“That was then. This is now.”
by Dr. Sam Horn
Read Part 1.
“That was then. This is now.”
by Dr. Sam Horn
“If we are going to count for much in the post-modern world in which we now live, the Spirit must remain key to the Church’s existence.” —Gordon Fee
The New England Theology: From Jonathan Edwards to Edwards Amasa Park. Edited by Douglas A. Sweeney and Allen C. Guelzo. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006. 320 pages. $29.99/hardback.
(Review copy courtesy of Baker Academic.)
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Special Features: Bibliographic references and index
“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6, KJV).
The last time I wrote for SI, I wrote about something big—mega-ministry. I tried to show that God can do great and mighty things in and through us, no matter the size of our congregation. Today, I write about something else that is big. In the passage I quoted above, the apostle Paul said that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” The word great is the Greek word “megas,” and the word gain speaks of “an acquisition.” Most of us will never be able to participate in a multi-billion-dollar corporate acquisition, but according to this verse, godliness with contentment comprises a “mega-acquisition.” By God’s grace we can and must have godliness with contentment in our lives.
Godliness is a reverence and respect for God that manifests itself in a life that brings glory to His name. There’s hardly a week that goes by that we are not made aware of some case of moral collapse in the family of God. The practice of godliness is the need of the hour for every believer. Notice some things Paul said about godliness in his two letters to Timothy.
Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information, reported that in 2005, 172,000 new titles and editions were published in the United States. The preliminary count of books published in the category of “Religion” was 9,222. This statistic is almost double the number from 1993. This fact indicates “all too clearly that mania scribendi is a well-established characteristic of our age.” 
Considering these statistics, a few questions enter my mind. First, “Do we  need to be aware of everything that has been printed?” It’s very interesting to see the rise and decline of numbers and consider the world events that took place during those years. In some cases, it’s obvious that some publishers took advantage of current events in order to sell more books.
In 1960, in the Introduction to his book titled A Treasury of Books for Bible Study, Wilbur Smith wrote the following:
In the first part of this article, we examined how the genealogy of King Jesus shows God’s sovereignty over His blessings and history. Now we will see that His sovereignty over individuals is also demonstrated.
The individuals in this genealogy could be divided into at least four different groups: outstanding individuals, outcasts, outlaws, and obscure individuals. God is sovereign over all kinds of people.
We see some famous names in the history of Israel here, from patriarchs to kings. The first ancestors of the Jewish nation were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called Himself their God (Ex. 3:6). David the king was known as a “man after God’s own heart.” His son Solomon had the temple in Jerusalem built. Other outstanding leaders include Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Zerubbabel. The lives of these men included great military victories and the restoration of true worship.
However, none of these outstanding men were perfect. They had their blemishes, from Abraham’s deceit, to David’s adultery, to Solomon’s idolatry, to Uzziah’s intrusion into the temple to offer incense. Several of these men neglected to train up their children in the ways of the Lord. Even the best of these were still sinners who needed a Savior. God, in His sovereignty, brought the legal right to rule to Jesus through these men.
A few years ago I did some research on my family tree. For now, I can only trace it back to 1833 and a man named Andrew Jackson Nelson. This man was a Roman Catholic priest in Ireland. He became a primitive Baptist minister, married a lady from North Carolina, and is buried in Southwest Virginia.
Although some may take no interest in family trees, genealogical research can be interesting. One of my students showed me that her family tree includes William Shakespeare, Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower, and President John Adams.
Genealogical research can be important. It would certainly be important to us if it determined whether or not we could receive an inheritance from a distant relative with no other heirs. To the Jews, it was crucial to establish who could be in the priesthood and inhabit or own certain land. Even in New Testament times, it was not uncommon for people to know what tribe they were from—for example, the Apostle Paul could trace his lineage to the tribe of Benjamin.
Genealogical research can also be intimidating. Some may be afraid of what they might find. What if you found prostitutes and slaves in your genealogy?
Through Paul, the Holy Spirit gives us warnings about obsessive curiosity over genealogies (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 3:9 KJV). But we are also told that all Scripture is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Let us look at the genealogy of Jesus in a profitable, edifying way.