Archive for the ‘The Bible’ Category

I recently got a “new” old book by John R. Rice and I am enjoying it greatly. From what I have been able to ascertain it is no longer in print. I bought a used copy of it after searching for it for a long time. Below our some of his thoughts on biblical separation, they are very interesting from his book “Dr. Rice, Here are more Questions…

“Those who hold to the faith of the gospel according to Philippians 1:27, those who believe in the deity , the virgin birth, miraculous life, atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the inspiration of the Scriptures in which these things are clearly revealed from God and who have personally trusted Christ as Saviour are Christians worthy of our fellowship, and should be called Christians.” (pp. 145)

“One might break fellowship with a born-again Christian who continues in gross sin, as we see from I Corinthians 5:11-13. And one might refuse fellowship to a born-again Christian if he made doubtful disputations, divisions and strife on lesser matters, according to Romans 14:1. For example, I could let a Pentecostal brother come to a revival and help us win souls and I could have Christian fellowship with him, pray with him, and enjoy the Word of God with him provided he did not make special issue of tongues. If he did cause “doubtful disputations” we could not continue in fellowship. That would lead others wrong.” (pp. 146)

“If a born-again Christian makes constant division and strife over lesser matters, then sometimes he breaks the fellowship with other Christians.” (pp. 146)

 

 

 

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TIME, SPACE & MATTER

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

There is a vast and immeasurable universe that we live in. The physical universe is “temporal” its characteristics are defined by time, space and mass/energy (usually just referred to as matter).

Any effort to determine the cause or reason for the universe getting here or where it came from is based in faith. No human was alive to observe the theory of the “big bang” and the preceding “billions of years” and then the theory of evolution. All of these theories are based on assumptions and presuppositions. All beliefs in the origin of our present universe can be broken down into to statements:

  • There is an infinite series of random causes and effects going back almost infinitely in time with no ultimate cause other than that of the “big bang theory”. But this leaves us with the question “what caused that?”

-or-

  • There exists and uncaused First Cause that was transcendent to the universe and this First Cause created the universe with an intelligent design. With this statement the universe was created purposefully and not by a random series of occurrences happening over billions of years.

You need faith to believe either of them since they our improvable. Either you believe in what some finite men say about the origin of the universe. That a tiny spec blew up and spread material randomly around until it somehow started forming planets then somehow a lifeless particle became alive and eventually evolved through billions of years into every living thing on planet earth. Or you place your faith in an infinite God and that “In the beginning God created” everything there is. Either way what you believe is believed in by faith. You either have faith in what finite men say (who if you believe what they say, their very existence is just a random occurrence) or you believe in an infinite God with infinite power who created all the world with purpose and by design.

Let’s look at Genesis 1:1 – We learned already that the basic elements of the whole universe consist of Time, Space & Matter.

“In the beginning” – We have the creation of time. Time as we know it did not exist till God made it exist.

“God created” – Here we see the reason things came into existence. We have our “First Cause” revealed to us in these 2 words. Think of all the time and money spent on research over the years that could have been saved by reading and believing those 2 words.

the heaven” – God created space. God created all of space in which the earth exists.

and the earth.” – God created matter. All that we can see in the natural world and in space God created.

So we have in this one short verse the origin of all the universe. The “First Cause” of the basic parts of our universe. We have the “First Cause” God creating Time, Space & Matter. The 3 fundamental parts of all the universe.

Final thoughts on this verse:

  • The word interpreted God in this verse is the Hebrew word Elohim. Which means the mighty God which is many is one. Or in other words the Mighty God which is three in one which is referred to as the Trinity.
  • So we see that God created the universe with 3 basic parts to it. The 3 in 1 universe is a reflection of our mighty God and his Trinity.
  • The Bible also tells us that “man was created in the image of God.” Man also is 3 in 1. We are body, spirit and soul. So man reflects God’s Trinity by our Tri-unity of body, spirit and soul.

LEARN TO LOOK FOR A BIBLICAL VIEW ON ISSUES – AND NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL VIEW

Titus 1:9 says “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Notice the verse says “by sound doctrinenot by tradition of men but by well thought out, researched, studied and reasoned teaching based on God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

We always need to be thinking toward a Biblical view and not just a traditional view. (Mark 7:8a & 13) To get a proper view on any subject we must take into account both God’s terrible holiness, and His gracious forgiveness in view of the sinfulness of man.   To find the Biblical position on issues, we must:

  • Approach the Scriptures open-mindedly. We all have the tendency to believe what we’ve always been taught, without looking at our views critically to see if they are consistent with Scripture. The person who desires to know God’s mind must always come to the Word with a pure heart and an open mind, leaving prejudices and preconceived ideas behind. What is most important is that we find out what God’s Word says not what our traditions or culture say.
  • Look at all of Scripture as a whole on a subject. We cannot just rely on those verses which support our cherished positions.  That is how we so often argue Scripture.  For a view to be Biblical, it must fit every Scriptural text into the view without denying or doing interpretive violence to any position.
  •  Look at each Scripture in its context. The context of a passage will never change the meaning of a verse, but it will clarify the meaning. Each text must be studied on its own, faithfully understanding it in context.  Then, we seek to put all the verses together into a unified and consistent whole.  If the Bible is God’s Word, then every verse’s clear meaning will fit just like a puzzle piece perfectly in the whole of His Word.
  • Dr. C.I. Scofield had a great thought on the proper interpretation of scripture ““Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use an if to contradict a verily.”

Seek Biblical answers not traditional answers, not good sounding answers, not even at first glance what would appear to be “Biblical” answers, but seek to actually examine the Scriptures for what they truly and actually say. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and remember and keep at the forefront of your mind that our Lord strongly condemns placing mans traditions above His Word. Learn to always make sure the position you are taking or the stand you are making on an issue is based on God’s Word and not just mans tradition. (Mark 7:6-8a & 13 – 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, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

THEY SPAKE WITH BOLDNESS

Acts 4:31 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness!”

 INTRODUCTION:  Acts 3:1-8 – “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God”. Peter and John went into the temple. Peter, by the name of Jesus, had just healed this man that had been lame from His birth. Then Peter starting preaching in the temple. We pick up this story in chapter 4 at the conclusion of Peter’s message and the reaction of the priests and the Sadducees.

We need to boldly proclaim the word of God in our community. We should not be afraid to witness for our Lord – He gave us access to “All power” we therefore have no reason to be scared about “Go Ye” (Mathew 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.)

We are going to look at several questions and we are going to get our answers out of God’s word.

WHAT DID THEY GET IN TROUBLE FOR?  (Acts 4:1-3And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.) – THEY GOT IN TROUBLE FOR TEACHING AND PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD!

A time is coming when we may get into trouble for preaching, teaching, and living by what the Word of God says. In fact, it is already beginning to happen in this country. I read, not long ago, about a baker in Colorado and another one in Oregon. Two homosexual men in one case and two lesbian women in the other case came into the bakery wanting to order a cake to celebrate their wedding ceremony. The bakers, who believe what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality, refused to make a cake for them. They would bake a cake for other events for them and had, but they just could not bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. They are now facing criminal and civil prosecutions and verdicts, all because they did not bake a cake, all because they acted on what they believed.

Are you willing to act on what you believe come what may?

  • Would you still be willing to preach God’s Word, teach God’s Word, be a witness of God’s Word, believe and act upon God’s word if it meant a prison sentence?
  • Acts 4:31 AND THEY SPAKE THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS”
  • Notice in Acts 4:4 the prison bars did not stop the power of God’s word and His message. They laid hands on them, put Peter and John in prison, but that could not stop God. I love verse 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for God?Your plans, your dreams, your freedom?How about your pride? Your comfort zone? Are you willing to sacrifice your Saturday to get His Word out to our community?

WHAT AUTHORITY DID THEY HAVE TO PREACH GOD’S WORD? (Acts 4:7And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? ) – Notice the question that was asked of Peter and John.

Now notice Peter’s response, look at Acts 4:8-12 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

So what authority or by what power did Peter and John preach and teach and witness? – The same authority and the same power we preach and teach and witness by. By the power of God through Jesus Christ His son, enabled by the Holy Spirit himself who lives in all of us that are Christians. Go Ye into all your community preaching and teaching Jesus Christ and compelling them to come in!

Don’t hesitate to proclaim the word of God, and to be a witness for Him. We have all the authority we need. God will bless your efforts. I know I am nervous every time I knock on a door. I just trust God and pray as I am knocking on the door for Him to give me the words to say, and you know what? Sometimes I stumble over my words, but the Lord blesses our efforts. We are commanded to go. The Lord will take care of the increase. (I Corinthians 3:7 – So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.)

WHAT DID THE PRIESTS AND THE SADDUCEES SEE?Acts 4:13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled;“ – They saw boldness. Peter and John had boldness. They boldly proclaimed the word of God.

Do you have boldness? Do you need boldness? Well just ask God for it and, if you are of a sincere heart, He will give it to you. (Mathew 7:7-8 – 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.) We get our boldness to share God’s word through Jesus Christ His Son. (Ephesians 3:11-12 – According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.)

WHERE HAD PETER AND JOHN BEEN?Notice verse 13 againNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”)

  • They had been with Jesus. Have you been with Jesus today?
  • Can people around you tell you have been with Jesus?
  • Can people tell you are a Christian?
  • If we are saved, we should have testimony of our Savior. It should be obvious to those around us that we are a Christian. It should be obvious that we have “been with Jesus”.
  • Is it obvious to those around you that you are Christian and that you have a relationship with Christ? If not, you need to ask your Lord for forgiveness and work at being a better witness for Him.

WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF PETER AND JOHN? Acts 4:16-18 – “Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

  • They threatened Peter and John, and told them not to teach or preach in the name of Jesus again.
  • The day is coming, if it has not already, that you will be told to keep your faith to yourself. You will be treated rudely by someone. You will have a door slammed in your face for witnessing for your Lord. You may be cussed at or ridiculed for being a Christian, or as the case of the bakers in Colorado and Oregon, you may face prison time and enormous fines for your beliefs.
  • Acts 4:31- “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness!”
  • Are you willing to speak the word of God with boldness come what may?

WHAT WAS PETER AND JOHNS RESPONSE? Acts 4:19 -20 – “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”I love their response: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They were not going to intimidate Peter or John. Want to know why? Verse 13 tells us – because “they had been with Jesus”

  • They were saved by the blood of the Lamb of God. They had been with Jesus. They were obeying His command of “Go ye”. They had boldness from God.
  • They could not help themselves, they had to speak and teach and preach about Jesus, just like they had to breathe air to live, and they had to teach Jesus!
  • Is this the way you feel about your Lord?

WHAT WAS THE CHURCHES RESPONSE?  – Acts 4:23-29 – “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

  • Peter and John gave a testimony of what had happened to their church.
  • The churches immediate reaction was to turn to God in prayer.
  • They quoted scripture in their prayer to God.
  • They praised God in their prayer.
  • The last thing they did in their prayer was to ask for something.
  • It wasn’t for some material need or possession; there was nothing selfish about their request.
  • They prayed for more boldness so they could do a better job of spreading Gods word to their community and the world.(Acts 4:29 – And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,)

CONCLUSION: What was the end result of all of this? – The end result of their boldness? The end result of their going and sharing the gospel of Christ? They were blessed twofold. (Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.)

  • A multitude believed.
  • How did a multitude believe? By power of God’s word and by the early church obeying Jesus command to “Go ye”
  • How did they obey that command? The Bible tells us how Paul obeyed that command in Acts 20:20 – “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,” – Paul went house to house.
  • Acts 5:42 – “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” – Not just in the Temple or the Church but in every house, they went house to house.
  • Unity in the Church – God blessed their church for going and witnessing to those around them with unity. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” – Do you want unity in your church? – Start a vigorous soul-winning and witnessing ministry.

The Lord will give us the boldness we need to share His Word with those around us. He will bless our efforts. He will bring the increase. He will bless our church with multitudes saved. He will bless our church with unity. And all we have to do is just obey His command in Mathew 28 and “Go”!

Hearken… TO DO Them – part 2

(Deuteronomy 4:1-14)

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”

WE SERVE A MIGHTY AND LOVING GOD THAT CANNOT BE COMPARED TO ANYTHING. (4:7-8, verse 7For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?)- Rightly so, as verses 7-8 point out that what the Lord is doing with Israel is no small thing. What nation has ever had a god so close to his people as the Lord is to Israel? The Lord handpicked Israel in His graciousness. The Lord answers when they call. The Lord was so concerned about His peoples’ success that He came down on Mount Sinai to give them a law more perfect and righteous than any man-made system of morality and justice. Other nations create and choose their gods. Other gods don’t answer. Other gods have to be appeased with great sacrifices to prevent great wrath. What the Lord does with Israel is different and marvelous.

  • Moses now shows them the great opportunity they have been given by the Lord through obedience to His ways. If Israel will continue to keep His statutes while they live in the Promised Land, they will have exceedingly more wisdom and understanding than the nations around them. The world often looks at rules as something we keep to appease a higher authority. This limited view is especially foolish when it comes to God’s rules and statutes. Aligning our lives by His standards is the path to wisdom and keeps us from harmful decisions. This is no different than a parent who tells a child to not touch a hot iron. The rule isn’t there to appease Mom and Dad; it is meant to keep the child safe! It is the same with the law of the Lord.
  • Not only was this something great for Israel to appreciate, this is something for Christians to appreciate as well. The Lord’s treatment of Israel is mirrored in our relationship with Christ. We are also a chosen and holy nation (Ephesians 1:4; I Peter 2:9). The Lord has continued His theme of closeness to His people by sending his Son. Think about that. The Son of God came to Earth. The Son of God took His time to notice us and teach us how we ought to live. He gave His life for us. He listens when we pray. Nothing makes us deserving of such an intimate and loving treatment. As Moses says here, what people has ever existed that has a god this close? What nation has a god that cares so much about them as to give them such a righteous law and actually care about their wellbeing? The gods of the ancient times didn’t come close. The various things man worships today do not come close. Our Lord sustains us. The gods of today have to be sustained by us. Money runs out. Technology breaks. Television shows get cancelled. Our Lord pursues us and seeks our life. The things we worship today do not care about us. They suck our resources, time, and energy dry until we are completely empty. Our Lord answers prayer. What a magnificent Lord we have who desires to be so close to us and give us life! His rules and statutes are not cumbersome – life is found in them.
  • When the Lord’s closeness and righteous law better our lives, others that see this in our life will seek out the Lord as well. How else can the world know about the Lord’s great wisdom and understanding except by seeing it exhibited through his people? I Kings 10 tells us how the Queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom Solomon had through the Lord. The text tells that she was so awestruck with his wisdom that she was breathless and overwhelmed. Notice I Kings 10:6–9, “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.”
  • This passage is truly exciting. The fact that a woman who had never known the Lord came to know such a great testimony of Him because of the wisdom He gave Solomon should inspire us. We can cause the same reaction today. We can cause others who do not truly know the Lord to glorify the Lord because of the great wisdom He gives us, if we let Him by how we live out our life.
  • If we truly see that people are full of foolishness, one of the best ways we can instigate change is by passionately pursuing the Lord’s law and wisdom in our own hearts and the decisions we make. What a great opportunity we would have; but we must seek out to diligently live out and do the Word of God in our life in order to be that influence on others.

WE NEED TO BE DILIGENT STUDENTS OF THE WORD OF GOD (4:9 – Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;) – Romans 2 is a reminder of how greatly Israel ended up wrecking this opportunity. Romans 2:2324 says “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” Though Solomon’s wisdom was cause for praising the Lord, he was an exception in Israel. As opposed to causing the nations to praise the Lord, Israel’s hypocrisy and wickedness caused the nations to blaspheme Him. Though Moses just finished reminding Israel of their great opportunity for wisdom, the beginning of verse 6 says this opportunity only exists when they keep the Lord’s statutes. This stands as a grave warning to Israel and to us of the danger of forgetting to carefully obey the Lord.

  • If we are not diligent students of the Word of God we will eventually be a bad testimony of the Lord. We may cause others to backslide; we may even prevent others from getting saved by how we are living out our life. In order to not have this bad testimony we need to be diligently doing the Word of God with our life.
  • Just because the Lord cared for Israel so lovingly was not an excuse to not be careful to watch their souls with all diligence. We have great reason to rejoice because of the mercy and grace given us by the Lord, but that mercy is not a license for carelessness (Romans 6:1-2). Careful attention to the Lord’s statutes is laughed at and often ridiculed today. “Why are you so picky?” or “It’s all about rules to you.” May we never forget that we are saved by the mercy and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? We must also never forget that we are saved by faith and not by works. We must remember that we are involved in a very serious fight to keep our hearts pure. Now is not the time to let our guard down. We must be alert and cognizant of the condition of our souls. We must diligently be watching and praying about our obedience.

WE NEED TO NOT FORGET PAST TEACHINGS AND PAST EXPERIENCE’S WITH GOD. (4:10-13 verse 10 – Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.)– Keep past experiences and past teachings in mind, dwell on them from time to time and pass the knowledge of those experiences unto your children.

  • “And that they may teach their children.” The key to all of this is they not only practice these things themselves, but that they teach their children to do so as well. They were to continue to tell the story of the day the Lord met them on Sinai in flashes of lightning and thunder. They were to continue to teach them the fear of the Lord. This is the biggest thing missing from Christians today is a healthy fear of the Lord. Fear (reverential respect and awe) was the foundation of Israel’s relationship with the Lord, so Moses tells them to continue to spread that fear through their children. The reason why many young people are unafraid to rebelliously speak and act as they desire is because they have no fear. They do not fear their parents and they do not fear the Almighty God either. If you fear the Lord like you should, you will act in a respectful manner to your parents like you should. (Job 28:28 – And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.)
  • Certainly we must teach children and young people of the grace and mercy of the Lord, but if they have nothing to fear – what does grace and mercy save them from? It is impossible to appreciate the Lord’s love and mercy without having good biblical fear. People do not naturally fear the Lord. Fear is taught. It is taught in Bible stories like what happened at Sinai and Baal-peor. It is taught through a loving rod of correction. If the fear of God is not taught to children, then the fear of the Lord will stop.

IN CONCLUSION: God’s demands are made and they stand firm. His authority must not be challenged, and to reject it means eternal death. But the same God who demands perfection supplies the perfect solution. In Jesus Christ the Law of God is kept for us. In Christ, His righteous will be imputed to us. In Christ, the Law is fulfilled. Each stipulation, each aspect in ways we could never imagine perfecting, Christ did it for us. He suffered for our breaking of the Law; He credits to us His obedience. All we have to do to get started on our journey of doing the Word of God, to get started on our journey to the promised land of our life, is to accept by faith what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us and call on Him to be our Savior. (Romans 10:9,10 & 13 – 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.For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.)

Hearken… TO DO Them – part 1

(Deuteronomy 4:1-14)

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”

God in this passage demands our diligent attention to His Word and our diligence in doing His Word in our life. God wants us to be attentive to the reading, preaching, and teaching of His Word whenever it occurs. God is reminding us of His authority over us and our obligation as His children, if we are saved, to be living out and doing the Word of God with our life.

INTRODUCTION: “Hearken….to do them” – Moses having laid before the Israelites the law and teachings of the Lord for their nation, calls upon the whole assembly, in the most earnest and serious manner, to consider what influence these teachings and laws ought to have upon their conduct and practice. He tells them here, that doing the Word of God should render them punctually obedient to the laws of God, and very cautious and wary of offending Him, either by the addition to His Word by works, ceremonies, superstitious rites or the flat-out altering of His Word. Moses is teaching here that the absolute condition of their peaceful and happy enjoyment of their life lies in how they respond to, and live out the Word of God with their life. In our text, Moses emphasizes the importance of doing the law of the Lord that had already been poorly kept by this new generation.

WHY DO THEM? – “That ye may live” (4:1) – Jesus’ words serve as an appropriate consideration about doing the Word of God in our life.  John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” True love for our Lord listens to the grave warning given by Moses: to be careful! We must watch our souls with all diligence our entire lives. It is not a blind obedience. Moses is about to teach them. So why do them?

  • Because – Understanding is necessary if obedience is to be rendered. God’s authority is given in the context of education with a view to application, as God’s servant, Moses, will teach so that they may do. Just hearing the law is not sufficient. Hearing must be in order to do or live out our knowledge in actual practice in our life.
  • Because – Though culture may tell us to talk, dress, and conduct ourselves one way, hearts that truly love the Lord seek to influence the culture with His ways. We must not allow culture to overcome God’s Word in our hearts as it did with Israel! If we will take care to remember the fear of the Lord our entire lives, we will be further reminded of the importance of not growing slack.
  • Because – The Word of the Lord is not a burdensome thing to keep. His ways are full of life. When His statutes teach us His wisdom, it provides the opportunity for others to see and hear of the Lord’s wisdom. How merciful is our Lord to always grant forgiveness to those who are repentant. May we learn a greater passion for doing the statutes of our Lord. (Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;)

WE ARE COMMANDED NOT TO ALTER THE WORD OF GOD. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it…” (4:2 – Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.)Why are we commanded not to change the Word of God?

  • Because – We need the pure and complete Word of God so we know how to live and worship God the right way.
  • Because – We can see what happens to those in the past that have not “hearken…. to do” the will and Word of God. (4:3)
  • Because – The Law of God is the ultimate Authority – and it is the ultimate source of our freedom. With law there is also to be order. The two go together. The structured authority entailed in the legal codes in our society is what attempts to gives us harmony and peace. There is a connection we often overlook between authority and freedom. It is the authority of the law of the land which prescribes and protects our freedom. For there to be freedom, there must be authority. The same holds true in our spiritual life, for there to be freedom from the bondage of sin there must be an authority acknowledged in our life and there must be laws and teachings (the Bible) that we live our life by.
  • Because – Our life depends on us obeying and doing the will of God with our life. In verse 3 Moses uses the incident at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:1-9) to illustrate from the Israelites own history that their very lives depended on obeying and doing the Word of God. Only those who hold fast the Word of God with their life will live the blessed filled life God has planned for them. (II Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.)

WE NEED TO CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD (4:4 – But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.) – Those that rejected God’s authority were denied the freedom of the land. They died as slaves to their own unbelief. But despite their unbelief, God was still going to be faithful to His promise.

  • Central to our understanding of freedom, to living the lives God desires of us, to enjoying all the benefits of life, it is crucial that we hear, follow, and do the decrees and laws of God. God has not left us in the dark to determine how we are to live. We are not bound to an eternity of determining what is right and wrong. We are free from the pursuit of seeking God, for He has sought us and told us who He is and what He desires of us. His authority revealed in His law is our freedom.
  • How do you cleave unto the Lord? – By loving His Word, by doing His Word. The Word of God is our life as Christians, and obeying God’s Word keeps us in fellowship with Him. God’s people need to be careful about not becoming too friendly with the world; this can lead to loving the world, letting ourselves be molded by the standards and wickedness of the world. This kind of lifestyle lived out by a Christian invites the chastening of the Lord into their life. (Hebrews 10:30-31 – For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.)
  • We need to be cleavers to the Word of God and not leavers of the Word of God and its teachings.

WE NEED TO LIVE OUT THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE ABOUT GOD IN OUR LIFE AND DO IT. (4:5-6 – Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.) Why do we need to do this?

  • Because – we have been taught it and commanded to do so by God.
  • Because – it will help lead you to wisdom and understanding. (4:6a)
  • Because – living out and doing the Word of God will give you a good reputation to those around you.(4:6b)
  • Because – Time is short. There is an important reminder in these verses for us, with regard to the authority of God’s Law, with respect to those who have heard and are following God’s commands and those who are not.
  • Because – Of the twofold benefit that happens when we are obedient to God. Our obedience shows wisdom and understanding. When others see that, they see the character of God. Wisdom is found in conformity to God’s authority. We get the benefit of being seen to possess wisdom and understanding, and God gets the benefit of a good Christian testimony on display for others to see and for God to use as a tool to help bring others to Him.

CONCLUSION: Deuteronomy 4:14 “And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.” We need to always be doing the will of God. We need to learn His Word, learn His teachings, learn His principles, and we need to keep all that we have learned and to do what we know.

Moses’ encouragement to Israel is to make sure they listen closely to the statutes and rules he commands them. They must remember to obey with exactness. This should not be confused with perfect law keeping. The entire reason the Mosaic sacrificial system was in place was to cover the sins of the people. Moses’ specific concern is seen in verse two. He does not want them to add to or take from the command of the Lord. Why is it so important that they keep the entire law in this way? Notice verse one. It is so they can continue to have life and take possession of the promised land. We too can take possession of the promised land God has planned for us. We, as the Lord instructed the Israelites to do, must do the Word of God in our life. We must live it out, keep it, know it and share it with others. Then by doing so we will open up our lives to see the promised life God has planned for His obedient children.

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.)

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.

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