With the preaching at the General Assembly of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States and the Atlanta Christian Training Seminar on June 8 - 10, some commented that God brought to them the most important spiritual revival in forty-five years. The fire of the Spirit of God began glowing among us at the opening of our RPCUS General Assembly on Friday morning when Carl Bogue, a PCA pastor from Ohio, preached a powerful message from the word of God, entitled "The Awe and All of the Gospel Message", taken from Acts 20:17ff and Matthew 28:18-20.
Whereas spiritual gifts are gifts and abilities given by the Holy Spirit to the Christian to carry out Christian Mission, talents are gifts and abilities the Creator gives to men and women and youth, whom he has made in his image, to enhance and develop human life in general.
Every Christian has duties assigned him by Christ, to which he is called to be faithful -- evangelism, hospitality, obedience to the Bible, intercession, etc. These are not gifts assigned only to some Christians, they are duties demanded of all Christians.
When one thinks of the literature influential in the founding of this nation and the War of Independence, one's mind (especially if he or she has been educated in the State-controlled institutions of learning) automatically runs to Thomas Paine's little pamphlet Common Sense. This, according to modern historiography, was the spark which ignited the flame of the American Revolution. One gets the impression had Mr. Paine not written his essay, we would still be pausing in the mid-afternoon for tea and singing "God Save our Queen."
You may have seen the news item in a local newspaper not too long ago detailing that former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali is now traveling about to promote a new cologne that bears his name. "It's the greatest," he said "I predict that I'll sell more cologne than anyone else in the world. Even Calvin Klein will back up." I simply do not believe that Muhammed Ali has changed too much from the person he was when he was the heavyweight boxing champ of the world. He still has that assertive, self-confident, attitude which endeared him to his fans. It would be almost impossible to become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world and at the same time manifest the characteristics of the first three beatitudes.
Since there is only one God and one territory, no one else can claim jurisdiction apart from Him. For that reason, the LORD God, in the first commandment, places a general ban on all the false gods born in the vain imagination of fallen man. In the second commandment, a specific ban is placed on the actual manufacture of idols for worship and service. By implication, this also prohibits setting forth for worship and service the gods of ideology, philosphy, and false theology born in the minds of men who have not begun with God in their thinking but with themselves and their situations. Idolatry is evident when man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) and follows the dictates of his own word as opposed to the word of God.