your attitude and effort honors Him.
So these are a just a few responsibilities we have as God’s Children.
We don’t want do things to dishonor Him, but rather we should want to please Him. We should be doing things to honor and build our relationship with Him, not do things that hurt that relationship.
I would encourage you as you pray to consider those things that we have talked about over the past few weeks. I feel that it is good to pray that God would help us to become more like salt and light in this world. And pray that we would become like fruitful branches, and pray that the Lord Himself would prune us so that we will even become more fruitful in our service to Him. And pray that as the Temple of God here on earth we can keep our temple holy and pure, and that it would be a place of worship and prayer and service.
As we wait for the day to move into our Fathers home on high, pray that you may never take Him or what He has done for us for granted, and live our lives as His sons and daughters to make Him proud.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Search the Scriptures by CHARLES J. KINCAID


Search the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures,
for in Them Ye Think
Ye Have Eternal Life,
and They Are They
Which Testify of Me”
Search the Scriptures every day,
Read them through and through.
Then if your desire is to be saved
You’ll know just what to do.
Do not take what others say
And think that they are right,
But read the Bible for yourself
And you will see the light.
For we are taught in Mark sixteen
The commands the Savior gave
To His Apostles long ago,
Whereby we must be saved.
So just take it as it stands.
Hear it, believe it and obey.
Do not listen to someone else
Lest you be led astray.
For there are many creeds of men,
Different churches of every kind,
But when we search God’s Holy Writ
The church of Christ is all we find.
We turn to Acts in chapter two
And there we see the Simple Way
That Peter taught three thousand souls
On that great Pentecostal day.
He told them how by wicked hands
They took and crucified the Lord.
They saw the great mistake they made
And believed the Holy Word.
So they cried out to the Apostles,
“Men and Brethren, what shall we do?”
“Repent and be baptized,” said Peter,
“And the Lord will pardon you.”
So they believed just what he said,
And confessed their faith that day,
And were baptized into the Lord,
Proceeding on the heavenly way.
So now we turn to Acts nineteen
Where some are found who couldn’t see
Just how to obey the Lord’s command
From sin to be made free.
So there we find old Brother Paul
Who preached to them God’s Holy Word.
And when they heard it they believed
And were baptized into the Lord.
So let us read some more in Acts,
In chapter eight, verse thirty-seven.
There we see what the Eunuch did
That he might get to heaven.
Now don’t get tired, but read some more,
In Acts twenty-two and verse sixteen
What Ananias told Saul of Tarsus.
There the way is plainly seen.
So while you’re passing through this life,
If someone comes and says to you:
“My desire is to be saved
But I don’t know just what to do.”
Just point him to what Peter says
In Acts two, verse thirty-eight,
And tell him to accept it now
Before it is too late.
Also let him read First Peter,
Chapter three, verse twenty-one.
Then he can straightway see
What it is that must be done.
Do not tell him he must wait
Until another day
And look for something he can’t get
In any other way,
For Jesus says, “I am the way,”
Because He rose from the grave,
He also says, “Come unto me,
And you, I will surely save.”
Thus my friend if you’re out of Christ,
You must surely get within
If you expect to reign with Him,
In a land that’s free from sin.
So now’s the time, the accepted time,
Accept it now and be wise.
Just believe his Holy Word,
Repent, confess, and be baptized.
Some preachers are so uninformed
That they cry out very bold
And tell lost wayward sinners
That baptism doesn’t save the soul.
So I point them to First Peter,
Chapter three, verse twenty-one,
“Baptism doth now also save”
Through God’s only begotton Son.
Then if that doesn’t convince them,
I refer them to John three, verse five,
That in order to enter the Kingdom,
They must surely be baptized.
This was said by the Master,
Spoken while on earth He trod,
Unless one of water and Spirit is born,
He cannot see the Kingdom of God.
And it is also plainly written
In Galatians three, verse twenty-seven,
That into Christ they were baptized,
And were on their way to heaven.
So if you’re in a lost condition
And desire a better way,
Just believe the Savior’s teaching,
And accept His Word today.
Lay aside all sin and folly,
Prepare yourself for paradise.
Do not deny what Jesus says:
“Repent, confess and be baptized.”
So search the Scriptures for yourself
And read them every day.
Do not listen to someone else
Or you might go astray.

Yours for the Bible,
Etowah, Tennessee.

Published in The Old Paths Archive