"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Peter's Exhortation To The Young (5:5-9) by Mark Copeland


Peter's Exhortation To The Young (5:5-9)


1. In this fifth and final chapter, we find Peter concluding with a
   series of exhortations...
   a. In our last lesson, we saw that he first directed his remarks
      toward "elders" - 1Pe 5:1-4
   b. Now, in 1Pe 5:5-9, the exhortation is geared toward "younger 
      people", though much of it certainly applies to all Christians

2. The gist of his remarks reflect themes mentioned previously in his 
   epistle, but Peter was one who understood the value of repetition 
   and reminding - cf. 2Pe 1:12-15

[The first exhortation, therefore, is one we have seen stressed 
throughout 1st Peter...]


      1. Christians in general, to government authorities - 1Pe 2:13-14
      2. Christian slaves, to their masters - 1Pe 2:18
      3. Christian wives, to their husbands - 1Pe 3:1

      1. Younger Christians, to their elders - 1Pe 5:5a
         a. This may be a reference to those "elders" described in 
            verses 1-4
         b. Or it may refer to all older Christians
      2. Christians in general, to one another - 1Pe 5:5b; cf. Ep 5:21

      1. The word in Greek is hupotasso {hoop-ot-as'-so}
      2. Various shades of meaning include:
         a. to arrange under, to subordinate
         b. to subject, put in subjection
         c. to subject one's self, obey
         d. to submit to one's control
         e. to yield to one's admonition or advice
         f. to obey, be subject
      3. It was also a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop 
         divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader"
      4. In non-military use, it is "a voluntary attitude of giving in,
         cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden"

[The quality of submission goes a long way towards preserving unity and
peace in churches, especially when all are submissive to one another.

Yet true submission comes only if we heed Peter's next exhortation...]


      1. The word Peter uses is tapeinophrosune {tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay}
      2. It means to have a humble opinion of one's self; lowliness of mind
      3. It is an important quality of that which makes up "the mind of
         Christ" - cf. Php 2:3-5

      1. Not only to preserve peace and unity in our relationships with
         one another
      2. But also to preserve a proper relationship with God...
         a. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"
         b. A quotation based upon Pr 3:34, and quoted also by James 
            in Jm 4:6
         c. A person with a humble spirit is highly esteemed by God 
            - cf. Isa 57:15; 66:1-2
      3. Understanding God's high estimation of a humble and contrite spirit...

      1. "humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" - 1Pe 5:6
         a. That is, to submit to His providential workings in our lives
         b. Even if it means enduring persecution, as was the case in 
            Peter's day!
      2. "cast all your care upon Him" - 1Pe 5:7
         a. Don't fret or worry about things over which you have no control
         b. Let your Heavenly Father worry about such things
         c. Even as Jesus taught in Mt 6:31-34
      1. God will give grace (show unmerited favor) to the humble - 1Pe 5:5
      2. He will exalt the humble in due time - 1Pe 5:6

[When the time is right, then, God will exalt His people who place 
their faith and trust in Him, by humbly submitting to His Will and to 
one another.

In the meantime, lest Satan cheat us of our reward, Peter enjoins us 


      1. He is called the "devil"
         a. The Greek word is diabolos {dee-ab'-ol-os}
         b. Meaning "one prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely"
      2. Peter's describes him as a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour"
         a. What bearing does this verse have on the doctrine of "once 
            saved, always saved"?
         b. If such a doctrine is true...
            1) Why does Peter bother to warn Christians who cannot be"devoured"?
            2) Why does Satan bother to seek out those whom he cannot "devour"?
            3) Indeed, why ANY warnings (and they are legion) to 
               Christians? - e.g., He 3:12-15
         c. Because there IS a very real danger of apostasy, we have 
            such warnings!

      1. We need to be serious ("be sober"), and watchful ("be 
         vigilant") - 1Pe 5:8a; cf. Lk 21:34-36
      2. We need to resist the devil - 1Pe 5:9a; cf. Jm 4:7
      3. We need to remain steadfast in the faith 
         - 1Pe 5:b; cf. Col 1:21-23
      4. It helps to realize that we are not alone in our struggle - 
         1Pe 5:9c; cf. 1Co 10:13


1. Why God allows such struggle will be more apparent when we consider 
   Peter's "benediction" in verse 10, but we will save that for the
   next and final lesson in this series

2. While Peter's exhortations in verses 5-9 certainly apply to all 
   Christians, they have special value to those who are "younger"
   a. They are often the most tested by our adversary, the devil
   b. They have not had the time or experience to learn the value of 
      such virtues as "submission", "humility", and "watchfulness"

3. But for those who are willing to listen, both young and old, heeding
   the exhortations of Peter can ensure that we will...
   a. Receive the grace we need to withstand and overcome the devil
   b. In due time be exalted by God Himself!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Decline of Atheism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Decline of Atheism

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Among a growing number of philosophers, intellectuals, and scholars, atheism is in decline in the world. Two reasons have been posited for this circumstance: (1) atheism is losing its scientific underpinnings, and (2) like religion, atheism has produced its own share of lunatics, frauds, and psychopaths (Siemon-Netto, 2005). The former reason is no doubt spurred by the fact that the theory of evolution, as repeatedly documented in the work of Apologetics Press, continues to take a beating for its paltry attempts to coerce and bully students and society into accepting its assertions without adequate evidence.
Despite this seemingly encouraging revelation, in reality, people are not moving closer to New Testament Christianity. In fact, they are simply becoming more confused and more pluralistic. Their belief systems are degenerating into various forms of false spirituality and outright paganism—analogous to the raw forms of paganism described in the Old Testament, from animism and idolatry to ethical perversity and sexual immorality. How tragic that at the very time in history when the world is open to an alternative to unbelief, the United States of America is in the process of abandoning its own foundational underpinnings as articulated by its Founders: the God of the Bible and the one true religion of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Bible provides the only rational, authentic explanation for the meaning of human existence. Unlike atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, the Christian religion constitutes the only accurate barometer of spiritual reality and the only means of preparation for the afterlife. The Bible merits honest and serious evaluation by every person. It is not enough to be religious—one must be religiously right.


Siemon-Netto, Uwe (2005), “Science, ‘Frauds’ Trigger a Decline in Atheism,” Washington Times, March 4, [On-line], URL: http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050303-115733-9519r.htm.

The Creativity of the Creator Declares His Glory by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Creativity of the Creator Declares His Glory

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Much of mankind loves to classify and sort things. We like to sort socks by color and shirts by kind. We categorize books topically. We arrange files alphabetically. We organize tools by their function. We take pictures of people by their size (“tallest in the back, shortest up front”) and then arrange them chronologically in “properly” labeled albums. We like things certain ways; we want things “just so”; and when things do not fall in line with our ideas and expectations, we wonder what happened.
Sometimes we just need to “sit back, relax, and enjoy the view” of God’s handiwork. The Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Sometimes we need to press the pause button and take a page out of God’s Creation revelation (Romans 1:20). Recognize that not everything fits neatly in a systematic filing system, and be thankful that God filled the Earth with His glorious, “manifold…works” (Psalm 104:24; Isaiah 6:3)—that He created all manner of creatures, some of which do not fit neatly in a sorting system, but certainly declare their Maker’s majesty.
Take the duck-billed platypus, for example. It is unlike any other animal on Earth. Scientists classify the platypus as a mammal, but it hardly fits neatly into this category. It is about the size of a house cat with fur thicker than a polar bear’s. It can store food in its mouth like a chipmunk. It has a beaver-like tail and webbed feet like an otter. It has spurs like a rooster, lays eggs like a turtle, and produces venom like a snake. Last, but not least, it has a clumsy-looking, duck-like bill with a complex electro-receptor system in it that allows the platypus to sense weak electric impulses in the muscles of its prey (Scheich, et al., 1986, 319:401-402). The platypus’ modern scientific name (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) means “duck-like, bird snout,” yet we call it a mammal. Truly, if there was ever an animal to call “unique,” it would be the platypus.
Consider also the seahorse. It is one of the most curious-looking animals on the planet. Though it has a head like a horse, eyes like a lizard, a tail like an opossum, and can swim like a submarine, the seahorse is considered a fish. Scientists refer to the seahorse as Hippocampus, a name derived from two Greek words: hippo, meaning “horse,” and campus, meaning “sea creature.”
Most fish swim horizontally by moving their bodies back and forth, from side to side. Seahorses, on the other hand, live in an upright position and swim vertically—like a submarine that can go up and down. The seahorse can properly maintain its balance as it goes up and down in the water because of the gas within its swim bladder (“Sea horse,” 1997, 10:579). Like a well-designed submarine that manipulates gas in order to submerge and resurface, the seahorse can alternate the amount of gas in its bladder to move up and down in the water (Juhasz, 1994). The life of the seahorse is dependent on a perfectly designed bladder. With a damaged bladder (or without a bladder altogether) a seahorse would sink to the ocean floor and die. How do evolutionists logically explain the evolution of this swim bladder if the seahorse has always needed it to survive? If it has always needed it, then it must have always had it, else there would be no seahorse.
Perhaps the most puzzling feature of the seahorse, which does not neatly file away in a normal animal fact folder, is that seahorses are the only known animals in which males actually become pregnant, carry young, and give birth. The male seahorse is designed with a special kangaroo-like pouch near its stomach. At just the right time during the courtship, the female seahorse deposits hundreds of eggs into the pouch of the male. The male fertilizes the eggs, and for the next few weeks carries the unborn seahorses, before squirting the fully formed babies out of the pouch (Danielson, 2002). If nothing like this process is known in the animal kingdom, why would anyone think that evolution can logically explain it? How do undirected time and chance stumble across a different and better way for a particular kind of fish to have babies? Did the first male seahorse to give birth simply have an irritable mate who refused to have babies unless he carried and birthed them? Suffice it to say, seahorses are as baffling to the theory of evolution as are duck-billed platypuses. These unusual animals cry out for a creative Creator, Who cannot be contained in the naturalistic box of evolution. As the patriarch Job asked, “Who…does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing?... Ask the beasts, and they will teach you…and the fish of the sea will explain to you” (Job 12:9-10,7-8).


God’s creation is full of variety and complexity. The natural world testifies to a masterful Maker, a creative Creator. He made an animal with the bill of a duck and the tail of a beaver. He gave a sea creature the head of a horse and the tail of an opossum. He made furry animals (i.e., bats) that fly on membranous wings, while making flightless birds (i.e., penguins) that live on land and “fly” through frigid waters. He made the prickly porcupine, the puffer fish, and a sloth so slow that it makes the tortoise look like a cheetah. As much as God’s creation testifies to His omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign nature (Job 38-41; Romans 1:20), I respectfully suggest that our great God seems to have had a lot of fun at the foundation of the world. At the very least, His amazing creativity has provided man a lot of laughs and entertainment since the beginning of time.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker (Psalm 95:1-6).
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions….
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord (Psalm 104:24,33-34).


Danielson, Stentor (2002), “Seahorse Fathers Take Reins in Childbirth,” National Geographic News, June 14, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/90683716.html.
Juhasz, David (1994), “The Amazing Seahorse,” Answers in Genesis, June 1, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v16/n3/seahorse.
Scheich, Henning, et al. (1986), “Electroreception and Electrolocation in Platypus,” Nature, 319:401-402, January 30.
“Sea horse” (1997), The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica).

The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

The famous philosopher from the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas, is generally given credit for articulating what is known as the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, although the Bible described the essence of the argument hundreds of years before he was on the scene (e.g., Hebrews 3:4). The argument essentially says that the cosmos is here and had to come from somewhere. It could not have created itself. Nothing comes from nothing in nature, as verified by the First Law of Thermodynamics (Miller, 2013).
The rational person will only draw conclusions that are supported by the evidence (Ruby, 1960, pp. 130-131). The evidence from the natural realm indicates that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent (or simultaneous—Miller, 2012a) cause. The mass of a paper clip is not going to provide sufficient gravitational pull to cause a tidal wave. There must be an adequate cause for the tidal wave, like a massive, offshore, underwater earthquake (“Tsunamis,” 2000, pp. 1064, 2000). Leaning against a mountain will certainly not cause it to topple over. Jumping up and down on the ground will not cause an earthquake. If a chair is not placed in an empty room, the room will remain chairless. If matter was not made and placed in the Universe, we would not exist. There must be an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause for every material effect. If this Law of Cause and Effect seems intuitive to you, then you understand why the Cosmological Argument is powerful, logical evidence for the existence of God.


The Law of Cause and Effect, or Law/Principle of Causality, has been investigated and recognized for millennia. From at least the time of Plato (1966, 1:96a-b) and Aristotle (2009, 1[3]) in the fourth century B.C., philosophers have pondered causality. In 1781, the renowned German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote concerning the Principle of Causality in his Critique of Pure Reason that “everything that happens presupposes a previous condition, which it follows with absolute certainty, in conformity with a rule…. All changes take place according to the law of the connection of Cause and Effect” (Kant, 1781, emp. added). In the nineteenth century, German medical scientist and Father of Cellular Pathology, Rudolf Virchow, affirmed that “[e]verywhere there is mechanistic process only, with the unbreakable necessity of cause and effect” (1858, p. 115, emp. added). Fast forwarding another century, our increased understanding of the world still did not cause the law to be discredited. In 1934, W.T. Stace, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, in A Critical History of Greek Philosophy, wrote:
Every student of logic knows that this is the ultimate canon of the sciences, the foundation of them all. If we did not believe the truth of causation, namely, everything which has a beginning has a cause, and that in the same circumstances the same things invariably happen, all the sciences would at once crumble to dust. In every scientific investigation this truth is assumed (p. 6, emp. added).
The truth of causality is so substantiated that it is taken for granted in scientific investigation. It is “assumed.”
This principle is not some idea that can simply be brushed aside without consideration. If the Law of Causality were not in effect, science could not proceed—it would “crumble to dust” since, by its very nature, it involves gathering evidence and testing hypotheses in order to find regularities in nature. The goal of scientific experimentation is to determine what will happen (i.e., what will be the effect) if one does certain things (i.e., initiates certain causes). If there were no relationship between cause and effect, then nothing could be taken for granted. One day gravity may be in effect, and the next day it may not, and there would be no point in studying it, since it might be different tomorrow. There would be no such thing as a “scientific law,” since there would be no such thing as a “regularity,” which is fundamental to the definition of a law of science (McGraw-Hill Dictionary…, 2003, p. 1182).
Moving farther into the 20th century, the Law of Cause and Effect still had not been repealed. In 1949, Albert Einstein, in The World as I See It, under the heading “The Religiousness of Science,” wrote, “But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation” (2007, p. 35, emp. added). In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, renowned American philosopher and professor Richard Taylor wrote, “Nevertheless, it is hardly disputable that the idea of causation is not only indispensable in the common affairs of life but in all applied sciences as well” (1967, p. 57, emp. added).
Even today, when scientific exploration has brought us to unprecedented heights of knowledge, the age old Law of Causality cannot be denied. Today’s dictionaries define “causality” as:
  • “the principle that nothing can happen without being caused” (“Causality,” 2009).
  • “the principle that everything has a cause” (“Causality,” 2008).
The National Academy of Science’s guidebook, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, says, “One goal of science is to understand nature. ‘Understanding’ in science means relating one natural phenomenon to another and recognizing the causes and effects of phenomena…. Progress in science consists of the development of better explanations for the causes of natural phenomena” (1998, p. 42. emp. added). Notice that, according to the National Academy of Science (NAS), there can be no progress in science without causality. The NAS, though entirely naturalistic in its approach to science, recognizes causality to be fundamental to the nature of science. It is not, and cannot rationally be, denied—except when necessary in order to prop up a deficient worldview. Its ramifications have been argued for years, but after the dust settles, the Law of Cause and Effect still stands unscathed, having weathered the trials thrust upon it for thousands of years.


The Law of Causality is fundamental to science, and yet it stands in the way of the bulk of today’s scientific community due to their flawed definition of “science.” In an interview in 1994, the late, famous evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow, founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, said:
As Einstein said, scientists live by their faith in causation, and the chain of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause that can be discovered by rational arguments. And this has been a very successful program, if you will, for unraveling the history of the universe. But it just fails at the beginning…. So time, really, going backward, comes to a halt at that point. Beyond that, that curtain can never be lifted…. And that is really a blow at the very fundamental premise that motivates all scientists (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 303, emp. added).
The scientific community today, by and large, incorrectly defines “science” in such a way that anything supernatural cannot be considered “scientific,” and therefore science “fails” in certain areas. Only natural phenomena are deemed worthy of being categorized “science.” According to the definition, if something cannot be empirically observed and tested, it is not “scientific.” [NOTE: The naturalistic community contradicts itself on this matter, since several fundamental planks of evolutionary theory are unnatural—they have never been observed and all scientific investigation has proven them to be impossible (e.g., spontaneous generation of life and the laws of science, macroevolution, etc.; cf. Miller, 2012b).] One result of this flawed definition is highlighted by Jastrow, himself, in the above quote. Contrary to Jastrow’s statement, the laws of science, by definition, do not “fail.” They have no known exceptions. So, it would be unscientific to claim, without conclusive evidence in support of the claim, that a law has failed.
This leaves atheistic evolutionists in a quandary when trying to explain how the effect of the infinitely complex Universe could have come about “unscientifically”—without a natural cause. Four decades ago, Jastrow wrote:
The Universe, and everything that has happened in it since the beginning of time, are a grand effect without a known cause. An effect without a known cause? That is not the world of science; it is a world of witchcraft, of wild events and the whims of demons, a medieval world that science has tried to banish. As scientists, what are we to make of this picture? I do not know (1977, p. 21).
When Jastrow says that there is no “known cause” for everything in the Universe, he is referring to the fact that there is no known natural cause. If atheism were true, if the material realm is all that exists, if naturalistic science can shed light on the matter of origins, there must be a natural explanation of what caused the Universe. Scientists and philosophers recognize that there must be a cause that would be sufficient to bring about matter and the Universe—and yet no natural cause is known. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms says that “causality,” in physics, is “the principle that an event cannot precede its cause” (p. 346). However, the atheist must concede that in order for his/her claim to be valid, the effect of the Universe did not precede its cause—rather, it actually came about without it! Such a viewpoint is hardly in keeping with science.


Instead of flippantly disregard­ing the truth of the Law of Causality because it contradicts naturalistic theories, why not recognize that the highly respected, exception-less Law of Causality is not the problem? Why not recognize the fact that naturalistic theories, such as the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory, are simply not in harmony with science on a fundamental level? Why not consider an option that does not contradict the Law? If one were to follow the evidence wherever it leads, rather than defining God out of science, one is led to the unavoidable conclusion that there must be Someone super-natural that caused the Universe to be. If every material (i.e., natural) effect must have a cause, then the ultimate Cause of the Universe must be supernatural.
Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. Notice that creationists have absolutely no problem with the truth articulated by this God-ordained law from antiquity. In Hebrews 3:4, the Bible says that “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” A house must have a cause—namely, a builder. It will not build itself. Scientifically speaking, according to the Law of Cause and Effect, there had to be a Cause for the Universe. And that is the essence of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God.
The only book on the planet which contains characteristics that prove its production to be above human capability is the Bible (see Butt, 2007). The God of the Bible is its author (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and in the very first verse of the inspired material He gave to humans, He articulated with authority and clarity that He is the Cause Who brought about the Universe and all that is in it. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Emile Borel was a famous French mathematician for whom the Borel lunar crater was named (O’Connor and Robertson, 2008). He once said concerning the amazing human brain that is able to author works of literature, “Now the complexity of that brain must therefore have been even richer than the particular work to which it gave birth” (1963, p. 125). The effect of the brain’s existence, like a work of literature, must have an adequate cause. In the same way, we know that the infinite Mind behind the creation of this infinitely complex Universe had to be, and was, more than adequate for the task of bringing it all into existence (Revelation 19:6).


"But if everything had to have a beginning, why does the same concept not apply to God? Doesn’t God need a cause, too? Who caused God?” First, notice that this statement is based on a misunderstanding of what the Law of Cause and Effect claims concerning the Universe. The law states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. A law of science is determined through the observation of nature—not super-nature. Since they have not observed the supernatural realm, scientists cannot apply the scientific Law of Causality to it. The laws of nature do not apply to non-material entities. The God of the Bible is a spiritual Being (John 4:24) and therefore is not governed by physical law. In the words of skeptic Michael Shermer, executive director of the Skeptics Society and columnist for Scientific American:
If God is a being in space and time, it means that He is restrained by the laws of nature and the contingencies of chance, just like all other beings of this world. An omniscient and omnipotent God must be above such constraints, not subject to nature and chance. God as creator of heaven and earth and all things invisible would need necessarily to be outside such created objects (2006, Ch. 8, emp. added).
Recall also what Professor W.T. Stace wrote in A Critical History of Greek Philosophy concerning causality. “[E]verything which has a beginning has a cause” (p. 6, emp. added). God, according to the Bible, had no beginning. Psalm 90:2 says concerning God, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (emp. added). The Bible describes God as a Being Who has always been and always will be—“from everlasting to everlasting.” He, therefore, had no beginning. Recall Hebrews 3:4 again, which indicates that God is not constrained by the Law of Cause and Effect, as are houses, but rather, presides as the Chief Builder—the Uncaused Causer—the Being Who initially set all effects into motion (John 1:3).
Again, philosophers recognize that, logically, there must be an initial cause of the Universe. [Those who attempt to sidestep the need for a Cause and argue the eternality of the physical Universe are in direct contradiction to the Law of Causality (since the Universe is a physical effect that demands a cause), as well as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which indicates that nothing physical lasts forever (see Miller, 2013).] Aristotle, in Physics, discussed the logical line of reasoning that leads to the conclusion that the initial cause of motion must be something that is not, itself, in motion—an unmoved mover (1984, 1:428). Aquinas built on Aristotle’s reasoning and said:
Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another…. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality…. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently no other mover…. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God (1952, 19:12,13, emp. added).
God, not being a physical, finite being, but an eternal, spiritual being (by definition), would not be subject to the condition of requiring a beginning. Therefore, the law does not apply to Him. Concerning the Law of Causality, Kant said that “everything which is contingent has a cause, which, if itself contingent, must also have a cause; and so on, till the series of subordinated causes must end with an absolutely necessary cause, without which it would not possess completeness” (2008, p. 284, emp. added). An uncaused Cause is necessary. Only God sufficiently fills that void.
Consider: in the same way that dimensional space—length, width, and height—are part of the physical Universe, time, itself, is as well. In the same way that space had to have a cause, time itself had to as well: time had a beginning. That means that its Creator logically could not have a beginning. A “beginning” implies a specific timeframe that has begun. Without time in existence, there could be no such thing as a “beginning.” So the Cause of the Universe could not have a beginning since He created time, itself. In essence, there was no such thing as a “beginning” until the uncaused Cause began something. [NOTE: If time was not created, then it exists apart from God and even God is subject to it. The Bible affirms, however, that time itself was created along with the Universe when it uses the phrase “in the beginning” in Genesis 1:1.]
Consider further: if there ever were a time in history when absolutely nothing existed—not even God—then nothing would continue to exist today, since nothing comes from nothing (in keeping with common sense and the First Law of Thermodynamics; Miller, 2013). However, we know something exists (e.g., the Universe)—which means something had to exist eternally, or we would eventually get to a point in past time when nothing existed, which we have already noted cannot be. That something that existed forever could not be physical or material, since such things do not last forever (cf. the Second Law of Thermodynamics; Miller, 2013). It follows that the eternal something must be non-physical or non-material. It must be mind rather than matter. Logically, there must be a Mind that has existed forever. That Mind, according to the Bible, is God. He, being spirit, is not subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and can exist forever—the uncreated Creator. While usable energy in the Universe is inevitably expended, according to the Second Law, moving the Universe ever closer to a state of completed deterioration and unusable energy, God’s power is “eternal” (Romans 1:20).
Of old You laid the foundation of the Earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end (Psalm 102:25-27, emp. added).
The Universe exists. It cannot be eternal according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It could not create itself according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. Its existence requires an adequate, supernatural Cause. The Bible calls Him Jehovah.


Aquinas, Thomas (1952), Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago).
Aristotle (1984), Physics in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
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Teachings of Christ (Part 9) Good Fruit or Bad by Ben Fronczek


Teachings of Christ (Part 9) Good Fruit or Bad

How observant are you? Are you a good judge of character? We’ll see today from our text that Jesus had something to say about this topic, not that we are to judge and condemn, but how to be aware of phonies and hypocrits.
In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus said,  “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Seem like Jesus’ teaching here is quite simple, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by it own fruit.” We have all kinds of trees around this area, even around our homes. Just around my house I have oaks, pines trees, spruce trees, Cherry, poplar, birch, rhododendrons , sumac, and a number of other different varieties. I also have three kinds of apple trees in my lawn.
Now I don’t expect a nice eatable fruit of any kind to grow on the sumac trees across the street from my house. But I sure like seeing my apple trees full of apples..
Out in back of my daughter’s house there is a woodlot which is hard to walk thru because it is filled with thick brush. If you work you way thru that area in the winter or early spring before the leaves come and the brush grows up you’ll find some strange looking trees. They are not overly big, maybe 25 feet high, but strange looking just the same. In late spring they flower and it isn’t until midsummer comes along that you realize what kind of trees they are. You can recognize those trees by their fruit. They are old, overgrown apple trees which were long abandoned and were not trimmed.
In the previous context Jesus had instructed His listeners to be careful about judging others. He also went on to tell the parable about taking the speck or sliver out of someone else’s eye if you have a big plank in your own eye.     In other words, don’t be criticizing and condemning others. Nor should you try to fix them if you are just as guilty of having problems and sin in your own life. He said that’s like a blind man leading a blind man.
And then here He says you will know a tree by its fruit. A good person will bear good things and an evil man will bear more undesirable traits if not evil.
It all comes down to the condition of the person heart, whether they are good or evil. Just like you can identify the type of tree by its fruit, Jesus is letting us know that if you want to know what kind of person someone is, or even what kind of person you are, all you need to do is set back and observe one’s fruit . What’s being done; what kind of things are coming out of one’s mouth, because Jesus said, For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Just like you can identify a tree by the fruit it produces, you will also know what’s going on in a person’s heart; by listening to what they say, and by watching what they do for a while.
God sent a message to Israel thru Hosea saying, “I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’                                      
1 3 “But you have cultivated wickedness and harvested a thriving crop of sins. You have eaten the fruit of lies—trusting in your military might, believing that great armies could make your nation safe. 14 Now the terrors of war will rise among your people. All your fortifications will fall.” Hosea 10:12-14
Jesus was also dealing with people who at first glance and from their outward appearance looked good and religious. Many of the teachers and Pharisees of his time, looked good and studied scripture a lot, but He let everyone know that they were rotten on the inside. In Matthew 23 we see where Jesus gave a whole discourse on how phony they were.    Read Matthew 23:1-36 (click on verse to read)
Tough words to those phony hypocrites and blind guides of His time. He probably spent years observing their fruit, or how they spoke and treated others.
In contrast, when a person turns to Christ and becomes a GENUINE disciple the Apostle Paul said that something amazing happens… In Eph 5:8-20 Paul writes, 
In Gal 5:22-23 he writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit (that is fruit of the Spirit led life) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Another way to put it is… True disciples have the Character of Jesus and live totally Committed to Him. Their character will be evident because it will produce good fruit – good actions and characteristics. Why? Because their heart has been transformed by Christ.
Matthew 7:15-23 Jesus warns “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
So He warns the people – beware of false prophets or false teachers (vs 15). How do we know if someone is a false teacher or a false prophet or teachers? By looking at their fruit. Some people do good things but for the wrong reason and by listening to what they say. True disciples have the Character of Jesus and live totally Committed to Him – Not seeking to gain glory for themselves.
I wonder how Jesus would describe you and me if He were here today?        What will He say after looking at our character what we say? Would He see good fruit in your life? What would the words coming out of your mouth reveal about your heart? Would He see a good character overflowing with – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Would he see Good actions?
Beware, God will not tolerate bad fruit forever. On the appointed day of judgment, Jesus will judge us all. He will be looking to separate his true disciples from impostors. How will He know??? By the fruit we bear.
True disciples have the Character of Jesus and live totally Committed to Him.
On that day of judgment, He warned that there will be many people who say the right things. They’ll look the part and have the religious lingo down pat. They’ll know all the answers to Bible Trivia. But Jesus’ answer to them will be ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’.  Because like the Pharisees He’ll know who the hypocrites are. Jesus is looking for true disciples. People who display good fruit and live lives committed to him. Remember …True disciples have the Character of Jesus and live totally committed to Him and will show mercy, forgiveness, and love even to their enemies. They are good on the inside. It is important to note that a person is not saved or made right with God by having good character. We are made right with God only by His grace and mercy as we turn from a life of sin and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and allow Him to remove them in the waters of baptism. Salvation is 100 percent a free gift of forgiveness from God. Godly character is not a means of salvation rather it is only an indicator of true discipleship.
Like the instruments on an airplane do not make the plane fly but only indicate that is going in the right direction – Godly character does not make us right with God but it does indicate that are hearts have been changed, and that we are going in the right direction. Whose character is your fruit reflecting? If Christ is in control of your life then you will be reflecting his character because good trees produce good fruit. But if your fruit does not reflect the character of Jesus. If you hate your enemies, if you cause fights wherever you go, if you are selfish instead of kind, if you have a bad temper, if you are prone to judging and condemning, if you refuse to forgive, or are impatient, harsh and mean then you are reflecting someone else other than Jesus.
Your fruit reflects your heart, and so I urge you to examine whether Christ has full control of your life. Do you still have some of those negative traits? Maybe its time to surrender those things over to Jesus. I say surrender because God wants you to. Do it because you love Jesus.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Jesus taught religious freedom by Roy Davison


Jesus taught religious freedom

Through the ages, terrible atrocities have been committed because of religious intolerance. Religions have been persecuted, and religions have persecuted others. Such atrocities are almost always related to political power.

Millions have been murdered.
During the first few centuries after Christ, Christians were severely persecuted and murdered by pagans and Jews. The pagans were offended because Christians refused to worship the pagan gods and the emperor. The Jews viewed Christians as heretics.
The Christians did not retaliate because Jesus taught His followers to love their enemies and to do good to those who hate them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).
From the seventh to the eleventh century, by force of arms, Muslims spread their religion around the Mediterranean from Asia Minor, along the northern coast of Africa, and into Spain. Church buildings were destroyed, church leaders were murdered, and Christianity was exterminated where Muslims gained political power.
With regard to unfaithful Muslims who “wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve,” the Koran commands1: “If they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them” (Chapter 4:89). With regard to “unbelievers” the Koran says: “I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!” (Chapter 8:12). Another translation of the Koran interprets this more graphically: “Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”2 When a peace treaty with idolaters expires, the following is commanded: “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (Chapter 9:5).
Some Muslims try to soften these teachings, but it cannot be denied that through the centuries, and also at the present time, these passages in the Koran have been used to promote and justify much persecution, war, terrorism and murder. 
The establishment of worldwide Muslim totalitarian government is a tenant of Islam.
From the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, Crusades were organized in Europe in an attempt to conquer Jerusalem by force of arms. Thousands of Muslims were murdered and their villages were destroyed.
The Crusaders called themselves Christians but they were not Christians. They did not follow the teachings of Jesus at all!
At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church used the Inquisition to murder those who opposed its authority. It was a capital crime to read the Bible without the permission of the Church.
In 1536 William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake in Vilvoorde, Belgium by Catholic authorities. His crime? Publishing the Bible in English and exposing false doctrines of the Roman Church.
When Protestants came to power in certain countries, they sometimes persecuted Catholics and other Protestants who did not agree with them.
On October 27, 1553, Michael Servetus was burned to death at Geneva, Switzerland at the instigation of John Calvin.
In the twentieth century many religion-related atrocities were committed.
Six million Jews, men women and children, were murdered by the Nazis by shooting, in mobile gas vans and at mass extermination camps. The Nazis also exterminated gypsies and people with physical defects or mental illness.
Seven hundred thousand Muslims were evicted from their homes in Palestine and forced to spend the rest of their lives impoverished in refugee camps in the desert.
Conflicts involving religion in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people.
Atheistic communism persecuted and murdered countless believers of all faiths in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Jesus taught tolerance and religious freedom.
All persecution is contrary to the doctrine of Christ. Although apostasy is to be refuted and false teachers are to be expelled from the church, Christians are not to persecute others or use coercion to prevent others from practicing their religion.
Once when Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem, they were refused lodging in a Samaritan village. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:54-56). Christians may not use Old Testament examples to justify violence. The teaching of Jesus is on a higher plain, is of a different spirit.
Not only does Jesus teach against persecuting others, we are not even to forbid them: “Then John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us’“ (Luke 9:49, 50 //Mark 9:38-40).
Some have misapplied this passage to teach that we should fellowship false teachers. But Jesus did not condone what this person was doing. He simply taught religious freedom. We are not to ‘forbid’ others.
Paul explains: “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18).
Some who are now Christians in Flanders, first started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Others who are now Christians, first studied the Bible with Mormons. As they continued studying the Scriptures, however, they rejected the errors of these groups, and learned the truth of the gospel.
Although false teachers are not to be permitted to teach in the church, it is not our task as Christians to prevent them from proclaiming their beliefs in general. It is our task, however, to refute their false doctrine. Religious freedom does not mean that we must remain silent in the face of religious error.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Christians combat false doctrine by preaching the truth. We refute false arguments and capture the thoughts of men by preaching the Word of God. Rather than being overcome by evil, we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Although we can sympathize with oppressed peoples who mistakenly think force of arms can set them free, it does not work. Jesus said: “Put away your sword, for all who draw the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). You cannot overcome evil with evil. An attempt to do so only multiplies evil.
Jesus showed us how to overcome evil with good by going to the cross and rising victorious from the grave to become King of kings and Lord of lords. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
The most powerful weapons on earth are not guns and bombs, but words. If you want to have influence for good, learn to speak and write well. And, of course, the most powerful words of all by far are the words of God.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Christians are proponents and defenders of religious freedom. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Unchristian teaching isto be refuted, but true followers of Christ do not persecute others or prevent them from practicing their religion. Amen.
Roy Davison

1 These quotations are from “The Koran Interpreted, A translation by A.J.Arberry” considered to be one of the most scholarly and unbiased translations of the Koran into English.
2 As translated by M. H. Shakir.
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.

Published in The Old Paths Archive