The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

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”!!!

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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!]

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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!!!

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Eating His Flesh and Drinking His Blood

Posted by Pastor Szekely on June 10, 2008

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6:53-57

WHOA! What’s the Lord Jesus Christ saying here? Unless folks “eat His Flesh” and “drink His Blood” they cannot have eternal life? That’s what He said…but what did He say…let’s have “ears to hear and eyes to see”!

In John chapter six, the Lord Jesus was having a conversation with a great multitude of people. They asked Him a question in vs28, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” They were asking the Lord Jesus about eternal life…how do I know this? By what Jesus said in vs27,29, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (vs29) “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

After they question Him on what He says, Jesus declares that HE IS the Bread of Life!

John 6:30-35, “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? (vs31) Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. (vs32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. (vs33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (vs34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. (vs35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is the True Bread from Heaven – He’s the Living Bread – He’s the Bread of Life…and He goes on further to explain just what that means and entails – vs51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

“…came down from Heaven” = Divine

if any man eat of this bread, he shall live” = Life-Giving and All-sufficient

for ever” = Eternal

and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” = Whosoever Will

 

Now the Jews didn’t like what the Lord was saying – vs41, “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.” So vs51 really threw them for a loop! “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (vs52). Even some who were following Christ around and learning from Him were offended by what the Lord was saying – vs60-61, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”

 

WHAT WAS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAYING?

When Jesus spoke of “eating His Flesh” and “drinking His Blood” was He calling for us to be “cannibals“?

 

I was born into a Catholic family and to Catholic church I went. This is what I was taught. For my “salvation” one thing I had to do was eat His flesh and drink His Blood. I was in a belief that got “hung-up” on John 6:51, 53-56.

–This is what we had from the Council of Trent (a Catholic Council): “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly His body that He was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change in the whole substance [being, essence] of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation [meaning, ‘to change into another substance’]. The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist . . .Since they remain for about 15 minutes in the human body after being swallowed, we should spend this time in prayer, thanksgiving, and adoration, and not quickly turn to worldly occupations.”

–Also, we read of the town, Lanciano, Italy, where there are pieces of “human heart flesh” on display. Catholics say that in the year 700, there was a priest in that town that doubted that their sacramental host – wafer – actually turned into the “real presence of the Lord”. So, they say that while this priest was doing the Mass, the bread and the wine actually turned into real flesh and real blood!

THIS IS WHAT I HEARD AND KNEW OF IN CATHOLICISM!

 

THIS IS WHAT THE INSTITUTION OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM SAYS, BUT IS THIS WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAYS? Let’s search the Scriptures…

 

The ones in John chapter six didn’t “get it”, and neither do many today. God doesn’t call us to be cannibals! They were thinking carnally, and to think and to be carnal means to pertain to the flesh; sensual; opposed to the spiritual” – Again vs60-61, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”

 

HERE is what Jesus was saying, and let’s go about this contextually…

1) Vs26-29, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. [the Lord is telling them they had the wrong motivation – they were coming to Him for the wrong reason!] (vs27) Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [Christ is saying, “Stop letting the temporal be your boss!”] (vs28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  [They were asking for eternal life] (vs29) Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” [It is God’s work for you to believe – it’s not your work for you to believe]

THEY WERE FOCUSED ON THE CARNAL, BUT CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL!

 

2) Vs35-36, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (vs36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.”

AGAIN, CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL – “BELIEVETH” JESUS SAYS, BUT “BELIEVED NOT” THEY DID!

 

3) Vs40-42, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (vs41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. (vs42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?”

AGAIN, CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL, BUT THEY WEREN’T THINKING ON THE SPIRITUAL!

 

We see that the whole context of John chapter six is Christ speaking on the Spiritual, and the multitude being carnally minded!

SO: why would the context change in verses 51, 53-56?

Why would Jesus all of the sudden change His context on what He was talking about with them in the whole chapter? These verses MUST ALSO BE in the same context – Christ speaking on the Spiritual!

 

Can’t believe that? Still having a hard time “digesting” it? Well, Jesus makes it “crystal clear” in vs63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” To Christ, it was “Carnal vs. Spiritual”!

 

ONE LAST THING – WHY did the Lord speak in this fashion to the multitude?

Couldn’t the Lord think of a “better way” to say what He wanted to say?

Friends, He knew EXACTLY what He was doing AND He said EXACTLY what He wanted to say!

 

How do I know this? Vs60,64-66, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs64) But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (vs65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (vs66) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

 

Many professed to be His disciples, but the Light of the world illumined the Truth in their heart!

(1 Cor 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”)

 Jesus gave them something that a lost person would stumble over and it showed them who they really were!

 

How did the Lord’s true followers respond? Vs67-69, “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (vs68] Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (vs69) And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” They may not have understood it all, but they “believed and were sure” that Jesus was Christ, the Son of the Living God!

 

So what is the Lord Jesus Christ saying here in John chapter six? Unless folks “eat His Flesh” and “drink His Blood” they cannot have eternal life? No…stop being carnally-minded and start thinking on the spiritual…

 

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

God the Son does not call us to cannibalism – to eat His Flesh and to drink His Blood – but to trust in the Words He has said about the Work He has done to be saved.

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Change

Posted by Pastor Szekely on June 4, 2008

Change?

(Note: This IS NOT an endorsement for Obama – He will bring change, but not for the better!)

As you’re probably aware, the title of this post has been used and used and used in great lengths as of late, and I’m sure we won’t stop hearing about it until November! Of course after the election, no matter who wins the nomination, it will most likely be “politics as usual” and “change” will once again just be an overused word…anyway…

I wanted to use this word to describe what I read this morning in my personal time in God’s Word…

Ezekiel 46:9, “…when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.”

When you read verse nine do you notice that folks who came to worship God came in one way and left another way? That really spoke to me in this way: They couldn’t leave the same way they came in! Oh how that ought to be for us in a spiritual sense when we enter into the House of God to worship Him!

We ought to be changed in our church services! Everything we do as we try to worship God in church ought to change us. We ought to submit unto the Holy Spirit as we sing those Scriptural songs and as we listen to the teaching and preaching that’s before us! We ought to come before God every time in His House with the attitude, “Father, I want to know You more; I want to know more of You“. Knowing God more through His Word WILL HAVE a dramatic affect on us that WILL bring about a true change!

Oh dear friends, pray that you would be “conformed into the image of His dear Son”, and that you would be changed to be more like Him every time you are in God’s House. Have your services to God in church be meaningful and desire to heed what He says and do what He wills, and you won’t leave the same way you came in!

OH, LET ME GET TO CHURCH!!!”

ONLY GOD GIVES US CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!

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When God is Forgotten

Posted by Pastor Szekely on April 16, 2008

Do you have a hard time remembering things? I have to admit that I do…and one of the hardest things for me to remember are names. Now that’s not good for a pastor! I worked in pharmacy a long time and I still can remember “big words”, but for some reason it’s hard for me to remember names. As I write this, my wife and I’ve been married for over 21 years, and I joke with her about this. I tell her that for the first five years of our marriage I called her, “honey”, “baby”, and “sweetheart” because I couldn’t remember her name 🙂 Of course, that’s just a joke, but I must be missing something above the shoulders when it comes to names…Anyway…

This post has come about from my personal time in God’s Word, and I thought it very interesting what I’d read in Ezekiel 22:12, “In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.” [Emphasis added]

It’s one thing to forget names, but it’s totally something else TO FORGET THE LORD GOD! In Ezekiel’s time, one of the reasons why Israel was being judged by God was because they had forgotten God. What made Israel forget God? In Ezekiel 22:

vs3-4 = Idolatry…and as the verse says, idolatry defiles.

vs7 = Disrespectful toward their parents.

vs8 = Disrespectful and irreverent toward God.

vs9-11 = Lewdness – the unlawful indulgence of lust…and it was so bad and so “out-in-the-open” that verse 10 describes their lewdness like as a son discovering his father’s nakedness, “In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.” To “discover your father’s nakedness” means that a son would have his father’s wife: Leviticus 20:11, “And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness…”

What sins were committed in Israel! But this is the answer to the question…what made Israel forget God? Their wicked iniquities made them forget God! When sin abounds – God is forgotten. Don’t we as a nation need to hear this today? Aren’t there churches in our country where “this would preach“? Aren’t there families who need to wake up and realize that when sin abounds God is forgotten?

*When pornography is sought after and consumed – God is forgotten!

*When lying is just a way of doing business – God is forgotten!

*When God’s House and God’s Word are forsaken – God is forgotten!

*When children are not corrected and disobedient before their parents – God is forgotten!

*When satisfying “self” is the main goal – God is forgotten!

*When there’s acceptance and no guilt with adultery and fornication – God is forgotten!

*When Hollywood trains us rather than the Bible – God is forgotten!

*And I could go on and on. [If you’d like, you can add to it!]

 SO: Let me ask again – “Do YOU have a hard time remembering things…or more importantly, remembering God?” It’s one thing to forget a name…but it’s something totally different to forget God.

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The Value of God’s Word

Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 19, 2008

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

It is the Lord who gives Wisdom – “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6. SO: If we’re going to acquire Wisdom from God, we must: Be RECEPTIVE to God’s Word, be RESPONSIVE to God’s Word, and be RESOLUTE with God’s Word! BUT…

Do we understand just how important God’s Word is to us? Do we really understand the VALUE OF GOD’S WORD?

Is the Word of God dear to you? How do you cherish the Word of God? How do you treasure the very Words from the Heart and Lips of God? How do you show the Bible’s value in your life?

King Solomon wanted to make sure his children knew the value of God’s Word. In Proverbs 3:1-4, the king wanted to train his children to solidly answer the questions I’ve posed to you. Solomon writes:

“(vs1) My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (vs2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. (vs3) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (vs4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”

I. We first find an ADMONITION in verse 1

Solomon admonishes his son to not forget his ruling, guiding principles that he has set forth…But what also does this admonition do? This admonition found in vs1 brings the head and the heart together!

–“My son, forget not my law”: If we will have God’s Wisdom, God’s Word must be in our head! We need to memorize God’s Word…it is truly vitally important in the pursuit of Wisdom from God…but it’s not enough!

Solomon goes on to say: “but let thine heart keep my commandments”. There’s a real danger if all we do is simply store God’s Word in our head, but we don’t have it sink into our heart! How do we value God’s Word?

Is it something we hold to…like an opinion (head-knowledge)! OR is it something that holds us…like a conviction (heart-knowledge)!

You and I both know that God’s Word can be pushed from our minds due to various things: the rush of life / peer pressures / temptations / distractions…BUT: when God’s Word is in our heart – it will always hold center-stage! Solomon’s admonishment to his children ought to caution us to value God’s Word with our heads AND with our hearts!

Solomon then continues on in verse two with an:

II. ASSURANCE (vs2)

Solomon tells his children that if they obey and follow the word of their father, they can be kept from things in life that would be detrimental to their days! Now we know that there are many factors involved in a person’s life and health…but the assurance is this: There’s a better opportunity for length of days, long life, and peace to be added to you if you follow what God says, rather than if you do not. THE VALUE OF GOD’S WORD!

Next, Solomon gives an:

III. APPEAL (vs3)

There’s an appeal to us here that as we value God’s Word, we should have it written on the table of our heart AND have it bound about our neck…Have you ever noticed how many times God references our neck in His Word? I think it’s pretty interesting:  

A stiff neck = representation of pride & rebellion (Acts 7:51) / a submissive neck = represents bowing to and respecting authority…

God’s Word written on the table of a soft heart and bound around a submissive neck is valued as AUTHORITY! We have an appeal from Solomon for God’s Word to be valued as THE AUTHORITY in our lives! “Not just the final rule…but the ONLY rule of faith and practice!”

Next, Solomon gives us more to showing the Bible’s value in our life with an:

IV. ANNOUNCEMENT (vs4)

Not only will we be found pleasant and find grace in God’s sight, but we will also be a blessing unto mankind! Oh how important and valuable is God’s Word!

SO: Can we see just how important God’s Word is to us? Solomon wanted to make sure his children knew the value of God’s Word…do we?

HOW DO YOU SHOW THE BIBLE’S VALUE IN YOUR LIFE?

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Baptist Politics

Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 17, 2008

Scary!
It’s an election year in our country – pretty scary!
I’m so thankful God is on the Throne and in control!

 

Sometimes I just get amazed with folks when I talk with them about politics. I’d like to think we have a more-informed society today that would be able to make rational and reasonable choices and decisions, but there’s always someone out there who wants to burst my bubble!

For example: I talked with a lady who votes for presidential candidates on the basis of their looks! I’ve also visited with another person who wants to vote “for change“, but when pressed upon what kind of change he’s looking for his answer is, “I don’t know – I just want change“. If our people don’t get more careful about how they manage our country by their votes and by holding their elected representatives accountable, Psalm 106:15 just might apply [if it already doesn’t]: “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Maybe there ought to be some sort of written “voting test” or something before people choose their representatives on the basis of looks or empty rhetoric…anyway…

I said all that to say we Independent Baptists definitely can have a hard time when it comes to politics as well! Oh, sometimes we can be the worst when it comes to politics, and I’m not talking about the politics of the country – I’m talking about BAPTIST POLITICS!

I like the name “Independent Baptist”. I think that “label” is all we need. I have a saying that goes, “Baptist is a must and Independent is enough!” How much more of a description do we need anyway? BAPTIST ought to [used to] mean something [i.e. – our historic Baptist distinctives], and INDEPENDENT told on our dependency on Christ alone – no conventions, no associations, no hierarchies. But for a bunch of folks who call themselves “Independent”, we sure do splinter off and gather up and isolate into a bunch of “political parties” or “camps”…BAPTIST POLITICS.

What we have today is true New Testament Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ – who ought to be co-laboring together to further the cause of Christ in a fraternal sense only – preaching their independency and professing that the local church IS God’s only institution for world evangelism…but in practice, they contradict themselves by relying on associations outside their assembly “to assist in” the work of missions, the ordination of preachers, etc. Is it practical to send Missions support or to send a missionary through a clearing house outside of a “small” congregation that [allegedly] won’t be able to handle it themselves? Some may argue it’s practical – but is it Scriptural?

BAPTIST POLITICS – there are a lot of good, doctrinally sound, Independent Baptist men who’ve surrendered to the mission field or whom God is having start works at home in America. But from what I’ve seen and heard [and please, correct me if I’m wrong], what happens in many cases is: if that man who’s searching for and needing support hasn’t gone through some deputation school, graduated some Bible college, or hasn’t added another label to the “Independent Baptist” to the appeasement of the potential supporting pastor, then that missionary/church-planter just needs to go “down the road” – BAPTIST POLITICS. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” 1 John 3:17.

It used to be if a man came asking for support or to answer the call to fill a much-needed position within the church, that pastor would get the name of his pastor and church and call him and others for reference before bringing it before the church. Not in Baptist Politics anymore! Brother, if you haven’t signed our association’s “covenant and bylaws”, you’re just not one of us! And these same ones who hold to this rationale come down on the Southern Baptists…God help us!

I sure get tired at times of politics in our country…but I’m just exhausted over BAPTIST POLITICS. Churches are independent, and if they want their pastor to lead them into some association that jeopardizes their independency, that goes beyond a fraternal co-laboring, and that puts their pastor on committees and organizations outside of their congregation “to further on God’s work” [how noble], I guess that’s their business…but is that God’s business? Is that how God wants His works to go?

Churches have the liberty to do what they want and to support whomever they please – per the Scriptures – but can we try and take the politics out of the equation? How political is your church, or how political are you? Are you a Baptist Politician? How are we making decisions today? “I’m in this camp”; “I’m associated with the BBF, NIBF, GIBF, etc”; “I went to _______ Bible college” – Who cares??? I mean no disrespect, but when it comes down to it, has the “Baptist litmus test” become the college you went to or your association with a certain group that will in a generation or so fall apart and apostatize like the previous ones? BAPTIST POLITICS.

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For Super Bowl Sunday

Posted by Pastor Szekely on January 31, 2008

I received this a while back, and as I read it once again, I thought it could be definitely used as a timely post on the blog. This was written by Pastor David R. Watkins of the Liberty Baptist Church in Attalla, Alabama…and he put into words what many of us believe and are thinking on…thank you Bro. Watkins!

The following is from Pastor Watkins:

This tract is written in protest of the modern day, passive, sissy-fied, and noodle for backbone, watered down religion.

People claim the name of Christianity without being Christian at all. The word Christian means to follow in the ways of Jesus Christ. As I look around and see the spiritual shape our churches are in I can’t help but feel that this isn’t what Christ had in mind.

Today the gates of hell do not have to prevail against the Church because hell is being invited into the Church. Churches across the country are having Super Bowl Sunday so those that are not comfortable in church can come watch the ballgame. When are they going to allow those who are not comfortable watching the game without beer to bring their own beer? Or even more repulsive, to have the beer on hand?

How long is the judgement of God going to be postponed before God has had enough? I talked to a lady not long ago that asked, “Why do the ladies in your church wear dresses? We have Casual Day at our church!” How long will it be before they have a Drunk Day or a Bathing-suit Sunday? You say that would never happen. But not long ago I heard a church went to a water theme park on Sunday.

Today it’s getting hard to tell if the church is worldly or the world is churchy. Today you have people getting saved without getting changed. However, in the Bible those that came to Jesus left a different way, they left changed. If I were you I would be worried about salvation without transformation.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1,2

Why are pastors getting lured into letting modernistic gimmicks enter into the church without being concerned about compromise? The answer is simple. It’s the numbers game. If their brethren are running 100 in Sunday School, what can they do to increase their attendance? That’s right! Come see the pastor swallow live goldfish! This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday! Come see the pastor slide down the slide into the water with his suit on. Do you recall anywhere in the Bible where Jesus used such nonsense to gather people? Me neither.

So, how do you get people into church these days? Do you compromise the Word of God or do you stay true to the Word of God? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Not out of convenience, but out of conviction. It has never been popular to be on the Lord’s side. For example, The Israelites have always been viewed upon in a negative sense, yet they are God’s chosen people. The disciples were blessed to have been with Jesus, yet most of them died a martyr’s death. All through church history, it was the small groups that have carried the torch of Christianity, not the large denominations of the Pharisees. God is not impressed with numbers, but God loves for us to obey His word.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil…Exodus 23:2

Many times in church, I’ve heard the preacher preach that, “You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’!” But pastors all across the country are trying to keep up with each other so they can report their numbers to their denominational board. The preacher shouldn’t have to answer but to one authority and that is God. He shouldn’t have to answer to a man in an office living in another state, completely ignorant of the situations in which this pastor is having to deal. The local church is to be under the authority of the pastor and the pastor under the authority of God. Not a deacon board, not the associational missionary and not the influential family of the church he pastors! Do you recall associational boards in the Bible?

This “new-fangled” religion going around is destroying the power and influence of the local church. Lost people are laughing at you. (“You” is from hereon substituted for the terms “compromising pastors” and “preachers” that have adapted to the modern religious ideas). I weep for you. The devil has pulled the wool over your already blinded eyes. You’ve gotten so used to the dark that you’re ignorant of the light. You think that rock music with Christian lyrics is a good thing and you have concerts in the church house that is intended for worship and drawing sinners toward the light of the gospel. What your doing is trying to take a medium (rock music) that the devil created and trying to glorify God. God has given us Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to glorify Him.

The songwriters of old were not in the music business but in the ministry. The hymns of “Amazing Grace” and “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus” and many, many others were written to minister from the heart of the individuals that wrote them, not to earn a buck!!!

When you fill your church with these mediums, you get Christians without convictions, Christianity without Christ, preachers that won’t preach convictions, and gain without Godliness.

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 1 Tim. 6: 3-5

If you have given into these mediums in your church supposing that gain is Godliness you need to examine yourselves. You have been led astray with compromise. We are living in the latter days when the existence of apostasy isn’t a revelation but a reality. Don’t you think it strange when the Bible says concerning the age of apostasy in which we live, that you will become, “Rich and increased with goods,” and yet you don’t preach sound doctrine or about such sins as tobacco use, theater attendance, worldly music and improper dress? Does that not seem strange to you? Maybe it doesn’t because you’re scared to preach the truth in fear that you will loose your flock! After all, the Bible says they will heap to themselves teachers having itchy ears, and you don’t want to be replaced for preaching about the sins of the flock, do you? That makes you a compromiser, and compromising builds church attendance, not Christians!!! When you fail to preach convictions for perfecting holiness you’ve become a coward because you don’t want to run off your tithing church members and you probably don’t preach on tithing either.

Your new religion is building large churches where people can hide and not have to deal with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. How do I know? I see the way your people live. They don’t bear the marks or display the testimony of holiness. They have no power to overcome sin nor do they have desire to try. One of the reasons that people don’t flock to the church I pastor and others like it is they don’t like to deal with their sin. They enjoy their sin. They can attend your church and be comfortable in their sin. The reason the devil doesn’t mess with your church is you mess with it better than he can. He is vacationing from your church.

Wow…preach on and pray that people would give in to God and get changed!

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

What Would You Do?

Posted by Pastor Szekely on December 13, 2007

I came across this through a friend…The first time I watched it I thought it pretty intense, but… Are You Ready? Sobering question…sobering video.

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »