Unreasonable People

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14, KJV

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world,” wrote George Bernard Shaw. “The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”1

Christians are, in a sense, unreasonable people. We are nonconformists and counter culturists. We don’t love the world or the things in the world. We’re citizens of another kingdom, and we don’t adapt well to this one. We do our best to get along, to love our neighbor, to do all the good we can, and to be wise and winsome. But the older translations called us “peculiar.”

Exodus 19:5 says if we obey His voice and keep His covenant, we’ll be His “peculiar treasure.” Deuteronomy 14:2 says God has chosen us to be a “peculiar people unto himself.” First Peter 2:9 says we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.”2 The essence of who we are matters, for we belong to Almighty God and we’re His peculiar treasure.

Our business today is to be New Testament Christians, proclaim New Testament Christianity, and build New Testament churches. That seems simple enough … but just try it in dead-earnest and see what happens! Vance Havner

Defeating False Teachers

2 Peter 2:1-3

Outside a grocery store one evening, I watched two young men confronting shoppers with an erroneous statement about scriptural teaching. Anyone who seemed vague about the Christian faith was invited to learn “what God really said” at a Bible study. I was not invited. In fact, the men abandoned me quickly when I used Scripture to defend my beliefs.

False teachers want to create uncertainty in their listeners. In order to gain followers, these deceivers claim to possess knowledge that their audience lacks. The people who accept this misleading information as absolute truth will usually return to the false teacher for more. Having followers, in turn, strokes the misguided leader’s ego and provides “proof” that he’s right.

Those who have a sound doctrine won’t be led astray. That’s why it is so important for our faith to rest on biblical truth—for example, the fact that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind, the Holy Spirit dwells in believers, and Christians will one day be resurrected bodily. Defeating false teachers takes more than “my pastor says … ” When confronted, we must defend our faith with Scripture that we ourselves have studied. By regularly reading and applying God’s Word, we will be better prepared to defend our beliefs when presented with untruth.

Building a sound doctrine protects believers from misleading messages and arms them to defend the faith. Do not be caught unprepared. If you haven’t already started, begin to study the Bible today. Should you need help, ask your pastor or a godly mentor for guidance.

Jeremiah and Inspiration

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

Contained within the books of the Old Testament are nearly three thousand claims to its precise trustworthiness. Over and over again, the various authors claim to be communicating the very words of God.

A number of such claims were recorded by Jeremiah in his book. As we see in our text, Jeremiah was somewhat discouraged with the lack of response to his ministry. But, just as he decided to refrain from passing on God’s Word to the people, he felt an inner burning, recognizing that these words were much too important to ignore. These words had come from God Himself!

On other occasions, he heard the words of God directly and was commanded to pass them on with precision. “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not [literally ‘to shave,’ or ‘to lessen in effect’] a word” (Jeremiah 26:2). This straightforward teaching of verbal inspiration is applied to the written accounts, as well: “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book” (Jeremiah 30:1-2).

This book, which throughout contains such strong condemnation of falsehood, and which was written over a period of more than two thousand years by numerous authors, yet without any contradiction between these writers, surely is the Word of the eternal, holy God. It is the information our Creator knows we need. JDM

He Accepts Us

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. —John 6:37

We know about His divine Person, we know that He is the Lamb of God who suffered and died in our place. We know all about His credentials. Yet we let Him stand outside on the steps like some poor timid fellow who is hoping he can find a job.

We look Him over, then read a few more devotional verses, and ask: “What do you think, Mabel? Do you think we ought to accept Him? I really wonder if we should accept Him.”

And so, in this view, our poor Lord Christ stands hat-in-hand, shifting from one foot to another looking for a job, wondering whether He will be accepted.

Meanwhile, there sits the proud Adamic sinner, rotten as the devil and filled with all manner of
spiritual leprosy and cancer. But he is hesitating; he is judging whether or not he will accept

Doesn’t that proud human know that the Christ he is putting off is the Christ of God, the eternal Son who holds the worlds in His hands? Does he not know that Christ is the eternal Word, the Jesus who made the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein?… The question ought not to be whether I will accept Him; the question ought to be whether He will accept me!

Lord, thank You for Your mercy and Your grace, for paying my debt so I can be “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Amen.

Is God Far Away

Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar of?… Do not I fill heaven and earth? (Jeremiah 23:24)

I remember the words of a little song I heard when I was young about God’s presence “Far Away Beyond the Star-lit Sky.”

That is really where mankind has placed God. He is far away, out there somewhere beyond the star-lit sky.

As men and women in this world, we are prone to think of God’s presence in terms of space, as we understand it. We think in terms of light years or meters or miles or fathoms. We think of God as dwelling in space—which He does not! God is not contained in heaven and earth as some seem to think.

God in His person and His attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in the ocean depths.

Why, then, does man say “God is far, far away!”? Because of the complete dissimilarity between the nature of the holy God and the perverted nature of sinful man!

The church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord

At this hour the church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road; through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. To bear the cross is her office and yet the church has a deep well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children. There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Saviour’s case, we have our seasons of intense delight, for “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God.” Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in him we exceedingly rejoice.