Your power messenger

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16-17 ESV)

и многих из сынов Израилевых обратит к Господу Богу их; и предъидет пред Ним в духе и силе Илии, чтобы возвратить сердца отцов детям, и непокоривым образ мыслей праведников, дабы представить Господу народ приготовленный. (От Луки 1:16-17 Russian)

O LORD God of hosts shine your face upon us dear heavenly Father, so that we will be pleasing in your eyes. Wash us and cleanse us as we trust and obey your beloved Son. Thank you for sending your powerful messenger to this earth to shock John’s parents with news that his life will be devoted to speaking words of truth that will make people ready to listen to Christ Jesus. Open the cold and indifferent hearts of people living in this present century to the message of love and grace that brings eternal life to everyone who will listen, believe and obey. Restore total faith and confidence in the power of the gospel to save penitent sinners. Give believing parents a new heart of love for the Lord that is transferable to their children. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley

Hugh’s News & Views (Sins Of Preachers)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

SINS OF PREACHERS

“Therefore, seeing we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares (besets, KJV; ASV) us, and let us run with patience the race that that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The story is told of three preachers traveling together to a Christian university Bible lectureship. One of them brought up the passage above and said, “You know, we all have a besetting sin—even we who preach. I think it would be good if each of us would confess our besetting sin so we can help each other overcome that sin. I’ll start. My besetting sin is that I like to drink a little. O, nothing heavy, just a little social drink every now and then when I am away from the brethren.” The second one said, “Well, I like to gamble a little. Nothing big, just a little petty gambling for the thrill of it, and the chance to perhaps pick up a little extra money.” They traveled on for a while, with the third preacher saying nothing. Finally, the others said, “Come on brother Bill, ‘fess up. We know you have a besetting sin just like the rest of us. Tell us what it is.” Bill said, “Well, yes, I do have a besetting sin. I love to gossip from time to time, and I can hardly wait to get back home!!”

Yes, preachers are human. They face the same temptations as everyone else. But because of their unique place of influence and often being the “face” of the church in the community, their sins can be especially harmful to the cause of Christ. Here are some sins of preachers that I have witnessed over the years.

Envy and Jealousy – These two attitudes are closely related. “The distinction lies in this, that envy desires to deprive another of what he has, jealousy desires to have the same or the same sort of thing for itself” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. II, p. 37). Unfortunately, preachers can sometimes be quite envious and jealous of each other. The size of the congregation, the salary, the number of meetings and lectureships in which one is invited to speak, the number of responses to one’s preaching, the articles one writes and the publications in which they appear can become objects of jealousy. Both envy and jealousy are sinful attitudes roundly condemned in scripture. Do we think that when we preachers “judge those who do such things, and do the same, that [we] will escape the judgment of God” (Romans 2:3)? The late Ira North used to say (and it perhaps was not original with him), “There is no competition between lighthouses.” Let all of us who preach the life-changing gospel lay aside all envy and jealousy and genuinely rejoice when others are more successful in the work of the kingdom than are we!

Grudge-Holding – Some preachers (and Bible professors!) are quick to take offense at anything that might be viewed as a criticism of them (whether it actually was or not), some action they have taken, or some theological position they hold. They are ultra-sensitive and seem to feel that they are somehow above criticism. When such criticism comes, the critic is no longer in the good graces of the one who received the criticism. A grudge is held and the critic is “black-listed.” None of us enjoys being criticized, but criticism can be productive if given and received in the right spirit. But under no circumstances is it ever right to hold a grudge against another. “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (James 5:9, KJV). Liberty Mutual doesn’t hold grudges, and neither should Christians, especially preachers!

Egotism – Some preachers are plagued with a huge ego and this one character flaw perhaps lies at the heart of many of the other sins of which preachers are especially guilty. I am not a trained psychologist, but I have been around preachers nearly all of my life and am one myself, and I know egotism when I see it—in myself as well as in others. Get a few preachers together and see who can “outdo” the others in telling how many degrees “I” have and where “I” got them, what “I” have done, where “I” have preached, how many meetings “I” have held, what “big name” lectureships “I” have spoken on, how many sermons “I” have preached, how many people “I” have baptized, etc., etc. I think preachers have more “I” problems than any other group of people I know, but I am sure it plagues all professions. It is hard for some folks to play “second fiddle.” I know preachers (and they are otherwise fine men) who simply cannot sit for very long and listen to someone else tell of his accomplishments without feeling compelled to tell what they have done! And be assured… it’s never less than what the other fellow has done, it is always more and better! How good it would be if all preachers could train themselves to sit quietly and listen to and rejoice in the successes and good fortune of other preachers without feeling the necessity of saying something about themselves! Whatever became of the injunction: “…but in lowliness of mind let each esteem another better than himself” (Philippians 2:3)? Or, does that not apply to the bearers of the “Good News”?

Love Of The Praise Of Men – Closely akin to the preceding is the unwholesome love of some preachers for the praise of men. While thoughtful recognition and honor are appropriate, to desire and seek “the praise of men” (John 12:43) is debasing for the true man of God. Some of Jesus’ strongest words were reserved for the Jewish leaders of His day. “But all their works they do to be seen of men…They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the market places, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ ” (Matthew 23:5-7). Jesus warned, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). The wide praise of men may say more about a preacher and his faithfulness to God’s word than it does about the actual honor of the preacher! Yet, some preachers are flagrantly guilty of this sin. In this they fall far short of the Old Testament prophets of God and the New Testament apostles and preachers of Christ.

Sexual Immorality – Many an effective preacher has been forced to leave the ministry because of sexual improprieties: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, pornography addiction, and the like. They have destroyed their own family, the families of others, brought shame and reproach on the church in their community, shame and reproach on themselves, shame and reproach on the name of Christ, and destroyed what could have been an otherwise long and faithful ministry in the kingdom of God. Preachers are just as human as anyone else in this regard, but we must guard against those situations that tempt one to engage in sexual misconduct (cf. Matthew 5:27-28; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:15; Colossians 3:5; I Timothy 4:12). One of the evidences of the fruit of the Spirit and one of the Christian graces is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23; II Peter 1:5-7). Preachers need to practice that! “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself” (Romans 2:21)?

Compromise To Hold One’s Job – In a culture where the mores and morals are constantly changing the temptation can be strong to “trim” the message of the gospel to fit the fluctuating standards of society. In an age when doctrine is belittled and propositional truth is scorned, the temptation can be irresistible to not proclaim “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). His word does not change (Matthew 24:35). The truth of the gospel does not change (Romans 1:16-17; I Corinthians 15:1-4). Man’s response to the gospel, the acceptable way to worship the Lord, the nature of the church, and the way we are to live as Christians do not change (II Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 3). Woe to that preacher who caves in to the culture around him and fails to speak the truth of God—ALL the truth of God—in love (Ephesians 4:15)! But it has happened and it continues to happen. Names can be named! And remember: one does not have to preach false doctrine in order to be disloyal to Christ and the gospel. One can simply fail to preach all the truth in its fullness. What our hearers do not know can condemn them as quickly as false doctrine and false practice.

The lesson in all of this? Preachers are human. They are no better or holier than any other Christian. They, too, have feet of clay and must, like all other children of God, “be even more diligent to make [their] calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10).

Hugh Fulford

November 13, 2018

In company with others: 2 Timothy 2.22

“But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

2 Timothy 2.22

In order to refrain from untoward desires, Timothy must “give positive attention” (Phillips) to the virtues of Christ. This is done together with the saints.

Sin may be avoided and righteousness obtained as a part of God’s worshiping family. Seek every opportunity to be with Christ’s disciples.

#votd #2-Timothy #church

Repent, be immersed: Acts 2.38

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ in order to have your sins forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

Acts 2.38 TGOG

The terms of salvation given in the first gospel sermon, in order to establish the church as Jesus had promised, are clear. Jesus was preached, salvation was offered, and the conditions to receive it were a part of the message.

Forgiveness comes upon being immersed, not before. This is an essential understanding of the act. Have you obeyed the gospel this way?

#votd #Acts #immersion

Lead me in your truth and teach me: Psalm 25.5

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Psalm 25.5 ESV

In this acrostic psalm, David prays to be delivered from foes and confesses his sins. To arrive at truth, he needs God’s leading and teaching. The first verb “consistently refers to God as he leads the righteous in straight paths” (TWOT).

Truth is not an inner discovery, but an external objective to be reached by seeking God. That process is sought today through the Scriptures. Have you read your Bible today?

#votd #Psalms #truth

Hugh’s News & Views (Idols Of Christians)

IDOLS OF CHRISTIANS

What?! You mean that Christians are idol worshipers?! Well, yes, as a matter of fact, even in our supposedly highly enlightened and “Christian” world, idolatry of a certain kind is still, unfortunately, a real problem.

In the final verse of his first letter, John, the apostle of love, warned his readers (all of whom were Christians): “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21). This warning would hardly be necessary were idolatry not a real possibility, even for the children of God. Paul reminded the churches of Galatia that idolatry, regardless of what form it might take, was a work of the flesh and would result in people being unable to inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21).

While Christians may not be tempted to bow down to idols of gold or silver or wood or stone, they nevertheless can be guilty of a more sophisticated form of idolatry. Consider the following. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #idolatry

The things God has prepared for those who love him: 1 Corinthians 2.9

“But just as it is written, ‘Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.'”

1 Corinthians 2.9

Paul quotes Isaiah 64.4 to emphasize the wonder of Christ. God is working out his plan. He has revealed it to man. Only those who love him will benefit from it.

“Mind” translates the word for heart, referring to the whole inner person, and often a specific aspect of it. Here, the thoughts of man. Love is the condition of receiving such wonderful things.

#votd #1-Corinthians #love

Watch and pray to be prepared

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. … Be always on the watch, and pray … that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21:34-36.

Often we want to get wrapped up in the issues of in whether Jesus is speaking about the end of the world or the destruction of the temple? Premillennialism or a rapture? The point is that we must watch and pray, so we are prepared. But prepared for what? Not the end of the world but to stand before the Son of Man. What may keep us from doing that? The answer is a scarily accurate depiction of life today. Our hearts may be weighed down with dissipation, which is a wasting from misuse of our talents and time. Drunkenness—terrible escapes from life. Or caught up in the anxieties of life! Life today has lots of those … as well as more leisure time than any generation before ours, thanks to advances in every realm of life. Not using your time and talents for yourself, then, but for God’s Kingdom instead would be one way to prepare.

If the end was in this moment, could you stand before the Son of Man?

Douglas Kashorek

plattsburghchurch.com

#douglas-kashorek #devotional #preparation

The world is passing away: 1 John 2.17

“And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.”

1 John 2.17

The world of sin and rebellion will not last. It and the desires that invest in it are transient. Let us then become people who do God’s will.

What desires of mine turn me toward the world? How intensely am I pursuing the will of God?

#votd #1-John #will-of-God

Not from the Father: 1 John 2.15-16

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

1 John 2.15-16

Christians must walk as Jesus did. They must love one another. They must be assured of their salvation. They must reject false teaching. The world and all it contains are opposed to the Father.

Love means commitment to, involvement in, support of the world. How do we show our rejection of the world and our commitment to God?

#votd #1-John #world

Surrounded by wolves: Matthew 10.16

“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Matthew 10.16

Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach to Israel. He warned them about opposition. He told them how they should deal with it.

Jesus’ words here applied to Matthew’s readers and to us today. Wisdom is need to meet resistance. We must never lower ourselves to the level of others. What “wolves” have you encountered?

#votd #Matthew #mission

Rejecting God: 1 Thessalonians 4.8

“Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

1 Thessalonians 4.8 NLT

Paul’s subject was apostolic commands, v. 2, and holiness, v. 3, which means keeping away from sexual immorality v. 4-5, and not defrauding one’s brother, vv. 6-7.

Rejecting God by disobedience will not end well. Unholiness does not befit people who have received the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is recognizing when God speaks.

#votd #1-Thessalonians #rejection #holiness

Guide me today: Genesis 24.12

“He prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. Be faithful to my master Abraham.'”

Genesis 24.12

The servant of Abraham was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He prayed for God to guide him in the process. God immediately answered his prayer.

We have been sent on our Master’s work to wed others to Christ. Prayer is an essential component to our success. What is your prayer today?

#votd #Genesis #prayer

Hugh’s News & Views (Great Gospel Preachers . . . Pt. 2

GREAT GOSPEL PREACHERS OF THE PAST

(Part 2: Foy E. Wallace, Jr. and G. K. Wallace)

Foy E. Wallace, Jr. (1896-1979). Foy Esco Wallace was born September 30, 1896 near Blanchardville in Montague County, Texas. He was not a Junior in the true sense of the word. His father, a prominent Texas preacher, was Foy Edwin Wallace. When young Foy began preaching at the age of 15, he soon became extremely popular, and since they both had the same middle initial, to distinguish him from his father he became known as Foy E. Wallace, Jr. On November 29, 1914, he married Virgie Brightwell when he was 18 and she was 16. As his passing in 1979, they had been married for 65 years. I first heard Foy E. Wallace, Jr. preach in the late spring or early summer of 1959 while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading

#gospel-preachers, #hughfulford

As far away as the ends of the earth: Psalm 48.10

“The praise you receive as far away as the ends of the earth is worthy of your reputation, O God. You execute justice!”

Psalm 48.10

This third of three praise psalms focuses on God’s actions on behalf of Zion (1-8) and her reactions to his deliverance (9-14).

God’s concern covers the whole world. He desires praise from all peoples. He works in his people to that end.

#votd #Psalms #praise