Sunday, April 1, 2018

“The Time of my Departure is at Hand”

Jack Davis

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” II Timothy 4:6

“THE TIME:” the proper, due season, (syn) the occasion, the opportunity. We read in Matthew 25:13 and Mark 13:32-33 as to the time of leaving, “no man knows the day or hour.” Jesus told His disciples, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power” – Acts 1:7. Yet we read in I Thess. 5:2,4 – “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night…But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that day should overtake you as a thief.”

God has given so many signs to the church to indicate the times. They are ever before our eyes. We do not need to hunt for signs, miraculous indicators. We may, by faith and the Holy Spirit’s revelation understand those sacred secrets that our Father sees fit to make known to our hearts. Yet rather than looking for signs, let us look for God’s Son, our Savior, who encourages our hearts. ‘Hold the fort for I am coming.’

“MY DEPARTURE:” what personal comfort! Our dear Lord knows when it is best that we leave here. The Psalmist wrote, “My times are in thine hand.” He no doubt, wrote prophetically of Jesus’ committal and complete dependence upon His Father. It is so comforting for us to take the same attitude for the course of our lives. Our Father determines the experiences, opportunities and privileges of our life span.

It is evident that several Old Testament overcomers had such close contact with God that they knew when it was about time. We note in the New Testament that Jesus (Lk. 9:31) and Peter (I Pet. 1:13-15), as well as Paul, spoke of their departure when it was near. Since becoming a pastor in 1965, I have ministered to several in hospitals that seemed to have a clear understanding that their earthly sojourn was about over. Paul here seems to say, “My temporary stay here is about over; I’ve got leaving on my mind.” Glory to God, he wasn’t crying “Oh let me stay a little longer.” He wasn’t singing, “Wait a little longer please, Jesus.” He spoke of “having a desire to depart and to be with Christ.” The Greek word for departure in its usage was both a military and nautical term. The military term spoke of breaking camp. The nautical expressed a release, a loosing preparatory to setting sail. GLORY, OH GLORY HALLELUJAH!

“AT HAND:” this, from the Greek, expresses that which is imminent, a suddenness, it is upon us. Oh beloved, the first flight out will leave here right on time! All transports have their designated leaving time, whether it is a ship from the dock, or an airplane from the airport, or a family for their new home, or our spirit from our body. The soul of man is like a waiting Falcon, when its release is destined for the sky. “To depart, and to be with Christ,” the apostle Paul said, “is far better.” He wrote in II Cor. 5:8 of being “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Considering II Cor. 12:1-4, Paul is certainly one man that should know. Do you know where you are going when you leave here? Where will you be when you get there? How long will you stay? Who will you be with? Answer to these questions and others, tell us part of the reasons we would want to go.

“I AM NOW READY:” when Paul spoke of his desire to depart in Philippians, he was not yet completely ready. Neither was Elijah when he asked the Lord to take his life. Actually Paul’s life was being poured out at the time he wrote Philippians and II Timothy. Paul had not yet fully apprehended that for which he had been apprehended. ARE WE READY?

Preparation is necessary for any trip, but especially this one. Readiness is most important. There is usually the packing of luggage, a loading up. There is the consideration of taking the proper dress for the area and climate. You are not wise if you take a lot of things you will not use when you get there. Those “made ready” will be seen soon as a bride adorned for her husband – all glorious within, her clothing of wrought (or inwrought) gold (divine handiwork). “She will have long since taken on the linen of His righteousness. But preparation for this trip also involves some unpacking and unloading, some laying aside and stripping off of encumbrances. There needs to be a loosing of all the ties and lines that would hold our little boat to those earthly shores.

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not is chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof” – Rom. 13:10-14. Are not these words appropriate for our day? We are assured with the conditions about us that the day of our departure is “at hard.”

Paul’s preparation was certainly a pattern for us, and proof of his love for Christ’s appearing. For he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” – II Tim. 4:7-8.

Paul’s exemplary life could be seen as an altar, an offering, a living sacrifice poured out even upon the service of our faith. Phil. 2:17. “I am now ready to be offered.” His life had become a holy pilgrimage. “The time of my departure is at hand.” It had been a warfare with battles will won. It was faith’s fight, for grace’s flight to glory’s heights. He encourages us on to victory in the same type of conflicts – I Tim. 6:12, Phil. 1:27-30. Paul’s life could be seen as a course well run. He ran for the prize, according to the rules. Thank God he stayed on track (Acts 20:24). He admonishes us to run with patience. Paul’s life may also be seen as a trust and for faithfulness for which he received the Lord’s “WELL DONE.” I Tim. 6:20; II Tim. 1:14.

As Paul looked forward to a gracious flight, he also expresses elements involved in our preparation for leaving here. There is a GOOD FIGHT, A GREAT FINISH, and a GLORIOUS FUTURE. In a good fight, we are laying hold of that which is laid up and holding it fast. Paul’s course was a course of conduct as well as instruction. While sitting at Jesus’ feet, he was also walking by faith and running with patience. He had been learning by experience in it all, and now for him promotion into that eternal state was at hand. Yet the full rewards of graduation day await the time of commencement exercises. “At that day” – I Cor. 3:13-15 and 4:4-5. “For the day shall declare it.” “Henceforth,” a glorious future, with the crown of a winner, the right to reign, the sign of authority. Yet with this crown of glory, the full overcomer will use it as another way in which to give honor and glory to our victorious Lord, Putting it before His feet.

“KEPT THE FAITH:” This is a bottom line. It is impossible to please the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, without faith. Faith in the provision, power, and promise of God’s Word, serves to make us a good soldier, (II Tim. 2:3-5) and a great runner. Success is promised to those who continue in the faith. They that trust in the Lord with all their hearts and keep on trusting are winners. Our adversary would use times of great confusion and deep puzzlement to hinder our faith, getting our eyes off the prize. Thank God for the privilege of “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Paul’s keeping of the faith was indeed manifold. This was evident by obeying the Word, and also by committing his trust to Timothy and others. As he speaks of this wonderful “henceforth,” he is not just thinking of himself, full overcomers think also of the success and enjoyment of others.


Who wrote the book of Matthew?

I was asked to look into this because of arguments that it was not written by the apostle Matthew. I checked out what my Bible Encyclopedia said and found a long account from different sources about even the genuineness of the gospel by Matthew. I found nothing that led me to believe that Matthew did not write the book. In fact it wearied me to read all those opinions of men. There was a lot of mere conjecture, supposing this or that, comparing what one man wrote on the subject to what another had written.

The problem is approaching God’s Word not in faith, but with man’s intellect. Critics abound against all the Word of God. Let us look to see what does the Bible say? II Tim. 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”. II Pet. 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Yes, men do make mistakes, but not God. Is He not able to protect that which He has inspired to be written? Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Jesus sovereignly called Matthew (a despised publican that gathered taxes from the Jewish people, for the Roman government) to be His Disciple – Mt. 9:9; 10:3. He also was with the 120 when they were filled with the Holy Ghost – Acts 1:13. Matthew’s book was primarily written to the Jews. In it there are 60 references to Jewish prophecies and about 40 quotations from the Old Testament, showing that they were fulfilled in Christ, presenting Jesus as their promised kingly Messiah. To me this is proof that Matthew is truly a book inspired by the Holy Ghost. For the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) give a full well rounded portrait of our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew plainly pictures Christ as King. Mark tells of Jesus, the perfect Servant, in Luke we find the manhood of Christ, John gives Jesus Christ as the heavenly One (God).

Revelation 4:7 has these characteristics of our Lord as being worked in the lives of the four living creatures (overcoming saints) of the highest order. Scripture confirms scripture, Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”


Anita Clark, Pastor

Carbondale, Kansas

Everyone is concerned about the future. We might think, “How long will I live?” “Will I grow old and be dependent upon others, or will I go to be with Jesus at a younger age?” Praise be to our Savior Jesus Christ! He died to create forgiveness for our sins, but He arose from the grave on the third day to guarantee that all who believe will experience resurrection. When that takes place we will be given a new body, one that can live in the heavens with God the Father and the precious Lord Jesus and the great Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 15 is a chapter that dwells on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what transpired when He arose as Victor over all “principalities and power and rulers of darkness in high places.” Verses 3 & 4 says, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures;” Romans 4:25 tells us, “Who (Jesus) was delivered for our offenses (sins) and was raised again for our justification.”

Paul says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept…For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:17-20,22). Paul also emphasized in Romans 10:9 & 10, that to become a believer in Christ for salvation, we also must believe that Christ is raised from the dead. Truly, any human can die, perhaps a great martyr’s death, and be remembered for his good deeds for others, but our Lord Jesus not only died as the supreme sacrifice, but rose again as the Victor over death.

Every Christian should come to the place of victory over death. One glorious benefit of the natural death of a believer is that according to the Word of God, he lives on in the presence of God in Heaven. Paul said, “To depart and be with the Lord is far better.” Eternal life is just that, Eternal! One day soon the Lord will appear in the heavens and call us to be with Him. Believers who have died will be raised in a glorious new form, a new body like unto His glorious body. Then, those alive who are watching and waiting for the Lord to come will be caught up together with them in the clouds. Read this in I Thess. 4:12-18. Verse 17 says, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This is possible because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead guaranteeing our resurrection. Praise to the risen Lord!

Perilous Times

Gordon Crook

“This know  also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  2Timothy 3:1

Paul is not warning Timothy about physical dangers. The perils he warns of are far more dangerous. Spiritual perils that can draw Timothy (me, you) away from our walk with the Lord.

The traits mentioned by Paul are all traits that we see today. They are traits that have always been part of mankind, because they are traits of the old creation. Many things have changed over the years, but the nature of man has not.

The true danger of these things is their ability to draw us away from our relationship with our Lord. “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” This describes so much of the world today. Completely occupied with the pleasures of this world, but completely uninterested in God.

This same attitude can take us if we are not careful and aware. It is so easy to be distracted by the world’s pleasures and leave the Lord to the side. Paul is very concerned that Timothy be warned, and the Holy Spirit had this recorded for our benefit, as we also need the same warning.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” This is the condition of many today, even amongst professed Christians. Denying the power is to attempt on our own. The power of Godliness is the power of God’s grace to work in our lives a true Godliness. Many are interested in the appearance of Godliness, and the impression they can make to get other’s approval.

Satan will attempt to get us into this mode. Trying to work Godliness in ourselves, instead of allowing Him to do the work. We do not want to be just a “form” of Godliness, but have true Godliness worked in our lives through the life of Jesus in us. Much of the world wants to profess some sort of Godliness, or they may talk about “spirituality,” but they will not acknowledge God’s power to change lives.

Paul encourages Timothy to “shun,” stay away from this kind of person. Why? Because it can become tempting to follow that same ideology. The peril is not in the physical persecution, but in the spiritual harm that can come from being turned back to the things of the world.

At the end of this chapter, we find Paul encouraging Timothy to “continue” in the Word of God, which alone is able to complete the Christian for God’s purpose. Regardless of the condition of this world, we need to stay vigilant by continuing in God’s Word.

Be aware of the trap of Satan to distract you from the truth of God’s Word.


Corina Medina

Kansas City, Kansas

When there is such a flood of satanically inspired lies and deception. Jesus speaking to the Jews addressed this in John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.” Satan is a liar and the father of lies.

Recognizing this by the Word of God; we need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. John 16:13-14 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Again, seek His guidance into that which is true and good because wisdom shows us in Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” And Proverbs 10:29 “The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”

The prophet Jeremiah knew this and said, “Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” Jeremiah 10:23-24. In the book of Proverbs 3:5-6 there is a beautiful promise “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths.”

Time spent in God’s Word under the love and guidance of the blessed Holy Spirit is time well spent. Luke 10:38-42 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

So we would be the wiser in praying the prayer in Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”


Verta Giddings

Chapter 17; & Chapter 18:1-22
More Missionary Work

We will study the way the gospel was spread in Thessalonica, in Berea, in Athens, and in Corinth, cities in Greece.

The Word Preached at Thessalonica – Acts 17:1-9: No matter what sufferings the missionaries had endured at Philippi, this did not stop them from going on to other places. They came to Thessalonica, west of Philippi. Here they found a synagogue of the Jews. Paul preached to them out of their Old Testament Scriptures which showed that the Christ must suffer, die, and raise from the dead. Some Jews believed, some Greeks, and even a lot of the chief women also believed. The Jews who didn’t believe caused a lot of trouble, bringing them before the rulers of the city, claiming they were working against the Roman government. Finally they let them go. Just because we preach Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t obey the laws of our land, and know we need human government. The only thing is, that we must first obey God. He has to come before all others.

The Work in Berea – Acts 17:10-14:
The believers sent Paul and Silas away in the night from Thessalonica. They lost no time for they went into the synagogue. The people there showed how noble they were, for they listened to what the missionaries said, and looked it up for themselves. It says they searched the Word (Bible) daily to see it these things were so. Of course they were, but it was right that they check it out for themselves. We have the same privilege. A lot of people believed. The trouble makers from Thessalonica came to Berea and caused still more trouble. They stirred up the people. Again the brethren sent Paul away. They wanted people to believe he went by ship. Instead he sent by land to Athens. Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea for a time.

Paul at Athens – Acts 17:15-34:
While Paul waited for Silas and Timothy to come, his spirit was stirred in him when he saw all the idols there in Athens. He went to the synagogue of the Jews, as usual, but he also sent to the market place and spoke there. There were all kinds of superstitious folks who had images of lots and lots of so-called gods. (Now we know, as did Paul, that there is only One true God, the God of heaven. He is a triune being, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet He is Only One.) When Paul spoke of Jesus and the resurrection, they figured he was just speaking of still another god, of Whom they had never heard. They did want to hear Paul, since they always had ears to hear some new things.

They took him to Mars’ Hill, a high hill where they could hear him. Paul told them about their being superstitious. He said that among all the other altars, he found one, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Paul didn’t pretend that the idol represented the true God, but he used what was written there to declare unto them Jesus Christ. He said that the true God was the Creator, and that He gave to all life, and breath, and all things. He told them that they should seek the Lord, and they would find Him – V. 27. He also said that “In Him we live, and move and have our being.” He said we are God’s offspring, or child. Such being the case, they should not think that their gods which they had made, of gold, silver, or stone, were actually gods. Paul went on to talk about judgment day and that judgment would be by THAT MAN – which is Jesus – V. 31. He is the One who died and was raised from the dead. When they heard of the resurrection, some mocked, others said they would hear him again, and some believed. How could idols which people made with their own hands have any saving power? See Isa. 46:5-7 to see how ridiculous these thought are.

Paul at Corinth – Acts 18:1-17:
At Corinth, Paul found a Jew named Aquila with his wife Priscilla. They had been told to leave Rome, probably because of their teaching about Jesus. They were tentmakers, like Paul. That worked out fine, for Paul stayed with them. Of course, Paul went to the synagogue to tell about Jesus. Both Jews and Greeks were there to listen. It was at Corinth where Timothy and Silas caught up with him. They were an encouragement to Paul. The Jews, to whom he preached, didn’t want to hear that Jesus was the Christ. They worked against Paul and the others and blasphemed. Paul showed what he had to do at that time – he wouldn’t be preaching to the Jews, but rather go unto the Gentiles – V. 6.

So he left the Jews’ house of worship and went next door to the house of Justus, one who worshiped God. Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue believed on the Lord with all his household. Many of the Corinthians believed, and were baptized. It was there at Corinth, where the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to keep speaking out the Word, for there, were many in that city who would believe. He did keep speaking and stayed there one and one-half years. It seemed that they had a new deputy come on the scene. This gave the Jews ideas about coming more against Paul. The Jews tried to say that Paul was causing trouble, having people worship God contrary to the Law. Paul was about to tell the difference, but this deputy, Gallio, told them that he wouldn’t’ decide such issues as things about their law, so “forget it.” The Jews then took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue and beat him. He must have come to believe, like the other chief ruler did – Crispus – 18:8.

Paul went on from there after he stayed a good while, and sailed into Syria, along with Priscilla and Aquila. He stopped briefly in Ephesus, promised to come back if the Lord would permit.

Conclusion: What a busy life these missionaries had. They worked all the time. It was not easy for them to travel, either. Sailing was not all that pleasant, neither was walking over the rough roads, or going places where there were no roads. The main thing was – they had a message to give and they would give it, no matter what it cost. Are we willing to give the message to our friends and families, or the people in our neighborhood?
Continued in the nest issue

Portraits of Christ

Pastor Earlene Davis - Wichita, KS

I like the portrait of Christ found in Hebrews 2:10, “The Captain of their Salvation.” For He is the captain of my salvation, my captain.

In verses 5 through 8 of this chapter we find God’s purpose concerning His Son; that all things be put in subjection under the feet of Christ as Man (Jesus, the very God and very Man). Our Lord Himself looked forward to that time with expectation of His millennial reign. For we read in Hebrews 10:12-13, But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

Heb. 2:9 – “We see Jesus,”  by faith we behold Him now crowned with glory and honor, at God’s right hand. It was by God’s grace that he tasted death for every man.  Others will be associated with Him (V. 10), “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory.” What a journey, from glory that He had with the Father, down to earth and back to that Glory. It involved emptying Himself. Taking the form of a servant, becoming in the likeness of men, humbling Himself unto death, even the death of the cross. Despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and in it all learning obedience; making the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings.

May we always remember that we are one with Him. V. 11, “For He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Our Captain devoted Himself to that identification with His own. He set Himself apart unto that death, in order that we may share His risen life. He not only bore our sins on the cross, but He is faithfully interceding for us and getting us through this God-hating world, getting us home where He is. Heb. 2:17-18.

The sinless One, victorious over death will take His place as we read in Eph. 1:21-23 – “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

We are not yet glorified, Christ is. Phil. 2:9-11 – “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of  God the Father.”