It is better to do good, than to argue over what is good. Arguing over matters of Scriptural interpretation has no practical use in the Kingdom of God. The gospel message suffers much at the hands of disputers. After all arguments are given, neither person is any wiser, or more in love with God. Ephesians 4:15 tells us we should speak the truth in love. But, I have seen many times where both parties in an argument were angry. This is not wise or fruitful.
Scripture is silent on some questions. On other questions men have different interpretations or perspectives on the mysteries which belong to God alone. There are prophecies of doubtful interpretation that are foolish to argue about, as well as pointless, because it doesn't really matter if Jesus returns before, during, or after the trib. What matters is if we are under the blood. Arguing over modes of observing human ceremonies is foolish, because they serve men, not God who has done all for our salvation. Our business is not to ask foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether. If we observe the apostle's instructions here in Titus 3:8 to to be careful to maintain good works, we will find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless arguments about the law.
The important questions are really along the lines:
Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?
Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?
Am I growing in grace?
Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour?
Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master?
What more can I do for Jesus?
-Taken from Charles Spurgeon (British Preacher from the 1800's)
If we have critical discernment, and knowledge and wisdom in matters of Scripture, let us argue with ourselves on these questions, and not with our brother. Our goal is to be peacemakers, and to lead others by our example, to "avoid foolish questions."
Do you ever sit outside and watch the rain...the wind...the thunder...the lightening? The reverberating booms, like cannon shots, can shake your soul, especially when you think of the power of God to display such majesty. You hear the thunder, you see the lightening and rain, you feel the wind. God's own "surround sound!" But, you can't see the wind... only the force of the wind. The windstorm from the tornado not only broke our storm door, but it ripped a couple of my windchimes to pieces, and damaged my coke-can wind plane. The elements can present quite an intrusion. Now the storm door won't close.
John 3:8 The Greek word pneuma means both "wind" and "Spirit." The Greek word phone (pho-nay) means both "sound" and "voice." So this verse is a play on words that not only literally says the wind blows and we can hear the sound of it, but it also literally says the Spirit blows and we hear its voice. But, we don't know where the Spirit comes from or goes. It goes whereever it wants to go. We only hear its voice and register its presence, like the wind.
Psalms 66:16; 68:11 These references to the great company of those who publish the word of God is used in the sense of quantity...plurality...of people, not in the quality of the people. Two words I remember learning how to spell in third grade are friend and Jesus. Ironic, I know. I immediately registered them both in my brain as words I would continue to need. Not only have I continued to need these two words in my writing, but I have continued to remember the happy occasions that brought me to the point of learning those words that year. I have continued to need friends, and I continue to need Jesus throughout my life.
Lisa and I were best friends in third grade. I remember the happiness that surrounded the friendship.I remember us passing notes to each other. I remember making Christmas cards in class for special people and writing "Happy Birthday, Jesus" as the expression of my heart directed. The feeling of the love of God made me feel full, even though I didn't know God yet. I knew of Him, and I knew He loved me... even though I couldn't find Him yet. Kids still do that, kids who don't even go to church or know much about God, they write about Jesus and His great love. The desire to express that life-changing love is common among humans.
Charles Spurgeon said of the name Jesus: "It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; and ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters." Psalm 63:6
We remember YOU God.
Not only do we remember God, but God remembers us. God took notice of the affairs of men, just as in, "And the Lord came down to see..." Genesis 11:5 God must have plenty to do in His realm beyond Earth's sphere, for it to so occupy His time that He must REMEMBER Noah. Genesis 8:1
Apparantly He was busy. Only five other God "memories" are mentioned: Rachael, Genesis 30:22 and His covenant, Exodus 2:24 Abraham, Genesis 19:29 His mercy and His truth, Psalm 98:3 accumulated iniquities, Revelation 18:5 and Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:19
But God is strong enough to take care of each of the needs He sets His eyes or mind on. Jeremiah 32:27 God is able, able to give grace for the depths of your need. Romans 5:2 Grace is defined as a favorable disposition, or kind feeling; and especially love, as exercised towards the inferior, dependent, or unworthy. (Hodge v. II, Systematic Theology.) Hodge refers to the conspicuously displayed grace of Jesus. Romans 5:17 I feel Him pouring rivers of grace in my life. Sweet grace of God!
Oh, such sweet abundance,
The grace Christ poured on me
When I could not compare
To the woman kneeled at His feet.
She poured out her oil,
And, washed the Master's feet,
My cup only held sin,
But my gift He held as sweet.
(My memory fails me ...I can't remember where I heard this. It could be a hymn lyrics, or perhaps something I read in a volume of the Interpretor's Bibles, or elsewhere. But, it is not mine. Incidentally, I noticed recently the full twelve volumes are scanned and available to read online, with voice audio read-aloud option.)
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament
shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows
knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the
world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom
coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. Its going
forth is from the end of the heaven, and its circuit unto the ends of it: and
there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of
the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening
the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments
of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be
desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of
them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from
secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not
have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of great
transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be
acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
God has two books: Creation and Scripture. David studied both. He often compared and contrasted the two volumes in his psalms, revealing the excellent nature of God from both. The book of Creation will never contradict the book of Genesis, nor Genesis the book of Creation, for my Father wrote both of them. This Psalm expresses with 14 verses, what I have tried to express in my blogs; that Creation shows God's glory, that the Scriptures show God's glory, and that our personal relationship and communication with God shows God's glory. Some of what I write never gets posted, of course. And, I have several unfinished blogs in the not quite ready for prime time category. I read and think about some chapters and psalms and then never get them written at all, only thinking I have written them down. In all of the showing and telling, as David was showing and telling in this Psalm, it may happen that I tell you the same thing twice. So, if I have been here and wrote that, I hope you can still see the beauty of each passage of Scripture.
Charles Spurgeon said that even the sun shines in light borrowed from the Father of Lights.
"Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise both when thou climb'st, and when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
In my personal search for meaning, for beauty, for reason, I find Jesus, who I can not see in flesh, but I see His face imprinted in Creation and Scripture. It is our interaction with and knowledge of the Words and Works of Jesus that form the foundation of our relationship with Him.
David was a shepherd boy, and spent days and nights in the field, watching the sheep, and the heavens. Psalm 18 was probably written on one of those nights, and Psalm 19 must have been penned on one of those sunny days. In the first six verses above, David is talking about Creation; the Works of God. In the middle portion he is talking about Scripture; the Words of God. The last section is David's prayer to God...communion. It is not yet possible for me to see God, yet He makes Himself visible in his Words and Works.
"Therein our fingers feel, our nostrils smell, our palates taste his virtues that excel, He shows Him to our eyes, talks to our ears, in the ordered motion of the spangled spheres." -Du Bartas
Or, as David said... the heavens are telling the glory of God, the sky showing the work of his hands; today speaks to tomorrow, tonight calls out to tomorrow night. And they are all talking about God's glory. (My paraphrase)
Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe
righteousness to my Maker. (old KJV this time)
Isn't that what I am here for, to write about the righteousness of my Maker?