The

SUSQUEHANNA SENTINEL


November 2, 2003


JESUS IS NEAR

In Mark 7:24-30, and the parallel account in Matt. 15:21-28, a Gentile woman had approached Jesus on behalf of her young daughter who was demon-possessed. Jesus' response to her, when translated into English, sounds harsh. Since His earthly ministry was directed primarily toward the Jews, He had said to her, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." It is this writer's conviction that Jesus took the approach He did with this lady to test her faith and her willingness to humble herself in His presence. It was common for Jews of that day to refer to Gentiles as dogs. Though Jesus does likewise, He used a more gentle word than was commonly used. Normally the Greek word used was one that referred to the wild dogs that roamed the streets in search of whatever garbage they could find. Jesus used a word for a small house pet. This would have taken much if not all the sting out of His allusion -- but it left in her an obvious need for humility and subjection.

The woman responded exactly as she should have done. When the conversation ended, Matthew shows that Jesus exclaimed: "O woman, great is your faith!" (Matt. 5:28).

Now, let us take a closer look at the faith of this Gentile woman. Though she was a Gentile, she had a knowledge of the Messianic promises. She referred to Jesus as the Son of David, Matt. 15:22.

But she recognized Jesus, not only as the Son of David, but as her own Lord, Matt. 15:25, 27. And not only had she recognized Jesus as Christ and Lord, but she also understood correctly His Deity and worshiped Him accordingly, Matt. 15:25.

Throughout the Scriptures, good men and angels always rejected any worship directed toward themselves, Acts 10:25; Rev. 19:10. But Jesus repeatedly allowed men and women to worship Him - because He is Divine.

Now, let us focus on the statement in Mark 7:24 that Jesus "could not be hidden." The context shows that Jesus and His apostles, after a busy day, had sought solitude that they may relax. But Jesus was needed and He will not be hidden from any who realize their need and seek Him diligently.

His call rings clear: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). In John 6:37, He promises, "The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out."

At the end of the series of visions recorded in the book of Revelation, Jesus dictates to the apostle John one last invitation: "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). The Lord may be hidden from those who are not seeking Him, but for those who seek, "He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:27).

--Clarence R. Johnson


GOD'S PATTERN

Patterns are an important part of our lives in many ways. When a contractor builds a house, he follows a pattern known as a "blueprint." When a mechanic repairs your car, he uses a pattern known as an auto repair manual. When a mother sews a dress for her small daughter, she follows a "dress pattern." And when your favorite cake is made, the cook followed a pattern called a "recipe." 

In each case there is a standard pattern to be followed to achieve the desired results or the correct end product. The pattern must be followed or the end product will not be faithful to the original pattern and the results could be disastrous. The house not built to pattern may leak or worse, it may collapse; the car not repaired by the manual may run like a "lemon" or not run at all; the dress not made by the pattern may look more like a clown outfit; and the cake not made by the recipe could wind up unfit for the family dog. Many people who have the common sense to recognize the need to faithfully follow patterns in their everyday lives, fail to recognize the most important pattern of all . . . the Bible. God has always provided a pattern for His people to serve as a guide to worship and service acceptable to Him.

In the Old Testament, God led the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt down to the foot of Mt. Sinai. There God called Moses up the mountain and gave him a "pattern" of laws and a "pattern" for a place of worship for the Jews. As God gave Moses this divine pattern, He also gave a warning: "According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so ye shall make it" (Ex. 25:9). And He repeated this warning: "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shown thee in the mount" (Ex. 25:40).

Following God's pattern, the Jews constructed the tabernacle, a tent, and fashioned all the articles for worship to be placed within and without the tabernacle, the brazen altar, the laver, the golden candlestick, and table of shewbread, the altar of incense and the ark of the covenant. For over 500 years the tabernacle served as the place of worship for the Jews.

Not all the Jews heeded God's warning through Moses to follow His pattern. Two priests determined to disregard God's pattern of worship and follow their own worship. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron "offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not" (Lev. 10:1). The consequences of violating God's divine order were immediate and dire, "And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord" (Lev. 10:2). God's drastic punishment of these two men was for our benefit to teach us to treat His pattern with respect and obedience.

When David became king of the Jews, he planned to build a permanent place of worship, a temple, in the city of Jerusalem. While David was not allowed by the Lord to actually build the temple, David did make all the plans and preparations for the construction of the temple which he passed on to his son Solomon to complete. As David commissioned Solomon to build the temple, he explained the source of the blueprints, "'All this,' said David, 'the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern'" (1 Chron. 28:19). David urged Solomon to follow God's pattern in the commands of His Law as well as building His temple.

Despite God's warnings, again the Jews failed to faithfully respect and keep God's pattern. Towards the end of his life Solomon drifted away from God and His commandments. Following Solomon under the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, more Jewish kings were unfaithful rather than faithful to the Lord. Because of the apostasy of the Jews, God allowed them to be taken into captivity and the temple to be destroyed.

While in captivity in Babylon, God sent a special vision of the temple to the prophet Ezekiel. In the vision Ezekiel saw a man with a measuring rod measuring God's temple and all the articles in it. Why? What was the meaning of the vision? "Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern" (Ezek. 43:10).

Just as God gave the Jews a pattern through Moses and David, He has given us a pattern of work and worship through Christ and His apostles. The Old Testament, the tabernacle and the temple were only "a copy and a shadow of heavenly things" that are now provided for us by Christ under the New Testament.

The pattern Christians have to follow is complete and sufficient. It is complete as it has "given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3). It is sufficient as it "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

As God warned the Jews not to violate or tamper with His pattern, He warns us also. 

1. We must obey God's pattern. It is necessary to obey "that form (pattern) of doctrine which was first delivered to you" (Rom. 6:17). To fail to obey His pattern leads to sin and spiritual death (Rom. 6:18-23).

2. We must walk by God's pattern. The inspired apostles, led by the Holy Spirit are an "example" or pattern for us to learn from, imitate and walk after (Phil. 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:9).

3. We must keep God's pattern. "Hold fast the form (pattern) of sound words, which thou hast heard of me. . ." Paul instructed (2 Tim. 1: 13).

4. We must make all things by God's pattern. As Moses was warned to follow the pattern of God in all things, so God warns us in the New Testament ". . . for 'See,' sayeth He, 'that thou make all things according to the pattern . . .'" (Heb. 8:5).

Will you heed the warning?

--Wayne Greeson, Guardian of Truth, 3-19-87


UPCOMING GOSPEL MEETING SCHEDULE

Dates
Congregation
Speaker

Nov. 7-9, 2003

Piscataway, NJ

Jesse Flowers

Nov. 10-14, 2003

Annandale, VA

Various Speakers

Nov. 14-16, 2003

Bethlehem, PA

Doug Focht


The Bible is the only mirror into which a man can look and see himself as God sees him.


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

To Request Bible Correspondence Course, Send Email To:
biblestudy@susquehannachurchofchrist.org

Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth

John 4:24