What saith the word?
In Hebrews 11:7, we see that Noah had the faith to follow through on God’s commands even though no one alive at that time had ever seen a flood. Notice his faith: Hebrews 11:7 (KJV) By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
In Matthew 24 Jesus is speaking to the Jewish religious leaders about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., but in verse 35 He begins speaking about the end of the world and warning them of events that had not yet been seen, just like God warned Noah in his day of a world-wide flood. Matthew 24:36-40 (KJV) “36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Jesus noted in Noah’s day that many people were occupied with the daily activities of eating, drinking and being married, but they were oblivious to the coming destruction of the flood. Jesus applies this fact of history to the Jewish leaders to point out the coming destruction of Jerusalem (24: 1-34-) as well as the end of the world (24:35-25:46) which will occur someday.
A lesson we can learn from this is that many are busy with life, but should be aware of the coming judgment day. Many today do not believe the historical account of Noah’s ark, but Jesus both knew it was true and used it to teach a lesson about the judgment day. Peter builds upon this lesson in 1 Peter 3:21 (KJV) “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Jesus taught there was a judgment day coming, and Peter emphasizes that obedience to God allowed water to save Noah and his family from the sinful world. In a similar fashion, obedience to God’s commands allows water to save us from this sinful world.
A local church is going to be about as strong and sound as the preaching it receives and is willing to endure and support. Paul's solemn charge to Timothy (2 Tim 4:1-4) had a sense of urgency about it. Preach the word now, while brethren will endure it, or face a time when they will not.
As of lately, I have been paying particular attention as brethren (preachers and otherwise) express their concerns about the churches of today. One dominant concern seems to be the caliber of preaching coming from our pulpits. A majority of pulpits are preaching soft feel good sermons and are no different than the other churches surrounding them. Strong congregations cannot be built and maintained on this type of teaching. The sad thing is that many churches had rather have watered down sermons than real spiritual food. As long as churches demand it, there will be those who are willing to be paid to NOT preach the Gospel.
Sermons and classes with real doctrine content are held in disfavor by many of today's churches. The demand is for more "relevant" matters. Topics that address so-called "real problems" and "real life concerns" of "today's Christian" are replacing those that deal with what the Book says about man's basic spiritual problem, sin; and his real basic needs of conviction of sin and the salvation of his soul. It seems often that ministers that entertain and make brethren feel good about themselves, rather than producing godly sorrow leading to repentance or any real depth of Scriptural knowledge, are given the most favored status among brethren. Sermons that really teach the Bible are considered "uninteresting," "too structured," and even "crude" by some. All too often preachers who resort to such are asked to find some place else to do their preaching.
A congregation constantly fed on milk (or less) will not develop an appetite for sound doctrine. Those who may have had an appetite will soon lose it and possibly leave. Without a desire for sound doctrine churches are vulnerable to all kinds of fables or doctrines Neither motivational hype nor emotional manipulation is gospel preaching. It may enhance the speaker's standing with brethren as a dynamic speaker. But, it will not produce a well-grounded faith based upon a "thus saith the Lord."
Brethren, our preaching must follow the pattern that Paul outlined to Timothy. In form, it must have a well-rounded combination of reproving, rebuking and exhorting. In substance, it must have doctrine as the base. It is not an accident that Paul, in the preceding chapter, shows the Scriptures to be profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16). Book, chapter, and verse preaching and teaching that quotes or reads Scriptures and then makes clear applications of the reading is seldom the desire today, but it is what once made preachers and congregations great!
1 Corinthians 1:8 (KJV) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The power to perform miracles was a gift present in the first century church of Christ. How long was this miraculous phenomenon to abide? We cannot know exactly. At the very least, miracles died with those who possessed them once there were no more apostle to bestow gifts “through the laying on of hands” (Acts 8:17-18). Some suggest they will last until Christ returns. One of the passages used in attempting to establish this idea is 1 Corinthians 1:8 where Paul, addressing the saints in Corinth, declared that God “shall confirm you unto the end, that you may be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is the argument some make. Miracles were designed to confirm (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3,4), and since the confirmation was to continue to “the end” (1 Corinthians 1:8), it is obvious that miracles were continue to the end, i.e., until the coming of Christ.
The argument is flawed in several ways. The purpose of miracles was to confirm the truth of the gospel (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3,4) – not people per se; yet this passage speaks of confirming Christians. Obviously the confirmation here suggested is not the same as in these other contexts. The passage no more asserts that miracles will continue to the end of time than it argues the Corinthians themselves would continue to live unto the end of time.
The term “end” (telos) can mean “to the uttermost” (ex. John 13:1), and therefore is not confined to a reference of specific time. Later in this same book Paul contends that supernatural gifts will continue only until “the perfect thing,” i.e., the completion of New Testament revelation, comes (1 Corinthians 13:8ff). We know logically, that the apostle writing through inspiration does not contradict himself in 1 Corinthian 1:8 and 13:8ff.
Some of the Corinthians had miraculous gifts which could confirm the miraculous gifts given by the Apostles, and the authenticity of their faith. However, the point is that Christ would confirm them to the “uttermost” in the “day of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Christ’s confirmation of the faithful Christian is far superior to the earthly confirmation of Miraculous gifts which were available in the first century. Not only does this verse not teach the continuance of gifts, it teaches there is a greater confirmation by our Lord at the judgment of all men (John 12:48).
It is impossible for anyone to have predicted with accuracy all the things found in the New Testament. Yet, that is exactly what we find in the prophecies of the Old Testament which point to the events recorded in the New Testament.
Who could have predicted a child to be called "Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6), who would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14), who would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3), who would save only a remnant of Israel (Isaiah 37:31), who would be lead as a sheep to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), who would be resurrected keeping his body from seeing corruption (Isaiah 38:17)? Who could have predicted the rise and fall of kingdoms like Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre and Sidon, the fall of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27), the subjugation of the Medes and Persians to the Grecians, and a fourth kingdom mightier than those at which time God would set up His kingdom (Daniel2:44)? Who could have predicted the things surrounding Jesus' death, the lots cast for his garments (Isaiah 53:12), the pierced hands and feet (Psalm 22:16), while not a bone being broken in his body like the passover lamb (Psalm 34:20)? Who could have predicted that in three days He would be raised from the dead (Hosea 6:2)? What other book shows such a united theme and such divine wisdom in predictive prophecy? These features are missing from any other book claiming to be inspired.
Even if someone could have predicted these things, who could have made them happen just as prophesied? The odds of this occurring apart from inspiration is1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. An amazing feature found in the Old Testament is the many direct prophecies of Christ, which when combined with the miraculous events, confirm His Deity and his being part of the Godhead. This is only a small portion of the many reasons I know the Bible is inspired, accurate, truthful, and the only Guide for the follower of God today!