Saturday, September 8, 2018
Saturday, August 20, 2016
There are some ministries of the Gospel which appear (though appearance can often be wrong), to be successful from the very beginning. Whose congregations seem to flourish and grow with little difficulty (though we acknowledge there are difficulties in every church). Well known and recognized men of the Gospel whose name is very familiar amongst the ranks of God's people. Then there are those, whose labor in the unknown and isolated places in America. Those who struggle with small congregations while working a full time secular job. Men, whose work in the Lord appear to go unnoticed and unrecognized by others, yet, whose labor in the Lord is just as precious and acknowledged by Christ as any large and highly acclaimed church.
There will surely be those who misunderstand, or misinterpret my intentions in writing this article. But I assure you, my desire is not to claim that larger, more successful churches do not suffer difficulties and hardships in their ministry. I simply which to be an encouragement to those servants of God who labor in such isolated and often overlooked fields, regardless if it is in America or another country. Those, who often feel the burden of isolation and solitude. For though such feelings of isolation and solitude will be felt even by the those who serve a large congregation (solitude being a vital part and divine appointment of the ministry of Christ), yet, I wish merely to encourage all servants of God who face such trials, especially those in isolated fields.
And, it is in the parable of the talents that we find great encouragement and comfort for those who might be suffering under that sense of isolation and loneliness.
I. First of all, like all truths about God, we must begin with God Himself. We must build upon the divine foundation that cannot be shaken by any wind or storm of life: That foundation being, "The Sovereignty of God in His dispersing and giving of His talents or goods, as He sees fit"
"and delivered unto them His goods. to every man according to his several ability." V.V 14,15
In this parable of the talents our Lord "delivered unto each servant His goods, according to His several ability. Each servant was delivered a portion of his Lord's goods, according to the power, authority and providence of Christ as He seen fit to give. The Master knew full well what each servant was able to carry. Not that the one given 5 talents was more faithful, or capable, but in accordance to the Master's will. The servant is not measured by the number of talents he received, but what each one DOES with the talent entrusted to him by His Master. People tend to measure one another by the NUMBER of talents each servant has, but not God. I have attended conferences by well known preachers whose words and mannerism (intentionally or purposely, I will not judge), seem to boast of their success or knowledge of the truths of God. Their demeanor was one of superiority and haughtiness, not one of a humble and contrite spirit. The emphasis being on their many talents and not on the One to whom those talents belonged.
It is God who determines who receives which talents and how many. It is His Sovereign right, divine privilege and unmerited mercy to give each of His servants the measure and quality of talents which are His. The blessing is not in the NUMBER of talents, but in the mere act of grace, kindness and mercy that God would even consider giving finite, frail and weak man any of His gracious talents. The Talents do not define the servant nor his vain belief of any abilities, but each talent represents the infinite grace and mercy of the Master who is pleased to entrust His talents to whomsoever He chooses. The true servant, regardless of how many talents God has given him, rejoices in EVERY talent God has chosen for him.
And so it is with every true servant of God. Regardless if we are called on to labor in a great field or in a field of obscurity and seclusion. The true servant, whether he has been given one or five talents, is content and faithful, for he is greatly humbled that God would even consider entrusting him with ONE of His gracious talents.
So dear brother, or sister, if you find yourself laboring for the Master in secluded and isolated fields, feeling often unnoticed, unrecognized and overlooked. Never forget, it is the Master's blessing and favor we seek, not that of the other servants or their more talents. That God would entrust any of us with His gracious talents should greatly humble us all. To Him, and Him alone, be all the glory forever and ever, AMEN.
"For if just a cup of water, He places within your hand, then just a cup of water is all that He demands, but if by death to living they can His glory see, take up your cross and follow close to Him." (wording was changed by me)
Sunday, August 9, 2015
"To consider one another" is when we charitably observe our brothers/sisters tempers, circumstances, infirmities, and temptations that we may excite and encourage them to love and good works. To take time and to give attention to their needs, their weaknesses, their faults, as to encourage, not to discourage to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).
In my 25 years as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I can sadly confess that this has been, without doubt, a very rare jewel amongst the majority of professing believers. Myself included. And yet, this work of grace is so very vital, not only for the spiritual strength and happiness of the individual believer, but also for the advancement and proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The mutual care, love and responsibilty we as believers owe to one another, is a true work of grace and requires much self sacrifice and humility. Much of our spiritual strength, perseverance and comfort are greatly dependent upon the cultivation of this rare jewel amongst one another as believers. I am not speaking of that "outward show or appearance of fellowship" which is so evident when Christians gather together. But, that inward work of grace which alone can excite the heart of the believer to earnestly "consider" his brother or sister in hopes of encouraging and strengthening them if they fall, or are weak or even under a burden of guilt and sin. This compassionate spirit does not come natural, but is a true work of grace by the Spirit of God. We can, to some degree, copy or imitate this spirit at times, but the true quality and genuineness of this rare jewel is seen when we are willing to sacrifice our time, self and own interests to aid a failing or weak brother or sister.
The spiritual bond which exists between believers, because of our spiritual union with Christ, is greatly strengthened and made more intimate by our interceding on each others behalf. Physical fellowship is very important for our mutual faith and comfort, but there is an special intimacy created between the believers when we pour out our hearts before God for one another, unlike that of any physical fellowship. An intimacy and bond which strengthens our love, compassion and care for one another. Believers who intercede for one another only occasionally or superficially know nothing of this intimacy and will lack in the love, care and compassion which imitates that of Christ for us ("love one another as I have loved you."). This rare jewel preserves the unity and bond between believers through the most difficult and trying times. And, enables us to forgive and reconcile our differences quicker and with more grace and compassion. When we invest our time, effort, energy and heart in "considering one another", our desire for peace, fellowship and love amongst one another, as believers, is greatly enhanced. And "esteeming others better than ourselves" becomes a delight and our highest desire for our brethren.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
I was humbly reminded this past week of the great importance of this divine truth. To believe I can meet the many trials and afflictions of the day, the continual fleshly lusts and desires that so quickly rise daily within my own heart, and meet the countless temptations of this evil world and Satan, with only a few minutes of casual prayer a day, is the greatest deceivable thing my heart could ever fathom. I must "Pray always," lest I faint. I must throughout the day still away to a quiet time of prayer and meditation, even if they be but short times, let them be often. For then, I shall not so quickly faint against these daily trials and afflictions, but be better equipped to "stand against all these things." For when I do not give myself to prayer, and that always, it is a sure sign that I trust too much in myself. And that never leads to hope and happiness, only certain failure and heartache.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15)
The divine goal and objective in the minister's studying of God's Word is to "shew himself approved (not unto men, but) unto God." This great task is given unto all those whom God has graciously called into the service of preaching the Gospel of His dear Son Jesus Christ. Of such a high calling no man is worthy or sufficient of himself. It is purely by the infinite grace of God that He would call any man unto such a high service. To this high calling we are ever indebted and shall one day be held greatly accountable for how we sought to humbly fulfill this divine appointment. The divine truths we preach are not our own; we are not to alter, change, add or corrupt the truths of God's Word entrusted unto us. But, we are to boldly, humbly and faithfully proclaim those divine truths as revealed in Scripture. And how to "rightly divide" those truths are an essential and vital part in our seeking God's approval as we study His truths.It is "the whole counsel of God" we must proclaim.
I say that for there are many divine truths in God's Word which have been neglected or ignored in this present age of spiritual imbalance amongst believers. Many today, in their blind zeal to defend certain dogmatic convictions, are guilty of neglecting the "whole counsel of God' and therefore ignorantly ignore or neglect other divine truths of equal or greater value and significance for God's people. Many of God's people today are quick to cry out against the perils of these last days, yet, consistently rally around only certain divine truths in their contending for the faith. Something which is of itself a noble and commendable cause. Yet, this causes a great imbalance in our contending for the faith and is something even our adversary readily supports and encourages.
To possess a burning and fervent zeal for God's truths is vital to our contending for the faith, yet, such divine contending must be done by our rightly dividing the truth; otherwise we fall in danger of becoming blind and oblivious to the importance and significance of other divine truths. This great spiritual imbalance has also led to many divisions and schisms amongst the ranks of God's children. While many boldly profess to be faithfully and fervently proclaiming the truths of God, yet, if that proclamation is driven by a spirit of malice, anger, or self-righteous indignation then the message will be tainted and dishonoring to the cause of Christ. Christ is as much, if not more, concerned about the "vessel" proclaiming His message as the message itself. He will not be dishonored by a unclean or self driven messenger. Our "approval" for such a divine service must not come from men, but from God. And the manner, spirit and life of His divinely appointed messenger is of great importance to Him.
There are times when certain divine truths are more relevant for the moment then others, but that doesn't mean we ignore and neglect the seemingly less relevant ones (which there are no irrelevant truths of God). For this is one of our adversary's greatest deceptions, namely an imbalance in our proclaiming the whole counsel of God. God grant us all much grace and mercy as we seek as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ not to be imbalanced when it comes to proclaiming or rightly dividing the word of truth.
I will be examining certain texts over the next few months, as way of example, which I believe have been greatly neglected or ignored by many pulpits. This is not a blanket statement against all churches or pulpits. There are certainly many churches and ministers out there who strive every week to faithfully proclaim the whole counsel of God and to rightly divide the word of truth. But this is a great danger which we must all be reminded of.