The

SUSQUEHANNA SENTINEL


January 12, 2003


POWER TO FORGIVE SINS

In the first 12 verses of chapter 2, Mark tells us that Jesus “entered Capernaun after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. And when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic. “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’ - He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.’ And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’”

So many people had gathered in the house where Jesus was staying that the paralytic and his friends could not get in the door, but they were so intent on seeing Jesus that they took shingles off and let their friend down through the roof. No wonder the text says “Jesus saw their faith.” This passage reminds us of James 2:18, “I will show you my faith by my works.” The faith of the paralytic and his friends was evident by what they did. They believed Jesus could heal. Jesus could and did heal him - but Jesus also did something for him that they probably did not so much as suspect He could do. Jesus forgave the man’s sins. It was, of course, Jesus’ statement remitting the man’s sins that caused the scribes to accuse Him of blasphemy. They rightly recognized that the power to absolve a person of sin rests with God alone and that to claim that power was to claim Deity, Matt. 9:3; Luke 5:21. Jesus’ claim to do what only God can do must have attracted the full attention of everyone in the audience that day. Every eye must have been fixed on Jesus as He reminded those scribes that it was no more difficult to forgive sins than to miraculously, instantly heal a man in the condition of this man. Neither could be done without Divine power. The primary reason Jesus worked miracles was to establish His identity as the Son of God. The reason He passed that power on to His apostles was to prove to all who heard them preach that their message was from God.

--Clarence R. Johnson


"UNTO US GOD REVEALED"

Revelation is the "Act of revealing; the disclosing to others of what was before unknown to them." Paul said, concerning the gospel of Christ, "We speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden." (I Cor. 2:7). The gospel was not a mystery in our present sense of "mysterious" "occult" or "spooky;" but it was God's military secret-His plan for overcoming the powers of Satan. Wicked people "made covenants" with the Satanic powers (Isa. 28:14-f); but God planned to lay in Zion "a precious cornerstone of sure foundation" and break this covenant. Because the "rulers of this world" did not know God's secret, they crucified the Lord of glory, (I Cor. 2:8) but in His resurrection Christ "led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." Eph. 4:8.

Continuing with Eph. 4:11 we read, "And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." These were divinely inspired men unto whom God revealed the mystery, in order that they might make known, through the church, His wisdom. (Cf . Eph. 3:9f.) The "us" of our subject (I Cor. 2:10 refers to such men, who received God's truths through revelation. TODAY WE ARE CONVINCED OF TRUTH, THROUGH FAITH IN THE INSPIRED WORDS WHICH THESE MEN PENNED.

Paul declares, Eph. 3:2f; "If so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that grace of God which was given me to you-ward: how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit." The apostles and prophets (of New Testament) received t r u t h through revelation, but others must READ WHAT THEY WROTE.

In Ezek. 13 God issues a solemn warning to those who "prophesy out of their own heart is," "that say, 'Jehovah saith,' but Jehovah hath not sent them." Yet, the religious world today is filled with so-called prophets who lightly rattle, "God told me this-" and "God told me that--." Several months ago a divorced woman, who did not even claim a scriptural cause, became very angry when I refused to officiate at a second marriage. She said, "I asked God about this, and He said it was all right." Opening the Bible, I suggested, "Let me ask God, and see what he says." When I began to read from Matt. 19 and I Cor. 7, the woman was appalled. She could scarcely believe that anyone, even Matthew or Paul, would question what "God told her."

The apostle Peter, knowing that he must die, wrote "I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my decease to call these things to remembrance." (2 Pet. 1:15). Again, 3:1f. "This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance; that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles." Luke announced (Lu. 1:3-4) that he would write "that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed."

The written Word of God is our rule of faith and practice, and we demonstrate our respect for the authority of heaven by the way we accept and adhere to this TRUTH. The gospel of Christ, revealed unto chosen witnesses, confirmed by "signs following," is contained in the written Word. Let us not imagine a vain revelation, but let us study what was written for our instruction, "rightly dividing the word of truth."

--Robert F. Turner, Truth Magazine, May 1957


WHAT WE’VE BEEN “ASKING FOR” – OR MERCY?

“The woman was always frequenting small antique shops, but regardless of what she saw there, she always complained about something. The quality was poor, the prices too high, or the selection was limited. The shop owners took it in stride, but one day, while ranting and raving, she yelled at the clerk, ‘Why is it I never manage to get what I ask for in your shop?’ The clerk smiled and replied, ‘Possibly, because we're too polite.’”

The above story is one I received from an email list that sends me a daily joke. I love truth, and I like humor. I especially like humor that illustrates truth.

I have frequently heard someone proclaim, “I just want to get what’s coming to me.” But I suspect, in most cases, that statement is not true. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned, and that we fall short of what God would have us be, Rom. 3:23. A few chapters later, the same Bible declares that “the wages of sin is death,” (Rom. 6:23). Since we have all worked sin and earned death, we do not really want to get what’s coming to us. Rather, we want mercy. We want forgiveness. We want another chance. And, God be praised, that is what Jesus has provided for us by His sacrificial death. Though the wages of sin is death, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:23).

Thank God, we can have forgiveness of our sins. On the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, Peter used the Old Testament Scriptures to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, the Messiah, the king the Israelite people had looked for, and hoped for, for centuries. He declared, “‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’" (Acts 2:36-39)

--Clarence R. Johnson


TRUTH MAKES CHRISTIANS

A perverted gospel cannot save. Jesus declared that it is the knowledge of truth, not the belief of error, that makes men free. (John 8:32). Though a perverted gospel may have in it all the elements of the true gospel, its power to save is lost in perversion. Bread is God's power to quell the hunger, but the admixture of a poisonous element - a spoonful of arsenic, for instance, in a loaf of bread - would destroy its power. Water is God's power to quench the thirst, but the admixture of salt will destroy the quenching power of water.

The gospel is God's power to save the soul, but its admixture with error - the doctrines and commandments of men, when heard and believed - destroys its saving power. Hence, Paul's alarm concerning the perverters at Galatia: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ." (Gal. 1:6-7)

Error preached, error heard, and error believed cannot result in the truth obeyed. No man can accidentally obey God. The truth preached, the truth believed, and the truth obeyed makes a Christian. Nothing else does. How careful then men should be in their handling of it!

-- Foy E. Wallace, Jr.


UPCOMING GOSPEL MEETING SCHEDULE

Dates
Congregation
Speaker

March 21-23

Hyde Park, PA

Pat Donahue


It is better to make a good life than a good living.


MORE INFORMATION...

Clarence R. Johnson
Evangelist
Phone: (717) 361-6212
E-mail: clarencejohnson@comcast.net

Building
30 Apple Avenue
Marietta, Pennsylvania
Parking at 19 West Walnut Street
Phone: (717) 426-4537
Click here to see a map on Yahoo!

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 463
Marietta, Pennsylvania 17547

Meeting Times
Sunday
Bible Classes 9:00 a.m.
Worship Service 10:00 a.m.
Evening Worship 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday
Bible Classes 7:00 p.m.

Web Site
http://susquehannachurchofchrist.org

Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth

John 4:24