Keep First things First, “Little Children”!
Dear Blog friends,
Yesterday, I finally got together my Gmail account and added the people that had made comments on this Blog site. Below is a copy of that same email. Thanks again for visiting our Blog site. May God be first in your life because HE is first. “Thou Shalt have no other gods before me.” Most of us are not outright idolaters in the sense that we worship visible idols. But we are probably idolaters in the sense that we value something or someone higher than God. Is this a surprise to you. It is interesting what the Apostle John wrote at the end of his letter first John. At first I did not understand this statement and thought about it in terms of physical idols. However, after more thought and Scripture I recognized that we are all idolaters. These people were born-again Christians. Why would the Apostle John warn them against Idol worship. The words “little children” clearly indicate that they were true believers.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21 (NKJV)
Both in Ephesians and Colossians Paul warns Christians against idolatry:
“…nor covetous man, who is an idolater….” Eph 5:5 (KJV)
” …covetousness, which is idolatry….” Col 3:5 (KJV)
Do you value something or someone higher than God. Then you are an idolater. It is indeed hard to remember to keep God first in our lives. John Calvin said that the human mind is simply an idol factory. I would tend to agree with him.
“From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion I:XI.8
According to Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 the first of the ten commandments (3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.) is the outward expression of a covetous heart. Ex 20:3 (KJV).
” Thou shall not covet” is simply an inward aspect of an idolatrous heart. Physical idolatry is simply the outward expression of a covetous heart. This is why Jesus did not mention either Idolatry or coveteousness when talking to the rich young ruler.
Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matt 19:18-19 (KJV)
Those two sins are easy to deny or be self-deceived about. Jesus just gave him a practical test:
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Matt 19:20 (KJV)
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me Matt 19:21 (KJV)
It is clear from this story that the rich young ruler had the inward problem of covetousness, which is idolatry. But he possible did not recognize it until that moment.
I do not believe that this was a test for eternal life as such. It probably refers to conditions of true discipleship. (read the articles Coming to Terms with Discipleship and the other articles on discipleship on this blog) .
Many times I have thought that this rich young ruler has most if not all the credentials of the Apostle Paul. Paul in Romans 7 states the he was convicted of his covetousness.
Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7 (KJV)
I will not give you the other items that potentially made Paul a candidate for having been the rich young ruler. In fact, there is at present absolutely no current way to verify this idea. I finish my rant. God has been good to me through the years and continues to bless me.
Whether you know it or not God has been good to you also. Remember it takes faith to recognize the blessings of God.
May 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Num 6:24-26 (KJV)
Thomas Clark – Phil. 3:14
We are senting you this email in order announce the creation of our new blog site www.bibleresourceman.wordpress.com
We hope that you benefit from the articles and information that we have posted on this site. We would appreciate any response that you might have regarding the articles. There are several unique article on the site: The Hebrews articles, the Prewrath view, are among the few that you probably have not read. Many of the articles are by excellent scholars. We are in the process of arranging and organizing information so that it is best accessed.
If you have any questions regarding biblical issues we would be glad to attempt to answer them or locate articles that give a reasonable answer.
The main email account for the blog site is email@example.com because it has better features than excite.com on which this email is being sent to you. We have a second connected site Judaeo-Christian Ministries, Inc. http://jxministries.wordpress.com/ but as of yet we have not posted any content. We plan to post a clear doctrinal statement, statement of purpose & mission, and some information about our operation principles.
May God bless your today and Forever.
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14