The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

ESV Popularity

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 23, 2008

Have you noticed how the English Standard Version of the Bible [ESV] is being pushed and promoted? If you haven’t noticed, just watch:

 

Wow…I don’t know very much at all about her, but I see that Joni’s pretty excited about the ESV. She touts the “reliability” of the version AND also all the “Bible scholars and teachers” who’ve done such a great job…no wait, she said, “outstanding job“. Then she says if YOU want to understand God’s Word in a more deeper, profound, and principled way…THIS is THE BIBLE that will be your resource…what? We couldn’t know God’s Word in a deep, profound, and principled way BEFORE the ESV??? So Joni…is the ESV the ONLY VERSION you’ll hold to? Is she saying the ESV IS the WORD of GOD for the English-speaking people?

And then there’s John Piper. He says the ESV combines a kind of balance between accuracy, faithfulness, readibility, and dignity in an unusually good proportion. To John – “It’s a dream come true!” What were you believing, reading, and studying from before, John? Something that was insufficient…not as good…is that what John’s admitting?

I’M SORRY, BUT I’M NOT BUYING INTO THE HYPE!

It was the Evangelicals that tried to have us buy into the hype of the NASB and the NIV, oh but now, this ESV is “a dream come true”! How inconsistent!

This English Standard Version of the Bible is being proclaimed as the “best word-for-word translation” and the “best KJV substitute for reading from the pulpit.”¹ Isn’t THAT interesting…

The ESV popularity is being built upon comparing it with the Authorized Version, or KJV! Here’s more testimony to this: “The ESV could substitute almost transparently for the KJV when reading to the public, while the ESV also has the benefit of omitting KJV words, phrases, and even entire verses that clearly were not part of the original texts, as best represented in the United Bible Society’s (UBS) Hebrew and Greek texts.”²

I’ve got a real problem with this…why, you ask? Well, the ESV can’t take the place of the KJV since they haven’t even been translated from the same texts! That’s pretty simple. I believe the translators of the ESV when they say that their version is a “word-for-word translation” – they used the formal equivalence approach of translation just like the translators of the Authorized Version (KJV). BUT, they translated their New Testament from the codex Siniaticus [Aleph] and the codex Vaticanus [B]. The New Testament of the Authorized Version was translated from the Textus Receptus [TR].

Now you may or may not know much about the Greek texts, but just by this knowledge we know that the ESV, that’s supposed to be the best KJV substitute, was not even translated from the same text as the KJV! In fact, the ESV has been translated from the same sources as the NIV, NASB, and all the translations from the Westcott-Hort texts. The BIG difference between the ESV and these other Westcott-Hort texts – formal equivalence. Most of the others, and especially the newer versions, were translated through the dynamic equivalence method.

Don’t buy into the hype! The ESV is NOT a substitute for the KJV…it’s not a “newer version” of the KJV…it’s not even translated from the same text as the KJV! The popularity of the ESV is being proclaimed by comparing it with the KJV since the KJV is also a literal “word-for-word” translation. Remember, the texts from which they’ve come are totally different…

PASS ON THE HYPE AND STICK WITH THE TRUTH!

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , | 58 Comments »

Revival

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 19, 2008

WHAT IS IT? DO WE NEED IT? HOW CAN WE GET IT?

How would YOU answer these questions? I think before we can understand what revival IS, we must understand what revival IS NOT. Revival is not a series of evangelistic meetings. Revival is not an emotional experience that’s soon forgotten. Revival is not a popular fad or wave of change that comes and goes. None of this is revival. So what is it?

Revival defined by Webster is a restoration from a depressed, inactive, or unused state; the restoring of force or validity. With me personally, I’d like to think of revival as a rekindling of God’s fire in my heart. I’d like to think that when my heart doesn’t burn brightly for God as it once did and I catch myself just going through the motions and viewing my service more as duty than dedication and devotion, then I am primed for a personal revival. This is how I know I need revival. And to be honest with you, my reader, as I write this, I humbly confess that I need a personal revival…how about you? If you don’t, please pray for me; and if you are in need of a personal revival, let me know and I promise to pray for you.

How can we get revival? It can only come from God, and I believe God will only give us a true revival when we are truly determined to get it from God! 2 Chron 7:14, a very familiar but [I believe] applicable verse for our answer of “how can we get it“, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Did you notice God said, “IF…THEN”. God is a God of conditions. God WILL hear from Heaven, God WILL forgive sin, and God WILL heal the land IF God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wickedness. God will take you and me from a depressed, inactive and “just going through the motions” state and restore us – revive us – IF we would humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. How bad do YOU want revival?

How do you know you’ve had revival from the Lord? Let me just briefly touch on 3 ways:

#1: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ATTITUDE

You’re “I” problem must go away. You need to have J.O.Y. again – that’s Jesus, Others, and then You. You must see the lost just like the Lord Jesus sees them – with compassion and as sheep having no shepherd…hopeless without God.

#2: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ENTHUSIASM

You won’t “have to” read your Bible and pray…You’ll “want to” read your Bible and pray. You may just start singing those old hymns…in the shower! You’ll look forward to telling others of the Saviour. You just may add “AMEN” and “HALLELUJAH” to your vocabulary…and rejoicing will become a must!

#3: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW DETERMINATION

How determined are you to serve God? How determined are you to find out and follow what God says? How determined are you to be determined to do right?

IS REVIVAL NEEDED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD? Many today who claim the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ have become complacent, volatile, inflammatory, lethargic, self-righteous, apathetic, self-centered, and accusatory. Many have become outright sinful and couldn’t care less about it!  Nuff said.

Ps 85:6, “Wilt thou [LORD] not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Mercy

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 10, 2008

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 5:7]

I’ve been preaching recently to our church on the “Blessed Attitudes“, or the Beatitudes, given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His opening of His Sermon on the Mount. WOW…what a study! I whole-heartily recommend every believer getting into studying what these principles truly mean and what the Lord Jesus is saying here in the beginning of His sermon.

I’ve been around a lot of Independent Baptist people in my walk with Christ, and one thing I’ve noticed about us is generally we have a hard time with…happiness – expressing our happiness or even somehow thinking it must be wrong that we can be spiritual and happy at the same time.

Now I know that’s “my opinion“, but I believe we get so focused on “the letter of the Law” – i.e., Doctrine – and don’t get me wrong…doctrine is vital! We have this saying at our church: Our methods are doctrinal and our motive is the love of Christ. Doctrine is truly vitally important, but I find many of us don’t express a consistent joy or happiness in our doctrine. I don’t know if we’re afraid to show much happiness because we’d be labeled charismatic or maybe “fleshly“…I don’t know…maybe I’ve just been around all kinds of “stuck-in-the-muds” since I’ve been saved 🙂 Help me out with this and let me know, but I’ve observed that many Independent Baptist people [I’ve been around] generally have a difficult time with being happy. [Again, please let me hear from you on this – is it the same with you, or do you observe true, Biblical happiness in our ranks or where you’re at?]

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is His longest and fullest discourse we have from Him in all four accounts of the Gospel. Jesus preaches His message to BELIEVERS. The Lord DOES NOT preach these Beatitudes with the idea, “Do these and you’ll earn Heaven and eternal life“…what He IS saying is, “As a saved child of God these principles WILL BE a mark in your life!” The Beatitudes are principles for Christians to live by, AND when followed, they’re meant to give us true, Biblical happiness!

Don’t believe me? What was the FIRST WORD out of the Lord’s mouth and repeated nine times in the opening of His message? BLESSED. The word blessed only means happiness of the highest kind! It would seem that the Lord Jesus cares that His followers would be happy. He’s concerned for your happiness. Christian, isn’t it “past-time” that you’d be joyful and happy in your walk with Christ? Study out and put into practice the “Blessed Attitudes” principles. They must be pretty important to have and apply – the Lord Jesus preached them!

How about this one – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy“. Basically, the Lord is saying, “Ones who show mercy will have happiness of the highest kind, and they too will recieve mercy“. So, to have true, Biblical happiness, we must show mercy to others…okay…what does that mean?

WHAT IS MERCY

Before we can show it, we must know it. We must know what mercy means. When explaining the mercy of God, I like to say this in comparing Grace and Mercy:

Grace: God giving us what we DID NOT deserve / Mercy: God keeping from us what we DID deserve.

I think that’s a good definition of God’s mercy, but that’s not the definition we can use here in Matthew 5:7! Mercy here in verse 7 means COMPASSIONATE…but that’s not all it means…it goes further – this mercy means putting that compassion into action!

I think a great passage of Scripture to give us understanding on this mercy is James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

 

Basically James is saying, “What good is concern and compassion if it’s not put into action”…MERCY! If you have concern and compassion for others but it produces no beneficial action, IT’S WORTHLESS!

 

HOW CAN WE SHOW MERCY

 

We know that mercy is an action born out of concern and compassion, so that means the action of mercy will be put on display…it WILL BE shown! HOW? Well how about:

 

I. UNBIASLY

 

This means without prejudice; without any pre-judgment or partiality. We as believers can become pretty bias and partial in how we treat all kinds of folks, can’t we? We have a real problem in that we ‘play favorites’! We don’t like our children to play favorites with other children and leave out other kids, and we don’t like it when it’s done to us and we’re left out…BUT FOR SOME REASON, we find ourselves many times playing favorites! Unfortunately, that’s not something new with believers – see James 2:1-9. When James writes against having “respect of persons” he exactly means God is against us “playing favorites“.

 

Do you “play favorites” with mercy? Is your compassion in action only determined for a few or for anyone who truly needs it? Why aren’t you happy in Christ…[Matt 5:7].

 

II. SACRIFICIALLY

 

Remember the story the Lord tells of the good Samaritan? [to refresh your memory – Luke 10:30-35] In this story did you notice that there was NO personal benefit for the good Samaritan? He was just a man who had acted out his compassion for someone else!

 

You may never be publicly recognized for showing mercy. You may never get a plaque honoring you or a picture taken of you in recognition of your mercy…but your recipient will be glad that you showed mercy! SACRIFICE!

 

III. PERSONALLY

 

True mercy comes from one whose been shown mercy and understands what it means to need mercy. CHRISTIAN – If anyone should know, YOU ought to know what it means to need mercy! Haven’t you experienced the mercy of Christ at Salvation? If you’re truly born-again, you have! So knowing God’s mercy as we do, we in turn ought to extend that mercy unto others! Nowhere does the Christian imitate God more or have a greater testimony than in showing mercy – please see Matt 25:35-40.

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”. MERCY is putting concern and compassion into action for the benefit of others – that’s what the Lord Jesus did on the cross!

 

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST’S MERCY TODAY?

DO YOU SHOW CHRIST’S MERCY TO OTHERS?

 

Are you truly happy in your walk with Christ – apply those “Blessed Attitudes”!!!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Witnessing IS NOT a Gift

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 1, 2008

Have you heard something like this before, “I don’t think everyone of us is responsible to witness for Christ…I believe it’s only the pastor’s job and maybe a few others who have some special ability to witness. It’s not everyone’s job“.

IS IT TRUE THAT GREAT NUMBERS OF BELIEVERS ARE EXEMPT FROM THIS AREA OF SERVICE?

Certainly, there are many believers who do not really think they should be a vocal witness for their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Just take a peek into our churches that are supposed to be New Testament Bible-believing, evangelistic churches, and what will you find? Sadly, you’ll discover multitudes of believers who’ve NEVER reached and led a soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t it odd that this great number of “unevangelistic” brethren are members of “evangelistic” churches?

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter“…

NO ONE CHRISTIAN IS EXCLUDED FROM BEING A VOCAL WITNESS FOR CHRIST!

What does the Bible have to say about this vital matter of witnessing? Well, the Bible DOES NOT teach that witnessing for Christ is a gift that is possessed by only a few choice folk. The Bible never says that only those who have “the gift” to witness are to witness for Jesus.

WITNESSING IS NOT A GIFT ~ IT IS A COMMAND!

 Matt 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15, “And he {that’s Jesus, friends} said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” {NOTE: These are Christ’s last words on earth before ascending to the Father!}

Anyone who says that “only a select few” are to witness is simply not acquainted with the plain teaching of God’s Holy Word. That’s putting it nicely, don’t you think? How about this: If you think that there’s only a “select few” who have the responsibility to witness, you’re hiding behind a shallow excuse.

Stop clutching to your weaknesses, shyness, lack of training, fear, or any other excuse and start believing the God of the impossible who specializes in using weak vessels! There is not a single Christian who cannot become an effective revolutionary witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Witnessing IS NOT a gift; it is a COMMAND. God did not excuse the majority of His children from the most urgent task in all the world.

ARE YOU UP FOR THE TASK?

WITH GOD YOU ARE!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Good-O-Meter

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 27, 2008

This was sent to me and I wanted to post this short video for you to watch…it reminds me of:

Matt 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [vs22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [vs23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

AND: Rom 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [vs11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [vs12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

One more thing: I wouldn’t have portrayed the Lord Jesus in a T-shirt, jeans, and “hip” wrist-wear, so try to look beyond that [You’ll see what I’m talking about close to the end…Lord bless!]

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

It is a RESCUE!

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 23, 2008

The Biblical word salvation unfortunately means many different things to many different people. SO, when I talk about “being saved” or folks “needing salvation” or when I quote Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith…”, various thoughts come to mind with people.

Now my intention with this post is NOT to make salvation “hard” or difficult to understand…in fact, my intention is just the opposite. I pray there are some who are reading this who need an understanding of Bible Salvation.

Now don’t let me lose your interest here with this, but I must tell you: SALVATION in the Bible is translated from the Greek word soteria meaning RESCUE! I think that’s awesome to see…why? Well, when it comes to salvation, someone needs to be rescued from something! A person cannot say they are “saved” but have no testimony of being rescued, or saved, FROM something. Every one of us are in great need of rescue from something [and I’ll get to that later on], and that is why SALVATION has been provided for all!

BUT WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A PERSON TO UNDERSTAND HE OR SHE NEEDS TO BE RESCUED?

Answer: There has to be such an affect on the heart of a person from knowing on what they need to be saved from! Needing to be rescued – needing to be saved – is a heart condition. A person’s heart must be “worked on” and “worked over” for them to see and admit their need of rescue…their need of salvation.

If only the intellect is peaked, but the heart not pricked, Man will split Hell wide-open.

WHAT DOES EVERY ONE OF US NEED TO BE RESCUED FROM?

SIN. Pure and simple. We don’t need to be rescued from loneliness, depression, or even sickness; and I don’t mean to belittle these for I would desire to be rescued from them; BUT our GREATEST RESCUE is the rescue from the penalty of sin. Because of our great, great granddaddy, ADAM, a debt of sin has been passed to all who are of mankind, and now, that penalty of sin rests upon ALL OF US – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Romans 5:12.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN GOD MAKES KNOWN THIS SPIRITUAL DEATH PENALTY BECAUSE OF SIN?

I. HAVE YOU EVER GONE THROUGH CONTRITION?

Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” A “broken heart” is one who has the heaviest kind of affliction and trouble due to sin. The word contrite literally means crushed. God rescues the ones who are oppressed and crushed by their sin!

BUT WHY WOULD A HEART BE CRUSHED OVER SIN – HOW DOES ONE COME TO THIS CONTRITION?

II. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN UNDER CONVICTION?

Conviction means that you’ve been convinced of your own condemnation through your own conscience. Before anyone can ever be brought to REPENTANCE of sin; and before anyone is ever CRUSHED by their sin and have a broken heart and contrite spirit; there must be a witness to the conscience that brings about CONVICTION.

WHAT CONVICTS YOU OF YOUR SIN?

What has witnessed to your conscience about you being wrong and guilty before God and needing rescue to be right with Him? How about this:

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:25

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7

 God’s Holy Word – God’s Law and the Commandments – convict us of our sin before Him! Don’t believe it??? Take the Good Person Test and find out for yourself. It is truly amazing to see that God shows us from what we need to be RESCUED!

SALVATION is simply a RESCUE. The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, came down to dwell among His creation, not just to be a Great Teacher and Healer, but to primarily be THE RESCUE for you and for me. Jesus claims that He is God AND He claims that HIS BLOOD ALONE would be THE PAYMENT for your sin debt and penalty before God the Father.

How do you appropriate or receive His Payment in your place?

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name“.

HAVE YOU BELIEVED ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR WHO HE IS AND FOR WHAT HE SAYS HE AND HIS BLOOD CAN DO?

OR: ARE YOU SO CONVICTED AND BROKEN AND CRUSHED OVER YOUR SIN BEFORE GOD THAT YOU DESIRE STRONGLY TO TURN FROM YOUR WICKEDNESS – LEAVE THE ATTITUDE OF LOVING SIN BEHIND – AND SINCERELY TURN TO AND TRUST THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR WHO HE IS AND FOR WHAT HE SAYS HE AND HIS BLOOD CAN DO?

IT IS A RESCUE!!!

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Fervency in Prayer

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 20, 2008

“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

James 5:16

 

 The Apostle James [as he’s called in Gal 1:19] DOES NOT tell us “the prayers” of God’s people avail much…no…he says, the “EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYER” of a righteous man avails much!

 

The words effectual fervent have been translated from one Greek word, energeo [en-erg-eh’-o], and it means to work in effectually; to be mighty in – to have energy and to be energetic! God tells us through James that if His children’s prayers are going to “avail much”, and if the prayers of the people of God will “move the Arm that moves the world”, it will have to be by the “effectual fervent” [energetic] prayers of the people of God!

 

Please note: We have no power to control God…

-We cannot dictate to Him nor can we command Him…

-We cannot resist Him in the execution of His purposes…

 BUT: we may humbly ask Him for what we desire…

AND [it gets even better!] God graciously tells us in James 5:16 that such asking will have much effect for our own good and for the good of our fellow-men!

 

If there’s anything that can prevail with God, it has to be prayer…humble, fervent, and earnest petitioning!

 

WHERE’S THE FERVENCY IN OUR PRAYERS?

 

Where’s the “worked in and worked up” praying that God says will avail so much with Him? Where’s the energy, earnestness, and sincerity that’s boiling so hot in us that we MUST commune with our God? That’s the praying we need to do…that’s the praying we need to have!

 

HOW CAN WE GET IT?

 

How can we go from “prayer” to “the effectual fervent prayer”? Just 4 thoughts briefly…

 

1. There must be DESPARATION

 

When was the last time YOU were desparate for:

-The POWER of God?

-The PRESENCE of God?

-The PROMISES of God?

-The PEACE of God?

-The PERFECTION of God?

[Jesus said in Matt 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Perfect means complete, pure, holy]

 

When was the last time YOU had a deep-felt, desperate need for these things from God? That would also have been the last time you had effectual fervent prayer.

 

2. There must be CONVICTION

 

Many don’t have Holy-Ghost conviction on their lives. Many don’t know the conviction that prevents sleep, produces misery, and points to Calvary!

 

Where’s the conviction that comes when we pray for souls? It seems that nothing happens when we pray…Why? Well, it might be:

1. We’ve become cold…

2. We’ve become careless or we “care less”…

3. We’ve become corrupted by the world…

4. We’ve become comfortable in the world…

 

Are we – are YOU – really convinced that souls are going to Hell? When was the last time in praying for a lost soul that God broke your heart and tears ran down your face for that soul?

 

*CONVICTION will bring us from “prayer” to “effectual fervent prayer”!

 

3. There must be INTERCESSION

 

Why don’t we intercede on behalf of others, as we should? Could it be that:

 

1. We’re satisfied with things we have and of who we are?

2. We really don’t see the need to pray?

3. We really don’t have the heart to pray?

 

Start interceding for someone else. Start going to God on someone else’s behalf. Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others“. Do you see the great need for it? Do you have the heart for it? To be a true intercessor for others will bring about effectual fervent prayer!

 

4. There must be COMPASSION

 

I read of a pastor one time that God used to plant a church in the middle of a tough, inner city. When asked how it was done, he replied, “Wet eyes, bent knees, and a broken heart.”

 

Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference”.

 

When you have compassion, it shows that:

1. You believe in Hell…

2. You believe in the coming judgment…

3. You believe in the brevity of life…

4. You have concern for the souls of men…

 

And therefore, COMPASSION will bring you from “prayer” to “effectual fervent prayer”!

 

 

Are you ready to pray…effectually fervently…will all humility / energy / sincerity?

 

Are you ready to “work out” with God what God has already “worked in” with you?

 

PRAY…JUST PRAY!

 

 

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Take the N.I.V. Quiz

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 15, 2008

To take the NIV quiz, just answer the following questions from the New International Version (NIV) Bible. If you’d like to use the NIV online, please click on the NIV picture and change the “search” version to “NIV“.

Oh yes…one other thing – the answers to these questions MUST BE TAKEN FROM the actual verses of this translation AND NOT from any footnotes. After completing the quiz, let us know how you did!

1) Matthew 5:44 [fill in the blanks]: “Love your enemies, _______________ them that curse you, ____________  ___________ that hate you, and pray for them that _____________  ______________  ____________ and persecute you.”

2) In Matthew 17:21 what 2 THINGS did Jesus say were required to cast out the devil that was vexing a man’s son?

3) According to Matthew 18:11, what was the very important reason WHY Jesus came to earth?

4) In Matthew 27:35, when the wicked soldiers parted the Lord’s garments at the cross, they were actually fulfilling prophecy…from this verse, write down what was that prophecy.

5) In Luke 22:14, how many Apostles were with the Lord Jesus?

6) According to Acts 8:37, was is THE REQUIREMENT for baptism?

7) What did Saul [soon to be, Paul] ask his Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 9:6?

8] 1 Timothy 3:16 is perhaps THE GREATEST VERSE in the New Testament concerning the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ…in this verse, WHO was manifested in the flesh?

9) 1 John 5:7 speaks to the Three Persons in the tri-unity of God…from this verse, who are these Three?

10) Revelation 1:11 is another very important verse that proves the Deity of Christ. In this verse, Jesus says, “I am the A________ and O__________, the ____________ and the ___________. Fill in the blanks from the NIV.

→This brief quiz is intended to point out that there are differences in translations of the Bible. All these questions can be answered with the Authorized Version, or King James Version [KJV] Bible.

→My question is [and yours ought to be]: WHY? Why are there differences in the translations…major differences, and not just differences in spelling, grammer, etc, as it’s been touted?

→Did God say it or didn’t God say it? Did God speak His Word specifically, or did He give a general thought that would be left up for us to figure out what He was meaning? For example: When a parent tells his child, “Take out the trash and clean your room“, that parent means, “Take out the trash and clean your room“. It does not mean “take out the trash” only or “clean your room” only. The child may only “take out the trash“, but that’s not everything his parent told him to do.

WHAT SAY YOU? WHY DOES THE NIV AND THE AV [or, KJV] CONTAIN DIFFERENCES IF IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE THE VERY WORDS OF GOD? …hhhmmmm…

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

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!

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

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?

Posted in Devotional Thoughts, Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , | 16 Comments »