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Submit, Resist and Draw Nigh

James 4:7-10
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” James 4:10.

What happens when the pangs of personal guilt and shame for committing sin are not enough to lead us to confession? What happens when we do not apologize for wrongdoing in a quick manner but, instead, choose to pretend that we did nothing wrong? Unfortunately, if we do not pay close attention to our hearts and motives, we can easily find ourselves overlooking our own bad behaviors. When that happens, it gets easier and easier to forget our own wrongdoing, and as we get into the habit of ignoring the Holy Spirit’s conviction, our hearts become hardened and our pride swells.
In the church at Corinth, there was a man who was having an adulterous affair with his stepmother (1 Cor. 5). Paul rebuked the church for not reprimanding him and overlooking the obviously illicit relationship. You might think such oversight is uncommon today but look around your own church or family. Is there a common sin in which many people engage, yet, no one talks about? What about gossip, gluttony, envy, strife or consumer excess? You see sometimes we are guilty of walking in pride, pretending nothing is amiss.
What is the answer? James wrote that we should “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep” over our sin (James 4:9). We should allow our hearts to be sensitive to our own wrongdoing, asking God to expose our sins immediately, so that we can immediately confess them to Him. The answer is humility.

Will you weep over your own sin today?

Mark Clements

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There was once a magician on a cruise ship who performed mainly sleight of hand tricks. He had a regular spot on the ship’s cabaret evening entertainment, and he was actually quite good, but his routines were regularly ruined by the onboard parrot that would fly around squawking and giving away his secrets like:
“It’s up his sleeve, it’s up his sleeve!” or “It’s in his pocket, it’s in his pocket!” or “It’s in his mouth, it’s in his mouth!” The magician was getting pretty sick of this and threatened to kill the parrot if it ruined his act one more time. That evening, right at the climax of his act and just as he was about to disappear in a puff of smoke, the ship hit an iceberg and sank in seconds. Amazingly, the magician and the parrot were the only two survivors. The magician was lying on a piece of driftwood in a daze. As he opened his eyes he could see the parrot staring at him out of its beady little eye. The parrot sat there for hours just staring at him and eventually said, “OK, I give up! What did you do with the ship?”
The story, meant to be a joke, is supposed to bring a smile or a chuckle to your normally mundane day.            BUT—when the church begins to disappear, it suddenly becomes very serious and not funny at all. Suppose someone were to ask a congregation, “OK, I give up! What did you do with the church?”
In these days of the church of Laodicea, we hear many answers to that question. Examination of them will help us to see just what HAS happened to the church.
Pastor: Well, it is just hard to get people to commit to God and His church. With all the worldly attractions they just don’t want to follow Christ. They won’t visit, they won’t witness, and they won’t take part in the services or teach classes. The people are killing the church. I can’t do it all, you know.
Deacons and Leaders: The pastor spends too much time in his office when he should be out building the church. He’s just too lazy.
Congregation: Some say the Bible reveals that this is what is going to happen in the last days. We can’t do anything to stop it, so why try? Others say the services are so boring. What is there to get excited about? No one is being saved or joining the church, so why should I bother.
Outsider: They really don’t have a lot for my kids. My kids are easily distracted or bored and the church has no regard for them.
Well, we can easily see what is happening with churches and why they are beginning to disappear. The problem is—ATTITUDE!            “Well, it sure isn’t my fault!”
According to God Himself, each person has a job to do, and he or she must do it to the best of his or her ability. Otherwise the church WILL disappear. SO, let’s take a look.
I Corinthians 7:17 tells us, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk, And so ordain I in all churches.” Later, in verse 20, Paul wrote, “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”
Pastors have a specific job. The apostles described that job in Acts 6:2-4;
“Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
Pastors are to study, pray, and preach the whole counsel of God. Their job is NOT to mow grass, clean buildings, or see to the physical aspects of the grounds. Their purpose is to preach the Word, the whole Word, and nothing but the Word! How many times do pastors get roped into stressful situations that should be handled by deacons or other members of the congregation? For every extra problem that crops up in the church that he is left to handle, that is just more time taken away from his study, prayer, and purpose.
Great! That means the congregation actually has to get up off the pew and do something! This can’t be good. After all, the congregation doesn’t get paid to do this. God forbid that anyone would do something for the Savior who died in their stead without being compensated monetarily. Visitation in the hospital, with the elderly and shut-ins, or to the downtrodden should be put on the shoulders of good members who have loving hearts and willing spirits. Sadly, too many will make no time to do the Lord’s work. Therefore, it falls on the shoulders of the pastor.
The men of the church are to take the lead in the administration of the church. God has plainly stated that women are not to usurp the authority of the men in the church. Therefore, the men must take the leadership role very seriously. After all, it is God’s church, not man’s church, for which we have been given responsibility. God demands our best and the men of the church have the vast responsibility of making sure the inner workings of the church are what God would have them to be. These include finances, maintenance, discipline, exhortation, and instruction. So men, do your duty and lead out. Don’t be afraid of the consequences of making such decisions, and thus allowing them to wind up on the pastor’s already full plate.
Women were, however, very instrumental in Paul’s travels. In Romans 16 he commends Phoebe to the Christians at Rome as a servant (diakonos) of the church at Cenchreae and sends greetings to women who had been of assistance to him. He mentions Priscilla and her husband Aquilla as “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (v. 3), and a certain Mary “who labored much for us” (v.6). And in his letter to the Phillippians he urges the congregation to “help those women who labored with me in the gospel” (4:2). Nor should we forget the many women who ministered to our Lord during His earthly ministry whose names are recorded in the Gospels. Women may, for example, teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School; serve on committees in an advisory capacity; assist the pastor and elders in calling on the sick, shut-ins, and singles; and also assist in works of charity in the church and in the community.
Titus gives instructions to the older ladies of the church in chapter 2, verses 3-5. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Many good churches have died because men and women get their roles reversed. Each has a job, given by God, to do and those jobs must not be interchanged.
Young people, you also have a role in the church. Paul instructed a young man named Timothy regarding how to act in the house of God. I know you are probably saying to yourself, ―Timothy was a preacher. How could Paul’s instructions apply to me?‖ Every member has the task of spreading the Gospel of Christ. See what Titus had to say to the young men of the church. “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:6-10).
The problem isn’t that modern times are wrecking churches; the problem is that modern people are wrecking churches. People aren’t being taught by pastors, either because the pastor isn’t doing his job, or he is being overwhelmed with tasks meant for members of the church. Youth are being inundated with entertainment. Parents are using that entertainment for babysitting purposes while they work and watch TV or do their ―own thing.
If you desire to see your church flourish, you must get involved! There is much work to be done. Tell others about your church, pray for your pastor, teach a class, sing in the choir, help with maintenance on the buildings, and keep the buildings clean. Do this regularly and with a loving heart! Share the work load of a church both spiritually and physically. Teach your children that God loves them and take them to church every time the doors are open. Teach them to get involved. There is infinitely more to a youth ministry than just trips and parties. The main thing is learning God’s Word.
That apathy is rampant in the Lord’s churches should be no surprise. “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3). There is a great falling away from the truth and into ―feel good services. Hell is still real, people still go there regularly, people still need Jesus, and heaven awaits the saved. Satan is real and we are falling into his clutches and traps every day.
Jesus will soon appear in the clouds and all will be well for the saved and the bride of Christ. God’s wrath will be experienced by everyone else. The church is the vessel by which we deliver the message to the world. So, as we see churches dying and shutting their doors, our hearts are saddened and we ask, “OK, what did you do with the church?” The question we each SHOULD be asking is, “OK, what am I doing for my Lord’s church?”           
–Ron Provence, President Oxford Baptist Institute, Sept-Oct, OBI Newsletter

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All most all religions teach that baptism saves, helps to save, or is in some way essential to salvation. This cannot be sustained by the Scriptures. Baptism is NOT essential to salvation.

I. Some Scriptures used to prrove that baptism is essential to salvation.
A. Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Examine the verse: In the previous verse Peter had been asked: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Notice it is not “what shall we do to be saved?” Peter told them what they must do. “Repent” is second person plural. “Every one of you” is first person singular: thus, only those who had repented were instructed to be baptised. “For the remissi9on of sins” refers to those who were to be baptised. This does not indicate that through baptism they would receive remission of sins but that they were to be baptised with reference to remission of sins received through repentance. The Greek word “eis” is the word translated FOR. In this case it means “with reference to.” See Matthew 12:41 where the word is translated “at.” The same word is used in I Corinthians 10:2; “And were all baptised unto (eis) Moses.” Scripture must not be made to contradict scripture.

    B. Romans 6:3; “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into (eis) Jesus Christ were baptised into (eis) his death?”

The teaching is that of being baptised with reference to Jesus and with reference to His death. Surely none believe that a person is literally baptised into His death. The Israelites (I Cor. 10:1) were baptised with reference to Moses and not literally into him.

    C. Galatians 3:27; “For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.”

The same Greek word “eis” is translated “into” and means the same as in the previous verses, “with reference to.” The argument put forth by some is that the phrase “have put on Christ” speaks of a spiritual birth and therefore it means baptised into Christ or baptismal salvation. There is a similar phrase in Romans 13:14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” This is admonition to a people already justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), and a people already baptised (Rom. 6:3,4). They were to put on Christ in their daily walk and daily life. (Rom. 6:11-13), therefore the phrase “put on Christ” does not mean salvation by baptism.

Those addressed in this verse had become children of God by faith (Gal. 3:26). They had put on the livery of a Christian; had dressed up that Christ might be seen in them – that is, in their obedience.

II. If Baptism is essential to salvation then the following is also true.
    A. It would make the preacher the mediator between God and man. There is one mediator (I Tim. 2:5).

    B. It would make it impossible for one to be saved in a hospital, on the battlefield, or any place away from a preacher and water for baptism. No matter how much one might repent, pray, or believe on Jesus, he would be lost forever if he were not baptised.

    C. It would make Paul to leave out something in his address to the Athenians. Acts 17:30; “And the times of this ignorance God winked at but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Why didn’t he add “and be baptised”?

    D. It would make Paul guilty of rejoicing that he had left off an essential part of the salvation of some of the Corinthians. I Corinthians 1:14: “I thank God that I baptised none of you, but Crispus and Gaius.”

    E. If baptism is essential to salvation then salvation must be both by works and by grace.
Baptism is an act or work of righteousness. Matthew 3:15: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”
(See also Titus 3:5; Eph 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6).
The unregenerate man cannot be subject to the law of God, for he is under the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2-8. He must repent and believe in Jesus.

    F. Some object that baptism is an act of faith, therefore acceptable to God though the candidate be unregenerate. If it is an act of faith, who had the faith? If the one being baptised has it before he goes into the water, then he is already saved, before baptism. I John 5:1: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” If the one going into the water does not have faith, then the very act would be sinful. Romans 14:23: “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

This puts the “baptism essential to salvation” advocate in a dilemma. If he baptises one who says he has faith in Christ then he baptises one who is already saved. If he baptises one who says he has no faith in Christ then he baptises one to whom even baptism is a sin.

    G. If baptism is essential to salvation then the following examples are meaningless.

        1. Thief on the cross (Luke 23:42,43). Where is paradise? (II Cor. 12:1-4; Revelation 2:7; I John 5:4).
        2. The publican (Luke 18:14).

III. Scriptures which teach salvation but which make no mention of baptism.

Rom. 1:16,17; 3:21-26; Eph. 2:8-10; Acts 10:43; John 3:14-16; 3:18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40; Acts 13:38,39,48; Rom. 5:1,2; I Cor. 3:8; Gal. 3:26; Phi. 3:9; Rom. 10:4,8,9-11. In all of these passages baptism is omitted. if it were necessary to salvation surely it would have been mentioned.

IV. Baptism’s Message.

    A. Baptism affirms that Jesus died and rose again (Rom. 6:4).
    B. Baptism is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection (I Peter 3:21).
    C. Baptism is a pictorial ordinance (Rom. 6:4-12).
    D. Every Christian ought to submit to scriptural baptism (Matt. 28:19,20).Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,




ACTS 20:21

The word for repentance means, to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling – to repent; to make a change of principle and practice – to reform; a change of mode of thought and feeling – reversal of the past. These are the three senses in which it is used.

John preached no literary review or entertaining message. he did not attempt to appeal to the higher nature in man. Though an unpopular doctrine, repentance and faith are as old as man.

:Just confess Jesus” is the rule of modern evangelism, but such a confession must be the result of a changed mind and feeling toward God, must stem from the heart.

     1. Repentance is taught in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 14:6).
     2. John the Baptist taught repentance (Matt. 3:1).
     3. Jesus taught repentance (Luke 13:3-5; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; 2:17).
     4. The disciples were commanded to preach repentance (Luke 24:47).
     5. The disciples preached repentance (Mark 6:12).
     6. The Apostle Paul preached repentance (Acts 20:21).
     7. God commands all men, everywhere, to repent (Acts 17:30

     1. A knowledge of what sin dies, and of personal guilt (I John 3:4; 5:17).
     2. Personal, self-examination.
a. Sees sin as committed against God (Psalm 51:4).
          b. Hatred for sin generated in the heart (Job 42:6).
          c. Sorrow for sin because it is against God (II Corinthians 7:10).
          d. A purpose or will to sin against God no longer, involves a sense of helplessness to accomplish this purpose by one’s own self.

Bible faith is: trusting, relying, entrusting or committing to the power of another.
     1. There is no merit in faith as such-the merit is in the object of faith.
Example” One might have faith in a ladder, but the ladder breaks. One might have faith in baptism, church membership, dedication in infancy, or in personal virtue, but such faith does not save because the object is wrong.
     2. One must have a belief in God before saving faith in Jesus Christ can come (Hebrews 11:6).
     3. The meaning of faith in Jesus:
a. A reliance upon Him (John 3:16).
          b. A faith from the heart (Romans 10:9,10).
          c. A faith which receives Jesus (John 1:11,12).
          d. A faith which commits to Jesus (II Timothy 1:12).
          e. A faith that will pray to God (Romans 10l:13).

     1. Because none can come to God in any other way (John 14:6).
     2. Because the Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
     3. Jesus is the heart of the Gospel. There is no gospel without Him (I Corinthians 15:1-3

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Preacher’s That Don’t Believe

Baptist Press has published a study by Tufts University about preachers that do not believe what they preach.

The reason for this is the ambiguity of the pluralism that they teach. That pluralism sounds something like this – “God is many different things to different people, and since we can’t know if one of these conceptions is the right one, we should honor them all,”

God can be known! He has given us His Word and told us to read it to know of Him and to know Him. The very idea that God or His doctrine is unknowable or many different things to different people is pure hog wash.

Here is what was found about one Methodist pastor – He no longer believes God exists but his congregation does not know he is an atheist.

A United Church of Christ pastor preaches as if he is a believer because it is the way of life he knows, not because he believes the doctrine.

A Presbyterian remains a pastor because of financial reasons even as he rejects christian tenets.

A Southern Baptist was attracted to Christianity because it is a religion of love and he has since become an atheist.

I, personally, am not surprised about an unconverted ministry in any of these few denominations I have mentioned. When they do not preach the true Biblical plan of salvation few can be converted or experience the New Birth. I am thrilled to death that I am an Old Time Landmark Missionary Baptist where we preach repentance and confession and Grace and Faith.

Preach the truth Brethren.


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