“CHURCH LIKE IT USED TO BE”
“Holding Up His Hands”
“I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” I Timothy 2:1-2
We have our president and leaders on our prayer list and we trust every one will pray for them each day. It does not matter what your political preferences are; these people need our prayers and God has exhorted us to pray for them. Someone asked sometime back if it does any good to pray for them. Often their decisions are not godly, so why pray for them? That is exactly why you should pray for them. Can you imagine how things would be if each of us stopped praying for them? We may not see the hand of God in their lives, but He is at work behind the scenes just as He has been throughout history. Just recently we observed a National Day of Prayer; I heard many criticize whether our leaders prayed or not, but the question is…Did you? Read II Chronicles 7:14
“Old But Not Outdated”
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus 10:1-2
Jesus reminded the woman in John that God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Solemn Worship sounds a bit “old school” and it is rejected by many modern worshipers. The attitude of many is a self-serving form of worship which is often devoid of God’s Word and His witness. So much that is done in the name of God today rarely gives a mention or consideration of His solemn principles and order of worship to Him. The sons of Aaron considered the the “old school” methods too outdated and they offered a new and improved method of worship and duty. The minister of God and the member alike must give careful consideration to ensure that our actions of worship are in accordance with God’s Divine method and direction as defined in the Word of God.
“Because He Desired To”
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” Daniel 6:4
Daniel is one of the characters in the Bible that we know about personally, professionally, and prophetically. We learn of him as a teenager of just over fifteen when he was taken captive by the Babylonians and see his whole life until his death over seven decades later in Persia. As a youth, he and three of his friends purposed in their hearts that they would not defile themselves with the spoils of their captors. He stayed true to God in a strange land and served both the Babylonian and Persian empires in integrity and honor to His Heavenly Father. He was faithful in prayer when it brought persecution; he was faithful in power and had an impeccable testimony that he honored God; and he was faithful to God as he stood alone in his service to Him. Daniel was a success by not only God’s standard, but by the standard of the world.
“If The Lord’s Your Partner, Think Big”
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” I John 1:3
I have always had a special place in my heart for the entrepreneur; they boldly venture out and partner together with someone as they provide a service or product for them that will make their life better. Fellowship with God means that we have gone into business with Him and our relationship with Him has become a holy occupation as we have unmatched communion with Him. This communion is not the observance of His table and supper; it is spending intimate time in His holy presence. It is a time with Him alone. Whom in your life can you pour out your heart’s innermost thoughts? In the presence of Almighty God we can say things to Him that we would dare not say before any other. How much do you know of this fellowship? It is a partnership that makes a better life; go to Him now and give Him your heart’s secret.
“The Blessed Book”
“Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Psalms 119:34
There is no other book like the Bible; within its pages we find the words of life, the Giver of life, and the Way to eternal life. It has been burned, banned, battled and believed; yet through it all it has withstood those who would try to abolish it and changed those who would embrace it. This Divine Book has influenced great people who have in turn influenced the world. People have come to the end of their journey and have made their last request to hear the words of the Heavenly Father and His precious promises. Godly kings, queens, and presidents have testified that the secret of their success is found in the Word of God. Its message has changed lives and transformed families, cities, nations, and empires. Its message is piercing and convicting, but in the midst of it is found God’s unending love and eternal provision of grace purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. We must learn it, and love it and leave it for others.
“Holiness Honors Him”
“But, as He who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:15-16
It is an argument of disrespect to disagree with God about living a life in holiness. It is ironic that people who are not believers or people of faith have a clear understanding of holy living. They know what is expected and are greatly offended when a believer talks one way and lives another. It is difficult for them to see through the hypocrisy or inconsistency in the life of one who admits and confesses Jesus as Savior. The Apostle Peter admonished to be holy in all manner of conversation; or how you live your life. The Apostle John echoed the same message when he wrote: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” And the Apostle Paul instructed: “Be not conformed to this world.” The Holy Spirit will convict and the blood of Christ will cleanse as we surrender ourselves in holiness to Him.
“To Be Like Jesus”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30
God presents this like He does Himself, without debate. And we know…what do we know? God has already decided to make you more like His Son; as you read these verses it becomes wonderfully clear that He is constantly working through you by the circum- stances of life to make you more like Jesus. When difficulties come, trust God; He has committed Himself to this journey of your life. A Dad can teach a son how to fish and hunt, how to ride a bike, how to drive, how to work, and how to play. He can teach you how to get back up when you get knocked down, dust yourself off, and move forward. He is trying to make his son into his image. Our Heavenly Father uses the same events in life to make us in Christ’s image.
“Dying To Self”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:24-25
There is a philosophy in churches today by people who stand behind the pulpit saying God is only interested in YOUR success. It is prosperity religion and faith. It basically says, God does not want you to be poor, He does not want you to be without, if you hold your cup up He is obliged to fill it. That philosophy is not sound doctrine! It excludes the majority of Christians around the world today or in any other generation including Jesus. It almost sounds like a “faith version” of the late night get rich infomercial guru. God is about your death so that HIS success can be lived through you. When the believer comes to the end of themselves and lose their life to Him, and let the Holy Spirit live in them they will know the full impact of His power and provision. Die to self; that is give up the old nature so that Christ can live fully through you. Let God make you a success His way.
“Faith Is The Victory”
“As ye have, therefore, received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him. Rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
Faith is not the ending place for the child of God, it is the beginning. Our journey with God begins with faith in Him, in His Word, and especially in His Son. We do not outgrow the need to walk by faith; Jesus reminded His disciples of this regularly and often. They walked with the Faithful One, but struggled to find faith in His Word. Their faith increased as they matured and gave themselves completely to Him. It was not, however, until they watched Him die, see Him risen from the dead, watched Him ascend into Heaven, earnestly and fervently prayed until they were of one heart and mind with Him, and received the Holy Spirit sent by Him that their faith began to grow and manifest itself in each of their hearts. We are planted in Christ at the moment of salvation; our roots are in Him; we are built up in Him in obedience to His Word and walking in His will; and we are established in the faith as we learn more of Him by each step of our journey.
“Dwelling Or Visiting”
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:15-16
Our objective as a child of God is to stay as close to the Lord as possible. He has provided all we need to keep us from those things in life that would hinder our walk with Him. Take a moment to read Psalm 91 in it’s entirety; you will find that God’s Word holds a special message for you regardless of what life presents to you. When adversity strikes, God can be glorified as He delivers you, heals you, or gives you grace to trust Him and endure. When death is all around we need not fear; God has not promised you will never die, but He is saying you will be kept by His angels until your appointed time. Through all that is experienced in life we are not left alone. The secret is found in the very first verse and in the first words: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Are you doing your part to live up to the conditions of God’s promises?
“At The Next Opportunity”
“As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
A man had fallen on the ice of a supermarket parking lot; he was over seventy years of age. As he lay helpless on the ice many people passed by, but no one stopped to help. A young couple walked by and laughed because he looked funny when he fell; another man went through the grocery bags that were scattered around him and took some of the items and put them in his own bags; and most everyone else just walked by without even noticing him on the ground. Finally an elderly women who was crippled with arthritis stopped to give him assistance, called for an ambulance, collected his groceries, and stayed with him until medical help arrived. He later said that he did not think people could be so uncaring and low. How many times have we as Christians failed to stop and give a moment of compassion to someone who has fallen? Often our activity has become an enemy of compassion and kindness; if we are too busy to show kindness and compassion; we are too busy.
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30
As we proclaim the Gospel of Christ we echo His message from Calvary, it is a message of hope, of love, of grace, and of life. John recorded, in Him was life, and the life was the life of men. Jesus commanded that First Baptist Church (His Church) to go into all the world and proclaim the message of the Gospel to every creature; His finished work for redemption. Some days before, as Jesus made His preparation to go to the Cross, His followers laid down their garments and branches before Him and proclaimed: Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. The Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His followers, but He told them that if they held their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen His children to proclaim the most amazing and majestic message ever spoken; it is the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He has asked you to go for Him and proclaim His message; will you go?
“I Know Something – I Hope You Know”
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:5-6
Resurrection Morning revealed an empty tomb; it had the women who came to minister to the body of Jesus somewhat confused and bewildered. When they went to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard, they were also confused and bewildered. Someone said, Seeing is believing, but even after seeing Him with their own eyes they did not know what to think of what they were seeing. Even when Jesus revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene in the garden she wanted to know what they had done with the body of her Lord; she was confused. Her confusion turned to confession when Jesus revealed Himself to her. She worshiped Him and told the disciples what she had seen and what Jesus said to her. Can you hear her tell them – I have seen the Lord, I know where He is; I know He is not dead, but He is risen. I know where Jesus is today; He is not on the Cross and He is not in the grave. He sits on His Father’s right hand and prays for you and me. Resurrected, risen, and a forgiver of sin.