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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Flower painting (photo by Doris High)
I was moseying over on Doris High's photo blog and saw this creative art project. It appears to be a yellow flower but the true surface may surprise you. Answer below.

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Note: This message is related to one we shared last week titled "The Demonizing Of Virtue" (Calling Good Evil).  We pray that we will "stimulate you to wholesome thinking" (2 Peter 3:1).

"Suppressing The Truth"

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20).

Cough suppressantI periodically get a cough which I have a hard time restraining. This can be awkward in social situations and annoying to my family. I have found a medical product helpful during times like this and actually keep a supply on hand. It's a medicine that suppresses my urge to cough, otherwise known as a cough suppressant. Better sleep for me and Brooksyne!

There are a number of suppressant products available on the market such as appetite suppressants, sleep suppressants and fire suppressants. All have the characteristic of suppressing (restraining, blocking or repressing).

But today we write about an all too common suppressant permeating our world that believers must fully resist. We're speaking of the truth suppressant!

The first chapter of Romans is one of the grand passages of the Bible, which many have called Paul's Magnus Opus. 
Magnus Opus comes from the Latin meaning "great work", and refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, composer or craftsman. Great writers have spent volumes delving into the rich truths of the Book of Romans, most notably D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who wrote a 14 volume commentary titled "Exposition of Romans".

Today's passage is hard to preach and equally challenging to summarize in a few paragraphs! So let's just consider a powerful phrase that has been a human condition from the time of the Fall but  seems to be increasing rapidly in our age: "Men who suppress the truth by their wickedness."

"Suppress" translates a Greek word "κατεχοντων" which literally means "to hold down or to quash". It is in the present tense which indicates that ungodly men and women are continually, actively, willfully (active voice), deliberately restraining, hindering and withholding the truth about God. Note also the active voice which indicates this is a volitional choice, a choice of their will! The word conveys the picture of putting all one's weight upon something in an effort to restrict it’s free movement, in this case to restrict the free movement of truth which sets men free.

"The truth" Kenneth Wuest observes in this passage, "The truth here is not the gospel, for all men do not possess a knowledge of it. The truth here is found in the context, the fact of a supreme Being with divine attributes to whom worship and obedience are due." Paul asserts that those things involving God's existence, power and nature are clearly visible, but humankind ignores or suppresses the truth through the addition of beliefs, customs and traditions. Though truth remains, it is hidden behind a screen of falsehoods that few attempt to uncover.

This truth being seen by all men through their observation of the created universe, which demands a Creator to answer for its existence. The human race, while possessing this truth, holds it down (suppresses) in the sense of refusing to acknowledge its moral implications, and goes on in sin.

"In unrighteousness" The Precept Austin online commentary makes this observation, "For Paul, fear of eternal condemnation was the first motivation he offered for coming to Christ, the first pressure he applied to evil men. He was determined that they understand the reality of being under God’s wrath before he offered them the way of escape from it. That approach makes both logical and theological sense. A person cannot appreciate the wonder of God’s grace until he knows about the perfect demands of God’s law, and he cannot appreciate the fullness of God’s love for him until he knows something about the fierceness of God’s anger against his sinful failure to perfectly obey that law. He cannot appreciate God’s forgiveness until he knows about the eternal consequences of the sins that require a penalty and need forgiving."

Indeed many "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" but we want to be among those who faithfully and boldly proclaim the truth in righteousness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have made Your truth known to both the and unrighteous. Your Personhood is evident to all living creatures, though many turn away, ignore, or devise a false theology veiling or hiding the truth. They resist the truth of who You are by their sinful lifestyle and their destiny is doomed. Your invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature has been visible since the time of creation, and we are grateful for Your revelation to all who seek the truth. Amen.

Later in this chapter we read,
"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen" (Romans 1:25). Among so many aspects of God's truth being suppressed consider the tireless efforts of secularists to suppress any notion at all of their being a Creator.

A Deluding Influence A powerful portion that is interesting to study in regard to today's message is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Especially these verses, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

I wonder if we are living in the age when this deluding influence is being sent out in a distinct way?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"  Video  A great hymn based on 2 Timothy 1:12.

I meant to share this note with yesterday's message on a passion to communicate:

Many preachers have read a classic, "Preaching and Preachers" by D.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

In July, 1959 Martyn Lloyd-Jones and his wife Bethan were on vacation in Wales. They attended a little chapel for a Sunday morning prayer meeting and Lloyd-Jones asked them, "Would you like me to give a word this morning?"

The people hesitated because it was his vacation and they didn't want to presume on his energy. But his wife said, "Let him, preaching is his life". It was a true statement. In the preface of, Preaching and Preachers, he said, "Preaching has been my life's work ... to me the work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called."

See this post from Doris High's blog for an explanation of the mystery photo above.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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