Why Are They Leaving?

2Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Why are young Baptist servants “leaving” the Baptist fold? By leaving I don’t mean apostatizing, forsaking Christ, or entering into heresy. Of course at times this does happen. The Scriptures are filled with examples and illustrations of the Lord’s servants capitulating, even from the beginning.

  • In the Garden the Lord’s first appointed steward, Adam, betrays and disobeys. The consequences remain to this day – all his posterity has been plunged into sin and death. (Gen. 3)
  • Abraham, the friend of God, lies about his wife and takes an Egyptian handmaid as a surrogate wife to “aid” the Lord in the fulfillment of the promise. (Gen. 12:13; 16:1)
  • King Saul rejected the Word of the Lord and succumbed to amassing the booty of conquest. (1Sam. 15:19-23)
  • King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and murder, thereby shaming himself and staining the name of the Lord. (2Sam. 12:1-14)
  • Jonah the prophet ran from his call, preached a bitter message and then complains that the people respond and repent. (Jonah 1:3; 3:4; 4:2)
  • Judas betrayed the Saviour who chose him. (Matt. 10:4)
  • John Mark abandons the work apparently due to hardship. (Acts 13:4-13)
  • Demas forsook Paul due to a misplaced commitment. (2Tim. 4:10)

And this list could go on and on. Down through history from the early church to this present age we could find examples galore! This alone should cause us to stop and look to the Lord for strength to serve, the courage to advance, and the resolve to with stand in these evil days.

Yet, my present distress is not in reference to the moral, spiritual, or other wise shipwrecks which little the landscape of the Lord’s servant, as tragic as that is!. Rather my consternation is in light of what, at times, feels like a trend of younger men trained for ministry (pastors, evangelists, and missionaries) defecting from a clear independent, fundamental, Baptist position. At times they claim to have advanced in spirituality-Its just the Gospel. Or they claim to have grown in grace having a more tolerant attitude toward other brethren. I confess, at times it feels like an indictment against those of us who are striving to remain steadfast to a biblical position.

How does this happen? A man receives his biblical and ministry training, spends a period of time “preaching the Word,” but then walks away. How are we to respond and understand what seems to be a reoccurring and increasing trend?

Is it a deficiency in their training? By that I mean whatever preparation they have made for Gospel service, be it formal or informal, something was lacking.

  • Theology? Were they rooted in the whole counsel of God? It does seem inconsistent that the Word requires deacons to be able to hold the mystery of the faith (1Tim. 3:9) and we allow preachers to settle for a cursory overview of the wonderful truths of the Word.
  • Polity? This would include much more than a simple acrostic of BAPTISTS for the Baptist distinctives. Perhaps the lack of understanding of theology has weakened the application in the area of polity. It does seem that many Bible colleges are content just to focus on “practical” functions like soul winning and big days (not to down play these) with limited emphasis on sound reasoning and consistent application of biblical truth.
  • History? There seems to be some disconnect from the great struggles in the past for purity of doctrine and separation from compromise. Rather than appreciate those men who took a bold stance for God’s truth and were mightily used by the Lord, they are viewed like a bunch of grouchy uncles. Can we learn from these men? YES! Both what we should emulate as well as improve. Abandoning their positions because of their frailties is inexcusable.

The answer is not further or advanced degrees from a seminary. Men of both the formal and informal training process have “defected.” In fact in my experience the greater percentage of defection happens on the part of seminarians. That is not to imply that there is not value in education, there is, and I heartily encourage it. As I often heard in chapel during my college days, “Get all you can and can all you get!” But, I would say, it is time to reevaluate the scope and sequence of the standard training for ministry students.

Is it a deficiency in their temperament? Not one of the four so called basic temperaments made popular by Dr. Tim LaHaye. But simply put, the nature and behaviour of the man in question.

  • Have we adequately examined his testimony? Of course we look for a salvation testimony. But what about his exhibited character and behaviour? Is he honest? Not just in the general sense of telling the truth but honest about his philosophical opinions and direction. Is he honest about his associations ecclesiastically and the direction he intends to lead the ministry?
  • Have we adequately examined his maturity? Not simply his age. Youth is not a disqualifier for ministry. Remember Paul told Timothy, “let no man despise thy youth.” Perhaps the focus ought to be on his ability to discern between influences that would strengthen him or cause him to stray. Who is he reading and listening to? How does he feel about the current pressing issues of a ministry nature. Many a man has gone astray due to the influence of a book, sermon, conference of a contemporary, new evangelical nature. Where does this man stand?
  • Have we adequately examined his family? A man’s family life is an indicator of his ministry life. Is the wife supportive and strengthening or whining and looking for greener grass? Are the children obedient and respectful?

Years ago Dr. Paul R. Jackson wrote about the tenuous time a church is seeking a pastor. There are some men desiring the office, but are not qualified for the service.

“Yes, I am a Baptist, but …” usually means that the man is an interdenominationalist who would like the prestige and opportunity of a Baptist pulpit.

–Paul R. Jackson: The Doctrine and Administration of the Church, p. 55

Is it a deficiency in OUR testimony? Here I am speaking of our practice of ministry. Let us not in arrogance or aggressiveness, assume all the fault lies with the younger colleagues. By our, I am referring to those who are seasoned and responsible for the training of the next generation of ministers. It has been almost three decades since I was in training. By default that puts me in that category. There are serious implications we must all be willing to assess for the glory of our God as the advancement of His cause.

  • Could some of the problem be our demeanor on particular issues? The “Bless God, it was good enough for Peter and Paul…” attitude doesn’t hold much authority. The Lord Jesus was gracious with sinners, firm with rebels, and gentle with the young and weak. Are we? We have all heard the admonition concerning the correct position with the wrong disposition. The so-called “Young Fundamentalists” claim the problem is our arrogance and aloofness toward others. Such was not the case with Jesus and ought not be so with us.
  • Could some of the problem be our deficiency to articulate a clear Scriptural position? While I have great admiration for men of the past (Rice, Ketcham, Norris, Riley, Spurgeon, e.g.), I don’t live in their day. Perhaps we ought to give sufficient time and thought to the current issues from the Word and prayer. Certainly consulting their works is helpful, but my position must be based on the everlasting truth of God. Otherwise is just sounds like “because I/he said so!” to inquiring young men we wish to influence.
  • Could some of the problem be our dogmatism with out graciousness? I am all for standards and sticking to the “Old Paths.” However, there is no room for pride and a demeaning spirit. We often elevate our distinctives while violating them. We hold to the principle of Soul-Liberty but often interpret that to mean “I am right, you are wrong, therefore change!” That is not Soul-Liberty. Are we ready to kindly though firmly proclaim the truth of God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and change? Or are we demanding and manipulating to advance our own agenda?

Perhaps it is time for God’s people, and especially those of the Independent, Fundamental, Baptist stripe (That’s My Crowd!) to simply apply the biblical truth concerning those we place in positions of spiritual leadership. To desire the office of a bishop is a good thing. But just because it is desired does not mean it should be granted, regardless of education, articulation, etc… A man who would be in Gospel ministry must know and be settled in his doctrine and association!

1Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 

Published in: on July 16, 2020 at 4:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Christian response to Civil Chaos

Proverbs 28:7  Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

As recent events have unfolded, from the coronavirus to what appears to be open anarchy, it would be easy to become discouraged, depressed, and disillusioned. For some time I have felt the Lord pressing to give a response to all these events in a broader way than just the regular preaching and teaching services at the church. Below is a recent article I submitted to our local newspaper. I trust it will be a blessing to you as well.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

“Pastor, what about George Floyd, the protests, riots, CHAZ, and the statue toppling? How are we to respond?” Most, if not all of us, are reeling from the events that we see played out on the news or reported on the radio. It may bring memories of turbulent times from our past.

How should a Christian respond toward all these things? It is natural that emotions would arise in our hearts: anger over the injustice, frustration with the riots, fear about the violence. First let me remind you that all men are sinners. There are no perfect people.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Certainly this is not to excuse wrongdoing, nor can we abdicate our responsibility to neighbors or those suffering distress and or oppression.

Micah 6:8 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?

Secondly, vengeance, violence, and wrath only engender more of the same.

Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

The struggles are real, the violence is harmful. We need to respond. Step one is to admit our need and look to the Lord! I am praying for:

  • Mercy in the midst of all the contention.
  • Favor amongst the citizens.
  • Wisdom for those in leadership.

Will you join in prayer?

I invite your questions and discussion. Please write, and I will be diligent to give you A BIBLE ANSWER!

Pastor Widdis

Published in: on June 23, 2020 at 1:35 PM  Comments (2)  
Tags:

CARES Aid for a church?

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Brethren, there has been much discussion in the news about the CARE act. The perceived compassion of the federal government is appreciated. Not only for the individual citizens but for the many small businesses that are the engine of our economy. There apparently are some provisions for churches to tap into these recovery loans, with the promise of forgiveness in the future. What should be the response of a local church? Should a church apply for such loans?
Aside from what might be a frank discussion about the proper stewardship of a church in relation to debt, I would simply remind you of a simple a few Bible distinctives for Christian ministry.

  1. Separation of Church and State. I am not speaking of the current political correct excess of this topic but the simple truth that each is a separate entity with a particular realm of action. Should a church’s existence be dependent upon the states sponsorship this clear division is blurred.
  2. Financial support source. If a church takes government money it is obviously beholding to it. There have been promises of “forgiveness” but since when has the bureaucracy of the state proven to be the most equitable or efficient system? Rather a church is financially dependent upon the support of God’s people (1Cor. 16:2).
  3. Source of Aid. It is God that we trust in not the federal government.

I would caution you to decline to apply for government money of any sort. There is enough dependency with in our culture already. Let us not enslave our churches to the hedged benevolence of even a presumed conservative administration.

Published in: on April 14, 2020 at 10:55 AM  Leave a Comment  

Comfort through Coronavirus Chaos

Psalm 65:2  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

Recently my assistant and I went on our annual mission’s trip to Myanmar (Old Burma). This was my ninth trip to Yangon to work with Dr. Abraham Sen Hmung. We conducted three classes in the module seminary that he has started: Theology of Preaching, Practical Bible Presentation, and Biblical Leadership. We had a wonderful time with the students and visiting the Davis family in Moulmein with Pastor Peter Judson and his family.

Before we left the virus crisis had begun, but, was not yet a limiting factor in America. Of course by our return it had developed into a full scale pandemic. This has affected all of us. We returned the Friday right before the Sunday the president called for a national day of prayer. No matter what we may think of our president, I greatly appreciated his attitude toward the need to seek the Lord’s help in these days. That being said, it was clear that the Lord was leading me to a different topic for the first Sunday sermon on my return. With all the panic that was escalating we needed to get our eyes on the Lord and not our problems.

Below is an abridged version of that sermon. We have prepared it as a Gospel tract to be shared. If you would like either an audio recording of the full sermon or copies of the tract, just let me know.

Keep Calm & Pray

The threat was real! The enemy’s army had laid siege to the capital city. Their leading general was pounding on the city gates, mocking the citizens and blaspheming the Lord. The situation looked hopeless. What would the king do?

The situation with the coronavirus pandemic certainly mirrors similar emotions. While not an army at the gates, at times it feels like an invading hoard bent on the destruction of our citizens. What will we do? Fear and panic could easily reign. How should we respond? The actions of King Hezekiah are a model for us. The king had received a threatening letter from Rabshakeh the enemy general.

2Kings 19:14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.

King Hezekiah’s actions and words give us an example to follow. He recognizes that the threat facing Israel is beyond him or any earthly resource that Judah may muster. What then does he do? He prays! We’re not talking about some ambiguous rhetoric to an unknown deity, but to the God he knows, the God of Israel that Rabshakeh has blasphemed and defied. And so must we pray. Notice the focus of the King. He knows he must pray because of:

  • The Pressures without – Assyria has conquered those around them, verses 17 and 18. King Hezekiah was well aware of the threat and power of the Assyrians.
  • The Panic among – No doubt the people were in great fear. The king had given specific orders how to respond, 18:26, 36. Rabshakeh intentionally berated the soldiers on the wall.
  • The Perception within – King Hezekiah was not naïve or dismissive of the danger (19:1), and so he prays. No doubt there was some for himself as well as the nation, yet rather then panic, he went to the only sure source of help – the LORD!

To whom does he pray? To whom should you pray in these difficult times? We pray to:

  • The God who rules!

Psalm 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

  • The God who sees!

Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

  • The God who acts!

John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

What then do we pray?

  • We pray for His Presence

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

  • We praise for His Promise

Hebrews 13:5b …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

  • We pursue His Purpose

Mark 16:15b …Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

All of this assumes that you have a real relationship with the Saviour. Do You? Jesus came for you.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you will ask Him, He will save you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We would love to help you in your spiritual journey.

Published in: on March 25, 2020 at 6:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

This New Year

Colossians 1:27 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:

Our new year is well underway. By now, statistically speaking, most folks who have made a New Year’s resolution have already given up or are about to. It does seem a bit distressing that we spend so much time identifying the areas we need to change or improve but abandon our hopes and goals so easily. While there may be valid reasons we do so, as a believer in Jesus and the Bible, there is no reason for accepting spiritual failure. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, 2Pt. 1:3. It is clearly stated (2Pt. 3:18) and implied in many passages, that our walk with the Lord is to be one of continual growth.

One avenue of continuing that growth is the memorization of God’s word. Each year, here at First Baptist, we have an annual theme for the teaching and preaching with a corresponding monthly memory verse. Our theme this year is The Hope of Glory. Of course the reference is to the hope we have in Jesus Christ and the future glory that we shall share with Him (Titus 2:13; Rom. 8:18).

Our memory verse for this month is quoted above. Of course Bible memorization is not just a simple discipline like memorizing the lines of Shakespeare in grade school. Rather Bible memory is to:

  • insulate us from the temptations of sin – Psalm 119:11
  • illuminate for us the path we ought to take – Psalm 119:105
  • instruct us along the way of life – Psalm 119:130
  • enable us to effectively serve the Saviour – 2Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17

Each verse of God’s work encapsulates nuggets of truth not just to memorize but to be infused in our living. Take the current verse we are memorizing, Colossians 1:27. Several wonderful truths are in this verse.

  1. The use of the word Gentile, while specifically would refer to non-Jews, is probably intended to be a broad reference to those that have not trusted in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Remember the church in Colossae would have primarily been a church filled with Gentiles and here Paul is making a distinction between Gentiles in those who have trusted Christ. These Gentiles stand in need of the hope available in Christ.
  2. The hope, of course, rests in Jesus Christ and the finished work of Calvary.
  3. This hope, though residing in Jesus, must be seen in the life of the saints. So, in a very practical sense, the christian shows the hope of glory. Am I living in such a fashion?
  4. The truth of this great treasure (2Cor. 4:7) is what the Father is revealing to the christian. We reflect the value of Christ to those that need Him most. Am I helping or hindering?

Let me encourage you to memorize the Word. Not just to recite it, but to KNOW IT AND LIVE IT!

Published in: on January 21, 2019 at 5:42 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:10, 11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I am sure many people say the same. It is a time of festive joy that seems almost palpable at times. Even the normally grumpy are a bit tempered in their grumpyness. But, rather than just the festive joy, it is the reason why there is joy is what makes it my favorite. Yes, at times all the “festivness” can seem a bit overwhelming. It is in those times I must stop and remember why there can be joy at all. It is not the lights, parties, presents, or even family, it is Christ. Even if there were no festivities, there would be Christmas because, Christmas is Christ. He came, and He came for me!

Perhaps what excites me most is the fact of His coming just as it is written in the word. The angel, the shepherds, the star, the wise man, all of it. This Christmas I would like to share with you a little story I wrote some time ago about the visit of the angels to the shepherds. While it is a work of fiction, I have followed the Scriptures as well as facts of history and traditional beliefs. I trust you will find it encouraging this season. Merry Christmas!

The Castle of Bethlehem

I was with Baba, my father, that night. It had been a long day. Baba was a shepherd. But not any shepherd, he was a shepherd for the sheep that would one day be sent to the temple for sacrifice. Baba was a good shepherd, in many ways he was considered the lead shepherd for the temple flocks. All the others looked to him for leadership and teaching the ways of a shepherd. That is why I was with him that night. I had just gone through bar mitzpha and was now to learn my way as a man. The day had begun with great excitement. I would spend the next several weeks with Baba in the field learning to watch the sheep. This would be the most time spent with my father in a long time. As a temple shepherd he was almost never home, and though he cared for temple sheep he was under a rabbinical ban since he could hardly ever go to the temple for services.

It was the 9th of Tebheth and so a fast day, for the Rabbi’s believed the Messiah would come on this day, though they had said such for a long time. But Baba loved Jehovah and the promise of His coming and so we fasted. This made the day even longer. With the cold wind and wandering sheep, the hunger in my belly had grown as large as the tiredness in my limbs. Once the sun was down I was so glad to finally have some food and lay upon my rough bed and sleep.

It seemed as only minutes had passed, though it had been many hours since we had our dinner. suddenly Baba was shaking me to awake and see. It should have been dark but all around was bathed in bright light from the sky. It was then I heard him; Fear Not! By now, Baba was standing motionless with an uplifted face. I couldn’t help but stand beside him, unmoving and enraptured by what we saw before us; an angelic being shrouded in what could only be a heavenly glory. He spoke;

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10-12)

As soon as he finished the entire night sky around the Migdal Edar was enthroned with a host of angels. Together they spoke in unison giving praise to Jehovah.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

I heard every word clear as if they were talking just to me within arm’s reach. And yet, as they spoke it was as if a pure and heavenly song was coursing through my very being. And then they were gone!

Baba spoke, “David, we must go.”

“Where Baba?” I replied.

“To Bethlehem. We must see this child. He is the Messiah. And Jehovah has announced to us, of all people, His birth. We dare not ignore such an invitation!”

“Yes, Baba.” Though I so wanted to be a man, I couldn’t help but take my father’s hand in mine as he struck out for the village of Bethlehem a few miles off. The other shepherds were following us. All of them!

It seemed to take us only minutes to walk those few miles to the village. It was almost as Baba knew exactly where to go. We came to the inn at the edge of the village. My uncle Abram owned this inn. When we brought the sheep for the temple to town it was in his stable that we kept them. Oddly this stable was filled with light this night. There was a young couple there. Candles were burning brightly while the cattle lowed softly.

There He was, just as the angel said. Wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. The man kneeling close looked up as we approached. He appeared startled that all of us were there. “Yes,” he said, “can I help you?”

“May we see Him?” Baba replied.

The man just stared at first with a question in his eyes. “How did you know a baby boy was here?”

“The Angel told us.”

“An angel?”

“Yes. Just as we have found him. May we look into His eyes?”

At first he was hesitant, but then, “Yes, yes, you may come and see.”

We came to look. Each of us. One by one. A wonder began to fill my mind and heart. As we left, Baba began to chuckle.

“What are you laughing at Baba?” I asked.

“I heard today in the market some wise man came to King Herod looking for the new-born king. They went to the wrong castle. They should have come here to the castle of Bethlehem. For where the king is, that is the castle! Come, David. We must tell everyone that the Messiah has come.”

“Everyone, Baba?”

“Yes, for that is who He has come for!”

I have spent the rest of my life telling everyone I meet the story of that night. For He came for me and…

I heard the angels,

I saw the glory,

I viewed the Messiah!

Isaiah 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

Published in: on December 25, 2018 at 12:06 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

A Secure Treasure

Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is soon approaching. Which means Christmas decorations are already up in certain places and the “gift giving” season is here. Of course the greatest gift ever given was that of the Lord Jesus, John 3:16. In the Scriptures He is referred to as the unspeakable gift, 2 Corinthians 9:15. God is the great gift giver. In fact Scripture tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift if from above and comets down from the Father of lights, with whole is no variable ness, neither shadow of turning.

Apart from the gift of Himself, perhaps the greatest gift is that of His word. You might even make a corrallary between them as the Lord Himself exalts His word above His own name, Ps. 138:2. Such a gift is obviously precious due to its relationship to God Himself. But also because our very salvation is dependent upon our access to it, 2Tim. 3:15. If our very salvation is routed in the truth of His word then we are dependent upon Him to preserve His word. It remains a perplexing befuddlement that some Christians struggle with the simple and obvious truth of the preservation of the Scriptures.

Not only is this truth clearly proclaimed in various passages such as Ps. 119:89, Matt. 5:18; 25:35; But is also implied in many other places. For instance, take note of Deuteronomy 17:18.

Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

In the early days of the Israeli nation, even before there was a king. God gave guidelines for that future king to live and rule by, His word. The king was to have his own personal copy. He would be quite familiar with the contents of God’s word as he personally hand copied it. Here is a great practice for each Christian to follow, possessing your own copy of God’s word that you are intimately familiar with.

Did you notice though that the king’s copy wasn’t spurious, or based on his emotions or interpretations. It was based upon a sure and confident standard, …that which is before the priests the Levites. This is an obvious indication that God intended to ensure that His word would not be lost. Certainly man will be unfaithful and forget God’s truth but God would be faithful. Many years later God’s word was found by forgetful men. Not hidden in a cave in a mountain, not in the ambiguous words of a vision, but right where it was supposed to be, in the temple, 2Kings 22:8.

This “gift-giving” season, don’t forget to thank the Lord for this secure treasure, His Word!

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 10:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

A Conclusion

The Passing of An Era – A Conclusion

Judges 2:10  And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

We have previously considered why it is that there is a passing of an era of faithful warriors for the Lord. Either it is the Inevitability of Time: that due to the aging servant or the time due to the distance from others and of course there is the inescapable death that all face. Or is may be the Insidiousness of Compromise: because of the weariness of the battle, the difficulty of the trial or temptation from our sinful nature. Whatever the reason, one generation of servants passes on and the next must take its place. How do we ensure that the Lord and His truth is not forgotten or minimized? This dilemma highlights the Importance of Transfer, the transfer of commitment, loyalty, and convictions from one generation to the next.

How could a generation arise that knew not the Lord? Especially as the fathers were responsible to teach their children to prevent this very problem, Ex. 10:2; 13:14. Obviously they were negligent in this responsibility. What can be done to prevent our repeating the sins of Eli in loosing the younger generation to a carnal, selfish, sinful form of Christianity (2Ti. 3:5)?

Certainly the next generation must be taught and shown the truth in the home, Eph. 6:4 cp. Deut. 6:20. A faithful pastor is hard pressed to undo years of poor modeling by carnal parents. But they must also be taught in the church, Titus 1:9; 2:4; 2Ti. 2:2; Heb. 5:12. The perpetuation of Christ’s teaching is the completion of the commission given to us from the Saviour, Matt. 28:20.

Of the utmost importance is that those of us that are in any leadership capacity must model the Truth. It is imperative that we KNOW the God of whom we speak and WALK the life of which we preach! We should be able to say to the “Young Fundmentalists” the same as Paul said to Timothy. The pulpit must be empowerd by the Holy Spirit, saturated by the Word of Truth, and modeled by a submitted servant to the master. 2Ti. 3:10; 4:1-8.

2Timothy 3:10  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

2Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished mycourse, I have kept the faith:

May God help us!

Published in: on May 15, 2018 at 10:12 AM  Leave a Comment  

Merry Christmas

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Christmas, many things to many people. To some a time of family and fun, to others stress and tension. But to those redeemed by the Saviour, a time to reflect on the precious truth that God became a man. Not just a human manifestation of deity, but rather, deity incarnate in the flesh of the most vulnerable of humans, an infant. No wonder Paul said, “And without controversy greatisthemysteryof godliness: (1Tim. 3:16).”

Yes, a mystery, for how could God become flesh? A mystery and a wonder! As the angel said to the shepherds, “…good tidings of great joy.” It is almost universal around the world that this is a time to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Of course there are abuses and skeptics, but should Bible believing people be deterred in the joy of Christ’s coming because of unbelief? No! As J. Sidlow Baxter says in his devotional, Awake My Heart, “However much Christmas may be abused by godless worldlings  it brings home to Christian hearts around the globe, all at the same time, that wonderful even which is the first of all strictly Christian facts, the incarnation of the Divine Son.”

Think of it, Christians around the globe all thinking of the Saviour at the same season. No wonder there is a special sense at this time of year. Or that the devil and his crowd want to imitate and corrupt such an exaltation of Jesus Christ.

More distressing than the godless worldlings is the cynical Christians who seem to delight in attacking the Christmas story. Can we not simply take the Bible at face value. He came just like He said. And, He came of us. Rather than undermine the story of His birth with endless and needless questions about which day, what season, when the wise men arrived: can’t we simply rejoice in that Christ came? A simple study of the Scriptures, as well as a review of history and astronomical events leads not to a truncated story, but a greater confidence in my Bible and joy at His birth. If you are interested in my findings, I would be delighted to send you a copy of my booklet The Day He Came. At the very least let us rejoice and share the news of the Saviour’s birth with all who will hear, just like the shepherds did!

Merry Christmas!

Published in: on December 27, 2017 at 12:20 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Time’s Degradation

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

In a previous post I wrote about the passing of an era. My thoughts had been spurred at the time by the recent passing of Dr. Neil Cadwell. Since then another faithful servant of the Lord, in my acquaintance has ben promoted to glory: Dr. James Barrick, longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cody, Wyoming. Again there is a reminder of time’s persistent progression and its effects on those left behind.

We read in Joshua;

Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise,

The era of Moses was over and that of Joshua had begun. No one would deny the obvious differences of these eras.

  • Moses was a prophet but Joshua was a general.
  • Israel had been a horde of wandering nomads and now would be a conquering nation.

And yet it was the same God, the same law and the same expected commitment.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

So why this degradation (Judges 2:7)? Why does it appear that we decline from Biblical convictions to general beliefs to personal opinions? Why? Because some have swerved (1Tim. 1:6) and others have slipped (Heb. 4:1).

The effects of time are clear: diminishing strength due to age, the reduction of fellowship due to distance and the loss of influence when individuals die. These effects are inevitable. What exacerbates the degradation is the insidiousness of compromise.

Insidiousness of Compromise

Tiredness is experienced by all of the Lord’s workers. Classic is the example of Moses and the battle in Exodus 17. His hands became heavy and he was in need of help. Aaron and Hur lent their strength to Moses and a victory was secured. The work of the Lord is just that, WORK! Once, Dr. Wayne Musson, a veteran war horse of Gospel ministry, told me that properly done, preaching one sermon is like working a full day of physical labor. Its work. Perhaps the same could be said of the other aspects of Gospel ministry.

While all experience becoming weary while well doing, we must guard against being “weary in well doing.” (Gal. 6:9; 2Thess. 3:13) In other words, we must guard our attitude toward the struggle for the Lord’s glory. Becoming weary of the struggle lends us to compromise. The priests of Israel said, “What a weariness it is!” (Mal. 1:13) The Lord rightly rebuked them.

Eli, the high priest, apparently became weary of disciplining his sons. His weariness lead to his abject compromise of no restraint against their wicked behavior. (1Sam. 3:13) The tabernacle, the nation, and the Lord’s glory all suffered because of it. This is but one of the facets whereby compromise hastens the passing of an era.

Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM  Leave a Comment