Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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1 Peter 4:3 And ‘Social Drinking’

Three words are used in 1 Peter 4:3 which have a bearing on modern drinking practices. All three words describe the life style of the old man, dead in sin — living “in the flesh to the lusts of men.” Peter pleads with those who are alive “to the will of God” to leave buried in the shameful past such practices as the OINOPHLUGIA, KOMOS, and POTOS.

OINOPHLUGIA. The KJV translates this “excess of wine.” The word METHE (drunkenness, Galatians 5:21) refers to habitual intoxication, deep drinking, drunken bouts. No one respects the down-and-out drunk, the sickening wino. Such extreme indulgence and debauchery is universally a shame. The gutter drunk “may induce permanent mischief on the body” by his habitual, senseless excesses. The body, mind, and soul are deadened and finally destroyed. But, “excess of wine” (OINOPHLUGIA) while indicating intoxication, “marks a step in advance of METHE.” In other words, it is a level of drinking that is less than that indicated by habitual “drunkenness” (METHE). The fatal debauch of Alexander the Great, for instance, is signified by OINOPHLUGIA in ancient records.

KOMOS. This word appears as “revelings” in KJV. There is a descent or digression in the strength of our three words. There is a level of drinking in KOMOS which is distinguishable from “excess of wine.” The one who practices OINOPHLUGIA staggers, stumbles, or even sleeps in his stupor. If he swings his fist, he is the one likely to get hurt. If he drives, he is more danger to himself than to others; he will likely to drive right up a tree, but other drivers can see him a mile away and get out of the way. But the one who practices KOMOS is a “live wire.” He is intoxicated, but not so debauched as to miss all the fun. “He’s flying high.” KOMOS combines intoxication with merrymaking. It suggests shouting, singing, dancing, and generally stirring wanton desires with merry companions — all with the help of intoxicants. “Take one down, pass it around, 49 bottles of beer on the wall,” and the songs go on. “Wine, women, and song” is the modern way of saying KOMOS. Where do we go from here? What’s the next level down?

POTOS. This word is translated “banquetings,” which is obscure to the modern reader. Or, worse, he may confuse this word with our practice of a social meal with speakers, awards, or entertainment. Today’s English Version and the New American Standard translates POTOS as “drinking parties”; be careful not to read that “drunken parties,” which would be KOMOS. Rotherham has “drinking bouts” — not necessarily drunken bouts. The New English Bible says “tippling” — drinking, especially continuously in small amounts. Literally, POTOS is “a drinking,” without reference to amount. The verb form is POTTZO, “to give to drink,” without regard to amount (as Matthew 10:42 — “give to drink… a cup of cold water“). R. C. Trench says concerning POTOS, “not of necessity excessive” (Synonyms of the N. T., p. 211). He further explains that POTOS is related to words of excess in that it gives “opportunity for excess.” This, then, is the cocktail party drinking, sipping the wine, “having a few drinks with the boys,” social drinking.

Rather than excusing our sins, let us cease from them (I Peter 4). Let us put off the old man and put on the new man (Colossians 3). “Ye are the salt of the earth. … Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 6). Let us live so as to bring men to Christ and glory to God.

~ Ron Halbrook ~

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Don’t Worry So Much

The most wealthy, healthy, intelligent, highly-advanced, enlightened generation ever to occupy this orbiting sphere is literally worrying to death. It is remarkable and unfortunate that Christians are not immune to this disorder. They have been known to be just as insecure as those whose feet have never stood on the Rock of Ages, whose eyes have not looked to the hills from whence cometh their help, and whose minds are not set on things above. Most saints know they ought not worry, so they worry about worrying.

What does the Owner’s Manual say to do about this malfunction? Jesus discussed the subject of anxiety in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). He says, “Take no thought” (merimnao) for life (6:25), food (6:31), and tomorrow (6:34). This does not mean it is wrong to plan tomorrow’s menu, buy winter clothes in the summer, or purchase home or health insurance (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 30:25). It means that we are not to “be anxious” for these things.

The birds teach us not to worry (6:26). Whoever said that “worrying is for the birds” was off the mark. Birds don’t worry! Whoever heard of a bird taking ulcer medication, committing suicide, or dying with a heart attack? Birds are not concerned with the future, yet they form no lines at welfare offices. God cares for them. Surely, God could not be charged with watching out for sparrows and neglecting His own children! We are made in the image of God and infused with a soul from the Father (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; Hebrews 12:9). Birds are not. Thus, if God cares for them, He cares more for us (Matthew 10:29-31; cf. Romans 8:32).

The yardstick teaches us not to worry (6:27). Whoever heard of a short man worrying himself into a larger size? Was it ever reported that worrying lengthened someone’s life? No! Worry is useless. Stature (helikia) in verse 27 indicates a stage of growth whether measured by age or height.1 Jesus says worry will not make you older (though it may put wrinkles on your face) or taller. “Worry never climbed a hill; worry never paid a bill; worry never dried a tear; worry never calmed a fear; worry never darned a heel; worry never cooked a meal; worry never composed a song to sing; actually, worry never did a worthwhile thing.” “Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere.”

No one can lengthen his life by worrying, but there is evidence that worry can shorten it. When it comes to long life, what we are eating is important, but what is eating us is more important. Studies indicate that 70 percent of all illnesses are psychosomatic (“relating to bodily symptoms caused by emotional disturbance”). The old English root from which we get “worry” means “to strangle.” Many people are strangling their lives with anxiety. Worry is a leading cause of heart trouble, high blood pressure, stomach disorders, and respiratory ailments. Dr. Charles Mayo said, “I have never known a man to die from hard work, but many who have died from doubt.” If for no other reason, we should not worry because it destroys the Spirit’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Worry falls into three classes.

(1) Things that have already happened. Reader’s Digest observed, “Most worries are reruns.” Why worry about the past? The score can’t be changed, eggs can’t be unscrambled, and toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube. Paul learned to put the past behind him (Philippians 3:13-14). If sin is involved, we should cleanse it in Christ’s blood (Acts 22:16; Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7), and then go on.

(2) Things which must happen. All the worry in the world cannot change some things, for they will happen anyway. We are going to die (Hebrews 9:27), so why worry about it? Prepare and let it come (Philippians 1:21).

(3) Things which will never happen. One lady said, “I always feel bad, even when I feel good, because I know that it will not be long before I feel bad again.” Sad! “It is not the tornadoes that get us, but the termites.” It is said that 85 percent of what we worry over never happens. Why waste the time (Ephesians 5:16)? Time should be invested in working instead of worrying. The ant wastes no time worrying about the future. Instead, it constantly works to prepare for tomorrow (Proverbs 6:6-8). We must learn to concentrate on today instead of yesterday and tomorrow. Philippians 3:13 teaches us to forget the things of the past. Matthew 6:34 teaches us not to worry about tomorrow. That only leaves one day to concern us: today. Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; only today is cash. Spend it wisely! God wants us to walk in the light He gives us and not worry about the darkness ahead. When we get there, His light will make it clear. When we drive at night, the headlights do not shine all the way to our destination. They shine just a few feet in front of the car, but as we move forward, they keep ahead of us. God’s light works the same way. He says, “Live one day at a time.” 

A child teaches us not to worry (6:32). Children can lead adults in many ways (Isaiah 11:6). One way we should imitate them is to trust our Father as they trust their parents. Worry is sinful because it says, “I do not trust my Father to care for me.” Worry is praying to the wrong god; it insults Jehovah (cf. Psalm 37:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:6-7). Our coins say, “In God We Trust,” and so should our hearts (Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 9:10).

Problems become smaller when they are seen in God’s shadow. Martha was troubled about many things while Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42). Guess which one was content! “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

God is unlimited in what He can do (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:19), so my big problems are not large to Him. It is much like a child who becomes frustrated with a knotted shoestring. To him, it is a major problem and an unsolvable dilemma. He may even cry about it. Dad smiles to himself and quickly unties it. The difference is a matter of perspective. Our major difficulties are only “knotted shoestrings” to Almighty God. Why get so upset?

A minute of prayer is better than an hour of worrying (Philippians 4:6). We read that Jesus spent an entire night in prayer but never that He spent one minute in worry. His example is worthy of imitation (1 Peter 2:21-22). Worried? Let God handle it.

~ Allen Webster ~

End note: 1 Abbott-Smith

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Spiritual Blessings Are in Christ

Throughout history it has been important to be in God’s appointed place at God’s appointed time. In Noah’s day it was important to be in the ark. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 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” (I Peter 3:21). Notice that Peter says “wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water”. They had to be in the ark. In Moses day it was necessary for the Israelites to be in the house with the blood on it (see Exodus 12:21-23). Today, to receive spiritual blessings one must be in Christ.

ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSING ARE IN CHRIST: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3). Thus, there are NO spiritual blessing out side of Christ!

WE ARE CHOSEN IN CHRIST: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4).

WE HAVE THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:5).

WE ARE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

REDEMPTION IS IN CHRIST: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).

ALL THINGS ARE GATHERED TOGETHER IN HIM: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:10).

WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE IN CHRIST: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

ONE IS SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE IN CHRIST: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13). The Ephesians had miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the apostle Paul’s hands (Acts 19:1-7). While today we do not have miraculous gifts, one is approved by the Holy Spirit by means of the word of God -“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16).

Truly, one in Christ is rich! How does one get into Christ? One must believe that Christ is the Son of God. Jesus stated; “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). One must also repent of his sins. Paul said; “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). In the next place, one is to confess his faith in Christ as God’s Son. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). The final step the one takes in obedience to get into Christ is immersion in water. Paul wrote; “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Reader friend, Are you “in Christ”? Are you faithful? Don’t forfeit your spiritual inheritance. 

~ Billy Bland ~

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Can You Sleep at Night?

It takes more than a soft pillow to insure sound sleep. Americans live in gated communities, under radar surveillance, with patrol-men circling at all hours, and still can’t sleep for fear. Ancient cities encircled their cities with impenetrable walls. The pioneers circled their wagons to protect themselves from surprise dawn Indian attacks. Modern countries line their borders with nuclear arms. Today’s homes are equipped with alarms, motion sensors, and sprinkler systems but we still fear the worst. We are covered by life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and fire insurance, but are still not too sure of the future. Even our pets reflect our fears. In 1975, cuddly poodles were the most popular purebred dog in America, with 139,750 registered. There were only 952 registered Rottweilers, a fierce breed often used as a guard dog. By 1994, the poodle population was cut in half to 61,775, while Rottweilers had increased 100 times to 102,596.

A Christian’s best defense is none of these things. It’s a child-like trust in a Father-like God. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Psa 20:7; cf. Isa 31:1). And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee (2Ch 14:11). With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles (2Ch 32:8a). And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? (1Pe 3:13).

God’s Protection is Like…

A Hedge of Thorns
Those who lived in Bible lands were familiar with thorns. Celius, for instance, describes sixteen varieties of thorny plants. Large thorn bushes – called nabk, from which tradition says the crown of thorns was woven – sprang up like fruit trees all over. In the Plain of Gennesaret thistles grew so tall and thick a horse could not push through them. Palestinian farmers used thorn hedges to divide fields and discourage intruders (cf. Mat 13; Mark 4; Luke 8). From the Garden of Eden to the cross of Calvary, thorns played a part in God’s plan for man. Interestingly, when Satan accused God of putting a hedge around Job, God didn’t deny it (Job 1:10). He denied that the hedge was the reason Job served Him. Isaiah pictured God’s people as a vineyard that received God’s attention. When they failed to remain faithful He threatened to take away the hedge thereof (Isa 5:5). God hedges us in with His love and powerful care.

A Shield
The LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great re-ward (Gen15:1). The Psalmist rejoiced to know that the LORD wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield (Psa 5:12). The Christian’s armor includes the shield of faith by which we quench the fiery darts of the wicked (Eph 6:16). This shield (thureos) was large, oblong, made of wood, and covered with hides. Roman soldiers lined up in formation with these shields in front as a literal wooden wall against the initial onslaught of enemy arrows. Listening to a student read Psalm 23 in chapel, Joseph Sittler, blind with advancing age, heard something he’d never heard before. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. The text does not speak, said Sittler, of the valley of death but the valley of the shadow of death. There is a difference. The wonderful truth is that God is with us now. It is not simply that God will be with us in the experience of death itself; it is that God will walk with us through all of life, a life over which death sometimes casts its shadow.

A Wall of Fire
Campers in the extreme north U.S. and Canadian wildernesses have been known to build several campfires in a circle around their sleeping bags to put a wall of fire between them and timberwolves. Compare Zechariah’s record: For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her (Zec 2:5). As late as the nineteenth century, a superstition existed about fire among European peasants. Fire started by the primitive method of friction was regarded as having supernatural protective properties. Cattle driven through this fire would come to no harm, provided all nearby fires were put out when it was kindled. Such superstition points to man’s desire; Scripture points to God meeting that desire for His people. Just as David’s men served as a wall of protection around Nabal’s shepherds in the field (1Sam 25:16), so the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them (Psa 34:7).

A Mother Hen
If you’ve been on a farm you’ve probably watched a hen’s chicks scatter looking for insects and worms. As they peck here and there some distance may come to separate them. But let a cat or hound come in their direction, and the hen’s excited clucking brings the chicks under her with startling rapidity. As they hide, she puts herself between them and the perceived danger. This is how Jesus pictured His care for Jerusalem. He wanted to call them to Him and shield them from harm, but they would not (Mat 23:37). God’s arms are even pictured as underneath us (Deu 33:27). To use Whittier words,

I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.

A Crocodile’s Hide
God is a buckler to all them that trust in him (2Sam 22:31). The word buckler (magen) is often translated shield but can also mean the scaly hide of the crocodile. God can give us thick skin when we need it to turn toward those who unjustly criticize (Eze 3:9).

We’d all sleep better if we stopped at 1Pe 5:7 before closing our eyes: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. God is there. He is awake. He that keepeth thee will not slumber (Psa 121:3b).