FamilyNet Top Sites
Ekklesia Helping you get your dreams online!
Belleville Illinois (IL)
Pennington Gap, Virginia
Pennington Gap, Virginia
Princeton (Reedsville) West Virginia
Temple Baptist Church - 4-19-20202 Timothy 3:10-12Introduction:¬ A.¬ I have said many times in the past¬ that I thank god every day for America.¬ We, as God's children and an independent Baptist church, have always had freedom to assemble and worship God without fear of reprisal.¬ America was founded by people fleeing other countries and continents in search of religious freedom and found it here!B.¬ Over the past 2-3 months, America got a taste of religious persecution¬ because of the ‚ÄúCOVID-19 Crisis.‚ÄĚ¬ Churches were forced to close their doors to public worship services and those who dared to keep the church doors open were arrested, fined, or threatened with quarantine.¬ For the first time in my 71 years, I have now seen the persecution of those who would dare to biblically assemble for worship.¬ What a sad day in American history!1.¬ America got a taste of religious persecution¬ this past month or so because of the ‚ÄúCOVID-19 Crisis.‚ÄĚ¬ Churches were asked not to assemble and, in many places, forced to close with many who attended church services arrested, fined, or threatened with quarantine.¬ ‚ÄúSnitch Lines‚ÄĚ were established in many places so that neighbors or people driving by could report anyone breaking the ‚Äúlaw‚ÄĚ of ‚Äúthree are gathered together.‚ÄĚ2.¬ The government, for the most part,¬ deeming the assembly of the local church as non-essential and therefore attempting to ban its public assembly.¬ Walmart was labeled essential, grocery stores were essential, fast food restaurants were essential, hardware stores were essential, liquor stores were essential, abortion ‚Äúbaby killing mills‚ÄĚ were essential, and the list could go on, but God's House was labeled as non-essential.a)¬ So many churches acquiesced¬ to the demands of government from day one because of mis-information campaigns and fear of reprisal!b)¬ I have heard some quote¬ these verses of Scripture concerning obedience to government.1 Peter 2:13-15¬ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; ¬ (14)¬ Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. ¬ (15)¬ For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:c)¬ God's people are to obey every ordinances of man¬ until such ordinances contradict the ordinances of God!¬ 1)¬ In Acts 5:41-42, we see their disobedience to the demands of government.¬ Acts 5:41-42¬ ¬ And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. ¬ (42)¬ And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.2)¬ In Acts 5:29,¬ we find their obedience to God when man's laws are contradictory to God's laws.Acts 5:29¬ Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.d)¬ The government's ‚Äúshut down‚ÄĚ¬ of the assembly of the local churches is contradictory to God's command of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.Hebrews 10:25¬ Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching!‚ÄĚ¬ e)¬ The government's ‚Äúshut down‚ÄĚ¬ of the assembly of the local churches is also contrary to the First Amendment!First Amendment:¬ ¬ ‚ÄúCongress shall make¬ no law¬ respecting an¬ establishment¬ of religion, or¬ prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.‚ÄĚ¬ f)¬ I am not ‚Äúknocking‚ÄĚ churches¬ that have called off their assembly as that is between them and God, but nothing can replace the assembly of the saints.¬ What local churches do is up to them and none of my business.¬ I am preaching to Temple Baptist Church this morning!¬ We have chosen to assemble.‚ÄúThe difference between listening to a radio sermon and going to church‚Ä¶is almost like the difference between calling your girl on the phone and spending an evening with her.‚ÄĚ ~ Anonymous¬ g) Live Video is good but not the assembly of the local church!¬ I thank God for the ability to put our services online, but many older people do not have computers or Facebook, etc., therefore they are left out.¬ There is no fellowship of the saints of exhorting one another.h) Parking Lot Services with people sitting in automobiles are good but not the biblical assembly of the local church!¬ The new phrase we hear is ‚Äúsocial distancing.‚ÄĚ¬ This phrase comprises an oxymoron.¬ An¬ oxymoron¬ is a word or group of words that is self-contradicting.¬ Social is the interaction of people while distancing is isolation from people.Social - adjective:¬ description;¬ relating to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations;¬ a social club;¬ ¬ seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious; of, relating to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society;¬ a social event;¬ living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation:Distancing - verb (used with object),¬ action;¬ distanced,¬ distancing; to¬ leave behind at a distance, as at a race; surpass; to place at a distance.i)¬ Thus, separation of church and state¬ was breached and will eventually finds itself standing on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States for adjudication.¬ j)¬ I am glad that Moses' parents¬ chose to disobey man's law by hiding him; I am glad that the three Hebrew children chose to disobey man's law and it costs them a fiery furnace; I am glad that Daniel chose to disobey man's law, opened his windows publicly and prayed 3 times a day as before, ending up in a lion's den; I am glad that the Old Testament prophets chose to disobey, went to prison and died because they chose God's law over man's law; I am glad that the New Testament Apostles and saints chose to be imprisoned with many died for the same reason.¬ ¬ Read chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews!Revelation 1:9¬ I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos,¬ for the word of God, and¬ for the testimony of Jesus Christ.C.¬ I believe that we have seen the beginning¬ as other ‚ÄúCrises‚ÄĚ will appear in the future.¬ Persecution for righteousness sake has always been a way of life to those who would dare to live godly in Christ Jesus while honoring the Word of God.¬ This continues to be the problem and the persecution righteous people continues to this day.¬ God's people need to understand why they are being persecuted and how to react to it.¬ 1.¬ Why Are God's People So Persecuted?a.¬ God's People Are Persecuted Because The World Hated Christ!¬ ¬ John 15:18¬ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before¬ it hated¬ you.b.¬ God's People Are Persecuted Because Are God's Children!¬ Matthew 10:22¬ And ye shall be hated of all¬ men¬ for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.¬ c.¬ God's People Are Persecuted Because They Live Godly!¬ 2 Timothy 3:12¬ Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.2.¬ Who Are Those Who So Greatly Persecute God's People?a.¬ God's People Are¬ Now¬ Persecuted By Government ‚Äď¬ Acts 5:40-42¬ And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. ¬ (41)¬ And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. ¬ (42)¬ And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.b.¬ God's People Are Persecuted By Family - Matthew 10:32-39¬ Whosoever therefore¬ shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.¬ But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.¬ Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.¬ For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.¬ ¬ And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.¬ ¬ He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.¬ And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.¬ He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.c.¬ God's People Are Persecuted By Former Friends - Psalms 41:9¬ Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up¬ his¬ heel against me.¬ Psalms 55:12-14¬ For¬ it was¬ not an enemy¬ that¬ reproached me; then I could have borne¬ it: neither¬ was it¬ he that hated me¬ that¬ did magnify¬ himself¬ against me; then I would have hid myself from him:¬ But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.¬ We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.Psalms 55:20-21¬ He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.¬ ¬ The words¬ of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war¬ was¬ in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet¬ were¬ they drawn swords.Job 19:19¬ All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.Jeremiah 20:10¬ For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report,¬ say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting,¬ saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.d.¬ God's People Are Persecuted By The Religious Lost -¬ Acts 9:1-2¬ And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, ¬ (2)¬ And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.(They hate you because salvation exposes religion for what it is!)Galatians 4:29¬ But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him¬ that was born¬ after the Spirit, even so¬ it is¬ now.Acts 9:1-2¬ And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,¬ And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.Matthew 23:34¬ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and¬ some¬ of them ye shall kill and crucify; and¬ some¬ of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute¬ them¬ from city to city:1 Thessalonians 2:15¬ Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:Galatians 5:11¬ And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.Galatians 6:12¬ As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.e.¬ God's People Are Persecuted By The Liberal Left - Jeremiah 6:15-16¬ Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time¬ that¬ I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.¬ Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where¬ is¬ the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk¬ therein.¬ ¬ (It is interesting that liberalism is not found in the Bible.¬ There is a difference between ignorance and liberalism!¬ Ignorance means that someone has not been taught.¬ ‚ÄúEveryone is ignorant, just in different areas!‚ÄĚ¬ God equates liberalism with being lost!)Ezekiel 22:23-26¬ And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,¬ Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.¬ There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.¬ Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.3.¬ How Are God's People To React To Persecution?a.¬ Learn To Bear The Cross Of Christ - Luke 14:26-27¬ If any¬ man¬ come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.¬ And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.¬ (Cross ‚Äď to establish, to stand, to set in place; an instrument of death; an instrument of prominent reproach)Hebrews 13:12-13¬ Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.¬ Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.1 Corinthians 4:12¬ And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:1 Corinthians 4:12¬ And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:b.¬ ¬ Learn To Love Your Enemies - Matthew 5:44¬ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;¬ (They are simply lost and we should have a burden for their eternal souls.)Romans 12:20¬ Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.c.¬ Learn That Persecution Is For Christ's Sake - Luke 6:22¬ Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.¬ ¬ (They hate Who and what you stand for and not who you are.)d.¬ Learn That Christ Will Abide With You And Help You - 2 Corinthians 4:8-11¬ ¬ We are¬ troubled on every side, yet not distressed;¬ we are¬ perplexed, but not in despair;¬ Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;¬ Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.¬ For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.¬ ¬ (The Lord will stand with and for you ‚Äď 3 Hebrew children, Daniel, Peter, Paul, etc.)2 Timothy 4:17¬ Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and¬ that¬ all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.Hebrews 13:5¬ ¬ Let your¬ conversation¬ be¬ without covetousness;¬ and be¬ content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.e.¬ Learn That The Lord Will Bless You For Suffering For And With Him - Romans 8:17¬ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint‚Äďheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with¬ him, that we may be also glorified together.¬ ¬ (It lets you know what side you are on and lets them know what side they are on.)Matthew 5:10-12¬ Blessed¬ are¬ they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when¬ men¬ shall revile you, and persecute¬ you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.¬ Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great¬ is¬ your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.f.¬ Learn To Rejoice And Give Thanks For All Things - 1 Peter 4:14¬ ¬ If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy¬ are ye;¬ for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.¬ ¬ (This means that you are just like Him.¬ Glory to God!)2 Corinthians 7:4¬ Great¬ is¬ my boldness of speech toward you, great¬ is¬ my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
4 Keys to Raising Support Deputation looks more difficult than it really is. That is not to minimize the very real challenges. There is a price to pay for this method of raising missionary support‚ÄĒpaid with time, finances, physical and emotional drain. But the dividends are great.The missionary on deputation should attempt to be in a minimum of two churches every week and to attend no less than three services per week. While you should attend church services three times a week, your goal is to have prearranged meetings where the pastor will allow you to present your burden for the field.How can you set up those meetings with the many churches you will need for support? Here are four simple steps for arranging meetings and getting on the field.1. Send a Letter of IntroductionIf you are just getting started as an unknown missionary, your sending pastor should send out a letter of introduction on your behalf. It is important for you to realize that your sending pastor is not responsible for raising your support. It is not his job to get on the phone and secure your meetings, and it is wrong for you to expect him to do so. It is not unreasonable to ask him to send out a letter of recommendation as your sending pastor. This letter should go out to all of the churches in the geographical area in which you hope to raise your support. Obviously, it is preferable to raise your support within one or two regions of the country. This will make the most of your travel time and budget, and it will also serve to help in reporting back to your supporting churches when you return from the field on furlough.2. Follow Up with Personal Phone CallsOnce the letter has been sent, it is imperative that you follow up each letter with a personal call. Most pastors are not going to call you to invite you to speak. This is not due to their lack of concern, but to their busy schedules and the assumption that you will call them. Add to this the fact that you are not the only one calling, and you will realize that you must take the initiative to generate the contact. This will be your first chance to prove the sincerity and intensity of your burden. You will have to make many calls to keep your schedule full, and many smaller churches do not have staff to answer phones. Be prepared to be diligent. You must not allow discouragement to keep you from staying on the phone to book future meetings.When you do contact a church, ask to speak to the pastor. Be honest about who you are and the nature of your call. Do not deceive the receptionist by being deliberately vague. It may mean that occasionally a receptionist will cut you off and tell you that the church is not taking on any more missionaries at the present, but it is not your place to lie about why you are calling in hopes of being able to pressure the pastor into a meeting. I agree that a receptionist should not tell you that your ministry will not be considered, but it is going to happen. Just accept this fact and predetermine ahead of time not to get upset about it.Once you get through to the pastor, tell him who you are, what church you are from, and ask him if it would be possible to come by and present your burden for the foreign field. If he is not able to have you at that time, be polite and understanding. Remember that the whole world does not revolve around you and your calling. God already has the churches He knows will partner with you, and your job is to stay on the phone until you find them.3. Make Calls from Church DirectoriesIt is probably not possible or desirable to raise your support strictly from the churches contacted by your pastor. God probably has a wider circle of influence for you than you could possibly imagine. There are churches that need you just as much as you need them! You are not a beggar; you are an ambassador, according to 2 Corinthians 5:20. Do not be ashamed to call pastors whom you do not know. The vast majority of them are men of God with a heart to reach the world with the Gospel. It has been almost twenty-five years since I started on the deputation trail, and to this day, some of my dearest friends are pastors I met as a result of cold calls from a directory of independent Baptist churches while on deputation.4. Attend Preacher's Meetings if You Are AbleIf you can arrange to be in an area when a large meeting of pastors is taking place, it will be worthwhile to attend. This should not be done if you have to spend a great deal of money to get there or if you do not have any meetings in the area. But if you are able to schedule some local church meetings in the area, and it would not require you to compromise your beliefs to attend a particular meeting, then do it. Remember to let God guide you. Do not make a nuisance of yourself. It is not necessary to hand every pastor a prayer card or hit them up for a meeting in the restroom! Your purpose is to get your name out, meet some people, and let God guide you to the men that He has already chosen to partner with you.There are many benefits to deputation. Someone has rightly said that your attitude at the beginning of a task will determine its success. Go into deputation with a positive attitude, excited and surrendered to the will of God, and you will find it to be a rich and rewarding experience.This article was originally published in Sending Forth Laborers by Dwight Tomlinson and Dr. Paul Chappell avavailable from Striving Together Publications.
"The life that Jesus lived, the Christian life, is characterized by truth, and love, and righteousness. And prayer is the perfect example and expression of all three of these. Love is prayers motive, truth is its expression, and righteousness is its goal." ~ Ray C. SteadmanIt is by the grace of God alone that we have been given such a sublime gift as prayer. In the words of Dr. William Evans, "The Christian life cannot be sustained without it; it is the Christian's vital breath." This provision is even more valuable to us than water. One cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven with water, but through a man's humble supplication to Jesus Christ is eternal life granted him. Therefore it would be wise to understand how the originator of prayer has ordained its use. Our Holy God has ordained a distinct way that His children must approach Him in prayer. His infallible and wholly inspired Word gives us clear commandments on exactly how we are to pray. The Bible teaches that there are at least four essential elements of prayer. That these four things in particular militate against all other forms of prayer found in the world is clear by their nature and inimitability. In this essay I will expound on the essentials of prayer, and conclude by illustrating their value in man's relationship to the holy, triune God. In The Name Of Jesus Christ John 14:13-14 - "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."This instruction from Jesus Christ gives us the knowledge of the proper way to pray, and differentiates our prayers to God from the prayers of those in other (false) religions. The phrase "...in my name" means that where there is no other name whereby a man can be saved (Acts 4:12), neither is there another name in which a Christian can pray. This also tells us of the personal nature of prayer intended for man by the perfect love of God. As compared to the prayers to the impersonal deities and idols of false religion, the Christian's prayer is based on an ever-deepening relationship with the triune God. I have encountered Him in my own prayer life, and can give personal testimony to the importance and dependence upon that wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ; with God.Of John 14:13-14, David Guzik writes, "this signifies both an endorsement (like a check) and a limitation (requests must be in accordance with the character of the name). We are coming to God in Jesus' name, not in our own." That we are coming in Jesus' name and not our own means we are to actively seek the will of God over our own desire. Not only does this verse tell us that we must pray in the name of Jesus Christ, but that in knowing Jesus, we have at least an inclination of His will, which should affect what we are praying for, and how we pray. The phrase "in my name" can only mean one thing: Agreement with and adherence to God's will. That is because the following phrase, "I will do it," must be taken to mean that God will do only what is in His nature. Being that God's nature is holy and absolutely perfect in every moral attribute, we can only ask Him to do for us what is in agreement with His nature. John14:13-14 are implicit with the truth that praying in Jesus' name is intrinsically linked to the will of God. According To The Will Of God 1 John 5:14-15 - "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."The word "confidence" in this passage has also been rendered boldness, openly, plainly (and other variants thereof) throughout the New Testament. Therefore, our confidence, which is not of ourselves but is "in him," is that whatever we ask in accordance to His will shall be heard by Him. It is important to note that it is first stated here that our boldness or confidence is that we have been heard. This implies that the fact that our prayers to God our heard is enough to give us confidence! That alone is wonderful news to the believer, and should settle many matters of personal doubt we sometimes experience when coming to the Lord in prayer. The phrase "And if we know that he hear us," uses the condition "if", which is to say that, "if we have asked of Him according to His will," which we have. Here the apostle John is restating the obvious, probably for emphasis, because in the verse prior to this he has propositioned that we already have confidence or boldness in the fact that we asked something of God according to the will of God. Thus, whatever we ask, we know that not only does He hear us, but we have His petitioning on our behalf with God the Father. According to Ray C. Steadman, "Prayer is not a means by which we get God to do our will, Prayer is a means of obtaining the will of God, and is limited always by the will and purpose of God. If we pray outside of the purpose then there is no guarantee that our prayer will be heard." Prayer in Jesus name, and according to God's will, must be accompanied by a third essential element: belief. Belief In Prayer Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."In the life of the Christian, prayer is preceded by belief. This is evident in that we must believe in order to be saved (Romans 10:9). As we come to believe, we know to whom we are confessing to and believing in, and we ascend to this through our prayer. Being witnesses to the love of God we believe; we are motivated by the truth, and given to prayer knowing full well that the end of prayer is to bring glory to a righteous God. In 1 John 5:10 we read, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." We must believe, for to not believe is a sin! (See also Hebrews 3:12). Indeed, belief is so essential a part of prayer that the prayers of a man with a doubtful heart are hindered. The verse in Mark 11:24 says, "...when ye pray, believe..." Jesus Christ uttered this the day following His cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. In Mark 11:17 He says, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." Is it not striking that the day after the cleansing of the temple, and Christ referring to the temple as a "house of prayer," He gives the apostles a strong admonition to believe in order to have their prayers heard? Jesus was setting them up for a time to come that He foreknew he would not be with them physically, in person. His temple would be in each person's body, in each personal "house of prayer," and belief in Him would be more vital than ever for them to reap the freedom that is given to one who seeks to bring glory to God through his prayers. And no other prayer could accomplish that but one that is done in the name of Christ, according to His will, with a believing heart, and as we shall see next, with perseverance. Perseverance In Prayer Luke 11:5-10 - "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."After teaching His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1-4), Jesus then continues with a parable that illustrated the necessity of perseverance in prayer. This parable, seen in conjunction with another portion of the book of Luke (The Parable of the Unjust Judge, Luke 18:1-8), fully substantiates the point that Jesus was making: the tenacious prayer of the believer will, without fear or doubt, be answered. In light of the facts about prayer that I have expounded on thus far, it is clear that Jesus did not mean simply that anyone who prays fervently gets what they want. Again, the prayer in Jesus' name, following the will of God in relation to His character and His revelation, from a heart that believes, is the prayer that is heard and answered. This excludes all other forms of prayer, such as that which uses beads, idols, the intercession of the dead, or other demonic devices. The perseverance that is implicit in these parables does not mean repetitive. From the parable of the importunate friend, we find the word "importunity" in verse 8. In the original language of the New Testament, this word actually means "shamelessness." The implication in the context surrounding that word is shameless perseverance. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary illustrates, "If shameless persistence can obtain a boon from a neighbor, then certainly earnest prayer will receive our Father's answer." Therefore it is not simply tenacity or continuation that must accompany belief in prayer, but child-like earnest and humility as well. Hindrances and Helps In Prayer It would be reasonable at this point to mention both the hindrances and helps to prayer. To paraphrase Dr. William Evans, some of the hindrances are as follows: Indulgence in known sin, willful disobedience to God, selfishness, resentfulness and blame, faithlessness and idolatry. Some of the essentials to prevailing in prayer are sincerity, simplicity, earnestness, persistence, faithfulness, unison with others, certainty, effort and with fasting. Each of these deserves at least a paragraph unto itself, however to keep to the nature and flow of this essay I will astutely conclude this section by saying that the Word of God is not short on its lists of hindrances and helps to prayer. It is brimming with examples, parables, illustrations and commandments that are integral to the prayer-life of the believer. Conclusion There is so much to be said on the subject of prayer that choosing what I have felt to be its fundamentals seems to be injurious to prayer's myriad of aspects. Prayer is made mighty in its meekness and humility by the power of God, who is faithful to the repentant believer. It is this vessel of prayer which brings us closer to God. In my own limited experience, irregular or insincere prayer can quickly degenerate every aspect of my relationship with God. I recall the many ups and downs I've had along the way, and in reciprocity to that line is the degree of nearness to God that I was cultivating at the time. I recall the many times when God Himself has told me, "Aaron, now is the time to pray." It is in those moments that I have wanted to be the most obedient, falling to my knees, and either praying, or just listening. God is gracious and longsuffering towards His children, and I praise Him for that because my prayer life has been everything but perfect. In His continuous sanctification of the saints, His love is made manifest in our response to Him in prayer. James writes in his epistle, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:15b). I will conclude by saying that the four essentials of prayer as discussed in this essay are succinctly stated by James in his use of the words "effectual" and "fervent." Thusly, the good and perfect will of God prevails.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2 Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007. He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church. For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." ~ Genesis 5:21-24There are two notable dispositions in the life of Enoch: before and after he begat Methuselah. The Bible teaches that he was sixty-five years old when his son was born, and after that he walked with God. Therefore the first disposition is that he did not walk with God in the first sixty-five years of his life; the second then being that he walked with God for the remaining three-hundred years before his death. The significance of his latter disposition will be dealt with in this article. In Genesis 5 the phrase "Enoch walked with God" is repeated twice. (This repetition, however, is not verbatim in the original language. The Hebrew text in the original MS includes the word √Ę‚ā¨ňúwith' in the first rendering of this phrase, possibly offering a clue as to the depth of this relationship he had with √Ę‚ā¨ňúelohiym). This is significant in that it is unique throughout the entire Bible. The only other person who we know "walked with God" was Noah, and to him was this tribute ascribed to but once (Gen. 6:9). I'm not implying that repetition is indicative of a √Ę‚ā¨ňúcloser,' or √Ę‚ā¨ňúbetter' walk, but just that it is noteworthy. It is because of this small but significant detail that I chose to write about Enoch as on of my favorite peoples from the history of the Old Testament. Part 1: Enoch the Prophet Before examining the latter disposition in Enoch's life, it will be important to note the meaning of his and his son's names. Enoch fittingly means √Ę‚ā¨ňúdedicated', while Methuselah means √Ę‚ā¨ňúhis death shall bring'; or √Ę‚ā¨ňúwhen he dies, judgment.' Of Methuselah's name, Matthew Henry writes, "it was fair warning to a careless world, a long time before the judgment came." We know that in the year that Methuselah died came the flood. It would be reasonable to assume that God foreknew he would be taking his dedicated servant Enoch early (Gen. 5:24), and left a prophetic message bound within the name of his progeny. This aptly illustrates a mere fragment of the boundless wisdom of God, and of His sovereignty. The prophetic naming of Enoch's son and the subsequent change in his disposition are not simply coincidental. It would appear that they are somehow linked in implication.So with this knowledge of the coming catastrophe through his son, what did Enoch do for three-hundred years? We can't look any further into Enoch without examining what is said of him in the New Testament epistles: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." ~ Jude 1:14, 15 From Jude we learn that Enoch was a genuine prophet of God. The Holy Spirit sealed this information about Enoch into the Word of God through the writer of this epistle and that is all we need to know. Jewish legends aside, it is clear that the early church had at least an oral tradition about the prophecy of Enoch, and that it was important enough to God to be included in His holy book. And what was the prophecy? In the context of these verses from Jude, we understand that he prophesied that Jesus, with a multitude of His saints, is coming and they will execute judgment upon all of the ungodly men of the world. In Enoch's day, only seven generations from Adam, he was proclaiming the coming of a Messiah and the judgment on the wicked. His prophecy applied both to the antediluvian society in which he lived, and to the ages to come. These prophecies set the tone for the three-hundred years of Enoch's walk with God. They may be exemplary of his preaching in an increasingly evil and God-hating world. One would have to be quite intimate with God to continue in this work. Perhaps this life was passed on to Methuselah. Perhaps he trained his son for those three-hundred before he was, as the epistle to the Hebrews expounds, translated. Part 2: Enoch Walked With God Hebrews 11:5 - "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." The first prophecy of the Bible is in Gen. 3:15. The seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, will crush the head of Satan. This speaks of the hope of the Savior to come and his breaking of the curse brought on by Adam. Enoch's prophecy concerning the Messiah, as recorded in Jude, fits as the Bible's second prophecy (it would have been uttered during the 300 years after the birth of Methuselah; a time when we have no other recorded prophecies). This speaks of the judgment of the coming Messiah on the ungodly. Enoch, a righteous man, would have to have known the prophecy of Gen. 3:15 through oral tradition. We can assume this because it was spoken by God to Adam and pertained directly to Adam's lineage. Enoch, being only the seventh generation from Adam, would indeed have clung to the very words of God as they had been passed down through his contemporaries and forefathers. Some time after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch began walking with God. Undoubtedly he, knowing this prophecy of the coming Savior, and having had received himself a prophecy of God of this Savior's coming judgment, began to draw nearer to God than any of his forefathers had. The book of Hebrews tells us two more things about Enoch that pertain to his relationship with God: 1. In the book of Hebrews we read, "By faith Enoch was translated..." By faith in what? I believe this is tells of his pure, unrelenting faith in God which included everything God had spoken to man at that time. He had faith in the three prophecies of the eternal God that had come down to man thus far: the coming savior (the Lord had spoken this to Adam), the prophecy that God had revealed to him of the judgment of the coming Savior and His saints, and the prophecy of the coming catastrophe spoken of through the name of his first son, Methuselah. 2. Also in the book of Hebrews we read, "...for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." We know from the verse in Hebrews that follows this that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Enoch's life was a living testimony of faith and that he diligently sought after God, the rewarder of faith. From this we can also ascertain that Enoch must have had thoughts which were in alignment with the moral nature of God. Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" It is absolutely clear that Enoch was a man who walked with God, and in so walking with God he was in complete agreement with whatever God had to say. Enoch was surely in agreement with God's coming judgment on the wicked world that he lived in. Conclusion The Bible says that Enoch was translated, or, taken up to be with God. Little is known about this man of God except from what a few verses in Genesis, Hebrews and James tell us. However Enoch's testimony, as extrapolated through diligently studying the Word of God, reveals a great deal about this man. "He walked with God," it says twice about Enoch. He prophesied. He listened. He had faith. Although not always, because it is clear that for the first sixty-five years of his life he walked apart from God. Then, after a revelation from God in the prophetic naming of Enoch's son, we can imagine that he seems to put the pieces together: The coming Savior who will crush the head of the serpent; the coming catastrophe that will follow Methuselah's death; the newly revealed prophecy of God of the coming judgment of this Savior along with ten thousand saints. "And Enoch walked with God: And he was not; for God took him." His faith is counted among the faith of those who we regard as the patriarchs. It is a faith worth examining, for we live in an era not unlike that of Enoch, just before the flood. The kingdom of God is at hand, and we could be taken up at any moment.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2 Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007. He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church. For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
"This know also..." Paul's words to Timothy (and to the Church), describing the perilous times to come, were not just a warning to turn away from these characteristics, but to turn away from those who portray or embody them as well. To any child of God it is obvious that these characteristics absolutely define the times we live in now. There is no place in history where these things have been so utterly fulfilled as to the point where they seem to be overflowing and ready to explode, as today. If fallen, sinful man is a vessel for these things, I cannot imagine how he could hold any more of it. Even the world's heroes, icons, leaders and entertainers manage to glorify and justify these things to those who follow them. Simply turn on your tv, or walk through a bookstore, or go to a university campus, or even sit down to dine at a local restaurant. These characteristics are pervasive, invasive, and almost overpowering. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5These verses were read from the pulpit a few weeks ago, and I was suddenly struck by the following understanding:Turn away from people who love themselves.Turn away from people who are covetous.Turn away from people who boast.Turn away from people who are proud.Turn away from people who are blasphemers.Turn away from people who are disobedient to their parents.Turn away from people who are unthankful.Turn away from people who are unholy.Turn away from people who are without natural affection.Turn away from people who are truce breakers.Turn away from people who are false accusers.Turn away from people who are incontinent.Turn away from people who are fierce.Turn away from people who despise others who are good.Turn away from people who are traitors.Turn away from people who are highminded.Turn away from people who love pleasure more than they love God.But this is nothing new. What I am writing has been written many, many times before. So why write about it now? For personal reasons. I write about this now to share my convictions with you. I've heard this passage before, but this was the first time I thought to apply that last phrase from verse 5 to each of these characteristics of the last days. I have only just realized the scope of the words "...from such turn away". This resonated through me during the service when I heard it. Why? Because I don't always turn away from these things. How? Every time I allow myself to be "entertained" by this world's media. Am I so prideful and self-assured as to think that I can somehow filter out this garbage from the things I let into my home, in the form of "entertainment"? Why would I ignore this warning before? When I watch a program that I may even deem as "innocent," yet plainly it contains some element of the characteristics from 2 Timothy 3:1-5, why do I not turn away? Why have I been so prideful for so long, thinking that I could pick and choose which parts of the Bible I want to ignore because they infringe upon my use of time, and the lusts of my flesh? Why do I turn away from only a few of these things: the ones that are gratuitous, glaring, outwardly dangerous, and avoidable? Why not all of them? Am I in less need than Timothy of this prophetic warning? Do I know more than Paul? Does my confidence in my flesh outweigh my fear of God, who breathed these words into existence? These are perilous times today. Timothy saw a vision of the future through the apostle Paul's words that was comparable only to the days of Noah. Now, in the nearness of the extent of their fulfillment, do I heed them? Or do I obey the flesh? "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." ~ Romans 13:14Make no provision for the flesh. There is my answer. And to what end? Obedience to my Lord and Master; glory to God the Father; separation from the world; and the edification of God's saints - my brothers and sisters in Christ.Able to write to you by the grace of God,Aaron EveringhamRomans 12:1,2Aaron Everingham and his wife Brittany live in Edmonton, Canada, and by the loving grace of God they were saved through the ministry of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in June of 2007.√ā¬† He is currently preparing for a life of serving the Lord as a pastor of a local New Testament Baptist Church.√ā¬† For more articles like this one please visit his blog at Aharown Qadowsh.
Powered by Ekklesia-Online