That mankind is made in the image and likeness of his Creator: body, mind, and spirit, has been a major preachment in ministry, both of myself, and of others who were studied, Bible preachers. It was therefore a special joy to me to hear Brother Don McCutcheon deliver a strong message on this point from Matthew 22:15-21. How many times have I read the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, and simply passed on with a visualization of what is right to offer to God from our material blessings. Of course, it is right to do that, but so much more is brought home here, and I feel certain the Pharisees and Herodians got the point.
There, on the coin, the tempters presented to Jesus in their attempt to entangle Him in his talk, was exactly what one might expect: a line-drawing likeness of Caesar with letters above identifying him as the emperor and authority of the Roman empire. The question posed was, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, or not?” In addition to calling them what they were (nothing wrong with that), Jesus asked for a piece of the tribute they were talking about. When a coin was produced, Jesus simply asked whose image and superscription was upon it. When Caesar was so identified, the answer was brilliant and obvious: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s: and unto God the things that are God’s.”
But are not all things God’s? “All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made,” John 1:3 tells us. But this was a pitting of material things vs spiritual things, and the answer of Jesus turned it back on the hypocrites. The producer of the coin was Caesar, and the Roman Empire as attested by the image and superscription. So render such to him. Then what is to be rendered to God? The same thing! That is, render to God the bearer of His image and superscription which is yourself: the crowning act of creation as noted in Genesis 1:26-27: mankind! To be in the image of God necessitates a trinity: mind, body, and spirit. This is what Paul affirmed in I Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every person is to give himself to God! Friends, when that is done, there will be no dilemma or argumentation of what else should be given to God.
Think about it! You are the image and superscription of God! Then, render unto God the things that are God’s!
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.—-
But what I can, I give Him,
Give my heart.”
Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894
once said the more things change, the more they stay the same. It
appears contradictory, nevertheless true. Vaunted progress in most
every field of endeavor characterizes the present time, but the
universal plight, and the persistent actions of men remain unchanged.
Nowadays, good is called evil and evil is called good. Selfishness
largely rules, and the unchanging principles of time and eternity are
pushed aside for what men want right now.
It was to a similar
generation of Jesus’ day that he explained the ministry of John the
Baptist, and the subsequent kingdom of heaven. There were those who
heard him, and they with the publicans justified God being baptized
with the baptism of John. On the other hand, there were many of the
lawyers and Pharisees who rejected the counsel of God against
themselves by rejecting the baptism of John. Luke 7.
to pit the ministry of John against the ministry of Jesus. They
criticized the person of John as aloft, stoic, antisocial because he
was not given to eating bread, nor drinking wine with them. Then they
criticized Jesus because He did those things, calling Him a
gluttonous man, a winebibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners.
In short, nothing could be right in the eyes of these critics but
their own twisted formula of life. How that remains. Times have
changed, but the more they change, the more they stay the same.
summarized the generation of His earthly ministry. “They are like
unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another,
and saying, We have piped unto you and you have not danced; we have
mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. This is an
unchanged status quo, having multiplied exponentially.
not have the qualifications, nor any ability to call upon the
substance or perimeters of eternity. God does! Moreover, the true
churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are in covenant relationship with
Him, so they have been given the knowledge of eternity by the abiding
presence of the Holy Spirit. They have visited that dimension
vicariously, and proven their understanding by the eternal,
unchanging Word. It is they who justify God, not only being baptized
with the baptism of John, but offering the same to such as bring
forth fruit meet for repentance. With them, by God’s grace, I
stand! Trusting one’s pompous, but powerless formulations is silly.
Trusting the eternal creator of the universe is wise.
If there is one thing I have learned about people in my 45 yrs of ministry it is that they all wrestle with the past, try to control the present, and worry about the future. Since I didn’t resign from the human race when I surrendered to the call to preach…I have to deal with the same things every day.
I read something in a book written by J.B. Myer [an author of many years ago] that I try to put into practice every day. “Give your past to the Grace of God, live in the present with Faith In God, and look to the Future with the Hope Of God.”
That’s easy to write; easy to quote; but it is not so easy to do. I am asking God for the strength to apply this to my life today. It is the only way to have peace of mind. I am praying that all those I care about will read this and apply this principle to their life today. Let’s just let go…and let God take over in every part of our life.
MARCH 17 – Consult with the Lord
2 Samuel 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
There are times where we decide compulsively to do something. It sounds great and wonderful and we think surely the Lord will be pleased with what I do for Him. What we need to realize is, God has His plans for us. His plans may not be what we are looking to do for Him.
One of the problems we seem to have is the same problem that David had. He did not consult the Lord about what he wanted to do. I know of a preacher that is pastoring a small struggling church. As I visited with he and his wife, they expressed to me of what their vision encompassed. It was a place of position and notoriety. Instead of slaving away pastoring a small struggling Church a ministry that would be noticed by many people and would be championed by many people. I was perplexed with what they desired to do and wondered if they had consulted with the Lord about their desire. Notice I said their desire. I have no insight about what the Lord wanted them to do. I can see the appeal that their desire had for them.
What is God’s plan for them? This is the question that should be asked. Our friends and loved ones might agree with us but the important agreement is, does the Lord agree with our plans. His thoughts are always higher than our thoughts. His ways are better than our ways. His plans are better than our plans. He can see the end. We sometimes are blind to the will of God because we are blinded by our will.
May we, in our exuberance to serve and minister consult with the Lord what he would have us do and what way He would have us do it.
He was the first of the modern Baptist evangelists
Jacob Knapp, raised in an Episcopalian home, was ordained to the Baptist ministry onAugust 27, 1824. Prior to that he had been educated at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, after being licensed to preach in 1821 by, the Baptist church in Masonville, New York, and graduated on June 1, 1824. Upon graduation he accepted a church in Springfield, NY where he saw 60 people saved and added to the church in 6 years. In 1830 he began a 3 year pastorate in Watertown, NY where revival fires fell, and Knapp baptized nearly 200 converts in 3 years into the membership of the church. A great phenomenon took place in America about this time, as the successful “protracted meetings” of Charles G. Finney, who labored mainly among the Presbyterians, saw his great revivals. There was a concern for a greater thrust in evangelism, and wherever Jacob Knapp went to preach, great results followed. He resigned from Watertown and went into full time evangelism for the next 42 years of his life. He saw his largest audiences in Rochester, NY (1839), N.Y. City (1840), Boston (1841), and Washington D.C. (1843).” In 1840 Knapp moved to Rockford, IL, and labored in the Midwest. In 1867 he went to California and preached among the churches there. Up until modern times, it is quite certain that none equaled him in the number of meetings and the territory covered. It has been estimated that 100,000 were converted through his labors for Christ, and 250 entered the ministry. Knapp died on March 2, 1874. His funeral began at 1 pm the following Lord’s Day and lasted until sunset. Knapp was the first of the modern day Baptist evangelists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 353-354.
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Brief Ministry in Violent Times
Daniel Fristoe was one of a number of effective preachers who were called under the preaching of David Thomas. He was a product of the ministry of the Chappawamsick Church around which swirled controversy and violence from certain citizens in Stafford and Prince William Counties, Virginia.
On June 14, 1771 Fristoe was ordained to the regular work of the ministry, one day after John young was haled into court in Caroline County for preaching without a license. According to Fristoe’s diary, the day following his ordination he met with the brethren in Fauquier County where they examined some candidates for baptism. 16 persons were adjudged proper subjects for baptism. The next day being Sunday about two thousand people came together. After the preaching, thirteen others were examined and deemed worthy of baptism. Fristoe baptized twenty-nine people before this great multitude.
While in Philadelphia as a messenger Fristoe was seized with the smallpox, from which he never recovered. He died far from home in the thirty-fifth year of his life.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History. Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) p. 244.
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“Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come,” Psalm 71:18.
Ah, retirement: one thinks of sunny skies, warm weather, golf courses, cruises, life in the smooth lane. You have prepared and saved for it so why not enjoy the remaining years traveling, relaxing and enjoying life? Why? It is because there remains much work to do for the Lord.
Retirement can be a time of great accomplishment for the Lord’s work by using your job or hobby skills for Him. After retirement one is not bound by the workweek schedule and the time clock. This freedom can be used in many different ways for the Lord. Traveling to a mission field and being a substitute grandparent for a missionary family can be a wonderful blessing. Using your skills to do home or automotive repairs can help a tight mission budget.
If travel is not in your plans, but you have teaching skills that you can use, why not use them as a ministry in your church? Organizing and teaching cooking/baking, sewing, budgeting or other life skills to interested youth or adults in fellowship/family life hall can demonstrate the love of Christ. Do not be shy, speak with your pastor and church and get going using your talents for the Lord. Share what you know and be a blessing.
Retirement does not have to be a lonely time filled with doctor’s visits and concern over our latest ailment; it can be fulfilling and a blessing to share yourself with others.
The Separation was amiable
1867 – Brother Billy Hariss, colored, was ordained into the gospel ministry according to the minutes of The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee, Georgia. This is but a small example of the relationship between the races during the early development of our nation, both before and after the Civil War. Dr. John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, R.I. in 1639, and “Jack”, America’s first black Baptist was baptized in 1652 and added to the membership of the church, being a “free man.” However, many among the slave population in the South came to know Christ and outnumbered whites in the membership of Baptist churches 6-to-one in ratio. The First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA elected Black deacons to watch over free and slave Negro members. They also licensed certain colored men to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public.” At least fifteen years prior to Carey ‘s sailing for India, George Lisle, the first Black ordained Black Baptist in America, went to Jamaica as a missionary. Lott Carey, a member of First Baptist of Richmond purchased his freedom for $850 in 1813 and with Colin Teague, sailed in 1821 for Liberia and established the first Baptist church in Monrovia. Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Marshall, pastor at Kiokee, ordained Andrew Bryan in Savannah. It was also prior to the Civil War that John Jasper was saved and sent by his “master” to preach the gospel. After the war the blacks desired their own places of worship and the white churches either gave them the old church and built new ones or helped the blacks build new ones. The separation was amiable.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 161.
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He majored on the majors
1806 – Samuel L. Straughan was ordained to the gospel ministry. Born on a farm in Virginia in 1783 he became one of the great Baptist leaders of his time. He received Christ as his savior at nineteen; and even as a child he had shown much interest in religion, even to the point that his father had called him, his little preacher. He was baptized in April of 1803, and shortly after that he began to preach. On the day that he was ordained he received a unanimous call from the Wicomico Baptist Church, a flock of around two dozen. They soon increased to over three-hundred members. The next year he was called to the Morattico Baptist Church and they also experienced rapid growth as he assumed the responsibility of both congregations. In 1814 the Missionary Society appointed Straughan to travel into Maryland to preach the gospel, but before he accepted the call, the churches spent a day in fasting and prayer so as to know the mind of God in the matter. He saw great success as he continued in his pastoral and evangelistic ministry at the same time. Without the benefit of a formal education he committed great portions of the scripture to memory. Sometimes he would quote as many as one-hundred passages in a sermon and often the audience would enjoy counting the verses as he preached. He spoke extemporaneously in a rich sonorous voice, and majored on the atonement of Christ. Straughan contracted a pulmonary disease that brought about his untimely death at only thirty-eight on June 9, 1821. But in this short review, not to discount the importance of formal ministerial training, we need to see that there are things that are for more important that great leaders have exhibited, such as magnifying the Word of God and being filled with the Holy Ghost.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 113.
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Welch Baptists influence America
1711 – WELSH BAPTISTS CAME TO AMERICA TO ESCAPE PERSECUTION WERE PERSECUTED BY PLYMOUTH COLONY – On February 14, 1711, Abel Morgan arrived in America and began his ministry on Dec. 16, 1722. Morgan was one of the Welsh Baptist preachers known for their powerful declaration of truth. Preaching was preeminent among them and doubtless laid the foundation for the Welsh revival. There is much evidence that Baptist principles were known in Wales at a very early period. The Welsh Baptists also influenced the Baptist effort in our nation. In 1663 an immigrant church, led by Pastor John Miles, which was organized in Wales in 1649, came to this country in a body and settled on a land grant near the Rhode Island frontier. However Pastor Miles and his flock having fled persecution in Europe was to meet it again at the hands of the Plymouth Court. But later Abel Morgan felt led of God to leave Wales for America and on Aug. 23 the church at Blaenaugwent held a special service of honor which had served them for 15 years, and with broken hearts said their farewells. The Morgans went to Bristol and on Sept. 28 they sailed to America but the winds were contrary and the ship had to turn into a haven and was detained for 3 weeks. Then because of high winds they were driven to Cork and were delayed an additional 5 weeks due to the illness of many passengers. On Nov. 14 they were able to sail again when on Dec. 14 Morgan’s son died, and 3 days later the Lord took his wife and both had to be buried at sea. When he arrived he began his ministry in Pennepeck near Philadelphia, and labored there for 11 years until his death on Dec. 16, 1722.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 61.
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