Bible Studies

Notes from Bible Studies

Attitude of Ministry, part 2 of 3: Perspective

Last week, we learned that attitude allows us to:

  1. Influence The three Hebrew children influenced the king.
  2. Endure
    David endured in Ziglag; he encouraged himself.
  3. Make the right choices
    Caleb and the scouts

Perspective is a sub-topic of attitude. We can have a worldly perspective or a Godly perspective.

perspective
A particular attitude or way or regarding something; a point of view.

I need a volunteer. Jay, would you come up here? Now, like the picture in your handout of hands holding the world, Jay is going to represent the world, and I’m going to represent the hand of God. Sometimes we feel like God is (holding Jay by the neck) right here, and sometimes we feel like we’re (holding Jay’s hand by the fingertips) dangling. But no matter where God has us, the important thing is to remember that we’re always in God’s hands.

Isaiah 55:8-11
  1. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  2. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  3. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
  4. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

There are scriptures that say God’s ways are high and holy and righteous, but it says here that God’s thoughts are literally not our thoughts. So we shouldn’t feel bad when we don’t understand what’s going on. God’s word will do what he set out for it to do; it won’t return void. We as humans in the flesh have a choice whether to be a part of that plan. That’s our choice: how we receive God’s words. Hopefully we will have the perspective to realize that God has a plan, and want to be a part of it.

God didn’t make anything by accident; everything is by design. We strive to overcome faults and shortcomings, but God gave them to us for a reason. He doesn’t improvise and patch things together; he builds each of us by design.

What is God’s Perspective?

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
  1. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
  2. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

So God wants us to keep his commandments. He knows what is going on, and he says “I need you to have the trust and faith to keep my commandments.” You know what? God is going to equip us to do just that.

> A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances; rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

God gave us all different circumstances. We have a choice in how we react to them.

John 14:15
  1. If ye love me, keep my commandments.

That’s how we can show God that we love him. And God is going to help us:

John 14:16-17
  1. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
  2. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

So far we’ve covered:

  • God’s ways are higher than our ways
  • God expects us to obey him

I remember a story Pastor Thomas told. There was an established businessman, and a young man who wanted to be his apprentice. So the older man said, “You need to shave off your mustache.” The younger man said, “That’s rediculous! I’m not going to do it.” So the older man refused to mentor him. He was only trying to see whether the young man would obey him or not.

God is looking for us to have the simple seed of faith to obey him.

Matthew 7:9-12
  1. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
  2. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
  3. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
  4. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Who is a parent in here? Sister Ulysse, do you ever have a desire to not give your kids what is best for them? Your primary instinct as a mother is to do what’s best for them, even when that’s discipline that they don’t want.

God is our father: the perfect father, if you can fathom that concept. The natural instinct of a father is to put the kids’ needs above his own. Keep that thought as we roll this video clip.

> Video clip: “What is that?”

We’re talking about the concept of God the Father. What are a couple of lessons we can learn from this?

  • God is patient with us; we should be patient with each other.
  • If God asks us something constantly; we should just do it without getting mad.

God sincerely desires us to obey. Our perspective is so small and miniscule; sometimes what he asks us to do seems so rediculous. But when we do it, God is pleased.

  • Sometimes ministering to people is doing th e same thing over and over again, whether it’s for the same person or for other people.
Psalms 37:3-9
  1. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
  2. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
  3. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
  4. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
  5. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
  6. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
  7. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

At times, doesn’t it seem like an evildoer is running by you, getting all good things that he doesn’t even deserve. That happens in the world often, but sometimes it even happens in ministry. Suppose you’re out there on base, sharing with people faithfully. But other people seem to reap the benefits.

A lot of times, God wants us to rest in his faith. Maybe God wants us to hold our tongue, and just be that testimony. “I’m content with what I’m doing.” Sometimes we have to be that “spiritual punching-bag.” There are times when everyone’s attitude toward each other won’t be perfect, whether in the church or outside the church.

When you hold your tongue, or you don’t hit “send” on that email you wrote in anger, your perspective may change a bit. I’m not saying to sit still and do nothing, but use wisdom.

Psalms 50:9-14
  1. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
  2. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
  3. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
  4. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
  5. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
  6. Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

What are physical things to God? How much do you really have control over? Do you have any control over the economy? Suppose you build a business: a multi-million dollar business. Can that system fail? Can your health fail? We don’t even have control over how much time we have left in this life. It could be ten minutes or a hundred years.

That’s why attitude is so important.

> Life is ten percent of what happens to me, and ninety percent of how I react to it.

> John C. Maxwell

Are we doing things with love and charity?

God manifest in the flesh as Jesus had a certain perspective, but somebody else had a different perspective:

Luke 10:39-42
  1. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
  2. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
  3. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
  4. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

So was it wrong for Martha to make sure people had food and water and all that stuff? No, but there was a perspective to minister. Mary’s perspective in this case was to minister. Sometimes when we go through the motions we miss a ministering opportunity.

Let’s say, Ben, you’re walking to church because the people who are doing the lawn are meeting at 10am. You guys are going to meet with all the lawnmowers, bust it out, and be ready for church on Sunday. Let’s look at three different perspectives:

  1. Ben is walking down the street, and God sees Ben is faithful. “Here is a brother or sister who needs comfort; I’m going to place this person on Ben’s path so he can minister to him.”

  2. Man’s perspective is, “I’m in a hurry. I’m focused; I know what I have to do. Here’s this person making eye contact with me; he could slow me down, so I’m going to walk on the other side of the sidewalk.”

  3. A spiritual perspective is, “God, I’m ready to do whatever you would have me to do. The grass is still going to be there an hour from now.”

1 Kings 3:9-12
  1. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
  2. And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
  3. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
  4. Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

God was pleased because Solomon’s attitude was toward ministry. In this case, God’s answer was, “Okay, you’re a wise man now; I’m going to equip you to do ministry.” So people gathered from miles around to see Jerusalem and hear the wisdom of Solomon.

What should man’s perspective be?

> I may not be able to change the world I see around me, but I can change the way I see the world within me. > John C. Maxwell

Let’s look at another two people who ministered in a different way from King Solomon:

Acts 3:1-10
  1. Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
  2. 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;
  3. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
  4. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
  5. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
  6. 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.
  7. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
  8. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
  9. And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
  10. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Solomon had a lot of influence, but Peter an d John didn’t have much of anything in the world. So using nothing, God worked a miracle and healed that man. How quickly do you think news of that miracle spread? God will give us just what we need to do ministry, whether that’s a church the size of ten Rock Churches, or just meeting people in the street. When you throw a rock into the water, it makes ripples across the whole surface of the pond.

Keep this perspective: We have what we need to do ministry.

> Video: The Hospital Window

Once again, there are no right or wrong answers. There are lessons we can take from that:

  • He gave the man hope.
  • Being able to find a positive aspect in a negative situation
  • Making a friend in any situation

I think all three of those combine perfectly, because that was all he could do. He did all he was equipped to do, in ministry. He had a voice, and he used it to make a friend. God gave him just what he needed.

Romans 8:6-8
  1. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
  2. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
  3. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

We hear all the time that we have to walk in the spirit. But “the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” We have to walk in the spirit to know what God’s will for us can be. God is going to guide us and direct us, and he may use different things to do that.

Job had a lot taken away from him, but we can encourage ourself with these scriptures. Job was stunned; he sat for a week and didn’t move or speak. There’s nothing wrong with taking “time out” when things happen that affect us spiritually and emotionally. But what did Job do next?

Job 1:20-22
  1. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
  2. And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
  3. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

We wait on the Lord and rest in the Lord. We’re not superman; sometimes all we can do is wait. Sometimes things will happen and all we can say is “God, I don’t understand what’s going on, but I know you’re in control.”

How does God communicate his perspective to us?

1. People

It doesn’t have to be a shining light from heaven.

Ephesians 4:11-12
  1. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
  2. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

2. The word of God

It doesn’t have to be audible to be the word of God. Sometimes we have to read it.

3. The Holy Spirit

> (John 14: the whole chapter)

Sometimes we get perspective from God’s holy spirit dealing with us.

Hopefully a story or example in this study will help when you’re trying to keep a Godly perspective.

what is God’s perspective?

  • God expects us to obey
  • God makes us promises and keeps them

What should my perspective be?

  • We should be looking for ministry
  • We have what we need to do ministry
  • God has the whole world in his hands
  • God is a perfect father

Attitude of Ministry, part 1 of 3

Attitude of Ministry, part 1 of 3

> Jonathan Santiago

Week 1: What is attitude?
Attitude is something you have all the time.

Week 2: Perspective
Perspective can change over time.

Week 3: Focus
God gives us certain things to focus on.

What God gives us to deal with, his ways and how he works things through his pastor and his truth is not always what we see as most beneficial to us. Attitude is a way in which we choose to interpret what God has for us. We can choose to interpret with a good attitude or with a bad one.

Bill Blackwell

I want to thank you for making the effort to be here tonight. From my experience, I’ve seen in the times we go that extra mile, God always honors that faith. I’m expecting for all of us to be able to leave tonight with something just a little extra from God.

Attitude is built up over time. It’s literally what we bring to the moment: every prayer, every sacrifice, everything we’ve ever done in our Christian life will determine, moment to moment, what our attitude is when we respond to something. This is what defines our attitude that people see.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  1. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
  2. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
  3. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
  4. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  5. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Each of the three weeks as we go through, this will be a cornerstone scripture in how we see the living, the carrying out of our attitude in ministry. Rick Hahn said, “There is a distinct difference between our attitude about ministry and attitude of ministry.” An attitude of ministry comes from the inside out.

1 Samuel 30:1-6
  1. And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
  2. And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
  3. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
  4. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
  5. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
  6. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

An attitude of ministry will cause us to endure only if there is that essential ingredient of encouragement. Being able to encourage ourselves will allow us to pray that next prayer. David was upset because he was being pursued by King Saul through no fault of his own. These things have taken place, and he came up on Ziglag utterly destroyed. So what did he do? He encouraged himself in the Lord.

Moment by moment in life, we take the opportunity to make different choices, to have different perspectives. Our focus will always be on some thing, but that focus has been determined by things that have taken place prior to that time. David’s perspective was predetermined by choices that he had made in days prior. That’s where he got that gumption, that ability. That’s what allowed him to endure and carry on.

An attitude of ministry will enable us to make right and wrong choices. Joshua and Caleb and ten others were sent out to spy out something that was already theirs. It had been promised.

Numbers 13:28-33
  1. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
  2. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
  3. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
  4. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
  5. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
  6. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Here was something that God had already promised to them, yet there was something that had to be accomplished. They sent out twelve spies, and all twelve saw the same thing. But only Joshua and Caleb said:

Numbers 13:30
  1. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Wait a minute! It sounds like there is something that has to be done, some action that is required. But yet, what did it say in verse 27?

Numbers 13:27
  1. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

They arrived carrying a vine that was so great that it had to be carried between two of them. What more evidence was required? Yet we see in some of them an answer of fear. What is our Canaan today? What is the thing in our own ministry that needs to be overcome?

Let me draw a distinction between sharing and ministry. We share the gospel in thousands of ways:

  • Invitation
  • Being a friend
  • Offering to pray
  • A kind word

But there is a distinction. We can share, but maybe ministry has not taken place. Ministry is overcoming spiritual opposition. Sharing is the “front line”; it’s the first thing that happens. But when God moves, and opposition is overcome, then ministry has taken place: a demonstration of the power of God.

The ten spies who brought evil report were unwilling to see ministry happen. But Joshua and Caleb allowed God to minister.

In our attitude of ministry, we see a change in a co-worker, in a family member we’ve shared with for years. Now there is a softening of the heart, an easing of the mind, a better foundation with which to work. It’s our conversation, our attitude of ministry that allows the spirit of God to cause a shift in the spiritual perspective of others around us. That’s awesome!

Making right or wrong choices

Understand that our attitude of ministry will cause us to have influence. The greatest part of that is that it happens first in our own heart. So whatever it is that people see in our conversation, we had to be there first.

In 1996, it had been exactly fifteen years since I had last visited the congregation of Norfolk, Virginia. The church in Waukegan had chartered buses; we were getting ready to visit. I had submitted my request for time off from work. I spent literally five days prior to leaving making arrangements for all of my responsibilities to be covered. All the bases were covered. On Friday afternoon, the boss walked around passing out paychecks, and he came to me and hands me one envelope. Normally when you’re paid on a weekly basis, and you’re getting ready to go on vacation, they hand you two checks, one for the advance pay. He said to me, “Bill, I don’t think this is going to work next week.” I was stunned! I didn’t know what to do or say. So I followed him around. He got to the last person and his hands were empty; there were no more envelopes. I was scratching my head and thinking, “What’s going on here?” I had done everything that was required. So my friends started coming up to me and saying “Bill, you’ve got to talk to him. You’re right.” And it really started to fester my attitude. So I got up to give him a piece of my mind. Halfway out of my chair, the Holy Ghost said to me, “Would you rather be right or righteous?” What was that? I sat back down in my seat. The emotion was there; I was charged up to go rip this guy apart. But I stayed at my desk until I had to see the boss anyway with the end-of-day paperwork. And right when I got up, there was this entourage of important people from the front office, engineers and such, who came through the shop. If I had gotten up the first time, I would probably have been in full steam, tearing him up, in front of all those people. And it would have totally destroyed my testimony that I had built up over the years.

Two weeks after I got back from this time off, (and I did get paid; they cleared all that up after I got back), my boss stood on the factory floor and literally poured out his heart to me. I’d never heard anything like that from him. But he needed a compassionate ear – he told me some family issues and some historical things that had happened in his life. Rewind back to the moment when I was ready to tear him up. If I had done that, would I have heard him open up to me? Not in a million years.

If we develop an attitude of ministry, God will bless an honor that.

Daniel 3:16-18
  1. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
  2. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
  3. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Daniel 3:18-28
  1. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
  2. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
  3. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
  4. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
  5. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
  6. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
  7. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
  8. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
  9. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
  10. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
  11. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

What had the king set up? It’s like, “you die if you don’t do that.” And they were put in the burning fiery furnace, heated to seven times its normal temperature. So now, they arrived at the moment with their mind made up, predetermined and settled in their heart. They knew exactly what they were going to do. They didn’t know what they would face, necessarily. Neither do we. We don’t know what challenges and opportunities we will face from day to day. So the king thought that he would have them killed, but in the process of answering the king with a made-up mind and a settled heart, what happened? God showed up on the scene. When we go into these moments and we have our minds made up and our hearts settled, God knows what we’re going through. God will always honor faith. We just have to be of that mindset and sureness to allow God to do what he desires to do for the benefit of … who did it benefit? I mean, the kind didn’t just take away the law; he completely reversed it. And notice that the honor wasn’t being given to the three Hebrew children; it was all for God. Did they get their individual personal rewards? Absolutely, they did! What kind of bolstering of their confidence do you think they had after that? How did they change? What kind of blessing and encouragement did they walk away with? So it benefitted everybody, and God got the glory.

Daniel 3:29
  1. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

That’s pretty dramatic! It’s miraculous to say the least.

Daniel 3:30
  1. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So they were recognized. But it was all resulting from them making sure that God had every speck of glory due to his name and his power. They didn’t take anything on themselves. They received benefit; they received promotion because God chose to use the king to reward and honor and elevate and lift up and promote. Again, it was God who did that.

Let’s look at the definition of attitude. And as we do, I want you to think about your life, where God has brought you from and where God desires to bring you to.

Attitude
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

We’ve all come from different backgrounds. But looking forward, where is it that God desires to take us to? For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they really didn’t know. But they had that purpose settled in their heart: “Come what may, God gets all the praise and the glory.”

I’m looking forward to seeing the fruit. There are victories to be won, miracles to be had, prayers to be answered. Got follows us around; he walks where we walk; he knows what we think; he knows every teeny-tiny detail of our lives. So where does it stop? Is there a cap? Is there a limit?

God is the one who hung the stars in the sky; he put in us the breath of life. Where does it stop, God’s potential to provide? It’s all because of our attitude of ministry. What limit is there? What is it that God does not desire to give us? We could write a volume of stories filled with the testimonies of what God has done in our lives.

Homework: What controls our attitude toward ministry?

  • Hebrews 3:13
    If we fellowship daily, that will control our attitude of ministry.
  • Matthew 23:11
    Be a servant to others.
  • John 14:26
    The Holy Ghost will bring to remembrance everything that is taught.
  • Psalms 1:1-3
    What controls our attitude of ministry? Delighting in the word of the Lord.
  • Psalms 73:17
    Come before the Lord in his sanctuary, praising him. That sanctuary is anywhere you and the Lord happen to meet. God can meet you anywhere.
  • Matthew 8:24-27
    Build up your faith.

Getting this right will affect every aspect of our personal ministries.

Gird Thyself Up Like A Man

Friday Night Men’s Fellowship

Study: Gird Thyself Up Like A Man

Jay Hunemuller

God told Job twice, “Gird thyself up like a man”. There were a lot of things that Job didn’t understand. A lot of bad things were happening, and he didn’t know whether it was God or something else. God helped him get over a little of his self-righteousness. So God helped him get an understand both the battle and his adversary. We know that Job maintained his integrity through the whole ordeal.

Is there a lot of sin and transgression against the Lord in our country right now?

Ezekiel 14:13-14
  1. Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
  2. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

It says that their righteousness will only save themselves.

Acts 2:40
  1. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

We don’t know what is coming, but we do know the signs of the times. We know that sin abounds and the love of many will wax cold. But though men sin, God’s ways remain the same.

Tonight, God will challenge us in the way we think about some specific issues. I hope we go home being more aware of our thoughts and how we choose them. Just because a thought enters our mind doesn’t mean we own it. We have to claim it, whether the thought is positive or negative.

What does “gird” mean?

  • To cinch or bind up
  • Especially about the loins
  • Keep yourself together
  • Strengthen yourself
gird
The process of tucking up the long Eastern robes through the girdle to prepare for energetic work, thus figuratively, to prepare for action.

War takes a lot of preparation. When someone is in a war, they constantly have to prepare for action. In life, we have this constant cycle of preparing, then action. Are we at war? Yes, we are.

What kinds of things do you have to prepare for?

  • evangelism
  • answer peoples’ questions
  • stand your ground
  • teach a Bible study
  • eat
  • fight, as a boxer
  • walk in the spirit
  • heaven, eternity, Jesus coming back

That last is the biggest thing we have to prepare for, because we all need to be saved, stay saved, and see others saved.

1 Peter 1:12-13
  1. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
  2. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

That scripture summarizes all that God has done for us through the Old Testament and the apostles.

1 Peter 1:14
  1. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

We need to be conscious of how we think. We need to not be blown around by every wind of doctrine. The easiest way to tell a counterfeit is by knowing the real thing. We have a promise in the word of God that we can bring every thought into the captivity of obedience to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6
  1. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
  2. 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;
  3. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

We’re not talking about a revenge against other people, but putting the devil in its place. Even Jesus did it to Peter. He was angry at the devil who was causing Peter to look at things from a worldly perspective. We also read just a little bit ago about the basic things, “not according to the former lusts.”

Let’s look at something that can help us to put all of our thoughts into perspective, not just “is it sin or is it not?” There are thoughts that frustrate us. Fill in the blank:

> Oh, ___ will never change!

The truth is, you can choose to own that thought, and allow yourself to be frustrated, but I don’t recommend that. Why should you be frustrated? The truth is, things won’t change only because you won’t change them, or because you won’t change yourself. First, you need to evaluate the need for change. “Maybe I just need to change my perspective. Maybe I’m just frustrated by something that doesn’t really matter.” Or if it is a change that needs to be made, “What are my resources?”

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

Don’t worry about being too old. How old was Caleb? He was eighty when he said, “I’m going to kick those giants out of my land.”

You can’t change another person, but you can change how you react to that other person. And maybe that will help change that other person. There’s no guarantee, but if you give a positive reaction, negativity will flee, because you give it no place. But if you react negatively, you will activate the world accordingly.

Here’s another thought:

> I’m the only one!

Again, you can choose to own that thought, but I don’t recommend it. First of all, it’s false. But what if you were? Did God lay that on your heart? If so, and you don’t want your crown or your blessing, God will eventually give it to someone else. God may be patient with you for a time, as he was with Jonah, but how do you know if it was for such a time as this?

How about:

> Nobody else cares about ___.

How do you know, unless people tell you what they care or don’t care about. It’s not wise to compare ourselves. All any of us really knows is what God put in our heart.

Does this help get the juices going? Does this help you evaluate your thoughts? Do you have one that you want to share?

> Why this battle?

Whatever the thought, you need to put it into context and consider, “Do I really want to own that thought?”

> I can never get help with…

You can seek help. God said, “Ask and it will be given.” You can also evaluate how much you’re helping the people you’re asking for help. Maybe they can’t help you because they’re too busy doing the things that you won’t help them with.

If we don’t want to do something, what is it that we do?

  • Do other things
  • Procrastinate
  • Turn it over to someone else
  • Complain
  • Rationalize (make excuses)

There are a lot of reasons why we may want to do things or not do things, and they’re not always bad. But how many excuses does it take to absent ourselves from something? How many excuses does the Devil have for us?

So when it comes to choosing what the spirit has for us, it’s all about our priorities. Jesus really doesn’t like excuses.

Hebrews 13:8
  1. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

We know that he is a mighty God.

Luke 14:16-24
  1. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
  2. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
  3. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
  4. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
  5. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
  6. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
  7. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
  8. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
  9. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

So hear that last line. Which ones were they who would not taste of the Lord’s supper? They were the ones who made excuses. I can’t look at you and know what God has laid on your heart, but we know what God has laid on our heart. He said in another place,

Matthew 22:14
  1. For many are called, but few are chosen.

We have received this saying from our founding pastor:

> If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.

You and I don’t need worry about what anybody else is doing. Each of us need to do what God has called us to do.

Pastorship, part 3

Wednesday Evening Study, 10/28/09

Jeff Linger

Pastorship, Part 3/3

  1. Services Expected of a God-called Pastor
  2. How we should repond to their leardership and authority.

Services Expected

  • Feed The Flock
Jeremiah 3:15
  1. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

The scenario before that was that Israel was backsliding, and Judah (her sister) saw it and did nothing about it. At one time, God said “I will write Israel a bill of divorcement”, but his heart was that they would come back. If you get time, read the rest of the chapter.

It’s like seeing your children take a wrong step or make a bad choice. Your heart goes out to them. You don’t stop being the parent; you long to see them restored. You as a parent go the extra step and become that parent even more. This is what God was saying. Israel was going through this bad time and going after idols, and God went the extra step of sending them pastors according to his own heart.

A God-sent pastor is going to have the heart of God, and is goingto give us what we need to live a successful, spiritual Christian life.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4
  1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
  2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
  3. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
  4. For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

We see that Paul was telling the church what breaks a pastor’s heart. He pours out his heart, and looks out over the congregation and sees strife and division. He knows that he needs to fix those problems. He feeds the flock.

Paul wrote to the church that he desired to feed them spiritual things, but he couldn’t. The pastors have a desire to feed us at a spiritual level. I’m thankful that they’re able to teach at that spiritual level. But all these divisions were happening.

Hebrews 5:12-14
  1. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  2. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
  3. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Feed the flock. Paul talked about “for the time, you ought to be teachers, but have need that someone teach you again.” I don’t remember everything I ate at every meal, but each meal gets me to the next one.

When the pastors feed us, they are trying to get us to the point of being able to receive the strong meat of God. It’s like coming into the military. You start out as an E-1, but the Navy doesn’t desire for you to stay as an E-1. In fact, if you don’t move up, after a while the Navy will kick you out, because you have become of no service.

There is a time when we’re just starting out in God and we’re only nibbling at the many topics available. You’ve got to constantly learn and study in order to be able to teach others. If you tell the same story all the time, people will get tired of hearing it. Paul was addressing the issue that we need to reach a higher level. Milk won’t keep you strong for long. For me, I like to think I work hard. I need that strong meat to survive. As we’re out there struggling and breaking those strong bands that try to bind us, we need that strong meat.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
  1. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
  2. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

This is an example of teaching doctring for the stability of the church. If somebody doesn’t study their rate, never picks up the books, they’ll be labeled as ignorant. But here, Paul says “I would not have you to be ignorant.” He was talking about a certain issue that he wanted them to understand. Sometimes the pastors have to do that. We often take it for granted, because some of the basic things that we have learned, if you try and talk to people on the outside about them, they’re clueless.

There’s a lot of issues out there; the pastors don’t want us to be ignorant. I’m thankful that we have an education program. It’s totally amazing how God can bring out his word and make it relevant to the situations in life.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
  1. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
  2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
  3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
  4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
  5. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

We’ve got the charge. Timothy received the charge. I don’t know if there was a horn blown or a gun going off, but he got a charge from Paul. And the charge was, “Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort.” That charge is still alive and being taught by pastors and teachers today. That’s why we’ve got to study, because we never know when people will ask a question. No matter how silly the question, we’ve got to be able to take it, turn it around, and minister with it.

2 Timothy 4:5
  1. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

If we have that long-suffering, we’ll be able to endure those afflictions. I’m thankful that we have all this technology and we know when the storms are coming, but spiritually that’s not always the case. It’s not like you can flip to the channel guide and see what temptations are coming next.

2 Peter 1:12
  1. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

> “I’ve heard twenty Bible studies on baptism!”

Good. You might hear twenty more this year. Sometimes, when we don’t go over topics for a while, we begin to forget them. So we take these refreshers, and the next week we’ll find somebody asking about them.

  • Be Available To The Congregation

We know that being available is a sacrifice. It means that we have to put things on hold, perhaps. They never know when they’ll get that call, “Pastor, I need help; I need prayer; I have this situation that’s bothering me.”

2 Corinthians 12:14-15
  1. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
  2. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

That scripture alone has a lot of teaching in it. Paul is saying, “I’m not seeking what you can give me; I’m seeking your own welfare.” He compared it to parents who lay up money or their life. I have a woman at home who says, “I have no life. I spend all my time on my kid.” I told her, “You have more life than many people.” I pray it changes her perspective.

Pastors don’t mind being available. It’s not like they wake up and say “Oh, man! I wonder how many phone calls I’m going to get today. I hope nobody calls me!”

We’ve all been in situations where we feel like we’ve gave more than we’ve been given; where we’ve loved more than we’ve been loved.

Romans 1:8-12
  1. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
  2. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
  3. Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
  4. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
  5. That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Paul longed to be there, to fellowship with them, that their mutual faith could be shared. At this time, Paul wasn’t able to, but we see his heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-14
  1. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
  2. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
  3. And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
  4. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

That’s what we do; we come together to comfort and edify. And pastors are working to make sure that this environment is available.

Some people, when I begin to talk to them, I realize that they don’t know their pastor. Some of them don’t even know his name. But I’m thankful for this environ

  • Provide Spiritual Counsel
Acts 20:28-32
  1. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
  2. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
  3. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
  4. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
  5. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

There was a warning going on, with tears and teaching, and warning, and spiritual counsel. I like that word “spiritual”. This wasn’t some opinion from Time Magazine. And the end of that spiritual counsel is to build us up and give us the ability to receive an inheritance.

2 Timothy 2:15-19
  1. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  2. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  3. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
  4. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
  5. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

What was the counsel here? He told them to shun profane and vain babblings. He says that they will increase unto ungodliness. He says first, “Timothy, I want you to keep studying.” That’s spiritual counsel. Why? Because you’ll be able to rightly divide the word of truth. And every spiritual counsel will be rightly divided from the word of truth.

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24
  1. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
  2. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

I love this spiritual counsel. We need to keep hearing this one: Abstain from all appearance of evil. Satan tries to make evil things look “cool”. He gives sin an image that we often would think would fit with our life, but it doesn’t. The spiritual counsel that Paul gives here is to abstain from it.

How We Should Respond

How should we respond to leadership and authority? What are our responsibilities?

  • We all need a pastor

There are many people who come to church faithfully, but have never come to the realization that they need a pastor.

Psalms 119:176
  1. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

David acknowledged that he had gone astray. We all have gone astray. What’s the remedy for that? It’s having a good pastor who will make sure to shepherd us. The whole job of a shepherd is to lead the flock and make sure none of them go astray.

Acts 8:29-31
  1. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
  2. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  3. And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

God knew what the eunuch was reading. God knew that he didn’t understand it. So God, being right on time, sent Philip. These days, God might send a pastor in a car. God provided through Philip, and God provides today through pastors.

A lot of people think they don’t need a pastor. I tried to give a guy at work a bulletin on pastorship, and he said, “That’s okay, Jeff. I know it all.” I didn’t know what to say to that. We all need to know more. God could easily have spoken directly to the eunuch, but God has a plan, and that plan includes pastors. In that time, his plan included Philip.

Ephesians 4:11-12
  1. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
  2. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Who is “he” in this scripture? Paul is referring to God. We have all of these positions today, for the same reasons. How should we respond? We need to be listening, because we need to be more perfected, more help to the ministry, and more edifying to the body of Christ.

Amos 3:7
  1. Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

We are a family; we work together to see this body perfected and edified. God could do it all, but he reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets, so they can tell the people.

  • Reverence and Respect for Pastors
Romans 13:1
  1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

That’s a good perspective to keep. There is no power but God. Sure, the pastor has power, but he gets it from God.

Romans 13:2-3
  1. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
  2. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

So if we’re doing what we’re supposed to, we don’t have to worry. If we give honor where honor is due, we’ll have a good relationship with authority. We won’t have to be afraid.

Romans 13:4
  1. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

I have a lot of respect for pastors, because they’re called by God to cut out the sin and remove it.

Romans 13:5
  1. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

What was the issue with Korah? The Levites started out respecting authority, but somewhere along the line, they lost it.

1 Timothy 5:17
  1. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

There are a lot of people we give honor to: parents, dignitaries, a lot more. But Paul was saying that pastors are worthy of double honor. That puts a little heavier weight on how we should deal with them. Their job is one of spiritual sacrifice for God’s people.

As you find time, read the following:

> * 1 Corinthians 4:15-17 > * Galatians 4:8-16 > * Hebrews 13:17 > * 1 Timothy 5:19

  • Provide for Their Needs

(That’s us)

We’re not talking about physical needs like clothes, cars, houses, and so forth.

1 Corinthians 9:3-10
  1. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
  2. Have we not power to eat and to drink?
  3. Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
  4. Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
  5. Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
  6. Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
  7. For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
  8. Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

If you’re a farmer sowing seed, you expect crops. With all the labor and sweat, I guarantee you, he is looking for a return.

1 Corinthians 9:11-14
  1. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
  2. If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
  3. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
  4. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

That’s their job. Read verse 11 again:

1 Corinthians 9:11
  1. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

That’s the job of a pastor. He does all these things so that we would be spiritually well-fed and cared-for. He pours out his heart so that he could see a congregation filled with spiritual things.

Love

Love

> Bob Vincent

What is love?

There are many different kinds of love, ranging from simple preference, as in Jacob’s love of Esau’s savoury meat, to the love between David and Jonathan that the Bible called “greater than the love between a man and a woman.”

Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, wrote:

> Love is the most important word in the English language – and the most confusing. … We use it a thousand ways. We speak of loving activities, objects, animals, nature, people. … We also use the word love to explain behavior. “I did it because I love her.” That explanation is given for all kinds of actions. … What is loving behavior?

Robert Heinlein, in Stranger in a Strange Land, wrote:

> I’ll give you an exact definition. “Love” is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

In this study, we’ll be talking about the particular type of love that results from a conscious decision to place someone else’s needs and wants above your own.

Philippians 2:3
  1. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

This is the type of love that is a reflection of God in us, not a reflection of our physical desires and emotions. This is the type of love that is described in the thirteenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. This is the special type of love that the Bible calls “charity”.

1 Corinthians 13:4
  1. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Love is Long-Suffering

How long is “long”?

Matthew 18:21-22
  1. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
  2. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Men and women who fall in love sincerely believe that theirs is the love that conquers all, the love that spans a lifetime. But research shows that this initial euphoria lasts an average of about two years before disappearing completely. The “falling in love” experience isn’t long-suffering. It isn’t even short-suffering. It’s being swept away by the emotions of the moment. The long-suffering comes later, after the newness has worn off. Even so, the task of loving someone isn’t necessarily painful. The original Greek word translated as “suffers long” merely indicates spiritual patience:

3114, Strong’s Greek Lexicon
to be long-spirited, i.e. (objectively) forbearing or (subjectively) patient.

Love is Kind

How kind is “kind”?

The Old Testament teaches us “the golden rule,” that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Matthew 7:12
  1. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

But loving-kindness goes beyond this reflexive “do unto others” rule. It goes beyond “putting yourself in their shoes.”

Hebrews 10:24
  1. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

When you “put yourself in their shoes,” you aren’t considering the other person; you’re considering yourself. It is as if you made a copy of yourself and moved that copy into the other person’s shoes, replacing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with your own. It’s a good start, perhaps, but it doesn’t go far enough. Loving-kindness means doing the things that would please the other person, not a mirror image of yourself.

Love is Considerate

In order to truly consider one another, to reach out to them and develop that best of all personal relationships called “love,” we have to communicate. It isn’t enough to simply imagine, “How would I feel if I were in their place?” You aren’t them and they aren’t you. We’re all different; God made each of us unique.

1 Corinthians 12:18
  1. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1 Corinthians 12:21
  1. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Often the best way to find out what someone needs is the simplest. Just ask, then listen. In his book, Gary Chapman gives example after example of people who are unhappy because they failed to communicate. Most communication failures happen not because we don’t talk, but because we don’t listen. Someone says “I want this; I need that,” and we filter their words through our own value system and reject what we judge to be unreasonable or trivial. The other person naturally feels hurt, because we have effectively told them, “Your desires aren’t important to me, except where they resemble my own.”

David wrote:

Psalms 116:1
  1. I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Love is Risky

When you truly love someone; when you place their wants and needs above your own, you take a great risk. You invest time and effort and trust in someone who is just as frail and human and failure-prone as yourself, with no immediate hope of reward. You risk the possibility that your investment will never be rewarded. You risk rejection and humiliation. You take a chance that this other person might not love you back.

In Mister God, This is Anna, Fynn described the difference between being “safe” and being “saved”. He says of Anna, a four-year-old child:

> This was her way of being saved. … She would stand some distance off, run toward me, and launch herself at me. The run toward me was deliberate and active; the moment after her launch she was completely passive and limp. She made no effort to help me catch her, no effort toward her own safety. Being safe meant not doing these things at all; being saved meant trusting in another.

The other day someone asked, “Is it safe to tell you something?” I answered, “It’s never safe. I respect and honor your willingness to trust me, but trust always carries risk, and you have to decide for yourself whether the risk is worth the reward.”

Luke 14:28
  1. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

That doesn’t mean you should be afraid of the risk, but you should be aware of it.

1 John 4:18
  1. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Every investment carries with it the risk of failure. But the risk of failure is a necessary ingredient to success. In any situation where you are not allowed to fail, neither can you truly succeed. You shouldn’t be afraid to take the risk, because even failure carries with it the seeds of future success; it teaches us to do better the next time.

Love is Forgetful

Paul wrote that love:

1 Corinthians 13:7
  1. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I think he should have added, “forgetteth all things.” When you truly love someone, you turn a blind eye to all their past mistakes and faults and failings.

Romans 5:8
  1. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

As the song says, “He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.”

John 13:34
  1. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

We should love one another as God loved us. A focus on the past, whether good or bad, won’t supply that motivation forever. As the Haitian proverb goes,

> All that is good is written in sand; all that is bad is written in stone.

In order to truly love someone, we must, like God, maintain a hope for their future.

Philippians 3:13
  1. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Love is Unconditional

As Pastor Paine said, If you give, you’ll get, but if you give to get, you spoil the getting.

Luke 6:35
  1. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Love doesn’t carry any strings; it has no limitations. When we say “I love you” only in response to desirable behavior, that isn’t love; it’s negotiation. Love isn’t about negotiation; it isn’t a contract.

Matthew 5:46
  1. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Often those who aren’t blessed with great ability or beauty or wealth are most in need of an outward show of love.

1 Corinthians 12:22-25
  1. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
  2. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
  3. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
  4. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

Love is Complete

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well; if it isn’t worth doing well, then it isn’t worth doing. And the only way to love well is to give it your all.

Mark 12:30
  1. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10
  1. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
  2. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
  3. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Love is Rewarding

Ultimately, love does conquer all, but only if we continue therein.

John 15:9
  1. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Matthew 24:13
  1. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
James 5:11
  1. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Jesus promised that even love toward our enemies will not go unrewarded.

Luke 6:35-38
  1. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
  2. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
  3. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
  4. Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Notice that it says “shall men give into your bosom.” This is talking about a reward here on earth, not just in heaven. In some ways, the true measure of our ability to love can be measured by our love toward our enemies.

Matthew 5:46
  1. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Love is Transforming

Romans 12:2
  1. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Anyone who has been in love or has been around someone who is in love knows what a dramatic difference it can make. Why is this? Gary Chapman uses the metaphor of a “love-tank” that each of us has inside. When we feel loved, the love-tank fills up. As we experience the trials and tribulations of life, the love-tank gradually empties. He writes:

> Psychologists have concluded that the need to feel loved is a primary human emotional need. For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our plight in life. … The emotional need for love … is fundamental to our nature. It is at the center of our emotional desires. … We will need it as long as we live.

1 Corinthians 13:13
  1. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Love is Godly

I believe that God gave us that need for love so that we would be forced to reach out to each other. God wants us to learn to love each other in order to be more like him.

John 15:12
  1. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

That need to reach out, to connect, is what drives the spread of God’s word.

Romans 1:17
  1. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Bible says that Christians are known by their love for each other:

John 13:35
  1. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Let’s Love One Another

In order to reach our full potential as individuals and as Christians, we need to love each other better. Love doesn’t come easy. It takes effort; it takes patience; it takes communication. Love means taking risks; it means letting go of the past; it means laying it all on the line and giving everything you’ve got. But in the end, love is always worth it. Because love truly does conquer all.

1 John 4:7
  1. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 4:16
  1. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Philippians 4:13
  1. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Putting those last two scriptures together,

I can do all things through love.

Pastorship, part 2 of 3

> Pat Mahoney

Pastor Davis used to say quite often that the best testimony is the one that’s lived. I think about religion and the impact it’s had, especially on the Western world where I live. They look at God as being created after Man’s image, for his own purposes, such as control of the lower classes. When people see a testimony, it makes a difference. It made a difference to me when I met people who went to church and lived a testimony away from church, even when they didn’t think you were listening.

Pastorship, part 2 of 3

This isn’t how to become a pastor; this isn’t the training course. So if you missed last week’s study, don’t worry; you’re not going to miss out on a certificate on that account.

1. Pastors are Accountable to God

Accountability
Subject to giving account; being answerable to; responsible

Pastors are responsible for something more than a job. It’s kind-of like a job, but it’s not something they can take vacation from. It’s a seven-days-a-week, twenty-four-hours-a-day obligation. The accountability is positive, from a desire to serve, not negative, from God’s pointing finger. The accountability is something that pastors take on gladly, out of a desire to shepherd and feed the flock of God.

1 Peter 4:1-5
  1. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
  2. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
  3. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
  4. Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
  5. Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

So pastors are going to give account to God, having a higher standard to live up to. They should be blameless in all of the things that the world considers to be normal and ordinary: they are not idolators or drunkards or rioters. They live a life that has been cleansed.

A: Pastors answer to God, not to the congregation

Let’s look at the commission that applies to all of us, but especially to pastors, who are solidly committed to admonish the congregation. That’s why we sit before them on Sunday mornings.

Ezekiel 33:1-7
  1. Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
  2. Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
  3. If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
  4. Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
  5. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
  6. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
  7. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

So every time the pastors stand before the congregation to deliver a message, that is a warning and admonition from God. I know that I’ve heard the same message on the same topic preached dozens if not hundreds of times, but each time I have to stop and ask myself, “What didn’t I hear the last time?” The pastor isn’t there for himself, but to give a message to deliver a soul from the power of Satan. That is his burden.

Romans 1:11
  1. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

The pastor wants people to be solidly grounded on the word of God, so that when they’re out there dealing with the lions, they won’t be taken. The pastor’s burden is to watch always, not sleeping at his post.

2 Peter 1:12
  1. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

That repetition is not to bug us, but to remind us.

Let’s look at some men who did not have that calling on their lives:

Numbers 16:1-3
  1. Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
  2. And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
  3. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

The point is who is called and who is holy. Pastors have a special calling that is from God. We don’t all have that calling to lead and guide each other. There are certain questions that you will hear from time to time that it is not up to you to answer, even if you know the answer. Spiritual counsel and guidance is the pastor’s responsibility. If we labor in the ministry and have our hand to the plough, we should have that spiritual communication line with God to know the difference.

Numbers 16:4
  1. And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

Instead of rising up indignantly and saying “This is my authority”, Moses fell on his face.

Numbers 16:5-7
  1. And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
  2. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
  3. And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

Now in the law, it talks about offerings, and who could offer and who could not. To offer strange fire before the Lord was considered an abomination. So Moses said to them, “You go ahead and offer this fire, if you think it’s right in God’s eyes to do so.”

Numbers 16:8-10
  1. And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
  2. Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
  3. And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?

So they were already ministers, but they said, “I want to be the top dog. I want to be the same as you, Moses, in authority and power.”

Numbers 16:11
  1. For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

If you read on, you’ll find out what happened to them. Korah and Dathan and Abiram became like burnt match-heads, and as for the rest of their company, the earth opened up and swallowed them whole. So we have this example to show that pastors do have an authority that comes from God.

B: Pastors are answerable to God for our souls

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

Pastors seek things that are profitable for us; they seek to build up and edify us. In the Old Testament, they called the judges “gods” with a lower-case “g.”

Psalms 82:6
  1. I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

If you go before the judges, you shouldn’t take lightly their anointing of God.

Isaiah 30:20-21
  1. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
  2. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
James 3:1
  1. My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Absalom was a man who waited outside the gate to turn the hearts of the people away from their established leader, and if you read the story, you’ll find that it didn’t go well with him. One of David’s mighty men killed Absalom for trying to subvert the authority of the king. In this same respect, the pastors have been given authority, not as slave-drivers over us, but to speak the word of God and teach it appropriately.

Luke 12:48
  1. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Pastors, have been given much, in the way of authority and responsibility. So the weight of punishment for a pastor who neglects his responsibilities will be much greater than ours.

C: Pastors have the oversight of the flock

Pastors wear a lot of hats, but they also have the authority to delegate. They are responsible for teaching holiness, and they are accountable for those under them.

Numbers 3:32
  1. And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.

In the Old Testament priesthood, there were a lot of things that had to go on in the sanctuary. Moses just couldn’t do it all in the time alotted. Everything had to be done a certain way. And today, God would also have things done in decency and in order. That direction comes from the top down, not from the bottom-up.

We’re going to look at two men who were roughly on the same level of authority. As we read this, we find out that pastors are also accountable to each other for their own ministry.

Galatians 2:11-12
  1. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
  2. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

When James came, he sat and ate with him. But when some Jews came, he said, “You guys stay here; I’m going to go eat with the Jews.” Peter had already received a vision from God teaching that he should call no man common or unclean, but he had started to fall back on his own self-righteousness.

Galatians 2:13-14
  1. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
  2. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

This was an open rebuke because it concerned everyone there, and they all needed the correction lest anyone should be confused. If it had been a simple matter of administration, probably it would have been handled privately, and nobody else would have known.

D: Pastors are responsible for the vision of the ministry or congregation

We know the vision that has been cast for us, because the pastors have told us.

1 Corinthians 14:8
  1. For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

It’s up to the pastors to blow that trumpet; it’s not up to us. We can “vote with our feet” by leaving, but it’s not up to us to cast the vision.

2 Corinthians 11:28
  1. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Paul had a big vision. He wanted to go into Asia, though the Holy Ghost forbade him for a time. The pastors likewise have a big vision. They don’t sit around waiting for God to send them; they have things that they want to do, and they bring them before God in prayer. Some of those things, we see happening right now. One of the big visions is to see a ministry established in every place in the world where the Navy goes.

1 Corinthians 9:16-18
  1. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
  2. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
  3. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Pastors don’t serve for fear of accountability of what will happen if they don’t; they serve for the love of the church and for the love of the calling that God has placed on their lives. It’s not a drudge to serve under such a calling; God won’t place a calling on your life if it’s not something you will accept. Sure, you may feel unworthy; the pastors have to rely on God just like we do.

2. God’s Intent and Purpose for Pastors

A: For the edifying of the body of Christ

Ephesians 4:10-12
  1. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
  2. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
  3. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

All those things may work together, but the pastors fulfill a lot of those roles. A pastor can be a prophet, an evangelist, and certainly a teacher. The pastors have those gifts for our sakes, and certainly there are things that we won’t receive except through the pastors. The Bible doesn’t go into specifics in this regard, but I know that there are certain things that I’ve pondered in my own life, that if I hadn’t heard it from the pastors I never would have figured it out.

B: To restore and feed the flock

Isaiah 61:1
  1. The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Restoration: to set people free. The gospel will make us free; the truth comes to us through the word of God, through a pastor. I sat in a couple of different services before I got saved, but the people who taught me in studies were students of the pastor. All of the things spoken of in this verse are either administered directly or delegated by the pastor.

Jeremiah 3:4-15
  1. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?
  2. Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
  3. The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
  4. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
  5. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
  6. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
  7. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.
  8. And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
  9. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
  10. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
  11. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
  12. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

God saw that people had to have a pastor. They took their faith and turned it into religion, and the God wanted to give them pastors to restore them. God’s relationship to the church is something he wants the pastors to recognize and understand. God has a relationship to the church that is like a marriage; we may not recognize and understand that relationship, but the pastorship does. Even if the number saved, “one of a city and two of a family” is not a lot, God still wants to save them. Even though we may backslide and fall or leave the ministry, God through the pastors welcomes us back in if we’re willing.

C: To present every man perfect to Christ

Colossians 1:23-29
  1. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
  2. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
  3. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
  4. Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
  5. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
  6. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
  7. Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Paul understood the nature of his calling. I’m thankful that he did. Paul wrote much of the New Testament, and he had an excellent grasp of just how we should deal with our “humanness”

Romans 7:24
  1. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Paul had an idea of what we would suffer, not from anything new, but from our human condition. He had a fervor for us to be saved, and wanted to make people perfect and acceptable to Christ.

D: To speak in Christ’s stead

Acts 4:19-20
  1. 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.
  2. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Even in the face of physical punishment or death, they wouldn’t back down from what God had spoken to them. They did what they knew to do; what Christ would have done. Christ spoke through his testimony of healing, and so Peter and John did the same. Since the Pharisees weren’t doing likewise, their jealousy and hatred caused them to bring these men before the council. Like Peter and John, the part of the pastors is to speak the word of God without compromise or partiality.

The part of an ambassador is to pass on a message from the authority, without changing it.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
  1. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
  2. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The pastors are called to speak in Christ’s stead, not from their own understanding, but being led of the spirit for our edification. The pastors are accountable to Christ to speak in Christ’s stead, as though he were standing there for us.

Be a Man!

Be a Man!

Jay Ugali

Ephesians 6:10
  1. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

We’re talking about putting on the whole armor of God.

Ephesians 6:11-13
  1. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
  2. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  3. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

How are we going to stand? By putting on the whole armor of God. We’ve got to make sure and put on the whole armor, not just a part.

Ephesians 6:14-19
  1. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
  2. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
  3. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
  4. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
  5. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
  6. And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

How many of you guys are glad to know the truth? Isn’t it the most wonderful thing in the world? Our job is to go out and share that with people.

John 14:19-21
  1. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
  2. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
  3. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

In order for us to be strong, God wants us to know his word.

Job 23:12
  1. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

I look at it as a hard thing. That’s really important. We need to make sure that we find ourselves continually in his word. We have to study his word, because if we don’t, we won’t be able to share with people.

Psalms 1:1-2
  1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
  2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

How many of you guys have a delight? He doth meditate when? Sunday and Wednesday night? No, God wants us to get to know his word and build our relationship with him. Once we know, then we have to do it.

Matthew 7:24-25
  1. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
  2. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

So this person heard the word and did it. Where was his house built on? A rock, right? Because he did it.

We’ve got to get out and evangelize so that people will hear the word. But it says here,

Matthew 7:26-27
  1. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
  2. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

So we’ve got to hear his word and what? Do it.

Matthew 7:28-29
  1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
  2. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The scribes knew the word of God, but they didn’t do it. Sometimes we wonder, “What can I do to make sure my teaching ministry is growing?” You’ve got to know the word of God and be led of his spirit. Every time we go out to do ministry, we’ve got to be led of his spirit.

Hebrews 5:12-13
  1. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  2. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

What is the title of the Bible study? Be a man. But he that is unskilful in the word is a babe. Do you classify yourself as a meat-eater or a milk-drinker? Forget the milk; I want the meat.

Hebrews 5:14
  1. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 6:1-3
  1. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
  2. Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
  3. And this will we do, if God permit.

You have to look into your life. If you find yourselves being bored as a Christian, you have to look at yourself. If you find Bible studies boring, why? You should have faith, every time you go into it, “God I’m going to get something out of it.” One day in the One-Stop Bible Shop it was just three people: me, Pat, and Clarence. We had a good time! We were loving it.

(manifest myself to him)

We have to know his commandments; we have to do them. We have to be willing and obedient. Not just willing, but willing and obedient. One time in Waukegan, I just said, “God, what would you have me to do?” Rick Matzack was in the kitchen, so I helped him out in the kitchen. That was fun, so I said, “What else, God?” Then Pastor Saniatan had me answering the phones. So I started answering the phones. I got to talk to people from all over the world. Anything else, God? All the carpets needed shampooing. One time I walked down into the basement when they were stripping and waxing the floor. Oh, my! All I saw was yellow spots all over the place. So I went to Pastor Saniatan and asked, “You mind if I just do that job?” He said okay, and I got to minister. The Bible says,

Ecclesiastes 9:10
  1. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

If you find it boring, you need to watch yourself. Every time I’ve put my hand to ministry, I’ve received a blessing.

1 Samuel 17:17-18
  1. And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren.
  2. And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

Ooh, that’s a big thing for David to do at that time. What was his job? To tend the sheep, right? And here’s Jesse asking him to take food to his brethren.

1 Samuel 17:19-21
  1. Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
  2. And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
  3. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.

So we see that David was just a deliverer of food. He wasn’t a part of the army. We have to find ourselves being useful for God. If you just wait for something to happen, it won’t ever happen.

1 Samuel 17:22-24
  1. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
  2. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
  3. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.

Gee, these were supposed to be in the army, and they were running away. Imagine if our men did that, in the Marines.

1 Samuel 17:25-26
  1. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
  2. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

I love David’s attitude. “How dare they talk about my God like that!” I imagine David looking around at the army and wondering, “Why are they so afraid?” When you got baptized and went down into the water, did anybody tell you what you’d be doing for God? How many of you knew exactly what would happen? None of us. You know why? Because we probably would have run away. We’re not meant to know. We don’t want to do a work for God; we want to stay home and watch football and play video games.

1 Samuel 17:27-28
  1. And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
  2. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

Man, he’s not even getting support from his own brother! He’s worried about David’s sheep. Should he be worrying about David’s sheep? No, he should be worrying about that giant down there. Sometimes we get like that. “What about this brother? What about that brother?” We need to worry about our own ministry. We spend too much time worrying about what someone else is doing.

1 Samuel 17:29-30
  1. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
  2. And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.

Everyone was against David. “Shut up, David!” Are we encouraging a brother or discouraging him? Think about it.

1 Samuel 17:31-33
  1. And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.
  2. And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
  3. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

What did David have in mind? “I can.” What did Saul have in mind, the leader? “You can’t.”

1 Samuel 17:34-37
  1. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
  2. And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
  3. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
  4. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

So you see what happened after that, he fought him and beat him. For time’s sake, I’m going to jump ahead.

1 Samuel 17:39
  1. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

So David tried the armor, and it was like a little bitty kid trying on his Dad’s clothes.

1 Samuel 17:40-45
  1. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
  2. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
  3. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
  4. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
  5. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
  6. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

Check out his boldness in the next verse.

1 Samuel 17:46-48
  1. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
  2. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.
  3. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

David was not afraid; he ran towards the giant. And he said, “I’m going to take your head,” even though he didn’t even have a sword; all he had was a sling.

1 Samuel 17:49-50
  1. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
  2. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

So David slew him with a stone, but was the job done? No, because the Philistine army was still there.

1 Samuel 17:51
  1. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

Oh, man! All this with just a stone. You ever see the little kid version of David and Goliath? This is the man’s version. Don’t settle for just knocking him down; finish the job! It’s time to be men, right?

Luke 14:25
  1. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

There were all these men following Jesus, right?

Luke 14:26-27
  1. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  2. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

So what do we have to do? Am I telling you that you’ve got to go to your mother and say, “I hate you?” No, I’m not. How many know the story of when Jesus was missing for a few days and his mother and father came looking for him? What did he say? The same thing I say to my Mom when she asks, “Jay, when are you coming back to L.A. to visit?” “Mom, I’ve got to be about my father’s business.”

Luke 14:28-30
  1. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  2. Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
  3. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

I’m not telling you that you’ve got to go sell your house, but you’ve got to count the cost.

Luke 14:31-35
  1. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  2. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  3. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  4. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  5. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Serving the Lord takes everything. This isn’t like High School; it’s not a popularity contest. So I’m encouraging everybody; continue to study; get into the word; meditate on it day and night. That’s when God can use you. We all work together; it’s a team effort. Everyone needs to do their part. The Bible says that we are one body but many members.

1 Corinthians 12:18-21
  1. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
  2. And if they were all one member, where were the body?
  3. But now are they many members, yet but one body.
  4. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

I pray that we continue to be faithful in whatever we do now. Whether it’s working in financial ministry or going out there and cutting grass, the Bible says that if we remain faithful, we will have our reward.

Pastorship, part 1 of 3

Pastorship, part 1 of 3

Jeff Linger

I’ve been talking to a young man at work named Teddy during lunch break. Today we got to talking about pastorship. We learned that the word literally means “shepherd.” A shepherd was a job that was kind-of at the bottom of the market. It was a dirty job, not one you would send your kids to college for. The term “pastor” wasn’t often used in reference to Aaron and the Levitical priesthood. It’s interesting that the word we use today traces back to such a humble occupation.

Appointment by God (Anointing & Position vs. Calling)

A true God-called pastor has a job that carries a greater responsibility than the mere position. A Biblical pastor is someone who looks out for your soul. Our perfect example in anything is Jesus, especially when it comes to leadership. He was sent by God, so his leadership models what pastors are supposed to do.

Pastors are no different from anybody else; they don’t have any bragging rights. What makes them difference is their calling and their passion.

Ephesians 2:8-10
  1. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  2. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  3. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Realize that we are all saved by the grace of God. Any ability or calling that we have is God-given. We can’t brag like we are all that – God isn’t impressed.

Abraham was called and appointed by God. In his life, he had to come out of a very idolistic culture, even in his own house.

Genesis 12:1-5
  1. Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
  2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
  3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
  4. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
  5. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Definitely, pastors are on the front line of our faith. God called Abraham when he was seventy-five. At that time, you aren’t going to be thinking of anything but putting your fishing-cap on and retiring. But that’s when God called him to do something. There was a spiritual calling that God had on his life, but he had to separate himself from his father’s house and his country. He could have said, “Thanks, God, but I’m too old. I have my family; I have too much stuff.” I’m thankful that pastors today don’t give the excuse of being too old or having too much stuff, but go where God sends them.

You don’t see titles over these men’s names calling them “Pastor Abram” or “Pastor Moses”, but God called them for a specific job.

Exodus 3:1-10
  1. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
  2. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
  3. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
  4. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
  5. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
  6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
  7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
  8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
  9. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
  10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Wait a minute! God started out saying “I will deliver my people,” and then he said, “I’m going to send you to do it.” Moses just came out of Egypt. I’m thinking that going back in wasn’t his specialty. So Moses did a little back-pedaling, but in the end, he did what God told him to do. And we may, in the course of our calling, do a little back-pedaling, but it’s in our best interest to do what God has for us to do.

If God has a desire for me, and he is using a man to fulfil that desire, it’s in my best interest to lift up his hands. We’re a family here, of all different types and personalities and interests. But God has called a pastor to pastor all of us people, and some of us are hard to work with. In my time, pastors have had to do some chiseling on me like you saw in the movie on Wednesday.

What about Samuel? God called Samuel, and if it was all about qualifications, Samuel wouldn’t have been called. I don’t have anything against education; we have an in-house college, and I’m thankful to work with it. But if education is what it takes, Samuel is out of the picture.

1 Samuel 3:1-4
  1. And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
  2. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
  3. And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
  4. That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
1 Samuel 3:18-21
  1. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
  2. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
  3. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
  4. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

There a lot of concepts we could pull from this. Eli, like the religious world, had grown callous toward the will of the Lord. Samuel didn’t have a great education, but was called while he was just a child. I’m sure that later, working with the priesthood, he received an education. Eli wasn’t doing what God had required, for he let the lamp of God go out in the house of the Lord, which wasn’t supposed to happen.

Some of you think, “I can’t be a pastor, because I didn’t come from a family of preachers. In fact, I didn’t come from a family of church-goers at all.” Is there an example of God calling somebody who didn’t have this type of background?

Amos 7:14-15
  1. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
  2. And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

So Amos wasn’t one of those guys who you look at saying “Look at that guy picking sycamore fruit! That’s pastorship material! Look at him herding!” But God saw his heart, and how he did his job, and God called him. This wasn’t something that Amos was preparing for all of his life. He wasn’t in preparation for it. It’s just like the guy who I work with. He’s spent years and years in preparation; he already has one master’s degree, and he’s working on his second. He’s saying “After that, I’m ready to go for my divinity degree, and then I can start teaching.” I’m like, “Okay, but hopefully you’ll get a chance to teach one or two people along the way.”

In the Old Testament, you knew who was the high priest by the clothes that he wore. But today you know by his heart.

Position vs. Calling

  • Education comes after the calling.
  • Colleges don’t produce pastors.
  • God produces pastors

Example: King Saul

King Saul had a position. He became a king only because the people wanted a king, so they could be like all the other nations. That’s not what God wanted; God wanted to be their king. But the people kept complaining to Samuel, “We want a king”, so God gave them one.

1 Samuel 8:1-7
  1. And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
  2. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
  3. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
  4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
  5. And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
  6. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
  7. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Wow. That’s the whole scenario. It wasn’t about what God wanted; it’s about what the people wanted. I’m thankful that we’re not gathering together to decide who should be our pastor. Frank said to me the other day, “Tomorrow’s the big day! We’re going to vote on our pastor; if he doesn’t do a good job, he’s outta there!” But that ties your pastor’s hand. It doesn’t allow him to preach with conviction. Voting in a man-called pastor will give you:

  • Worldly Judgment
  • The Will of the People

If God puts a pastor there, you’re going to get what God wants. But if the world puts him there, you’ll get what the people want. Men-called pastors won’t preach with conviction; you’ll lose more than you will gain.

1 Samuel 8:11-18
  1. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
  2. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
  3. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
  4. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
  5. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
  6. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
  7. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
  8. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

They’re losing out because the people picked King Saul to be there. That’s what happens. But I’m thankful that in this ministry we have God-called pastors. God put them there, and we’re benefitting. Look at all that Israel lost by having a man-called leader. I’d rather have a pastor called by God.

Holding a Position

Scribes and Pharisees were people who held a position. And Jesus points some ways that they were just there to hold a position.

Matthew 23:1-3
  1. Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
  2. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
  3. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

I’m thankful that our pastors are called by God, and they realize that they have to set an example.

Matthew 23:4-7
  1. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
  2. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
  3. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
  4. And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

That’s all about position.

Now, let’s look at David, a godly king. This is what happens when God calls somebody, though he be a young man.

1 Samuel 16:6-13
  1. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.
  2. 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.
  3. Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
  4. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
  5. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.
  6. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
  7. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
  8. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Wow. That’s amazing. Here it is, the big day; Samuel the big prophet is coming to Jesse’s house, and he brings all of his sons except for David. Where’s David? He’s not even in the house; David is keeping sheep. So here’s Eliab, probably a big guy with big muscles, and even Samuel thought he would be the one, because he was looking on the outward appearance. And so it was with the other sons. But when David came in, he didn’t have to convince anybody of how good he was; God just said, “That’s the one. Anoint him.”

People pay a lot of attention to how well you can speak, but some of our pastors didn’t go to these theological schools to learn how to speak.

A Sacred Calling

When I say the word “sacred,” what do you think?

  • Sacrifice
  • godly
  • precious
  • valuable
  • An item that is protected

Pastorship is a sacred calling. When God calls pastors, they can’t live just any way they want to.

When God called the priesthood, he told Aaron and Moses to make for them special clothes. He called them “holy garments.”

Exodus 28:2
  1. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
Exodus 28:4
  1. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

So even by the way God made clothes for them and dressed them, ti was a sacred calling. We understand now that the holiness is in the inside. But God decided what would make them look different. That’s important. It’s not for man to decide how to look different; that’s for God to decide.

I was at work in the Navy and a guy said, “Linger, I like you. I don’t know why I like you; I just like you.” So I invited him to a Bible study and he was too busy to come. So when I got back he asked, “How was it?” I was like, “Oh man! The Holy Ghost just moved! You should have been there!” And he wished he had been there.

1 Kings 19:13-21
  1. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
  2. And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
  3. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
  4. And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
  5. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
  6. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
  7. So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.
  8. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?
  9. And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

He pretty much severed his relationship at that time. When he boiled their oxen, that was their livelihood. So here was Elijah, with a sacred calling. The mantle was the representation of that calling, and he passed that on to Elisha. When you look for someone to continue after you in your calling, what will you look for? You’ll look for someone who has a heart and a passion. Only God can know these qualifications in your life.

God’s Calling vs. Our Own Will

  • Jesus didn’t want to suffer in the flesh, but he did it for our souls.

If Jesus didn’t go to the cross; we wouldn’t have salvation, but he did. What God did for us is truly amazing; you can’t put it into words.

We’ve had a lot of messages on Jonah; Pastor Paine loves preaching on Jonah.

Jonah 1:1-2
  1. Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
  2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

What did Jonah do? He went the other day. Brutha got on the boat, went the other way, and we know the story. He got swallowed by a great whale, repented, and got spit out on Nineveh. We see that Jonah had a calling that wasn’t his will. I hope that we don’t wind up in the belly of a whale, but God might put us in a position where we don’t want to be. Sometimes pastors get put in that kind of position, and they’re willing to do whatever God calls them to do.

Saul, otherwise known as the Apostle Paul:

Acts 9:1-6
  1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
  2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
  3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
  4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

First of all, I don’t think Saul at that time was somebody that I’d want to invite out to church. He was going around and persecuting Christians; he had them bound and I’m sure he had some killed. But in the midst of all that, God stopped him and said, “Wait a minute; I’ve got something for you to do.” We know what Saul’s will was; he probably was getting enjoyment out of catching these Christians and making their life hard. Now let’s look at God’s will.

God is speaking to Ananias here:

Acts 9:15-20
  1. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
  2. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
  3. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
  4. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
  5. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
  6. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Wow! That was amazing. You see the turn here? We would have said to him, “Get out of here; I don’t have anything for you.” But God saw things differently.

Characteristics (Truthful Representation)

Examples:

  • Noah
  • Job
  • Paul

I can’t do that justice in five minutes, but look at their common characteristics. The Bible says that we are ambassadors. Out pastors are ambassadors for Christ. What you see is what you’ve got. You go to any of our pastors homes, and what you see in the pulpit is what you’ll see lived. There will be a truthful representation of a life for Christ. You study these three people on your own time and pull out some examples of how they were truthful representations of a Godly lifestyle in their own time.

I’m thankful for pastors who are willing to make themselves available at 2:00 in the morning; who are willing to live a Godly lifestyle no matter what happens.

Setting The Example

Friday Night Men’s Bible Study

Bruce Wilson

One of the biggest challenges we’re facing as a ministry is one we also face as a society. A lot of our leadership are being asked to do a lot more things in a lot less time. A lot of people we count on to be leaders are putting in fourteen to eighteen hour days before they even hit the pier. Those of you who are active duty, that’s not a strange thing for you, but we’re seeing the same thing on the civilian side, too. That’s just part of the economy. The whole capitalist society has its good points and bad points.

I want to talk to you tonight about our example as Christian men. I want you to think about the kind of examples we have around us in our society, and how powerful they are to those people who, without any direction in their own life, just follow that example. It might be a good moral example, but does that mean that those who follow are also moral?

What kinds of things do we come against in our daily life? You hit the ground running at your workplace, and there are people who are very influential about what happens in that workplace.

“Good morning!”

> What’s good about it?

“How’s it going?

> Same-old same-old.

As Christians, we should be aware of what we’re doing every day. We should know why we’re doing it. If there’s anything God is saving us from in this world, it’s mindlessness. I can look around me at the opportunities for action and know that I can do something, even though I’m a puny human being.

Paul talks about things that are neither clean nor unclean in themselves, but he said “I will not be brought under their power.”

1 Corinthians 6:12
  1. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

There is no lack of bad, ungodly, worldly influence around us. That’s why we need armor; that’s why we have the mind of Christ. That’s why we pick up the cross and follow him. But let’s talk about the positive examples. What difference does it really make if you decide to be a good example today? If you have a good, positive attitude today, you don’t know who is going to be there. But you decide to have a good attitude no matter what else. What kind of impact does that have? Think about that, because if we don’t think about it, we don’t claim it, and we don’t hold that possibility. I think we all understand that it’s a part of our obligation as Christian men, but I want you to really think about what kind of difference it makes. I’m not talking about putting on your “Holy Joe” attitude and quoting scriptures and saying “Praise the Lord” at every opportunity. Some people get so religious that it’s debatable whether they have any influence at all.

John 13:12-17
  1. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
  2. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
  3. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
  4. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
  5. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
  6. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

If Jesus had just stayed at the table as they sat and reclined and ate a little more bread and wine, what kind of effect would it have had if he just said it as he leaned on his elbow at the table? What if he just leaned back and said that and everybody took another bite and said, “Yeah, Jesus, yeah.” But knowing that his example would be heard of by millions of people, he made a physical demonstration. He actually did what the servants usually do. They were all a little uncomfortable, I’m sure. He had kept talking about what would happen in Jerusalem, and they were in Jerusalem; they were not idiots. (A little slow sometimes, but they were not idiots.) Then he pulls this. Not too many hours later, they all tucked tail and ran from him, as the guards hauled him away to prison. You don’t think this example stuck with them? Absolutely it did. He needed to prove a point; he needed to give them the power of example.

Are there things that we, as men of God, as men that need to be able to give an influence to the world around us, do we not need to be providing some kind of example? Absolutely. One thing you will find in good counsel, in good understanding of the man’s proper role in the household, or in mixed company: the man takes the initiative. The man sets the example. We as men of God need to take the initiative, to set the example.

Let’s get a little more specific in your own relationships in your workplace. How do people look at you and me? What kind of report card did we get this week? The purpose of this Bible study is to get in your business. That’s what we are supposed to be doing. I’m not here to cast doubts or to rock your world, but you need a good work-out. All of us do. We need to be exercised in our spiritual thoughts, in what we’re doing with our life, our talents, our abilities. You’ve been given talents, things to do. How did you do this week? People looked at you, even when you didn’t know they were. What did they see? Did they see a good example? Did they see someone that maybe sticks out a little bit, peculiar? Doesnt’ get torqued off like everyone else? Or maybe gets a little worked up when nobody else cares? Do any of you deal with apathy at work? Nobody cares about doing more than just getting by?

When people see you, what do they see? What do they expect from you, from me? There are some people who will never like you; there’s just no winning them over. Okay, don’t worry about that one. The Bible says:

Luke 6:26
  1. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

You don’t need to worry about pleasing everybody. But there are things that we should be doing, things that we need to step up to do. You might be the only one who is willing to step up and say, “Chief is right. We should be helping out more.” Everybody might look at you as a traitor, but that power of example may be what it takes to turn things around. It may be only you who has the conviction it takes to turn things around. The boss can’t do it; they can’t make you respect them. And if you don’t have a very effective boss, you’re not off the hook. In fact, you might be more on the hook to set that example.

There are things we need to do as Christians, to support the wrong things, and to stand against the wrong things. Make a stand. Is there nothing that can be improved on? Everything is just rosy? I don’t think so.

Here’s an example. A co-worker is just lipping off, maybe about the boss or maybe about somebody else. Are you just going to join in and throw some more fuel on that gossip fire? It’s something we do, just mindlessly, in our society.

What is God looking for? What is God expecting of us? Are you thinking about that as you go in to morning quarters? What can I do? What can I not do? As you lay your head down on the pillow, do you confess to God, “I know that I’ve been a woefully poor example. Help me to do better tomorrow, God.”

We have the power, but that power isn’t being tapped into. It’s like a big fancy machine that just sits there because nobody plugged it in. Is that where your example is?

1 Timothy 4:12
  1. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

You could even say, “Let no man despise thy age.” Some of us are getting to that point in the crowds we’re in. “Those young whippersnappers, they don’t understand anything.” But that’s just a role; that’s just a box that people put us in. Paul is saying, “Don’t let anybody put you in a box. You go out and be that example. If that example rubs somebody the wrong way, then so be it. We’re not trying to show anybody up here. We’re not like:

> Hey! Check out what I can do for God. Don’t you wish you could do that? Check out my faith!

No, it’s about being an example of something that you could give your life to. Day by day, it’s in being an example. We, as a band of brothers, as Christian men, are commissioned by God to make a difference in the way you carry yourself. As you go through the grocery store, a simple positive comment, I’m amazed what a difference it can make sometimes. When you’re determined to be positive and inject that into your life around you, that’s what God is looking for. And yes, you’re supposed to be taking the initiative, whether you’ve only got one stripe on your sleeve or whether you’ve been there thirty years. I made more of an impression to my boss at the second job I took by sleeping the floor than by anything else I did. I’m a couple of years older than he is. It bothered me that the floor was dirty; it’s a doggone showroom, for goodness’ sake!

Whether you’re Zeke’s age, going to school, or a little older going to college; whatever our environment, we miss opportunity when we don’t set the example for the people around us. People need that example; they hunger and yearn for it.

1 Timothy 4:12
  1. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

People might get the wrong impression about you and me at first; we’re not always the best at making a good impression at first. Thank God he gives us second and third chances. But as they get to know you, what do they know you as? A man who lives a Christian example? A man who is always ready to have a prayer with someone? It’s a pretty tall order, to be a Christian, to be like Christ. But God wants us to be successful; he is backing us up all the way, if we just let him.

This gets way beyond personality, gentlemen. It gets way beyond being a jovial guy who likes to crack jokes or being someone who is very serious and never cracks jokes. It gets way beyond being a squared-away Joe who is going to make first class or someone who will never make anything. Sometimes our personality is our worst enemy.

I’m emphasizing the manly aspect because I’m speaking to men tonight. God made us different from women. We’re called to be different. We’re not in competition; it’s unseemly and a waste of time. But what is the job we’re supposed to be doing? Guaranteed, it’s the job we’re not doing. One thing about Western civilization is that men aren’t doing the job they’re supposed to; they’re standing back and letting the women and the seniors take their place. That’s what makes it more important for us, as Christian men, to set the example.

Talking like this makes me sound like I’m a sexist. But I can tell you that there has never been a time when I’ve been moved by God to set the example and someone said, “That’s not your place.” People will be relieved when you’re doing the job you’re supposed to do. Your boss will certainly be relieved. Are Christians good servants? The best in the world, because we’re not just trying to please the boss; we’re trying to please God. Most of the people we deal with are hungry for a godly example, and you can feed that need.

The power of example:

  • Tienamen Square: A little scrawny Asian kid stood in front of a tank. One person, in front of a whole line of tanks. Did it affect you? It affected the whole world, whether they understood what was going on or not.

  • Nelson Mandela: An incredible story of perseverance.

  • Sullivan the pilot: The pilot who did a safe water landing and saved 166 people.

  • Martin Luther King: A lifetime of example.

  • Pastor Davis: When I got saved, the way he used to handle the streets, and the poeple on the streets. He wasn’t afraid of anyone.

Examples: what does that do to our heart, our psyche, our attitude? It encourages us. You can be that encouragement for somebody at work tomorrow.

How about in the home? That’s a tough one, because it’s always the same-ole, same-ole, same-ole. They already have their script about how you’re going to act and what you’re going to do. Erase that script. Set the example. They’re not doing what you ask, Dad? Set the example. You want the room clean? Guess what, you set the example. You go in there and show them how it’s done. “It’s fun when we do it together!” Right, chief?

If you go in there with enthusiasm, you take the initiative, you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.

Some of you are stuck in a rut of the routine of things, and you’re robbing yourself of the privilege of setting the example. Oh, it won’t turn the world upside down in a day, but there’s something undeniably powerful about setting a consistent, day-to-day example. Your example will change things that nobody else can change. Not the C.N.O., not President Obama, not your mama. That’s what’s so powerful about setting the example as Christian men. You’re the one who’s supposed to be making a difference. Why? Because “You da man!”

We have lost our privilege of setting the example as Christian men. Quit worrying about whether you’re old enough or young enough; just worry about having enough God in you. Start praying, fasting, taking it to heart.

Back to some more scriptures:

Matthew 5:3-10
  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
  4. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I don’t think this is a complete list, but it’s a very powerful list; it’s a very peculiar list. He’s trying to make the point, “Quit thinking like everybody else.” When they look at your testimony, don’t worry about last week; it’s in the past. Start with next week. They see how you handle yourself, will they say, “Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Do they see that? Sometimes you need to provoke them to think, “Why did he do that?” Sometimes that’s an uncomfortable position to be in. The more peculiar the situation, the greater the opportunity to minister.

I’m hoping that you will spend a little time to converse with your brothers and figure out how we can be a little better example to our co-workers, to our families. The people around us are hungry for that example; they’re starving for it.

Matthew 5:3
  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The poor in spirit? Isn’t our society all about being rich? Isn’t that the measure of your manhood, and the only reason anybody should take notice of you is because of what you’ve attained, what you’ve got? I think Jesus is saying that it’s okay not to have everything. It’s okay to sacrifice. It’s okay to say, “I don’t think those things would be very good for me, so I’m not going to go for them.”

Matthew 5:4
  1. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

People just want to party. They just want to chase away the blues, get rid of that bad feeling. “Here comes brother so-and-so; he’s so serious. I don’t want to deal with him.” Sometimes that’s exactly what they need: somebody who’s sober, who will give them an attitude check. “You’re not all that, just because your fantasy team kicked butt this weekend.” There are a lot of bad and unpleasant things going around in the world, isn’t there? I imagine that on every street there is something terrible going on, whether it’s to the wife or the husband, the aunt or the uncle, or the dog. There’s something to be mournful about. And there’s something that happens when we’re mournful. It causes us to do things, to say and act differently when we mourn. Mourning isn’t just being upset; it’s an uncommon and powerful thing.

Matthew 5:5
  1. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

God’s got your back. You don’t have to prove everything, to be the dominant “alpha” in everything you do. Don’t be a doormat, but be meek in a godly way. We’re going to inherit the earth anyway. I look at folks who spend their whole striving for this and that, but at best I’m going to live another fifty years, and then it’s gone and so are you. There’s the story about two men who were arguing about who owns this hill. A third man comes and says, “Let’s come back in a hundred years and talk about who owns it.”

Matthew 5:6
  1. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Righteousness is the perfect balance of anger, fear, just enough of everything that’s needed. Do you think the world needs more of that? Do you think that your family and co-workers need more of that? We come to bring that balance. Some encouragement, some laughter, some soberness, some firm correction at times. You let the Holy Ghost get ahold of you, you might wind up correcting your boss, and he’ll thank you for it. Because that’s righteousness. Now, you’d better make sure it’s the Holy Ghost, or don’t come crying to me!

Matthew 5:7
  1. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Our wold is so lacking in mercy, so quick to judge. There’s no forgiveness; there’s no willingness to admit that “I do just as badly, if not worse.” That’s the core of mercy, the understanding that “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” This world needs some mercy; it needs some good examples of mercy.

Matthew 5:8
  1. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

You can get mocked when you strive to be pure in heart. Sure you can, and it hurts. You can be made a spectacle of. But the Bible says it’s just fine to suffer as a Christian. In fact, that’s the best kind of suffering. You and I can be pure in heart, striving for the pure things, the best things. We can set that example. You can’t get somebody to stop cursing, but you have every right to get them to quit cursing at you. “You can use that language, sir or ma’am, but you won’t direct it at me.” You have every right to take that stand. What are some things that you need to do to be more pure at heart, and to set that example in the world around you?

Matthew 5:9
  1. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Peacemakers, wow! There is so much conflict and argument and disputing, and nobody seems to care enough, hunger enough, desire enough for peace to just get beyond it. Things would be so much better if somebody would just step up and be the peacemaker. It had better be us, men. People need it. People are hungry for it.

Matthew 5:10
  1. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Yeah, you’re not always going to be loved because you set a good example. Jesus said, “Don’t tell me I didn’t tell you so. I already told you that you’d be persecuted.” Yeah, we can still complain to God. We’d be better off in the long run if we get it off our chest. But people won’t bow down to you and say, “I’m so glad you’re being that good Christian example.” No, but they’ll be better off for the example you set. And that’s our role as Christian men, gentlemen. God is looking for us to be that example. God is looking to elevate our hearts, and you and I can’t be that example unless we let God elevate our hearts. Say:

> I’m going to be that peacemaker, I’m going to make that difference for God.

And people will be grateful.

Proverbs 29:2
  1. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

You might not be in charge, but people will be grateful for the example you set. You don’t think so? Try it and see. Your teacher needs it; your foreman need it; your co-workers need it. They’re hungry for it. They’re waiting for it. They need it.

Judgment (Part 3 of 3)

Judgment (Part 3 of 3)

Jay Hunemuller

The purpose of this three-week series is to raise our level of awareness of judgment so that we can properly evaluate how we judge ourselves and others, and so that we can as Paul said, “judge not mine own self.”

In the first two weeks, we established that:

  • Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead.
  • He plays no favorites.
  • He requires repentance for forgiveness of sin.
  • When we do repent, God won’t remind us of our past sins.
  • The severity of God is to lead us to repentance.
  • We choose whether to lead a repented life.
  • There is nothing good in our flesh; the only good is in God.
  • Human judgment is carnal; God’s judgment is spiritual.
  • Human judgment is partial, imperfect, faulty, biased, immature, and incomplete.
  • God’s judgment is complete, whole, and unbiased.

We’re going to look at scriptures that tell us:

  • We should not judge
  • We do judge
  • We shall judge angels

If we understand these scriptures in context, we will see that they don’t contradict each other.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3
  1. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  2. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

This study is about “judge not”. So how is it that we judge?

Job 42:7-10
  1. And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
  2. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
  3. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
  4. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

In this story, we see that Job’s friends were called “physicians of no value.” They came and fasted with Job for seven days without speaking, but when they did speak, they condemning of Job. God used the testimony of Job to judge them.

God uses us to judge others by our testimony. The life that we live and the example that we set is what God uses to judge others. We can also positively affect people with our testimony. Barlyn Uribe, and Chuck Bellairs were taking Will Aygarn home from the hospital. They were stopped at the intersection, and were struck from behind by another car. When they spoke to the driver, he said “You’re not like the other young guys.” He saw a difference in their lives.

In the questionnaire last week, we found that in many ways, we do judge many things. That’s not all bad, because God has given us the ability to judge things. We lock our car because we know human nature. We see a situation and evaluate it and decide, “This is not where I want to be.” God built into us an ability to judge. But due to the sinful nature of the flesh, our judgment is not perfect. So how is it that we prejudge others, and how do we prejudge ourselves? How can we make it better?

Hosea 4:6
  1. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

This sounds harsh, but it shows the importance of understanding God’s judgment. People look to us for knowledge and hope, so it’s important for us to know God’s judgment.

2 Timothy 2:15
  1. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We study to prepare ourselves, so that we will have what we need and what other people need.

Hebrews 5:13-14
  1. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
  2. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The combination of a right relationship with God that continues to grow, diligent study, and seeking will teach us to rightly divide the word of truth and discern both good and evil.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
  1. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
  2. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
  3. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The spirit of God is the judge, and God can judge through us. We have to be in the spirit for that to happen. It could be through actions, or through a spiritual gift. But when we lean to our own understanding, that’s when we get into trouble. If we trust in God, then he’ll direct us.

Back to the story of Job: Do you think that Job’s feelings were affected by his friends condemning him? Do you think he felt pretty bad? Think how you would feel if you were laid up in the hospital and your friends said, “I don’t know what you did, but it must have been pretty bad.” What do we say when somebody hits us in the heart with something like that? What do we do when we think that someone has totally misjudged us? That’s when it’s important to not judge ourselves and not judge them. It’s easy to respond, for example in anger. Anger is a pretty common emotion. I try to suppress it, but people make me angry at times. I can count on the fingers of less than one hand the times when I’ve been angry and it was a righteous anger,

James 1:20
  1. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Proverbs 28:28
  1. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

There are a lot of powerful people who trust in their heart, but that doesn’t make them right. If you trust in your heart, the Bible says you are a fool. The Bible says your heart is what? Desperately wicked. You’d be a fool to trust in something that is desperately wicked.

Sure, God can affect your feelings. If God heals you, it may make you feel great. But most of our feelings are not led of the spirit.

Psalms 62:8
  1. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

This is the good news; this is the other side of the coin. You can our your heart out to God. I’ve done that a lot of times. I’ve said to God, “I feel this way; it’s not right; help me out.” And God does.

Remember the sermon a couple of weeks ago on Jonah? Pastor prefaced the sermon with two statements. “Lord, I will receive this message,” and “Lord, I will submit to your will.” First, Jonah didn’t want to receive the message, and then when he delivered the message God had for him, and the people repented, Jonah got angry about it.

How many of you know that David was a man of God? How many know that he was not perfect? As a matter of fact, we have some pretty serious stories about David in the Bible. One example is the story of Bathsheba and Uriah, which we covered in Sunday’s sermon. Here we find an example of God’s judgment.

2 Samuel 12:7-14
  1. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
  2. And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
  3. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
  4. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
  5. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
  6. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
  7. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
  8. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

So a couple of points from this text:

  • David repented
  • God forgave him.
  • The consequences of sin still remained.

You’ll find that everything God pronounced concerning that judgment happened. The consequences of David’s sin affected many people. In our theme scripture, Paul wrote, “He that judgeth me is the Lord.” We need to allow God to judge us, because we all need to be corrected at times.

How do we allow God to judge us?

1 Timothy 5:24
  1. Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

The Bible teaches that we must confess our sins. We did that once when we repented and got saved, but God teaches us that we must continue to live a repented life. Some people say, “Why do I need to confess? God already knows.” There are two reasons:

  1. First, we need to be honest with ourselves, because godly sorrow worketh repentance.
  2. Secondly, if we don’t confess, God will wait until the final judgment to hold us accountable for our sins.
1 Peter 4:17
  1. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

We are judged here, instead of waiting and letting it all happen again. We allow God to judge us now, so that we can repent as God shows us. God won’t lay on us more than we can bear. If God showed us all our faults all at once, we’d just fall down in failure. So God works with us. But if we’re not growing, we’re dying.

Remember David? He was guilty of adultery and murder, but God forgave him. There was another instance when, through an error in judgment, he was responsible for the death of seventy thousand people. (See 2 Samuel 24:15, and 2 Chronicles chapter 21) But David got over his mistakes and still lived a victorious life, by trusting in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

David didn’t have what we have; he didn’t have the grace of God poured over his life. So what do we say to Jesus on the cross if we don’t forgive ourselves? If that wasn’t enough, then nothing will ever be enough.

How can we not judge ourselves?

  • Not condemn ourselves

We don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit. If the devil brings up the past, we’ve got to tell him, “It’s covered by the blood. Talk to Jesus about it.” (See 1 Timothy 2:5-6)

  • Not justify ourselves

Paul was at that level. He knew that he could neither condemn nor justify himself. All he could do was live a repented life and trust in God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

  • Examine ourselves by the Word of God

How can we be less or non-judgmental of others without compromising the gospel?

We need to learn to separate the sin from the sinner, the behavior from the person. That might not be easy to do. You could probably think of things that you absolutely abhor, but frankly God sees those kinds of things in all of our lives. This guideline applies to both others and ourselves. The devil may try to bring up the past, but you are not your past, and neither is anybody else. Sure, if they stay that way, and don’t repent, then they’ll die that way. But while there’s life, there’s hope.

1 Samuel 2:2-3
  1. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
  2. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

I’m going to use a couple of examples. Even child psychologists say to parents, “Address the behavior, not the child.” Don’t say, “You’re a rotten kid.” Say “That was some rotten behavior.” Jesus gave a perfect example, in the story of the woman taken in adultery. (See John 8:1-11) He knew that the people bringing the woman to him were just as much sinners as she was. Jesus used wisdom, and allowed them all to understand their condition without compromising God’s judgment. He let them know how that judgment and mercy can coincide with judgment without condoning the sin. He didn’t let anybody off the hook; he required repentance from everyone, including the woman: for he said, “Go and sin no more.”

Micah 6:8
  1. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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