Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1766 - 2015 "From Passion to Passivity"

Ruins of Ballywallin Presbyterian Church, County Antrim, Ulster Plantation, ca. 1748 – Image Courtesy Ballywallin Presbyterian Church
Five generations ago, Hugh Gaston risked it all…and paid it all.  He fled home, hearth, church and family risking everything for the freedom of reading, teaching and living the precepts of the Holy Scriptures.  After attending an annual conference of ministers in 1766 he disappeared for nearly four months.  Suddenly he reappeared in South Carolina, sought out his brother, John “Justice” Gaston of Chester County and set out for the back country to begin a new ministry.  He preached just one or two sermons, then falling ill with the measles.  He was dead within a month of his arrival.  He is buried next to his brother and sister in law in Burnt Meeting House Cemetery just an hour’s drive south of Charlotte, NC.  John wrote a letter home to his widow, Mary Gaston, and children telling of Hugh’s tragic demise.  Hugh’s family stayed in Ulster and never came to America.
These freedoms that Hugh risked everything for had eluded the Gaston family for generations.  Long before Hugh was born the Gaston family searched for the truth of the gospel with the Huguenots of France.  Roman Catholicism was the state religion there in the 16th century.  The Gaston’s, under persecution from Rome, fled France for Scotland where they associated themselves with the Reformed Presbyterianism of John Knox.  Here too, they faced persecution, not from Rome but from London.  The English, having subdued Scotland, were determined to force the Scots back into Romanism under Queen Mary and then into Anglicanism under Elizabeth I and James VI.   Scotland was under the boot of the tyrannical English, land was scarce and times were hard.  After several generations, the family sought a better life across the Irish Sea in what was then called Ulster Plantation, now known as Northern Ireland.  Here they found more, better and cheaper land. However, they did not find the religious freedom that they so desperately longed for.
Ulster Plantation was designed by the English as an enclave where both Scots and English would settle Irish Catholic lands and eventually cause the Irish to give up their resistance to English rule.  The plan backfired and the repercussions of this 400 year old plan are still resounding today in the streets of Northern Ireland.  The Gaston’s faced the hatred of the displaced Irish Catholics and the persecution of the English Anglicans.  It was literally a “stress sandwich.”  However, early in the 18th century, these displaced Ulster Scots began immigrating to a new land that promised it all – freedom of religion, free land and unbridled prosperity in a land “flowing with milk and honey,” AMERICA.  John and Esther Waugh Gaston along with two small daughters came to Pennsylvania before 1740.  By 1754, the expanding family found their way south through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, through the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina, ending up in the rolling piedmont hills of upstate South Carolina.  John became the top law officer on the frontier, the so-called “Kings Justice.”  He also became the most successful surveyor of land in all the upstate.  Here they would prosper in freedom and liberty.  John and Esther would eventually have 13 children, all of which lived to adulthood, a blessing unheard of in that day and time.  The only thing they lacked in the upstate were trained preachers for all the Scot – Irish, as we are called here in America.  Hugh Gaston was not only a trained minister, he was the most brilliant Presbyterian scholar of his age.  No wonder John was so excited to greet his brother on his way to Chester from Charleston when he arrived in 1766.
Hugh Gaston was a dangerous man to the English, perhaps the most dangerous man in all of Scotland and Ireland.  Why?  Hugh had in 1763 published a book, a book that threatened every Catholic and every Anglican in Ulster.  It was book that, for the first time, provided the common man the tools needed for deep Bible study.  Now the Ulster ploughman could within a very short period of time, know more Bible than any Catholic or Anglican “clergyman.”  It was simple, yet brilliant.  The book was a combination systematic theology, concordance and topical Bible.  It became a bombshell!  The name of the book?  A Scripture Account of the Faith and Practice of Christians.   
The publication of this book apparently cost Hugh everything.  By 1766 he found himself broke and disgraced.  Because he so soon died upon arriving in the new world, he left no information as the exact circumstances of his sudden departure.  One thing is for sure.  This book cost Hugh everything.  He lost his family.  He lost his position.  He lost his wealth.  He lost his life.  He lost these things so that anyone could study the Bible for themselves.
Though Hugh Gaston, as far as we know, never discovered the complete truth of the gospel, he searched for it diligently and gave everything so that others could take that journey as well.  He was a man of great passion and love for the truth.
Now, one year shy of 250 years, the passion of Hugh Gaston has been replaced by passivity.  “Christians” today have grown passive, lazy and unconcerned with the study, the teaching and the living of the Scriptures.  Bibles sit unopened on the shelf or travel without use in the back seats of automobiles.  People today are passive towards the claims of Holy Scripture and are ashamed of what it says.  What Hugh Gaston died for in 1766, people in 2015 could not care less about.  How about you?  Are you passionate or passive?
Hugh Gaston is my great uncle, five times removed.  I have a reprinted copy of his book I can show you anytime.  John Gaston is my great grandfather five times removed.  He and Esther gave four sons in death during the War for Independence, their home, their possessions and their freedom.  All nine of their sons served the cause of liberty.  At 80 years of age, John Gaston died in his sleep, still being pursued by the English.  He had two loaded pistols under his pillow and a loaded musket at this bedside as he passed into eternity.
-          Russ McCullough

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Revelation! - "Written To Us, About Us or For Us?"

Image Courtesy of Bing Images
Lesson 5 - Chapter 1

Watch This Gospel Call TV VIDEO to Answer These Questions:
1.      Review:
a.      Whose Revelation is it?
b.      Given from who to whom?
c.       The recipient then gave the Revelation to whom?
d.      That recipient then gave the Revelation to whom for recordation?
e.      The Revelation was written about events that would happen when?  The word translated “soon” literally means I___ S____________ in the original.
2.      According to I John 1.1 – 3, what 3 things can John testify to?
3.      The angel signified that John could testify to what 3 things per vs. 2?
4.      The word translated “signified” is from the original esmainon which means A S________, A M___________ or I________________.  This word occurs in only 5 other places which sheds light on its meaning:
a.      John 12.23 ____________________________________________________
b.      John 18.32 ____________________________________________________
c.       John 21.9 _____________________________________________________
d.      Acts 11.28 _____________________________________________________
e.      Acts 25.27 _____________________________________________________
5.      This word tells us very early on that Revelation is written in S_______________ language, not L______________.  The only exception is the A______________ which goes from 1.8 – 3.22.
6.      Though there are many descriptions, what is the “Testimony of Jesus Christ” according to John 11.25 – 26?
7.      Blessings come to what two parties in 1.3?  These blessings come with what caveat?  Why is this principle so very important?
8.      Why is the word “are” so very important in 1.3?
9.      What attribute of God is described in 1.4?  Does Satan possess this attribute?
10.  The letter comes from what 3 parties identified in vs. 3 – 4?
11.  Does this conflict with vs. 1?  Why or why not?
12.  Jesus Christ has made us all what?
13.  To what end has He made us thusly?
14.  Does the phrase “coming” always refer to the 2nd coming of which we have already studied?  (See 2.5, 2.16, 2.22, 3.3, 3.11
15.  In THIS CONTEXT, what indication do we have that Christ already came to the 7 churches of Asia?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lessons from Jabez's Mother - I Chronicles 4.9 - 10 - Gospel Call TV Video Presentation - Mother's Day - 2015

Mother's Day - 2015 - May 11
Lesson's from Jabez's Mother
Click on Link Below:

(NOTE: Audio does not start until 45 seconds into video)
She is never identified, we have not a clue to what her name was or anything about her...with one exception, she left a legacy in the form of a faithful son!  His name?  Jabez.
The Chronicles are two books rarely read or studied today but contain many a hero of God's faithful.  Jabez was a man of faith because his mother was a woman of faith.  Paul says that the gospel is spread from "faith to faith" in Romans 1.17.  Jabez's mother was a Romans 1.17 woman.
The Bible asserts several things concerning Jabez that he learned from his mother, his father not being mentioned at all in the text.  They are stunning.
1. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, he was a Bible man, a real Berean!
2. Jabez called upon the Name of the Lord God of Israel - he sought salvation.
3. Jabez asked God for blessings - no self made man here.
4. Jabez sought from God expanded influence - a man of the message.
5. Jabez placed himself under the protecting Hand of God - he surrendered control totally.
6. Jabez besought God to deliver him from evil - he knew that "sin was crouching at the door and he had to master it." 
7. Jabez exercised the kind of faith that brought a full answer to prayer!  -  He prayed in faith, never doubting.
Jabez learned all of this from his Godly mother.  Let's be like Jabez.  May we all call, ask, seek, place and beseech from God those things that Jabez did.  It's never too late to become a "Jabez Mother!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Revelation! - "Written To Us, About Us or For Us?" - Lesson 3 - Introduction Part 3 - Video and Lesson

Emperor Vespasian courtesy Wiki Commons, photo from 2007 by user.shanko

Complete Video Linked Below
1.  The date if the writing of Revelation is critical to the understanding of the times of it's writing.  Here is the EXTERNAL data:
  • John was writing about a persecution that remained in the F_____________ for the S_____________ churches of A_______, events that were to take place "S_________."
  • The persecution of Nero was local to R_________ and did not affect A_________.
  • The very first persecution of Christians in Asia took place late in the reign of Emperor D____________, 95 - 96.  Domitian was assassinated after demanding worship as a god and declaring himself perpetual "Roman Censor."  The office of Roman Censor was elected by an independent body.  The Roman Censor was then put in charge of 3 major tasks; 1) The C_____________ of the people, 2) To maintain P__________ M__________ and to 3) Oversee the F________________ of the empire.  According to the Roman historian Suetonius (69 - 122), Domitian demanded worship as dominus et deus, "M______________ and L__________."  He was the very first emperor to make such a demand.  Every prior Senate recognized emperors were D___________ after D_________ but none had demanded worship before. 
  • The "Emperor Cult" began during the reign of the first Senate recognized Ceasar, Augustus.  The center of the cult was in E____________ part of A_________, the same regions as the 7 churches.  Before Domitian worship of the reigning emperors was strictly voluntary but was demanded first under Domitian.
  • Revelation was written before the P_______________ but after N_________.  The most likely date for the writing is somewhere between 77 and 79 during the latter years of V_________________.   He began the siege of Jerusalem in 68.  He was called back to Rome after the suicide of Nero in December of 68.  His son Titus finished the destruction of Jerusalem in August, 70.  Between Nero and Vespasian, during most of 69, there were T________ pretenders to the throne that were never accepted as emperor outside of Rome.  They were Galba, Otho and Vitellius.  Vespasian reigned as emperor from 69 to 79 and was the first of the Flavian Dynasty.  He was followed in the emperorship by his two sons, T_________ and then D________________.  Titus reigned from 79 to 81 after contracting a fever and dying an untimely death.  Vespasian then reigned from 81 - 96.  The I______________ evidence contained in Revelation demands a V______________ reign date of writing.  The Flavian Dynasty ended with D_____________ as he was declared damnatio memoriae, "E______________ of M_______________."  This is why there is very little contemporary information concerning him.
2. INTERNAL evidence to the date of writing:
  • Revelation 17.9 - 11 -  "This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction." (ESV via
  • Rome was city built on S___________ hills.
  • John notes a series of E_____________ rulers, the last of which "goes to D____________" for he is the B_____________. 
  • Those who favor a Neroian date start the list with J____________ C_____________ but he was unlike all the succeeding Caesar's as he was an emperor in name only, the rest were institutionalized as such.  "IF" John wrote while Nero was alive, the message would have had N_______________ to do with the S_____________ C___________ of A__________.
  • The list as it "best" integrates" with what we know of the times:
  • 1) "The Five Fallen Kings" - a) A____________, b) T____________, c) C___________, d) C___________, e) N________.
  • 2) "The One That Is" - V_________________
  • 3) "The One That Will Come But For Only a Short Time" - T_____________
  • 4) "The Beast That Is To Come" - D_______________ 
3. Just why were Christians targeted for persecution?  Summers notes ten reasons in Worthy is the Lamb:
  1. After Nero, Christianity's legal status C________________, no longer considered a part of Judaism, a L__________ religion, its legal status became religio illicita, an I__________ R______________.  Why?  Jesus Christ was condemned and executed by Roman law and was therefore a C_______________.  Any persons following a criminal were also C______________ by D_______________.
  2. The state demanded P______________ status, Christianity gave it S____________ status at best.  Christians were seen as T______________ to the state.
  3. Christians were considered A______________.  Typically, emperors who persecuted Christianity attempted to reverse deteriorating morality, economic fortunes and external pressures by attempting to appease the "gods" as their "A___________" was seen as the cause of all this misery.  Since Christians rejected E______________ god except the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD, they were seen as A______________ and were to blame for E________________ wrong in society.
  4. Christianity was seen as a secretive society that met for self G_______________ and C____________________ meals.
  5. Christians were considered traitors because they refused to go to W__________.  One had to A_____________ the "gods" in the service, they were called upon to M____________ and P________________ in the name of the emperor and F___________ for the very government that persecuted their brothers and sisters,
  6. The church of Christ was made up principally of S_____________ and the lowest of the P____________________, naturally looked down upon by the affluent and educated.
  7. Since Christians refused to C_________________ they were seen as I_________________, something Roman cultural could not stand.
  8. Christians were seen as "Wild Fanatics" for their "Enthusiasm," quite opposite of the passive Roman culture.
  9. Christians angered the business community for they put quite a dent in the pagan S____________ economy.
  10. Christians refused to worship the E___________________!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Diogmos (Persecution) of the Church (Video Sermon)

"The Sect Everywhere Spoken Against."  Sunday evening exposition of Paul's last recorded sermon in Acts 28 by Russ McCullough.

Thy Kingdom Come - The Truth About the Rapture - The Introduction

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