Patterns

      There would appear to be patterns all around.  Those of industry, business, weather, families, society, governments, military, etc.   When my wife & I were in Ephesus Turkey recently we noticed a pattern of Ephesus.  The taxi driver said there were three ancient religions represented within half a mile.  The first he showed us was the ruins of the temple of Diana (which was a primitive & sexually corrupt cult as mentioned in Acts 19:23-29.)  Only one column remained which had a large bird nest on top of it.  Then he showed us the “cold” remains of the 2nd century cathedral of the Apostle John which offered the light of the gospel at that time.  Then he showed us the Muslim mosque facility of the 8th or 9th century which was still in service, but of course devoid of the gospel.
      I have reflected as to whether there is a general pattern of history here.  In the beginning of time there was limited light from above, and people largely did their own thing.  We see the lack of morality/Godliness & the resulting judgments of Noah’s ark & flood, then Sodom & Gomorrah, etc.  But the light from prophets like Moses & David, then Christ the messiah accumulated.  Now for a couple thousand years the Christian “church” has influenced the whole world.  But our modern era for the last 100 years or so has shown shocking decline worldwide.  And Christ implied in His teaching that the end times (which are either here or near) would show a regression of faith & commitment.  “. . . when the son of man returns will He find (true) faith on earth?”  Luke 18:8   Now we have a host of world religions that have no teaching of Christ, or only a weak residual of those gospel teachings & commitment.
      Is there a personal pattern to be seen in both the above, but just on the small scale of the individual? Natural man (or woman) is born & has limited light from above.  But along comes the message/teaching of Christ that being born again is possible.  John 3:3   The individual accepts the free offer from above & finds spiritual awakening, truth, personal fulfillment, and blessings from that dimension above.  Then with zeal moves upwards on the path of God.  (Jeremiah 6:16)   But in time there is too often dissipation of that enthusiasm & zeal.  Temptation strikes, the adversary blows some lies into his/her ear.  “You are missing out on a lot of fun . . .” or “your friends really think you are too religious, and you suck . . .” or “that God stuff is just a bunch of bunk.”  Serious questioning of one’s faith commitment, and apathy sets in.   Backsliding into old sinful habits (or new ones) is the typical result.  Then we see an individual with little faith, and much apostasy – abandoning of what one believed in.
      What I get from the EPHESUS, HISTORICAL,  and PERSONAL patterns above is that it is COMMON for humanity to lose its connection with true gospel faith.  This life we find ourselves in is designed by God to challenge & test our character.  I have slipped a few times in my 40 plus years of living the Christian lifestyle, and I’ve seen many completely fail/give up the “good fight.”  (And according to Hebrews 6:4 it is difficult to recover . . .)  But God is very faithful, and very typically finishes the pursuits/endeavors that He starts.   If we keep our eyes on Christ and draw on His strength not ours, there will be progress & not failure in the course of time.    “. . .to all who received him, he gave power to become children of God.”  John 1:12      “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14  “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . .”  1 Timothy 6:12  “ . . . the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Proverbs 4:18
      Patterns – they don’t have to be discouraging if we are determined to WIN.  Choose Jesus, He is alive. See “Set Yourself Up” link #20.

Many other Titles:  www.gospelnotes.net - Link 1 is Index                                               *  *  F. J. Stone  *  *