Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

image_pdfimage_print

The Most Important Thing

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

In a rather contentious Bible study, I was asked what I thought the most important thing to tell someone was.

If I were going to give them one thing out of the Bible, what would that one thing be?

After a brief pause, (because that was all that was allowed) I turned to Jeremiah and read to those in the study, the following:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

At which point I was promptly argued with, and told that the most important thing was to tell them that Jesus died for their sins. I was not surprised. I knew before I read Jeremiah that I would be set upon because I was not “telling them about Jesus” and “giving them the gospel.” However, the accusation results from a failure to understand some basic facts about the passage above, and the logic of it. It has very much to do with understanding how the LORD God works and how human nature works. The passage above addresses both those issues in a very powerful way, that will, if the person has any love of the truth at all, lead them straight to the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, it will lead them there, not in ignorance, but in understanding, and enable them to trust the Lord Jesus fully.

In understanding how this is, it is essential to understand that it is the LORD God who seeks us, not we who seek Him:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

The Scripture confirms this by giving us the  converse of the above:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Romans 3:10-12)

Whether we like it or not, the issue of someone coming to know and understand the LORD and subsequently trust the Lord Jesus Christ, is not actually left in the hands of man. Rather, it is the word, the Scripture, in which the LORD has invested the power to work in the heart and lives of men:

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

And so it is that all men can ever be, are mere messengers – ambassadors of the LORD and His word. The one simple duty of those who have been born again is to faithfully deliver that word of truth to everyone around them. It is the LORD and His word that will do the heavy lifting of working in the heart and soul of man. Ultimately, through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, the LORD God reconciles man to Himself. This also, Scripture confirms:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:17-21)

Seeing then that we are merely messengers, what message does the passage from Jeremiah bring that would be more important than “telling them about Jesus?

To begin to understand this, we must understand that man has two significant problems in his nature that stand in the way of him ever coming to Christ. Those two things are addressed in the Jeremiah 9:23-24 in the following ways:

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

And:

“let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

The first, which is addressed as glorying in oneself and what one has done, is pride. Pride is devastating to anyone’s ability to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Pride is what destroyed Lucifer and caused his fall. Pride will cause the LORD to turn away from an individual and never offer them salvation. This the Scripture also confirms:

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)

And again:

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)

And yet again:

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (I Peter 5:5)

Hence, one of the most important messages that we, as individuals, must understand, is the fact that the LORD will not regard us, nor hear us if we are bound up in pride. Pride is insidious and perverse and will cause us even to be proud of being “humble” and “spiritual.” We must truly humble ourselves before we can even consider coming to Christ for salvation.

How critical is this? Consider the following illustration by the Lord Jesus Christ:

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)

The Pharisee demonstrated rank pride, and was rejected. The Pharisee believed he was justified before the LORD because of what he did. Consequently he was deceived of himself, by his own heart. Because the Pharisee did not know and understand the LORD God, he failed to realize that the LORD God had rejected him — all because of his pride. The publican on the other hand, knew he had no place to stand, and in all contriteness, humility and sincerity of heart, pleaded for mercy. To the publican, the LORD God looked, regarded, and accepted. This is because the publican did not come to the LORD demanding to be accepted. Neither came he expecting that the LORD should accept him. Rather, he came knowing that he was not qualified to even ask of the LORD anything, but placing his trust in the LORD’s mercy and grace, knowing the LORD God to be a merciful and just Lord and God.

In this, the knowledge of Jonah is illustrative:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. (Jonah 4:1-2)

This leads us into the second trait of man’s nature, which is intertwined with a very critical issue: The ability to trust and have that trust based on sure knowledge, rather than ignorant superstition. If we recall the Pharisee in the illustration from Luke, he thought he knew God, and was accepted of the LORD. However, he only thought he knew, but did not actually know the truth of the LORD God. Hence, for lack of knowledge and understanding, he trusted in error, and it failed him. In sum, he believed, but did so as he was ignorant of reality, not realizing his ignorance. This in not an uncommon problem. Most fail in understanding Who the LORD God is, and what He will accept and what He will reject. It is plain the LORD rejects superstition, which is the believing of something in ignorance or without concrete evidence in fact.

This failing of man, the apostle Paul addressed when he spoke in Athens at Mars Hill:

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (Acts 17:16-23)

Though Paul had preached the gospel to many in Athens, it bore little fruit as it seemed to the Athenians to be just another god, somewhat different from the gods they already had. But having no understanding or knowledge of what the God Paul preached was about, they were unable to come to any conclusion, and hence brought Paul to a place where they could hear more. Thus, the problem they had, Paul addressed directly on Mars Hill — declaring unto them that they worshiped without knowledge and understanding. They worshiped a God which they, in their present state, could not perceive. Having no real perception of Him, it was impossible for them to understand Who He was, and what He was about. Hence, the apostle Paul set about rectify that shortcoming by declaring the LORD God, and Who He is to the Athenians. The end he sought to achieve was their coming to the knowledge of the truth, and subsequent trusting of the LORD in truth, and not in ignorance and superstition.

This is exactly what the LORD requires, as the Scripture makes it very plain and clear:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

It is manifestly impossible to worship in truth, if you have no idea, no concrete proof of whether or not you actually know the truth. If you are only guessing, then you do not have the truth. If you actually do not know and understand the LORD God, you are only guessing. I am sorry. That is an unacceptable basis for coming to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

This, the Lord Jesus Christ made quite plain to the woman at the well in Sychar: That you must come in spirit and in truth:

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

We should note that the Lord Jesus tells the woman plainly and clearly what is required BEFORE she asked for it, not after. The Lord Jesus told the woman:

  • if you know what the gift of God is
  • and you know who is offering it

… then you will ask, and He will give.

Which brings us to the issue of trust.
It is the inherent tendency of every person to trust themselves before they will trust anyone else. In fact, we learn at an early age to not depend upon someone we do not know and do not trust. Hence, to place our eternal destiny in the hands of someone of whom we know little to nothing, is ignorance and foolishness. If we are honest with ourselves at all, we will admit that we have difficulty trusting even those we do know. How then can we trust someone we cannot see, and have never met, and do not know?

The short answer is: We don’t.

However much outwardly we may say differently to placate those around us and not hurt their feelings, we reserve judgment and withhold trust.  Since no one can see our heart, we “get away with it” and no one is the wiser. However, the LORD God knows different:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

Hence, we will not fool the LORD God. If we choose to believe, deciding to “trust,” yet not fully, we are reserving part of ourselves from the LORD and not allowing Him liberty in our hearts. To do so, is to say that we hold the LORD no differently than anyone else. This the LORD God will not abide, and will reject as it is inasmuch to say that He is not totally and completely worthy of our trust. In short, it is an insult and an offense. Additionally, if we do choose to trust in ignorance, thinking it is the Lord Jesus we are trusting in, what is to insure that it is actually the Lord Jesus Christ in whom we are trusting? After all, the Scripture is express that Satan has insured there is a false Christ, a false gospel, and a false spirit that he uses to snare men with.

This also the Scripture advises us of:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Corinthians 11:3-4)

And again:

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:12-15)

There is but one way to prevent such deception from occurring:

To learn, from the Scripture, the person of the LORD God — before you decide to “trust and believe.”

This is not to learn about Him — that is, His attributes; but through seeing how He deals with individuals and nations, we learn His character, His nature, His Person — those things which are essential for trust. This we find throughout the entirety of the Old Testament. It is to see in the Gospels, how the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the “fullness of the Godhead bodily,” dealt with individuals from all social and economic strata, and from all walks of life, and perceive how His Person is. Then, and only then, can one trust truly and completely.

Can this be done by one who is lost, and not saved — not born again?

Absolutely. However, it does require the instrument of faith, which the LORD has promised to grant to anyone who will truly hear His word. Faith is not something one generates within themselves so that they may “believe.” Rather, faith is an “it,” an instrument well able to reveal the truth and make the Person of the LORD God perceivable and understandable. In many ways it is no different that any other instrument of perception, such as a telescope, binoculars or radar. Those instruments enable us to perceive physical things beyond normal vision. In like manner, faith enables us to perceive spiritually, that is, in the spiritual.

However, the attainment of faith does not come simply because one demands or expects it. Rather, it comes as a result of being granted it by the LORD God upon hearing of His word. This “hearing” does not mean that the sound fell upon the ear, or that one merely listened and it went in one ear and out the other. Rather, it is that one heard, and considered in the heart, the word of God, the Scripture. Upon this hearing, that instrument whereby anyone can clearly and accurately perceive the truth of things, which is faith, is granted:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

But be forewarned, lest we think faith not really necessary or essential to knowing  and understanding the LORD God:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Hence, it cannot be that false faith which one gins up within themselves, making themselves see something which they do not actually see. It is not the “faith” which is born of pride that states “If others are able to perceive and know, I can to.” No. It is that faith which allows one to perceive, and reveals in surety of knowledge and understanding:

“This is the truth. I actually see this truth.”

It is very much like getting proper eyeglasses to see with when your vision is bad. That is why the Lord in the Book of Revelation, calls it “eyesalve.”

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:17-18)

This now brings us right back to the question:

How then can we trust someone we cannot see, and have never met, and do not know?

The answer is obvious and really doesn’t need to be repeated. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus Christ gave the commission to the apostles, He stated it thus:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Teach — Teach them Who the LORD God is, and what He has done for them in and through Jesus Christ. Teach them to the point where they can know Him and trust Him in truth and honesty. That point is different for every person, including some who will never come to the point of being able to trust. For them, there is no hope. Nonetheless, those who are in covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ are duty bound to teach all who will receive it. Baptize — Upon belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and desire to follow Him as His disciple. Teach — The doctrines of the LORD God so that they may grow in grace and be conformed to the image of Christ in all they are and do, to the end that they also may be able to teach others.

Unfortunately, one of greatest barriers to someone coming to the LORD actually comes from a number of those who profess Christ. They will tell you that you cannot understand the LORD God. After all, they reason that the LORD is infinite and we are finite — we cannot possibly understand Him. However, the LORD states differently:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)

Thus it is obvious that when the LORD says that we can understand Him, and someone else tells us we cannot, the LORD’s argument wins every time. Quite obviously, those who would contend the point do not know and understand the LORD God. But their lack of understanding should not be allowed to preclude anyone else from knowing and understanding Him.

Hence, the most important thing that I can say to someone from the Scripture, if I only have one thing I can say, and that limited, is this:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Come, put away your pride, humble yourselves and learn of LORD God. It will lead you to Christ, and you will find rest for your soul.

Share

Printing Materials

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Our Lord is a Lord of words. This is plainly evident from the Scriptures, as the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. As we read in John, chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

And again in Revelation, chapter 19:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)

And in I John, chapter 5:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (I John 5:7)

Thus we find that the person who is the fulness of the Godhead bodily, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Word that expresses the nature, will and intent of God to man. This alone is enough for us to declare that the LORD God is a Lord that communicates primarily through words. However, the Lord has gone further in demonstrating that he is a Lord of words, and specifically the written word. Throughout the Scriptures we find that the LORD God has books that He keeps of our lives, and a book that records the names of all those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. In the Old Testament, during the time of the Exodus, Moses spoke to the Lord about the Book of Life in which are written the names of all those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation.

And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Exodus 32:31-33)

In Psalms we find a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ when He suffered on the cross for our sin. In this testimony from the 69th Psalm, the Lord condemns those who take the opportunity of His suffering to add to His grief.

For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. (Psalm 69:26-29)

And finally, the most recognized Scripture concerning the books of God is in Revelation, chapter 20:

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-12)

So then, as you read this, books are being written and records kept in heaven concerning the life of every individual on the face of the earth. To the LORD God, the written word is of paramount importance for communicating to man, and for the keeping of records. Indeed, it is a shock for some to realize that the LORD God has elevated Scripture, which is the word of God, above all His holy name.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

It is clear that the LORD God created the written word for the keeping of records in that we find the Lord caused the lists of the genealogies to be kept as a record for all to see. Undeniably, lists of genealogies must be written records as there is no other way in which accurate records can be kept. It should not be necessary to cite Scripture, as the lists of genealogies in Numbers, Matthew, Luke and other places in Scripture are plain to see.

Finally, the Scripture itself declares that the LORD God is a Lord of words, particularly the written word.

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. (Isaiah 30:8-11)

And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. (Exodus 17:14)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. (Jeremiah 30:1-2)

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:34-36)

Considering all these things, we should count it a blessing that the LORD God has given us a written language with which we can communicate thoughts, ideas, facts, events, and most importantly, the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Even in this day and time, there are ethnic groups in this world that do not have a written language. As a result, those groups are held back from any advancement in their society, and from the things that would make life easier in this world. However, the most detrimental effect of not having a written language is that there is no way that an individual in that culture can sit down with the pure word of God and read for themselves what the LORD requires of them. Instead, they must depend upon someone else to tell them what the LORD requires of them, and still they have no way of checking the accuracy of what they are told. As a result, any true advancement of their society cannot take place and they are held in darkness.

The evidence for the above statements cannot be hid: history plainly shows what caused the Dark Ages. It is imperative for us to note that Western culture and society did not advance so long as the written word of God was withheld from the people at large. Because of the power of the Catholic Church, they were able to forbid individuals from possessing or reading the Scripture under pain of death. The vast majority of people in Europe at that time had no idea of what the LORD God required of them, and any information they received concerning that came from the Catholic Church predigested and stripped of any real meaning. Thus, they were unable on their own to come to any real understanding of what salvation is, and how one is reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, the LORD God could not bestow any blessings upon them as individuals, or as a society.

This is not to say that preachers are not needed, rather, it is to say that once the preacher is done preaching, and hearts are stirred, those individuals who received the word of God can then take the Scripture and verify what the preacher said, and see how the LORD God sent the preacher to them so that they too can be reconciled to God though Christ. In all this, the LORD can continue to work in their hearts long after the missionary or evangelist has left. Even if someone initially refuses to hear the preacher, they are quite likely to take a tract, a pamphlet, a Bible study or even the Bible itself and in some private place read it when they think they are all alone. And, since the LORD is ever seeking for those who are lost to be saved, the LORD will, if the person is at all willing, begin to work in that individual’s heart to draw that person to Christ. In this way, even though the preacher is long gone, the individual who initially refused to listen is being preached to from the word of God. If, however, they have no written language, no written word, then once the preacher leaves, the LORD can only use what they really listened to and retained. Moreover, they have no way of increasing their understanding of what God is requiring of them until the preacher returns. Thus they are vulnerable to the Devil who delights in keeping them in darkness.

So then, should we take it for granted that we have a written language, and the written word of God which is the Scripture? Absolutely not. Instead, we ought to be the more diligent in publishing the Scripture particularly, and booklets, tracts and studies that are thoroughly grounded and built upon the sound doctrine of the Scripture. After all, it is those who were called Anabaptist and Baptist, and who held Baptist doctrine that were also named the people of the Book. Even so, it should be the case with Baptists today, particularly fundamental, Bible-believing Baptists.

Thus, with all that has been said thus far, as a fundamental, unaffiliated Baptist, I encourage you to avail yourself of the materials offered. It is my intention that they be edifying and challenging, and a cause for growth in Christ. It is also my desire that they assist you in gaining a better understanding of who the LORD God is, and what the LORD God is doing in your life and in this world.

With that thought, I leave you with a word from the Scripture, which is the rule for everything I write, and have perceived from the Word of God.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)

And again:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (I Peter 1:19-21)

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis



Note to those downloading PDF files

All links to materials on this page are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file format.

The printed materials on this page are currently offered in Adobe Acrobat with two different layout formats:

8.5 x 11 in. for notebook binders

11 x 8.5 booklet format in print layout for printing booklets

The reason for this is the cost of shipping printed materials. It is immensely expensive to ship pallets of printed material around this country and overseas. Generally speaking, it is more efficient and less expensive to train a missionary or pastor to operate a small print shop using digital duplicators to produce their own materials. What is provided here are the master copies in booklet layout and binder format. The documents are password protected to prevent unauthorized alteration.

If there is a need for a different format using different software, please contact me by E-Mail and we can discuss your needs. I have the two predominant word processors and Adobe Pagemaker for doing desktop layout for publishing.

Please feel free to download whatever materials you wish to use in your ministry.


Booklets

Studies

Tracts

E-Books

The Impossible Command
Booklet layout for printing
The House of Witness
8.5 x 11 layout for Binder
The Impossible Command
5.5 x 8 booklet
The Impossible Command cover
Booklet cover for printing
What Kind of War
8.5 x 11 layout for Binder

Handouts

The Election of Grace
Share

Audio – Lessons and Preaching

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The Value of Preaching

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

It is interesting that the LORD God chose a method of delivering His message to man that the world considers foolishness. After all, aren’t there more effective ways of getting the message across? Surely dramas, movies, and songs all are more effective at influencing people to believe in something?

Well, that depends upon what you are trying to achieve. More importantly, it depends upon what you can perceive about a person, versus what LORD God actually knows about man, and particularly about a specific person. Fundamentally, the method used to reach and influence people does depend upon what you can perceive about them, and their true motivations. In this regard, man is at a significant disadvantage, versus the LORD. The LORD made this very plain to the prophet Samuel, when Samuel went to anoint a king to replace Saul.

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:6-7)

By the above, it is quite plain that Samuel misjudged what the LORD was looking for. After all, Eliab apparently was quite a handsome fellow, and strongly built. However, the LORD was looking for something entirely different — the composition (if you will) of the heart. Now, in all fairness to the prophet Samuel, he made the very same mistake that we all make: we see the outward appearance and behavior, and have no ability to evaluate the heart of another individual. In fact, we have no ability to evaluate our own heart, as it is deceitful.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

However, the LORD God does have the ability to evaluate our hearts, and does so continually:

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)

So it is that fundamentally, what we see and evaluate about a person is not at all what the LORD God sees and evaluates. This is what drives the divergence in thinking about what the messages ought to be, and how they ought to be delivered. Where we would choose a dramatic, eye-catching presentation that would pull and tug on the emotions, the LORD chooses the plain preaching of His word.

The difference lies in the ability to actually penetrate into the heart, and there accomplish the work the LORD intends for it. On the other hand, when individuals are emotionally swayed by a dramatic and moving presentation, it does not penetrate the heart, and does not accomplish any long term purpose. Worse yet, many people realize when their emotions are being manipulated and reject everything associated with the message that attempted to sway them.

The LORD God is not interested in manipulating the emotions of His creatures. Rather, His interest is in imparting to them knowledge and understanding of things spiritual. To accomplish this end, He promised to grant the instrument of faith to anyone who hears His word preached and truly considers it. Why? So He can reason with that person concerning who they are, who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and why that person must partake of the salvation offered through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. The LORD is very express about this, as He made clear to both the children of Israel and the woman at the well in Sychar.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

With that, allow the plain preaching of the word of God to work in your heart. I pray you are blessed by it, and it accomplishes the purpose the LORD God has for it.

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

 

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

 


Note: All files are mp3 format. Also note that message and lesson length varies greatly, depending upon the service and the lesson or message.


Lessons Messages
What Kind of War, Part 1 This is the first part of a series on the nature of  the Spiritual War we are all engaged in. Unacknowledged Sins This addresses the sins no Christian really wants to talk about — those sins of the flesh that involve anger, envy, hatred and other forms of maliciousness we like to cover up and pretend we don’t have, but are nonetheless there.
The Problems of Assuming This lesson addresses the dangers of assuming you know the intent of someone else. As the Scripture plainly demonstrates, we cannot know the heart of another — only the LORD God can know the true intent of someone’s heart. Faith and the Lack Thereof This message is about how tenuous our usage of the faith we have is. It is very easy to be pulled away from what faith shows us, and allow what we see in the physical to overwhelm what we know by faith.
The Fourth Horseman This lesson is from Article 5 of our Statement of Faith and concentrates on the fourth horseman in Revelation, Chapter 6, but touches on the other three horsemen and what they mean, as it is necessary to understanding the Fourth Horseman and the reason Death and Hell exist. The Most Important Relationship The single most important relationship for any person is their relationship to the LORD God, and specifically their relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. Just what is your most important relationship?
The Functioning of the Body: The NT Church – Pt. 1

This lesson can be found on Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons page, or by clicking the link above.

A Means or An End Is the Lord Jesus Christ a means to an end, or is He the end of all things to you? It makes a very great difference how you view the Lord Jesus Christ as to whether your motivation for coming to Christ for salvation is right or not.
The Functioning of the Body: The NT Church – Pt. 2

This lesson can be found on Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons page, or by clicking the link above.

Changing Our Thinking This addresses the spiritual war we are involved in and where is it primarily fought. The message focuses on an area that is frequently ignored in this war, and is crucial to fighting it effectively.
How Did Noah Know? Addresses Noah’s use of faith to perceive the truth of what the LORD God told him about the coming deluge.
Our Motivation Looks at what out real motivation for serving the LORD God is.
A Heart Toward Our Enemies One of the more difficult (and less taught) doctrines of Scripture is the doctrine of loving your enemies. It is not popular, as it flies directly  in the face of what our flesh thinks ought to be. Moreover, for Baptists, the doctrine comes a little too close to the doctrine of pacifism espoused by the Amish and Mennonites. Hence, in all the years I have been in fundamental Baptist churches, I have never heard it preached on or taught. However, if you ask, you will be told “Of course we love our enemies.” but in reality, they stay angry and/or bitter at them almost continually.
Beyond Our Design The Sunday following Jackson’s death, I was moved to bring a lesson on the design of man, and how it is that the likes of Michael Jackson (and many others) violated that design, and it led to their destruction.
The Nature of Christ in the Believer This  addresses the nature of Christ in the believer and how we often ignore what that really means.

Share
Translate »