“Partnership” (1 John: Part One)

“Partnership” (1 John: Part One)

Wednesday’s Article: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

Partnership

It’s existed since the beginning. We’ve heard it ourselves and we’ve seen it with our own eyes. We’ve studied it and touched it with our own hands. This is the word of life, and this life was shown to us. Everything we’ve heard and witnessed and told you about is this eternal life. He came from the father and was revealed to us. We’ve told you everything we’ve seen and heard so you can partner with us. We have this partnership with the father, as well as with his son Jesus Christ. We’re writing this to you to make our joy complete.

The message that we’ve been hearing from him is the same one we’re giving you: God is made of light, and no darkness exists in him whatsoever. If we claim to be partners with him while our lives are defined by walking in darkness, we’re liars and can’t even practice the truth. But if our lives are defined by walking in light, we have partnership with each other. On top of that, the blood of God’s son Jesus gets rid of any and all sins we have!

If someone says they don’t have sin, they’re lying – no truth exists in them. If we admit that we have sin in our lives, he is consistent and morally pure, so he’ll forgive us and get rid of our moral impurity. If someone says they’ve never even sinned, they make God a liar. His word will have nothing to do with them. 

Life In The Blood

Life In The Blood

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

A common practice for thousands of years was to drain “bad blood” out of the body. In fact, there are still some cultures today that practice this. The greatest doctors who were thought to be extremely smart would commonly drain the “bad blood” out of their patients if they were sick. For the longest time it was believed that if you were sick you needed to let this poisonous blood out of your body in order to be healed. 

Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

December 13th 1799 a man was riding a horse through his plantation. It was a day like any other, and everything was perfectly normal. Little did this man know that in less than two days he would be dead. The decision he made that day in December proved to be fatal. While he was out riding he got caught in the rain, and when he returned home he decided to hold off on changing out of his wet clothes because he didn’t want to be late for his dinner party. The next morning, he worked outside in the bitter cold as he had the day before. The whole day he worked through the pain that had developed in his throat. Nevertheless he pushed on and tried to ignore it. 

That evening his symptoms worsened, but he decided to see if they would improve by the morning. This man woke up and things had only gotten worse. He called in three well-known physicians and he received good news that it was just a cold and a slight fever. The physicians assured the man that he would be just fine. All they had to do was drain the sickness out of his body and he would be healed. 

This fatal decision resulted in the death George Washington. 

Bloodletting is now seen as an incompetent practice. Yet it was practiced worldwide until the late 1800s. Millions of people died thanks to this lack of understanding, but guess who knew NOT to do this right from the start? The life is in the blood and God is the one who revealed this fact to us. 

Sometimes we are a little slow in catching on to the wisdom that God has revealed in His Word. If God was right about the blood, what else could He be right about? 

1 Peter 1– Hope’s Value

1 Peter 1– Hope’s Value

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

For the next several weeks, I’ll be repeating the book of I Peter in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an essentially literal translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

I Peter I – Hope’s Value

The prophets who told us about this rescue were very curious about it. They investigated and obsessed over the identity and timing of the rescuer Christ’s Spirit was telling them about. He told the prophets that he would suffer at first, but would gain everything after. He told the prophets that their writings were for people in the future, not for them. You are those people in the future! Through God’s influence, people told you about our hope for rescue. By the way, even angels are deeply interested in the hope you have right now! 

Since you have this hope for rescue, don’t ever let it go. Everything you do must be influenced by this hope. Make sure you’re mentally preparing yourself for spiritual combat. Make sure you have self-control going into this. We’ll be rescued when we see Jesus, so hang on tight to hope. 

Don’t go back to your old lives. You had those old, unhealthy desires before you knew any better. Instead, you must live like God wants you to. Jesus did! God’s word said, “You have to be morally pure, just like I am.” You know that God will judge everyone without bias. Live like you know this, and let that give you a healthy dose of fear. He didn’t use an unstable asset like money to secure your rescue. He used the most valuable thing in existence: his own flawless blood. 

Jesus’ plan was in motion before we were even created! He recently made his appearance just for us. Because of him, we believe in God, who brought Jesus back to life and gave him recognition and power. We believe in him. We have hope because of God. 

Fragment containing 1 Peter 1:23–2:5 on Papyrus 125 (3rd/4th century).
A Simple Study Of 1 Peter (Part One)

A Simple Study Of 1 Peter (Part One)

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

For the next several weeks, I’ll be repeating the book of I Peter in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an essentially literal translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

I Peter I – Intro to Hope

I am Peter, one of the special messengers that Jesus chose to follow him. This is for the chosen ones who had to leave their homes; they are spread out over Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 

You were chosen by our father, God, because that was his plan. It was his Spirit that made you special people who live differently from everyone else. He chose us [Christians] to be the ones who obey him. He chose us to enjoy grace through Jesus’s blood, the one who came here to rescue us. May you have plenty of grace and peace. 

God, the father of our master Jesus (the one who saved us), deserves our love and praise! He has so much good will for us that he gave us new life and a hope that can never die. We have that hope because Jesus came back to life. 

This hope is for something we’ll get when we die: a brand new, untouched, permanently perfect place to live forever. It’s reserved for you right now, protected in heaven. God’s power is protecting you right now because of your faith. He’ll make sure you get the results of your hope when it’s revealed at the end of time. 

A Message To Mankind

A Message To Mankind

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

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Carl Pollard

 
Someone once said, “There are two reasons I know the devil exists. Number one, the Bible tells me so. Number two, I’ve done business with him.” There is no denying that the world is filled with sin. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The penalty for sin is condemnation. The wages of sin is death. Every time we sin, death is the payment.
 
Under the old law, people would watch as an innocent animal was slaughtered on their behalf. They would watch as these animals bled to death knowing that it was THEIR sin that caused it. In the New Testament we learn that our sins brought about the the death of Jesus. A pure and holy sacrifice, sent once and for all mankind (Romans 5:8).
 
But the death of God’s Son brings hope to mankind. This sacrifice means that our sins are not unforgivable. We can come before the throne of God and have them taken away. The Bible tells us of God’s love for us, and how badly He wants us to live with Him for all eternity. John 3:16 says, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
 
This message is a life-changer. But it will only change our life if we listen and obey it. Each and every person can be saved because God “shows no partiality…” (Acts 10:34). Salvation can be found, but only if we are willing to change and live according to God’s will.
 
“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent…” (Acts‬ ‭17:30‬).
The Invitation Song

The Invitation Song

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

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Carl Pollard

Some of the most powerful messages are often delivered through song. If you want to really show someone how much you love them, you write a song. If you want to tell others about yourself or your family, you write a song. Songs are a great way to get across a message in a powerful way. In the church we sing songs for several reasons.
 
Paul tells us in Col. 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
‭We sing to help the word of God dwell in our hearts. We sing to teach each other. We sing admonish and correct. We sing out of thankfulness for God. Since there are so many different reasons we sing, each song has a different message. Some are encouraging, some are reminders, and some are a plea to the sinner. We call some of these “invitation songs. ” And usually these are sung after a lesson as a way to encourage lost souls to respond and return.
 
“Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet” identifies a major problem that has plagued man since the Garden of Eden, our sin. The choices we make, the way we live, has stained us. This song calls to our attention the sin problem of man. This song is based on Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
This invitation song shows us the blessing that Christ has given. Though we’ve been stained by sin, they shall become like snow. Pure, holy, undefiled. If you’ve ever spilled grape juice on a white T-shirt, that’s the imagery.
 
Sin has ruined our hearts, but Christ is the perfect stain remover. He is able to remove every spot and blemish. Rom. 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Do we really think that we could live up to the glory of God himself? Could we have fixed this sin problem on our own? No. And we sing this song to remind us of WHO our solution is.
 
Through the gift of Christ they will be removed. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
 
On an old rugged cross Jesus paid it all, and all to him I owe. I come just as I am, but I surrender all. Will you cherish the old rugged cross? Do you recognize the blessing and the blood that has washed us whiter than snow?
 
 
One of my favorite preachers delivering the invitation in Lexington, KY (2018)
You Are More Valuable Than A Yacht

You Are More Valuable Than A Yacht

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

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Gary Neal Pollard III

The world’s most expensive new car is $18,000,000 (Bugatti La Voiture Noire). The most expensive house is around $2,000,000,000. According to Google, the most expensive thing in the world is apparently Walmart. It’s either Walmart or a $4,800,000,000 gold yacht. On the average US salary for a family it would take 100,000 households’ total income to purchase. Or, it would take one person 100,000 years. 

For most of us, those numbers are unattainable. That kind of value is totally out of reach. 

Jesus did something that makes those numbers look pathetic. He paid our insurmountable debt with something that cannot be valued with any mortal currency (I Peter 1.18,19; Acts 20.28). 

He values His church at one eternal blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9). We could not possibly drum up enough money over all history and economies to even approach one eternal blood sacrifice. And He paid that for us. God gave up everything to “buy” our spiritual freedom. 

I doubt myself constantly and even feel somewhat worthless at times. It’s part of our humanity! We instinctively know that we’re insignificant in this universe (Ps. 8; Ps. 144). But like David said (twice), He does care for and think about us, despite our insignificance. 

Spending eternity with God will be incredible by itself, but knowing that at death we will be face-to-face with the One who sees us as being that valuable is so exciting!! Knowing this, let’s do whatever it takes to make it there (I Cor. 6; 7; I Pet. 1.18f; Rev. 22.14-17). 

What The Blood Of Christ Meant

What The Blood Of Christ Meant

Neal Pollard

  • To Christ, an expression of love (John 15:13)
  • To God, an appeasement of His wrath (Rom. 5:9).
  • To the Devil, the scribes, and Pharisees, a sign of their supposed victory (Heb. 2:14; John 19:6ff).
  • To the mob, apparent weakness (Mat. 27:42).
  • To the disciples, seeming defeat (John 21:3).
  • To those who lived rebelliously, nothing (1 Cor. 1:17).
  • To those who died in disobedience, an essential but missing element (cf. John 6:53).
  • To those who lived obediently, atonement (Eph. 1:7).
  • To those who died having walked in the light, everything (1 Jn. 1:7).

Untold millions are unaware of the value of the blood of Jesus. You and I must decide what the blood of Jesus means to us. Interestingly, in four different ways, the Bible tells us that what the blood does for us we obtain the benefit of through baptism.
—The blood of Christ sanctifies (Heb. 13:12). We are sanctified by baptism (Eph. 5:25-27).
—The blood of Christ washes away sins (Rev. 1:5-6). Sins are washed away at baptism (Acts 22:16).
—The blood of Christ remits sins (Mat. 26:28). Sins are remitted through baptism (Acts 2:38).
—Jesus shed His blood in His death (John 19:34). We contact the dead of Jesus at baptism (Romans 6:3-4).
The Bible makes clear not just what the blood of Christ means to our souls, but also how we get the benefit of that blood. May we do what God says do to receive the benefits of Jesus’ blood and continue to walk in the light of Christ in order to have that blood continually cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:7).

The Blood of Christ

The Blood of Christ

Neal Pollard

The topic above should cause one’s mind to focus on some precise areas. Naturally, the blood of Christ implies thoughts of the “incarnation” of Christ (that Christ took on the form of man, while all God, and thus had blood coursing through His veins; Philippians 2:8). The blood of Christ further induces from one’s thoughts the atonement Christ made for all mankind through the shedding of His blood on the cross (cf. Hebrews 9:12-14). The blood of Christ also elicits reflection upon the suffering and death of the sinless man from Nazareth (1 Peter 2:24). And on one might reflect.

The phrase, the blood of Christ, appears verbatim in the New Testament in four verses. With each reference one finds important lessons about the function and significance of His blood. Christ’s blood is central in the Father’s plan of salvation and life within His favor. What does the blood of Christ bring to needy man?

The Blood of Christ Brings Redemption (1 Peter 1:19)
In 1 Peter 1, one sees the inspired apostle speaking to persecuted (1), predestined (2), purified (2), and pliant (2) people of God. What would cause a Christian to suffer wrong for doing right? What would cause a Christian to search out from the Scriptures the term of election, accept the terms of pardon, and follow the terms of Christian living? Simply, an understanding of redemption.

Perhaps the verse most loved and quoted is John 3:16. Yet, so be known and familiar, this verse is sorely misunderstood and under applied. Jesus, the speaker of the words recorded in this verse, foretells the act of redemption. With His divine foreknowledge, Christ understood that the gift of the Father’s only begotten Son (Himself) meant the shedding of His blood at Calvary. The purpose of that shed blood, He knew, was to redeem the lost race of man from the power and hopelessness of sin. Paul says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5). By inspiration, Paul reinforces this with Titus (Titus 2:14).

The Blood of Christ Brings Removal (Hebrews 9:14)

The King James Version uses, in this verse, the word “purge” in translating the effect of the blood of Christ upon the conscience of one to whom that blood is applied. Purge means “to purify, especially of sin, guilt, or defilement” (The American Heritage Concise Dictionary, 1994). Thayer shows the original word translated “purge” in this verse means “free from the guilt of sin” (The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, 312). Clearly, the Spirit-guided writer of Hebrews speaks of the effect of the applied blood of the Savior. The audience of Hebrews, of which modern man is a part, needs some agent to remove the guilt of sin (dead works) from their lives. The blood of Christ is that agent. For the agent to be effective (to do the job as it was intended to do), one must come in contact with it. Where does one come in contact with the blood?

Jesus shed His blood when He died (John 19:34). Paul writes “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). One cannot literally go over to Jerusalem to a hill called Mt. Calvary and find the man Jesus bleeding to death on a cross. Furthermore, because one cannot do this, one cannot in some literal way reach up to Him and take some of His shed blood and apply it to himself. Thus, there is no literal, physical way for today’s man or woman to contact the actual, shed blood of our Lord.

Yet, Revelation 1:5 reveals that Christ, on His cross, washed us from our sins in His shed blood. God would not allow His Son to shed His life-blood and then provide no means for mankind to contact that blood in some way. And, there is a way and only one way. In identifi[cal] terminology, Acts 22:16 says that baptism washes away sins. In summation, Christ shed His blood in His death. We are buried with Christ in baptism. Christ washed our sins with His blood. We wash away our sins in the act of baptism. The blood of Christ and baptism, inseparably joined, remove the sins of those who recognize and submit to the authority of Christ in being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21).

The Blood of Christ Brings Return (Ephesians 2:13)
At the creation of man, there was no need for means whereby man could return to a right relationship with Jehovah. The idea in Ephesians 2 that, specifically here, the Gentiles were “far off” implies the need to return. How could they come back to God? Paul stresses the fact that Christ’s blood was the only means whereby reconciliation could be made. Thus, Paul penned the glorious fact that Christ “made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:20). As if an inseparable gulf was crossed by Adam and Even through their sinning at Eden, that gap of sin separated man from God (cf. Isaiah 59:1, 2; Note: This is not to suggest that all inherit Adam’s sin – the false idea of Hereditary Depravity – but rather that through Adam sin entered the world, Romans 5:17; and, consequently, all have sinned, Romans 3:23). Not with acts of goodness or meritorious works could man ever earn his salvation (Titus 3:5). Yet, there are conditions that God expects man to meet in order to have past sins forgiven and the restoration of a right relationship with the Father (Titus 2:12; Hebrews 5:9; Ephesians 2:8). By shedding His blood, Christ paved a road of return (i.e., the “narrow road” of Matthew 7:13, 13) to take us back to God. There was no access before and without Him and after sin was in the world (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6). How did Christ affect this return with His blood?

He took the first, old covenant God made with Moses and Israel out of the way by dying on the cross (Ephesians 2:12, 14-15). He placed all believers in the faith into one body [the church] (Ephesians 2:14, 15, 16; 4:4). He provided the message of reconciliation in commissioning the preached word to all men (Ephesians 2:17; Acts 1:8). He opened the avenue of prayer by His death on the cross, encouraging petitioning the Father to enhance our relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:18). He sets aside a place in the Kingdom [the church] for all the faithful obedient into which all spiritual blessings flow (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1:3; Matthew 16:18-19). To all who obey the commandments of God relative to entrance into His church, reconciliation and return to God are provided.

The Blood of Christ Brings Remembrance (1 Corinthians 10:16)

As Eden shows the importance God stressed in mankind before the cross to anticipate that great event, this verse shows the importance God stresses in mankind after the cross remembering it. Those washed in the blood of Christ, contacted in baptism, are added to the church (Acts 2:41-47). Therein, those added (Christians) are governed by the Word of God in worship and conduct. A vital part of New Testament worship is the weekly participation in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). Why has God authorized that Christians do so, and with such frequency?

The answer is “communion.” In connection with the Lord’s Supper, this word is translated “communion” only once in the New Testament. Yet, the original word from which it is translated is koinonia, among the most recognized of all Greek words even among those who have little knowledge of that language. Most often, koinonia is translated as “fellowship.” “Fellowship” is also employed by the inspired New Testament writers to make reference to the “Memorial Feast.” The apostles and early Christians continued steadfastly in the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42). The fellowship of the Lord’s Supper was not to be defiled by the presence of idolatry at Corinth (1 Corinthians 10:20), but rather the communion was to be exclusively with the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul stresses that there is communion. That fellowship is with the blood of Christ, which suggests a multitude of things. First, the blood of Christ places one into the one body (the church – Colossians 1:18; Acts 20:28). Therefore, the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper involves corporate (collective) activity. Together, children of God are drawn closer to one another remembering the Savior whose blood purchased them from sin. This communion, then, is a means of expressing encouragement and thanksgiving together as the redeemed. The Lord’s Supper cannot, then, have significance to those not members of the body as there is no celebration and fellowship with Christians. Also, the Lord’s Supper provides a communion between the individual Christian and his Lord. Thus, Paul instructs each to “examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28). None other can obey the command of self-examination and remembrance for another in the Lord’s Supper or in any spiritual matter. Yet, the Lord’s Supper is special because of both the sharing with others and the individual responsibility. As an institution, the Lord’s Supper is, in both regards, a crucial means whereby Christians remember the sacrifice, suffering, and death of Christ in shedding His blood on the tree.

The blood of Christ purchased man’s pardon (1 Peter 1:19). The blood of Christ purges man’s conscience (Hebrews 9:14). The blood of Christ propels man closer to God (Ephesians 2:13). The blood of Christ provides recollection of atonement (1 Corinthians 10:16). His blood was important in prophesy (Isaiah 53:3-5). His blood was important [physically] (John 19:34). His blood is important in perusal (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:28).

Curing Gray Hair?

Curing Gray Hair?

Neal Pollard

As one who has been possessed of gray hair since college, I was particularly intrigued by the article I ran across from Popular Science.  A cream developed for a skin condition called “vitiligo” helped to restore lost pigment in the skin of some of those suffering from it.  Researchers believe it might do the same thing for those with gray hair. The theory is that those with gray hair have too much hydrogen peroxide in their hair follicles and shafts. They believe this cream could reduce that and restore a person’s natural hair color (via FASEB Journal, http://www.fasebj.org).

Reversing gray hair, restoring bald hair, shedding those extra, stubborn pounds, and similar ambitions appeal to our vanity, but they are not necessary for our souls.  Millions try product after product to address such perceived needs, willing to spend money and make sacrifices in such pursuits.  After all, we want to do what we can to look our best.

Yet, the greatest need of every generation has a 100% success rate for every one who has ever obtained it.  It goes beyond skin deep.  It reaches to the soul.  It may not change the outward appearance, but it renews the inner person (2 Cor. 4:16ff).

It is baffling that so many more do not move heaven and earth to address this true need.  Many are unaware they suffer from it.  So many more are in denial.  Still others are not dedicated to doing what it takes to have it.  The reasons are varied, but the majority do not want this cure.

Jesus’ blood.  It cost Him His life to make it available (John 19:34).  But, it is the unfailing cure (Eph. 2:13; Heb. 13:12; 1 Jn. 1:7; etc.).  Long after these bodies have decayed and disappeared in the ground, it will be working for us.  It has an eternal guarantee.  You cannot beat that, but you definitely must have it!  If you would like to know how to obtain this cure, read more about it here.