From Dr. Ina Bunyi: A former Bible Clubber’s tribute to her modern day heroes of faith.
In His Sovereignty God knew I would need to know Christ as my Savior early in life and used this loving couple's compassion and burden for the souls of neighborhood kids to make sure I did.
It was during one of those Saturday Bible Clubs when I heard about the Savior’s love for me and accepted His gift of everlasting life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“Whosoever” surely meaneth me, surely meaneth me
Oh surely meaneth me!
“Whosoever” surely meaneth me – “whosoever” meaneth me!!
Who can resist such a gift that included me? I am very thankful God gave me wisdom not to!
In 2007 (30 years after I last saw them) God allowed me to visit the Hufstetlers and to personally thank them for being my spiritual parents. I am indebted to the people God used for the blessed reunion where once more I saw Uncle Chuck's mischievous grin and enjoyed (my favorite) Mom Jo's cookies that I too now prepare and share on occasion to Bible clubbers in the neighborhood where I now live.
It was during this time that I learned that before I met them, they were ready to retire from their work in Marinduque (another province) in order to take charge of another work in the States, but God sent them on a "detour to Manila." I know now I was one of the reasons why.
Uncle Chuck and Mom Jo were a couple who let the light of God's love so shine (Matthew 5:16) before others that they saw God in all their good works, heard Him in their words, and even in their silence when they knew speaking out their mind may not be of help or may offend.
I am only one of those many children (in the early 70s) and adults (this past decade when we were reunited) who benefited from their godly light.
In their eyes I saw His care
I could see His love was there
They have been so faithful
And I saw Jesus in their lives
Mr Ron Hamilton's "I Saw Jesus In You" rephrased
They knew that as much as they did it to the least of my brethren (Matthew 25:40), including tiny Filipino kids, they were doing it for the Lord!
To love unconditionally and non-selectively...to prefer God's will over their own is a great blessing and challenge to me.
For years, even to the very end of conscious life they prayed for my husband Dan and me. If they knew you and your need, I am sure they prayed for you too.
I will eternally be grateful God sent Uncle Chuck and Mom Jo so that I would get to know about the love of Him who sent Christ His Son on the cross so that whosoever, including you and me, would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life!
How can I repay them and God for their loving kindness? It is not the "sacrifice" of a written tribute nor a well meant recording of a song that I sent for her Memorial Service (made possible through the kindness of friends) that pleases God but of a life that is broken anew and made contrite by the example of this well loved couple who were themselves only fired up by God's everlasting and sacrificial love.
The light, in Mom Jo's corner where I belonged, was dimmed by her recent home going (and that of Uncle Chuck in 2009). If I am really thankful, I can pay their goodness forward to others by doing my best, through His strength and for His glory, to brighten the corner where I am.
Will you pray with and join me as I ask God's help to see beyond myself a world that is lost in the darkness of sin and in need of our little lights to shine brightly in our corners so that they may through us see the greater Light of the Savior.
I Saw Jesus in You
by: Ron and Shelly Hamilton
When I enter heaven's glory
And I see my Saviour's face,
I will offer Him ten thousand years of praise.
Then I'll find that special one
In whose life I saw God's Son,
And through tears of joy with trembling lips these words I'll say:
I saw Jesus in you,
I saw Jesus in you,
I could hear His voice in the words you said-
I saw Jesus in you,
In your eyes I saw His care,
I could see His love was there,
You were faithful,
And I saw Jesus in you
When I stand before my Father
To receive my life's reward,
And my soul is bathed in God's eternal day
When this race on earth is run,
And God sees the works I've done,
More than anything I long to hear my Father say:
I saw Jesus in you,
I saw Jesus in you,
I could hear His voice in the words you said-
I saw Jesus in you,
In your eyes I saw His care,
I could see His love was there,
You were faithful,
And I saw Jesus in you
by Dr. Joel Arnold, Faculty in Bible
It sounded plausible at the time. “Hey honey, why don’t I just take the boys over there and get them a treat, while you’re checking out” I said naively one day in a crowded Manila mall. “It’ll give Zach a chance to run.” Sounds great. No problem. I got this one.
Actually, all things considered, he did reasonably well. Zach at that point understood “come” and a decent majority of the time he obeyed. But 18 months is still 18 months. And in my son’s case that’s a really fast version of 18 months. He always obeyed when I told him to come but the shiny displays and fancy flashing lights were just too much for his attention span. Our trajectory looked something like this:
And that reminded me of biblical thinking. Ok, give me a chance and I’ll make the connection.
I’m regularly shocked by the things that get called biblical. I’ve read people arguing that biblical thinking tells us (no joke) we should not be seeking, striving, and working to be more righteous. I regularly read comments claiming to be biblical on topics that have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. And I’ve had people call specific wording unbiblical that actually turned out to be exact quotations of the Bible. If the Bible isn’t biblical, nothing is.
I think this kind of confusion happens because we throw the word around like a hashtag. The positivist philosopher A.J. Ayer once suggested (wrongly) that morals are just our way of giving approval or censure. To him, the statement “stealing is wrong” just means “Stealing: Boo!” or morals meaning “Faithfulness: Hurray!” And for too many believers that’s how “biblical / unbiblical” works too. To say “X, Y or Z is unbiblical” is to say “X, Y or Z: Boo!” Or putting it another way, we’re already pretty sure we’re right, so we try to pull the Bible in on our side.
And the problem, of course, is that the ideas just come from our own brains, not the Bible. I’m afraid, sometimes, that because whole generations of us grew up knowing all the Bible stories backwards and forwards, we go into life with the unspoken assumption that “if I’m pretty sure it’s right, it’s biblical.” But in reality, whether I think something is true or whether it even sounds really Bibleish is completely irrelevant; what matters is if it accurately represents the truth of the eternal God.
Consider three foundational notions for biblical thinking:
Every morning you get up and walk out the door to a world that is anything but neutral. All day it’s shouting in your ear. All day, a very much fallen part of your heart answers to that call and loves it. And only by actively fighting back will your thinking stay on track. Coming home and opening your Bible is the start of setting things straight again—correcting thoughts that went astray and restoring your thoughts back to the life-giving standard of truth.
As it turns out, that 18-month old running through the mall is me. 18-month olds don’t end up anywhere good without someone walking in front, constantly telling them which way to go. If I stop actively, obediently listening to the voice in front of me, I’ll last about 6 steps on my own before I’m headed off to the nearest blinking light or shiny looking package. I’ll probably even figure out a way to slap on the biblical label and call everything else erroneous or too liberal or too legalistic. Or a combination of all three at the same time.
Biblical thinking doesn’t just happen. It’s always a miracle, starting with the resurrection of a heart that was dead in sin, and continuing lifelong by the corrective power of the Word of God. Or to put it even more biblically:
“We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Wise spiritual mentors heed the example of the master mentor, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospels’ records concerning the Lord’s preparation of the Twelve Apostles provide many valuable principles on how to help people mature in faith and be prepared for a life of service. This article discusses two such principles.
Focus on the Heart
Throughout His earthly ministry, the Lord primarily addressed people’s hearts. His Sermon on the Mount radiates with emphasis concerning the internal aspects of human life (Mt. 5-7). Christ taught His disciples that the heart is the fountainhead of “evil thoughts” and all kinds of sin. What is in the heart will eventually become manifest in life-defiling actions (Mt. 15:19-20). In several instances, Jesus denounced the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees before His disciples (Mt. 15:1ff; 23:1ff; Lk. 11:37ff; 12:1). He also affirmed that the two great commands were to love God and man (Mt. 22:37-40). Christ warned against covetousness (Lk. 12:1, 14-15). Ministerial competence—theological knowledge and practical effectiveness—must not satisfy pastor-mentors. They must ever aim for the heart, seeking to cultivate love for God and man, and integrity in the lives of ministerial students.
Emphasize Scripture-Based Life and Ministry
The Lord Jesus prepared His disciples in a manner that emphasized living and ministering according to God’s Word and will. As the gospel accounts confirm, He exhibited an exceedingly high view of Scripture and the Father’s will. Christ taught that the Word of God always takes priority in importance and authority over man’s traditions and commandments (Mt. 15:3, 9). He also instructed them concerning the necessity of possessing a right kind of heart—one that is “honest and good” when receiving God’s Word (Lk. 8:4ff; Mt. 13:3ff); lives are changed only when one shows an appropriate response to divine revelation. For the Lord, hearing and keeping God’s Word is a more blessed condition than Mary’s privilege to be an instrument in bearing the Messiah (Lk. 11:27-28). Christ viewed the fulfillment of God’s Word and will as necessary (Jn. 9:4). The Lord’s firm obedience to drink the cup of suffering demonstrated His utter commitment to the will of the Father.
The Lord’s commitment to God’s Word and will affected all the facets of His earthly ministry. For instance, divine revelation and the Father’s will dictated Christ’s goals and purposes. His meat was doing the Father’s will (Jn. 4:34). He remained faithful to His mission to preach the kingdom of God (Mk. 1:38; Lk. 4:43). He came down from heaven not to do His own will but the will of the Father (Jn. 6:38). What Christ accomplished on earth was the work which the Father had given Him to do (Jn. 17:3). Christ’s pursuit of God’s revelation and will also determined His actions. He kept the Father’s sayings. In a remarkable statement, the Lord said, “I do always those things that please [the Father]” (Jn. 8:29). By the Lord’s ministry, the Father did His work (Jn. 14:10). “As the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do,” Jesus said (Jn. 14:31). In addition to His purposes and actions, Jesus’ message was also permeated with Scripture and submission to the Father’s will. He said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent Me” (Jn. 7:16-18). “As [His] Father hath taught [him],” the Lord Jesus spake “these things” (Jn. 8:28). He uttered that which He had seen with His Father (Jn. 8:38). Additionally, He said that the Father “gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (Jn. 12:49). He did not speak from His own initiative and authority (Jn. 14:10).
Pastors must instill in the hearts of future pastors the priority of God’s Word for life and ministry. Ministerial students must understand that Christian ministry is essentially a ministry of the word, a kind of endeavor that must be completely governed by Scriptures. Obviously, this aspect of mentoring can be done only by pastors who are practicing Biblicists. It is a sobering reality that the level of commitment to Scriptures in current ministers will have a significant effect on the ministry philosophy and practice of succeeding generations of pastors.
 For instance, He put the spotlight on the internal motives underlying the sinful acts of murder and adultery (Mt. 5;21-22, 27-28). He instructed His listeners not perform any righteous deeds for the purpose of being seen by men (Mt. 6:1ff). If the heart is right, good works will follow (Mt. 6:22-23). Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 5 (Matthew to John) (Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, n.d.), 150. A good heart “bringeth forth that which is good;” and evil heart produces evil deeds. From “the abundance of [one’s] heart the mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45).
by Mr. Douglas Bachorik
Life is filled with many activities. Some we choose, some are chosen for us, others just find their way into our lives. Sometimes we don’t even know what we should do, because we feel pulled in so many directions. When that happens, it is time to stop and ask ourselves – what does the Lord expect us to do? The Lord has many expectations of us, and we can find a summary of them in passages like Matt. 23:23.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
This echoes Micah 6:8:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
which echoes Deut. 10:12-13:
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
But what, specifically, does God want me to do, today? And tomorrow? One of the best places to look is Revelation 2 & 3, where the Lord Jesus Christ clearly states what is important in the life of a church, and in the lives of believers. He makes 55 commands and commendations, and He criticizes 9 activities. We can organize them into the following 8 ideas - the ‘Revelation list’:
What a glorious calling each one of us has in the Lord – and this has nothing to do with what kind of job you have. These activities are not just for pastors, church workers, or missionaries. They are for all Christians!
When we look at this list, what we see is that we are called to be consumed by our relationship to our Saviour. The Lord Himself told us this in Matthew 22:37:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Think of something that has consumed or obsessed you in the past. Every waking minute it’s on your mind. You make decisions about your day, your work, based upon the object of your obsession; if it is a person you even start thinking things like – ‘how does he like my hair’ or ‘what is her favorite flower’ or ‘he likes this kind of food so I will learn how to cook it’ or ‘she likes to do this, so I like that too’. We are supposed to be obsessed with God!
Can I suggest you keep a weekly spiritual log to help you see what you are doing? Think of it as a way to do #8 – examining yourself to see if you are on track with the other 7 items on the Revelation list. Each week answer these questions:
Remember, many demands crowd into our lives. If we are going to do the things the Lord wants us to do, we probably need to leave some things out of our busy days. Your list of ‘droppable’ activities and expectations will be as good as mine! Facebook, Internet games, surfing or online chatting, constant texting, often staying up very late at night, just sitting around, videos and TV… What should be on your “To Drop” list? As you look at the year before you, don’t you think it would be great to fill it with the things God wants you to do? Activities that will ultimately bring glory to Him, and make you more like Him in this life, while you wait for Him to take you home.
Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama
Dr. K is the director of BJMBC, teaching theology, preaching and church history.
The Sexual Revolution, Gay Marriage, Theological Liberalism, The Humanist Manifesto, Postmodernism, Atheism. What is foundational to these views? Evolution!!!
To reach today's world, often we must start at the beginning: the Genesis record. If creation and the flood are false, what else in the Bible is false?
But science does not contradict the Bible. True science supports the Bible.
Learn how to defend your faith with science and use creation apologetics to lead unbelievers to faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Skip Tilton is the founder of From Day One Ministries and supervised the construction of Answers in Genesis' Creation Museum under Ken Ham. He is a creation evangelist who has spoken throughout the USA in conferences, retreats, camps, churches, Christian academies, public schools, and universities. He is also an adjunct speaker for Creation Ministries International.
Monday's "Biblical Worldview Seminar" is for spiritually-minded teens and adults (pastors, Christian workers, church leaders, evangelists, SS teachers, Christian school teachers & administrators, and gospel witnesses).
Tuesday's "Dinosaurs & the Bible" seminar is primarily for high school teens (9th - 12th grade) but intermediate students and college students can attend. Both seminars use many interesting and enlightening pictures.
Each seminar starts at 9 am and has a registration fee of P150 (P100 for lunch and P50 for the seminar). P150 registration deadline is Thursday January 26. After January 26, you may only register for the seminar (P50).
Educators who attend both seminars can avail of a free certificate of attendance to apply for continuing professional education units.
Thoughts from Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama, Director of BJMBC.
Theologians and philosophers sometimes talk about the problem of evil—if God is good and has all power, why does evil still exist? It’s a hard problem. But for most of us the question is much more basic. When I hurt, does God know? Does He care? Why won’t He take away my sorrow? There are three basic truths we need to remember in such times.
We don’t know half of what God is doing.
In the middle of trials we often find ourselves asking “why?” If we knew of something good that came from out of it, we could make some sense of what happened. Even unbelievers use clichés like “everything happens for a reason” out of a desire to find purpose in the pain.
But the most painful struggles aren’t easily dismissed for just that reason—there are no simple, happy outcomes. Sometimes an obvious greater good never presents itself to us at all; our suffering seems completely unnecessary and gratuitous. Rather than search in vain for a reason beyond this, we should know that more is going on than we can possibly comprehend.
Scripture has occasional hints of this fact. One window into the workings of heaven is absolutely startling. It’s an angelic conference before the throne of God and Satan is in attendance (Job 1-2). The story develops into a showdown between Satan and God as to whether Job really loves God or simply returns the favor for prosperity. In the end, Satan destroys Job’s life in an attempt to shame the Almighty (though he can go exactly no further than God allows). After Job struggles for an unknown length of time, God eventually restores and even increases His prosperity. But interestingly, there’s no sign that Job himself ever knew of the heavenly contest. Job may well have finished his life never realizing what was at stake or why he suffered as he did.
I would never flatter myself to assume my life ranks in debates before the throne of God. But Job wouldn’t have either. There is, we discover, far more at stake in the lives of believers than any of us would dare imagine. And before thinking that God has fallen asleep at the cosmic wheel or that He simply doesn’t care, we ought to know that He works on our behalf in ways we cannot comprehend.
A simple comparison might help. At 1 1/2, my daughter is terribly frustrated that I won't let her run in the middle of a busy street at rush hour. Add to that the fact that I make her eat healthy food, put her to bed at a reasonable hour, don’t buy her every toy she wants, and require her to obey me. These are the biggest frustrations and limitations of my daughter’s life, but every one contributes directly to her long term well-being.
Except she doesn't get that fact at all. My child still doesn’t understand why I won’t let her run in traffic. It’ll be a long time before she does. How many other things do I constantly take care of that never even enter into her mind? And I wouldn’t want it any other way—why should she carry the burden of knowing that life involves more than cookies, toys and her blanket?
In the meantime, she has no choice but to simply trust what she does know of me—my love to her expressed in other ways and the fact that I regularly act in her best interests. Facing the limitations I’ve imposed on her, this can’t solve her problem, but it certainly helps.
God Himself has entered our sorrow.
In a certain sense, every religion or viewpoint must answer why evil exists.* In fact, the problem of evil is not a particular weakness of Christianity but one of its unique strengths, because only Christianity teaches that an omnipotent God has Himself endured our suffering (Heb. 2:9). Jesus experienced the ordeal of birth, the frustrations of childhood and uncertainties of adolescence, the drudgery of physical work and constant pain of life on a fallen planet. But Jesus’ suffering was not merely equal to ours. What Jesus carried on the cross was the distilled essence of sin’s horror, agony and curse. Sin is sorrow. Carrying the weight of the sins of the world, Jesus also carried its sorrow. His dying cry, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) distills the agony of humanity across the ages. In that moment, Jesus experienced what it is to be condemned, guilty, cut off from God and consigned to torment. If sorrow is the galling experience of mankind because of sin, God Himself has shared it.
And so we face the pain of life on planet earth, but not alone. Joining in the experience of that sorrow is One who bore all the consequences, though He never sinned. Knowing that all will be restored through Jesus’ cross, we wait together with Him for the final victory over sin, suffering and death.
We await the final victory over all.
In the final analysis, there are no simple, pat answers for the problem of evil. The ultimate answer is epochal and cosmic—as big as the history of the world. If suffering entered the world because of sin (Rom. 5:12), only by the eradication of sin will all things be restored. In other words, the omnipotent God is in the process of working. He is restoring all things as they ought to be. (Isa. 65:17–18; Isa. 66:22–23; 2 Pet. 3:10–13; Rev. 21:1). The problem of evil, though real, is a temporary one. The victory is coming—the great and final victory of Jesus Christ over all.
* Even atheism must answer how we can legitimately designate anything as evil. Without a standard of ethics, the problem of evil simply becomes why anyone should care about human suffering. In fact the logical conclusion of atheism is far worse—evil and human suffering are utterly meaningless or even good because they are just the struggles of biological machines experiencing natural selection.
The Explicit Command in 2 Timothy 2:2
In this passage, Paul directly orders his former student to ensure the continuity of sound doctrine by entrusting it to faithful men who can also teach. Paul states, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” During this time, Timothy was apparently leading the Ephesian church under Paul’s directive (1 Tim. 1:3). The passage shows a clear example of a departing leader giving orders to a younger leader he himself had instructed, telling him to arm other (presumably younger) men in propagating the truth. Timothy must prepare these faithful and gifted men by entrusting them with “the things that he has heard [from Paul] among many witnesses.” Just as Paul felt compelled to prepare men like Timothy to carry on the gospel ministry, so he now requires Timothy to do the same. It is then a pastoral obligation to entrust the Word of God to the rising generation of faithful men.
Two Pastoral Responsibilities
Equipping every believer
Ephesians 4:11 indicates that the Lord Jesus gave to His church certain spiritually-gifted individuals. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (though the latter two can also be rendered as one role, “pastors/teachers”). The following verse states the reason for Christ’s bestowal of gifted believers to His body. They were given “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry” in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of “edifying the body of Christ,” the church. Perfecting (καταρτισμὸν) means “equipping.” Thus, along with other gifted men, the pastor bears the responsibility of preparing each of the church members that God has sovereignly placed under his care for Christian service (“work of the ministry”). This ministry scope also includes the ministerial students in the congregation, and the pastor is one of the primary men who are responsible in preparing future pastors for the work of the ministry. Like the pastor, ministerial students will soon be responsible in equipping other believers for service. This reality must motivate current ministers all the more to equip these future equippers.
Overseeing God’s flock
Pastors are the designated overseers of the believers in a local church. Speaking to the Ephesian elders or pastors, Paul states that the Holy Spirit has made them the “overseers” (ἐπισκόπος) of God’s flock (Acts 20:28). This designation communicates the pastoral responsibility of watching over or supervising the believers in the church. The scope of the responsibility seems to focus on the church as a group (“flock”). But practically speaking, fulfilling the command implies watching over the individual members of the body. As one cannot adequately take care of his whole body without giving attention to the well-being of each part of it, so the pastor cannot completely fulfill the mandate of being an overseer without paying attention to individual members of his congregation. He cannot be an accomplished overseer without overseeing the preparation of those who would be future overseers themselves. Since pastors must watch over the believers who are under their care, expecting them to mentor the ministerial students in their congregation does not really constitute an unreasonable, above-the-norm expectation.
Welcome to the BJMBC Biblical Baptist, a twice-a-month blog from Bob Jones Memorial Bible College. We pray that these truths that God is using in our lives will help others to grow in their walk and service for God.
This first article is unusual because we just experienced the home-going of one of BJMBC’s founding fathers, Pastor Dennis Potts. The Lord commands us in Hebrews 13:7 to remember our leaders who spoke the word of God to us, to consider the outcome of their way of life, and to imitate their faith. God knows that we quickly forget those we no longer see, even our leaders. By forgetting and not considering their life example, we neglect a pattern that God intends to help us – a pattern that we have seen with our own eyes and of how the faith should be lived in this world. Remembering will help us to glorify our Father in heaven.
Since a person’s character and ways make him especially useful to God, I will focus on those personal details which displayed Pastor Potts’ character and ways.
The Lord uses someone with a passion to witness and see souls saved. Pastor Potts constantly grabbed opportunities to witness each day. What he loved the most was to seek souls for Christ. His favorite song for BJMBC’s Preachers Forum class was “Souls for Jesus.” Even after multiple system atrophy slurred his speech, affected his balance, and weakened his legs, he used his remaining strength to go out, meet people, have extended conversations, and talk about Jesus. The root of his passion for souls and witnessing was his passion for Christ and His cross. No one took the Lord’s supper more seriously and with greater sacred devotion than Pastor Potts. No wonder that his favorite song was “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
The Lord uses someone who also has strong biblical convictions. Pastor Potts preached hard against sin. He preached strong because he was convinced of the truth. According to the record in his Bible, he had read the Bible at least 33 times and the New Testament at least 40 times. Even more significantly, his Bible was marked on every page with underlines, many notes, lines connecting words, and sermon outline points. His convictions led him to speak out and take stands even when in the minority. For example, He strongly held to the qualification of purity for anyone going into the ministry. But he also loved to have fun, as long as it was holy fun.
The Lord uses someone who is kind and compassionate. Pastor Potts preached loudly in public but never raised his voice in private. When needed, he would visit at midnight or rush to the emergency room. He was the accountability partner for struggling members and gave load credit when a member ran out of load to text him. When a member had board exams, he would call him each day and pray with him over the phone. He would meet men in the church for coffee and pour out his heart to them. To those who wrongly left the church, he was gracious and kind, following Christ’s example who said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In discipline, he would try to package truth and mercy. But his genuine love also led him to do and say the difficult things, such as when a fellow-pastor needed rebuke.
Lastly, the Lord uses someone who faithfully, dependently, and believingly prays. One morning I made a surprise visit to his house and found him on the floor face down in earnest prayer for his family, church, souls, and friends around the world. His well-worn prayer cards guided his extended time of daily prayer. After reading Mark 11:23, he said that if it were needed to advance Christ’s work, God could pick up Taal volcano, remove it from Lake Taal, and cast it into the Pacific Ocean in answer to his prayer.
He now sees what he believed. His ears hear the heavenly voices praising the eternal King, his voice is joining with them, and his knees are once again strong to bend before the Lamb. Our lives will pass as quickly as his did. Let us see ourselves as lives in Christ and make choices for Him.
by Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama
Times have changed, even within Christianity. Just look at what is produced by today’s Christian publishers and media, the standards and lifestyle of Christians, and even the way Christians worship in churches. The Bible teaches that some changes are bad and some are good. We are called to discern the difference by God’s Word.
II Timothy is Paul’s last words to the next generation—Timothy. Paul told him that times would change for the worse, and Paul exhorted him what to do—how to keep firm in the faith in changing times. Paul has 3 main themes here: 1) Suffering 2) Testifying of the Truth 3) Increasingly Evil Times. The main truth of 2 Timothy is this: Although you suffer for it, testify of the words of truth during this increasingly evil age.
Our Gospel Sufferings: Paul exhorts Timothy in 1: 8: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” First, be not ashamed to testify about the Lord. Second, be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel. There is suffering for testifying about the Lord, but do not be ashamed of Him! Speak about the Lord! Stand with His people! Join in suffering for the truth! 1:12a: “For the which cause [vv. 8-11: speaking the gospel] I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed.” Vv. 15-16 mention 2 sufferings: V. 15: All other believers turned away from Paul. Why? V. 16: They were ashamed of “his chain.” But 2:3 commands “Endure hardness/hardships.” 2:10 tells us to endure all kinds of hardships because the salvation of souls is stake!
Our Mission: to Testify the Words of Truth. Secondly, we endure gospel sufferings because they are part of fulfilling our mission. Our mission starts with holding the truth. 1:13: Hold fast the form of sound words. V. 14 calls the truth “that good thing which was committed unto thee.” What are we commanded to do with that truth? Keep it! Do not change because of trends. Do not yield to worldly influences. Then we are to testify of the truth to others! 2:2: Teach it to faithful men. 2:14: Remind them of it. 2:25: Instruct those that oppose (themselves). Of course, to testify of God’s truth, you must study diligently the Word to accurately explain it. Do you study God’s Word? (Not only reading the Bible or studying Christian books.) To stand for truth, we must be convinced of it. To be convinced, we must study it! Then, to hold and testify of the truth, we must avoid unprofitable words (2:14, 16, 23). This refers to religious speculations and issues of curiosity. They have no profit! Instead, study what the Biblical text actually says! God also commands us to purge ourselves from bad influences (2:21) and to flee youthful lusts (2:22). Testifying of God’s truth involves your entire being: what is in your mind and heart, what is in your life, what is in your relationships. We must be pure. Do not be lukewarm! 1) Are you studying God’s Word? 2) Are you holding on to it? 3) Are you avoiding bad influences and unprofitable words that pull you away from the truth? 4) Are you telling God’s Word to others? Last question: Will you maintain a Bible-filled life and testify the truth even as the world gets worse?
Our World: People will become worse. 3:1-5 pictures an increasingly anti-truth world. From such ungodly people, turn away! 3:8 says these people resist the truth. 3:13 says evil men and false teachers shall become worse and worse. BUT YOU, v. 14, continue thou in the truth you have learned even when there is more opposition to the truth and a life obedient to the truth. YOU maintain a Bible-filled life and testify of its truths. This is because the Scripture is from GOD and is profitable for every need of man. Chapter 4 says the Word is what we must preach, no matter what people do.
Someday, we will all stand before God. Each one of us will give an account of whether we were faithful to God and His truth in our generation. We must study the truth, stand for the truth, speak the truth, live the truth, and endure any suffering that comes with holding the truth. Will you do this? Although you suffer for it, testify of the words of truth during this increasingly evil age.
Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.