The Lower Lights> July 2001|
Alan Jones, Editor
"Brightly beams our
From the lighthouse
But to us He gives the
Of the light along the
Published monthly by the church of
Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI 48166
Michigan's 124 lighthouses have largely been reduced to
tourist attractions by the electronic equipment of modern ships. But, in
another era, their beacons shone through the fog and darkness, bringing
many a sailor to the shores of the Great Lakes, who otherwise would have
been lost or shipwrecked.
When Jesus began His work among men, the prophecy was
fulfilled which said, "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great
light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon
them a light dawned." (Mt 4:16). He was (and is) the true light, which,
coming into the world, enlightens every man." (Jn 1:9)
Jesus, the Light of the World (Jn 8:12), dispels the
darkness of ignorance with the knowledge of God (2 Cor 4:6), shines
through the fog of error that men may see the truth (2 Pet 1:19-2:3), and
reveals the way of righteous-ness that men may come out of the shadows of
sin (Jn 3:19-21). He has brought many a sinner safely to heavenly shores
who otherwise would have perished eternally in hell (Acts 26:18).
The light of Jesus shines through His gospel. This precious treasure has
been placed in the earthen vessels of men so that the great-ness of its
power is from God, not men. The content (the message that Christ Jesus is
is so much greater than the containers who
carry it to men (bondservants for Jesus' sake) (2 Cor 4:4-7).
How truly honored was Paul when Isaiah's prophecy about
Jesus, the Light to the Gentiles, was secondarily applied to him as he was
commanded to take the gospel to the Gentiles, "I have placed you as a
light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the end of the
earth." (Acts 13:47). In the same way, we, too, are humbled by the honor
of bringing the Light to men through the preaching of the gospel.
P.P. Bliss, the writer of the familiar hymn, had this
in mind when he referred to Christians who live and teach the gospel as
"the lower lights". Though Jesus is the Light-house, His disciples have an
important role to play in rescuing men from sin and hell.
With this paper we "send a gleam across the wave" with
the hope that "eager eyes are watching, longing for the lights along the
shore." Perhaps your eyes are among those straining in the darkness of
ignorance, religious error, and sin. We pray that as we present the gospel
in writing, we may point you to the Light who will bring you to the shore
of salvation. We invite you also to our worship assemblies and would be
delighted to study with you in your home.
I have been a fan of the Detroit Tigers since they won
the World Series in 1968. I've rooted for them, win or lose (mostly lose)
A few years ago, when I moved to Newark, OH, I began
noticing the D
symbol of the Tigers on reflectors which were
attached to rural mailboxes. I said to myself, "There are Tiger fans
I believed this for several weeks, until one day while
reading the newspaper, it dawned on me. The
was not the symbol of the Tigers, but of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
The reflectors were not a show of support by Tiger fans, but were to aid
those who delivered the paper! I had failed to put the symbol in its
The biggest problem in men's interpretation of the
Scriptures is a failure to keep its statements in their context. To tempt
Jesus (Mt 4:5-7), the Devil quoted Ps 91:11-12, "He will give His angels
charge concerning you; and On their hands they will bear you up, lest you
strike your foot against a stone." Does this passage say, as the Devil
interpreted it to say, that men should make a dangerous jump, expecting
that the angels will catch them?
NO! Jesus replied to the Devil, "on the other hand it
is written" and quoted Dt 6:16. Jesus showed that one must take every
passage of Scripture in the context of the rest of the Scriptures. One
cannot interpret any passage in such a way as it contradicts another
passage. The Scriptures must harmonize. Since Dt 6:16 said, "You shall not
put the Lord your God to the test", Ps 91:11-12 cannot mean that Jesus (or
anyone else) should jump, counting on God's protection.
The Devil made Psalms 91 say what he wanted it to say.
Why did I see Tiger symbols on the mailbox poles? Because that is what I
wanted the D
We must be careful not to take the Scriptures out of
their context because we are looking for what we want to find rather than
what the Lord is saying. If we look at the Scriptures with prejudiced
minds, we will find our belief, as I found Tiger fans, EVERYWHERE! And,
sadly, like the Devil, we will twist the Scriptures to our own
destruction! (2 Pet 3:15-16)
Let us find in the Scriptures only what God has
intended. Our salvation depends on it!!
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