Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Thirteenth Man

 

The Seattle Seahawks football team is renowned for its fans which have earned the title: “the Twelfth Man”.  This is because there are normally eleven men on the playing field at any one time, but because of the “heart” of the fans, the team considers them to be with them in spirit as well.  Therefore, they are “the Twelfth Man.”

The Seattle fans are extremely enthusiastic and supportive of their team.  They are wild and even border on the edge of becoming lunatic in their support of the Seahawks.  Before each home game in Seattle, there is the ceremonial raising of the blue flag sporting the large white numbers: “12”.  One of the largest selling items of team clothing is the jersey sporting the large numbers “12” with the name displayed proudly on the back: “Fan”.  Seattle fans fanatically love their Seahawks.

Jesus too had twelve men on His team.  Of all of the disciples following Him, He only chose 12 men to be on His team.  Of course, I am talking about the 12 who later became apostles.  They were the only twelve who were on the field of play during His battle for victory over death.

In addition to them, there were huge crowds of others who followed Jesus as well.  They were His fans.  Although they were not in play as starters, they were very dedicated fans. Recognizing this is what drove the Pharisees crazy with jealousy and envy.  Like the “Twelfth” man with the Seahawks, these extra followers of Jesus could be called His “thirteenth man.”  They were not on the actual field of play, but they were such fans that they were there in heart.

It is funny though that Seattle fans can be called “the twelfth man” where we can call Jesus’ fans “the thirteenth man.”  This is because numbers have meaning in the Bible and the number 13 indicates rebellion.  There were 13 American colonies that “rebelled” from their king to form the United States of America. The first time the number appears in the Bible is in Genesis 14:4 telling us, “in the thirteenth year they rebelled…”  We read about Judas Iscariot in John 13:13 whose name consists of thirteen letters.  John 13:13 also has thirteen words in it and thirty nine letters, which is three times thirteen.  The word “dragon” appears thirteen times in the book of Revelation.  Nimrod, who is the thirteenth from Adam, is a type of Antichrist.  The Book of Mark mentions Satan in the first chapter verse 13.  And so on…  Jesus’ fans were, and still are a rebellious lot.

The thirteenth man of the followers of Jesus are those who love Him for what He can do for them, but never take a thought for what they can do for Him.  In other words, they are selfish.  The worst type of these are pointed out in Acts 4:33 to 5:11.  There we have the story of unity in the church.  The “team” is on the field and they are winning.  The “thirteenth man” is supporting the team.  They are fanatically cheering them on.  That is all except two rebellious fans.  They are Ananias and Sapphira.  They are cleaver.  They are sneaky.  They have observed the others and patiently learned what is to be expected of them.  They have not responded from their heart.  With their heads, they have formulated a very elaborate plan.  They would bring in some of their support of the team, but would “ACT LIKE” they were a true, blue, 100% lover of the team.  They would pretend to be a fanatic supporter of the battle being waged, when all the time, deep down in their hearts, they were laying back, pretending to support the team, but waiting to see just what the team could do for them.  They were evil and wicked, and for their wickedness, they were relieved from their position of being a “thirteenth man”.  They were kicked out of the Jesus fan club.  God KILLED THEM!

Later on, more and more of these rebels began to pop up.  Everywhere that Paul went to start a church work, we see problems of people feigning a good Christian life, but their hearts are not in it as a real “fan of Jesus.”  They in fact are “fans of self”, but are pretending to be Christians so they can receive the benefits of Christian life.  They are like those who talk about Christ inside the church, or in the presence of other known Christians, but rarely, if ever, talk about their “team” with others.  It is not that way with the Seahawks fans.  They don’t care if they know you or not when they lift their fist in the air and convincingly say, “GO HAWKS!”  Strangers coming away from that type of encounter know one thing if nothing else, that person loves the Hawks.  But not so with the rebellious “thirteenth man” on Jesus’ team.  They are watching, conniving, waiting for a way to incorporate Jesus into their life, when all the time they are supposed to be incorporating themselves into His life.

There are many fake thirteenth man “fans” that have ruined peoples chances for ever accepting Christ.  These so-called fans of Jesus are the most dangerous of all people as far as spreading the gospel.  They are dangerous because; on the outside they look like the right thing.  They sound like the right thing.  They act like the right thing.  But, all the while, they are like rebellious Judas Iscariot.  They are waiting to see how being a Christian can help them instead of how they can help the team.  They have taught people how to “get by” as a Christian instead of “get into” supporting the team.  They are proudly wearing the jersey, but the lack of fanaticism is apparently lacking.  They are content to observe instead of get involved and their actions have taught others to do so as well.  Like Judas, they sit on the fence because they don’t want to ruin their chances of getting the Pharisees mad at them and they don’t want Jesus or the team to get mad at them as well.  Their balancing act has been intricately conceived and expertly managed, but what they don’t realize is that, like Judas, it will come to an end when they don’t realize it.  All of their “playing” church; their “playing” at being a true fan will come to a crashing halt.  Unfortunately for that hypocrite, they will always fall on the side of self, pleasing the Pharisees, and engulfed by the world.  And with them, will follow all of those who were influenced by them and their lessons on how to be a thirteenth man.  This is why they are so very dangerous.

Fans of Jesus should be like the fans of the Seahawks—They should dress up, get ready, stand in lines to see the team play, buy season tickets as soon as they come available, get their jersey, scream to the top of their lungs, and make such an impression that the entire nation knows that, coming to play our team at home is going to be tough because our team has—“the thirteenth man.”

How Pastors Become A Statistic

Many churches love their pastors and show it by taking good care of him.  They stand by him and what he is trying to do for the Lord because they know what he is facing.  They understand his situation because they think about him, know he is a man and value him as a gift provided to them by God.  But if I am to believe some of the survey statistics published on pastors and their view towards the ministry, the vast majority of fellow pastors do not receive such care.  Consider these figures compiled by the Schaeffer Institute:

Hours and Pay

  • 90% of the pastors work between 55 to 75 hours per week, even though their congregations don’t see it.
  • feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors are grossly underpaid and with what they do receive, they are usually the biggest giver to their church.

Training and Preparedness

  • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered it.

Health and Well-Being

  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a sufficient living.

Marriage and Family

  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.

Church Relationships

  • 70% do not have someone they consider as a close friend.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • #1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change and become critical of him.

Longevity

  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
  • 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
  • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.

That’s a sad and alarming picture, isn’t it?  Work long hours in a job with too many demands for too little pay. Many have the wrong skills and the wrong expectations. Families being pressured and battered.  Pastors are discouraged and depressed. No friends, serious conflict once a month, and people who will not follow.  Is it no wonder so many quit so soon?

According to one survey, only 23% of pastors report being happy and content in their identity in Christ, in their church, and in their home.

I suspect, however, that men in these situations might be crippled all the more were they to faithfully preach a text like 1 Tim. 5:17-20.  They would be seen as self-serving and courting with more hostility and dissatisfaction from a people already running afoul of God’s call to churches to honor faithful servants.

So, I’m hopeful at least some of God’s people would consider these statistics, reflect upon their church’s treatment of their pastors, and perhaps lead a conspiracy to make sure faithful elders receive “double honor” from those they teach and lead.  Let’s face it: we can’t get survey statistics like these unless it has become an unchecked commonplace among congregations to gossip and gripe rather than to breathe grace toward church leaders.  These statistics indicate a pandemic culture of disregard and dishonor aimed at pastors.  That’s to the church’s shame.

I’m praying that Hebrews 13:17–rather than rejected as giving too much authority to leaders–might be embraced by individual members and congregations as one means to growth in Christ and deeper joy as the family of God.  “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Falling from your own Steadfastness

2 Peter 3:16 “…as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

With the attack of the world (fueled by inspiration of the Devil) upon the church, Christians are showing wobbly backbone when the battle gets rough.  With just a little goading by the devil, the yellow streak shows clear and bright.  How can those who were once “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10) so easily lose their “steadfastness”?  How can they change so suddenly?

In fact, the change in them (and perhaps in YOU) is not a sudden one at all.  It has been happening over a long period of time.  Instead of growing in GRACE, they wrest with the Scriptures and are led away by those who are unstable and unlearned in the ways of truth.  Over time, they join the ranks of those who are of another Christ (1 John 2:18, 22; 2 Thess. 2:7-8; 2 John 1:7) because they were introduced to them by one of the “…many false prophets… gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).  Instead of growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they grew in knowledge of the world and self.  Then one day–“snap!”  They were gone.

When you belong to one fellowship or church, it is either because the Lord put you there or you put yourself there.  If you are following the Lord and are true servant of the Lord, no matter what, you will obey the Lord’s decision for the rest of your life.  If you are listening to self, or are lusting after the worlds temporary enlightenment, then you will bounce around from place to place looking for fulfillment of self.

In the Lord, there is no variableness (James 1:13).  In fact there is not even a shadow of changing in Him; He does not change His mind.  Any change of mind indicates that He was wrong and is now changing to be right, or He was right and is now changing to be wrong; or He is wrong and is now changing to another wrong.  But you can never be right and change to be right.  Right is right.  Since God never makes any mistakes, everything He calls for is right.  The problem is when people attempt to interpret God’s calling for their life and bring with the interpretation their selfish desires and nuances.  When they do, they try to work it out that God’s calling for their life lines up with what THEY WANT instead of accepting what they know GOD WANTS for them.  This way, self can get what it wants and justify it because they reason (and claim) that God is calling them this way.  They join the ranks of the many “anti-Christ’s” on the scene today.  “Preacher!  Isn’t calling them anti-Christ’s a little harsh?”  Well, when we go against God’s will for our life, we are “anti” to His plan.  Since His plan is Christ: To love Him and obey Him; then to listen to self is to be against Him.

Since God put you in a fellowship of believers, it is not up to you to “feel” like you are a “hand” when everyone else in the fellowship is a “foot.”  This is reasoning your selfish desire to gain acceptance with God and it will not work.  You may rejoice initially, but that is just self being happy that you are listening to and feeding it.  It won’t take long for the Holy Spirit of God to begin working on you or those around you; doing whatever it takes to get your attention so He can, “Reason together” (Isa. 1:8) with you.  God is not unreasonable.  He doesn’t satisfy self–He reasons with truth.

“But this doesn’t adequately explain the sudden change in a person.  I know you said it happens slowly, but how?”

When you are a member of one church, but go outside of your church to other churches or para-churches for fulfillment in so-called “Christian activities” of interest, you are opening yourself up to follow self instead of obey God.  This is a difficult thing for people to do: OBEY!  Especially for the generation of young Christians today; they don’t like being told to obey.  The world has successfully indoctrinated them with the “free willed philosophy” of self.

Little by little, as they learn a little about this church here; a little there; a jot here; a tittle there; the doctrine from the church which God placed them becomes diluted until it becomes totally unimportant.  Oh, they say it is important, but the fact that they leave because they “FEEL” that GOD is moving them, betrays this line of thinking.  Leaving, especially by clandestine means, speaks loudly against supporting what they say God is doing in them, because even the smallest babe in Christ knows God would not do something so foolish. They are led away with the error of the wicked until they fall from their own steadfastness.  They are not steady nor are they fastened.  They become shaky and loose; so much so that they one day are gone.

“How do I keep this from happening to me?”

First, you don’t get involved in activities from other churches or the world.  If your church does not have an activity that you are interested in, then start one.  If you cannot get enough people involved to successfully start one, then perhaps God is saying I have something else for you to do right now; something else that I wish to teach you; something else I want to develop in you at this moment.  In other words, accept what God has for you and pray and ask Him for the other.

Second, Find comfort in growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord (vs. 18).  In everything, God wants you to grow in two things: grace and knowledge.  If these two things don’t “turn you on” then perhaps you don’t understand what they are.  If grace and knowledge sound boring to you, then perhaps you have never delved into the wonderful overwhelming power that is contained in them.  If you try, but get nothing out of it, then perhaps you are not patient enough to let God work on you in His own time, perhaps you are neglecting Christ and growing in self instead.

Third, Start thinking right.  Are you one of those people who live by the saying: “live life to it’s fullest?”  Or do you misunderstand when someone says, “you only have one life to live” or “That’s the life” or “You only go around once in life.”  For the Christian it is true that you only have one life to live, but what we go through on this earth is so miniscule that God is going to burn the whole thing up after He takes us off of it.  You can NEVER, NEVER “live life to its fullest” on this earth.  It is a lie from the Devil to get you to focus on self instead of God.

Finally my friends, I leave you with this thought.  If God has put you someplace, He has done it for a reason.  If you are unhappy there, it is not because God is not working on you.  It is not because the people have changed.  Its because YOU MADE A DECISION FOR YOURSELF INSTEAD OF WAITING ON GOD.  ONLY YOU CAN FALL FROM YOUR OWN STEADFASTNESS!

Judgmental People

Ron Coale, Rev.

Ron Coale, Rev.

Judgmental people can be most irritating at times, especially when they won’t let you explain your actions or position. Today’s Timeless Truth is about Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The most judgmental people in the world are those who talk about other people being judgmental about them.  You see, a person cannot help but be judgmental because everything we do begins with a judgment: (What clothes to wear, what food to eat, what activity to be involved in).  Everything we do is a judgment call including telling others they should not be judgmental.

Have you ever run across someone who told you not to be judgmental because you were a Christian, and and what you were doing was not a Christian thing to do?  There are plenty of people who know this verse of Scripture but don’t know a thing about the character of God.  They just know Matt 7:1-2 because it helps them stifle Christians.  The problem is there are plenty of Christians who believe these uninformed “teachers” of God’s Word.  These “know it all’s” have taken one word and replaced the definition of it with another word and unsuspecting Christians don’t even notice.  What they mean to say is, “Don’t be so ‘critical’ of me because it is not nice,” but they say, “Don’t be so judgmental” instead.  The old bamboozle (sigh!).

So, because the swap in meaning of the words, people totally misinterpret the meaning of this verse of Scripture.  It does not mean that you should not judge.  It does not even mean to judge a person the way you would want to be judged.  It means that we should have a little mercy on our brothers because we are all going to be judged some day; Be a little pitiful because someday we are going to be on the “hot seat” too!  If Judgmental people would just “judge” the Bible rightly, then they, and we, would be much happier.

Study of the Book of Romans

Grace Bible Institute - Romans

The Book of Romans

The book of Romans is the first doctrinal book of the New Testament.  It sets the tone for understanding all of the following books that apply to the church age.

  1.  Hand write the entire book in English.  Write it in a notebook and turn it in for credit. This will be 25% of your total score.
  2. Keep a notebook of content taught in class or from watching the videos and turn it in for credit. This will be 25% of your total score.
  3. Take exam for the course, (Can use handwritten Romans notebook for reference). This will be 25% of your total score.
  4. Memorize verses: 3:10; 5:6; 5:7-8; 5:12; 6:10; 6:23; 8:28; 10:9-13; 12:1-2. Verses must be recited in person or over the phone by an authorized instructor.  Arrangement for time must accommodate the instructor. This will be 25% of your total score.
  5. Textbook: King James Bible.
  6. Assignments are due before credit will be given for the class.
Title WORK SHEET VIDEO
1. Chapter 1 Work Sheet 1 1:1-2; 3-7; 8-15; 16-20; 21-32.
2. Chapter 2 Work Sheet 2 2:1; 2-11; 12-24; 25-29.
3. Chapter 3 Work Sheet 3 3:1-8; 9-18; 19-25; 26-31.
4. Chapter 4 Work Sheet 4 4:1-3; 4-8; 9-13; 14-16; 17-21; 22-25.
5. Chapter 5 Work Sheet 5 5:1-2; 3-5; 6-11; 12-17; 18-21.
6. Chapter 6 Work Sheet 6 6:1-7; 8-11; 12-13; 14-17; 18-23.
7. Chapter 7 Work Sheet 7 7:1-3; 4-6; 7-13; 14-25.
8. Chapter 8 Work Sheet 8 8:1-9; 10-16; 17-25; 26-28; 29-30; 31-39.
9. Chapter 9 Work Sheet 9 9:1-5; 6-13; 14-24; 25-29; 30-33.
10. Chapter 10 Work Sheet 10 10:1-11; 12-21a; 12-21b.
11. Chapter 11 Work Sheet 11 11:1-6; 7-11.
12. Chapter 12 Work Sheet 12 12:1-3.
13. Chapter 13 Work Sheet 13 13.1
14. Chapter 14 Work Sheet 14 14.1
15. Chapter 15 Work Sheet 15 15.1
16. Chapter 16 Work Sheet 16 16.1

Motivational Speakers

Contemporary motivational speakers are those who give comments that will motivate a person to do something.  They don’t motivate a person to do something that person didn’t originally want to do, but something they already felt like doing.  In other words, motivational speech doesn’t have any effect on a person unless they were in agreement in the first place.  Adolph Hitler was a great motivational speaker, as was Mao Tsi Dong, Joseph Stalin and Barak Obama.  They were (and are) masters at finding things that people want and presenting it in a way to motivate and inspire people.  On the whole, contemporary motivational speakers are “martial arts encouragers.”  They use a persons strengths and weaknesses against them, in order to get them to do what they want them to do–usually to buy a product or financially support a cause.  In order to accomplish their unseen agenda, they must be sure to stay away from anything negative, else their victims, like the rabbit who is almost caught in the snare, comes to the sudden realization that they are to be trapped, and hop away breathing a sigh of relief.

 The truth is, there are two kinds of motivational speakers: Those who tell you what you want to hear (like cheer leaders) and those who tell you what you don’t want to hear (like preaching about sin and death); Jesus was the latter.  In fact, all of the prophets and preachers of God in the Bible were of the latter sort.  They had a message of hope that was coupled with a message of doom and destruction.  It is the message of doom and destruction, coupled with the anger of God displayed in His wrath that was the motivational injection that lethargic people needed.  When Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), the Pharisees were shocked into doing something.  Noah said, “God’s gonna make it rain and flood the earth killing every living thing.  That’s why I’m building this here boat.”  He was scoffed at until God’s wrath was coupled with the message this preacher of righteousness had (2 Peter 2:5).  They were motivated when they were suddenly caught in the snare of the Devil.  With their negative message of destruction came a message of hope; they were coupled together.

 The negative message first identifies a need in a persons life.  It is a message of judgment and sentence.  It is meant to be a warning of some bad or sinful action.  It is designed to “wake people up” (1 Cor. 15:34; Rom. 13:11) from a dangerous activity, thought or influence.  Then there is hope.  Until then, a message of hope cannot be given because the people will not take it seriously.  There is nothing to motivate them; nothing to move them or provoke them to do something about their evil ways.  A fitting example of this is seen in the preaching of the prophet Zephaniah.  He brought the message that the Lord was determined to pour His indignation upon the nations.  The message further said that God was going to devour all the earth with the fire of His jealousy (Zeph. 3:8).  A negative message to be sure.  Why?  Why such a message from the Lord?  Because God wanted to motivate people to call upon Him (Zeph. 3:9).  First the negative, then the positive.  This is Biblical and true motivational speaking, and it comes with a price.

John the Baptist had a very motivational message that he preached in the wilderness.  It so motivated people that King Herod wanted to hear it for himself.  But when John came into his presence, Herod did not like what he heard.  He did not hear a sickening sweet motivational speech doting on all of Herod’s achievements.  He heard John talk to him about his brother Philip’s wife, to whom he was not wed.  John said, “…It is not lawful for thee to have her.” (Matt. 14:4).  How did this motivate Herod?  It certainly didn’t make him leave the encounter feeling good about himself.  In fact, Herod wanted to “…put him to death…” (Matt. 14:5).  After some time of imprisonment, this is exactly what happened (Matt. 14:9-10).

So it is no secret that people don’t like to hear negative preaching, and sometimes it cost the preacher, but people need it.  They need it to motivate them to do right.  Without the negative message, coupled with the wrath of God, people are left to their own devices.  And what parent would leave their children to their own with no discipline?  Only those who don’t love them.  Positive reinforcement never did anything for anybody other than to give the parent a way of escape from disciplining their children.  It provides a good way to pass the responsibility on to others.

Preachers who are not regularly preaching against sin, are doing their congregations a huge disservice.  They are taking the easy way out; trying to be their friends and be hugely popular.  It is always easier to let someone else discipline the members of your church, but God will not hold such preachers unaccountable.  Weak-kneed preaching on sin equals popularity, but is comes with a price–skin deep Christians who are looking to have a good time on this earth and enjoy it until Jesus gets back.  That is a foolish surmise.

We have a job to do.  We are to tell people about Jesus and the gospel.  Jesus never told us to have a good time of fellowship until he came back.  That is the equivalent of taking your talent and burying it in the sand.  That will make Jesus mad.  Has any preacher ever told you that if you are not doing something to win souls to Jesus, you are inviting trouble into your life?  That God will be mad about that?  Why not?  That wouldn’t be very motivational by today’s standards, but it sure goes a long way with God.  Would you hate your preacher for telling you that truth?  Would you leave the church?  Or, would you try to do something about it?  After all, you do know the Lord is coming back, don’t you?

Many Christians know this.  But they just want to have a good time and get by until He comes.  After all, is it a sin to enjoy life?  Of course not, but it will only be enjoyable up until you see the scowl on the face of the Saviour when He turns His eyes upon you and asks, “What did you do about what I asked you to do?”

There are two kinds of motivational speakers:  One that tells you what you want to hear, and one that tells you what you need to hear.  Both are motivational.  The main difference between the two is your attitude in the way you take their message.

Christian Community Organizers

There is a big move in the Christian world to build communities rather than churches.  In this they are following the former example of President Barak Obama.  They try to organize a community into a viable force to work with, then they can fix themselves up as leaders (or rulers) of that community.

In the roots of the word “community” can be seen the word “common.”  From this word also comes the word “communism.”  An “ism” is a belief of practice of a religious sort.  You can see that community building is done not much differently than communism is done: do things for the people that they deem helpful to themselves in the immediate, so you can control them later down the road.  For Biblical example to this, Christian Community Organizers turn to the Book of Acts where it says the believers had, “…all things common.” (Acts 2:44; 4:32).  What they had in common was a result of loving God.  It was not community of people having a great time together.

If you were to build a community, you could be able to accomplish this task by simply being an investor.  You could buy up some land and build some houses on it for people to live in, hence–community.  The people would be unified in where they lived, but not necessarily in heart or belief.  It is easy to build a community by having a bunch of fun activities for people to do.  Therefore, Christian community building is doing anything fun so people will come to your community activity.  It is accomplished by not doing or saying anything that may be offensive to another, even at the expense of truth.  Christian communities therefore side-step the job of evangelism and go straight to the fellowship aspect of a church; they are a “partial church” heavily stressing fellowship and overlooking obedience and truth.  Paul warned of such deceitful activities when he said, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ear from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim. 4:2-4)  Today, that equates to having Christian communities who have fun getting together, but could care less about enduring sound doctrine.  Their ears itch to have some teacher teach them how to have fun, food and fellowship only.

Jesus gave himself for the church as a husband is supposed to do for his wife (Eph. 5:25).  He did not give himself for a “common unity.”  Jesus plans to present the “common unity of believers”–church; to himself holy and without blemish (Eph 5:27).  Not any old community.  He will not present a community of non-believers without spot or wrinkle to himself.  It is the church that He is working on to perfect.  It is the church that makes up the body of Christ.

God called us to start churches.  Churches not only encompass a “common unity of believers,” but first and foremost prepare the individual for presentation to the Lord.  Churches seek to carry out the great commission first and fellowship second.  Herein lies the great problem–People would rather have the fun, but not do the work of the Lord.  Or, they call their service to the community “fun stuff”, their work for the Lord when it is not.  Before ascending into heaven, He only gave us one job to do–win souls.

Jesus loves the church as a whole, not just when believers get together to “feel good” about themselves as some sort of modern day “AA” support group.  The Christian community organizers would have you to think that the word “church” is some sort of archaic word that has negative or bad connotations.  That is a lie.  How can Jesus ever use a word that would go out of date?  He is eternal and therefore His words are eternal, else one could easily believe that the gospel is archaic.  The church does not go out of date.  It is contemporary.  People are easily deceived because the Devil has worked very hard to dilute and discredit the true church with alternatives (like “communities”).  What has happened, is God’s people have given up on God because they are selfish.  They don’t want to do anything but be entertained, unless it is something THEY want to do and not something GOD wants them to do.

 

The Holy Spirit and Tongues

 

The modern “tongues” movement is primarily embraced  by the “Charismatic”.  This is not an English word.  It comes from the Greek word “charisma” which means gifted.  Therefore a person who claims to be “charismatic” (by the definition of the Word), claims to be gifted.  By insinuation, this indicates that there are some “Christians” who are not “gifted”.  This is wrong as the gift of the Christian is the Holy Spirit Himself.  Not only does the “Charismatic” claim (by the definition of the word) to be gifted, he (whether he admits it or not) claims to be more gifted than other Christians.  The Bible tells us what to think of those who brag on these gifts.  Proverbs 25:14 says, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.  It also tells us what to think of people who profess to have apostolic gifts who don’t have them.  2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.  Revelation 2:2 says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” 

The signs of the apostles (Mark 16:14-20)

  •   Cast out devils.

  •   Speak with NEW tongues.

  •   Take up serpents.

  •   Not be hurt by poison.

  •   Heal the sick

Since these are the “signs of an apostle”, only those who believed under the ministry of an apostle received these gifts (signs).  Therefore, anyone who wanted to counterfeit the apostolic succession must counterfeit the apostolic signs.  The Bible labels anyone who is counterfeiting an apostle as a FALSE APOSTLE  (2 Cor. 11:10-14).  NOTE: The anti-Christ is also Charismatic.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Unknown Tongues

One of the biggest lies that a Charismatic participates in is the perversion of Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14.  Acts 2 deals with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and 1 Corinthians 14 deals with the use of unknown tongues.  Anyone who can read can readily see that in Acts 2 there is no reference to speaking in an unknown tongue (Acts 2:6 says that “every man heard them speak in his own language”).  Likewise, there is no baptism of the Holy Ghost in 1 Corinthians 14.

     Baptism of the Holy Ghost

In regards to this, notice Acts 2:

  •   No one is kneeling or praying for any “baptism”.

  •   The “initial evidence” is NOT tongues.  It is the sound of a mighty rushing wind.

  •   Only 12 men speak in tongues (Acts 1:26; 2:1, 14).  Since 120 disciples were there (Acts 1:15), it is apparent that unknown tongues have nothing to do with Christians being baptized in the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)

What is it then (1 Cor. 14)?

In chapter 14 we read that the important gift is prophecy.  This is because by prophecy, you can teach about something that has already been written in the Scriptures.  This is how Jesus taught (Matt. 21:42; Mark 7:6; John 12:14).

Unknown Tongues:  From the relationship of mankind in general, there is no such thing as an unknown tongue.  Some man on this earth knows the tongue that a person speaks.  Here in this passage, tongues is an existing language that was not previously learned.  Don’t let some man deceive you into thinking that it is a special heavenly prayer language.  This is NOT in the Bible.

  • Modern day teaching is that tongues is a sign that one is baptized in the Holy Ghost.  This is not Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12:13.

  • Spiritual gifts are not obtained.  They are GIFTS from the Holy Spirit, given as HE sees fit (1 Cor. 12:11).

  • If speaking in tongues is evidence of being baptized (immersed into) in the Holy Spirit, and therefore being placed into the body of Christ, why then does 1 Corinthians 12:18 teach us that God places us into his body as He sees fit?

  • Not everybody IN THE BODY OF CHRIST will speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30).

  • There is a more excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31).

  • God’s emphasis is that we should desire to prophecy as it edifies the church (1 Cor. 14:1-3, 12).

  • God’s desire is that people understand what is spoken (1 Cor. 14:9, 14).

  • Tongues are for a sign to them that believe not (1 Cor 14:22).

  • There is a difference between speaking with and in tongues (1 Cor. 14:39).

What Do You Hear?

 

Ron Coale, Rev.

Ron Coale, Rev.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Listen!  What do you hear?  I mean, what do you hear about Jesus?  Is it something YOU don’t agree with?  Or, is it something from the Bible that you just don’t like?  This is the case with most people.  They don’t like the way a preacher preaches or they don’t like the message God has given him.  Perhaps it “steps on their toes” a little bit and they think, “He’s preaching at me.”  These kind of people do not love truth, and they are greatly mistaken on the power of God.  Like Lucifer, they lift themselves up with pride and deny the presence of God by pawning it off on a man.  Huh?  They think the preacher is preaching instead of God preaching through him.  In other words, they have lost faith in the power of God.

So, because they don’t want to humble themselves, they start shopping for another teacher to tell them what they want to hear.  They would rather turn their ears away from the truth than search their hearts to see if God is speaking to them?  They are so “right with God” they never have a reason to go to the prayer bench.

Listen!  What do you hear?  Do you hear God, or do you hear your own self?

Rev. Ron Coale, Pastor

 

Selling Out

Today, there are more preachers than ever who are selling out on the Lord Jesus Christ.  In order to accommodate worldly Christians, they begin to compromise on their convictions.  In order to entice the world to come to their churches, they compromise on God.  Instead of giving people what they need, they give them what they want; a dangerous thing to do indeed!  Like the parent who always gives in to their child and gives them everything they want, instead of what they need, they raise up spoiled, rebellious, selfish church members, who “shop” for churches instead of letting God lead them.

When preachers sell out for what is convenient instead of that which cost, they are not acting like men.  They are most probably being run by their wives.  Every Christian is commanded to (1 Cor. 16:13)  “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  This goes especially for preachers.  Why would God have to exhort Christians to be a man about things?  Because some men take the timid way out.  They are too afraid of the tough road of watching, standing and being strong.  They capitulate into the Devil’s hands.  Preachers wives are not innocent in this either.  If they were standing behind their men, satisfied to be their wives instead of needing self-gratification somewhere else, then preachers would have encouragement at home.  In fact, Preachers wives can be key to the success of the ministry of pastors.

I cannot think of one pastor who has been successful in the ministry who did not have his wife satisfied to be his supporter.  Notice I didn’t say that she “claims” to support her husband.  I mean she is a keeper at home first.  A lady who takes care of the burden of the home life in a large way so he is free to give his time to the ministry.  I do not mean an anchor who actually holds him back.  This takes sacrifice on her part so most pastor’s wives take this on as their purpose in life and are satisfied completely in it.  No man will be able to “be strong” “like men” should be when he has to be mama at the same time, but their are few exceptions to this rule.

When things get out of whack, and God has to remind us to be strong like men should be, He says it for a reason.  Not only is there a “selling out” on the home front, but their is a selling out on manhood as well.  This is mainly accomplished by worldly influence.  This is usually seen in trying to be “all things to all men” while at the same time, NOT trying to get people saved.

The devil would like to replace soul winning with anything appealing, (or even logical), except soul winning.  Charts and status and figures, all meant to be helpful, are in fact hurtful because they lead a preacher away from soul winning.  I have sat in on evangelism meetings that did not mention one peep about soul winning at all.  Oh, there was talk about development and planning in a logical and methodical way, but winning a soul was no where in sight.  Weak, worldly, feminine Preachers allow planning and organizing to replace soul winning.  As I said before, it is not bad to plan and organize, but to stop there, and not win souls, is the great demise.

It is sad that God has to remind men to “get a backbone.”  If preachers did, then they would be certainly less miserable in the ministry.  In this area they are actually putting themselves, their families and their churches in bondage.  So God has to remind us to not only get a backbone, but to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  (Gal. 5:1).

I guess God knows our nature is to return to the worldly way of doing things.  Of course, the worldly way is a way of bondage that is hard to break free of once we are weighted down with it’s burden.  He knows that the temptation to return to doing things like everyone else would be so strong that He had to tell us to “Stand Fast!”  Is there anyone reading this article who needs to know what that means?  Is the inference not clear?  Does anyone who has been truly saved not know the liberty that comes with Christ?  Why then do Christians, (and even preachers), feel that the ministry is a burden?  Why do they feel in bondage?  It is because they have moved away from Christ.  They have entangled themselves with the worldly way of doing things.  For preachers, this may mean trying to do things “like all of the other churches do” so they can build a congregation of hapless drones.  They want to please all of the Christian prima donna’s (def: a vain or undisciplined person who finds it difficult to work under direction or as part of a team.).   They become a compromiser in the name of “being called”, but they are no more called than Jack-the-Ripper.  Instead of carrying the burden the Lord has placed on them, they would rather have the burden of worldly entanglement.  Preachers who are thus, are not called at all.  In fact they are not even preachers.  All Biblical preachers suffered persecution and loss.  Some were turned on even by their own families.  Some died stranded and alone.  Others were tortured and killed.  They certainly didn’t achieve such wonderful fates by tickling the public’s fancy.

Real preachers strive.  They strive for the faith of the gospel.  They strive for unity of the mind and spirit.  Philippians 1:27 tells us to “…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  God must have known that the ministry would not be a “bed of roses.”  He must have known that it would take some fighting; a little bit of blood, sweat and tears.  He must have known that the Devil would try to get preachers to “cash it in” for an easier, more elaborate and fulfilling “ministry” than the one He assigned them to.  Preachers sell out easily because the going gets tough.  They are constantly surrounded by negative news; people always tell the preachers the bad things that are happening in their life.  Preachers are constantly being criticized and talked about behind their backs.  In so doing, the “brethren” are actually tearing down everything that they worked for while at the same time “talking it up” to their faces.  It is not a job for the weak man; and there are many of them who “think” they are called because all they see is the wonderful aspects of the job without ever delving into the inner workings.  But, when they do, they throw up their hands and surrender.

They surrender first on doctrine.  This is because doctrine divides, and it needs to be divided correctly (2 Tim. 2:15).  Compromising of doctrine is the first step to a long and lonely downhill fall away from God.  Most preachers give up on this first because it takes work; it takes a lot of time in the study to make sure you know what is correct and what is not.  So, the preacher with a wet noodle for a backbone will depend on what someone else wrote in a book and teach it before they will put in the effort to study for themselves.  It would be wonderful if they would take a pop quiz every once in awhile.  I do so by asking if the congregation has any questions.  That is when I am on the “hot seat”, and I have learned much about doctrine by my study for the answers to those questions.

After doctrine goes out the door, then everything else follows suit: (dress, music, interests, books, denominations, salvation, baptism, communion, etc.)  they become weak, sickly “sharers” of the word; and I am not sure you can even call it that.  It is ungodly (2 Tim. 2:16)!  It is manly!  It eats up the body of Christ all in the name of “being fair to everyone.”  It is in error and it overthrows the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:18), starting with their own families especially.

When all is said and done, preachers, like everyone else, are commanded to, “…stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:15).  There is a tradition (Def: The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another.) to uphold.  If preachers would just hold fast to that which they have been taught instead of constantly trying to improve on the plan, then the Christian world of today wouldn’t have near the problems that it does.  It is good to improve on one’s understanding of self, but the plan was given by God Himself and needs no improvement.  In fact, it is a perfect plan:  go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  Win souls.  Show people how to be saved.  Train up the Saints so they can win souls as well.  This is God’s plan and there is no improvement upon it.  What it lacks is preachers with a backbone who are truly called to stand up and stand fast.  It needs preachers who won’t SELL OUT for that which is convenient.