WHERE IS YOUR HEART?

(Mark 7:6-9, 20-23)

Mark 7:6-8 – “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”

Philip Doddridge said this about this passage “Notwithstanding all your talk, then, of strictness in religion,  yet as this appears to be expressive of your real character, the doom of hypocrites belongs to you; and God may justly affirm of such, (as it is added there,) “In vain do they worship me, while they teach doctrines or lessons {that are} merely human inventions and injunctions, being only the precepts of men, that have no stamp of the divine authority upon them,” which yet they would insist upon as necessary parts of religion, and would impose them on the consciences of others.

We need to make sure our heart is where God wants it to be. We need to make sure our heart is focused on God and making ourselves more like Him. The outward appearances of man, the way we dress, the way we act, the things we do are all important, but the most important is to have our heart right with God. Where is your heart? Is it right with God? Being hypocritical, pretending to be right with God and considering and judging others to not be right with God just because they are not adhering to the same religious checklist you are adhering to, like the Pharisees were doing to Jesus, is wrong and spoken strongly against by our Lord in this passage. Where is your heart? Is it close to Jesus or far from Him?

INTRODUCTION: Where is your heart? Our heart can be many different places but the right place. Is your heart centered on God and His will or is it centered on yourself and your will, your thoughts, your desires? Our Lord Jesus says in this passage “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:” Is some of this what is going on in your heart today? The heart is an interesting place, it can be a most evil, wicked, and defiled place but you can put on a good front and fool people as to the true nature of your heart. What is your heart condition today? Where is your heart? (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

“HEART IS FAR FROM ME” vs.6The Lord Jesus in this verse reproves them for their hypocrisy. They were pretending to honor God with their life, but internally they were living very wickedly.

“As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasoning, corrupt appetites and passions, and all those wicked words and actions which are produced by them.” – Matthew Henry.

  • Where your heart is at spiritually will eventually show itself, in your choice of words, in your actions, in your attitude or other areas of your life.
  • A carnal mind and heart, a heart full of sinful thoughts and desires renders your spirit unfit for communication with God. If you continue in this state of sin and defilement in your heart it will produce hardness in your heart and a stain on your conscience. The longer you let you heart remain away from God the harder it will be to get close to God again. (Proverbs 28:14 – Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.)

A HEART THAT WANTS ITS OWN WAY vs.7The Pharisees here wanted to do things their own way. They wanted to work out their religion their own way not Gods way. One of the biggest problems man faces is a heart that wants its own way. Christians will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all areas of life and the world except their own hearts. Who is the sovereign of your heart is it the Great I AM, (Yahweh) GOD or do you say “I am” the sovereign of my own heart. Do you humble yourself and surrender yourself to the control of the Lord or do you think you should be calling all the shots in your life.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said “The Devil did not tempt Adam and Eve to steal, to lie, to kill, to commit adultery; he tempted them to live independent of God.”  (Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;)

  • Man’s heart wants its own way in opposition to Gods way. Let’s look at what the Bible says about mans “own way”.
  • In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6
  • So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12
  • “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7
  • “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15
  • “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
  • “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:21
  • “Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:16
  • This “own way” tendency this “I am” sovereign of my own heart not God, this attitude, this heart condition is the culprit in our hearts not being near unto God like they are supposed to be and should be. (Acts 8:22 – Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.)

A HEART THAT PUTS “ASIDE THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD” vs.8Christ in this verse is criticizing the reinterpretation of the commands of God to fit your own thoughts or ways of living or being “religious”. Christ preached against putting more emphasis on the traditions of men to the ignoring and downright twisting of God’s word to fit them.

  • The emphasis of our life should be on our heart and living out God’s word because out of the wicked imaginations of the heart is a man’s life defiled. (Mark 7:20 – And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.)
  • The emphasis of our life should not be on what men say if that is against God’s word, but it should be on what God commands us and instructs us to do in His word. (Mark 7:9 – And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition)
  • Jesus made it clear to us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that real holiness is a matter of our inward affections and attitudes and not just our outward appearances, actions, associations, religious checklists or traditions we keep.

The pious Pharisees thought they were holy because they obeyed the Law and avoided external defilement. Jesus taught that a person who obeys the Law externally can still break the Law in his heart, and that external “defilement” has little connection with the condition of the inner person” – Warren W. Wiersbe

  • An example of looking externally pure but being internally sinful is what Jesus had to say on the subject of adultery – “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” Matthew 5:28
  • Where is your heart? Is it thinking pure thoughts? Or is it thinking wicked sinful thoughts?
  • You need to be internally what you pretend to be externally. We all need to be genuine Christians.

“Many of us who profess to be Christians are so busy with the mechanics of our religion that we have no time left for the spiritual part of it.” –Martin Luther

A HEART THAT WORSHIPS GODTrue worship must come from the heart and not from mans ideas or traditions. True heartfelt worship is directed by God’s word. God’s word working in our hearts leads to right worship and right living for our Lord. Our worship must always be heartfelt and heart genuine or we will be “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition,” Mark 7:13a.

People who revere man-made traditions above the Word of God eventually lose the power of God’s Word in their lives. No matter how devout they may appear, their hearts are far from God.” Warren W. Wiersbe

  • True holiness is a matter of the heart. It centers on a right relationship with God through our faith in Him. We need to trust Him by faith for our salvation, our worship of Him and for our everyday lives. (Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen)

“An excellent description of faith is by the effects, because it represents things which are but yet in hope, and sets as it were before our eyes things that are invisible.” Geneva Bible Notes 1599

  • There is scarcely any verse of the New Testament that is more important than this, because it states what the nature of all true faith is. Eternal life depends on the existence and exercise of faith, (Ephesians 2:8 –For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:) and therefore it is vitally important for an accurate understanding or what true faith is.
  • God wants our love, obedience and worship to come from the heart. He does not want it if is not genuine. It order to please God with our service for Him and to make it count for an eternal reward it needs to come from our heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5 – And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.)

THE HEART OF MEN (Mark 7:21-23 – For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.)

  • The heart of man is not pure and holy and righteous by nature. We are born sinners. Our hearts are sinful by nature. (Genesis 6:5 – And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually) We have to be diligent regarding the whereabouts of our heart. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts pure. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts immersed in the study of the Word of God daily. We need to fill our hearts with the teachings and preaching’s of the Word of God. Do not be filling your hearts with the filth of the world. Don’t let your hearts become like the world. We should be striving to be more like Christ every day.
  • The Bible says man’s heart is deceitful and wicked and not to be trusted. Some people will say “I have to follow my heart” you need to be following the Lord and not your heart. Your heart cannot be trusted. (Ecclesiastes 9:3 – This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.)

MANS HEART EXAMINED BY GOD (I Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.)

  • What does the Lord see when he examines your heart? Does he see a heart that is right with Him, does he see a Christian on fire for Him, does he see a heart with all known sin confessed, does he see a heart that works hard at avoiding sin? Or does he see a heart that is full of pride, rebellion, anger, lust, sinful thoughts a heart that is filthy and full of dirty rotten sin? (Proverbs 5:21 – For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.)
  • We need to surrender our hearts over to the Lord. Confess our sins to Him. All the things we need to get right; get them right with the Lord. Don’t let anything be between you and the Savior. Get your hearts right, keep them right, guard them with all your might. Where is your heart today? Is it in the will of God? Is it in the hand of God?

WHAT CAN A HEART THAT IS TOO FOCUSED ON THE OUTWARD MAN AND NOT THE INWARD MAN LEAD TO? – THE ANSWER IS WHAT IS CALLED LEGALISM.

“What does the Bible say about legalism? How can a Christian avoid falling into the trap of legalism?”

Answer: The word “legalism” does not occur in the Bible. It is a term Christians use to describe a doctrinal position emphasizing a system of rules and regulations for achieving both salvation and spiritual growth. Legalists believe in and demand a strict literal adherence to rules and regulations. Doctrinally, it is a position essentially opposed to grace. Those who hold a legalistic position often fail to see the real purpose for law, especially the purpose of the Old Testament law of Moses, which is to be our “schoolmaster” or “tutor” to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24 – Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.).

True believers can be legalistic. But we are instead instructed to be gracious to one another: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Romans 14:1. Sadly, there are those who feel so strongly about non-essential doctrines, traditions and rules that they will run others out of their fellowship, criticize them for not fulfilling a religious checklist test, and not even allowing the expression of another viewpoint. That, too, is legalism.

Demands of legalism. Many legalistic believers today make the error of demanding unqualified adherence to their own biblical interpretations and even to their own traditions. For example, there are those who feel that to be spiritual one must simply check off all the boxes on some sort of fundamental Christian check list. The truth is fulfilling these checklists are no guarantee of spirituality, and remember we learned that God looks on the inward man, in our hearts, not on the outward man to see our true spiritual condition. (Mark 7:8-9 – For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.)

The apostle Paul warns us of legalism. (Colossians 2:20-23 – Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.) Legalists may appear to be righteous and spiritual, but legalism ultimately fails to accomplish God’s purposes because it is an outward performance instead of an inward change.

Avoiding the trap of legalism. To avoid falling into the trap of legalism, we can start by holding fast to the words of the apostle John, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 and remembering to be gracious, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Romans 14:10.

A word of caution is necessary. While we need to be gracious to one another and tolerant of disagreement over disputable matters, we cannot accept heresy. We are exhorted to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). If we remember these guidelines and apply them in love and mercy, we will be safe from both legalism and heresy. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.

IN CONCLUSION: Where is your heart? Our heart can be many different places but the right place. Where your heart is at spiritually will eventually show itself, in your choice of words, in your actions, in your attitude or other areas of your life. One of the biggest problems man faces is a heart that wants its own way. Christians will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all areas of life and the world except their own hearts. Who is the sovereign of your heart is it the Great I AM, (Yahweh) GOD or do you say “I am” the sovereign of my own heart.

You need to be internally what you pretend to be externally. We all need to be genuine Christians. True holiness is a matter of the heart. It centers on a right relationship with God through our faith in Him. It does not center on the outward appearance or actions but on the inward condition of the heart. Though with a heart that is right with God our outward appearance and actions will be changed and we will have visibly good testimony to those around us.

Don’t be guilty of legalism. Don’t be guilty of imposing your opinion on others or judging others based on your opinion on a matter. That is what the Pharisees did in the New Testament and we examined what Jesus had to say about them in our text, it was not a flattering account, but rather a stern condemnation. (Mark 7:6 & 9 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.)

We have to be diligent regarding the whereabouts of our heart. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts pure. Make the decision to dedicate your heart to the Lord, to surrender your heart to the service of the Lord. Confess your faults and sins to the Lord and set your heart on a new right path in the light of the Lord.

A FACTUAL & HISTORICAL FAITH

(Luke 2:1-5 & 3:1-2)

Luke 2:1-2 – “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)” & 3:1 “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,”

Notice the appeal of the writer to time, places, people, and events that actually existed, took place and are verifiable. Christians are commanded to be ready to give an answer (I Peter 3:15) and we can give an answer about an actual, factual and historically verifiable faith.

INTRODUCTION: I Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Christians are to be ready to make a defense of the hope that is within us. Now more that ever we need to be ready to make that defense of our faith. The word translated as “answer” in I Peter 3:15 has the meaning of a plea or a defense or making a speech in defense of an action or a truth. We as Christians have a factually based faith. Jesus did exist, He was born, He did die and He did rise again. There is an empty tomb. He did ascend up to heaven and He is sitting on the right hand of God. “Ready” in I Peter 3:15 means to be prepared and to be fit or knowledgeable. We are to be prepared to defend our faith. We therefore need to go about preparing ourselves and be willing and bold about the defending when the time comes.

OUR FAITH IS RATIONAL AND INTELLECTUALLY SOUNDThe Christian faith appeals to the mind as well as appeals to the heart. God wants and expects us to use our minds. It has been said by those who want to degrade and insult those that live by faith in Christ, that in order to do so one has to commit “Intellectual Suicide” – this statement could not be further from the truth! Jesus tells us and wants us to involve our minds in our faith. (Matthew 22:36-38 – Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. & John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)

Our hearts need to believe and our minds need to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith. One cannot reject Christ in his mind and accept Him in His heart. Therefore, we need and are blessed with having a rational and intellectual faith we can rest in.

We need to have a strong faith; and having a strong faith requires both heart and mind. So it is important that we present reasons as to why we believe what we believe in an intelligent, logical and thought out manner. God is not the author of confusion and we should strive to not create confusion in our manner of defending of our faith and in how we share and witness of this faith with others. (I Corinthians 14:33a – For God is not the author of confusion, & I Corinthians 16:13 – Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.)

Christianity’s most powerful cognitive weapon in a pluralistic world —- (is) the factually attestable sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.” – John Warrick Montgomery

Do we have 100% proof? – No, but there is virtually nothing of which it can be said that there is 100% proof. We often make 100% commitments without being given 100% proof. Driving in a car for instance. We cannot have 100% proof we will make it to our objective or make it there safe, but by statistical evidence and personal experience of ourselves or perhaps someone else sharing a personal experience, we can be certain enough to make that 100% commitment to traveling in the car and expecting to arrive at our destination and arrive there safely.

We don’t have 100% proof but this is where faith comes in. We ultimately believe in and accept Christ by faith, not by proof. (Ephesians 2:8 -9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)

OUR FAITH IS A HISTORICAL AND FACTUAL FAITH (I Corinthians 15:3-8) – This passage gives us a historical and factual account of the many witnesses of the resurrected Christ. We have a faith that is as historically verifiable as other historic events that historians take for granted as fact but then they go and doubt the resurrection accounts and other Biblical accounts with as much or more factual evidence to back them up as the historical accounts they take as fact.

Christianity is a historical faith that appeals to certain historical facts and events, not to man’s philosophical proclamations, not to myths, not to legends not to men who claimed a level of deity and are still in their graves; but to a historically provable risen Savior that died for the sins of all mankind.

“The facts backing the Christian claim are not a special kind of ‘religious’ fact.  They are the cognitive, informational facts upon which all historical, legal, and ordinary decisions are based.” – Charles Pinnock

The New Testament does not try to prove Christ or prove what it is saying. It definitively presents the Christian faith as a matter of concrete, cognitive truth. (John 14:11 – Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.)

OUR FAITH IS AN OBJECTIVE FAITHOur faith has an object; our faith is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Historical facts about Christ: He was born in Bethlehem; He was the earthly son of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was a carpenter so Jesus would have trained and worked as one too. He lived to the age of about 33 & 1/2. He died in Jerusalem by crucifixion. While hanging on the cross the sky turned dark at noon and stayed dark for three hours (Luke 23:44-48), the veil in the Temple ripped in two (this alone is a miracle the veil was made very thick there is no way it just rips in two on its own), there was an earthquake. All these facts are historically verifiable by the many accounts of them. (II Peter 1:16 – For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.)

We have faith in who Jesus of Nazareth is and what He did – The Son of God, the Christ, the Savior of all who would believe and accept what He has done for all by His death, burial and then resurrection the third day by faith. How He has paid the sin debt of all mankind and all we have to do is repent and accept this payment on our behalf by faith in His shed blood and death on the cross. (Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)

Just having faith is not the most important thing. Muslim’s have faith in Allah, Buddhists have faith, Atheists have faith in nothing (which is actually faith in a conclusion that faith is not necessary) Evolutionists have faith in their theory; faith in and of itself is not the important part but eternal life and death, joy and torment is based on what you place your faith in. Is your faith placed in the Solid Rock of Christ or a “cunningly devised”, by man, object of faith such as Muslims, Buddhists, Evolutionists, Atheists and others believe in? Jesus said in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”The object of our faith must be Jesus or we will die in our sins and face an eternal torment in hell.

OUR FAITH IS BASED ON TRUTH NOT FALSIFICATIONUnlike other faiths such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s witnesses, the Christian faith is open and honest, nothing is kept hidden and it is based on solid truth; it invites others to examine it and consider it. (Acts 26:24-26 – And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.)

The Christian faith invites examination of it. If you use the same criterion, the same processes, the same verifying “tools” historians use on other “facts”, you cannot come to any other conclusion accept that Christ did exist, He was born, He did perform many miracles, He was crucified and He did rise from the dead the third day. Christianity is not just a matter of feeling or even action, but it is a religion of factual belief (the Biblical accounts really happened) this factual belief, if tested with the same historical means as which other historical events are examined, would yield even better results than other historical facts already accepted as such.

Christianity in the New Testament is presented as the truth; belief in Christ is presented as the only means of redemption and eternal life in heaven. (John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.) Christ’s resurrection, for example, can be examined by non-Christians as well as by Christians. The factual character of it, when considered with the claims of One raised from the dead, does not point to a multiple of different possibilities to explain it; but points to a single “best” interpretation of the data available to lead any objective examiner of the facts to that Jesus really did die and really did rise from the grave the third day. (John 2:18-22 – Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.)

OUR FAITH IS OFTEN REJECTED OR DISMISSED BY OTHERS – WHY?Why do people reject Christ? It can often be broken down into 3 main areas, though there are other reasons.

Ignorance or a lack of information about Christ. This reason can be their own personal fault for not wanting to listen to information about Christ, it could be the fault of false religions or false so called “Christian teachers or teachings” or this could be the fault of Christians. It could be our fault for not going out and sharing the Gospel like we are commanded to do by Christ in Matthew 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.”

Pride. (John 12:42-43 – Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.) – They cared more about how they looked to their peers than where they would spend eternity. Pride can be stronger than common sense sometimes. Pride can also cause people to dismiss Christ entirely because they feel they have no need for Him because they feel they are superior in some way to Christ. Pride may cause someone to think they only need to rely on themselves and no one else, not even Christ.

Moral problems. (John 3:19-20 – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.) – Some people reject Christ because that would mean they would have to give up their pet sins or leave their sinful lifestyle.

CONCLUSION: We have just seen how the Christian faith is a rational and intellectually sound faith. It is a faith that invites people to use their minds, to examine the Bible, to examine its teachings to examine its historicity and let the Spirit lead them into faith in Christ as their Savior. We’ve seen how the Christian faith is a factual faith. It is based on real people, real events, real places the accounts actually took place and our part of the history of the world. We have seen how the Christian faith is an objective faith. With the object of it being the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. How He is the Son of God, how He is the Savior of “whosoever will”. The Christian faith is based on truth not falsifications like other religions. It is based on truth not myths or made up stories; unlike how the world likes to sometimes paint the Christian faith as being. Yet despite all of this, the Christian faith is often rejected my men. It is rejected for many reasons including ignorance or a lack of knowledge of Christ (this reason may be partly the fault of Christians) they also reject the Christian faith because of their own pride and because of moral failings.

We as Christians need to rest assured that our faith is based on true historical accounts; many of which if held up to the same criterion and standards as other historical “facts” would come out looking stronger and more reliable than them. We as Christians need to understand we have a faith that we need to be ready to defend. We need to have at least a general understanding and knowledge of the pressing issues, questions and challenges to our faith today and how to give that Biblical stance to those issues, that Biblical answer to those questions and that Biblical defense to those challenges. We need to boldly stand for Biblical truth while doing so with a meek and humble spirit. (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear)

ACHAN – THE POWER OF SECRET SIN

(Joshua 6:18 & 7:1-5, 14-26)

Joshua 7:1“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.”

The command to abstain from the spoils of Jericho having been secretly violated, a curse is brought upon the Israelites, who are defeated in an attack on Ai (Joshua 7:1-5). Joshua, alarmed at the defeat, turns to the Lord for answers as to why it had happened. The Lord informs him of the cause of the disaster at Ai. This leads to the discovery of the perpetrator, his confession and then his punishment.

INTRODUCTION:  Achan was evidently the only offender in this matter among all the thousands of Israel—a wonderful instance of religious discipline and obedience. Yet the whole nation became implicated in the consequences of his transgression, a principal we can get from this is we do not sin in a vacuum, our sin does not only affect us; it affects those around us as well.

The fall of Jericho had been followed up by the temporary fall of Israel as the result of the sin of Achan. There are still Achan desires lurking within the hearts of men today; desires for forbidden and accursed things and sins. Desires that need to be combated and defeated through the power of Christ in the life of a believer. Sin always leads to failure, to lost fellowship with Christ and lost testimony for Him. We are going to examine seven stages of secret sin and look at what the end result of secret sin is in the life of a believer.

DESIRE – “I saw… then I coveted them…” Joshua 7:21. The first stage in secret sin is desire. Achan first had a desire; he first coveted what he eventually took.

  • Achan’s sin lay not in seeing the things that he eventually took, perhaps he could not help but to see them; but his sin lies in the coveting of them once he saw them. We all may see something sinful for an instant. We should turn our heads and avert our gaze after that. The sin lies in when we keep looking at the sinful thing and then begin to covet after it. (Luke 11:34 – The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.)
  • The pleasures of sin will be attractive to us. Christians have a great need to watch and guard their hearts from the attraction of sin. Certain circumstances and certain sins we may give into can lead to disastrous results in our life. We need to learn and to practice to bring every thought in our life into the captivity of Christ and His Spirit. (II Corinthians 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;)

DISOBEDIENCE – “He took of the accursed thing…” Joshua 7:21. God had warned the Israelites in Joshua 6:18 to not take of the accursed thing. Achan knew of the warning, Achan sinned willingly, not ignorantly.

  • The fact that Achan hid what he took proves he was conscious of the sin he was doing. He knew it was sin, he knew it was wrong and he did his best to hide it from everyone. (John 3:19 – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.)
  • Do you have something in your life that you do your best to hide from everyone? Do you not want anyone to find out about it? Do you hide it from your parents? Your siblings? Your family? Your spouse? If you are hiding the sin it means you are abundantly aware of the wrongness and sinfulness of your actions.
  • Do you try to keep up the appearance of godliness to those around you while keeping the secret sin in your life? This is the epitome of hypocrisy. You are putting up a show of being one thing while actually being another thing. You need to confess the original sin along with the sin of hypocrisy and turn to God and start living for Him like you should. (Matthew 15:7-8 – Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.) – Where is your heart? Is it right with God? Or is it just pretending to be?
  • The Bible tells us not to love the world. It was a love of the world and things it could offer that led Achan into his sin. Are there elements of the world that you love? If there are, confess that to God and seek His help to rid that affection for worldly things out of your life and instead seek those things of God instead. (I John 2:15-17 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.)

DEFEAT“they fled before the men of Ai …” Joshua 7:4. Sin will always lead to defeat. You cannot live a victorious life for Christ while carrying around the burden of a secret sin in your life. There may be a temporary satisfaction or a temporary victory associated with sin, but in the end sin will always lead to defeat. You cannot have true victory in your life while harboring sin in your life. Sin brings defeat, sin brings heartache, sin brings guilt, secret sin brings paranoia, and secret sin will lead to depression in the life of a believer. There is no long term good, satisfaction or upside to having a secret sin in your life. (Hebrews 11:24-26 – By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.)

DEPRESSION“the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.” Joshua 7:5c. Secret sin in the life of a believer will lead to depression and defeat. Secret sin does not benefit you at all, it only leads to paranoia and living in perpetual concern of being found out which leads to depression and the absence of true joy in your life.

  • Secret sin will lead to unexpected defeats in our life.
  • Secret sin will lead to depression where it feels like everything is crumbling down around us and there is no hope and no way to get victory.
  • God’s hand of blessing will be removed from the life of those living in secret sin. For awhile it may go unnoticed but eventually you will cease to see God’s hand of blessing in your life. Eventually your secret sin will lead to your depression and living in a defeated and hopeless state of mind, but if you repent of that sin the Lord will begin the healing process in your life. (Psalm 32:3-5 – When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.)
  • To get a solution to depression you have to first acknowledge its cause. In the case of secret sin, you have to acknowledge it to God and confess it to Him. Then remember all the promises of God and how He has said He can help you in whatever situation you find yourself in, whether it is your own doing or not. He will always be there for you. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5b – for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.)

DEBILITATION – “could not stand before their enemies…” Joshua 7:12. Secret sin leads to weakness, it leads to lack of motivation, it leads to an uncaring attitude, and it leads to a defeatist attitude. Secret sin, as it worms its way into your soul, debilitates you and leaves you unable to defend yourself from further attacks of the devil and causes you to be easily defeated in other areas of your life. One secret sin in your life is the gateway to countless other sins creeping into your life.

  • Harboring sin in your life breaks your fellowship with God, because the Bible teaches us that God cannot look upon sin. If we have unconfesed sin in our life our prayers go unheard, our communication line with Christ is broken.
  • Without a good prayer life our hearts too will melt under pressure when situations get difficult, our spirits will weaken under the stresses of life, our strength will wane, our ability to handle new attacks from the devil will be non-existent because our source of strength is the Lord, and when we have cut off that source by our secret sin we will not be able to renew our strength for what lies ahead. We won’t be able to stand before our enemy. We need to Lord and His strength in our life to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Psalm 28:7-8 – The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.)

DETECTION“and Achan… was taken” Joshua 7:18. Be sure your sin will find you out, no matter how skillful you think you are at hiding it, it will eventually find you out. Among the thousands upon thousands of Israelite’s at this time, Achan’s sin was discovered. Achan’s sin was found out because nothing is hidden from God. His sin was exposed to all the eyes of the whole nation. It was no longer secret, now humiliation and the most dreadful shame fell upon Achan, this shame must have also fell upon his family too. Every hidden thing will eventually be brought to light. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 28:13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

  • (Joshua 7:16-18) – It was strange that Achan being conscious of his own guilt, when he saw the lot come nearer and nearer to him, did not either make an attempt to escape or try to get grace by making a confession of the sin before the lot fell upon him.
  • This lack of confession shows the hardened heart that Achan had as a result of unconfessed secret sin. Keeping secret sin in your life and not confessing it and seeking forgiveness will lead you to have a hard heart to God and the things of God. Once a heart is hardened it can be a very difficult thing to get reversed.
  • You can imagine the moment Achan was singled out as the trespasser to all the nation of Israel. He had been found out; the secret sin was secret no more. Can you imagine the panic that must have went through him, the horror that must have instantly hit him? If only he had not coveted after that sin, if only he had not deceptively hid that sin, if only he had come clean about that sin and confessed it on his own and not had waited until he was found out, what a difference in his life it would have been.

DESTRUCTION – “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.” Joshua 7:25. There is no way to escape the consequences of your sins. If you are God’s children He will chastise you as you sin. Yes, Christ paid the eternal penalty of your sins on the cross, but there is still earthly chastisement from Him for sins you commit. The Bible teaches us that if fathers love their children they will chastise them and rebuke them when it is needed. So too does our heavenly father love us, so He too will bring chastisement into our life as a result of our sin. (Hebrews 12:6-7 – For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?)

  • What a contrast we can see between Rahab the harlot’s life, verses Achan the Israelites life. The one was saved along with their family and possessions; the other was lost along with their family and possessions. The faith of one, Rahab, made all the difference; and we learned how the disobedience of one, Achan, made all the difference.
  • Not just Achan suffered the consequences of his sin. (Joshua 7:24 – And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.)
  • Can you imagine the guilt of Achan knowing his sin was responsible for the premature death of his own children?
  • Achan did not intend anyone to get hurt from his sin. He did not intend for the thirty-six Israelites to die when they first tried to take Ai. He did not intend for his own family and children to die as a result of his sin. When we sin we do not intend for others to get hurt by our sin. We do not think our sin will affect anyone else but us, but that thought is not true. Your sin hurts more than just you. Your sin hurts and affects those that love you. Your sin hurts your family, your church and can even have an effect on your future children.
  • You need to keep the consequences of sin not just to you personally, but the consequences of your sin to others in the forefront of your mind. You do not ever want to experience the guilt and utter horror that Achan felt knowing he was responsible for the death of his children and knowing that his own children knew they were dying because of something Daddy had done. God forbid anything like this ever be true of anyone of us.
  • What will be your end? Will it be one of faith and obedience? Or will it be one of disobedience and destruction? Your future, your family’s future can be on the line all because of your secret sin. If you have a secret sin, run from it and run to the Lord and repent of it and seek His immediate forgiveness and grace only He can provide. Seek His comfort, seek His guidance and seek His wisdom in overcoming and conquering the desires in your life that may be leading you to commit your secret sin.

CONCLUSION:  Secret sin in the life of a believer is destructive. (Joshua 7:26 – And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.) Secret sin can destroy your reputation and your testimony. Look at what we know about Achan, he may have been a great man up to, and except for his secret sin, but do we know him for any of that other good stuff he may have done? No! We know him for the secret sin he committed. We know Achan for the shameful sin he perpetrated, for all the death and destruction that resulted from that sin.

Guard your life, guard your decision making. Make sure you are living for God in all areas. Cleanse yourself of any known sin in your life. Carefully examine your heart and your mind, seek to find out all the sin and rid yourself of it, repent of it and turn to God. If you have a secret sin or sins in your life, confess them right now, seek forgiveness right now, seek grace while it is available, and don’t wait to be found out like Achan did. That brings destruction; seek forgiveness and receive grace from God.

The heap of stones left in the valley of Achor would be a reminder that God expects His people to obey His Word. God expects His people to live by His teachings and truths. God did not put that heap of stones in the valley of Achor just for the Israelites; it was put there for us too; to remind us that there really is no such thing as a secret sin. To remind us that God knows everything we do. We cannot hide anything from God. To remind us we need to do all we can to live our life right and good for the Lord. Harboring a pet sin, harboring a secret sin in our life does not pay in the long run and can cause much anguish and pain not just to the person committing the sin but to their family and friends as well.

Do you have a secret sin in your life? Do you have a pet sin that is unconfessed? Do you have a sin that so easily beets you? You need to get that right with God. Don’t wait to be found out. Do the right thing, don’t be an Achan and seek to hide it until you are caught, but voluntarily confess that sin and seek grace and forgiveness, and move on in your life, living it to the fullest for the Lord! (Hebrews 12:1 – 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,)

Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Woe to them who confound the distinction between what is evil and what is good. Between what is morally sin and what is morally right. Woe unto them who are not ashamed of their own sin.

Isaiah compares the difference of moral “good and evil” presented to the human understanding with that of “light and darkness” discerned by the eye, and of  “bitter and sweet” tasted by the palate; that is, as a plain and undeniable truth which forces its evidence upon a rational mind: to transgress God’s commandments, His laws and His statutes is a heinous crime; but to “call evil good, and good evil,” is to advance a step further into the profane and abominable.

Everywhere you look today this is happening; people are calling “evil good, and good evil”. Killing the unborn is somehow okay and if you are against it you are an evil person, homosexual relationships and even homosexual “marriage” is now called okay and if you object you are a bigot or homophobic. Praying in schools is now wrong, but now boys can use the girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms and that is somehow okay. The world has so rejected God and so turned their back on common decency and morals that they have become what Romans 1: 21,22& 25 warns us against, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

This is a dire state the world is in today; but there is an answer to the world’s sins, there is a cure available to bring common sense back into the world. The Bible tells us the key to changing the world for the good to bringing revival to the world, to bringing healing and repentance to our land is for God’s people to humble themselves, for God’s people to get serious about God, for us as a whole to get right with Him and humble ourselves before Him. Then, the Bible tells us, He will bring healing, repentance and revival to our land. The key to changing America and the world back to common sense about good and evil lies within the Christian himself. (II Chronicles 7:14 – 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.)

The Love of God

Posted: February 14, 2017 in Eternal Security, Love, Salvation
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THE LOVE OF GOD

My friend having just read about the life of Christ you can understand the great love and humility the Son of God had in coming down to earth. To be born of a virgin, to grow up from infancy to adulthood of no reputation. To go on to minister, preach and perform miracles during His active ministry on earth. To then be willing to die a most humiliating death just so wretched undeserving sinners would have a way to go to Heaven one day, is an amazing and incomprehensible thought.

The Christ, the Son of the Living God, did all of that just for you and me. He did it all, sacrificed all just for you and me. The Bible tells us “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. Well Jesus not only laid down His life for His friends but He laid down His life for all of mankind. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus did all of this out of His love for man, out of His love for you and me.

God chose to give His only son as a sacrifice for our sins. The greatest gift ever given was the gift of love that God gave over 2,000 years ago. God gave his only begotten Son so that we might have life and have it more abundantly! Christ humbled himself to become the sacrifice for our sins because He loved us. We need to worship Christ. Show Him the honor and respect He should have. Worship Him with song, praise and how you live your life for Him.

All of what He has done, has given all those who accept Him by faith, a sure path to Heaven. Is a gift of love He presented to the world to all those that will accept it. That is the key; we have to choose by faith to accept the gift of eternal life into our hearts. It does not just happen; we have to make the conscience decision, by faith in Jesus Christ, to accept Him as our own person Savior.

My friend if you have any doubts as to your eternal destination, why don’t you get that settled right now. Why don’t you invite Jesus into your heart today? Romans 3:23 tells us “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” we have to understand we are all sinners. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” we need to understand that the penalty of our sins is eternal death in hell. Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” this verse lets us know that even though we were sinners Christ came down to earth and died for us. He paid the penalty of death for us and for our sins. We just need to accept that payment of our sin debt in full that was paid by Christ on the cross. Romans 10:9-10 lets us know what we need to do about all this “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

It is God who gives us spiritual and eternal life. It is by the sacrifice of the “bread of life” that we have everlasting life with Him in Glory. (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) God gives life to those who were dead in their sins. (Romans 8:12-14 – Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.) We are debtors to the “bread of life” form Bethlehem. Without His coming to Bethlehem and being born to die on the cross for our sins we would not have life. We would be doomed to stay dead in our sins.

If you have by faith invited Christ into your heart and accepted Him as your personal Savior. Romans 10:13 gives you assurance as to the fact you are now a child of God. You now know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – You are now an eternally secured saved child of God.

 

SEEKING THE LOST (John 1:35-42)

 John 1:40-42a – “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.”

The Apostle Andrew was always bringing people to Jesus. Andrew was not loud, boisterous and impulsive like his brother Peter, but something that seems to define Andrew was that he was always focusing on bringing people to Jesus.

INTRODUCTION: The Apostle Andrew’s name means “manly”. Many preachers and commentators call Andrew a man’s man. The most masculine and mature thing you could do as a man is love Jesus with all your heart, follow Him with all your might and bring others to Him as often as you can. Andrew was the very first of the Apostles to follow Jesus. He is often referred to as Simon Peter’s brother, but Andrew was his own man. He was the first of the twelve Apostles’ to acknowledge Jesus was the Christ. Andrew’s personality was basically the opposites of Peters. Andrew was calm and considerate and naturally helpful; his brother Peter was impulsive, bold and brash. Peter was a leader and took charge of men, Andrew was a man that supported leaders, looked out for leaders and followed leaders. We can all learn something from the Apostle Andrew. Andrew seemed to always play second fiddle to his brother Peter and never was upset or jealous about it. Andrew did not consider it beneath him to be an assistant to a leader; in fact he thrived in this position. Andrew had the right perspective of himself and his situations. It was not about him, and it is not about us; it should be all about God and His son Christ Jesus. (Colossians 3:2 – Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.)

BIOGRAPHICAL OVERVIEW OF THE APOSTLE ANDREW

  • Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew was saved under the ministry of John the Baptist. (John 1:35 & 40 – Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.) So Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. Then one day he heard John preach “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me” Andrew turned and saw Jesus and Andrew never looked back. That one look at Jesus was enough to change Andrew’s life forever. We need to look unto Jesus the Son of God, He has “all power”, He can change our life forever, for the good, if we just surrender to Him and let Him work in our life. Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother and partnered with Peter and James and John in a fishing business. Andrew’s fathers name was Jona or John and Andrew lived in Bethsaida.
  • The account of Andrew becoming an Apostle is found in Luke 6:13-14 – “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,”

CHARACTER LESSONS FROM THE APOSTLE ANDREW

  • Andrew was concerned with bringing others to Jesus. He first prepared himself to bring others to Jesus. How did he do that? The same way we can do it today by spending time with Jesus. How do you spend time with Jesus? By prayer, by Bible study, by going to church every time the doors are open. Andrew prepared himself to bring others to Jesus. (John 1:39 – He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.)
  • Andrew made it a priority to find others so he could bring them to Jesus. How much of a priority do you make it to find friends or family members you could bring to church or point to Jesus? (John 1:41a – He first findeth his own brother Simon,) – Notice Andrew started with his family members first in his quest to find people to bring to Jesus. There is a saying that goes “They will not come – they must be brought, they will not seek – they must be sought, they will not learn – they must be taught.” Winning souls to Christ involves effort it usually doesn’t just happen.
  • Andrew made a proclamation to his brother “We have found the Messias”! Andrew did not hesitate to boldly proclaim Jesus to his brother.
  • Andrew had a purpose. People need Christ in their life. Andrew purposed to help as many people as possible to get Christ in their life. How are you doing in this regard? (John 1:42 – And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.)
  • Andrew was people orientated. You will not get the job done Christ wants you to do unless you get among people, and interact, talk and get to know them. In John chapter six the multitude needed to be fed. Christ asked Phillip where they could buy loaves of bread to feed the multitude. Phillip basically said it can’t be done we can’t feed these people, but Andrew had been among the people and he knew of a lad who had some bread and some fishes; and in Andrew’s fashion he brought him to Jesus. Andrew took enough time to spend with this lad to know he had the bread and the fishes. (John 6:8-9a – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes:)
  • Andrew was also dependent on Jesus. Andrew did not try to solve his problems by himself. He did not first exhaust himself trying to solve problems in his own effort like many of us do; he first took his problems and concerns straight to Jesus and was dependent on Him to help him solve the problem. John 6:9 says “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” Notice the last part of the verse “but what are they among so many?” Andrew immediately stated the concern and brought it straight to Jesus. Are you dependent on Jesus for your problems, concerns and decisions?
  • Andrew was devoted to Jesus. He devoted his whole life to Jesus, to serving Him and doing His will. Andrew invited Jesus into his home. Some people let Jesus in their heart but never really make Him welcome in their home! Is Jesus welcome in your home? Would he feel welcome in your home? Do you have movies, books, or video games in your room or internet sites you visit that Jesus would not approve of? (Mark 1:29 – And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. & Colossians 2:6 – As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him)
  • Andrew was a trusted problem solver. When a fellow Apostle was not sure of the best course of action, he consulted with Andrew for direction on how best to handle the situation; and Andrew handled it in his usual fashion, he took it to Jesus as soon as possible. (John 12:20-22 – And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.)
  • We need to be “Andrews”. We need to be concerned with bringing others to Jesus. Over and over again we see examples of Andrew bringing people to Jesus. How many people have you brought to Jesus? We need to be people oriented like Andrew. He made it a priority to get to know people. Andrew was dependent on Jesus in all parts of his life. Is Jesus first in all areas of your life? Do you bring your problems to Jesus right away or do you try to solve them yourself first? Andrew devoted his life to serving and ministering for Christ. What are you doing as service to the Lord? Andrew was a trusted problem solver. When people came to him with a problem he pointed them toward Christ and took the problem to Jesus. If people come to you for advice do you always point them toward Christ with your advice or do you try to help them in your own power? In all areas of Andrew’s life, Christ had the preeminence. Is Jesus preeminent in all areas of your life? (Colossians 1:18 – And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.)

IN CONCLUSION: Statistically about 2% of believers were first reached through a Gospel tract or advertising, 6% through a pastoral visit, 6% through a visitation contact and 85% were first reached through a family or friend contact. You see the importance of the example Andrew set for us with bringing others to Christ (John 1:41-42a – He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus). We need to be bringing people to Christ. We need to be reaching unsaved loved ones for Christ. We need to be bringing friends to Christ. We need to be doing the work of The Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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.

 Andrew demonstrated with his life the priority in evangelizing others for Christ. In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells us ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” For Andrew, Peter was his Jerusalem, the lad at the multitude was his Judaea, the Grecian’s were his Samaria and he personally fulfilled the “uttermost part of the earth” by his later ministry. We need to model Andrew and be seeking ways to bring others to Christ, to always point others to Christ and to make Christ the priority in our life.

Homosexuality: A Moral Issue Confronting Christians (Romans 1:24-27)

Romans 1:26-27 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Idolatry to immorality is just one short step. Take God out the equation and man can justify any sin or action. For God and His Word is the only absolute truth that exists in this world; if man no longer accepts that fact, or pretends that fact does not exist, then man has no ultimate moral guide or compass and can then do whatever is right in his own eyes. By exchanging the truth of God for a lie, man has removed God’s authority in his life and has made himself his own god. So man will naturally seek to please his new god, which is himself.

INTRODUCTION: Homosexuality and the acceptance of this lifestyle have become more prevalent in our society. So called “equal rights” are being granted to practice and promote this lifestyle. There are now, and I hate to even use this terminology, “gay churches”, and “gay priests and ministers” in some mainstream denominations. How they can reconcile those things and the Word of God together is beyond me. There are cities in our country and around the world that cater to this lifestyle. There are vacation resorts and a certain “magical kingdom” that have days set aside to cater to and celebrate this anti-God and anti-Bible lifestyle.

This is a moral issue that seems to be confronting churches and Christians today more and more. As Christians, we need to be educated and prepared concerning this issue (I Peter 3:15). Some Christians behave wrongly and hatefully to this lifestyle. Some even question if it is wrong, again this I do not understand, the Bible is very clear on its teachings on this issue. But as with any moral issue, we must look to the Word of God for our guidance and for the truth about this issue confronting so many Christians and churches today.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THIS ISSUE?

IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE…

  • Homosexuality is what led to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:20 – And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;) – The men of the city young and old were involved in this sin. They are later described in Jude verse seven as “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
  • Some will question based on what Ezekiel 16:49 says as to why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. (Ezekiel 16:49 – Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.)
  • But this is an invalid and unresearched questioning of the destruction of Sodom. The Sodom referred to in this verse is Ammon and Moab, offshoots from Sodom.
  • It could not have been the original Sodom, for that Sodom had been destroyed by God about 1500 years earlier.
  • The sin of homosexuality was a grave sin in the days of the patriarchs and it was dealt with harshly by God.

IN THE MOSIAC AGE…

  • The Law of Moses made it a capital crime. It was an abomination listed together with bestiality. (Leviticus 18:22-23 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.)
  • This sin was a reason other nations were driven out of the land. (Leviticus 18:24-25)
  • It was a sin punishable by death. (Leviticus 20:13 – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.)
  • Some may say this is the law and when Jesus came he said nothing about homosexuality. But remember Jesus lived under the law; He was the fulfillment of the law. He is the only person that ever kept all the law. The law was enforce and did not end until His death on the cross (Colossians 2:14). While alive, Jesus taught strict observance of the law (Matthew 5:17-19). By this we can easily infer and clearly understand that Jesus approved of what the law taught about homosexuality. (Matthew 5:17-19Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.)

IN THE CHRISTIAN AGE…

  • We find in Romans 1:24-17, that Lesbianism and Homosexuality is described as “vile affections” and “against nature” and “unseemly”. Also is says “receiving in themselves that recompence of their error” – could this be a reference to AIDS or other diseases possibly?
  • The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church regarding this issue in I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The sin of homosexuality was included in a list of sins that could prevent one from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
  • The Apostle Paul wrote again of this sin to Timothy in I Timothy 1:9-11Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” This time the sin of homosexuality is included in a list of sins that are “contrary to sound doctrine.”
  • Homosexuality is indeed contrary to the sound doctrine of the Word of God. The Bible is clear on this subject over and over again. Yet, there are some that believe that God made them that way. Is this true? Would a righteous, sinless, perfect God make someone this way?

WHAT CAUSES HOMOSEXUALITY?

NATURE OR NURTURE? – Is homosexuality the result of one’s genetics, and were they born that way? There has been no definitive scientific study documenting or proving that homosexuality is genetic. There was one that came out in the 1990’s saying this, that it was genetic; but it later came out that the data in this study had been heavily faked and a lot of it just made up to fit a narrative. If God made someone a male or a female He made them that way on purpose. He also intended them to live out their life that way and also to be fruitful and multiply according to the way they were designed and made by Him and not contrary to that design.

  • There was a study conducted at Northwestern University by a Dr. Michael Bailey examining 110 sets of identical twins. He found no genetic link or cause of homosexuality. If it were genetic one would surmise that if one identical twin was homosexual the other would have to be also; but this study demonstrated that was not the case at all.
  • Note that identical twins are exactly alike genetically. If homosexuality were genetic then both would have the same sexual preference or desire. This study showed that was not the case and demonstrated no genetic linkage to homosexuality.

IF NOT NATURE, THEN NURTURE? – Nurture may not fully explain the issue either. Many believe nurture has an impact on this issue; but it is not the sole cause either. The consensus opinion is it is a combination of possibly nurture and possible exposure to sinful behavior of a sexual nature at a young age, but this opinion must be qualified by noting it is an opinion surmised from study’s trying to figure out what causes homosexuality. This opinion is not definitive or exclusive in nature.

  • Documented environmental factors that have been linked to the development of homosexual tendencies include:
  • A lack of healthy parental relationships.
  • A missing father.
  • An overbearing or smothering mother.
  • Early exposure to improper sexual activities.
  • Sexual abuse at a young age.
  • It must be noted that sinful behavior does not always have a simple explanation. There is no simple explanation to sin, especially once one becomes enslaved to that sin. (John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.)
  • As Christians, we need to understand the power that sin can hold over someone; and in turn we need to have a sympathetic response to those that are currently enslaved to some sin in their life, whether that sin is homosexuality or something else. Our attitude towards those suffering in the bondage of sin needs to be one of sympathy; and desiring to help in some way and not one of judging and condemning or making fun of.

SO WHAT SHOULD A CHRISTIANS RESPONSE BE?

WE ARE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF TRUTH AND FREEDOM FROM SIN.

  • We must hold fast to the gospel of truth that is in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:20-24 – But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.)
  • We must continue to teach sound doctrine and truth to those affected by this sin. It may not be popular, it may not be well received sometimes, it definitely will not be politically correct; but we need to not compromise God’s truth, not compromise on what the Word of God says and we must continue to hold fast to the life changing, sin liberating truths and promises as found in the Word of God! (I Timothy 1:8-11 – But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.)

WE ARE TO DISPLAY THE LOVE OF THE GOSPEL TO THOSE AFFECTED BY THIS SIN.

  • We have a duty to speak the truth in love, notice not just speak the truth as many do; but we are to speak the truth in a loving way to those affected by this sin. (Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:)
  • We must have the right kind of attitude when we seek to minister to those living in this sin. We must have a meek, patient, gentle, and loving attitude seeking to avoid the argument about the issue and instead seeking to minister to and share the gospel with. (II Timothy 2:24-26 – And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.) As the saying goes, and I have recently heard this saying criticized, but this saying falls in line with how Christ conducted Himself and with the teachings of the New Testament “You must hate the sin; but love the sinner”.

WE MUST OFFER THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL TO THOSE INVOLVED IN THIS SIN.

  • The Bible teaches that cleansing, sanctification and justification is available to all that will receive it. (I Corinthians 6:9-11 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.)
  • No matter what form the perversions of sin take, the Gospel of Christ is the solution to them. The Gospel is the provider of deliverance from them. The Gospel of Christ is the source of hope to work through them on the way to victory from them. Faith in Christ and His Word is the source of victory in our life! Faith is the victory! (I John 5:4 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.)

IN CONCLUSION: Homosexuality is a volatile issue today. It is a very politically charged issue today. Having opposition to it is often depicted as being hateful, narrow minded and, a new word that has become part of our vernacular, homophobic. But let me remind you being true to God’s Word, standing on your convictions based on the Word of God, speaking the truth of God’s Word to a lost and sinful world is never any of those words just mentioned above. Using a much used comparison, if a man walked by someone’s house and saw it on fire, he would not encourage the man to stay in the fire and say how supportive he is of the man for following his heart and staying in the fire. No! The man walking by would do everything he could to save the man in the fire and do everything he could to warn others, whose homes were nearby, to stand guard lest the fire spreads to their houses too!

And so should we as Christians not back down or shy away from sounding the alarm and spreading the Truth of the Gospel about this issue to those affected by it and to the world in general. We as Christians must, and I repeat must, remain faithful to the Scriptures on this subject; but we must also be faithful to the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, in how He reached out to all sinners with love and promises of forgiveness and hope of transformation. (Mark 2:15-17 – And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.)

It is a commendable thing for one to desire to preach the gospel. Yet not everyone should preach or can preach according to the Bible. James wrote, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.James 3:1. Preaching the gospel and handling the Word of God in a public speaking setting is a very serious matter. It takes a person who is serious about the task and it should not be taken to lightly.

How does one who has a desire to preach become qualified to preach the gospel? Many denominations require that their preachers (or pastors/ministers) complete some sort of training at a college or seminary. There is nothing wrong with getting training to preach the Gospel at a Bible college, in fact I would recommend it; but if we really want to know what to expect of one who desires to preach the Word of God, shouldn’t we then just examine the Word of God for what it says on the subject? The New Testament provides us with a description of a person who is qualified to preach the gospel.

**** Disclaimer: In talking about this, I am in no way referring to all teaching that a Christian might do. All of us can teach in some capacity (1 Peter 3:15). We are all responsible to do what we can with the opportunities we are given. We are all responsible to fulfill the Great Commission in the best and most efficient way we can (Matthew 28:19-20Go 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.) But preaching the gospel is more than the teaching or sharing we might do in everyday situations. Preaching is the public, open proclamation of the Word of God. It is the type of preaching for which one may be financially compensated and the type of which one should have a clear calling to do, a calling the Bible tells us is never repented of (I Corinthians 9:14 – Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. & Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.). Having a clearer picture of what we are trying to determine, we can get into our question: Who is qualified to preach the gospel? ****

A PREACHER MUST (according to the Bible):

Be a man – Today we see more and more women ascending to leadership roles in churches. Yet the New Testament clearly and unequivocally prohibits this. Paul wrote, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” I Timothy 2:11-12. He told the believers in Corinth, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.I Corinthians 14:34-35. This is not to say that women are inferior. It is rather simply to say that God has placed the responsibility of preaching the gospel upon the shoulders of men and not of women.

We could also look at this requirement in a different light. A gospel preacher must be a man, but simply being a male does not qualify one to preach. He must also act like a man, as Paul told the Corinthians to do I Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” This involves maturity, discipline and the willingness to endure the hardships or push back from what is preached and not waver in their convictions on the Word of God II Timothy 4:5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Know the word – Paul instructed young Timothy to “preach the word” in II Timothy 4:2. It is a simple thought and qualification – one must know the Word before he can preach the word. We must speak “as the oracles of God I Peter 4:11. The only way this can be done is to know the Word. The apostles were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.), but not everyone was guided as directly as they were. Timothy was told to study in order to learn how to accurately handle the Word of God (II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.). This is what we all must do, what we all need to do, and that is study the Words of God revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and put down for all eternity onto the pages of the Bible.  One who wants to preach, one who feels a God implanted desire to preach must know the Word of which he is to be preaching. He must be a diligent student of the Word of God, He must also have a deep respect for the Word of God.

Be loyal to Christ – Paul said he could not serve Christ while trying to please men (Galatians 1:10 – For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.). Yet some seem to be loyal to other preachers or groups, we need to be loyal to Christ; nothing wrong with fellowshipping with or having respect for other preachers and groups, but our loyalty belongs to Christ and His Word.  This misplaced loyalty leads them to ignore the sins and errors of these men. We can see this with the different reactions of Peter and Paul to the party of the circumcision (Galatians 2:11-14). Those of the circumcision were a group of Jewish Christians who taught that Gentiles must be circumcised and taught to keep the Old Testament Law. Peter feared them (Galatians 2:12) and did not expose them. As a result he led others into sin (Galatians 2:13) and he himself “was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11). Paul, on the other hand, openly confronted Peter for his sin (Galatians 2:11) and exposed the false teachers (Galatians 2:4-5; 5:2-4). If one desires to preach, he must be loyal to Christ above all others.

Be ready to preach – All Christians should be ready with an answer for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:), but this readiness needs to be especially true for preachers. Because God called preachers have a greater responsibility (James 3:1). Paul told the saints in Rome “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” (Romans 1:15). A gospel preacher must be ready to do what Paul did, preach or “declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Preachers today must be ready to do the same. They must teach the whole of God’s Word, even the parts that others find unpopular, controversial, difficult or that go against long held traditions of men. Will a preacher necessarily have all the answers on every topic? No, of course not, but a preacher must be willing and able to study to find the answers he does not yet know when the question arises. A man qualified to preach the gospel must be willing and able to preach whatever is revealed in God’s word.

Be humble – A preacher is supposed to be trying to draw others to Christ and not to himself. Paul told the Corinthians he worked diligently to win them to Christ (II Corinthians 11:2). A Preacher must be trying to show others truth and not simply trying to win arguments. A preachers responsibility is to lead others to accept the truth. Humility is also necessary because a preacher must be able to realize that he could be wrong. We are all fallible humans; you are and preachers are, non preachers need to keep that in mind. Though a preacher may strive for perfection, in the end he is human just like everyone else. If a man cannot admit mistakes, or weaknesses then he is not fit to preach the gospel.

Not hinder the gospel – A preacher must not live in such a way so as to cause a hindrance to the gospel. Paul told the Corinthians, “but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” (I Corinthians 9:12). He must live blamelessly and uprightly, “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:” (II Corinthians 6:3).

SOME THINK A PREACHER MUST (according to man or tradition):

Must be an excellent speaker –Many want a preacher to be or think a preacher should be someone who speaks eloquently. This is not what the Bible puts emphasis on though and we should not put emphasis on it either. The emphasis should not be on the delivery of the message but rather the message itself. What someone should be looking out for is does he preach the Word, does he have a good working knowledge of Scripture, does he do a good job of explaining and teaching the Bible? These things are more important then if he is a good orator or not. The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:1-2 about this “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Must be formally educated – There are many good Bible colleges out there. Many churches make it a prerequisite that their Pastor, or someone on their Pastoral  staff, have certain types of degrees from certain preferred and approved, by them, schools. This is never required, or even hinted at, in the New Testament. We cannot require more than God does. And we must not think less of men who have not had such training. The Apostle Paul did not follow Jesus around and see His example and hear His teaching while He was living on the earth as the other apostles did. Even so, he was “not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” II Corinthians 11:5.

Must be popular – This seems to be necessary, at least for one to preach at a larger congregation. But were any of the apostles popular? How about Jesus? Was He popular with the people? On the contrary, by popular opinion, the people demanded His crucifixion (Matthew 27:20-23). Popularity is not the proper way to gauge the worthiness of one to preach the gospel.

Must not be divorcedA divorced man can preach the Gospel if the divorce was a biblical one and he is otherwise qualified. You will not find one verse in the Bible that says otherwise. If you think you have you are guilty of inserting your own man made exception clause into the Word of God while ignoring the exception clause given to us by God in His Word (Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9). The Bible must agree as a whole to all other parts of the Bible. If your interpretation of one part of the Bible disagrees with a clear passage in another part of the Bible, then you my friend have a wrong interpretation of that particular passage. Dr. C.I. Scofield used to say “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one.” If your thoughts don’t agree with the Bible on a particular subject, then repent of your thoughts, if your traditions you adhere to do not agree with the Bible on a particular subject, then repent of your traditions and go with the Bible. You will be right every time.

IN CONCLUSION:

We have looked to the New Testament to see what God’s Word says about the requirements of a gospel preacher. In short, he must be able to present the Lord’s message in its entirety, in its purity, regardless of the situation or opposition, in humility, and without distracting from it. One who is able to do these things and is called by God to do so should make a good gospel preacher, as long as he keeps himself right with God, even if he may not meet all of man’s requirements. One who is not able to meet the Biblical requirements, even though they meet mans requirement, should abstain from preaching until he meets the Biblical requirements. After all, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” James 3:1.

Obedient Faith

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Christian Life, Faith, Faithfulness, Work
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“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” – Romans 16:26

“A praying faith keeps the commandments of God and does those things which are well pleasing in His sight.” – E.M. Bounds

Faith is obedient. It does what is commanded, as did the nobleman who came to Jesus, whose son was very sick. Faith also acts. Like the man born blind, it goes and washes in the pool of Siloam when told to. Faith obeys instantly, and without question or doubt, like Peter casting the net where Jesus commanded. Faith takes the stone away from the grave of Lazarus promptly when told to do so. To do God’s will is essential to true faith and faith is essential to true obedience to God.

“Obedience helps faith, and faith, in turn, helps obedience” – E.M. Bounds

 

Faith filled Prayer

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Faith, Prayer, The Bible
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“The Faith which creates powerful praying is the faith which centers itself on a powerful person. Faith in Christ’s ability to do and to do greatly, is the faith which prays greatly.” – E.M. Bounds
“And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” – Matthew 9:28-29
We need to have a lively faith in the almighty grace of Christ. We also need to have a fervent and incessant cry and prayer for the demonstration of His grace into our life. because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Luke 11:8b-10