Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 18 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #220)

spiritual-warfare

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:3-6:

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

—-

Hudson Taylor said, “Would that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest; and Heaven so real that we must have men there.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “We’re blind to the fact that we have an obligation to billions people in the world. This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of lost souls.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Church in America and the human impetus for Methodist growth, crossed the Allegheny Mountains sixty times, visited every state, preached 17,000 sermons, and stayed in 10,000 homes. Methodist preachers were typically not college-educated, but they were called by God from occupations such as common laborers, farmers, shoemakers, carpenters, shopkeepers, or blacksmiths. (Asbury, in fact, had been a blacksmith before being called to ministry.) Because of their background, they had an affinity with their parishioners. They never read their sermons, as the Anglicans or Congregationalists did, but instead exhorted the people passionately from the Bible, using anecdotes, illustrations, and analogies from everyday life.”

—-

The church of Jesus Christ ought to be unified because we have one Lord. We all have the same Savior. We all worship the same God. We all are supposed to obey the same Master. The word “lord” occurs over 700 times in the New Testament. It means one who has power or authority; one who is in charge. Jesus is Lord.

The church could easily be more unified if we all submitted to the fact that Jesus is in charge and if many of us stopped trying to take some power and authority for ourselves. We must remember Jesus’ teaching to His disciples who argued over who was the most important among them at least twice in Scripture. That kind of disputing causes division in the church. The only Lord we have in the body of Christ is Jesus Christ himself. When Paul told the Corinthian believers to follow him, he didn’t stop there. He said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

The greatest way that we can endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit is to remind ourselves and each other that we all have the same Savior and Lord. On a football team you have three different squads: you have offense, you have defense, and you have special teams. These different sets of players operate differently from each other, but they play for the same coach and they have the same goal — to win. The goal of the church is to win as well. And, we can win when we begin playing as one team for one Lord.

An old German hymn says —

Fairest Lord Jesus!
Ruler of all nature!
O Thou of God and man the Son!
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!

All fairest beauty,
Heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer,
Fairer, or dearer,
Than Thou my Savior art to me.

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 16 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #218)

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:3-6:

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

—-

Thomas Brooks said, “A humble soul sees that he can stay no more from sin than the heart can from panting and the pulse from beating. He sees his heart and life to be fuller of sin than the firmament is of stars; and this keeps him low. He sees that sin is so bred in the bone, that till his bones, as Joseph’s, be carried out of the Egypt of this world, he will not be rid of sin. Though sin and grace were never born together, and though they shall not die together, yet while the believer lives, these two must live together; and this keeps him humble.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I believe every church is either supernatural or superficial. I don’t believe there’s any middle ground.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Second Great Awakening was spread as much by Methodist circuit-riding preachers as by anyone in America. There were fewer than a thousand Methodists in the new nation in 1782; thirty years later, there were a quarter million. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the Congregationalists were the largest church in the United States, yet thirty years later the Methodists were ten times larger than that denomination.”

—-

The fact that Paul describes the church as a body reminds us that our unity is a functional unity. We are not unified to sit around and sing Kumbaya; we are unified to do something — to take action just like a physical body does. The comparison of a physical body also reminds us that the body of believers is organic. Our unity does not in any way depend on denominations or other man-made church structures coming together. Our unity is in the Spirit. If we are all filled with the Holy Spirit, we will all be unified with other believers.

Charles Hodge said Paul’s statement that ‘there is one body, and one Spirit’ “is not an exhortation, but a declaration. All believers are in Christ; they are all his members; they constitute not many, much less conflicting bodies, but one. As all true believers are members of this body, and as all are not included in any one external organization, it is obvious that the one body of which the apostle speaks, is not one outward visible society, but a spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all the redeemed are members.”

Are you a born-again Christian? Have you been saved by the blood of the Lamb? Are you therefore filled with the Holy Spirit of God? Then endeavour to keep the unity of the bond of peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ, even though there be differences.

Henry L. Lambdin wrote:

As members of Christ’s body,
hold fast to Christ your Head;
become Christ’s open letter,
by others to be read;

Bear witness as Christ’s temple,
Himself the cornerstone,
and be Christ’s living altar
whereon His love is shown.

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #215)

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—-

C. T. Studd said, “Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’m concerned that the reason the world is on its way to hell-fire is because we, the church, has lost the Holy Ghost fire.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “No significant preachers were involved in the Cornwall revival. In fact, most of the gatherings were simply assemblies for prayer rather than evangelistic meetings. In 1784, eighty-threeyear-old John Wesley visited the area and immediately recognized the unique movement of God in the community. His journal entry includes the note: ‘This country is all on fire and the flame is spreading from village to village.””

—-

From this passage, we are looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have already looked at the traits of lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering.

The third trait that Paul names is “forbearance in love.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” The word ‘forbear’ means ‘to endure, to hold oneself, to bear with.’ It has a similar connotation to the word ‘longsuffering.’ Three times in the Gospels, this word is used to describe Jesus’ reaction to the faithless crowd and the faithless disciples. He had to bear with them despite their unbelief.

As Christians, we will also face situations that will require us to forbear with others, to hold back, to temper our response. These situations may be in the church, in the family, or on the job. These situations may not arise only because of our faith. They may arise in every day matters experienced by all people — saved and lost. The difference should be in how the Christian responds to such situations. Our response ought to be one of forbearance in love.

Above all, all of our actions, reactions, and interactions ought to take place in a spirit of agape love. The Bible says we ought to ‘forbear one another in love.’ If we let the love of Christ rule in our hearts, it will be easier to respond to any person or situation in a spirit of forbearance and love.

In closing, consider these words from A.W. Tozer:

“We do not go far with any fellow traveler on the journey of life before we find there is great occasion for the exercise of forbearance. He has a temperament different from our own. He may be sanguine, or choleric, or melancholy; while we may be just the reverse. He has peculiarities of taste, and habits, and disposition, which differ much from ours. He has his own plans and purposes of life, and his own way and time of doing things. He may be naturally irritable, or he may have been so trained that his modes of speech and conduct differ much from ours. Neighbours have occasion to remark this in their neighbours; friends in their friends; kindred in their kindred; one church member in another.

“A husband and wife — such is the imperfection of human nature — can find enough in each other to embitter life if they choose to magnify imperfections and to become irritated at trifles; and there is no friendship that may not be marred in this way, if we will allow it.

“Hence, if we would have life move on smoothly, we must learn to bear and forbear. We must indulge the friend that we love in the little peculiarities of saying and doing things which may be important to him, but which may be of little moment to us.”

Let’s pray.

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 12 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #214)

spiritual-warfare

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—-

C. T. Studd said, “Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’m concerned that the reason the world is on its way to hell-fire is because we, the church, has lost the Holy Ghost fire.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “No significant preachers were involved in the Cornwall revival. In fact, most of the gatherings were simply assemblies for prayer rather than evangelistic meetings. In 1784, eighty-threeyear-old John Wesley visited the area and immediately recognized the unique movement of God in the community. His journal entry includes the note: ‘This country is all on fire and the flame is spreading from village to village.””

—-

From this passage, we are looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have already looked at the traits of lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering.

The third trait that Paul names is “forbearance in love.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” The word ‘forbear’ means ‘to endure, to hold oneself, to bear with.’ It has a similar connotation to the word ‘longsuffering.’ Three times in the Gospels, this word is used to describe Jesus’ reaction to the faithless crowd and the faithless disciples. He had to bear with them despite their unbelief.

As Christians, we will also face situations that will require us to forbear with others, to hold back, to temper our response. These situations may be in the church, in the family, or on the job. These situations may not arise only because of our faith. They may arise in every day matters experienced by all people — saved and lost. The difference should be in how the Christian responds to such situations. Our response ought to be one of forbearance in love.

Above all, all of our actions, reactions, and interactions ought to take place in a spirit of agape love. The Bible says we ought to ‘forbear one another in love.’ If we let the love of Christ rule in our hearts, it will be easier to respond to any person or situation in a spirit of forbearance and love.

In closing, consider these words from A.W. Tozer:

“We do not go far with any fellow traveler on the journey of life before we find there is great occasion for the exercise of forbearance. He has a temperament different from our own. He may be sanguine, or choleric, or melancholy; while we may be just the reverse. He has peculiarities of taste, and habits, and disposition, which differ much from ours. He has his own plans and purposes of life, and his own way and time of doing things. He may be naturally irritable, or he may have been so trained that his modes of speech and conduct differ much from ours. Neighbours have occasion to remark this in their neighbours; friends in their friends; kindred in their kindred; one church member in another.

“A husband and wife — such is the imperfection of human nature — can find enough in each other to embitter life if they choose to magnify imperfections and to become irritated at trifles; and there is no friendship that may not be marred in this way, if we will allow it.

“Hence, if we would have life move on smoothly, we must learn to bear and forbear. We must indulge the friend that we love in the little peculiarities of saying and doing things which may be important to him, but which may be of little moment to us.”

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #213)

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—-

Jonathan Edwards said, “Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: That whether others do or do not, I will.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Are we sorry for grieving the heart of God? Are we sorry for denying God the right to own our personality, to own our mind, to own our thoughts, to own our emotions? If not, we’re robbing God.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In 1781, the faithful prayer warriors in Cornwall, England, chose to begin their Christmas celebration in prayer. They gathered as early as 3:00 A.M. at St. Just Church to sing hymns and pray to God. Then, as one account puts it, “the Lord of the universe stepped in and took over.” The Christmas prayer meeting continued for six hours. Even then, the intercessors ended the meeting only temporarily to be with their families on Christmas Day. Later that evening, they gathered once again at the church, and the revival continued. Cornwall’s Christmas Revival extended into January and February. By March, prayer meetings were continuing until midnight. This awakening by the Holy Spirit was largely a prayer movement.”

—-

From this passage, we are looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have already looked at the traits of lowliness and meekness.

The third trait that Paul names is “longsuffering.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with longsuffering…” Longsuffering means “patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance.” When we see this word in the Bible, the word “longsuffering” is most often used within the context of God’s dealings with human beings. You have experienced the longsuffering of God even though you may not have recognized it at the time. God shows Himself to be long suffering when He does not immediately punish us for our disobedience to Him. Rather, He waits for a while (He suffers long) in hopes that we would correct ourselves. That is what it means to be longsuffering — to let things go, to not get angry, to remain calm for a while, even though things are going wrong, in the hopes that people would correct themselves.

Longsuffering is a godly trait and we are to be imitators of God. For us, long suffering means being patient with others, suffering the wrong they do us without retaliation, and enduring difficult situations without complaint.

John Eadie said a person who is longsuffering “is opposed to irritability, or to what we familiarly name shortness of temper, and is that patient self-possession which enables a man to bear with those who oppose him, or who in any way do him injustice. He can afford to wait till better judgment and feeling on their part prevail. In its high sense of bearing with evil, and postponing the punishment of it, it is ascribed to God.”

There are people and situations that will test us immensely in our Christian walk. When things are not going our way, that is when we ought to walk worthy of our calling by practicing longsuffering.

A man went to his pastor and said, “Pastor, pray that God would help me be more patient.” The pastor said, “I’ll pray for you right now.” He proceeded to ask God, “Lord, please send tribulation into this brother’s life.” The brother said, “Pastor, what are you doing? I asked you to pray that I would develop patience.” The pastor said, “Haven’t you ever read in Romans 5:3 that tribulation worketh patience? I prayed for tribulation because you can only learn patience and longsuffering when you are being tested and when you are suffering.”

It is the same for us. Longsuffering is something that can only be learned by the power of the Holy Spirit in the course of our life in this world.

Bob Gotti wrote:

As believers live for Christ,
He makes changes in our lives,
Convicting us with the Spirit,
using the Word as we hear it.
His Word touches everything,
He teaches us long suffering,
As we daily deal with others —
unbelievers and Christian brothers.

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #212)

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—-

A. Reavis said, “Despite the atrociousness of it, Satan really does have little cause to fear most preaching. Most preaching in the modern church is completely devoid of unction. Pastors are too busy playing golf or racquetball to bother spending time on their knees. No wonder some pastors I’ve heard can more readily quote Dr. Laura than Bible passages pertaining to prayer. It’s disastrous. Satan need not fear under those conditions.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “David had one of the most blessed experiences in the world, and that blessedness was that he was miserable about his sin.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Finally, a revival in the Dutch colony of Cape Town, South Africa, touched that city of 30,000 people, producing missionaries who took the gospel to the native peoples of South Africa. That development was followed by similar revival in 1809 among British army regiments. These Methodist ‘soldier-evangelists’ preached the gospel widely in South Africa.”

—-

From this passage, we are now looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have looked at the first trait which “lowliness.”

The second trait is “meekness.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all meekness…” The word translated as “meekness” means “gentleness; mildness; by implication, humility.” We often speak of Jesus Christ as being “meek and mild.” It is said that Moses was one of the “meekest” men who walked upon the face of the earth.

A person who is meek is one who has a gentle spirit as opposed to a combative one. He does not get angry easily. He does not respond to situations from the perspective of someone who is trying to have their own way — whether that situation is rebuke, persecution, or simply the fact that those in leadership have decided to do things differently.

Albert Barnes said, “Meekness relates to the manner in which we receive injuries. We are to bear them patiently, and not to retaliate, or seek revenge. The meaning here is that we adorn the gospel when we show its power in enabling us to bear injuries without anger or a desire of revenge, or with a mild and forgiving spirit.”

Meekness is related to humility in that a person who is meek does not think too highly of himself. He is not hung up on self-importance and self-assertiveness. He realizes that other people may know more than he knows and may be able to do things better than he can do them. In such situations, he willingly submits to their leadership.

Meekness is also patience. A person who is meek realizes that he can’t have his way right now all of the time. He does not try to force things to happen, rather, he is willing to wait for God to make them happen in His timing.

The world sees meekness as weakness. However, Biblical meekness is not weakness; instead, it is the display of spiritual strength. The man who explodes in anger when confronted with something he does not like is not displaying strength. Instead, he is showing that he has just given in to the base, fleshly instincts of the human race. On the other hand, a man who does not respond in kind when insulted or ridiculed shows that he is spiritually strong because he has allowed the Holy Spirit to master his fleshly desires.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was meek, but He was not weak. Meekness is simply setting aside your rights, your status, and what you think you deserve in order to let God move. Jesus was meek when He refused to call down ten legions of angels to defend Him against the Jewish authorities who were attempting to arrest Him. Jesus was meek when He endured the false accusations, the slaps across His face, the mocking, and the beatings of by the Romans and Jews. Jesus was meek when He accepted in His body the sins of others and suffered in His body the punishment meant for others on the cross.

These situations were not fair to Jesus, but He showed His strength in them by accepting them willingly rather than fighting against them. He knew that everything was in God’s hands and that by being meek, He was allowing God’s will to be done.

He is our ultimate example. Let us walk worthy of the vocation with which we are called with all meekness.

Deborah Ann Belka wrote:

Blessed are those who are humble,
those who are submissive and meek
those who submit themselves to God
who’s will they obediently seek.

Blessed are those who are gentle,
those who are patient and tolerant
those who are rarely provoked
who hold restrain and are moderate.

Blessed are those who are meek,
those who don’t grumble or complain
those who accept what God offers
who endure the good with the pain.

Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #211)

spiritual-warfare

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—-

Nicky Cruz said, “We stink more of the world than we stink of of sackcloth and ashes. A lot of contemporary churches today would feel more at home in a movie house rather than a house of prayer; they are more afraid of holy living than of sinning; they know more about money than magnifying Christ in our bodies. They are so compromised that holiness and living a sin-free life is heresy to the modern church. The modern church is, quite simply, just the world with a Christian T-shirt on.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “We’re living in an unprecedented day when evil is no longer evil. We’ve changed the terminology — iniquity is now infirmity; wickedness is now weakness; devilry is now deficiency.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Infidelity was growing rapidly on American college campuses before the coming of revival, but the collegiate awakenings of that era are among the most dramatic stories of the awakening. Timothy Dwight, president of Yale, was the great champion of intellectual evangelical Christianity. Student revival movements swept across American college campuses, producing pastors, teachers, and missionaries for new ministries born out of the revival.”

—-

Now, Paul begins to tell us about the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. The first trait is “lowliness.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness…”

The word “lowliness” is translated from a very long word in the Greek. Here is what it means: “having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s moral littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind.”

Lowliness of mind was not something that was celebrated in the Greek culture that the Ephesians inhabited. In fact, it is not something that is celebrated too much in our own culture either. But it is a mark of a Christian who is walking worthy of his vocation and calling in Christ.

It ought to be easy for us to have lowliness of mind if we simply remember that we are sinners deserving of Hell. The very first sin we committed, no matter how small it might have seemed, was enough to alienate us from God forever. Instead, God sent Jesus to save us and make us a part of His family. The fact of the matter is that we are alive even when we don’t deserve it. We are saved even though we don’t deserve to be. We are on our way to Heaven even though we are not worthy of being there. If we keep these things in the front of our minds, it will be easy to have lowliness of mind.

J Vernon McGee shares the story of a group of people who went to see Beethoven’s home in Germany. After the tour guide had showed them Beethoven’s piano and had finished his lecture, he asked if any of them would like to come up and sit at the piano for a moment and play a chord or two. There was a sudden rush to the piano by all the people except a gray-haired gentleman with long, flowing hair. The guide finally asked him, “Wouldn’t you like to sit down at the piano and play a few notes?” The man answered, “No, I don’t feel worthy.” That man was Jan Pa-de-rew-ski, the great Polish statesman and pianist and the only man in the group who was really worthy to play at Beethoven’s piano.

J. Vernon McGee adds, “How often we as saints rush in and do things we have no gift for doing. We say we have difficulty in finding folk who will do the work of the church, but there is another extreme — folk who attempt to do things for which they have no gift. We need to walk in lowliness of mind.”

Lowliness of mind is simply not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Whatever value we have comes from our standing in Christ. We have nothing to be proud of except what Christ has done in us. Therefore, we should walk worthy of our calling by having lowliness of mind.

Three Steps to Guaranteed Happiness, Part 3 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 205)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 13:12-17

12 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?

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 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.

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 205.

Roger E. Olson said, “No truth is more pervasive in Scripture and Christian tradition than this one — that real freedom is found in obedience and servanthood. And yet no truth is more incongruent with modern culture. Here we stand before a stark either/or: the gospel message of true freedom versus the culture’s ideal of self-creation, autonomy, and living ‘my way.'”

The first step to gaining genuine happiness is having a humble spirit and attitude.

The second step to gaining genuine happiness is being obedient to God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The third step to gaining genuine happiness is in being a true servant of others. *** Jesus Christ said, “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. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Because Jesus is our Master and Lord, we are already in the position of a servant. He is the head; we are the body. We carry out the tasks that He intends for us to do. The problem comes when we who are servants do not want to serve. Everybody is seeking preeminence, importance, a position, or a title, but nobody wants to serve. We forget that we are not greater than our Lord who was the greatest servant of all. Jesus did not think it beneath Him to wash His disciples feet. While He was indeed trying to teach them a lesson, He genuinely had a heart that would carry out that kind of service.

Even those who are considered Christian “leaders” today — pastors, evangelists, missionaries, heads of ministries, etc. — are actually servants. They are servants of God, servants of other believers, and servants of sinners.

The word translated “servant” in our text is defined as “one who gives himself up to another’s will; those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men; one who is devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.” A true servant is one whose primary focus is on God and others. He is not concerned about himself and what he wants because he knows that if he takes care of what God wants, God will take care of him. A servant knows that he does not live for himself. He wakes up each morning asking, ‘God, how do you want to use me today? How can I serve you today? How can I serve others today?’

It has been taught so much that it sounds trite: it is more blessed to give than to receive. Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, said, “Volunteering and serving others seems to run against the strong dynamics of self-interest…. [But] people who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity.”

This is the way God has set up the universe. People who are givers, servers, and carers are more happy, satisfied, and blessed. People who are stingy, selfish, and self-centered will never be satisfied. Jesus Christ said, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Do you want the blessings of God upon your life? Do you want consistent peace, joy, and happiness? You can have it if you serve God and others in a spirit of humility and holiness.

Warren Wiersbe said, “Be sure to keep these lessons in their proper sequence: humbleness, holiness, happiness. Submit to the Father, keep your life clean, and serve others. This is God’s formula for true spiritual joy.”

In closing, let me remind you of these words by John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.”

If you are ready to follow Jesus Christ in His example of humility, holiness, and servanthood (the steps to guaranteed happiness), I encourage you to start by making Him the Lord and Master of your life today by trusting him as Saviour. Here is how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in 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.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Three Steps to Guaranteed Happiness, Part 1 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 203)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 13:12-17

12 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?

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 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.

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 203.

Andrew Murray said, “Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.”

Webster’s dictionary defines happiness as: “a state of well-being and contentment; joy; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” Everybody wants to be happy. Books, seminars, and self-help programs promise to reveal the ‘secret of happiness.’ More often than not, however, these paths to happiness fall short because they are based on man-made ideas rather than the eternal principles of God.

In our passage for today, Jesus Christ explains to His disciples the meaning of the object lesson that He had just given them by washing their feet. In so doing, He reveals the secret to true happiness.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Jesus asked the disciples if they understood what He had done, and it is not likely that they did. So He explained it: He had given them a lesson in humble service, an example for them to follow. The world thinks that happiness is the result of others serving us, but real joy comes when we serve others in the name of Christ. The world is constantly pursuing happiness, but that is like chasing a shadow: it is always just beyond your reach.”

In Jesus’ explanation of His actions, He provides three steps to happiness.

The first step to happiness is humility. Jesus said, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.”

Peter had just tried to boss Jesus around, telling Him first not to wash him at all and then telling Him to wash his head, his hands, and his feet, neither of which Jesus did. Earlier, Matthew tells us that Peter ‘took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him,’ telling Him that He should not go up to die at Jerusalem. Both times, Peter was out of line. Jesus was the Master and Lord; Peter should have humbly submitted to Jesus’ leadership even though he did not understand it.

The reason why humility is the first step to happiness is because, if you are humble, you will learn to let go of what you want. A harsh truth about life is that you and I do not get everything we want when we want it. Sometimes we have to wait. Sometimes we never get what we desire. A humble person can accept this as God’s will for him at that time and move on with his life, content in the knowledge that God knows what is best.

On the other hand, a proud person is typified by striving desire. A person who is proud thinks he deserves certain things and will always strive to get those things even when it becomes apparent that he can’t or shouldn’t have them. G.K. Chesterton said “pride is the one thing guaranteed to make us unhappy.” W.M. Whittemore provides this explanation: “The worst of pride is this — it makes us more like the devil than any other sin, and therefore less like the Lord Jesus who was ‘meek and lowly.’ It raises a barrier between us and God, preventing us from going to Him and driving Him from us. It will shut us out of Heaven and His presence if we do not get rid of it. It makes us unhappy here, and causes all the quarrels that happen; and it will make us miserable in the world to come.”

Jesus drove home His point about how His followers were to be humble with these words: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” If the Teacher — the Lord and Master of the Universe — could stoop down and wash someone’s feet, surely the students who were not above the master could do the same.

Now, Jesus did not institute a foot-washing ritual here. He was not establishing foot-washing as an ordinance in the church. (In some Catholic Churches, Maundy Thursday is marked by the church leadership washing the feet of the people.) What Jesus is emphasizing here is that His people are to be servants of each other and servants of the world in His name. They ought to be humble enough to serve. Any Christian who refuses to be a servant is pridefully saying that he is better than Christ, and he forfeits the blessings and happiness that only God provides.

I think that with this demonstration of humility, the disciples finally got Jesus’ message regarding how they needed to stop jostling for preeminence and begin serving as their Lord had done. In so doing, they were on the path to happiness.

In closing, take note of this poem by William Cowper:

’Tis my happiness below
Not to live without the cross;
But the Savior’s pow’r to know
Sanctifying every loss.

Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all—
This is happiness to me.

Did I meet no trials here,
No chastisement by the way,
Might I not with reason fear
I should prove a castaway?

Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Bring me to my Savior’s feet,
Lay me low and keep me there.

If you are ready to follow Jesus Christ in His example of humility (which is the first step to guaranteed happiness), I encourage you to start by making Him the Lord and Master of your life today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 reads, “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.”

The phrase “For God so loved the world” means that if you are in this world, God loves you no matter what you have done.

The next phrase, “that He gave His only begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ. He is God’s son who suffered, bled, and died on the cross for your sins and for mine, and He was buried and rose again.

Our next phrase is “that whosoever believeth in Him”. The word “whosoever” means anybody at anytime. The phrase “believeth in Him” means to trust in Him, to depend upon Him, to rely on Him, or to have faith in Him for your salvation.

Our next phrase, “should not perish”, refers to eternal punishment in a place called hell.

And, lastly, the phrase “but have everlasting life” means to live eternally in Heaven with God.

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Have You Been Broken? Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #27)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A:


PART B:


TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today. As you may recall, Christian was in the Valley of Humiliation when he was approached by Apollyon. Apollyon began to attack Christian with his fiery darts. Christian used his shield to deflect most of the darts, but Bunyan tells us that he was wounded in his head, one of his hands and one of his feet.

Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian’s sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, “I am sure of you now.” And with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life; but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise.”

And with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian perceiving that, made at him again, saying, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more.

We have already learned that one of the reasons why we need to be humbled and broken is so that we will be spiritually vigilant so that we will not fall into temptation. We also learned that we need to be humbled and broken so that we will grow stronger in our Christian faith by applying what we have learned and using the tools that we have been given.

Today, I want you to notice that we need to be humbled and broken in order to realize that it is only through God that we will be victorious over the enemy. Our passage states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Notice that God is the one who provides a way of escape for us out of our temptations, trials, and difficulties. We like to think that we are able to make things happen ourselves, that we can find our own way out of trouble and distress. Most of us are not eager to lean on God or anybody else. One of the qualities that people have hailed about America is that of being able to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Well, with God, it doesn’t work that way. When we get in trouble, we have to humble ourselves and depend on Him to get us out of it.

We see this in the story of Moses. Moses thought he could deliver the children of Israel his way. He went out among his people, saw what was going on, got angry, and ended up killing an Egyptian. God had to put him in the desert for 40 years. Once, he was the prince of Egypt; now, he was a fugitive helping to take care of sheep in the wilderness. What was God doing to him? God was humbling him and breaking him down. God was letting him know that he couldn’t do things his way. God was saying to him, ‘If the children of Israel are going to be delivered and freed, it is going to happen My way, Moses, not your way.’ God was not finished with Moses. God still planned to use Moses. But God needed to help Moses understand some things first. When Moses went back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, he did it with God’s power, not his own.

He often has to do the same thing with us. When we face our trials and difficulties in life, our first instinct is to employ the human knowledge and capabilities that we have in order to get out of that situation. However, God wants us to not depend on our human capabilities, but to depend on Him and what we have learned from His word. In today’s reading from Pilgrim’s Progress, how did Christian defend himself and defeat Apollyon? He used the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Those weapons were his “way of escape” and they had been given to him by God.

One commentator wrote, “The Valley of Humiliation in The Pilgrim’s Progress represents our coming face to face with the reality of our own neediness. We are humbled when we cast down pride and recognize that we are undone before God and bring nothing to the table that would commend us to God.”

The only way we can be delivered from our trials, be victorious over our temptations, and successfully pass our tests is if we depend on God for the way of deliverance. And, in order to do that, we must be broken and humble before Him. We must be willing to no longer do things our way, but His way. We must take the way of escape that He has provided us. Matthew Henry said, “There is no valley so dark but he can find a way through it, no affliction so grievous but he can prevent, or remove, or enable us to support it, and in the end overrule it to our advantage.”

All things work together for our good. Even in the difficult moments of trial and temptation, or when we are going through a desert experience like Moses, God is working so that we will become humble and broken people who are vessels that God can use for His glory.