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Thursday, March 31, 2016

A field of Daffodils across the Potomac River from Washington 3/25/16
One more photo from our trip to Washington last week. We rented bikes and rode across the Potomac River on a walking/bike trail along the river across from the city. It was a memorable ride since the heavens opened and cold rain drenched us making the bridge seem like it was several miles long. This beautiful field of daffodils we viewed just before approaching the bridge.

"One God, One Mediator"

Message Summary:
The early apostles proclaimed, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And in our main daily text the apostle Paul wrote, "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).

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"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time" (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

1 Timothy 2:5For many years I have appreciated the simple, framed Scripture prints made by a faithful Canadian, Walter Kember, who has been with the Lord for many years. I have several and also have collected photos of various Scripture verses that have been made into a "Kember print". I add the collected prints to a webpage and last week I received a print with a Scripture text I had not previously seen on a Kember print (right).

1 Timothy 2:5 is one of the great verses that teach the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His singular role as the one and only mediator between God and man.

New Testament with "One Way" decalIn the early seventies a popular expression used among young Christians was the upraised "One Way" index finger, proclaiming that Jesus is the one and only way to heaven.

In the halls of Truman High School, a large public high school in Independence, Missouri it was a gesture we often shared with other Christian students, no words required, simply the index finger pointed upward.  I still have a paperback NT I used at that time with a large "One Way Jesus" decal on the back. (on left)

Years ago I was at a family reunion
in Oklahoma and met some college students on a leadership retreat. One young lady had a t-shirt that displayed Greek characters. I looked at the shirt, recognized the Greek ego eimi (ἐγώ εἰμι)  and pronounced the words and then translated the phrase to English beginning with "I am".

We visited for a few minutes and her campus ministry leader came along and shared with us as well. The shirt was an expression of her faith in Christ. She told me that I was the first one who had ever come up and read the verse to her and then translated it, but the intent was for others to approach her and ask, "What does that mean?" This would then give her an opportunity to express her faith. Now that's an interesting witnessing approach!

The Greek phrase printed on the student's T-shirt included the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ taken from John 14:6. Translated into English they read, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

(The entire verse states, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.")

But today let us focus on the text found on the Kember print, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Pastor Steven Cole of the Flagstaff Christian Fellowship comments, "Although  there  are  many  different  types  of men,  there  is only  one  true  God  for  all  men,  and  He has provided only one way of salvation for all. That one  way  of  salvation  involves  a  mediator  between  God and  men,  the  man  Christ  Jesus. In  order  for  God  to  be  reconciled to sinful man, man had to pay for his sin. The price was death, because the wages of sin is death. But God provided a representative man  to  be  the  substitute  for  all  other  men  through  His  death.  He became  the  ransom,  the  one  who  paid  the  price  to  release  us  from bondage to sin and judgment. This ransom is sufficient for all who will receive it."

That is the essential message we must present to our world. Those of us who boldly and unashamedly assert the Biblical exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father are increasingly maligned as being ignorant and intolerant. Well, so be it. That is what our Lord Jesus and the apostles taught! Today, and even when the Son of Man walked on the earth, His statement might be considered the very essence of intolerance.

We hear a lot today about tolerance. It seems to me that tolerance is reckoned as among the greatest virtues of the modern age and being labeled as intolerant is anathema. But the people who tend to cry intolerant are themselves very intolerant of those not holding their view! It's one of the great issues in the continued "no absolutes" mindset that our culture is bombarded with. This is particularly damaging to impressionable young people and is infecting the church as well.

Although the concept of absolute or relative truth may seem merely philosophical to some, it is at the very heart of our battle against the forces of evil. It's deadly. The Scriptures declare, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). But today scores of people contend that there are many valid views about what constitutes right or wrong. However, interestingly views that had one time been considered "right" on many issues are now considered "wrong" and thus not tolerated. Even asserting that there is a single right way is unloving and intolerant to many.

The early apostles were also very "intolerant" in this regard. They proclaimed, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And in our main daily text the apostle Paul wrote, "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).

May God help us to faithfully contend for the truth and the faith once for all entrusted to the saints! (See Jude 3.) Tomorrow is April Fool's Day and we will share a message titled "The Blessing Of 'Becoming A Fool'" based on 1 Corinthians 3:18,19 in which we will further develop this theme.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there are so many luring paths one might take in this vast world, thinking they're headed the right way, only to find the long roads lead to a dead end. As believers, we know that there is only one way to reconcile ourselves to You, our Father in heaven, and that is through Christ Jesus Your Son who declares, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". We cannot earn our salvation because You give it freely though it came at great cost. We choose to receive Your gift of salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. We are immensely grateful for Your love and generosity toward us through the merciful sacrifice of Your beloved Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Brian at Vallorbs 3/30/16
Yesterday I was visiting with Brian, a newer employee in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. He shared some of his life story with me which included ten years in the state pen for armed robbery. He got married following his recent release and is striving to get his life back on track and to stay on track. Although I didn't get his full story he did receive ministry while in prison. I encouraged him to get involved in a local church which will assist in his stability and illustrated by stating how the chaplain and chapel services had that impact while in prison. He agreed and referred to the impact of "Chaplain Frank", which sounded familiar to me. He went on to specify Frank Lewis, whom it turns out is a friend of mine and the lead chaplain in the western Pennsylvania state prison where Brian served his time. I showed Brian a photo of Frank taken awhile back at a chaplain's conference. I contacted Frank, a rather interesting and colorful brother, to share about meeting Brian and he was quite pleased to hear that Brian is doing well. (see 3 John 1:4)

With Gene at Macit 3/30/16
Yesterday it was a blessing to visit in a machine shop for a few minutes with 92 year old Gene, a WW2 vet, who worked till just two years ago. He had stopped back by the factory to greet his friends. Several years ago the Lancaster newspaper featured an article on our chaplaincy ministry which included a photo of me with Gene. He still gets around very well, but yesterday was using a walker. A sad sign of our age's evil was that several weeks ago he was mugged by a young teenager who reached into Gene's front pants from behind him and stole his wallet. However Lancaster City has one of the most extensive camera surveillance systems in the country, and when Gene reported the incident to police, they found the thief and his crime captured on video.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No Other Name But Jesus
"  Video  Steve Green, Bill Gaither, Jon Mohr and Gary McSpadden

"I Am"  Video  Bradley Knight with Prestonwood Baptist Choir & Orchestra

Kember Scripture Prints

Pastor Steven Cole of the Flagstaff Christian Fellowship is a faithful expositor Of God's Word and has placed many of his teachings on the internet. The selection used in today's message is from here. I suppose he wouldn't be one of the more famous preachers of our time and it does not appear he serves a megachurch but it has long been my observation and contention that some of the most solid preaching, faithful to God's Word, is taking place each Lord's Day all over the world in smaller and medium sized churches. It's not flashy and thus probably won't draw a large following. This summer I have a chaplain conference in Arizona and hope to visit this church and meet Pastor Cole.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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