Take your Bibles, and we're gonna be in Psalm 136. This morning we're going to be, I've titled this message, Giving Thanks to the Lord. And for obvious reasons, right? Thanksgiving holiday coming up. It's actually one of my, favorite holidays. it's kind of nice to reflect back and thank the Lord for his blessings and especially his spiritual blessings, right? Because I mean, that's one thing, no matter what your condition is, financially or whatever, we can always thank the Lord for our spiritual blessings we have, that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And this morning, I want to look at Psalm 136. And we're going to look at it though, of course, in light of Paul's gospel, in terms of the mystery, God's program for today. But there is so much we can learn from this psalm, as you'll see as we go along. But I want to begin this morning with a story about a little boy who told his uncle, thank you for the electric car or the electric, the electric guitar that you gave me for Christmas.
It's the best present I ever got. That's great, said the uncle. Do you know how to play it? Oh, no I don't, he said. My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night. He was very thankful you know, he was very thankful I think, for a way to earn a little extra money on the side, right?
The Lord, when we think of thankfulness, if there's one inter-dispensational truth, one thing you can count on is that the Lord wants us to be thankful. He wants his people, whether it was Israel in times past or today as members of the body of Christ. He wants us to be thankful. And we see that so often reflected in Paul's letters. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we read there, And everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Well, that's, that's pretty straightforward, isn't it? And in Ephesians, uh, five 20, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And in Colossians three 17, we read, and whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father. through him. And so, you know, so that means in any situation with, with, with whatever you're doing, maybe one of the hardest things not to do is to not complain, right?
But instead, God wants us to be thankful and to give thanks. We should be thankful for other members of the body of Christ. Just like Colossians 1:3 and in 1 Thessalonians 1:2. You see in those verses. Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, we give thanks to God and the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
So you kind of see the correlation there between being thankful for them and at the same time praying for them as well. Because when you're thankful for someone, you're praising the Lord and you're thanking the Lord for them. And then in one Thessalonians one, two, we give, we give thanks to God always for, for you all making mention of you.
In our prayers, and as believers, we should be especially thankful for our spiritual blessings that we know of from verses like Ephesians one, three, where we see blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who have blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. And let's face it, you can't read Paul's letters without noticing his thankfulness to God. You see it all throughout all of his epistles. You know, including things like praying and thanking the Lord for our food, of which, at least in our country, in the USA, we have an abundance of. In 1 Timothy 4, verses 4 and 5, Paul wrote, For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.
For it is sanctified, or in other words, set apart, By, by the word of God and prayer. So we should be thankful for our food. But, you know, the giving of thanks is not limited to Paul's letters. When the Lord fed the four thousand men and their families in, uh, in Matthew 15:36, what did, uh, what do we read there?
He says, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and what did he do? He gave thanks. When the Lord healed ten lepers, In Luke chapter 17, verse 16. You know, the interesting thing about that account, and, and I'll address it in the notes, in the upcoming study Bible, was that only one came back. Stop and think about that.
There were 10 lepers, but only one came back and he was a Samaritan. And at that time the Samaritans were, were looked down on by the Jews, but we read in Luke 17:16 that he fell down on his face at his feet, at the Lord's feet, giving him thanks. And he was the only one that had a thankful heart about what the Lord did for him.
Now, in the book of Psalms itself, we see in passages like Psalm 92, verse 1, this was a psalm or a song for the Sabbath day. Now, we know we're not under the law. Obviously, and under, and under those, regulations. But still, it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto, unto thy name, O Most High.
So, whether it's, you know, under the law with the Sabbath days, or in the dispensation of grace where there are no Sabbath days, it is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, is it not? Amen, right? And this morning, I thought we would, look at one psalm in particular. So, in your Bibles this morning, let's go to Psalm 136, and we are going to look at all 26 verses.
Yeah, and you're thinking, well, how are you going to do that, Jim? Well, there's a method to my madness, so you'll just wait and see here. So we see these, and we'll see when, when we start reading it, I'm not going to read it quite yet, that, but the first three verses begin with giving thanks unto the Lord, and we will read them shortly here.
And the final two verses, or the final verse 26, says, give thanks to the God of heaven. And you're going to notice, too, that each verse ends with the phrase, His mercy. In other words, His kindness endures forever. You're going to see that at the end of each verse. And we're going to see as we go through this psalm, God's kindness to the nation of Israel.
But we're also going to see God's kindness to the body of Christ in the dispensation of grace. You know, the interesting thing about this psalm is that it was most likely a responsive reading psalm. I think probably most of you are pretty familiar with responsive readings. where the, the pastor or the minister would, would read a certain part of the Bible and then the congregation would follow suit and, and read the remaining part.
That's probably how this psalm was used, back in the days of, temple worship where the, where the priest would read God's Word. But anyways, let's go to Psalm 136 and I will read the first three verses here.
Psalm 136 beginning in verse 1. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the God of gods, for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his mercy endureth forever. So as I had just mentioned when, when we began here, that these first three verses Our thanks to God.
But if you notice though, they're addressed in three different ways. In verse one, it's to the Lord and the, and the spelling for Lord is all, is is in all capitals, in, in most translations of the Bible. In other words, it was to Jehovah, to uh, to Jehovah God, which is his personal name. And we know that that's God's personal name.
So just like we all have personal names. Mine is Jim. My wife's is Missy, you know, Randy. We all have personal names, but we read in Isaiah 42, verse 8, the Lord, the Lord says there, I am the Lord. That is my name. That is the Lord's personal name. In Exodus 15, verse 3, this is the song of Moses. It reads there, The Lord is a man of war.
The Lord is his name. So, God's personal name, just like we have personal names, God has a personal name and his name is Jehovah. He is also the God of small g gods. And he's also the Lord of lords. Or, you know, small l lords. Masters in verses two and three. You know who learned that lesson? King Nebuchadnezzar.
How many of you know about King Nebuchadnezzar or have heard of King Nebuchadnezzar? I'm sure, I'm sure most people have. He was the king of ancient Babylon. In fact, I think he's known for the seven, or he's known for the gardens in Babylon which were one of the seven wonders of the world. But King Nebuchadnezzar, I think he eventually believed in the one true and living God.
And I think someday we'll have an opportunity to meet him in heaven. But anyways, in Daniel chapter 2, verse 47, after Daniel had told the king what his dream was and interpreted it for him, The king answered and said unto Daniel of a truth, it is that your God is a God of gods. In other words, he's better than all those false gods that were out there and all, and the ones that are even out there today and, and a Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou kist reveal this secret.
But even at that time, king Nebuchadnezzar, even though he made this admission. I don't think it was until later on that he believed, really believed in the one true living God. We read, in Daniel chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar spent seven years as a beast of the field. Can you imagine that?
Because of his pride. God humbled him. We read in Daniel chapter 4, verse 33, It says there, the same hour was this thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. In other words, he was turned into a beast, and he was driven from men, and he did eat grass as oxen. And after that, and after those seven years, after they expired, he finally learned his lesson.
We read in, verse 37 of that same chapter in Daniel 4. He says, Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, Praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment. And those who walk in pride, as Nebuchadnezzar was, remember he was, if you read that chapter, he was looking at Babylon and saying, Ah, look at the kingdom that I built, and look at all that I have accomplished.
But God humbled him. And he says, and those who walk in pride, He that is God is able to abase and Nebuchadnezzar learned who the God of gods was and he learned who the Lord of lords is. Now also notice in verse 1 what it says about God and who he is. It says that he is good, you know, that God is good.
Now, when a rich young ruler approached the Lord, Jesus Christ, in his earthly ministry, and asked him in Matthew, uh, chapter 19, verse 16, he said, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good, one, that is God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Now notice this rich young ruler. He called Christ good master. So he had an idea that the Lord was a good teacher and Christ responded that there's only one good. And who's that one good? That's God, right? None of us in our, in and of ourselves, are good. Because God's standard of goodness, you know, just to use that term, is different than our standard of goodness.
You know, when, when we think of good, we compare ourselves, uh, what, you know, we compare ourselves to somebody else. We might say, Well, you know, I'm not as bad as my neighbor. Boy, my neighbor, you should see the things he does, and... The people he hangs out with, he's not very good. But then, you know, we might look at someone and say, Well, that person is really good.
They do all these nice things and they help people. They're very generous with their time and with their finances. But yet, you know what? Compared to God's standard of good, it falls way short. I sometimes like to use the example of Carl Lewis. How many of you remember Carl Lewis, a track and field athlete from the 1980s?
I remember him specifically only because when I was 14 in 1984, I had a bad case of the chicken pox. And because of that, I had to watch the Summer Olympics on the couch, and that's all I could do, you know. That wasn't the days where we had Amazon Prime or movie channels where you could watch movies. I was literally stuck watching the Olympics for a whole week because I couldn't do anything else.
But, you know, the case of Carl Lewis, though, he could long jump, 18 feet and he would win all kinds of medals. But let's suppose for a moment that to cross the barrier to God, He had to jump 20 feet. Would he, would, would he make it? No, he would have fallen short, right? Even if he jumped 19 feet and 6 inches, if God's standard of righteousness is 20 feet away, he falls short.
Now at that time, and you know, even in my younger years, even if I could run and jump, I probably could only make it maybe 10 or 12 feet, right? And, but that was like way short. So, no matter how close you think you can get to God, our goodness, in and of itself, is not good enough. Because God's standard of righteousness is perfection.
So, anyways, you know, Paul, you know, Paul uses this same idea of the word good in Romans chapter 3, verse 12, where he says, They are all gone out of the way. They are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. So again, according to God's righteous standards, we fall short, even, even the best of men and women fall short too.
But Christ is the good master, because he met God's, uh, the Father's perfect standard of righteousness for us. And that's why Paul can say, in 2 Corinthians 5 21, about the Lord Jesus Christ, for he that is God. Hath made him Christ to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, and God is patient with mankind.
He's not giving us what we deserve, despite mankind, sin and unbelief. You know, if you're sitting here this morning or if you're watching on video, either now or later, and if you haven't trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. You need His righteousness. Simply believe the good news that Christ died for your sin, was buried, and that He rose again the third day.
And the moment you trust Christ for your salvation, you're eternally saved. Isn't that something to be thankful for? Amen. It really is. I'm thankful that... That, God sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. Now, let's look at, verses 4 through 9 here, because we've got to get moving along in this psalm.
To Him who alone doeth great wonders, for His mercy endureth forever. To Him that by wisdom made the heavens, for His mercy endureth forever. To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters, for His mercy endureth forever. To him that made great lights, for his mercy endureth forever. The sun to rule by day, for his mercy endureth forever.
The moon and stars to rule by night, for his mercy endureth forever. You know, after deliverance from Pharaoh and his armies, in the Song of Moses, we read in Exodus 15, verse 11, Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. Many signs and wonders were done by the Lord, in Egypt and in the wilderness.
Remember, for sure, we know about the ten plagues, we know about all the things that the Lord did for them, with the parting of the Red Sea and things like that. You know, even today, you know, speaking of wonders today, isn't there a hymn called, The Wonder of It All? I think those of you who know music might know that one.
And one of the main, one of the main lines of that song goes something like this, Just to think that God loves me. Isn't that one, isn't that something that's, that's wondrous to think about? To think that God loves us? Romans 5. 8 tells us that God commended, or He directed His love toward us. And that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
That's a wondrous thing, if you stop and think about it. You know, He does, just by making salvation available to all, that's a wonder, that's a wondrous thing of the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ, He gave Himself for us, and we can thank the Lord for His, His wondrous works. Now, the psalm continues, in the part that we just read, that by the Lord's wisdom, He made the heavens.
He stretched out the earth above, the waters, and he made the sun and the moon. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 32, verse 17, Ah, Lord God, behold, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power, and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. You know, so often today, man, they, they look to different theories of evolution as how, as to how things came about.
But we know the answer is so simple. Why spend millions and billions of dollars trying to figure things out, where, when all you have to do is look God's word and you can see how God created all things, the heavens and the earth, they were created by the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not on your sheet, but in Genesis 1:1, we know that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. You know what? The Lord Jesus Christ was there. In Colossians 1, verses 16 and 17, we read there, For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible. So there are invisible things that God's created.
Whether they, whether they be thrones or dominions. Or principalities or powers. All things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things. And by him, all things consist. Now when it says that by him, all things are held together and that, they consist. In other words, Christ holds everything together.
The universe as it is right now. God's holding it together. You know, that's probably why we haven't had a big giant asteroid come and destroy the earth. Because the Lord Jesus Christ holds creation together. And today we should thank the Lord for his creation and that we can enjoy his creation. Even when things start dying this time of year in, you know, in, in the fall and going into winter.
I mean, I woke up this morning and there was all kinds of frost all over the car and, and we had to go outside and, and get the vehicle warmed up and, you know, put the defrost on. But yet, this is all part of God's creation and we can take trips out west and south and different parts of the world. And even in the sin, sin condition that the earth's in, God's creation is beautiful.
And we can thank the Lord daily for it. But I can tell you one thing, though. Someday, when God unleashes his wrath on this Christ rejecting world during the time of the Tribulation, things aren't going to be quite so held together, so to speak. A writing of that day, the prophet Isaiah wrote in chapter 13, verse 13, Therefore I will shake the heavens.
And the earth shall remove out of her place in the, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of his fierce anger. And we also read in Revelation chapter 6 in verses 12 and 13. And I beheld, when he that opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth.
You know, we can thank the Lord today for his mercy, for his kindness, in that the body of Christ, we have not been appointed to that day of wrath. And we'll be raptured out before the fearful day of the Lord takes place. Now, the psalmist continues to thank the Lord for Israel's deliverance from Egypt.
We read in, verse 10 in your Bibles, in Psalm 136, and I'll read through verse 15. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn, for his mercy endureth forever, and brought out Israel from among them, for his mercy endureth forever, with a strong hand and with a stretched out arm, for his mercy endureth forever.
To him which divided the Red Sea into parts, For his mercy endureth forever and made Israel to pass through the midst of it for his mercy or his kindness. So every time you see that word, mercy here, think kindness, the kindness of God. His mercy endureth forever and finally, verse 15, but over through Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his mercy, endure it forever.
You know, we know that lamb's blood, that lamb's blood, was used to cover the doorposts in Egypt. when the Lord smote the, firstborn of the Egyptians in, their land. And the Passover, when the Passover feast itself was instituted in Exodus chapter 12, verse 5, we read there, Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first, of the first year.
And that's why John the Baptist said in John 1:29, We read there that the next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him and, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. And that all ties in, of course, with the Passover feast and with, Psalm 136:10, with the Lord who smote Egypt in their firstborn and what did the Lord use?
He used lamb's blood to protect them at the time. And you might be wondering, well, what in the world does that have to do with the body of Christ today? Well, the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:7, yeah, in this, at this point of this letter, he was, he was writing to the Corinthian church about their brother in Christ.
Remember, they were approving of his immoral lifestyle. He told them to purge out there for the old, old leaven. That ye, or the group of them, may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us. It's because of the shed blood of Christ that God the Father can pass over our sins because he sees the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ was made sin for us and, we just read that verse. in, 2 Corinthians 5, 21, not too long ago. So the Passover, while it is a Jewish feast, but yet we have the spiritual benefits of that as well. Now after that day, back in the time of Moses and the Exodus, the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt. out from the world, so to speak. And today, we know that the Lord calls believers out of the world as well. Because doesn't he command us to be separate from the world? Even though we live in the world and we still have to live life, but yet we're to be separate from the world as well. In 2 Corinthians 6, verses 14 and 17, Paul writes, Be, be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship?
Half righteousness hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what? Communion Half light with darkness. And then verse 17, come out from among them and be separate. Now, Paul wasn't only talking just only about marriage, many times we use this. And, you know, for an unbeliever shouldn't marry a believer and vice versa, but, you know, and that is true, but he's also talking about all areas of life.
We want to be very careful with who we associate with in our, you know, in our business dealings and just in our, in our lifestyle in general. And that's why Paul calls us out to be separate. Now, continuing with the wilderness journeys, the psalmist writes in verses, We're going to look at 16 through 24 here. To him which led his people through the wilderness, for his mercy endureth forever. To him which smote great kings, for his mercy endureth forever. And slew famous kings, for his mercy endureth forever. Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his mercy endureth forever. And Og, the king of, of, of Bashan, for his mercy endureth forever.
And gave their land for an heritage, for his mercy endureth forever. Even an heritage unto Israel his servant, for his mercy endureth forever. Who remembered us in our lowest state. Now, when Israel was in the wilderness for those 40 years, the Lord gave them many victories. over their enemies. And you read about that in just, in the psalm we read here, the famous kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, the king of, king of, king of Bashan. And there were other kings too that the Lord defeated. It wasn't Israel that defeated them because Israel in and of themselves, they were a small group and these kings were mighty and powerful. But yet the Lord showed His kindness to Israel, to His chosen people, and He led them through the wilderness.
You know, today, we have victory in the Lord Jesus Christ, too. Just like how Israel had victory in the wilderness, we have victory in the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you, in your Bibles, To turn to Romans chapter 8, I didn't put it on the cross reference sheet because it's a bit too long and Randy would have had to print off a third page.
But go to Romans chapter 8 verse 31. So just like how God gave Israel victory in the wilderness over all those kings in the land, We read in Romans chapter 8 beginning in verse 31. What shall we say, or what shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died. Yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, Or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things, We are more than conquerors Through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, That neither death, nor life, nor angels, Nor principalities, nor powers, Nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So just as Israel had victory in, in the Lord in the wilderness, We have victory in our lives now and in the future because nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. You know, in verse 21 in this psalm, in Psalm 136, in verse 21 we read about how Israel inherits the land. You know, in Israel they can give thanks to the Lord for His mercy, His kindness endures forever.
Well, what's our inheritance as members of the body of Christ? We've inherited the heavens, have we not? That's our heavenly, that's our inheritance. In Philippians 3, verse 20, we read, For our conversation, or our citizenship, is in heaven. From whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, just as the psalmist writes in verse 21 about Israel inheriting the land, And he thanks the Lord because his mercy endures forever.
We can thank the Lord for our inheritance in the heavens because the Lord's kindness endures forever. Isn't that, isn't that not... You know, God has a plan and a purpose, both for the earth and for the heavens as well. You know, compared to God's vast universe, the earth is... Man, I don't even know if it's even the size of a pinhead.
That's how, that's how small we really are when you think of God's vast universe. And even nowadays, they discover more and more things that are out there. And you would think that man would be like, Oh, there has to be a creator God. But no, man still refuses to believe. that God created all things. You know, someday though, God's gonna bring both the heavens and the earth together in Christ.
Paul writes in Ephesians 1:10, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ. Both which are in heaven, and which are on the earth, even in him. And, you know, we can give thanks to the Lord, because His kindness endures forever. In verse 23 in Psalm 136, that verse there, it reminds us of our lowest state.
Now, when you hear that term, lowest state, it means you've been brought to a very low position. If you've ever watched the movie The Christmas Story, you'll hear the father use that, that term lowly estate. And, you know, that's the idea of being brought very low. You know, Paul writes in Romans 5:6, For when we were yet without Christ, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.
You know, without strength and ungodly. To me, that sounds like a very low estate to be in, doesn't it? It sounds like, it sounds like a position we don't want to be in. But here's the good news, a couple verses later in Romans 5:8, But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We can give thanks to the Lord, because His kindness endures forever. In verse 24, it's, in Psalm 136, it speaks of Israel's redemption from their enemies, and At that time, that was Israel's hope, and in the future, that's going to be their hope. As Paul writes about in Romans 11:26, where he says, And so, all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
But today, in the dispensation of grace, even though we're still waiting, for that final step of redemption that we read about in Romans 8:23, where the, where we read, And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, we grown within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
And I know all of us are waiting eagerly for that day. But currently though, we are justified freely by His grace. In Romans 3:24, we know it says being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And because of that redemption, we are complete in Christ. As it says in Colossians 2:10, that ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.
So once you're in Christ. You've been redeemed, and you can't get any more complete than what you already are. You can't add anything to it. You can't subtract anything from it. God sees His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We should give thanks to the Lord for His kindness, because it endures forever. And finally, you know, for our Thanksgiving meal today, and for this Thursday when you're eating with family and friends.
And, you know, and for all the food we enjoy, the final two verses of this psalm, we read there in Psalm 136, verses 25 and 26, Who giveth food to all flesh, for His mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven, for His mercy, His kindness endures forever. Let's close in prayer. Heavenly Father, Lord, we just thank You for Your kindness to us, Lord.
We're thankful for, as we read this psalm about your kindness to the nation of Israel in their time in Egypt and in their wilderness wanderings, Lord. And we're thankful for your kindness to us today and the dispensation of grace and all the spiritual blessings we have and our position in your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Lord, just help us to remember that as we live our daily lives, Lord. During this Thanksgiving holiday, Lord, let us, let it be a reminder to us to be thankful. For all that we have in Christ. And it's in His name we pray. Amen.
Pastor Dan Wolgast
Nov 12, 2023
But there's a strange phenomenon in the church in general. And that is the ministry, what I call pastor shuffling. Men who went out, they're welcome at one church and move on. Or men who get tired of the church they're at. Or churches enticing men away from the churches they're serving. Or men who didn't measure up to the church's unrealistic expectations and were shown the door, as well as more. And that article I read recently throws some light on this. It stated that more than 1, 700 pastors leave the ministry every month. And then the article gave 10 reasons why. 50 percent discouragement. 50 percent were discouraged in the church they were at. This is often because of unrealistic expectations. The church isn't moving fast enough to suit me, but other reasons as well, 70 percent failure because of failure. They leave the church and do that, have a lower self image. Folks, I need to tell you right here and now that a man or woman free in the Lord Jesus Christ never has a poor self image.
When they know that, when they believe that, it doesn't matter what other people do or say to them or about them, their self image isn't going to say, isn't going to change. I am a child of God. Nothing can change that image. 70% from loneliness. You know, it's taught and encourages the courage that pastors aren't supposed to make friends in the church.
There's dumb things, but that's a really dumb one.
33 percent moral failure. Moral failure, sometimes from weakness, sometimes because they're targets. This is what we teach our, especially our young, that, uh, when you're in leadership, you can be a real target. To, by the devil, through whatever to, get you into moral failure. Seventy percent is financial. Men, grossly unpaid. And often again from unrealistic expectations. Anger. They really get angry at the way things are going, whatever. 4, 000 churches begin each year. That's interesting, isn't it? And I think this is worldwide, but 7, 000 close their doors. 4, 000 opened and 7, 000 closed their doors. And we see more and more of that, uh, today in churches closing. And unfortunately, we do as well. 90 percent is the workload, 55 to 75 hours a week. 75 percent stress related crises. Plenty of those to go around. 80%, and this is a real heartache, marriage and family problems, often caused by preoccupation with the church. How many families, wives, and children, we don't know who our husband or father is because he's always in church business and with church people. 90 percent of pastors feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. Think about that. 90 percent don't feel like they're adequately trained, and most of these people have at least four years of college and some seminary. Some of them have masters, some of them have doctorates, and they don't feel adequately trained.
Some men experience most of all, all of these and it should run up a red flag that something isn't right. All these things lead up to pastor shuffling and being Marians we need to look to scripture. Without preconceived ideas as to how it's properly done. How is the church to be led? We don't look at it, that's the way the church has always done it. All right. And as grace people, we are very firm and that's what people have always believed. Well, what does the scripture say? And we know all of us have run into that lots of times. So with that, to find out about this pastor shoveling, let's definitely let's turn to Hezekiah 13:3. This is my favorite passage to turn to when we're looking to justify what isn't in the Bible. The book of Hezekiah isn't in the Bible and neither is pastor Shuffling. There have been six to eight churches that folded and gave brain Bible institutes to priests proceeds from selling their property. That is not the way BBI wants to say solve it. And it should tell us something is not right in the way churches are led. One leader of a church told us, in all our existence, Grace Bible Church has never sent us a pastor. And could be the same thing that's said of being, bringing Bible Institute, so I'm not picking on the college. This leads to the question... How many men did you send to the college? Or how many men did you raise up to send to BVI for training? I would imagine, and I know that some wonder why Falls Bible Church has four pastors and many in churches including Oshkosh don't have any.
Well, for one thing, that's not exactly true. Part of the reason that I, is that I believe Falls is a biblical church and calls men biblically qualified elders or pastors. By the way, Mr. Getsky, you couldn't have gave me a better introduction this morning than what you talked about up here in your elders board. Oshkosh and other churches, like West Bend for example, are biblical churches and they have pastors. They're just not recognized as such. The Bible refers to them as elders. So let's look at an actual book and passage and see what the Apostle Paul calls leaders in the church. Let's turn to Acts 20, because they're all here. Acts chapter 20 and first of all, verse 17. From my litus, he sent to Ephesus. The Apostle Paul called for the elders of the church. All right? He called for the elders of the church. And then in verse 20, same in, in, in verses 27, 28, for I've not shunned to declare you, the whole council of God, therefore take heeded to yourselves, into all the flock among which the Holy Spirit.
Has made you overseers to shepherd the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood here in the one chapter in the one context, we see in one setting leaders of a church referred to as elders, overseers and shepherds. He didn't separate them. It's all one group of men. This is important for us to renew our minds as to the leadership.
of the church. This leads us to our passage this morning in Titus, where we spend a lot of time in Chapter one. And we just read 5 to 9. For this reason, I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. If a man is blameless, it hit husband of one wife. Having faithful children, not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God. Not self willed, not quick tempered, not given to wine. Not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable. A lover of what is good, sober minded, just, holy, self controlled. Holding fast to faithful word, as he had been taught.
That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. So Tymoson left in Creek. Titus was left in Crete to sit in order the things that were lacking. I believe order in the church as well as appointing godly men to lead them. Men not perfect, but characterized by the virtues in this passage. So first of all, let's look at what leaders aren't. For this reason, I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. Leaders aren't strangers. Leaders aren't strangers.
Paul did not send pastors to create, to create, he sent Titus to appoint leaders. They were already in the family, they were already there. They were taught in the word, and Titus was to discern who among them met the qualifications listed in this passage. He was then to appoint them. And, and another point here, leaders choose leaders. That's a very important, the church is not a democracy. It's led by godly leaders and leaders choose leaders. Now, you can get the flock to vote on whether the leaders are picking the right men or not, but they're leaders. Though this man is biblically qualified. We've looked at this and we looked at him and we know him and therefore we think that he should be part of the leadership in this church.
They were men from their own fellowship. Leaders are not mini kings or priests or saviors. That should be a given, but that's often what a church is looking for. They aren't to be tyrants, demanding of their children. We're all given the word for us to follow. Every man is called to provide for his family.
And the first church I went to, was called to, they had 12 adults and two teenagers. And that would have been awful dumb to me, and self centered to say you should, you're supposed to provide for my, family. No, God says I am, and that's what I told them. And I'm going to provide for my family regardless of what the church can do.And that's my responsibility. And people are to give according to their means. That's each individual. Each one of you are called on to go to the Lord. And what do I give towards the ministry of my church? That's your responsibility. It's not my or the leader's responsibility to fleece the flock to keep telling you you should give more or whatever. That's yours. And we have one person, at least in our church, that when the money isn't there for our pastors, we just don't take a check that month. We have people get mad at us for that. You go figure that one out. But we're to provide and, the church gives as God leads each individuals.
Leaders aren't surrogate fathers. Most people are looking for a dad, often looking to the pastor to be their dad. I believe this is why Catholic churches are so popular, because they have a dad that they can always look to and blame on and whatever. Bible churches want leaders they can worship, be their dads, do the work of the ministry, praise him for what he does right, condemn him for what they perceive does wrong, blame him for the problems in the church, and shuffle him along when they're tired of him, send us a new victim. We see that over and over. There's a couple in our first church, they met and got married, they were in the middle section of a hospital and they were turned around. They got saved under our ministry and they're turned around and very immature. And finally, after quite a while, they left the church. And as I went over and seen him, talk to them, they said you were supposed to be our dad and you didn't measure up to that. And in a sense, As there are obviously fathers in the faith, but it's to lead to Jesus Christ, not to take that position permanently. And it was sad, they, and we did things. They, their kids asked us to go to school with them and we did on Grand Dad's Day and everything. But obviously we couldn't take over as. I have sons in the faith only because I directed them to the father and there are men almost my age, they call me look to me as a father in the faith, but only because I'd led them to Jesus Christ in a way that they were set free in him. They are dependent upon him alone, not me.
Here's a big disappointing for you. I know leaders are not necessarily dynamic preachers. Some are gifted at preaching and some are not. There's a reason for this, I'm not going to go into it today, but Preaching is what generally scares most men from leadership that they've been called to. I gotta get up and preach before I was set free in the Lord. My pastor asked me to, take a homiletics course, which is a preaching course. And I thought at the time, you know, I was going, I thought, well, this would be good to learn how to preach. I'll just go along with this. Second time there, I realized that he was going to ask me to preach. There was a couple other men in the class.
I never went back and I could have come up with more than 100 excuses never to come back. Because you weren't going to get me up front and make a fool out of myself. I was saved, but I wasn't free and there was no way. It was later when the Lord freed me that then I had to get up and tell people what Jesus Christ had done for me. It didn't matter if there were 40 men or 40, 000, 40 people. I needed to tell others about Jesus Christ and what he'll do in your life if you believe him. I was never much of a communicator, but had to talk about my father. I once got a backhanded compliment, Dan's more of a teacher than a preacher. Does pastor teacher come to mind there? There was one lady in our church, our first church, every Sunday, my wife and I would stand at the back and greet people as they left, and every Sunday, Dan, why'd you quit?
Why'd you quit? And at the same time, she offered to pay my way down to Georgia to get into Charles Stanley's preaching class. She loved what she heard, but she knew I could use a little help in the area of proclaiming the word. A good heart. She meant well. I told her she'd send me to Texas to Tony Evans preaching school, I'd go.
I could preach like Charles Stanly. I'll listen, I'll, I'll listen. I'll listen up. Ha ha ha!
Now today we have the blessing and the curse at times of electronics. And when a church doesn't have a preacher or man in the church that's comfortable with standing up here proclaiming the truth, you have the opportunity to go live stream with another church where they do have preaching and you get good messages.
And it's a substitute, but I think it's a good one. West Bend has some excellent preachers. By the way, there are a lot of people that laugh when West Bend says We need a Pastor . There's six or eight men in the church, more mature than the last pastor they had, and there's several as, pastor Sadler and Dr. Nix. No one preaches better than either one of them. And so we had that opportunity. You know, it takes humility, but you spend time as a family and you can, and you can, um. Tune into one of these, and it can be, you know, even if your time isn't the same, you can, uh, preach it later. We have wonderful pastors in our church as well, and we live stream.
And so, we have that, and we need to think about these things. Because God in time will raise up the men. You have shepherds in this church. I've known them for a long time. You're the elders. And, so it's a matter of time, but most of the time, preaching is just like this, you know, what's the emphasis, what's brought out, and the first church I went to, they were such a gracious flock, probably out of desperation, that though I wasn't a very good communicator, I communicated the truth of Jesus Christ.
And they love what they heard. Our church grew from 12 people to over 100 in the first six years I was there. So, very important is what is the content of the message, not is how eloquent is the speaker. The power in preaching is in the truth, our Lord Jesus Christ, that sets one free. So let's look at what church leaders are again.
Generally homegrown in Paul's idea. They came from the fellowship there to be blameless men of godly character. The flock knows a man's testimony. 1st Timothy 3:7. Moreover, he must have a good testimony among those who are outside less he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. He's to have a good. Testimony both in and out, and the flock knows the men that they're raising up, and that they're there. And, this story I'm going to tell, part of it is, I have to put to rumor because I didn't get it from the horse's mouth, but part of it's true because I, that I, I know that it's true because it happened.
There were two men at the college years and years ago. And, the whoever the leaders of the college, they had these two men before him, and they told one man and say, you're not qualified. You don't think we don't think your passion material and the other man. They put their laid their hand on said you are. This man came to the church that I had served at before I was there. And his testimony was that of, that the church actually had to call the police to have him physically removed from the property. Later, and a good friend of ours told us this, her husband was unsaved and this man now is an insurance salesman rather than leader in the church.
And told her husband, you know what's the matter with that church there? Now, talking to an unsaved man, they don't want her baptized. Now, this is a man graduating from a great school. The other went on and is still faithfully teaching and serving the Lord after, I don't know how many years, but a lot. See, what's, what's the testimony of a man?
What's he made of? He used to be a family man. He needs to see the flock as part of his family. You know, again, we haven't been here for 20 years in this flock and to see so many familiar faces that have been faithful and been here and still are. And, but God uses terms that we can understand. Father, son, children, family.
You know, and that's what we've become. A family, so he needs to see the flock as part of his family, just as the rest of the church sees itself as a family. He has brethren serving with him, not under him with him. You know, in our church, I've been phasing out of the senior position and Andy Kern has been phasing into it.
And when I finally come to the place, okay, I'm stepping out of the senior position. You know what they did? They took the senior and associate out of the bulletin. They didn't want to use it because they didn't want it to look like I was stepping down or diminishing or whatever. What a precious thing that was to me.
The Apostle Paul refers to Titus 4 as a true son in the face serving with him. He used to be a husband of one wife, learning to love his wife as Christ of the church. And not necessarily married, as there should also be godly married men in the ministry with single elders. I have several friends, several men in the, in the pastorate that they're not married.
I have one actually as a student right now, and he says, I just don't feel like I've been called to be married. And right away he started to apologize, or not really apologize, but go into whatever, you know. I said, stop right there. I said, some men are called to singleness. That's biblical, and we need to recognize that.
And, Very important, but family oriented in that this is my family having faithful children, not accused of dissipation, which is basically spending freely on his own lusts. Appetites. The prodigal son was, an example of that or in subordination being unruly. He is trained and encourages families to be trained in godly parenting.
He believes scriptures. Children are a blessing from the Lord, not a curse, a blessing. Falls has a lot of kids. We have a couple of families, two or three families with seven kids and others with quite a number. And every once in a while I get this, you know, I noticed you Couples in your church have a lot of kids and that's my answer to him.
Yeah, they have learned and they believe that kids are a blessing from the Lord, not a curse. That ends the conversation right there and then there. There's all kinds of worldly stuff teaching on not having too many kids, whatever that is. Now, Pastor Sandra says a quiverful, which is what the Bible teaches, is 12.
We're not going to go there. This is between the husband and wife and the Lord. How many kids in the family? And we're not to judge on whether there's none or a bunch of them so he believes scripture. Children are a blessing from the Lord. He knows that godly parents train up godly Children who become godly leaders. Godly homes are the foundation of the church. I was blessed to no end. We had a missionary conference as we often do it at the school. And there was a missionary set up there.
He says, You know, we have 10 kids and all my wife and I knew from the start when we first started having kids was that we were to raise them up. to be Christians. No, that's a given to bring him to the Lord. That's a given to be in dependency of the Lord Jesus Christ to give them a God that when they leave home, he's big enough that they can live by faith in the world that they have to go out into.
Godly leaders are humble. Who is the most public leader in Israel's history? If you think about it, it was Moses. He had the whole nation of Israel and he was their daddy. He was responsible for every direction, every whatever they went through. And I knew that daddy and obviously, but why did God choose Moses to lead his people out of Egypt?
Why did he do that? What was so great about this man who failed big time? Murdering somebody. And sometimes that's what we need, not to murder somebody, but to see our sinfulness. But the clue is in numbers 12:3. Now, the man Moses was very humble, more than all the men who were on the face of the earth.
That's why he chose Moses. More than all the men were on the face of the earth. And in the King James, it says above all Above all the men. See where God puts humility? Up here. We look at it down here. In fact, one term is in, I don't like the King James meekness because it looks like weakness and that's what people take it as.
It isn't that at all. But God puts humility up here. Up here. Above all the men who are on the face of the earth. See, what was the virtue that Paul brought out about God with us in Philippians 2:5? Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider robbery to be equal with God, but made himself in no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearances of men, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death.
Even the death of the cross, Jesus, God with us humbled himself. And God with us didn't go into his ministry until he was 30. Now, God set it up that way. He set it up that way. Number one, it's difficult for a young man to muster much humility. And, there are plenty of at the same time. There are plenty of old pastors who don't manifest much. One man I know, grew up in a church and he's in his forties now. And he said, my pastor taught about the virtue of humility from the time I knew him right up until this point. I just wish that he would example a little. He taught humility and pride.
Now you can do that. And, he did. I was sad. Timothy was between 30 and 40 years old when Paul admonished him in 1st Timothy 4:12. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Over and over we're finding men in their 30s, usually their 40s, sometimes their 50s, that are sensing the call to be a leader in the church.
There are men that came up through the church and now feel that I need to lead the church. And this is generally where it happens. Two of our men in our church, two of our leaders, they're in our church because they've been out attempting to lead churches. And they got nailed so bad because of teaching, preaching Jesus Christ that they backed away from it.
And one man, especially I need to come home. See, a church is to be that protective place where we train and we bring up men to lead that church. And so important, it's a very important part of leadership is protecting the church, protecting the flock, just as it is the father, to protect his children from the world, from the devil and his ways, until their living in dependency of the Lord Jesus Christ as well.
Time and experience gives a man wisdom.
So, our men need to be taught. They were meant to be taught and believe the whole counsel of God's word, holding fast the faithful word as he had been taught. Ahem. This is a real detriment in the grace movement. And that is we've thrown out the word disciple. Some people get angry at it and it was only used in, in fact, in the chapter we were in in Acts.
But that's what they mean. They need to be taught by word and by example. That's discipleship. And I'm really saddened that that word has been denigrated within the grace movement. It shouldn't be. It's a well rounded education. Our students and Paul's affect your former pastor, Paul, um, for graduation, I was taking the men places.
I said, Paul, what do you want to do? I want to go on a moose hunt. So we took the whole gang and Dr. Nix went up to the U. P. and went on a moose hunt. I actually seen one. We didn't shoot any. You can't shoot them up there.
But we have to remember, so much is caught as well as taught. Does this man know what he's talking about by the life that he lives, by his, does he really care about us?
What's a blessing here is now leaders can take and get trained without leaving home. Dr. Bedore and I couldn't bring our school into this modern technical age. Dr. Madone never had a computer till years after I met him, and but God supplied us with men that could. And now these are the leaders in the school, and now we have online classes, which are almost as good as having the people, the students in front of you.
And then we have distance studies as well. So men never have to leave the church anymore to get educated and to get trained and they don't have to take the whole course. What am I weak in? There's some strong points. What am I weak in? What do I need to hone up on? And we have every class, except for our family classes and our counseling.
I won't do those. I'll do them online, but I won't do them distance study. There's too much of this that has to be passed. Back and forth. And the school has agreed for years. They're the most important classes that we teach our family classes and our counseling. Counseling is merely sanctification, teaching the word of God.
I got one minute, so I only had two pages left. I have to have all my notes because I don't have a memory. So anyway, you are blessed with leaders here. You are blessed with shepherds here. And I just challenge you to keep looking within in this area has continued to build up men that will shepherd your church.
And they have. I can look at them and see it. Been here for 20 some years and I know of. So with that, let's pray. Father, thank you for our time and your word. Thank you, Father, that your ways are not our ways. And too often, Father, we want to get into our ways to do your work. And that's something that, uh, you have a hard time honoring.
Father, what you want and what Paul tells us that, is to know you. And the more that we know you, the more that we can learn to trust you. And the more father you can get done in and through our lives. I thank you for this precious church father, the way you've blessed it for so many years and Ask that you continue to bless the church and all those involved in it, Father, and that they will continue to bring glory to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And it's in that wonderful name we pray. Amen.
Paul Turner II
Nov. 5, 2023
Take your Bibles and turn to Joshua 23. Let's pray. Father God, thank you for this morning, Lord. Thank you for giving us your word. Lord, we realize that your word is not just something to keep around the house. But that it's something to read and meditate on and study and Lord, I pray that we are all students of your word, that your word guides us in every moment of every day, in every decision, big and small. And Lord, may we find comfort this morning in your words. It's in your son's name. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I had you open your Bibles to Joshua 23. That's where you are. Let me begin with something that happened to me when I was probably five or six years old. We lived in a double wide trailer, and between our house and the neighbor's house, there was a row of spruce trees. I don't remember how big they were at the time, but they were big enough for a five or six year old boy to get under. Okay, and they, the branches came all the way to the ground, and behind the row of spruce trees the neighbor's yard kind of went up a hill, and their house sat at the top of the hill, maybe 20 or 30 feet above the spruce trees. The perfect angle for watching what was going on under the spruce trees. And I had discovered a pack of matches in the kitchen drawer, and... absconded with, ran off with the matches to the spruce trees, and I thought this would be fun. I'm going to build myself a little fire and of course, I had no idea that there was a rat in the neighborhood living in the house above me, and she ratted me out. She called my parents. She called my mother and told my mother that her precious little baby boy was out playing with matches underneath The spruce trees. Now, at five or six years old, I had no idea of the danger of playing with matches. I've always given my kids lots of opportunities to light fires and do things like that because I don't want them to want to take the matches and play with them. I would rather do it in a supervised environment. But needless to say, I was out there playing with matches and it was very dangerous and I never did get anything started before my experience was ruined and I was called back in the house and I don't remember if I got in trouble or not or if I just got a talking to.
I don't remember all those details and they're not important. But the thing is, playing with matches is a dangerous thing, isn't it? Especially when you're sitting under spruce trees that are filled with pitch. Man, if those needles had caught on fire, it would have been an epic burndown of the neighborhood. But luckily, the Lord protected me. Wisdom intervenes, at least by others on my behalf. How many of us have been paying attention to what's going on in Israel and Gaza and the Middle East? How many of you are aware that in Europe, in countries, in nations in Europe today, houses and businesses are being marked with the Star of David? Have you heard that? It's happening. I saw a video of it. It's happening. How many of you are aware of pro Hamas protesters in the U.S. college campuses? How many of you are aware of the flood of fighting age men, single men, from across the globe coming across our southern border? Who here thinks we are sitting on a powder keg? Globally, we are sitting on a powder keg. Everywhere lines are being drawn, sides are being taken. I wanted to address this this morning because I don't want it to be the elephant in the room. We're all paying attention to it. We're all watching it. We at least should look at it from a biblical perspective.
We need some biblical perspective to understand what's going on. If you speak about one side, you're accused of of, of supporting, you know, you're supporting that side. If you speak against one side, you're supporting the other. You can't say anything without finding yourself being accused of supporting the other side when it's very possible that there's things that could be said about both sides that need to be said. I remember a preacher who on multiple occasions said that we are reliving 1930s Germany. You remember that guy? He looked very similar to me. Well, I'd like to update that just briefly this morning. I believe right now we are living in late 1930s, early 1940s Germany. You see, on September the 1st, 1939, that was the date that Germany invaded Poland. Boundary lines between nations had been crossed. Anybody familiar with boundary lines being crossed in a country called Ukraine? Anybody aware of boundary lines being crossed in a, in, in what is referred to as Palestine, or coming into Israel, and now Israel going into Gaza? We see these lines, these lines that have been drawn being crossed by, by armies, by missiles, by, by jets, by all of these things.
The next thing that took place after September 1st, 1939, if you are a student of history, you know that in 1940, America was funding and supplying weapons to nations who were involved in the conflict. Does anybody think that's aware, everybody aware that that's happening today? By the billions, that's happening today? By December of 1941. The United States of America was involved in both theaters of war. We are sitting on a powder keg, and the world is playing with matches. It's a little unnerving, isn't it?
How should we as believers, how should we, as the body of Christ, look at everything that's going on around us? That's an important question. You see, the world, it's easy to get caught up in the emotions of everything that's going on. It's easy to react and respond from a position of fear. And, and in case you're unaware of this, the media, the, the, the national media, the online media, the media, they, they, they depend on that. They depend on you responding and reacting in fear. And those fears feed the conversations that take place. Around the dinner table, and in the restaurants, and in the diners, and, and online, things are said back and forth between people. Some of it said it is accurate, some of it said it is absolutely wrong, and absolutely insane. But things are said because people are responding in fear. And fear drives decisions that are not usually...Wise 2nd Timothy chapter 1 and verse 7 says God Have no you stay in Joshua 2nd Timothy 1 7 says God hath not given us the spirit of Fear that's not a hard concept to understand is it and yet how often do ww? Do we find ourselves a little unnerved by everything that's going on in the world? I mean, I have family members that are old enough to, that if, if a war, if a global war broke out, I have a son and a son in law who would be of age.
It's a little, a little unnerving, isn't it? But the Bible says, God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. All three of those are important, but I think that the third one is. Crucial. God has given us a sound mind. In 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7 it says, We walk by faith and not by sight. Because if we walk by sight, guess what? We will find ourselves enveloped in fear. Absolute terror at what's going on. And that's where the world finds itself today. If you want my 10 second honest opinion, I think the United States of America is just... We're just waiting for the present day sinking of the Lusitania or the present day Archduke Ferdinand incident, the thing, the attack of Pearl Harbor. We're just waiting for that event that sways the court of public opinion into saying we need to be in this conflict.
It's coming. How do we handle that as the body of Christ? How do we respond to that? You see, we walk by faith, not by sight. But that's not a blind faith. Our faith is rooted in truth, or it should be. We don't have to walk blindly into these things. God has given us truth. Truth that we need to lean into hard. For everything, whether it's global, whether it's, whether it's personal, whatever it is, we need to lean into this book. This book must be our guide in every decision, in every attitude, in every, every aspect of everything that goes on in our lives. So with that idea in mind, I had you turn to Joshua chapter 23. How should we look at this situation? You know, when it comes to Israel, there are two schools of thoughts. Generally, there are two schools of thought with the nation of Israel. One school of thought is that Israel is still under that covenant relationship, that God is in this dispensation of grace, that those covenants are still in full effect.
And so that is one view of that. The other view is that God has made a covenant relationship with Israel. And we can go to Romans chapter 11 and we can see where it says that God keeps His promises. He is going to honor His covenant relationship with Israel. But I believe that Scripture bears out the fact that during this dispensation of grace, that Israel has been set aside in unbelief, and with that setting aside, their covenants have been put on hold.
Now, those are two very different views. of Israel. And while while some may hold to the fact that those covenants are still in effect today, and I may hold to based on scripture and what eyes and they're doing that based on scripture, and I'm coming at it from the standpoint that that that they are, they are no longer in effect at this current moment.
But God will resume that covenant relationship with Israel. I would like to say that for what is going on today in the Middle East, that question is irrelevant. And I will show you why that question is irrelevant. I had you turn to Joshua, Chapter 23. Today we walk by faith, not by sight. That's that walk by faith is not a faith that is in ignorance. It is found in truth. And so I thought it would be good to go to the words of a dying man to get some truth. In Joshua, Chapter 22 verse one, then Joshua called. The Reubenites and the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh. Now go down to verse 14.
I'm sorry, I'm in the wrong chapter. 23, that didn't sound right. Joshua 23. 1, And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Ishmael from all the enemies roundabout, that Joshua was, Joshua waxed old and was, and stricken in age. Now verse 15 14 and behold that this day. This is Joshua speaking behold this day I am going the way of all the earth He is dying and he knows it and you know that in all your hearts and in all your souls That not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you All are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Isn't that so comforting? He's dying, and he says, you know, God has kept every promise he's ever made to you. How many of you agree with that? Absolutely. God has kept every promise. And at this time, he certainly had as well. Now look at verse 15. Therefore, it shall come to pass that as all good things come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you, To which all those present before Joshua that day were saying, That's right!
Whoo! All right! Semicolon. So shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until He hath destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you. Whoo! Whoo! How's that for words of a dying man? Joshua. Joshua comes to these Israelites and he says, Listen, God has kept every promise He's ever made to you.
But you need to remember that he has also promised you that if you break that covenant, there are consequences. So shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things until ye have, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you. God is going to keep his promises, both the ones you like and the ones you don't like so much.
Look at verse six, Joshua 23 verse six, he says to them, be therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses that you turn not aside therefore to the right hand or to the left hand or to the left. Oh, listen, here's a lesson to learn. I'll do this very quickly.
Obedience to God is a courageous thing. Everybody got that? Obeying God takes courage. It takes guts to do what God says. It makes no difference what dispensation you live in. It takes guts to obey God's Word. Make God's Word the authority. Look at Joshua 23, verse 11. Take good heed, therefore, unto yourselves, that ye love one another.
The Lord your God. How are they going to love the Lord their God? He's take heeded that you love him. How are they going to love him? By obeying him, by being courageous and obeying his word. Now look at verse 12 else. If you do in any wise, go back and cleve unto the remnant of these nations. Even these that remain among you and shall make marriages with them and go in unto them and they to you.
Now listen very closely to verse 13. Know for a certainty. You know, when God speaks, when God communicates a message, it's always important. When God says something leading up to the message, know for a certainty. It's one of those moments where you're like, you know. Okay, I'm gonna pay attention here. This might not be good. Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will make, will no more drive out any of these nations from before you.
But they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land, which the Lord your God hath given you. Woo! Wow, that's a great response. Wow! What is he saying? If you're not courageous, if you're not obedient to the covenant relationship which we established, which I, God, have established with you, Israel, if you break that covenant, if you do not love me, if you do not obey me, know for a certainty these 13.
Until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord, your God, hath given you. It says down there in verse 16, When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he hath commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them, then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.
God said what he said, didn't he? Under the covenant, there were consequences. In 2 Kings 17, don't go there, we don't have time. 2 Kings 17 verses 22 and 23, you can write that down. I wrote down exactly how it says it. Israel was carried away out of their land. In 2 Kings 25, five chapters later, because the kingdom was divided at that time, 2 Kings 25, 21, Judah was carried away out of their land.
What did God promise them with certainty? If they broke the covenant, if they didn't obey, if Israel was not courageously obeying God and His Word, there would, this was the consequence, this was the outcome. Israel repeatedly throughout their history broke their covenant relationship with God, did they not?
Israel committed murder by which you and I and every person who professes to be Jewish today. Can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ can be saved. Israel did that. It's what it says in Acts chapter 2. Peter calls them out. Calls out his own people and says, You murdered him.
Now before I go on, I'm going to say this several times. Hamas is wicked. Wicked. And evil. Islam is wicked and evil.
But I will also say that Israel's struggles today are in part due to their disobedience to God's word thousands of years ago. They did not drive out the inhabitants as they were commanded. They did not obey God. They broke the covenant with the one who was their protector. Now let me say, I am not attacking Israel in this.
Christians today disobey God all the time. And I'm going to get to the lessons that we have to learn, that we have to learn. But, but let me continue. And again, let me say, Hamas is wicked and evil. Islam is wicked and evil. I am not giving them a pass. I am not taking their side by any stretch in this. I'm just putting all the facts together as scripture gives them to us.
I believe Israel has every right to defend themselves against this, against this wickedness. They were attacked. They were attacked. They have a right to protect their people. And again, let me say, Hamas is wicked and evil.
But we can look at scripture and see the effects of Israel's disobedience as well. In Joshua 23, 13, God said what he said, didn't he? If they didn't obey the covenant. So you see why I'm saying, if you think Israel is under the covenants. Or if you think Israel is not under the covenant. While that's an important discussion to have for understanding what's going on today.
It's almost irrelevant because if you think they're under the covenant still today in the dispensation of grace, and while I may disagree with you on that, if you think they're under the covenant, then you have to apply Joshua 23 to that understanding and realize that God is not. Going to drive out the inhabitants from before Israel today Israel may drive out the inhabitants they may wipe Hamas from off the face of the planet as they have promised and said because they have a superior army and because they have all these weapons and bombs and Quite frankly because they're receiving a lot of funds and weapons from around the world Specifically from the United States of America that may happen But we can't mistake what Israel is doing with God's hand of protection and keeping his covenant relationship with them.
Because Israel, if you think they're under that covenant, you must also admit that they are not obeying that covenant that they have with Israel. On the other hand, if you think that, if you believe that Israel is not under that unbelief and God will one day. Pick up that dealing with the nation of Israel again.
I'll do this very quickly, rather than having you turn there. In Romans chapter 10 in verse 1, Paul writes that Israel has a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10, 1 to 3. And that they walk according to their own righteousness, not according to His righteousness.
And Romans chapter 11 verses 25 to 32 speaks of the fact that Israel was set aside in unbelief, but also says that God will keep and honor his covenant promise with them.
What can we do? What can we do? We can pray for the whole situation. We need to pray for the whole situation. You know why we need to pray? Let me give you the number one reason why we pray. For this situation in particular. Because right now, people are dying. Both on the side of Israel and the side of Hamas.
And on both sides, people are dying and going to a Christless eternity. Because they have not trusted in what Jesus Christ did for them on that cross. We need to pray for the salvation of souls. We also need to pray because there are Christians in Gaza, there are Christians in Israel who are there as missionaries reaching the lost and their lives are in danger.
You need to pray for that whole situation.
Why do I share this though? There are three overlapping reasons why I shared this this morning and I have to move quickly through this. First of all, I think the first reason that I want to share, wanted to share this was this morning was because to give a biblical context to the events that we have all seen in the news.
Romans 15. 4 says, Those things that were mentioned aforetime were written for our learning. We need to make sure that we are in this book, learning from this book, so that we can look at the events of this world in light of this book. And let me just say, too, we need to do it from the point of understanding the Word of God rightly divided.
I can't tell you how many things I've heard on Christian radio and other things this week about how, you know, looking at... Gog and Magog and Armageddon and all of these things because they fail, they're looking at these things that are taking place in the book of Revelation and somehow trying to apply them to today.
We are not living. In the events of Revelation, the rapture of the church, the body, praise the Lord, the rapture of the church, the body of Christ must come first. That doesn't mean we're not going to face difficulties and hardships. That's the other thing I've heard lately that I don't have time to get into this morning, but this idea that, that people who believe in the pre tribulational rapture are just looking for an escape.
That is not true. The only reason, the only way that, that the antichrist can come in at the beginning of the tribulation is an established peace on earth. Is if there is wars going running rampant over the earth when he comes in at the beginning of the tribulation, we are not looking to escape anything.
We're just not promised that we are going to go through the tribulation. The second thing, so we need to learn from scripture about those events because there's much to learn about that. The second thing, and these are, I said these are overlapping. The second thing that we need to learn from what's going on over there today is obedience.
to God and the importance of obedience to God. As I said earlier, we walk by faith. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7. Believing that phrase, while there's more to it, believing that phrase begins on the foundation that we are taking God at His word. You can't obey what you don't know. It's important as Christians.
That we know what God's Word says and obey what God's Word says, and we need to learn that by looking at the effects of Israel's disobedience. It should cause us to examine our own personal obedience or lack thereof. And the third overlapping point that I wanted to make this morning is that when we disobey God's Word, it doesn't just affect The person disobeying God's word.
You've heard me through the years speak of multi generational impacts of decisions that have been made. When I look back to Joshua 23, I've come to the conclusion that it's not multi generational, it's multi millennial. Israel's disobedience, way back there, has a multi millennial impact on the world.
Apostasy. Disobedience to God is fatal. At this point, what we're looking at is global fatalities based on the disobedience that took place thousands of years ago. Global fatalities! Man, if that doesn't wake us up and cause us to realize how important it is that we pay attention to what we are doing as it says and has been quoted so many times in Hosea chapter 8 and verse 7.
Speaking of Israel, it says they sow the wind. And they will reap the whirlwind. I don't care who you are. That's a true statement. Said in a more 2023 version. Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes. You know, there are effects. If we sow disobedience to God and His word back here, there will be a ripple effect to that.
How important is it that we obey God's Word explicitly? And that obedience begins with knowing His Word intricately. We must know what the Word of God says.
This is supposed to be a message of encouragement and contentment. It's okay. It's okay.
It's okay. Man. Turn to 1 Corinthians. 1 Corinthians chapter 12. 1
Corinthians chapter 12. I want you to look at this because I know you've all looked at it in the past. You've all read it in the past. You've all heard it in the past. Unless you slept through some of my sermons, you've all heard it and read it and heard sermons on it in the past. 1 Corinthians.
Christine's not here. I can't even call her on it. First Corinthians 12, For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body are many, as one, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and all made to drink into one spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. How many of you are familiar with this?
What can we do as the body of Christ? Sometimes that's said almost in despair. What, what can we do? I mean, I'm not, I'm not anywhere near that tinderbox in the Middle East. I'm not anywhere near anything that's going on. I'm just, I'm just here. I'm just here in Oshkosh, little old me in Oshkosh, little old Grace Bible Church in Oshkosh.
What can we do? I mean, beyond pray. I mean, we, yes, pray. Start with prayer. Everything should start with prayer. What can we do?
I mean, think about it. This church doesn't even have a pastor, do you? How many of you would like a pastor? Yeah. Yeah. Let's have a pastor.
Do you remember when I preached on 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and how I shared from from that passage that no part of the body of Christ is more important than any other? It's a true statement, right? I mean, he goes into great detail demonstrating to them, you know, the eyes not any more important than year.
The foot's no more important than the hand. The hands no more important than the foot. And I said that! I said there is no part of the body of Christ that, that is any more important than any other. And I said specifically, as your pastor, I am not any, any more important when I, when I was your pastor. I'm not any more important than, than anyone.
I am, I am equal member of the body of Christ. I know you would like a pastor. What if it took you as long to get a pastor as it took to get a building?
What if it took that long? I know, I know some are thinking, Oh boy, don't do that. Please Lord, don't let that happen. You know, when I left, I struggled with that decision. Not because I didn't think it was the right decision. But you do go through this emotional response.
And so I wrestled with that decision and I searched this book. Because I needed comfort. I needed clarity.
And I would like to share just a little bit of that very briefly with you this morning, and then tie that together with everything else that we've talked about. This is not a two part message, really. It all fits together. Trust me. But I, I struggled with that. And I did search the scripture, and God brought me to 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and the very comments that I had made.
But I can tell you this, as I began to study 1 Corinthians chapter 12, God made it very real to me. And I praise the Lord for God making it very real to me. It's one thing to preach knowledge about a passage, but God made it very personal for 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and the next things that I'm going to share with you.
I wanted to make sure. I wanted to know. Am I leaving, am I leaving the sheep without a shepherd?
And I'm telling you, God absolutely drilled my heart.
After studying 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and knowing what it said, but needing to understand what it said,
I looked up the word, the Greek word for pastor. Pay attention very closely to this.
The Greek word translated pastor is used 18 times. in the New Testament. 18 times.
17 times it is translated shepherd. Now let's do the math.
Very good. 18 take away 17. One time. Paul uses the Greek word one time. One time in 18 it's translated pastor in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11. One time in the entire New Testament is the word pastor used. One time. Paul never uses it and it is translated shepherd. Never. He uses it once. He doesn't use the Greek word in every book, in every letter that he wrote.
He literally uses the Greek word once and only once and that one time it is translated pastor.
And as I'm, as I'm, as I'm looking at this, I'm thinking, holy moly, we put a lot of stock in a position, in a man, in a position with a title whose, whose literal title that we give him, that we honor him with is used literally only epistles, one time.
So now I've read 1st Corinthians 12, I understand that no part is more important than another, and now God has brought me to this realization that the term pastor is only used once in Paul's epistles. And so that now I'm curious. Anybody else curious at this point? Yeah, so I keep going. I read the opening of every one of Paul's epistles.
What do we know about those letters? Those letters deal with some pretty heavy stuff, don't they? Immorality,
false teaching, legalism, all kinds of things. Every letter is addressed with the exception of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. But the church epistles are addressed to the whole body. And I'm looking at this and I'm putting this through the lens of 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and I'm thinking, Wait a minute here.
Every letter is addressed to the whole body, to the saints which are at, to the brethren which are at, with the exception of Philippians, which speaks to the saints which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. They're all just generally addressed to everybody who is a believer in Corinth, everybody who's a believer in Rome, everybody who's a believer in Ephesus or Philippi or wherever it is.
Not one letter, not one, was addressed to the pastor.
So then I started thinking, well, who is the pastor at these churches? We don't know. We don't have names. Not one of them do we know the name of a pastor. Yes, Timothy or Titus may have gone and preached at a place for a while, but I'll get to them in just a second, and I'm rushing through this. But, but listen.
We don't even know the names of the pastors. God, God did not feel it important enough to include their names.
And here I am looking at this thinking, wait a minute. I'm concerned about leaving. And now you're a church in a world that's on the brink of global war and there's not even a shepherd and yet the name pastor is practically non existent in the New Testament. And certainly practically nonexistent in Paul's epistles.
Every letter was addressed to the, to the body, to everyone to be read. So that they could deal with the heartache, the struggles, the problems, the issues. Was never addressed to the pastor.
Now I'm really curious. So then I go to the pastoral epistles. We all call them the pastoral epistles. Right? You know they're not. They're not really pastoral epistles. Timothy was, was, was not, he was not a pastor. Think about this. If, if, we don't have time, but if you went to, write this down, Acts 16, 1 to 3, Paul shows up in, in what, Lystra and Derby?
And he meets this young man, Timothy. Timothy is, This is a great opportunity. Here's this church with this homegrown young man who could who could be the next pastor of great of Grace Bible of Grace Bible Church. Lystra Grace Bible. They'll nobody has an original thought, right? Grace Bible Church Derby.
You know, everybody uses the Grace Bible Church. You know what Paul does when he leaves town? He takes him with him. I mean, Paul was a different, different bird. You know, you'd think he'd be establishing, he's establishing these churches and here's a, here's a pastor to, to take over to fill that pulpit. He says, now I'm taking him with me.
We think of Titus. Titus is a pastoral epistle. Titus wasn't a pastor. Titus's job was to go to the island of Crete and travel around and establish elders in all of these churches. A hundred cities. There is no way. I was a pastor for 18 years. There is no way that a guy could travel around and establish elders in a hundred churches and be a pastor.
He's not pastoring now, for the crazy part, we, we haven't even gotten to the crazy part yet. And this was all in my study because I like, am I, am I doing the right thing? Paul would travel around and establish churches and he would travel to church a and he would spend between. 20 and 30 years establishing that church and then he would leave there and he would go to the next church and spend 20 or 30 years there grounding those people, establishing those people.
He averaged four months, four months. He spent as little as some could argue two weeks and as much as 18 months establishing every church that he planned, every church that we have a letter written to. Two weeks to 18 months and then he would leave. Some of those churches, we don't know if any of them had pastors.
I can show you that some of them didn't even have elders when he left. He would just leave them. Did, did Paul, did Paul have so much faith in these people? Just knew that they would not fail. Heh, I know that's not true. Cause he wrote letters back to those people saying, Hey, oh foolish Galatians. Right? He knew that they would make mistakes.
He knew that they would make missteps. How could he do that? How could he just abandon them?
You know what I realized when I got to the end of this? I came to the realization. A very simple, but very important realization.
That we all need to come to. And that is this. I realized. That Paul trusted Christ and his grace, working through his body to do what God promised he can and will do. Let me say that again. I realized Paul trusted Christ and his grace. He wasn't trusting the Galatians, he wasn't trusting the Corinthians, he wasn't trusting BOOM!
Oh, sorry. Sorry. Uh, but Paul... was trusting Christ. What a concept. What a concept. We trust Christ for salvation, don't we? Because we have no other option. But to come along and trust Christ
and, and the trust is in Christ doing what God, what God has said He would do through His body. It's about Him. Working, working through us.
I'm gonna leave you with two passages.
I'll just read them to you. 2nd Corinthians chapter 9 verse 8. This is kind of a passage that, we have adopted. We started a YouTube channel called Consumed by Grace and it's from this verse 8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you. That ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. Isn't that the greatest verse? And God is able. If the verse ended there, how wonderful is that? God is able. But then there are all these absolutes. To make all grace abound toward you. That ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. Ephesians 3:20 says, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. What can I do? What can little old me do? What can grace Bible Church Oshkosh do? I think we're asking the wrong question. It's putting the emphasis on me. It's what can he do? What is he doing? in us. Our job is not so much to do, but to simply get out of the way and let him do. That's how Paul, the Apostle Paul, lived his life and his ministry and it turned the world upside down. Maybe that's what we need to get back to.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for this morning. Thank you for this time. Thank you for your word. Lord, I do pray that we Well, we certainly can't find comfort in the events of this world and the circumstances of this world. May we find comfort and boldness in understanding what Christ can do, what Christ is doing through His body. May we have the wisdom to simply get out of His way. It's in Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Elder Randy Hughes
Oct. 29, 2023
I would like you to turn to Luke 22. And having found that let us bow in a word of prayer. Our gracious God and Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity. Lord, I just pray that you open our eyes take away all the things from our minds and help us to focus on you this morning. Father we're so thankful for the opportunity we have to share the communion table today. You tell us do this in remembrance of you. It's interesting Lord, when I think about that what are the things we are to remember? I pray today that we will recognize those things. Father, may your honor and glory be shared today. May everything that's shared from the word of God bring you that glory. And Father thank you for the opportunity that you've given me to be able to share from your word of God today. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
It's important to focus on the blood of Jesus Christ. But why? Have you thought about it? Have you given thought to why we should focus on the blood of Jesus Christ? We're supposed to remember why it was necessary. And what happened? And most importantly, what did it accomplish? In Luke chapter 22 verses through 20. I like to read those for us. Luke chapter 22 verses 14 through 20. And when the hour was come he sat down. And the 12 apostles with him, and he said unto them with desire, I have desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
And he took the cup and gave thanks and said take this and divide it among yourselves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And he took the bread and gave thanks and break. And he gave unto them saying, this is my body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me. Likewise, he also took the cup after his supper. After supper saying this is the cup the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you today in preparation for us doing what Jesus instructed. What he did with his apostles and taking the bread, which represents his body given for us and taking the cup and remembering him.
I would like us to ponder today. Please clear your minds and let's ponder together some of the things of what he said to those gathered there. Jesus told his disciples to remember just as he wishes us to do the same. Let's think a moment just what are we remembering? Is it the upper room? Is it the account of Jesus washing his disciples feet? Is it what they drank or ate? Is it just his body and his blood? If so, what is it about these things we are to remember? And why did this new covenant with God, through Jesus, the Son of God, require blood? All of these things are important to remember. But, I think, this is me. I think the primary thing we're supposed to remember is the sacrifice and why it had to happen the way it did.
That's what I believe we are to remember today. And not simply the events of that Passover meal that Jesus shared with the men who were the very closest to him. Not even just his body and his blood given for us. We're supposed to remember why it was necessary. Ponder that, what did it, why did it have to happen? What did it accomplish? And how do we fit into this picture as individuals 2,000 years later? That was a long time ago. How do we fit into this? The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7, In whom Jesus, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Amen? I would like us to review the words of one of my favorite hymns. It's one that, when I go home to be with the we... Somebody would sing it, whether it's the congregation or whether it's an individual. I don't care. But nothing but the blood. I love that song. I'm gonna read you the words. And I want you just to think about them as we go through them.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is that flow. That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon, this I see, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing, this my plea, nothing but Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing good that I have done. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I will overcome. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By this, I will reach my home. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Glory, glory, this I sing, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
All my praise for this I bring, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
It's a beautiful song. I started preparing for this message a couple weeks ago. And as I was doing it, this song came to mind. And I had a hard time getting past it. But then I read it. I opened it. I told Paulie not to worry when she looked at this. I'm not going to sing. But I had to go get a hymnal and open it up and read it because I didn't know all of it, but what a special song. And I thought abou, How vital is the blood of Jesus? How vital is that to each and every one of us? And I guess one of the questions I have to ask is have you ever or had known anyone that needed to have a blood transfusion? I see a lot of heads nodding yes. If you have, then you know just how vital the blood is to life. There are some great theological truths in this hymn, that are very appropriate to ponder today, as we prepare to take communion. As we remember what Jesus asked us to remember, I think the first and foremost we need to remember is that it took Jesus blood To wash away our sins, it took that blood and nothing else would do. There is nothing. If you're putting your faith and trust in works or things that you're doing, I'm going to tell you, you're on your way to hell. That's not going to get you to heaven. That will not get you to heaven. It's only the blood of Jesus that can wash away your sin. And the whole reason for that is that nothing else is good enough in God's eyes. It's just not good enough. We're going to look at some of these theological truths as we read in the Ephesians 1:7. It tells us that we have redemption, we have forgiveness of sins, and in this we experience The riches of God's grace, but that grace came as a price, not for us, but for Jesus and for God, the Father and the song. Sometimes we sing, we'll never know how much it costs to see our sins upon the cross. Turn, if you would, to Hebrews chapter nine, and I want to read verse 22. And almost all things by the law purged with blood and without the shedding of blood is no remission. There is no remission without the blood. And we'll talk more about that in a little bit.
The term blood of Christ refers to the New Testament, to the atoning of Jesus. The atonement refers to the basis and the process by which estranged people, people that are lost, people that are upset, not having fun, and they become one with God. Look at the word atonement if you would. Break it down. It says, at one mint. Atonement, at one minute, or as I would say, at one moment, refers when you look at that, we don't nearly have enough time to explore that fully, but the language of sacrifice is seen throughout the word of God. Not just in the Old Testament, where we learned the Jewish sacrificial system, but also the New Testament, where we see the language of sacrifice. We have removals of sin.Turn to Romans chapter 3 and I'm going to read Romans chapter 3 through 26. And it says, For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Where is our redemption? Where do we get forgiveness of sins? It's in Christ Jesus. Unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. Good verse being justified freely. Verse 24 by his grace to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are passed through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and a justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Very interesting passage of scripture. You know, we can talk about all the things that, when we're talking about the blood of Christ and where the blood of Christ is at, you know, and how that blood, without that blood, we would be lost.
We would, we'd be lost. There is no way to be saved if Christ had not died for each of us. And in 1 Peter and I'm reading verses 19, and there it says, but with the precious blood of Christ, understand this is 1 Peter. But with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot. You know, it's really, really interesting when we look at that the blood of his, of his son, Jesus Christ. Cleansed us. It cleansed us from all sin.
And turn to 1st John 1:7. And there it says, but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ, his son cleanses us from all sin. I really like that verse. I like that verse for several reasons. One is basically because what it tells us that we're cleansed by the blood of Christ, but it also. Talks about a fellowship, a fellowship of believers, one another, one another, serving one another, caring one another, loving one another. Encouraging one another, building up one another. That's the fellowship that has brought us together through the blood, the cleansing of Jesus Christ. In Romans 5, 9 it talks about redemption and we read Ephesians 1:7.
You know, these metaphors show that only God, only God could provide atonement. You know, I find it interesting. I want, I want to go back. I want us to go to the Old Testament because there is a difference. There is a strong difference between Jesus Christ and his sacrifice and the sacrifice of the, the priest, the chief priest of Israel. Turn in your Bibles to Leviticus. And I want you to see a major difference between the Old Testament and what the law had done, and the New Testament today, what Christ has done. There is a difference, folks. Today, God is not dealing with nations. Paul makes that very clear in his epistles. He's dealing with people. And there's not a separation of those people any longer, either Jew nor Greek. We're all one. And in Leviticus, we're going to see what Aaron went through to prepare for The forgiveness of sins, not just for the people, for Aaron himself. Let's look. In Leviticus, it talks about, and I'm looking at starting in verse 8. It said, And Aaron shall pass lots upon two goats, one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for his people. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. And Aaron Shall bring the Boloch of sin offering, which is for himself. See the word there? This is God's word. Aaron brought that Boloch for him. Why would he have to do that? Because he sinned. And it goes on. Which is for himself and shall make an atonement for himself and for his house and shall kill the Boloch. of the sin offering, which is for himself. And then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense, beaten small, and bring it within the veil. And he shall put in the incense upon the fire before the Lord. That the cloud of which incense may cover the mercy seat, that is upon the testimony that he die not, and he shall take the blood of the Boloch and sprinkle it with the with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward, and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle a blood with his fingers seven times.
And then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people, and bring his people within the veil, and do that blood as he did with the blood of the bollock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat. And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanliness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions of all their sins. And so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that there remaineth of them in the midst of their uncleanliness. Listen, this is the Old Testament, and Aaron is doing exactly what he was taught by Moses to do. They're talking about the Jewish sacrificial system. This is what had to take place there for the Jews.
But there are things that are part of this. Now, we know, we all know that because of the dispensation of grace of God, things changed. We're no longer underneath this sacrificial system. We never were as Gentiles anyway. We couldn't even enter that tabernacle, and nobody could go into the holies of holies except for the chief priest.
This is what God had planned for Israel. And we'll talk more about this as we go forward. These, you know, passages that took and showed the blood of our sins that Jesus took away. And the life in this blood, the phrase, the blood of Christ, represents the life he gave for our atonement. We see the word blood used in the New Testament and most always used in connection with Jesus death on the cross. He shed his blood in a real physical death. It is the same blood that we bleed when we cut ourselves or we get injured. It's the same blood. And why is this understanding so important? Look at Romans chapter 6. This again is a verse that we all know, but I want, I want to make an emphasis here. Romans chapter 6, if you would. Romans chapter 6 in verse 23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You know, it's important because his death demonstrates to us what the wages of sin is. Christ had to die. He had to be buried. And if we, folks, I don't know where you're at in your salvation today.
I don't know where you put your faith and trust in. But I will tell you this, this is fact. This is the truth. This is God's word. For the wages of sin is death. It's talking about not just the fear of physical death, but a spiritual death. You are separated from God. You're totally separated from God. And the only way to change, to put a bridge so that you and God can come together. Is what it says right there at the end of that verse, but the gift of God is eternal life to Jesus Christ our Lord. That gift, it's not a present, could be, you could call it that, but it's not a thing. It's Jesus Christ.
That's the gift that God is offering to us. Jesus became, you know, and when I look back at the Old Testament, The high priest and Judaism, the chief religious function. He is the, he is the key person when it comes to the Judaism religion. He's the functionary in the temple of Jerusalem, whose unique privilege, he has a unique privilege. Was to enter the holies of holies, that inner sanctum once a year, every year, I'm going to say it again. Once a year, every year on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement to burn incense and sprinkle sacrificial animal blood for the forgiveness of sins and the sins of the people. Jesus, here's an opposite, in the New Testament, Jesus Christ became a permanent fulfillment of that purpose. A permanent fulfillment, once and once for all. What the high priest could not accomplish and this is why we have the age of grace. So I'm not saying what the high priest was doing back then was wrong. What he was doing back then was right. But because of the age of grace in which we now live in, what you know, when you think about that, what the high priest could not accomplish because he was a man. And he was a sinner himself. That's why God had to change this whole dispensation. Why he brought the dispensation into place. God needed a sacrifice that would be permanent. And that would be so easy. So welcoming to each of us. That we could all we have to do is put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was able to accomplish the shedding of his blood because he was a sinless son of God. He was man, God on earth. He was without sin. That whole time. The sacrifice made by the high priest was an actual physical sacrifice with real blood involved.
Just exactly what Moses had told Aaron to do. It had a spiritual purpose. Jesus sacrifice, too, was an actual physical sacrifice with his very real blood, and it, too, had a spiritual purpose and a goal. There's a goal in mind. Yet there was a big difference between the high priest sacrifice versus what Jesus was able to accomplish. And that is, is one of the things we are to celebrate even as we remember his death today. When the high priest sacrificed an animal, God agreed to tolerate, to overlook, and to pass over the consequences of sin. That was God's truth to them. That's what he promised them. You do this and I'm going to overlook your sin. As a result The high priest sacrifice had to be done yearly, every year, since they were not a true and lasting remedy. What they did for Israel at that time was right. That's what Paul, that's what Moses had called them to do. But they didn't have any lasting remedies for sin. They would have it on that, that holy day, that day of atonement and then they would go on living their lives. And there were those that were faithful. But even Jesus says, no one. Was able to live up to the entire law, so there was always sin, but it only, you know, there were not those remedies and it only reminders of it. And basically it was a reminder of God's mercy and overlooking their sin.
That's what that sacrifice was there. But Jesus blood removes our sin. It washes away our sin. It didn't just overlook them or cover them up only to be held against us at a future date. That's not what Jesus blood did. Jesus blood satisfied the holiness of God. And Jesus life, for our eternity life, Jesus blood transforms us into new creations.
Jesus blood delivers us from the slavery of sin. And that was Paul's biggest message you ever read through the book of Galatians, and maybe one day we'll go through it together. That was Paul's first epistle and it was the Sternest epistle of all of his epistles. He had gone to Galatia and he had brought about churches and all of a sudden the jus came in and they were taking those Christians and saying, but you still need to be circumcised, bringing them back under the bondage of the law and not of grace. That's not what God wanted for us all. And that's one of the most important things. In John 1:7. Turn there if you would. First John 1:7. And I know we've read this already once, but I want to read it again. But if we walk in the light as He is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. John 1:7 describes the work of Jesus blood. It describes exactly what He did on the cross. It does it for us. And it says, and the blood of Jesus, his son cleanses us from all sin. The verb cleanses here indicates continuity. It indicates continuity. There is a beginning and there is also a continuing cleansing.
Now we know that once we have put our faith and trust in Christ, our sins from the past are forgiven. Our sins that we do today, tomorrow, this week are forgiven, and all of the sins in the future are forgiven as well. But that's that continuing cleansing we have because of what Jesus Christ did. That's something worth remembering today, isn't it? There we remember it, but also, as we come to this table today, it is because of Jesus Christ once for all shed his blood on Calvary's cross, fully satisfying God the Father.
Turn to Ephesians please.
Ephesians chapter 1. And I'm going to read verses 8 through 10. And it said, wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he had purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of fullness of times he might gather together and won all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on the earth. Those that are in him, other words, those who have put their faith and trust in his death, his burial and his resurrection. That resurrection is the hope that we all have. We all know that. We're looking forward to that day, as far as I'm concerned, it could come right now. When we think about it, I found this quote after while I was doing this study and I was just looking through different things and I found this quote. It says, in our time, there are signs that the belief in grace may be coming untethered from our understanding of the cross. I'm going to turn to Galatians chapter five and I want to read first verse one. Stand therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Stand fast. That's what we need to do today. I believe that quote. I think churches, Christchurches, sometimes the message is becoming untethered.
And in our churches today, there's, go look it up, read the research. People are leaving the church by groves. Not just Grace Churches, but all churches. People are leaving. They don't see the purpose or the need anymore in church. Let us, let not Grace Bible Church Oshkosh ever disconnect with the grace of God from our understanding and our need for his grace. Why his grace evidenced by the blood of Jesus that flowed from his wombs after his scourging, illustrated the blood that flowed through his hands. And his feet and hung on the cross while why his blood was necessary. Our need for grace is very real. We are sinners in need of grace. His grace was demonstrated in the shedding of his blood, Jesus Christ. That's why nothing but the blood. of Jesus can wash away our sins. Make me whole, bring me hope and peace with God. Jesus blood was required because we have sinned. I have said the Lord's Supper is a reminder of that. But let us also be mindful of what it is. Remind what it is reminding us of. It's reminding me of Jesus sacrifice. But why was the sacrifice necessary? We can never be atoned. Centered too much, think of the atonement.
We can never be atoned too much, reflect long enough and often enough on the sacrifice of Jesus blood and why it was necessary. The answer to the question, why it was necessary? Because it's the only way. It is the only way to eternal life. There is no other way. And I pray, if you haven't yet trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you haven't put your faith there, it's not a difficult thing to do.
Just bow your, bow your head, and pray, and ask Christ to come into your heart, and to lead you. And then after you do that, read the book of Romans, read Ephesians one and two, and understand that once you put your faith and trust in Christ, there is nothing, nothing, not even anything you do that would ever separate you again. From the love of Christ. Never.
Let us pray. My grace is God and help me. Father, thank you so much for your word. Thank you so much for this opportunity to just be able to preach and to share your word. Father, I just pray that you were honored and glorified by it. And I thank you so much for your spirit's direction. It is so amazing. Lord, as we go now to the table and we partake in the things which you've asked us to do, the remembrance that you want us to have. Help us, Lord, to not be solemn. Help us to be excited. Help us to be happy, knowing that through this sacrifice of Christ, we have eternal life, and one day we will be with you in heaven. Pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.
Missionary Tim Board
Oct. 22, 2023
Do you really believe that what you believe is really real? And therefore, what is the practical relevance that it makes in your life? Not in the great by and by, then and there, but here and now. It's a both and thing. And so let's go ahead and open our Bibles to Romans chapter 15 as we take a look at the reality of what I call, this is the mission of grace.
And as we open up the Word of God, always remember and never forget, this is one of my dad isms. And I'm sure your kids and grandkids, have a list as well. Is that the historical narratives of Holy Scripture transpired in real time and space. And the reason why I hammer that all over the country is this, due to secularization, and listen, regardless of where you live, whether you live way out, we're kind of like where we live 25 miles from Walmart in a rural agricultural community, although we live in town, or you live in the city kind of like we do, regardless.
It doesn't matter, due to basically the progressively liberal news media, woke neomarxism, and pop culture, Hollywood, institutionalized pagan education, and everything. Every one of us, regardless of where we live in this world and the flesh, the world and the devil wreaks havoc upon our own lives and the church and the family, often unbeknownst to the church and family.
And hence we need to be like the sons of Issachar, have an intelligent understanding of the times in which we live through the lens of a comprehensive biblical Christian worldview. So for example, when we come to the word of God, you know, we're not coming to a situation that is rooted in, Oh, what's the first verse of the Bible say?
Does it say once upon a time? No we're not in a galaxy far away, long ago in Narnia Middle Earth or Star Wars or any of these types of things. It's like we enjoy those neat stories and everything, a lot of redemptive themes in there. Oftentimes by common grace, even if, the producers weren't coming from a Christian worldview in these things.
But the issue is that when we come to the Word of God, what's the first verse of the Bible say? It says, In the beginning, God, and it doesn't end with, and they live happily ever after. Are you following me on that? Listen, it's really not that complicated, but it's rooted in the all glorious reality that for crying out loud, it is exciting being a Christian. Amen. And so when Apostle Paul is writing by divine inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit to the church in ancient Rome, and in there, and incidentally, there were a host of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the church there, whose allegiance, even though they were citizens of the Roman Empire, whose supreme and ultimate allegiance was not to the Emperor. Was not to Caesar. And so once again, One of the critical needs in our day and age in the modern church. Is to not only have an intelligent understanding of the times, but what that in many respects, one of the many dynamics, what that's translated in into is understanding the stalwart, faithfulness of God's providence in history.
Because every one of us are heirs to the past and we're ancestors to the future, and it is in so many American Christians have an abysmally low in lean understanding of Church history, of American history, let alone our own family history, dear ones, because every one of us have been bequeathed a legacy, and we are bequeathing, we're giving, we're passing down a legacy and everything, and so when we come to this book, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, written by divine inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, we're dealing with a systematic treatise His magnum opus of his epistles.
We see in the book of Romans the systematic unfolding of the righteousness of God. How can a righteous holy God declare righteous or justify ungodly sinners spiritually dead in trespasses and sins? And still remain righteous and holy in doing so. It's called the cross. It's called the power of the cross. It's called the biblical doctrine of justification, propitiation, redemption, forgiveness of sins. Received instantaneously at salvation, dear ones. It's called the gospel of grace. And as a result of this, how we should live as God's people in this day and age, hell bent on rebellion against the creator God.
The Sovereign Creator King, our merciful Redeemer, Lord Jesus Christ. And so in Romans chapter 15, let's zero in on verse 15. I invite you to follow along in your Bibles as I read along from my, from the New King James Version of the Bible. Romans 15, beginning in verse 15. Here the scripture says, Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points. As reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, verse 17, I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus, in the things which pertain to God.
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient, in mighty signs, verse 19, in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ, and so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, but as it is written in verse 21.
To whom he was not announced, they shall heard, shall understand. Leonard Ravenhill writes in his book, Meat for Men. He said this says no nation is better than its church. He was an English evangelist who lived from basically 1904 to 2000 for just a ballpark. You get the idea. 1907 to 94 rather. He said this. No nation is better than its church, and no church is better than its people. Only God transformed personalities can change the moral fiber of the nation, and I would add, and the nations of the world.
And that was his bold challenge, and he prefaced his poignant words by explaining this. He says that, I believe that at this hour, the world is facing more solemn alternatives. And this was in the 1960s, during the height of the Cold War. Alright, think Soviet Russia. The world is facing more solemn alternatives than she did on the eve of the Civil War. Few Americans doubt that this age needs a spiritual and moral revolution. He goes on to say, We who have an awareness of the world peril and lateness of the hour are debtors to rescue what will otherwise be a lost cause and perpetual blot on our spiritual history. Having the load of spiritual potential mentioned, basically in this chapter he was talking about, it was called, Let's Stop Playing Church.
He says, America can and must rise to write a new chapter in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ. And so I pray that the earnest longing and yearning of your heart is that God's Spirit would raise up a generation with a passion for His glory and grace, that are willing, that are surrendered. Our broken and awestruck humility before the vertical reality of his awesome, sovereign majesty in Christ, and they're willing and surrendered to the Lord to go forth wherever his mighty hand outstretched arm leads, guides and directs and because watch this.
You see, in verse 15 through 17, this this is the stewardship of grace. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points as reminding you because of the look at what he says right at the end of verse 15 because of the grace given to me by God. He's reminding them. He's not giving them.
This might be something that you want to remember, tuck in your memory banks because one of the afflictions of the modern church is just like this mealy mouth milk toast because the 11th commandment is thou shalt be nice. We don't want to offend anybody in these types of things like, Oh he's mean, he hurt my feelings and everything. Yes, I'm not saying that we go around with a banty rooster, a chip on our shoulder looking for a fight, guns blazing, these types of things. But having said that, when the ancient Hebrew prophets… came to town or Paul, for that matter, they're not looking to like, Hey, just to pet everybody's conscience and everything. Yeah. Oh, yeah, you're, you're good and everything's fine and everything. And Jesus came to give you your best life now because you're the center of the universe. That's not biblical Christianity.
Dear ones, the holy, righteous, Sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords who spoke galaxies into existence and gives us life and breath and all things. He came here to rescue and redeem us from sin and death and darkness. And it's not a conversation. The mouth of the Lord has spoken, dear ones. And so look what he says here. He's reminding them because of the grace given to me. By God. And yes, we understand that Paul was uniquely given. He was uniquely entrusted with a stewardship responsibility of the gospel of grace. And yes, every one of us as members of the church, which is the body of which he is the head, Christ Jesus, has also been given a stewardship responsibility.
A lot of times people say, Oh, we're under grace. You can do what you want. That's not Pauline. That might sound dispensational, but it's not Pauline, dear ones. And so the issue is that we have not, we have not been saved by works, but we're saved unto good works, recreated in Christ Jesus as His workmanship. And so we have work to do, and we will give an account of this stewardship at the judgment seat of Christ, the Bema. Yes, we rejoice and we look forward to the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior. But in tandem with that pre tribulational secret coming of Christ to rapture his church before all hell literally breaks loose on this world in the prophesied time of Jacob's trouble and the tribulation period and everything.
But prior, in tandem to that, prior to all that hit in the fan, in tandem with that pre trib rapture, There is a judgment day of reckoning for the church. What we're talking about, we will give an account of how we use our time. You ever waste any time in your life? Yeah. I look back, and yes, I just turned 43 years old. And so when Mike mentioned that it was Tim's birthday, I was thinking he was talking about me! My birthday was on Wednesday! But incidentally Tim Callen's birthday was also my mom's birthday, so she would have been 71 years old, but she's doing just fine. She's in the glory of heaven, hallelujah. But, indeed the Lord's been faithful to you and I both, brother. So this is the issue that when we look back on our life, you waste it any time? Oh, man, I just, I look, I think about some of the utterly foolish nonsense, and that's maybe a little overly generous, ungodliness, and stupid things that I did when I was a kid, as far as talking about just as far as the amount, how I used time, just as far as in whether it's in just stupid movies or video games and a whole host of non redemptive hobbies and just things and everything, it's like but once again, what does Paul say? In 14, forgetting those things which are behind you, we learn from those things and we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And so one of the important things for us, regardless of your season of life, to redeem the time, use your time wisely, especially when you're young. Learn how to do stuff. Like in Psalm 78, at the end of that psalm, it talks about David, how he shepherded, he led Israel faithfully in his generation, according to the integrity of its heart. It was a man after God's own heart. He, he, he had a forward leaning mind and his life was in the hand of God. His family life was a mess, dent of iniquity, and he was a lousy father and everything. But listen, we all have issues dear once, but the scripture says he shepherded Israel according to the integrity of his heart. But also it said this, the skillfulness of his hands, he knew how to do stuff. So learn whatever your season, but learn how to do some cultivate your entire being body, soul, and spirit. So redeem the time. Use your time. We will give an account before the Lord, but also how we used, we invested the gifts, the talents and abilities that the Lord has entrusted to our care. And these gifts that he's blessed us with, they're not for me, myself, and I. You know why that's an issue with us? Because we want it to be about me, myself, and I. We're like Paul. Oh, wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me? Because we want to be at the center of the universe. Due to secularization. Even many in the modern church. Put man at the center. Of course, marketing, advertisers, and you know, everything.
It's like, that's the whole deal. Christmas is coming. And who needs Christmas when you got the cutification of evil and the glamorization of death this month? Big bucks. And it's putting you at the center and say, just all this type of thing and just, you know, you're who you think you are and who you want to be and all these types of things.
And so yes, like Paul Turner says, Halloween's my favorite holiday because they come to your door. Dish out the gospel. And you know what? Listen. Brean Bible Society has a new gospel tract. Well, it's an old one, but a new cover and they knocked it out of the park. There is a spine tingling Grim Reaper with a sickle on the front of it. This is the personification of death right there. And Yes. So pray for the salvation of souls. Use your talents. Use your gifts. Investing them in eternity. And we have been created in God's image. For His glory. And a part of it, what that means is to take dominion of this, of this world. Fill the earth and subdue it. And, and fill this world with worshippers of the true and living God. Be fruitful. Multiply. I mean, it's not peripheral to gospel ministry, and one of the things that we've seen across the country is many churches have shot themselves in the foot by not having babies. Did Grandpa give his granddaughter a lollipop to perfect timing, say, Yay? No, I don't think so, but that was good. That was good. That's glorious. When you hear kids... Cry and fuss in the worship service. That's the picture. That's a glimpse of the glory of God. Hallelujah. And so, but also it's our time, our talents, but also our treasure. Put your money where your mouth is. Like Jesus, the Lord Jesus said in his earthly ministry, the nation of Israel, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You make time and you carve out money for what is important to you. Dear ones, and listen, if there is any time in our history in which it is desperately needed for Christians to be very deliberate at where we invest the resources entrusted to our care as far as financially is concerned, it is today.
You know, as far as your investment portfolio, if you ever looked under the hood, as far as your large cap, mid cap, small cap funds, if you have that type of thing or whatever it if you ever looked under the hood, as far as like, Hey, what am I investing in? It's a part of our stewardship, dear ones. Can you with a clear conscience before God and say, Hey, I am investing and sometimes I get it sometimes we do so unwittingly in this day and age and because of the diversification of just, multinational and just big corporate entities and everything, but are we unwittingly investing in companies that are wreaking havoc upon the church and family?
As far as woke neomarxism, all these types of things. Anyway, this is, the point being is that scripture speaks to everything in life. And we will give an account of all these things before the Lord. As far as whether or not we're all in. One guy said once before he was with the Lord, he said, Pastor, if I gave 10 percent to the church, I would be in the poorhouse. Really? How many times do you go to Starbucks? Speaking of woke neomarxism, how many times do you go to Starbucks any given week? You get the point? Connect the dots, dear ones. But look, go on in verse 16, it says, this ministry, this stewardship of grace, he says this, he says that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God. That the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. So the Apostle Paul had been given the stewardship of the Gospel of Grace to go forth to the nations in spite of Israel. God's heart throughout the entire Word of God. We see this in the prophetic program. And listen, the mystery is not Gentile salvation, dear ones.
God's heart is always, read Isaiah for crying out loud. Read the prophets. And I say that because if we are not deliberate and systematically reading the entirety of the Word of God, I guarantee you there will be perhaps entire books of the Bible that you will seldom, if ever, read. You follow me on that? And so when you read Isaiah, for example, you see the heart of God. Look to me and be saved. All you ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22. But whereas Paul here in the Age of Grace is that he has been commissioned with the stewardship to go forth to the nations in spite of Israel.
And he's not going forth to the nations with the same message, just a different audience. It's like, no, today it's, even the Jews are part of the nations. And yes, especially in light of just the, the headlines and everything. I would concur that God is providentially upheld and raised up, not only the modern state of Israel, but even our nation. Look at Acts 17, dear ones. I could go on, but let's... Proceed to verse 18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things. Look at this in light of the stewardship of grace. There is also an industry. An industriousness. There is a work ethic of grace. In verse 18 he says, For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me.
In word and deed. To make the Gentiles obedient in mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God. So look at what it says right here. So that from Jerusalem where Jerusalem is. And round about to Illyricum. Think of Greece the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the south there. And if you look way up north. To a region that is also known as Dalmatia in the modern era. We've perhaps known it as Yugoslavia, that's dating myself a little bit 'cause the neighbor boy, next door in my hometown growing up, his dad was from Yugoslavia. And so that's basically what we're talking about as far as where Lyra come, is when we're talking about 1000 miles. 1,000 miles from Jerusalem here. And so what the scripture he's laying out here, he's not implying that, Hey, I've evangelized everyone in the region here. But what he's saying is I have, I have so deeply by the grace of God embedded the gospel into communities and entrusted this stewardship to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Second Timothy 2:2. And so Paul is not a lone ranger and that's the issue. Neither is things to commission neither is grace family ministries. So much of this is a body of Christ initiative. How can we partner together and advance the light of the gospel to the ends of the earth? How am I doing here? Am I falling apart here? Okay. All right. Gotcha. All right. It depends on who you ask. Yeah, you are falling apart. But watch this. Look at in verse, verse 20, I'll share this with you. Leonard Ravenhill, once again, and meet for men. He said this, God crammed eternity and infinity and immensity into the heart of the apostle Paul, apart from the son of God.
Paul was the wealthiest man that ever lived. He said, it says, what a legacy Paul left the world down through the ages. Millions of men and women, spiritually exhausted, have renewed their strength as they have read the mighty epistles of this Colossus. Yet after reading. Them all. One is impressed not by the cleverness of the remarkable thinker, but by the courage of a remarkable leader. And I would add, and above all, the greatness of the God he served. And so watch this, dear ones. When we look at the stewardship. That we've been entrusted and that certainly does not mean that, Hey, you forsake your foundational responsibilities as far as biblical marriage and family life as you're when you're reaching the world for Christ.
And incidentally, I say that because when you read missionary biographies, when you understand church history, many people meaning, just not ill intention. They did things that are weird! For example, that famous line, Only one life too soon be past. Only one life. Only what's done for Christ will last. That was a famous quote from a missionary pioneer by the name of C. T. Studd. He was a Cambridge athlete, a youth of privilege, wealthy. And he threw it all away, as it were, as far as the world is concerned. And he went to the mission field.
And he, the Lord used him to do great things. Same type of thing with Billy Sunday, a hundred years ago. And everything what did all that do, as far as if you read about the testimony of his kids? It's like, dude, like, what happened? Well, if dad's always gone, never around, winning the world for Christ, but letting his own kids go to hell, as it were, and C.T. Studd, it's just, once again, it's easy for us to look on, in this vantage point of history, to cast stones and everything, but having said that, it's just like, wait a second, what is going on? Like, C. T. Studd, once, when he went back to England, he left his wife there, and went back to the mission field, didn't see her for 15 years! That's weird! Dude! Man up! Lead, provide and protect on the grassroots level. And so you get the point. There's, we, every one of us have spheres of influence. And it, we can't just go out there and then we're gonna do that. But it's like, hey, how are you doing as far as building spiritual muscle on the grassroots level?
First tier responsibilities, dear ones. And so, and that's one of the many reasons why we need to encourage and challenge young people to build spiritual muscle, do ministry, and submit to the, the strenuous and rigorous process of ministry training as far as like a BBI is concerned. And once again, that doesn't mean that you cease to learn and grow as far as further education once you graduate. But you get the point. And look at this as far as you see in verses 18 and 19 as far as Paul's going all over the place. And yeah he was not married. But having said that, when you look at the Pauline epistles, when you see the normal situation which he is exhorting people in churches, Is that many people were, and they should be encouraged and challenged due to creation order and dear ones.
And I'll say this about work ethic. One of the big issues that we're dealing with in the modern church is partly flows out of some of the gifts I received for my birthday this week. There is a U. S. Senator by the name of Josh Hawley from Missouri. He wrote a book called Manhood. The masculine virtues that America needs. And yes, friends of mine give me a hard time. It's like, man, you talk about all these books and everything, but you haven't read them. It's like, well, some I have. And this one I have. So, anyway. Little bit of a inside joke back story on there between Paul and I. But anyway so, who who needs enemies when you got friends, right?
You know, but the point being is that, these types of guys, they're emphasizing the importance of work ethic. Because, listen, and this gets into church history as well. Because if you understand that prior to the Reformation, the only way that you could serve God was basically as a monk, or a priest, or a nun. That was the holy work. But it was because of the Reformation that upheld the, reality of us being created in God's image, and therefore been we have a responsibility to honor the Lord in whatever vocation He calls us to. We're the butcher, baker, candlestick maker. You get it, right?
And so what's called the Puritan work ethic coming out of the Reformation. And if there's any day and age in our nation's history that we needed a resurgence of work ethic, for crying out loud, it's today. And it's not just merely amongst the young. Because listen, when I see dudes on the street corner holding signs, it's almost invariably, it's older men.
But once again. What happened in their background? Where were their dads who dropped the ball? Yes, you're responsible, but every one of our lives affect one another. And so this is the issue. You see Paul here, he has an industrious work ethic. He is at it. But look in verse 20, check this out. And so I, I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, dear ones. And listen, the power of God to salvation is in the gospel of Christ. And so listen, when you see in Romans chapter 1, incidentally, I would encourage you. Regardless of where you live, and frankly the sexually perverse, one month is not enough for them, and so they want to get the whole kitten caboodle and everything.
And so I bring that up because whenever you see a rainbow flag, Pray for the salvation of the sexually perverse and pray invoke the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Romans 1:18 for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress or Push down or hold down the truth and unrighteousness and right in that same context in the midst of this whole situation of a Romans one pagan culture, hell and rebellion against Almighty God.
The answer is right there in verse 16. It says, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Why? For it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes, dear ones. And I guarantee you that if you want to, by the grace of God, if God's spirit is moving in your heart and there's something in you, it's like, I want that. I want to be all in for the Lord Jesus Christ. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. There is nothing, count on it, there is nothing that will electrify your spiritual life. Then even if it's a bumbling, fumbling, just, your way to do so. It just, and you speak of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here's a gospel tract. And you know what? They just might take it. Don't say gospel tricks, they don't know what that is. They'll say, hey, did you get one of these? Take something relevant to pop culture. Grim Reaper encouragement for ya. Ooh, I like that! Yeah! And give him a Snickers bar if you want to, so long as Snickers aren't, isn't woke now, too, but, you know, I digress, but you get the point and everything.
But build spiritual muscle. It'll electrify your spiritual life. Open up your mouth, speaking of your faith in Christ. But look at this, the strategy of grace. He says, not where Christ, in verse 20, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation. So Paul, he was very deliberate in going to what missiologists call nowadays, as far as unreached people groups and these types of things.
And, That having said that and so regardless of the situation, whether we go over there or we go here, one of the many things that we must learn from the life and ministry and the legacy of Apostle Paul is that he had an intelligent understanding of the times. In other words, he had his wits about himself. He had enough wherewithal to understand his target audience. So he understood the difference with like an act chapter 13. He understood, he's quoting Old Testament scriptures. Why? Because these are People with Jewish spiritual foundations. And so, therefore, they had a baseline, fundamental, Christian worldview that God is creator and He's revealed Himself in creation and in Scripture.
But when He's dealing with pagans, like in Acts chapter, what, 14 or 17 in Athens and everything, what are He's doing? He's taking something that's common to the culture, like altar to the unknown God or grim reaper or whatever. And he's using it as a bridge to meet them where they're at and to take them from where they are to where they need to be.
Does that make sense? Basically, don't be afraid of these things in the world and just understanding. In other words, it's what many have described as the pre evangelistic necessity of worldview and apologetics. And for example, one of the things that... It's been a blessing to do, whether at Northern Grace Youth Camp or various places across the country, is obviously this church is very familiar with Dr.
David Noble, and with Summit Ministries and everything, and one of the things that I love doing is, this is a comprehensive biblical worldview quiz, and there's a whole host of other good, articles and everything, and listen, It's exciting being a Christian. It's a true and false quiz. The idea is that, I can discover all truth if I just look within myself. Is that true or false? Well, that's false. Back it up with scripture. And back chapter and verse and a host of items here and just other resources and everything. I'll just leave these here and just some good stuff if you're interested in everything.
And look in verse 20, he says, but as it is written to whom he was not announced, they shall see. And they, and those who have not heard shall understand. Paul quotes the Old Testament all the time. That doesn't mean that the, the mystery is encapsulated there in form. And it is just not, it wasn't revealed as much as.
Is it now and everything and just it's like, no, that's not what's going on. But by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he is taking text of scripture and principles of scripture from the Old Testament. And he said, Hey, this is for us today as well. And so this is right from Isaiah 53, text here. And so the issue is, this is if you turn over to Romans chapter 10, let me show you this. Romans chapter 10 in verse 14. It says, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not heard, believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Can somebody believe in Jesus if they've never heard of Jesus?
God has plan A, and that's you and I. And listen, it's kind of like what Mordecai told Hadassah in the book of Esther. If you don't do this, help will arise in another place. In other words, God is going to carry out the eternal counsel of his will, whether or not we are on board. But we'll miss out. It will be much for our benefit, our good, if we do so.
And his glory will be magnified all the more through our lives. But just like Mordecai told Hadassah, he says, But who knows whether or not you've come to the kingdom for such a time as this. When the Lord opens your eyes to a need. What are you gonna do about it? And that's why we covet your prayers for our missionaries who are serving with TCM, and even as we move forward with Grace Family Ministries.
And this is the issue. Is that we are plan A. And at the end of verse 14 it says, And how shall they hear without a preacher? Open up your mouth. The world is consistently telling, especially us men, You sit down, you shut up. You fall in line where all the while God's spirit is beckoning to our hearts.
And even as Apostle Paul prayed, Lord, give me utterance. Give me boldness that I may open my mouth to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. And so Paul needed that prayer. You and I need that as well, dear ones. And ladies, allow, let your husbands lead. If you want your husbands to become the men that God has called them to be, and you, you, and every, everything that your hearts desire and longs for them, that you would wish they would be, let them lead. Let them lead. And be there, alongside the whole way. To whom he was not announced, they shall see. And those who have not heard, shall understand. And I'll leave you with this. Member Ravenhill's Challenge on the front end from the book Meat for Men. It's basically the sequel to his book, Why Revival Tarries. Oh, wow. Good stuff. How he said no nation is better than its church, and no church is better than its people. Only God transformed personalities can change the moral fiber of the nation and the nations of the world. He goes on, he says, A man who has traveled through much of Europe, He says this, the lost millions of this day are the casualties of the church's faithlessness.
God pity us, sleepers can be wakened, zeal can do wonders. A man who has traveled through much of Europe, the British Isles, (this is back in the 1960s), Canada and America writes me that he thinks America has passed the point of no return. I hope he's wrong. Perhaps no surprise, that a guy like this,he, ended up living in Texas.
Where I believe the Lord took him home as well. He says, I hope he is wrong. Repentance and contrition can work miracles. Never in my life, as on this present world tour, he was on a ministry adventure trip, have I felt the criminality of the church in withholding or neglecting to give the message of the Savior to men.
The plight of the Congolese materially is terrible. But far worse is the overall picture of world domination by the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the devil in his works. Watch this. It says, the octopus of iniquity has this world in the tight embrace of its poisoning tentacles of communism.
Think Marxism and Romanism. Think religion, as well as liberalism in the church. Think of deconstruction and wokeness and all this type of stuff. And the church, he says, still more tightly, it is held by materialism. I repeat, for repetition is the law of teaching. I like that. 1,000 million lost people in this day are the casualties of the church's faithlessness.
If you watch this, he says if you are a spiritual juvenile, With your soul's mental climate, wanting nothing more than immunity from eternal justice, escape from eternal fire, and a mansion on the main street of glory with impeccable music from a hundred million voice choir of angels. He says, then this message is not for you.
He says, I speak to spiritual adults, to those who have become spiritual men and have put away childish things. To you I speak with a trumpet voice. This is our hour. The next may be too late. There is still a narrow neck of time in which we can have revival. This is the mission of grace, dear ones. Father, we're grateful indeed that you are worthy of all praise.
And may we faithfully discharge our duty in the sight of the true and living God, investing our lives in a transcendent cause of life. Investing this day in light of that day, and one that will echo throughout eternity to the praise of your glory forever and ever. Hallelujah. In Christ Jesus. Amen.
Oct. 15, 2023
Our first little introduction here we’ll go to Acts 18.
We're going to be introduced to a couple in verse 2. After these things, Paul departed from Athens and came to Porto, and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who came from Italy with his wife, Vassilis. Because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought for, by their occupation.
They were tent makers. So Paul was literally a tent maker and they were tent makers. And so they had a lot in common. And I would picture them doing the normal things. When you have something in common, you talk shop.
I could see him saying stuff like, Do you believe the price of leather up in Ephesus? And, Oh, I'm buying my stuff down in Corinth. I only get there occasionally. The price there is really good if you talk to this little farmer. I mean, things like those techniques maybe. How do you waterproof some of your stitching? What have you been using? That sort of thing.
Can you imagine the scriptural talks they've had around campfires and, usually if you want to work alongside somebody, you can really learn a lot about them. And I bet there was an awful lot of scripture shared during those times.
And, later in the chapter we're going to go to, verse 24, where we're going to meet Apollos.
Verse 24, And a certain Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, but, listen to this, knowing only the baptism of John.
Verse 25, And he began to speak boldly in the Synagogue whom, when Aquila and Appis had heard, they took him unto them and expounded unto them the way of God more perfectly. Now, what would that be? Wouldn't that be the gospel of grace? It would. So what would that conversation be like? You know, they pull 'em aside and say, you've obviously been out of town.
Something new is happening and we're taking them aside and they told them what they had learned from Paul. Now Paul, he's been on, we don't know if Paul was around or Paul was available, but they did the job. They knew the words, they knew what he didn't know and needed to know. So, I think that's pretty much what, right now we're without a pastor.
But we've and I've appreciated the men who have stepped up and have filled that role because they know the stuff, they know what they need to know and have been sharing, their particular viewpoint and so I've really, really appreciated that. And as we know, Apollos here, he went on to become a fellow worker and knew grace and so they did the proper thing at the time.
Okay, imagine if you would, I had an encyclopedia, a telephone book. I had a novel and I had an instruction book. Now what do they have in common? Those aren things that you use to learn about various subjects. And I want to proceed with the story before that I use my props.
We had a situation where we wanted to paint our house. Again, miraculously, Kate wanted to paint the house. And, was, that's not my favorite thing. So we searched around, I mean there's advertising. There's things, in the newspaper, things on TV, you can learn about this.
We did some stuff online, and she did a lot more than I did, and we decided on a couple of national brands, and we thought, why don't we call our friend Karen? She's a professional in painting and decorating, wall hanging, and all this kind of stuff. And, she says, can we use brand X or brand Y? And says, well, you're in Wisconsin, why don't you go to Hallman Lindsay?
Who's that? Where's that? And she gave it to us, told us where it was in Oshkosh. Why do we want to use them? We got a national brand and they're approved for use in California. And, well, that's just part of the problem. What do you mean, that's part of the problem? Well, because they make their paints without all the volatiles and the chemicals they they don't want them to pollute as much.
So they make them a certain way so that doesn't happen. Well, that's a good thing, right? Well, you know, because of that, those paints are not going to grab as well. They're not going to cover as well. They're going to come off sooner. And so, you're going to have just painted it with some better paint, it would have lasted beyond that and you would have polluted less.
So, we went down and got the Holman Lindsay because they don't sell in California. They're a regional brand. And they can go by different standards, and so they got a paint that's really effective. So, the usual thing about discovering the world is that it's tough.
There's all kinds of problems with it. One of the things I read about was, food additives, and food, where everybody's food conscious, what you're gonna eat, and what's in a thing, and, Few things, just a few things in a study I did about that there's some of the salad dressings and some other foods have things like no sugar added.
If you're diabetic, that's important. So here are the cases. It said no sugar added, but I checked the ingredients and there was sugar in it. So we asked a guy who was in that industry and he says, Oh, well this company, they don't bottle their own stuff, they don't make it. They buy it on the market and they just put their label on it.
So they don't add any sugar. But, but the sugar is already there from the people who made it. Then there's stuff like the Trans fats, thing to avoid. I like a fella, one of the saints in Florida says, yeah, trans fats, that's one hydrogen molecule away from being a, yoga mat and they're calling it food, so a lot of fried foods, potato chips, what not, might say, contains no trans fats, but behind the scenes, on the legal side, they were able to get the politics to say, if it has Transcribed There's a certain level of trans fats and below that, we can call it no trans fats.
Although they are in there, it's a legal definition, but it's not a real situation. So there's, all sorts of things like that, where we're, in the world trying to find the truth about things and facts. An they're hidden, or you have to go beyond what you see to get, the real truth.
And you think you're doing good things, and saving the environment withmthe paint you use. Andcome to find out, maybe you're not doing that. So the older people here, you remember phone books? And, and how, People you were born in a, in a 21st century, you'll have to talk to some of us with gray hair and we'll tell you about the importance of a phone book, encyclopedias, what have you.
Back in my day when I was on the road, a phone book was absolutely essential. When I went into a new town, I wanted to find out that I was in the gift industry we sold. So some of my customers might be, jewelry stores, department stores, gift shops, drug store in a small town. Various things like that.
So I would grab the yellow pages and find who the possibilities were. Florists were another possibility. And thatwould be how I'd find it and everybody in that town then had a phone that would hang on the wall or would sit on the desk attached to the wall, the address of that phone and the people that owned it was in that book too.
So it was just, you had to have that. If you went, you want to go to a town and find somebody you know. So, there it was. And now, I don't even know if we have a phone book at home. We don't use it, we're just, we're in the 21st century, we're using the computer, you use your phone to look everything up. The encyclopedia set that my parents had, bought for my younger brothers, everybody in town, that loved their kids, according to the world book salesman, would have a set of encyclopedias. But you can't, today, nobody uses those that I know of. I mean, they're still for sale. The World Book still puts theirs out. Encyclopedia Britannica hasn't printed since 2010. They're obsolete. So, there's a lot of books. Okay, yeah, John Deere. Manual.
Absolutely essential, but only if you have a John Deere and only if it's a diesel, the one I have. So it's another thing of limited information. But there is one book that we have here that has unlimited information. Was true when,phone books were in vogue. And decades and years and centuries before that, and it's still going to be good for everyone here, for everyone outside the church.
So this is something to learn about. Now, the thing about this book, that all these manuals and all the information that you try to get out in the world, You don't have to worry about, is this true? Psalms 12, verse 6, The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. And, it means you can depend on it, you see it there, it is true.
And we have the advantage too in this assembly. We know that you have to use right division in 2 Timothy 2:15 to take out a lot of the what, the contradictions, if you will, and things that have to be put in context. But we'll have you turn to 2 Timothy 3. We're alll familiar here with that verse.
2 Timothy 3. Verse 16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, truly furnished unto all good works. So it's not only true, but for every purpose that God has for it, this is the tool.
One and one is two, one and one is three. One of those is correct, one of them is not correct. But they are both, they're different, but they both can't be correct, and we know that.
But, when we look out at the world, there's an awful lot of religions, an awful lot of, truths out there. But, we know they can't all be right. Now, they could all be wrong. But, we're learning from this book, that you got your best shot at learning about spiritual things. Let's go to 2 Timothy 2. If you didn't turn your page, you're already there, in 2 Timothy 2, verse 24 and 25, And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, aptitudes, patience, and meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves. Part of the thing, the natural man, the atheist, who doesn't believe in God. They believe in God.
But, let's hold off on that thought a moment. This verse kind of tells me we can't really change people's mind. We can't do what the verse says here. We can, in meekness, instruct them, but the problem is, they oppose themselves. And until they stop opposing themselves, unfortunately, a lot of times, this word is unavailable to them.
We'll do a quick one here in Psalms 14:1, the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. And that's where a lot of the people that, I don't know, I suppose Randy, I suppose down at the Farmer's Market, we're gonna run into, we run into a lot of those. But, I've heard arguments like, well, the truth, what is the truth? The truth is out there, it's how you find it, who's got it, everybody says they have the truth.
But scripture may say differently. Turn to Romans 1:18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. I look at that word hold. If you can hold something, how can it be far away? How can it be unavailable? You hold something that is close. from there, I'll just read through, because that which was maybe known of God is manifest in them. For God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even as his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
How do you work with that? I mean, that is, that is the natural man, that is, the position of so many, so many people who need what we have well. I kind of feel sorry for, I mean, the position of people who don't believe in God, then they can't believe in creation. And so, their alternative, the Big Bang.
And I remember when we lived in town, I asked a teacher who taught at Oshkosh West, could you bring back one of the science books? And she brought it back, and I can almost repeat that verbatim from the book what they were teaching in Oshkosh Schools. And it was, And nothing really means nothing.
Speaking of the beginning of everything. In fact, nothing is smaller than the period at the end of the sentence. And already I saw the contradiction. If you got nothing,how can you measure it in smaller than a period? But That's that. And everything that we see came from that period at the end of the sentence.
So, I don't know, you can go through the faith chapter Hebrews 11. There's no way I can get enough faith to believe that. That every, planet, every star, constellation, all life came from that dot at the end of the sentence. But... That's the position you have to, you have to be in because I don't know of any other option for them.
Luke 24, verse 25.
O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. We have been provided. In this part of the book, all the things that we need to know about the world, about what God wants us to know. And yet, we don't believe. I just want to do a couple more before I hit the main part here. Let's do Hebrews 3. We're going to be at verse 12, Take heed brethren lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief and departing from the living God.
These people have an evil heart. If you turn from God, if you turn from the scripture, which was put in I mean, we're aware of this I mean the creation has declared That God is there. And we're called, it's called here that this is an evil heart that, for the people who can't accept that. Now, there are the objections that I'm sure you've, we've all heard probably right after, What would you say the number one is?
The number one objection to salvation through grace, through faith, is probably works. Everybody wants to add works to the salvation methods, but I've also ran into this where people don't want to hear it. I guess their theory is if I don'thear it, how can God hold me responsible for it? And I, that covers all the people who haven't heard, but if you're sitting right there and trying to tell them the gospel, I'm trying to tell you now but, let me move on.
I want to get to the features of Christianity. This was kind of a rough introduction. First we're going to talk about the book. Ecclesiastes 12:12 My center of my Old Testament is kind of like Isaiah, so take a left at Isaiah, go to and, Song of Solomon and then Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 12, verse 12, And further by these, my son, be admonished, of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of flesh. The pile of books that I had here, the information on finding what's the best paint, everything we do in our life, there's probably a book for it. But, it's endless, it's a waste of time, it has no eternal purpose.
This book is different. So let's talk about this book. This is the, if you're going to, if you're going to find a religion, if you're, if you're an atheist, if you're looking for something, do you, you don't want to look for religions that have, you know, 300 adherents or a book that's only been a thousand copies have been published.
The Bible, when I first started doing this, there was something like six billion, Bibles published. the last time I heard it, there was a seven and a half billion books, Bibles that have been published. It is also the most translated book, translated into more languages than any other book.
And the big thing, the big thing for me for believing this book is that it's the only prophetic book. Now you've heard of guys like Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, where they would make predictions like, you are going to have a good day. And they make them so vague that it could just about fit anything.
But, prophetic part of this proves without a doubt to me that we have the correct book and the correct religion in the world. Every book in the Old Testament was settled by the time of Malachi, and there were 400 years of silence. There were no changes in the middle there, in that intervening time, so that by the time we got to the New Testament era, everything was…
Let's go back to, Isaiah 41, verse 21, we'll start there. Produce your cause, saith the Lord. Bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth and show us what shall happen. Let them show the former things, what they be that we may consider them and know that the latter end of them or declare us things for to come.
Show the things that we are to come hereafter that we may know that you are gods. So everybody wants to know the future. If you guys, if you really know something, Show us some, show us the future and then we'll, then we'll believe you. so I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you a few predictions, a few prophecies from the Old Testament that came true.
We were talking about Jesus that would become, come from the seed of Abraham. He would be the son of Isaac. He'd be the son of Jacob. He is coming from the tribe of Judah. He'd be a descendant of David. He'd be born in Bethlehem. Born in Bethlehem. They could have picked a different town. That'd be like, if you want to have somebody famous, he was born in Van Dyne or Omro.
You know, you'd be better off, why don't you say Milwaukee or New York, but... So that was a big one. He'd be born of a virgin. They would cast lots for his clothing. He'd be buried in a rich man's tomb. He'd be betrayed by a friend. For, and the cost would be 30 pieces of silver. How would they know what even the currency of the time would be?
And how, it's not 29, it wasn't 37. It's 30 pieces of silver. That money would be thrown down in the church, it would pay for a grave in a potter's field. He'd be crucified on a tree. Well, he didn't say crucified, he would die on a tree. Because crucifixion wasn't invented until centuries later by the Romans.
It is a prophetic book to the ninth degree, and in addition to that, it is also the most burnt book. Let's turn to, Jeremiah.
This is one of my favorite stories of this morning, Jeremiah 36.
This is the story of Jehu and the pen knife. We'll start with, verse one, and it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehu. Jehu came the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord saying, take the aero of a book and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel. And against Judah, and against all the nations from the day I spoke unto thee, from the day of Josiah, even unto this day. So he was going to be dictating this book. verse 21. So, the king sent Jahidi to fetch the roll, and he took it out. Of Elma, the scribes chamber and jehu read it in the ears of the king and in the ears of the princess was stood before the king.
Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him, and it came to pass that when Ji had read three or four leaves, he cut it out. He cut it with the pen knife, cast it into the fire. That was on the hearth until all the roll was consumed in the fire and was on the hearth.
So, I don't know, are we in danger of there only being 65 books in the Old Testament, or in the Bible? So what were they going to do? They destroyed an original copy of the Word of God. But let's go ahead to verse 27.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, I'm going to come up with a solution here. After that the king had burned the roll and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah saying, take thee again another roll and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah had burned.
So we're going to write it all over again. And replaced that book, but let's go to my favorite part, verse 32. Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book, which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had burned in the fire.
And, note this. And there were added besides unto them many like words. So he was, not only replacing the original, he's gonna add the part where the king had the words burnt. So that's recorded for us today. So, we're the most published book, the most prophesied book, most burnt book. And, it's also been the most prohibited book to this day. We know about, what's recently happened in China with, some of the pastors and people who were caught with Bibles and, had their problems, I'm not sure that the ones I heard about are all out of the country now, but that is, that kind of thing is still going on and will continue.
Thank you. With all this stuff of, being, the book has been prohibited, it's been burnt, but it still is around, and, it doesn't look like it's gonna disappear. One more thing with, we're gonna do Hebrews 4:12.
My favorite of many I'm sure, For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrows, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When you read this Bible, it reads you.
And it's the truth, and I don't know if I've proven the case, but this is the book, if you're gonna, have a religion, if you wanna do something spiritual, this is the book. Oh, and one more thing that's probably timely. What are people banned on social media for?
For telling the truth or for telling a lie? It's for telling, the truth, right? Some, and I've seen it so many times, where people have been not just political things, but scriptural things, and you have to be careful what you say, because you know how they're going to handle it. So, that is the part one.
Part two, we're going to talk about the people. The people, the Jews of the Bible, have been persecuted starting in the 1100s in our age of grace. They've been, through the Crusades, pardon me, I'm going to do it this way and make sure I get it in. They were, Tsarist Russia, it was against the Jews, if you remember the, oh, what's the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Is there a proper blessing for the Tsar? Yes. May God bless and keep the Tsar, far away from us.
But that was humor made there, but their struggles have been legendary. Not just Nazi Germany, but the communist, the communist Russia and Germany were enemies, but they were both together and hating the Jews. But, the Jews have survived it to this day.
We have what's going on with Hamas that will continue, but God has a purpose for the Jews. I want to cover one more thing here. And we know that the Jews have to be around after the age of grace. So in spite of what's happening there now, they are going to be here. I'm going to talk about the Ashkenazi Jews, somebody known as the European Jews.
There are some facts about them that are just, it's got to be supernatural. They are, amongst the people with the highest IQs, the most geniuses. Some of the highest income people, most Ivy League graduates, most, college faculty members, Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, chess grandmasters, business owners, bankers, lead guys in biology, chemistry, TV, motion pictures, architecture, nuclear science, rocket science, and plumbing.
I made the plumbing part up to see if you're listening. But something has to explain why that is happening. We have a verse for this, Deuteronomy 8. So I hope this can kind of show the proof of this, Deuteronomy 8:17, And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. That's what the man, natural man is going to say, I did this myself. But what does God say? But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.
This is my opinion, that verse and the story of the Ashkenazi Jews, I think there's something supernatural happening here that has caused the Jews to survive all this persecution and not get absorbed into the culture, they're still there, they still know themselves, and they will be around when we're called home to glory.
So, and I will quickly go on, the last part, Jesus Christ, we already know, He is the star of this book. All those prophecies were about Him. He fulfilled them, as, just as the Bible said. In Romans,1:4, I think we got time, we'll get there.. And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. You can go visit the. The starting places, the origin of the various religions, and see the, Buddha's grave, or, whoever, you name them.
You can't do that with Christianity because he's not in the grave. He rose from the dead, he's not there. That is, can be said of no other, no other religion. And um, Hebrews 2:14, we don't have to go there but, He is the destroyer of death and the devil. So he is the, he is life. He is the conqueror of death.
And he left us this scripture which was finished with Paul with, when he penned the last chapter of, 2nd Timothy and then met his, met his death. He left there the instructions. His final instructions for the church, including 2 Timothy 2:15, which tells us that we have to read this book and rightly divide it.
Missing in most of the churches in town. There is a church, I got a picture on my camera, that has on its, on its building by the door, Study to show thyself unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed. And that's where they stop. Not adding, rightly dividing the Word of God. We need to do that. If you have not, if there are people here who believe this book now, or haven't made the decision, in 1 Corinthians 15. This is the best, description of the salvation message that's out there. This is verse 3, For I deliver unto you first of all that which I also received, How that Christ died for our sins according to scriptures, And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scripture.
If you believe that, you are part of him. You will spend eternity with the Lord. And what could, what more could be said? I thank you for your attention. let us pray, with, Lord, thank you for the opportunity you've given me to present these thoughts here in front of the congregation. I hope that these words, hit home and can help us in our, in our walk with Christ.
In whose name we pray. Amen.
Elder Randy Hughes
Oct. 8, 2023
It is good to see all of you this morning. Good morning, and I hope that you had a great week and are looking forward to a good opportunity just to share in God's word. In this time together, before we get started with the message, I want to go back and review a little bit about what we had talked about last week.
You remember we were in first Corinthians, chapter 1 verses 3 through 10. There are a couple of verses that I really wanted to emphasize and just remind us of what we did back then in 1st Corinthians chapter 1. And it's, I think as I went home and I re-looked and I just reflected on what was said, it just challenged me again.
When you stop and you think about God's faithfulness and, all of that that was involved in that. And I want you to take a look at verse 2, it says, Unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus. Called saints with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord both theirs and ours.
You know it's just interesting that we are called to be saints and you know that, that word is about us being set apart, that we are holy ones. And, that's how God views us today. And when you stop and you think about that, that's so very, very important. And then look at verse 5, and I think this really even expands that.
It says that in everything we are enriched by him. Enriched. Remember we talked about that. That those were given spiritual riches, you know, when you look at Ephesians chapter one, you know, that's a passage of scripture, that chapter that I often go back before I go to bed and I look at that verse or those verses because it's just amazing to see all of the spiritual gifts that we have received from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and because of Him.
And, so we're enriched. And then it says, all utterances. And, you know, when you look at, when we talk about that, that's what we spoke about last week, and we said, that is the Word of God speaking to us. This is the only way that God speaks to us today. Is this word and I tell you, you know, if we're Christians and we're not looking at the word of God every day, if we're not taking time to read it, to study it and to read it again and to study it again, you know, how is it that God is speaking to you?
You know, he tells us that we are to pray without ceasing and that's us talking to him, but he talks to us. Through his spirit and through this word. And, uh, we need to be in that word. We need to study and read it and study some more. In verse 6, it says that Christ was confirmed in us by God. And then in verse 7, why?
What are we doing? We're waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen? You know, and I think these are the things that are so very, very important to us. These are the spiritual things that God has shared with us. And then in verse 9, look at verse 9, it says, God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God is faithful. He has placed Christ within us.
Okay. He has placed Christ within us and all of that. What does that mean? What does that mean to you personally? That Christ is within us each and every day. If you have put your faith and trust in Christ. And, then in verse 10, it says, Now I beseech you, now I beg of you. Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye are perfectly, listen, perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
You know, he begs us, and he's begging us to do what? He's begging us that we speak that same message. What message? What messages is he talking about? He's talking about the glorious gospel of the grace of God. He's talking to us about the message that he shares with us in all of his epistles. And how we are to live by grace, through grace.
And, you know, it's that, that message is what we are supposed to be holding on to. And, if that's what he's begging us to be part of, understanding what the Word of God is saying about the grace of God. And then he goes on and he says, No division, divisions among you, perfect, perfectly joined together, having the same mind.
And brothers and sisters, listen, God has placed us together here as part of his body. And he's placed us here to serve, to faithfulness.
And, when there's those little things that start to bump and hit, that's exactly what Satan is looking for. That's exactly what he wants to do. He wants to take our focus away from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and on, put it on whatever that struggle is. So no divisions. You're perfectly joined together.
Isn't it amazing when you think of that? Perfectly joined together. And having that same mind, and then having that same judgment, that discernment. And basically what that is, it's discerning what is right in our walk, and what is the truth. That's the discernment that Paul wants us to have. These are very important spiritual aspects of our lives in Christ.
These are things that are supposed to be going on in our lives every single day. And, it's through his faithfulness that we have these things, through God's faithfulness. And so the question becomes, now what? Now what? How are we going to respond? And God has shown us his faithfulness to us. What's going to be our faithfulness to Him?
That's the question. And we are sanctified in Christ. We are holy ones. And we are to be His servant. That's why we're here. We're ambassadors for Christ. And He wants us to serve Him. And to be part of that. I would like you to turn to Romans chapter 6.
And, let us pray. Our Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity that we have to be together. I thank you for this body of Christ. What a joy it was this morning, just to talk and to share with brothers and sisters in Christ. To see how they're doing, and to recognize what you are doing in their lives, and hearing What it is that is blessing them.
What a blessing that was. And what an encouragement it was to me. We thank you Lord for your Son Jesus Christ. We thank you for your love and your compassion for us. And for that sacrifice that he made. So that we would have eternal life. I'm thankful Lord for the Holy Spirit. Who guides and directs us each day and Lord, I'm thankful for your word for the challenges that brings to me and I know to all of us as we read it, as we study it, God help us to be faithful, help us to be faithful in the message, help us to stand firm in what it is that we believe and Lord also help us to just be strong in the faith with boldness, And with love, love for one another.
And Father, I ask too, that you be honored and glorified by all that is said here today. May your spirit just guide, guide me, guide all of us, Lord, as we go through these scriptures. As we look at what it is that you would have us to do. And Father, I just pray that you would help us. And the things that we do, that you would guide us and direct us.
Show us what it is that you would have us to do, I pray. And thank you again, Lord, for the opportunity that you have given to us. And may you be again, honored and glorified by all that is said and done. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Thank you folks, I'm gonna read and I'm gonna use the Amplified Bible again. I hope you don't mind. But I just think that, what it has to say is so very, very, it, it's clear. And, not that King James Version isn't right. I mean, we all know that it is. But it amplifies some of the thoughts that I think it's important that we hear. And so in Romans chapter 6, starting in verse 13.
As instruments of right of wickedness, but often offer yourselves to God in a decisive act as those alive raised from the dead to new to a new life and your members, all of the ability, all of the abilities sanctified set apart as instruments of righteousness. Yielded to God, for sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under the law as slaves, but under unmerited grace, as recipients of God's favor and mercy.
What then are we to conclude? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God's grace? Certainly not. Do you know? Do you not know that when you continually offer yourselves to someone to do his will, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey either slaves of sin, which leads to death or obedience, which leads to the righteousness, the right standing with God.
But thank God that through you, that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of the teaching of which you were instructed, to the doctrine to which you were instructed, and to which you were committed. Having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness, of conformity to God's will and purpose.
I'm speaking in familiar human terms because of your body members as slaves
to impurity and to moral lawlessness, leading to further lawlessness, so now offer your members your abilities, your talents, as slaves to righteousness, leading to sanctification. That is being set apart for God's purpose. May God have us listen to the reading of his word. And you know, an author that I read part of his book, and his name is Alan Feldling.
And he wrote, there was once a king who had two servants. One of the servants, for fear of not pleasing his master. Rose up each day, hurried along to do all the things he believed the king would want done. He didn't want to bother the king with questions about what the work was. Instead, he hurried from project to project, from early in the morning to late at night.
The other servant was also eager to please his master and would rise early as well. But he took a few moments to go to the king and ask him about his wishes for the day and find out just what it was he desired to be done. Only after such consultation did this servant step into the work to be done that day.
Work consisting of tasks and projects the king himself had expressed a desire for. The busy servant had gotten a lot done by the time the inquiring servant even started to work. But which of them was doing the will of the master in pleasing him? Genuine productivity is not about doing as much for God as we can manage.
It's about doing the work God actually has for us on a given day. We are more than servants. We are God's servants. That being the case, how might God be inviting you to wait for a specific direction? Or, is God inviting you to take a specific step now? Alan Felding, in his book, An Unhurried Life. So, going back to Romans chapter 6.
You know, it talks about their, yielding our lives. And When it talks about the yielding of our lives, it's talking about that it is a response to God and Him placing us into Christ. It's our response for Him doing that. Christ lives within us, and so we are sanctified, we are holy ones, we're called to be saints, and we're called to respond to that calling He has given to us.
There are three types of sanctification, and the first one is a positional sanctification. It talks about what is our position, what is, who we are, because of the sanctification we have, because of what God did for us. In 1 Corinthians 15, 1 4 it says more other brethren, I declare, and there's the Greek meaning to that, that word declare, is to gain knowledge or have a thorough knowledge of something.
He says, I declare unto you the gospel. which I preached unto you, ye also receive, wherein ye stand, by which ye also are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I have delivered unto you first that which also I received, how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
God's faithfulness, our sanctification, how do we respond to that? What is it that God wants us to do? And you know, stop and think what ways, this is just for your own, stop and think what ways have you responded in your life to God because of his faithfulness? Where's your faithfulness at? And how have you responded to that?
Turn, if you would, please, to Romans chapter 8, verses 11 through 18.
Verses 11 through 18. And it says, But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall blossom quickly in your mortal bodies. By His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
For if we live after the flesh, we shall die. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby cry Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Wow, I'm telling you, man, if that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. we're adopted by God. We are his sons and daughters and we're joint heirs with Christ. One day he's going to come back. He's going to rapture us up. We're going to have new heavenly bodies. And we're going to be with him. How can you not get excited over that? And the other question is, how can you not respond to that in your daily walk? Ephesians 2:19 says, Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners.
But fellow citizens with the saints in the household of God, God be thanked that we were servants of sin. But you have obeyed from the heart. You obeyed from the heart. That form of doctrine, which is delivered unto you, the doctrine of the grace of God that Paul has given unto us. Is there any greater thing?
There isn't. And we are sanctified in Christ. We are holy ones, and we are to be his servants. The first point of sanctification was our position. And now we know. We're sons and daughters of God. And we're joint heirs of Jesus Christ. But there's a practical side of sanctification as well. In Ephesians 4. 1 tells us, I therefore the prisoner of the Lord.
Beseech you, there's that word again, and it's been three weeks since you've, three weeks in a row, you've heard that word, beseech, beg of you. Mike had it in his message. We talked about it last week, we're talking about it again this week. Paul begs us that we walk worthy according to the vocation wherewith ye are called.
The believer is set apart, we're set apart for his service. You know, and the question is, where do we learn, where do we learn what our vocation is? Where do you learn that? You learn it from here, from the Word of God. And you know that one mind that comes from what we hear from God's Word.
That's where we get our calling. That's where we get that vocation. I'm not talking about your everyday job. That's not the vocation that this is talking about. What does vocation mean? Our walk, our service for Him. That's the vocation that Paul's talking about here. In 1 Timothy 3:4 it says, For this is good and acceptable in the sight of our God.
Our savior who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This is the will of God. This is part of our vocation. This is why we're here on this earth. If God didn't want us here, he would've taken us up the moment we trusted in Christ. But he left us here for our purpose and his purpose is that all men be saved.
We are to be out there sharing the gospel of the grace of God folks. This church has always, always been a church that believed in evangelism. I hope that never changes. I hope that never changes. There's a track rack out there. I kept hearing all the time, we need tracks, we need tracks, we need tracks.
There's a track rack out there and it's full. It's still full. Now all of those of you that were saying, we need more tracks, they're out there. So let's get them and let's use them. You know, it talks about That we have an opportunity, and it's not just getting people saved, but it's getting them to understand this.
The word of truth. The gospel of the grace of God. Our glorious message. I love talking to my brother Nick. You know brother Nick? He stands firm on the gospel of the grace of God. Go up and try to trick him once. It ain't going to happen. Tell you that right now. He'll let you know it too. Praise the Lord brother
It's standing firm on that gospel. It stands firm for that message. That's our vocation. Turn to Philippians chapter two. Philippians chapter two. You know, Ethan and I are taking a Bible class, at BBI, and, we're taking this class on how to preach, and, I've been trying, really trying hard to put it into play, but one of the things that it says is that we are not to jump around in the Bible through all kinds of scriptures.
You're supposed to stay within your passage, and, I try to do that, but there are some times I need us to just look at the Bible. We need to look at the word rather than me just reading it to you. But Philippians chapter 2 verses 3 through 8. Let's look at that and see what God has to say. It says, Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory, but in all lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Here it is again. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant that was made in the likeness of men.
I love this passage of Scripture. I read it, I read through it many times because it reminds me of what a servant truly is. It's not just about evangelism, it's about our lives. Our lives every day. And it's about how we treat people. You know, God says we are to love all people. All people. And, uh, that's hard sometimes, isn't it?
That's really hard. Sometimes that is trying to love the unlovable. It's not easy, but that's what God calls us to be. That's part of being a servant. And we don't have a lot of time to go through all of the great details of this particular thing, but I want to look at a few points. It says be like minded of one accord.
Again, not thinking about ourselves. We all have different opinions. That's fine. And we could talk about them and discuss them, but you gotta do it with grace. We got to be careful that we are not doing things to cause division within the church. We got to be very careful of that and being of one mind.
It says, esteem others better than ourselves. Helping others to grow.
It means us giving up and giving to and, uh, having that same mind as Christ. I you know, I don't think Paul ever accomplished that. I don't know if anybody can. There is no greater servant than Jesus Christ. No greater servant. He took, he took a basin of water, and took his hair, and washed the feet of his disciples.
Have you ever done that for somebody? I'd have a difficult time doing that. But you know, what is it that God requires of us for people? I've asked people to do favors for me in this church. I never heard the word no. Never. Never heard the word no. I've asked to borrow things from people in this church, and I never heard the word no.
Never. And having that same mind, being a servant of God in our everyday lives, even at your job, you know. Do you do your, do you do your work for Christ as you would for Him? I mean, are you on the job working? Or when the boss or the manager kind of walks away, you kind of relax a little bit and not work quite as hard?
We're not supposed to work according to eye service. We're supposed to do our jobs. That's being a servant of God, even in the world. But it's also about serving God in other ways. And then lastly, I thought one of the biggest things, and it's important for me, is to be humble and to be obedient. Listen to what God is saying.
And I listen to my brothers and sisters when I talk with them. I had a great talk yesterday afternoon with Ruth. And what a wonderful discussion it was. But I walked away knowing that there is a sister who loves Christ. She's humble and she's obedient. And I think that many of us are in this church, we humble ourselves and we're obedient to what it is that God asked us to do.
These are the actions for everyday life. And there there's reasons why we're all called to do these actions. It's not that we can't do them. It's a matter of attitude. And practical sanctification is a progressive process, which means growing and righteous living as a believer matures spiritually. And how do we do that?
It's back to this again. It's a back to the Word of God. Folks, you've got to read it. You've got to study it if you're going to mature. in Christ. And you know, and I look back, Romans 16:13 tells us, neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead.
Your members as instruments, as righteousness, until, unto God. There are some verses, that I really want to talk about. And it's just four or five of them, but it's, one is in 1st Corinthians, and it says, What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, this is Paul, he says, What is my reward?
That when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge. That I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, he's not connected to anything, although I be free from all men, yet I have made myself a servant unto all, that I might gain more. That's, he's working on the mind of Christ there in that verse.
And he was given that gospel. And never once did he use it for his own glory. Never in the word of God did we see that. First, and then you look at Galatians 5:13. Turn with me there if you would. When, Guide Service first started, this was a verse that we took. And, we took this verse and I gotta, Paul, help me here, but I think we worked, we worked on that verse, Paul, for months, for months as a group, as men, and Pastor Paul was leading and he would share. He would say, okay, now what does this mean? And we'd look up that word in the word of God and, we'd look where it was else used and we'd look into the Greek. But Galatians chapter five. In verse 13, it says that, For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty.
Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love, serve one another.
You know, that's practical living. That's what God expects of us. In Ephesians 6, 5 and 6, it says servants be obedient that you, that your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling and singleness of your heart unto Christ. Not with eye service, we just talked about that, as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart.
Listen, if you're doing something, you're grumbling and murmuring all about it all the way through. That's not being a servant, folks. That's not being a servant.
Servants, servanthood comes from here. It comes from the heart. And then Paul is to be obedient to those who are your earthly masters. Wherever they are. If they're your boss, your manager. Your wife, you know, better listen. Those, I love my wife but your earthly masters do that, you do it with respect for authority. Okay? with a sincere heart seeking to please them as servants to Christ. Doing the will of God. That's what that verse is talking about. And you know, it's interesting. I want to read one more passage. please Go to Matthew. In Matthew chapter 6. Boy, we're in... Matthew chapter 6.
And, here it talks about...I just enjoy what... Jesus is saying here. It says, No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You mammon.
Mammon, looking that up, means, you can't, money, it means possessions, it means fame, it means status, or whatever else, whatever else is more valuable than Jesus Christ. That we see it that way. It's more valuable than what Jesus Christ is. , yes. You know, and, uh, there was a time in my life I loved the lord. I was saved.
I went to church. I was doing all the things I should do, that I thought God wanted me to do. But man, I was hooked on football. Monday night, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. Monday. I don't care who was playing. I just love watching football.
And, it was Finley Hunter and I had a conversation when he was at our church doing a series of messages. And, he just kept saying this phrase:
“Keeping the main thing the main thing.”
It turned it around for me. I still watch football, but I don't watch it anywhere close to that.
The third part of sanctification is the ultimate one. The ultimate sanctification is when the believer stands before God. That's when our sanctification is clean. It's finished. He will recognize that you are sanctified in Christ on that very, very glorious day.
When we go home with him, to be with him for eternity. Ephesians 5:5 and 6 says that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself, a glorious church. A glorious church, talking about the body of Christ, which we are part of, and he wants it to be a glorious church.
Having not a spot, or a wrinkle, or any other thing, but that it should be holy, set apart, and without blameless
Romans 6, when he sees us, but now being made free from sin, become servants to God, to have your fruit unto holiness, until the everlasting life. Sanctified in Christ. Holy, set apart. This is the outcome. And in Romans 12:1, we all know it. I beseech you, I beg you therefore, brothers, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Folks, we are sanctified in Christ. We are holy ones. And we are to be servants. This is the answer to the question, because of God's faithfulness, where will I be faithful? It's in our servanthood. It's in our everyday walk, in our everyday life. And from the Apostle Paul, he says, and this, the very God of peace, sanctify you wholly.
And I pray to God, your whole spirit and soul and body preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. That's in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Let's pray together. Our gracious God and Father, thank you so much for this opportunity. I pray that all of us, Lord, will listen to your word. I pray that we will listen to your spirit, and that you would give us guidance and direction on our walk.Help us, Lord, with the vocation which you have called us. Help us to be the servants that you want us to be. Each of us are different. You're giving us each different talents and gifts. Help us to use them for your honor and glory. God, may you be glorified in each and every one of our lives, and may this body of Christ be one that brings honor and glory to you.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.