The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Baptist’

The MOTIVE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 18, 2008

Through this study on the CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING, we’ve looked at:

 

–The MATTER of our giving…It’s not an economic matter ~ it’s a heart matter! The WAY people gave mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:41, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.”

 

–The MEASURE of our giving…WHAT people gave also mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:42-44, “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

 

In this final post on giving, I want us to think on the MOTIVE of our Giving.

 

Remember what was said about the Temple Treasury in the post, the MEASURE of Giving…“many that were rich” were casting in much and great noise echoed from those “Trumpet” chests. This outward show must have stirred the ones around! The crowd must have “oohed and ahhed” as the giving was going on.

 

BUT: what do you think happened when that poor widow woman threw in her two mites [2 mites = about one-fifth of a cent; to man, it was hardly worth it to give]? Can you imagine a silence? Was there a feeling of pity for the woman? Were there any praises from man? There may not have been any praises from man, but this woman had the praise of God! Read again Mark 12:43-44.

 

This woman’s HEART was in her gift unto God. Her motive for giving stemmed from her heart! Shouldn’t OUR MOTIVE for giving stem from the same? What should motivate a child of God to give from the treasure that God has blessed them with (as stewards)? Or basically…how should we give?

 

A.  THANKFULLY

 

The Motive of Thankfulness. This motive says that “we are so thankful to give unto God because God gave it all for us and to us.” Can you list 10 things that would cause a child of God to have a thankful heart before God and motivate him to give? As a Christian, you should AT LEAST be able to list 10 things from God that gives you a thankful heart. Remember them, and the next time you give to God of the treasure He has given you, you WILL BE motivated by thankfulness!

 

B.  CHEERFULLY

 

The Motive of Cheerfulness. This motive says that “our spirit and attitude of giving is good, pleasant, and even joyful because we know the Recipient of our giving.”

 

–We know how God accepts our giving. In 2 Cor 9:7 the Bible says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”. God loves it when we give cheerfully, and this motive is acceptable before Him!

 

I like this – the word cheerful in 2 Cor 9:7 means merry or hilarious. What are you like during offering time at your church? God loves a merry, HILARIOUS giver…one who expresses true happiness about giving unto the Lord!

 

–We know how He uses our giving. We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because He takes what we bring unto Him and multiplies it for the work of His Kingdom!

 

–We know how He is honored by our giving! Heb 13:15-16 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. [vs16] But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because we have the opportunity to honor, bless, and please God Almighty!

 

C.  LIBERALLY

 

The only time I want to be known as a liberal is in my giving 🙂

 

The Motive of Liberal Giving. This motive says that “we want to give back generously and bountifully (i.e. liberally) because we’ve experienced God’s generous Hand and bounty in our lives”. Can you give specific examples of God’s generous Hand and bounty in your life?

 

And let me ask you this: Can we ever “out-give” God? Not by what these verses tell us:

 

Mal 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

 

 2 Cor 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

 

Just a thought: How many people do you know who went penniless and starved to death because of they gave to God? How many people can you name that “out-gave” God? BUT: How many people can you name that have a testimony of a lack of God’s provision because they failed to put into practice Biblical giving?

 

Ps 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”.

 

D.  SACRIFICIALLY

 

The Motive of Sacrificial Giving. This motive says that “we deprive ourselves for an express need that God has laid on our hearts.” Here are some examples of sacrificial giving: Mark 12:44 [see above] / Acts 4:32-37.

 

When it comes to the giving of our treasure, our method of giving is doctrinal and our motivation for giving is love! A love for God is a heart for God…and that’s a heart of: thankfulness, cheerfulness, liberality, and sacrifice. These motives can ONLY be manifested and plentiful if there’s a heart for God!

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The MEASURE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 16, 2008

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:41-44

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]…but also, The Lord Jesus cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]. 

 

DID YOU KNOW that the Temple Treasury consisted of 13 brass chests, or boxes, to cast in offerings. These chests were called “Trumpets” due to them being shaped like a trumpet, or the “bell” of the trumpet. As metal coins were cast into the “Trumpets” a loud noise would be heard by those around the Temple Treasury…the more someone gave, the louder the noise!

 

If someone wanted to “put on a show”, it wouldn’t be too difficult. IN FACT, the Lord Jesus rebuked the ones who did put on a show in this way…Jesus said in Matt 6:1-2, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. [vs2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

 

When this poor, widow woman “threw in two mites” [Mark 12:42], they sounded “mighty small” in comparison to the other offerings being made. HOWEVER: What kind of sound did it make in the Lord’s ears? Mark 12:43-44 again says, “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” From what we read here, we can definitely figure out how man would measure her giving verses how the Lord did measure her giving!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

A.  We are to give PROPORTIONALLY

 

In the measure of the giving of what God has given to us, we can give the same amount “proportionally”. For example: One person’s income is $2,000/month and another person’s income is $9,000/month. If Biblical, proportionate giving is practiced, BOTH would give the same amount proportionally! Both would “bring back a tenth part to God’s storehouse”!

 

BTW: What proportion, or what percentage, did the poor, widow women give in Mark 12? She gave 100% of all her living!!! Jesus said in Mark 12:43, “That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury”!

 

Notice, too, that the Apostle Paul endorsed proportional (or proportionate) giving: 1 Cor 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” What Paul was saying here is: “When you bring all the tithes and offerings into God’s storehouse, give in proportion to your income or to your increase”…as God hath prospered you!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

B.  We are to give PROPERLY

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” From this verse and 1 Corinthians 16:2, we can clearly see that God has appointed a “proper place” to bring the tithes and offerings. That proper place is His New Testament Institution and Storehouse, the Church.

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

C. We are to give PERPETUALLY

 

God has designed our giving to be systematic. Giving ought to be a regular part of our livesProverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Every time we have increase, we need to honor God with the “firstfruits” of that increase.

 

We’ve already looked at 1 Cor 16:2 more than once: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” When did Paul instruct the church at Corinth to “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him”? …upon the first day of the week, or the Lord’s Day!

 

Sadly today, many only give when they have “left-overs” or when moved by conviction or guilt, but this is not God’s plan and this isn’t how God measures our giving. Many miss the blessings of God in their MEASURE of giving.

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The MATTER of Giving – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 14, 2008

Let me ask you this: From where should our giving stem?

FILL IN THE BLANK: “Your giving will start with your ___________”

The answer is your heart. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 8:5 that the churches of Macedonia – churches with very little – took on the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, i.e. they took part in giving to other churches in need. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

“…but first gave their own selves to the Lord…” That’s a heart-issue and not an economic one! SO: I believe it’s fair to say that your giving is a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED OR CARE ABOUT YOUR GIVING, OR THE LACK THEREOF?

Mark 12:41-44, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. [vs42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]…BUT ALSO, the Lord Jesus cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]! It’s evident from this text that the Lord cares about HOW we give.

Q) Do YOU think the Lord Jesus observes YOUR GIVING? Do you think He CARES about your giving? And why would He care? It is because giving is a matter of the HEART! Again, your giving IS a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

IF THE LORD JESUS CARES ABOUT OUR GIVING, THEN WHAT IS GIVING? HOW IS THE GIVING OF OUR TREASURE ACTUALLY DEFINED?

Simply stated, the giving of our treasure that stems from our heart is defined in TITHES and OFFERINGS.

WHAT IS A TITHE? Well, the Bible defines this word for us when we compare the following Scripture texts:

Gen 14:18-20, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. [vs19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: [vs20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

Heb 7:1-2a, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [vs2a] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all

From comparing these verses we see that the tithe is a tenth part…and a tenth part of all…of your whole increase. So if you’re increased with $1,000 you’re tithe is a tenth part, or $100.

Oh“, but you might say, “tithing is Old Testament and not for today“…but that is a WRONG STATEMENT. Tithing is throughout the Bible! I got the following illustration from “The ABCs of Christian Growth“, Bible Baptist Church Publications, Pastor Robert J. Sargent. This is a list that shows tithing throughout the Word of God:

Abraham COMMENCED it – Gen 14:18-20

Jacob CONTINUED it – Gen 28:20-22

Moses CONFIRMED it – Lev 27:30

Malachi COMMANDED it – Mal 3:8-10

Jesus COMMENDED it – Matt 23:23

God COMMISSIONED it – 1 Cor 9:13-14

Paul CONFORMED it – 1 Cor 16:2

 

Tithing IS a SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLE! Abraham and Jacob tithed 500 years before the Law was instituted; Moses, Malachi, and the Lord Jesus spoke of tithing during the period of the Law; and Paul explained tithing after the Law in the New Testament. So should a Christian tithe? YES. Is tithing optional? NO. BTW: Too often, we get hung up on the tithe and forget that every penny we have is the Lord’s. All of our treasure, not just the tithe, is to be used as God leads and directs us. As stewards, it isn’t 10% that belongs to God, it is 100%!

 

WHAT IS AN OFFERING? An offering is something that is presented for acceptance; oblation; sacrifice; can also mean a treat or gift. To get an understanding of an offering, read these verses from the Book of Ezra:

 

1:4, “And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

3:5, “And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.”

7:16, “And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem

8:28, “And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.”

What we get from these verses is the offering was a freewill gift given for the LORD’S acceptance. The offering IS DIFFERENT FROM the tithe. The tithe is a required amounta tenth part – given obediently. The offering is an unspecified amount given devotedly.

We ought to be concerned about this matter of our giving…God is. Our giving is a matter of the heart. The giving of our treasure consists of tithes and offerings, and God has ordained those tithes and offerings to be used to finance His work.

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The MATTER of Giving – Part 1

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 12, 2008

This post is the beginning of a detailed series of posts I’ll call, “CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING“. I’ll break up into a few parts this first subject, the MATTER of Giving, then we’ll delve into the MEASURE and MOTIVE of the giving of a believer…and as always, your responses and comments are valued and appreciated.

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned!

 

There are many things that we ought to be giving back unto the Lord…for example:

 

TIME – Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [vs16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

God’s saying that He wants you and me to ‘redeem the time’, or to ‘rescue the time that He’s given to us from waste and evil’, so that it can be used for Him…think about this: God has given us time so that we may give God our time!

 

TALENTS (Abilities) – If God has blessed you with the ability and talent to play an instrument, sing, teach, write, manage finances, sew, weld, communicate with others, or WHATEVER talents and abilities God has blessed you with…YOU NEED TO USE THEM! 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Use your talents for God – Give them back to God!

This ought to be a ruling motive in the life of a believer!

 

TESTIMONYPsalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so”! I truly believe God can use a testimony that we’re willing to give when there’s an opportunity to witness and to minister to others…Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!

 

SO…In knowing all this, remember 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  The word Steward means Overseer; Manager. A Christian is an owner of nothing that he has, but he is a steward of everything he has!

 

Christians are [supposed to be] stewards of their time, talents, and of their testimony. We as believers don’t actually own anything, and we’re supposed to manage and give back what we have unto the Lord for His Glory. Well…wouldn’t this also apply to our TREASURE?

 

How we are as stewards of the treasure that God has entrusted to us is truly important and it demands our thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Each one of us as stewards ought to really be thinking and praying on how we oversee God’s treasure!

 

A friend of mine a while back sent me this article…the title of it is, “Five Habits of Millionaires”. This article found consistent patterns among millionaires, or those people who “have treasure”…I really think it’s interesting to take note of their patterns:

 

#1 – Avoid The “Earn-to-Spend” Mentality

Many millionaires view money as something to save and invest rather than income to spend. How spiritually wealthy would we be if we saved and invested in the work of God?

 

#2 – Focus

Millionaires resist the impulse to be scattered in their efforts and interests…they clearly write down their goals, making it easier to keep in focus. Basically, they have a plan. What’s your plan as a steward  of what God has given you?

 

#3 – Do Whatever Is Necessary to Meet Your Goal

People who earn their millions are able not only to focus but persevere in the pursuit of their goals. They press toward their mark. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Are you pursuing with a passion to be a blessing with what God has blessed you with?

 

#4 – Take Calculated Risks

These folks had to take strategic risks to earn and grow money. They had to put some faith in what they were doing…not blind-faith, but a trust in certain methods and teachings. Are YOU ready to step out in faith with the finances God has given you? It’s not “blind-faith”, but a trust in the One whose blessed you and desires your obedience in the matter of giving.

 

#5 – Be Generous

 

Many millionaires give much and are truly generous. We may not know the motives of their generosity, but our motives ought to be the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ and HIS generosity – JESUS PAID IT ALL! 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully“. May we be generous!

 

In the world of “high finance”, we see by their habits that these people take great consideration in their treasure. So should we! We are the ones who are involved in “the finances of the Most High”, and we ought to really give our thoughtful and prayerful consideration when it comes to the giving of the treasure that God’s given to us as stewards!

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A Baptist Preacher’s Influence on the First Amendment

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 18, 2008

On the “Constitution Route” [Hwy 20 in Virginia] about seven miles east of Orange, VA, there is this interesting monument. On it is the embossed head of John Leland, the influential Baptist preacher and champion of our country’s religious liberty. It is believed that the monument marks the location where James Madison and John Leland met to discuss Madison’s candidacy for Virginia delegate to the Convention to ratify the Federal Constitution.

 

At that meeting, Leland pressed Madison concerning his stand on religious freedom and individual rights. Madison promised Leland if he was elected, he would do all in his power to see that religious freedom and individual freedom would be incorporated into the Constitution by amendment. Elder John Leland and the Baptists of Orange threw their support behind James Madison who was elected. As expected, he voted in favor of ratification of the Constitution. Then, true to his word, he drafted and introduced twelve amendments to the Constitution.

 

Article III of Madison’s proposed Bill of Rights reads, “Congress shall make no laws establishing articles of Faith, or mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition to the government for redress of grievances.”

 

The members of the Convention condensed Madison’s proposed third article. In fact, they changed it to the First Amendment which reads; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Posted in Baptist Echoes | Tagged: , | 17 Comments »

Old Landmarkism

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 12, 2008

[The following was taken from The Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, Editor, 1881]

The following sketch was written at the editor’s [Cathcart] request by one of the ablest Baptist ministers in this country. His account of the opinions of all landmarkers is entirely reliable:

 

The origin of the term old-landmarkism was as follows: About the year 1850, Rev. J. R. Graves, editor of The Tennessee Baptist, published at Nashville, TN, began to advocate the position that Baptists cannot consistently recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers. For several years he found but few to sympathize with this view.

 

Among the few was Rev. J. M. Pendleton, then of Bowling Green, KY, who in 1854 was requested by Mr. Graves to write an essay on this question, “Ought Baptists to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers?”

 

The essay was published in four consecutive numbers of the aforesaid paper, and afterwards in the form of a tract. The title given to it by Mr. Graves was “An Old Landmark Reset“. The title was considered appropriate because there had been a time when ministerial recognition and exchange of pulpits between Baptists and Pedobaptists were unknown. This was an old landmark, but in the course of years it had fallen. When it was raised again it was called “an old landmark reset“. Hence the term “old-landmarkism,” and of late years, by way of abridgment, “landmarkism“.

 

That the doctrine of landmarkism is not a novelty, as some suppose, is evident, because William Kiffin, of London, one of the noblest of English Baptists, advocated it in 1640, and with those who agreed with him formed a church, of which he was pastor till his death, in 1701 [a very long pastorate]. These facts are taken from [J.M.] Cramp’s “Baptist History,” and he refers to [Joseph] Ivimey’s “Life of Kiffin“:

 

[David] Benedict, in his “Fifty Years among the Baptists,” in referring to the early part of this century, says, “At that time the exchange of pulpits between the advocates and the opponents of infant baptism was a thing of very rare occurrence, except in a few of the more distinguished churches in the Northern States. Indeed, the doctrine of non-intercourse, so far as ministerial services were concerned, almost universally prevailed between Baptists and Pedobaptists.” pp. 94-95.

     

Truly the old landmark once stood, and having fallen, it was deemed proper to reset it.

 

The doctrine of landmarkism is that baptism and church membership precede the preaching of the gospel, even as they precede communion at the Lord’s table. The argument is that Scriptural authority to preach emanates, under God, from a gospel church; that as “a visible church is a congregation of baptized believers,” etc., it follows that no Pedobaptist organization is a church in the Scriptural sense of the term, and that therefore Scriptural authority to preach cannot proceed from such an organization. Hence the non-recognition of Pedobaptist ministers, who are not interfered with, but simply let alone.

 

At the time the “Old Landmark Reset” was written, the topic of non-ministerial intercourse was the chief subject of discussion. Inseparable, however, from the landmark view of this matter, is a denial that Pedobaptist societies are Scriptural churches, that Pedobaptist ordinations are valid, and that immersions administered by Pedobaptist ministers can be consistently accepted by any Baptist church. All these things are denied, and the intelligent reader will see why.

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Preaching Against Sin

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 9, 2008

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression…” Isaiah 58:1

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

As long as preachers preach against sin in generalities, no one really gets too upset or offended. It’s only when specific sins are named (drinking alcohol, pornography, robbing God, not witnessing or soul-winning, skipping church) that people become uncomfortable.  People don’t mind preaching against sin as long as it’s not their own pet sin. We just don’t like to have our toes stepped on.

Preachers of God’s Word have always denounced sin in no uncertain terms. Lets’ just name a few…there was:

SAMUEL – He was explicit about the sin of King Saul: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Sam 15:22-23

JEHU – He didn’t mince words about Jehoshaphat’s sin: “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” 2 Chron 19:2 

NEHEMIAH – He literally “grappled” with some over their sins: “Then I contended [‘grappled’] with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.” Neh 13:17-18

JEREMIAH – God had him to be very pointed on Israel’s sins: “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” Jer 1:16; “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13

JOHN THE BAPTIST – He was really specific on Herod’s sin: “For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Mark 6:18

PAUL – He named names in preaching against sin: “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Tim 1:20; “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” 2 Tim 4:14-15

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – He scathed the religious hypocrites of His day calling them serpents and vipers and blind guides! See Matt 23

SO…the next time your preacher “rubs the fur the wrong way” [as they say], don’t blame him…

JUST TURN THE CAT AROUND!

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When It’s Not Much Fun Anymore – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 7, 2008

[To view part 1 of this post, please click here]

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12

 

Have YOU ever been there? Have you ever been at the point where YOU needed the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored unto you…for whatever reason? We see in Psalm 51 that the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, needed the JOY of the Lord’s salvation restored unto him…and there are times when we do as well!

We who’ve been saved the Lord Jesus Christ are constantly hounded by a thief [the devil] and he wants to rob us of the joy that accompanies our Lord’s precious salvation. The devil cannot steal our salvation, but he can definitely rob us of our joy.

 

So in part 1 of this post, I brought up this thought: What can YOU do when your walk with God isn’t much “fun” anymore?

Now I know the life of a Christian is not “one big party”…It’s not always “fun”, and we know that…

BUT: a Christian should experience JOY!

 

David himself knew and delighted in the happiness of being a friend of God and of having that blessed hope of salvation…but he lost that peace of mind due to his sin. Are YOU delighting in God’s fellowship and in the blessed hope of His salvation? Why not? What has stolen away your joy? Is your walk with God “not much fun anymore”?

 

Is there anything that can be done to see the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored in your life? There sure is! If sin has been used to steal that joy away – repent – turn back to God and get right with Him. But if you are in a right relationship with God, think on these remaining actions [and the actions from part 1] for His joy to be restored in you:

 

#4. RENEW YOUR VISION

 

Many have suffered the loss of vision in their place of service. Did you “use to have” a vision for what God would have you to do for Him where He has you…but now, nothing? Let me ask you – and be honest with yourself and before God – What stole that away? What has clouded that which used to be so clear?

 

#5. RE-ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES

 

I love what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “This one thing I do…” He was a man that not only had priorities, but priorities in the right order. For Paul, God mattered most; it was God first – “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” [Phil 3:14].

 

Where are you at RIGHT NOW with God? Is God FIRST in your life? Do you love Him above all else? Do you love Him in spite of your situations and circumstances? Are His Word, His Works, and His Way most important to you? The joy of the Lord may only be a remembrance to you because your priorities may need to be re-established where God is FIRST.

 

#6. REJOICE IN THE LORD’S RICH BLESSINGS 

 

Psalm 51 is David’s “Psalm of Confession“. But Psalm 32 is what I call David’s “Record of Restoration“! Psalms 51 and 32 speak to the same situation in David’s life. Listen to David in Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. [vs2] Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”

 

What was the FIRST WORD of Psalm 32? BLESSED! Can you hear David rejoicing because he knew his transgressions were ‘forgotten and put away’? [vs1] Can you hear David rejoicing because he has been freed from the charge of sin in his life? [vs2] BLESSED IS THE MAN!!!

 

There’s something about rejoicing in the Lord’s rich blessings He has bestowed upon you! As the old hymn goes, “Count your many blessings – name them one by one – count your many blessings, see what God hath done“. Have you been suprised lately in what the Lord has done? Start thinking on what God has done, and it just may suprise you – AND, restore His joy within you!!! 

 

#7. RECLAIM THE PROMISES OF GOD

 

I really like this one. How many of us can honestly say that we are living on AND by God’s precious promises? Precious promises like:

 

The Promise of His Power

Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

1 Cor 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

The Promise of His Perfect Provision

Phil 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The Promise of His Presence

Heb 13:5, “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The Promise of His Purpose

Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Gal 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

The Promise of His Peace

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The Promise of His Paradise (Heaven)

John 14:1-4, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [vs2] In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [vs3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [vs4] And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

Those are just SOME of God’s precious promises we can not only survive on, but thrive on! Take your belief in what God says to the point of commitment and trust, and reclaim the promises of God…your joy will be restored!

#8. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE ELSE

Remember a man named Onesiphorus2 Tim 1:16-18, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: [vs17] But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. [vs18] The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”

Onesiphorus found great joy in ministering to Paul and was a wonderful encourager to him – YOU OUGHT TO TRY IT! Minister instead of being ministered unto – make your outreach “reaching out” – to have true J.O.Y. it must be = Jesus, Others, then You.

 

#9. REMEMBER THOSE WHO’VE GONE ON BEFORE YOU

 

Heb 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. This verse ought to remind us that there’s a great cloud of witnesses who have faithfully run their race and are now cheering us on from Heaven!

            They’ve passed the baton of the Gospel on to us that we might faithfully run our race.

Remember that we are called to be faithful…even when it is not much fun.

 

Never forget that the Source of your joy as a believer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Return to your Bethel – Refuel your soul – Rest your body – Renew your vision – Re-establish your priorities – Rejoice in the Lord’s blessings – Reclaim the promises of God – Reach out to someone else – Remember those who’ve gone on before you

 

“Delight thyself also in the LORD” [Psalm 37:4]…even when it’s not much fun anymore!

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When It’s Not Much Fun Anymore – Part 1

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 4, 2008

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12

As some may already know, Psalm 51 is King David’s “Psalm of Confession” where he humbly confesses and laments over his sin before God.

 

It is obvious when the whole psalm is read that David was at a “low point” in his life. He had done some very bad things – he committed adultery and murder – and when he had heard the preaching from the prophet Nathan, he was convicted. His sin brought him to the point that his walk with God “wasn’t much fun anymore”. David lost the joy of the Lord’s salvation in his life…he didn’t lose his salvation – he lost salvation’s joy!

 

Have you ever been there? Have you ever been at the point where you needed the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored unto you…for whatever reason?

 

That’s a really dumb question, isn’t it? I mean, we who’ve been saved are constantly hounded by a thief, the devil, and he wants to rob us of our joy! He knows [and I want YOU to know] that he can’t steal away the salvation that only Jesus gives, but he does know that he CAN rob us of the joy that accompanies that salvation.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR WALK WITH GOD ISN’T MUCH “FUN” ANYMORE?

 

Now listen – I know a Christian’s life is not one big party. It’s not always ‘fun’, and we know that! BUT: a Christian should experience JOY! David knew and delighted in the happiness of being a friend of God and of having that blessed hope of salvation, but because of his sin, he lost that peace of mind!

 

Are YOU delighting in God’s fellowship and in the blessed hope of His salvation? Why not??? Has your joy been stolen away? Is it not much fun anymore?

 

Your answer just may be, “I’m not sure…I don’t know”. There are ways of finding out the answer, for example:

 

1) Have you lost your enthusiasm for the Bible?

 

2) Do you find it hard to pray?

 

3) Is going to church a drudgery and just a duty?

 

4) Do you find yourself constantly forsaking fellowship with your church family?

 

5) Has it been easier to gossip and to tell lies?

 

6) Is your relationship with your spouse or with your children “not what it used to be”?

 

7) Is witnessing for the Lord lost it’s priority with you?

 

8] Do you feel hopeless and helpless, and do you think you lack effectiveness in your Christian service?

 

9) Has the air been let out of your “spiritual balloon”, and has the joy gone out of your Christian pilgrimage?

 

If you’re truly a born-again Christian and you can answer “YES” to these questions, you’ve been robbed! What’s it mean when your walk with Christ isn’t “much fun anymore”? What’s it mean when you aren’t experiencing the joy of the Lord’s salvation in your life?

 

It certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t spiritual or that you don’t love the Lord. Nor does it mean that God isn’t at work in your life. It could just simply mean that it’s time to see some things happen in your life. When you get to the point where serving God isn’t a blessing and your walk with God has become dull, lifeless, and mechanical, God tells us what we can do to see the joy of His salvation restored unto us!

 

#1. RETURN TO YOUR BETHEL

 
Bethel was the place where God changed Jacob! [See Genesis 28:10-22] BUT: 20 years later, many things had gone on in Jacob’s life, and among other things, the joy of God had gone from him. SO: Jacob returns according to his vow to set up his altar unto God, and his joy in the Lord was restored. [See Genesis 35:1-7]

 

When was the last time you went back to the time when you were saved? When was the last time you just thought on that glorious day God changed you into a new creature in Christ?

 

When it’s “not much fun anymore”, there may be a need in your life for repentance and a returning to your Bethel…not to be “redeemed once again“, but to remember the time where you first knew the joy of the Lord!

 

#2. REFUEL YOUR SOUL

Sometimes the joy of the Lord’s salvation is stolen because you’ve become a depleted vessel! And many times you get depleted because you don’t wait upon the Lord. David said in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry”! Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

You have to be aware that your soul needs refueling from time to time. You can only face your tomorrows for so long on yesterday’s filling!

#3. REST YOUR BODY

 Sometimes we go and we think that we’re so indestructible. But little do we know that physical fatigue becomes fertile soil for emotional, physical and spiritual discouragement! Nehemiah discovered this in Neh 4:10, “And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.” Did you notice that the work of building the wall stopped because “the strength of the bearers of burdens” decayed, or faltered and fatigued? YOUR BODY NEEDS REST!

Christian – Take good care of your body – it’s the temple of God! You just may need to take some time away from your stress. Try to get a good night’s rest for physical refreshment. Some people ‘burn out’ for God because they became physically worn out, AND that also leads to other problems!

End of Part 1 – Think on these things – Part 2 on the way soon

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Pastoral Authority

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 1, 2008

One of the most misunderstood aspects in true, New Testament Baptist Churches today is that of Pastoral authority. This “misunderstanding” has surfaced for several reasons…here’s just some:
 
1.  The way many of our churches operate has changed

Churches have become social clubs and the mission has changed.  Instead of trying to win souls, feed saints, and glorify God, there are those churches who have evolved into entertainment centers for the unsaved and carnal members.
 
2.  The “chain of command” in our churches has changed.

Many churches have become prototypes of other denominational churches that are operated by deacon and trustee boards.  Many of these churches are characterized by “mob rule” and not “pastor-led”.
 
3.  Many Pastors in our churches keep changing on a regular basis.

Some are voted out by the “once a year” evaluation of the Pastor’s ministry while many have Pastors who change churches more often than they change automobiles. God gets the blame for most of these moves when, in reality, it is because of either better salary and benefits or the Pastor has used up most of his sermons. When a Pastor believes it is the will of God to leave a church, it ought also to be the will of God for him to be honest with his present church and let them know BEFORE he goes.
 
4.  The respect for the Office of Pastor in churches has degenerated.

The Office of Pastor has been brought down to a “supervisory” status, and we all know who most everyone complains about the “boss!” Pastors are now spoken to on a first-name basis instead of “Preacher” or “Pastor” I would never call my Pastor by his first name – it’s just respect.
 
5.  The Office of Pastor has been corrupted by hirelings.

God-called men are getting fewer and further between.  Men of character, conviction, compassion, and call once filled Independent Baptist pulpits. Has there been a change in the “quality” of men in the ministry? Are men standing for the things of God like our Baptist forefathers?
 
IT WOULD SEEM TODAY… 
Many church members do not want a Pastor. They want a preacher to give a generic, “offend no one” message, and visit the hospitals and funeral homes.  They want preachers who are “Yes-Men” and obedient to the will of the people.  But God-called Pastors have God given authority.

1 Peter 5:2, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind”

Hebrews 13:7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

The Pastor is not man-called, mamma-called, or daddy sent!  He is not a volunteer! He is not self-elevated to the office! The Pastor is God-selected, God-called, God-anointed, God-equipped, God-led, God-chastened, and GOD-PROTECTED!

Listen…if a Pastor is worth his weight in salt, that man IS NOT trying to be “lord” over you: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” [1 Pet 5:3]. He is trying to fulfil his God-given responsibility and calling…he’s trying to complete and edify you [Eph 4:12] and bring you into the unity of the faith [Eph 4:13]. Do you have a problem with that?

Is there a problem with Pastoral authority in the church in which you are a member? Why…and with whom does the problem lie?

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