Technology and Discipleship

Technology advances so fast that it’s hard to keep up with it. For the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are some things to which we should give serious thought. Let’s tackle the easiest part first. Much that comes our way is fun, entertaining and relaxing. Is it fit to enjoy? Does it contain (sometimes, very subtly) anti-Biblical values? Is it distracting us from more important matters? Is it too time consuming? If it is wholesome and decent, use it in moderation. Moving on to a more difficult area of consideration, are we enjoying toys or using tools? Of course, it’s possible to do both. Nevertheless, if the things technology provides for us become an end in themselves, we’ve lost our balance. Not a few Christians become more immersed in the gadgetry than in the things of God. If we enjoy the interesting and fun parts in moderation, well and good. However, if we live for these things, they have become idols. For the rest, these wonderful inventions can be and often are marvelous tools. Under the discipline and control of the Holy Spirit, they are wonderful for teaching, learning, and for spreading the Gospel. They can be time-consuming or time-saving. They can serve us or master us. Be on guard! “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). Selah! Remember that people are more important than gadgets. God is even more important!   Ron
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Discarding Doctrinal Deficiency

Doctrine is dull.” “Doctrine is over my head.” This kind of mistaken thinking is too common in our day. Doctrine is simply teaching. Biblical doctrine is the teaching of God’s Truth. It is spiritually dangerous to discount the importance of doctrine. “My church doesn’t emphasize doctrine.” Lack of doctrinal teaching is dangerous. Without doctrinal grounding, we are vulnerable to many deceiving winds of false teaching. Unable to answer the claims of false teachers, we begin to assume that we were misled. When we have been equipped to answer, our faith in God’s Word is reinforced. If doctrine seems dull, it is because it has been taught by someone as an abstract lecture. This “someone” probably had doctrine passed down by someone who taught it that way. Doctrine, properly taught is dynamic and fascinating and far from dull. To assume that it is over our heads is to be deceived. Properly taught, a child, even at a young age, can grasp the essentials and over time can increase in comprehension under a good teacher. If the churches will step up to the plate and teach doctrine in the exciting way that it deserves to be taught, there will be far fewer spiritual casualties and there will likely be an increase in effective witnessing. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,…………that the man of God may be perfect mature)…….” (From II Timothy 3:16-17). Selah! Nothing advances Satan’s agenda better than doctrinally undernourished Christians. They constitute no real threat to his schemes!   Ron 

Final Faith

Faith (trust, confidence) is primarily for this life. II Corinthians 5:7 points out that “….we walk by faith, not by sight.” Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “….the evidence of things not seen.” I Corinthians 13:8 tells of the time to come. “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face….” At that point, we’ll walk by sight. In the meantime, God has chosen trust (faith) as the means of our salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” (From Ephesians 2:8). Faith is the also the basis of our Christian life. Romans 1:17 alludes to this. It tells us that the Gospel enables the just (the saved person) to live by faith. In Romans 10:17, God even tells us how to receive faith and how it can be strengthened. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Hebrews 11:6 warns, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).” “Cast not away therefore your confidence (trust, faith), which hath great recompence of reward” (Hebrews 10;35). This is final faith! It will not stop trusting ’till faith gives way to sight. Selah! God, by His very nature, is absolutely trustworthy! Not to trust Him is to insult Him.   Ron

“Fixed” Faith

The kinds of faith discussed in the last two articles are examples of “flabby” or faulty faith. The faith that God requires is an absolute, unconditional trust. This is the kind of faith Job testified to in Job 13:15, where he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him….” Abraham exercised a great faith in God’s leading. With few, if any, of today’s helps for those who travel, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). He acted in even greater faith in Verse 17: By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac….” His faith was so fixed that he would sacrifice his son. He didn’t have to, but he would have done it, if God hadn’t intervened. He had faith that God would even raise Isaac from the dead. God offered His Son and He had to sacrifice Him for us. The three Hebrew children, facing the fear of burning to death, refused to compromise their faith. They said to the wicked despot, “….be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:18). This kind of fixed faith is not blind faith. It is based upon the utter trustworthiness of God’s Word. Scripture has never been proven wrong and never will be! “But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (From I Peter 1:25). Selah! If we trust God for our eternal destiny, how can we not trust Him in all that leads to that destiny?    Ron

Flawed Faith

The problem with “flawed faith” is that people assume that they have real Biblical faith. This kind of faith is flawed because it is conditional. The implication is that if God doesn’t do what I want Him to do, then I don’t go on trusting Him. This is pride at its worst! I decide that I know what God should do. What I want is right and if God doesn’t do what I want, He is wrong. What arrogance! Do we really expect God to be directed by our very limited judgment? My idea of what is right is complicated by my emotions. Someone whom I dearly love is about to die. I plead for this person to be healed. I assume God will heal my loved one and identify my assumption as faith. God takes him or her. I “believed” and God failed me. This is not true faith! God’s kind of faith means that I trust Him unconditionally. I trust His judgment, His will and His purposes. Even when I hurt, I trust Him. Two examples come to mind from a very good recent sermon. Joseph trusted amidst horrible experiences. The widow woman cared for Elijah with her last bit of food that she intended for herself and her son. God’s wisdom was vindicated in both cases. It always will be! The writer of Proverbs exhorts us to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Selah! If God acted upon our ideas of what is right, He would be dependent on us to direct Him. He would no longer be God, nor would He be reliable!    Ron

Fringe Faith

Many people (including many Christians) do not adequately understand true Biblical faith. One such lack of understanding involves what I have called “fringe faith.” There is a God. However, He’s distant. If I am in a jam or have an urgent need, I will ask Him to help. This is one type of “fringe faith.” Another type is that what the Bible says about God is probably true but I really don’t know that much about what the Bible says. Still another type is that I believe what my church says about God. There is one more type to consider today. This one believes in God, period! End of story! All of these types of faith and others include no personal involvement with God. He is a concept. He is a mighty Being. He is a “force” or He is energy. “Fringe faith” is unable to grasp that God is calling for us to enter in to an intimate relationship with Himself. This relationship begins with a dawning awareness of the depths of our depravity and our need of salvation. Next, we begin to see that God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son to die on a Roman cross to pay for our sin(s), thereby making salvation available to us, if we’ll receive it. Receiving salvation means embracing Jesus as Lord and Savior. This begins a life-long relationship with God. We grow in love, understanding, confidence, Godly behavior and values, This requires a faith that far exceeds “fringe faith.” In John, Chapter 3, Verse 16, we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him (places their full trust in what He did for them on the cross and surrenders the control of their lives to Him) shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Selah! “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).    Ron

Spritual Stone Mason

What would you think of a stone mason attempting to build a great stone building, using real stones and concrete blocks? God doesn’t do this kind of thing, either. That kind of combination would not fit together well and would not make a beautiful edifice. Those who become living stones are cut and polished to be used in God’s living temple (the church). Just as a stone mason uses mortar to bind the stones that have been prepared to fit together, God uses the “mortar” of love to bond together the living stones (we who have been born again). This Spiritual structure has been growing since the Day of Pentecost and will be complete at the Rapture. Paul taught the Ephesians (and it is for us who are saved in this age) that the church is to be built up and that we who are living stones, “….speaking the Truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (From Ephesians 4:15-16). Think that through! Selah! It will be a beautiful structure as, influenced by the Head, it comes closer and closer to completion. It will be perfected at the time John spoke of in I John 3:2, “….it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” I can hardly wait to see the building finished, can you?    Ron