Tag Archives: Love

Christian Vocation

Ephesians 4:1-3 1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Every Christian has a vocation; a job given to them from God Himself.  In this passage of Scripture God very clearly tells us what it is and gives a Job Description so we will not be confused about anything.  It is broken down into three parts:

  • Walk with lowliness, meekness and longsuffering.
  • Forebear one another in love.
  • Keep the unity of the Spirit.

If every Christian were to concentrate on living this way, there would be happy, productive churches for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since this is a personal vocation, it does not require, nor does it suggest that every Christian should help their brother or sister to fulfill their assigned role.  Indeed!  These three things are something each Christian must do on their own; they don’t depend on the reaction of the brethren to suggest success.

Each and every Christian must work on these things alone.  Therefore, I ask you: Are you walking a lowly, meek and longsuffering life?  Are you forbearing one another in love?  Are you doing what you can to keep the unity of the Spirit?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  Possibly, you don’t understand what these three things mean.

Lowliness, meekness and longsuffering.

Walking in lowliness means that you put others first.  This is a direct attack on the pride that tries to rule every man’s life.  To put others first, you must first swallow you pride and put others first.  If you like to talk, then you be quiet and let others talk instead.  If you like to be the center of attention, then you give the attention to others instead.  If you think in your heart that you can do better than the teacher, then you give that up and reckon the teacher is better than you.  If you think about another person, “you just don’t know what I am going through”, then you think, they understand something about what I am going though.  It means to put yourself down.  I don’t mean to talk bad about yourself in the presence of others (like saying, “I’m so fat.”).  I mean–put others first and brag on them.  There is nothing like bragging on others to keep your pride in check.  You can always tell a lowly church member because they are bragging on their preacher and bragging on their church.

Walking in meekness means to be mild or gentle; to be soft tempered.  This speaks directly to submission.  Pride thinks, “I’m better”.  Meekness says, “I give up.”  Not in the sense that you throw up your hands in the air and discontinue trying to do better, but in the sense that you quit striving with others.  You cannot have a fight if one person just gives up.  It would look silly because one person would just be swinging at the air (1 Cor. 9:26).  When trying to have a conversation with someone, and another person keeps butting in overriding everything you say, just give up.  Stop competing with them to get your word in.  When thinking, “the pastor is just preaching that because he knows I’m…”, just give up and reckon God is working through him.  When people are saying something bad about your church, and you feel tempted to say bad things too, just give up and realize that no church is perfect and you are going to do your very best to make things better.  Stop waiting for the others to do it–submit to your heart’s complaint.

To walk in a longsuffering manner means to be patient.  Here is where many Christians fail the most; they don’t give God a chance to answer their prayers concerning the state of their church, brethren or pastor.  They want something to happen now, or at least pretty quickly.  They tend to forget about the patience of God.  At times they may even be giving God ultimatums without realizing it.  When God doesn’t answer the way they want, or when God’s answer is NO, they think there is no answer so they need to make some change on their own–usually leaving the church for something else.  Instead of telling God, “If you don’t answer my prayer by next month, then I will know you are saying leave this church,” exercise longsuffering and tell God, “You will have to take me out of this church so I will know it is you doing it instead of self.”  Instead of saying, “I am going to spend my summer fishing on Sundays,” say “God, if you want me to miss church and go fishing on Sundays, you’re going to have to stop me.  Be longsuffering in your walk and realize that God is doing something in your life because of it.

Forbearing one another in Love

Two things to consider in this one statement:  Forebear and Love.  The two go hand in hand.  It is almost impossible to have one without the other.  This speaks directly about how a Christian is to relate to other Christians.  They are to love each other and at times that means you have to “hold them up.”  Really, to love someone you have to put up with allot, but it doesn’t seem that way because you love them.  To get an idea of the concept “forebear” you should think about a soldier carrying a wounded comrade off the battlefield.  It is not easy to pick them up and sling them over your shoulder while the bullets are flying all around you.  It is not easy to bear his weight along with the weight of your own pack, ammo and weapon.  It’s not easy to feel his blood running down your back and arm.  But, he rescues his buddy, putting his own life at risk, because he loves him.  This is how Christians should treat the brethren of their own church.  They should put their own life at risk to do the difficult thing for the brethren because they are wounded and incapable of functioning at the moment.  They need to be restored.  What we need in the church are “spiritual medic’s” instead of selfish back stabbers.  Churches need not be full of “feel good, muckey muck, goody two shoes” Christians.  They look and feel good on the surface, but underneath they have no guts. We need the “medics” who can rescue and restore their brothers in Christ.  Instead of saying, “That’s a great idea, but don’t ask me to do it”, why not say, “Let me think of some ways that I can help out.”  Instead of saying, “Sounds good!  I’ll pray for you.”  Say, “Let’s pray together about this right now.”  Instead of thinking, “He should have done it this way or that way,” think, “I wonder if there is anything I can do to help him improve it.  I don’t want him to think is all alone and abandoned on the battlefield.  I’ll ask him as soon as he is done speaking.”  Bearing the burdens of others doesn’t mean taking them away from them.  It means to help them as a team would do.

Keep the Unity of the Spirit

This speaks of a common cause.  the USA is full of people from diverse cultures and race.  Each have their individuality, yet are united as well.  On certain things, a Californian will never be able to understand a New Yorker.  Still there are other things that the two will fully understand each other.  I don’t like to say these are things of “common ground” as much as I would say that these are the things that make them both the same; the things that they choose to unite them–their nationality.

In the case of a Christian, and more importantly a church, these “things” are one: the Spirit of God.  Corporately, all Christians have the Holy Spirit that unites us all, but there is a spirit in each church as well.  I am talking about the body of Christ being comprised of individuals, all having the Holy Spirit, congregating in the same location because they are all similar.  Eyes being where eyes should be; toes being where toes should be, etc.  In this sense they are all of the same body, but in the right location in that broader body and God is the one who places you where He wants you (1 Cor. 12:18-20).  To keep the Unity of the Spirit means to stay where God placed you in His body and not attempt to fulfill a role that you were not designed for.  When being an eye, and trying to hear like an ear, you become a rogue cell and that is called cancer.  The body (or church) does not need cancerous Christians.  It needs Christians who are Unifying the body by fulfilling their purpose; doing what they were designed to do.

These are the jobs that God gives to every Christian.  Unfortunately, many Christians are not fulfilling their designed purpose.  They have either dislodged themselves and are floating around freely in the body, or they have become cancerous (not dislodged, but fulfilling some other purpose not intended for the part of the body where the Lord placed them.)  Oh that churches had Christians who would fulfill their job description.  We then would have strong, exciting and vibrant churches.  Not places where you go to “feel good” about yourselves, but places that were strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

 

God’s Choice

All too often I am amazed at the so called “Christian Community” for their lack of understanding God.  In fact, it has been perplexing.  When I think of what God did in my life; how He saved me from the grip of death, cleansed me and set me in a noble place with Him, I feel like I owe Him my life.  I am sure that others feel the same, but their sacrifice to Him seems to be so misguided. 

When it came birthday time or Christmas, a time when I would be receiving gifts, I hoped I would get something I liked.  In fact, I went a little beyond hoping and dropped hints to Mom and Dad in order to give them good ideas.  I always loved it when they asked me, “What do you want for your birthday?” or “What do you want for Christmas?”  Sometimes I got it, and sometimes I didn’t.   But, I can tell you, when I got the thing that I wanted–the thing I asked for–I was happier than when I got something I didn’t ask for.  Now that I am older and can look back on that, I wonder why that is?  I think the answer lies in my present relationship with God.  You see, as a born again child of God, I know that He has asked me for certain things–there are certain things that He would like from me.  When He gets them, He is much happier than when He gets something He didn’t ask for.  God greatest request of me; The thing that is on the top of His list of things He would like, is that I love Him more than anything else and that I love others as I love myself (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

So, how do I accomplish this one request which contains two aspects?  He told me how I could do that.  He told me that I should win souls.  This one activity encompasses loving God (Doing what He told me to do.) and loving others (showing them the way of life).  It is by no accident that I use the phrase “showing them the way of life” because if I used the phrase “preaching the gospel” people might get confused.  The phrase “preaching the gospel” has become so diluted that no one can really interpret it anymore.  This is where my perplexity begins.

The gospel that we are to preach; the gospel that pleases God; the one that is at the top of His “wish list,” is the one that results in another soul being saved.  If you have any merit as a Christian at all, then you know what I am speaking is true.  You know it because you were once unsaved and someone told you how to accept Christ as the atonement for your sins.  You know it!  You might have been saved for so long that you have forgotten it; or, you might have backslid from it, but you know it.  You know it because the Holy Spirit is in you and He is constantly urging you to tell someone about God’s substitute for their sins.  You know it!  You are either ignoring it or you are evading it, but you know it!

Some people think that “preaching the gospel” is:

  • Having a nice social where they all get together and have tea and cookies and bring a guest.
  • Sell Amway or other self-marketing items
  • Help people with their chores (i.e. wash their car; cut their grass; do their shopping; etc….).
  • Joining ecumenical “Christian” activities.
  • Letting their kids go to church while they stay home.
  • Singing in the choir.
  • Talking with the preacher.
  • Reading their Bible.
  • Praying.
  • Supporting para-church groups.
  • Helping others in their churches.
  • Being friendly to people of other churches.
  • Not offending anyone.
  • Living a good life.
  • Supporting the Red Cross.
  • Feeding the poor.

The list is practically endless.  If you think about it, many of these things are really good things to do.  In fact most of them are good things to do.  But, the gospel is not good things–It is good news of a certain kind.  It is the good news that Christ came and died and shed His blood so that you can be free from your punishment if you so choose to accept THAT THING HE DID FOR YOU!

There is another grossly misused phrase amongst the so called “Christian community”.  It is the phrase “accepted Christ” or “accepted Jesus.”  To be saved, a person does not need to accept Christ or Jesus as much as they need to accept what He did for them, and that He alone could do it because HE IS GOD!  To be saved, you must accept what He did, and who He is.  It is a little incomplete to ask someone, “Have you accepted Jesus?”  You must accept who He is, what He did and how He did it.

So, we have an army of so called “Christians” who have taken salvation freely, but after that, they could care less for the rest of the world.  They are saved.  They are living out their Christian life, getting along with others, being good church members, helping the elderly, etc… but they are not giving to God what He asked for.  At the top of His wish list is: souls to be saved.  That is what He wants.  But what He gets is a bunch of “good stuff”, but it is not what He asked for.  Just like I would feel a little rejected by getting clothes, a new lunch pail, shoes, toothpaste, or patches for my old jeans, the Lord God gets from us–GOOD WORKS, and feels a little unloved.

Can you imagine how God would feel if you brought to Him some souls that you worked hard to get saved.  Have you ever opened the gift and said, “WOW!  Just what I asked for!  Thank you so much!”?  Wouldn’t that be great if God could say the same thing over your life?  Or, do we keep giving to Him a bunch of good junk?  He wants us to love Him and love others.  How does Christian involvement in ecumenical groups do that?  Think about it!  You know!  You know what He wants First!  You know because He told you.  If you are not on track with that, then you are either ignoring Him or you don’t care.

What The World Needs Now

1 John 4:1-3 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

The world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket.  As we talk to those who are older than us and they tell us how the world used to be, it seems that things really couldn’t get much worse.  In the last year it seems that things have been accelerating, like the gas pedal for progress has been stuck and we can’t get the transmission back in neutral.  It seems like we are bound head long for disaster.

As the economoy falls down around us with prices rising, hours being cut back, jobs being lost, despair takes over and hope waines.  The proud steps of advancement are turning into so many stumbles.  How did this come about?  It is a wholesale turning away from the Creator.  It has been a change that has slowly crept up upon society which seems to have suddenly sprung wide open, but this is not so,  it has been steadly changing all along.

Change is a good thing if it is in the right direction, but no change that moves away from the Lord Jesus Christ is good. Any change in that direction is doomed to failure.  Now, more than ever, the world needs change, but that change is not a political change; it is not a social change; it is not an economic change: it is a spiritual change.  It is a change of direction beginning at the personal level and then growing through the family level to the associates level which will affect the community and sift up to affect the nation.

The Nation needs change!  The World needs Change!  And it needs change now—change in the right direction!  Change that no man can promise us.  It is a subtle lie to think that change lies within us if we pool our collective talents together.  It is a lie to think that shareing our wealth can bring about the change that we need.  My friends—NO WE CAN’T do it, but THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAN!  And, any change outside of Him is just man trying to elevate Himself to the point of godhood, when mans record over the annals of time shows that he can do nothing for himself.  Now, more than ever, the world needs change; change in three parts:

First we need physical change.  We need to go back to where we used to be when we were receiving the great blessings of God.  If we stayed with God in the first place, we would have been better off.  The Bible says that we should “…meddle not with them that are given to change:” (Pro 24:21).  If its good and you change it, it can only get better or worse.  These are the only direction change can take.  Where are we now as a nation?  Better off or worse off?  What are some physical things we can do to affect the positive change that we really need?

I believe that we, as a nation, need more Churches.  The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  Churches are folding up at an alarming rate.  More men are quitting the ministry than there are who are getting into it.  Without churches, there is no place for people to go to get instruction and training in the Lord.  Not only that, the church provides a place of fellowship with like minded believers.  Without churches, there is no training up the next generation for the Lord; there is an absence of morality being taught to our posteriety.  There is no use worring about them having money to spend if there is no morality governing their actions.

Churches are the only place that people can go to learn about right and wrong, truth and lies, morality and immorality, hope and disparity, life and death, from the right perspective and without interference from the government and political cronies.  Without churches, our society would quickly fall into anarchy and that’s why the Devil would like to close all churches.

We also need more Bibles.  Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  We don’t need more different versions of the Bible, we need more access and availability of the Pure word of God—The King James Bible (Psalm 12:6-7).  Even though the text is not copywritten, so-called “Christian Book Stores” have very few King James Bibles available.  They push the NIV or the ASV or any other version except the Bible version that pioneered this country; the one that is promised to be preserved by God; the one that is named after a King with a Jewish name; the only one that boldly proclaims the word: “AUTHORIZED;” the one that clearly proclaims a trinity; the one that preaches the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ; the one that was not translated from Catholic manuscripts; the one that the martyrs died for.  Should I go on?  We need more doctrince being preached from this monarch of Books—the King James Bible.

We need more Displays of the Ten Commandments in our schools and public fascilities.  Deuteronomy 6:9 commands us: “And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  Taking the Ten Commandments out of our schools and public buildings is the beginning of forgetting about God.  It is like putting your head in the sand regarding the presence of God in our society.  It shows the world that this nation is not serious about their thankfulness to God for it’s birth.

The atheist may think they are cool for all of their innovative ways of getting attention, but there is a reckoning coming.  God’s standard does not change.  If you take them out of society, that does not get rid of God; it only deprives the younger generation of the knowledge that you were privileged to have.  Taking a speeding ticket that you received and tearing it up and putting it in the fire does not negate your responsibility for paying the fine.

We need more Witnesses.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The more witnesses we have, the easier it is to run the race.  The easier it is to live for the Lord.  When there are few witnesses to how you are living your life, there is little accountability and it is easier to sin.  That is why social networking is so popular; you can say things to people that you would otherwise not say face to face.

We need more witnesses for the Lord.  Society wants us to think that they have the upper hand; they want us to think that we are outnumbered, but the battle is already won.  Our captian has won the victory and has been a burr in their saddle ever since He proved it with His resurrection.  They can’t stand it.  It just makes them so mad they could spit.  We need the saints to realize that there is a great message to proclaim.  Pull out all of the stops.  Go on the offensive.  Put Jesus in every aspect of society.  Call people randomly and tell them about Jesus.  Mail them a letter, hold up a sign, hand out a tract, go door to door, give a word of encouragement.  Tell them the good news.  Excersize our rights as Christians.

We need more dedication to family.  Try as they may, the family unit is not dead.  Those who pervert it would have us to believe that it has changed and no longer exists, but it is thriving.  There are not as many perverts as they would have us to believe.  We need to stick together as families.  That is a father, mother and children.  It is not a father-father or mother-mother.  The definition of family can never change no matter what is done to the dictionary.  Family was established by GOD and that history can never be erased.  That makes them mad.  It makes them so angry they lose their minds.  That is why they are so violent, aggressive and looney.  They don’t think right; they don’t think straight.  They even proclaim themselves to be crooked/perverted every time they call us “straight”.  Well the Bible says to “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt 7:13-14).  Martin Luther King Jr. said that, “the church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

As long as we have freedom, we need to take advantage of it.  More Christians need to take advantage of their liberty in Christ.  John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  The Devil would have us believe that being a Child of God means living under the crushing weight of the thumb of God.  Oh, on the contrary, to come to the Lord Jesus Christ is to have freedom like none other.  It is freedom from the claws of the Devil and His crowd and it was purchased for us by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary.  He bought you with a price (1 Cor. 6:20) and then set you free.  You are owned by Him but not enslaved by Him.  You are set free!

Of their free will and volition, Christians happily serve Him out of love and a deep sense of gratitude.  The world cannot understand that.  They are kicking and scratching, lying and deceiving, maneuvering and influencing each other to get higher and higher in society when Christians have already arrived.  They are the happy children of the King—the creator of all things.

We need more application of God’s word.  James 1:25 tells us, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  Its not enough to just hear God’s word preached; its not enough to read God’s word, it must be put into practice.  God wants us to love the world in spite of all of its wickedness; in spite of all of it’s stupidity; in spite of all of it’s ignorance, we were once there.  Now, we have an education that answers all of the questions of life; answers that the world just does not have.

The first application of God’s word is to get saved.  Then to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The reason that the world thinks that Christians are supposed to be these “lovey-dovey,” “tip-toe through the tulip” kind of “sickening sweet” Christians is because they have never read the Book.  They are just ignorant and foolish, prejudice and biased.  Apply God’s word.  Tell them how to get saved and then read the Book and live by it.  Love your God in Heaven first and then your neighbor as you love yourself and don’t ever get it out of order.

“We teach what we know;  we reproduce what we are.” Robert Schmidgall.  Romans 8:6 tells us, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

We need more growth in the Lord.  1 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisionsa, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”  Spiritual change can only be affected by growing up in the Lord.  There are too many spiritual babies in society today.  They are full of fluff.  They live off of the milk of God’s word while ignoring the meat.  They have not developed or grown and when they are fed meat of God’s word, they choke on it.  They are critical and selfish.  If there is going to be any spiritual change or maybe even revival, we need to have more spiritual soldiers for the Lord.  That can only be done by feeding them a stronger and stronger diet of spiritual food and get away from the milk of God’s word.  What the world needs now is more growth in the Lord.

We need more people saved.  In 1 Timothy 2:4 we read, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  God wants everybody to be saved.  Saved from a life of eternal separation from Him.  He created man to have fellowship with Him.  It is not just: “Your God” or “My God,”  He is everyone’s God and just because people don’t accept Him, does not change that fact.  If there is going to be any real change in this world, we need more people saved.

There needs to be more exalting of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He said, “And I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).  The world is bent on lifting itself up.  They lift up their intelligence, beauty, position, health, and anything else they can to make themselves powerful.  But the Lord Jesus Christ has all of the power that there is.  He is already above all people but they just don’t reckon it.  We need national leadership who is not afraid to pray.  Someone with a lilttle guts; a little grit.  Someone with a little experience.  Someone who is not ashamed to reckognize that this country was founded out of a deep commitment for the Lord Jesus Christ and His word.

We need preachers and churches who are not afraid to stand for the principles of God’s word and not keep searching for a Bible what appeases the masses so they can build their spiritual empire.  We need Christians who are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and know that it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16).  What the world needs now is a healthy exhaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Winston Churchill said, “a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

What the world needs now is more prayer to God.  We don’t need to get all lined up and bow down in a “line-dancing” specticale.  We need true praying to the true God.  Not “whatever you perceive God to be.”  He is a true God.  A real God.  There should be NO restrictions to who can pray to Him or where they can pray to Him or when they can pray to Him.  He is real and we have access to Him anytime we want if we sincerely seek Him and not the admiration of any man.  If there is to be any real change in the world, we need to be able to pray to God.  Don’t speak to us hypocritically about “open and transparency” or “freedom of speech” while trying to stifle open and free communication with the Creator of the Universe and all things contained therein.  It just doesn’t make sense unless, “open and transparent” or “freedom of speech” means, “I get to say what I want and the rest of you SHUT UP!”

We certainly need more of Christ in the nation!  2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 says, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” 

What the world needs now is not love, it is Jesus.  The world has had it’s chance and it is not going to change.  It needs the Lord Jesus Christ to come back.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)  There is no change that this world needs other than to go back to living under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If this change is not made, then there is no hope.  ~Pastor Coale

 


a  divisions: or, factions

JESUS: THE SYMPATHETIC SAVIOR

He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

“Mister,” he said. “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he wiped the sweat off the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called. Out from the doghouse ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain-link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring in the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller. In a somewhat awkward manner the little puppy began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up. This was clearly the runt of the litter.

“I want that one,” said the boy pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up the leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg and attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

Sinners need that same sort of understanding! Praise the Lord there is a Savior who loves sinners and understands us like we are. At the same time He never condones our sin. He is holy and He hates sin. However, He knows what we are made of and He knows what we face in our lives day by day.  “…he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”, Psa. 103:14. How does He have this kind of information about humans? He lived as one for 33 years.  “…and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”, Phil. 2:7-8!

As we look at the portrait John paints of Jesus in John 8:1-11, a picture develops of a Sympathetic Savior. He doesn’t show One who is soft on sin, but of One who loves sinners and reaches out to them in grace, forgiveness and love. That is the Savior I want to address in this article: Jesus, The Sympathetic Savior.

According to the account, there was a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. She was guilty before the face of the Lord and before the world. Adultery is a vile sin, but it is no worse than any other.  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”, James 2:10.  Even if we never committed any sin with our bodies or our minds, we would still be guilty before the Lord!

  • Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
  • Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
  • Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

We are all as guilty as this woman, our problem is that we simply won’t admit to it.  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”, Pro. 28:13.

In their haste to bring this woman to Jesus, her accusers probably didn’t give her sufficient time to get properly dressed before they brought her into public. However that may have been, she was certainly humiliated by the public accusation and disclosure of her sin.

Sin is a shameful thing! No matter how skillfully it is hidden from the eyes of others, Jesus knows all about it and one day it will be revealed before all.  “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon housetops.”, Luke 12:3.  Saddest of all, the truth about your profession will also be made public one day.  In Matthew 7:22-23 we are told, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Wouldn’t it be far better to get everything right with the Lord and have nothing to fear then? There will come a day of judgment and of full disclosure.  We are clearly told about this in Rev. 20:11-15 which tells about the Great White Throne Judgment.

Her accusers were absolutely correct! According to the Law, she deserved to die (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). There was one small problem here: Where was her partner? Both were supposed to die for this sin! The man may have been part of this scheme to attack Jesus. He may have been allowed to slip away. Nevertheless, this woman was guilty and she deserved to die.

Nobody gets away with sin! The penalty of it will always come due “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”, Eze. 18:4. There will come a payday someday! The only hope any sinner has is to run to Jesus. He offers the only hope anyone has in this world or the one to come. He is the only way.  “…no man comethi unto the GFather, but by me.”, John 14:6.  In there effort to humiliate this woman and to discredit the Lord, they brought her to the best possible place. They brought her to the very man who could deal with her past and her problems and who could make it all right.  Never think that Jesus doesn’t care for you. He is the sinner’s Friend! Even in His day, He was known to hang out with notorious sinners, (Luke 7:34; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7). Jesus isn’t concerned about His reputation, He is only concerned with your eternal soul!

These men had it in their heads to pin Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. If Jesus simply let the woman go, then He would be seen as being easy on sin and could have been arrested for being in violation of the Law. If, however, He gave permission for the woman to be killed, He could then be accused before Rome as an upstart and a seditionist, and He would have destroyed His reputation as being the “friend of publicans and sinners”. They felt that no matter what Jesus said, He had no wiggle room.

These religious men are just like legalists in our day. They couldn’t have cared less about this woman, her sin, her soul, or her eternal destiny. All they cared about was pressing their agenda, and their brand of righteousness. Things haven’t changed! All Pharisees are the same!

Their plan might have succeeded with any ordinary man, but they were dealing with Jesus Christ, and He simply refused to play by their rules! When they tried to stump Jesus, They discovered that they had met their match. While they were talking to the Lord, He just knelt down and began to write on the ground. He had no use for their pettiness and lack of love for sinners.

What did Jesus write? Well, for 2,000 years, men have tried to solve that little mystery. The deep theological answer is that: We don’t know! However, maybe He wrote:

  1. The Ten Commandments. After all, it was his finger that wrote them the first time!
  2. Perhaps He wrote their names in fulfillment of Jeremiah 17:13.
  3. Maybe He wrote out Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22.
  4. Maybe He simply wrote their girlfriends names in the sand.

Whatever the Lord wrote on the ground, it surely got their attention. He knows how to speak to hearts! How much better would it have been for them to come to Him by faith and miss all that exposure and punishment!

But they didn’t and they were exposed.  When Jesus did speak, He said, “He that is without sin among, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus wasn’t requiring that any judge be sinless. If that were the case then no human would ever be able to render judgment in any matter, even in a court of law. Jesus was saying to these hypocrites, “He that is free from this particular sin, let him first cast a stone at her.”  Adultery can be committed with the head and the heart just as surely as it may be committed with the body!

At this point, all the shouting came to a stop and all that could be heard was the dropping of their rocks and the shuffle of their sandles as they stole quietly away. These men had been exposed before their fellow man, the accused lady and most importantly before the Lord.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt that when they saw themselves as they really were, (Perhaps the most painful realization of all), they stopped calling for the death of this woman. One of the hardest things you can face is yourself as you really are! However, when you see yourself as being sinful, then you can do something about it. Paul would have went to Hell had he not been brought face to face with himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). When we are convicted of our sins, then is the time to come to Jesus. He is the only One who can deal with Man’s sin problem!

Only Jesus could have cleared the Temple after that fashion and when the last rock had hit the Temple floor, Jesus stood up and faced this sinful woman. As He stood before her, He was the only One the world has ever known who was qualified to take up the first stone, as well as the rest, and stone her to death. When she faced Jesus, she was facing the ultimate judge!  She had reached a place in her life where it was just her and Jesus. It always comes down to that! Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to face Jesus. Probably He has given you opportunities in this life to come to Him. What have you done with them?  You will either receive Jesus at one of life’s encounters, or you will face Him on judgment day. Which would you rather it be? In the end, it always comes down to just you and Jesus. And, what you do with Him will determine where and how you spend eternity!

The only One qualified to throw a stone refused to do so! Jesus dealt with her on the basis of compassion. The religious men had condemned and considered her as good as dead, Jesus however, saw someone worthy of His love and worth salvaging. When she came to Jesus, she received 2 great blessings that forever changed her life. These same 2 blessings are the gift of God to all who receive Jesus as their Savior.

1. By her simple confession of Christ as Lord, salvation became her’s. That is all there is to being saved! Rom. 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!” It doesn’t get any easier than that! Even small children can comprehend that truth and make it real in their lives. What about you? Have you taken this step of faith?  Anyone who wants to be saved can be saved through faith in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! (Rev. 22:17; John 3:16; John 6:37.)

2. All of her life, she had been subject to the God of this world, Satan. She had been a prisoner of her own lusts and desires, (Eph. 2:1-3). Jesus, however, came and unlocked the shackles that held her bound in sin and He set her free! Imagine for a minute what happened the next time she saw her lover!  Jesus specializes in taking wasted, ruined lives and saving them by His grace and restoring them to usefulness. Every person who comes to Jesus for salvation receives this new lease on life.  The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). We get a chance to begin again, and this time, we actually have a chance of making something out of our lives.

Maybe. Like this woman, your life has been wrecked and ruined by sin. Maybe you have been hurt by religious people. Maybe you are looking for a compassionate Savior, One who will make everything right. Why don’t you come to Jesus? He cares about you just like you are. He loves you and wants to save you. He wants to deliver you from your bondage. He wants to set you free. Therefore, He invites you to come to Him today. If there are issues in your life that need to be settled, Jesus is the place where they be taken care of forever. Will you bring your life to Jesus and let Him make it over?

What Makes A Church Grow?

What creates church growth? Are members responsible for growth of the body of Christ? Jesus used an analogy from farming to explain the manner in which the kingdom of God grows (Mark 4:26-29). Once the farmer plants the seed, it grows by itself. Although fruit comes through the miracle created within the seed, the farmer has to work hard to prepare the ground for productivity.

So it is with church growth. The apostle Paul explained that he had planted churches, Apollos had watered, but it was God who gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).  So how do Christians plant and water so God’s church can grow?

Empowering members to grow.

I more prefer to call this, “Allowing members to have ownership in their church.”  Every member of a local church needs to feel that it is his/her church.  This is a vital area in which a member can use their talents for the Lord; an area in which they can serve God, and thereby be an active part in the Body of Christ.  Otherwise they become like a cancerous or foreign object.  If they a member has no ownership in their church, then they will not consider it to be “their church.”  These are those who fall away because they are not really connected to anything.  Find something to do in your church and be a part of the body.

Using your God-given gifts to serve God and your neighbor.

God has given each member in the church certain talents that no one else has.  When He leads you to a particular church it’s that He has a purpose for those talents to be used for that church’s growth.  Most obviously, it would be impossible to have piano in the song service if there were no piano players willing to use the talent that God gave them.  Other talents are more subtle; like fixing things, electrical work, greeting, or cleaning, just to name a few.  Find out what you can do and do it in the church.

Use your passion, fire, and enthusiasm for the church.

Everyone is passionate about something.  When Jesus gave sight to the young man who had never seen, He told him to tell no one.  But the bible says he, “…went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter…” (Mark 1:45).  He was passionate about telling others what happened to him.  Some things which people are passionate about are such things as:  sports, music, babies, family, health, cars, work, etc. You can tell what people are passionate about by listening to what they are continually talking about, especially after the service is ended.

Support the structure and function of the church.

When you support the structure of the church, you are building the church.  Supporting the structure of the church shows respect, honor and love for it.  Many churches die simply because they are filled with members who say they love the church but, do not support it.  It is not supportive to tell people you love your church when you talk bad about its members behind their back.  Taking an unsaved, potential member aside and warning them off about some member you don’t like is actually tearing down the church.  It doesn’t matter how much you say you love the church, your actions are destructive.  Paul faced this exact situation among some of the churches he planted (1 Cor. 1:10-13).

It is not necessary to agree with all of the structure of the church, but it is necessary to support it.  And where you disagree, use prudence in not voicing it inappropriately.

Pray for and acknowledge inspiration in the worship services.

Prayer is necessary on all fronts.  It improves the Believer’s relationship with God.  However, it is vital to pray for God to inspire all aspects of the worship service.  We did not come to church to hear a man give a speech or lesson.  We came to hear what God has to tell us.  It is vital to ask God to talk to us and give us exactly what we need in our life.  Unfortunately, it hurts to get our “toes stepped on” by the message being preached.  And we often blame the preacher for “preaching at me” and forget that God can use the preacher to deliver HIS message.  We need preaching from God to shake us deep down in our souls so we can grow as believers.  When the members of the church grow, so does the church.  Pray that God will not only inspire the message, but the music, giving, specials, fellowship and our own hearts as well.

Form friendships with other members and do things together outside the church.

Everyone knows that a family cannot grow when each member of it only comes together for one or two hours a week.  It is impossible!  Likewise, the church cannot grow when its members only interact with each other one hour a week.  It is crucial for church growth that the members develop friendships with each other and have fellowship outside the church.  I know the main complaint about this is: “I don’t have anything in common with anyone else.”  Unfortunately, you neglect to see the folly in such a statement—you have church in common.  If you are a family with children, your kids may be friends.  Why not get together and do something.  How about invite someone over to eat?  This is a basic and common thing for people to do so they can get to know each other.

When members have their friendships outside the church (with non church members), their hearts are slowly and subtly drawn away from the church.  Therefore, the church not only doesn’t grow, it begins to shrink.  It is important that Believers hold each other up.  This principle is illustrated when the Israelites were battling Amalek.  They prevailed over Amalek when Moses’ hands are raised up, and they lost when he gets tired and lowers his hands.  So, Aaron and Hur helped him hold up his hands until the battle was over, and Israel won (Exo. 17:10-13).  So must we support members when they are in time of need.  This is easier when we become friends and we know what each other is going through.

Sharing your Christian life by example and story.

For the church to grow, it is essential that Believers share their faith with others.  They must do everything they can to compel people to come in and hear the message of the Bible.  Everyone knows the old saying: “talk is cheap.”  This is very true and it indicates that talk is worthless.  If then it is worthless, what then is of such value that it can make a life change in someone else?  Of course, it is the life story of the Christian.  The example of a believer living for God is the most powerful way to witness.  When people see the life of a truly dedicated believer, and how it is lived, they are affected to their core.  Your life story always supersedes what you say.  Even children know this at a very young age.  They will listen to mommy tell them to not get started in some bad habit, but if their mommy does it, they will eventually do it as well.

The best way to grow the church through witnessing is to tell the proper life story.

Possess sincere love for the other members.   

Love accomplishes much good in growing the church.  When members have loved one for another, they tend to be more tolerant and willing to accept anyone.  Not only that, everyone wants to be loved; they want to experience true sincere love.  The world is severely lacking in sincere love.  It exists in many families, but in few other places.  Since God is love and you cannot truly say you know God if you don’t have sincere love (1 John 4:8, 16), a church can never grow because you cannot grow a church without God.  People know that you truly love God when you have love for each other.

It takes effort to love.  You have to work at repressing your ugly thoughts about those whom you don’t like too much.  But then you have to go the extra mile and set yourself aside and love the person in spite of what your feel.  Love, among many other things, is the giving of self.

When a church is first formed, it is little more than a fledgling.  It takes time and effort on the part of everyone for it to become established and for a root to go down into the fertile ground.  Without the patient diligence of adhering to these outlined principles, it will never take hold and be able to support itself; it will always need a support to be tied to.  It cannot be done by just the pastor alone.  It cannot be done by just the faithful few.  Everyone has to chip in and help.  All hands must be involved.  So, we must each ask ourselves, “which of the eight characteristics is my weakest?” Ask God for strength and allow Jesus to lead you to grow.

Which are your strengths? Use them to serve Jesus and his church.

~Pastor

Some Motivation for not having sex before marriage

Some motivations for not having sex before marriage are wrong. They can be just as wrong as having sex before marriage. One such wrong motivation is fear: fear of being found out, fear of pregnancy, fear of a disease, fear of the opinions of others.

One proper motivation for doing God’s will is love of our neighbor. The neighbor we are to love as ourselves can be our neighbor’s daughter. Also, your neighbor can be one who will be your wife. And your neighbor is your parents or your future wife’s parents, both of whom would be hurt terribly when your sin is discovered.

But the main motivation is the love of God. Love God for the salvation He has so freely given. Love God for all things, including the sexual desires He has given. Submit your sexuality, along with everything else you are and have, to Him. Let your love for Him drive you to strive to please Him in all of your conduct, including your conduct on a date.

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The Love of Many Waxing Cold

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  Why is it that the Love of many will become cold?  Because iniquity abounds!  Our present society has turned to sinful things like no other society … Continue reading