by Terry Laughlin | Dec 30, 2019 | Pastoral Appreciation
Honoring Those Who Teach The Word of God
There is a season of the year which is set aside to appreciate those who have the Christ apportioned gift of pastor. (Ephesians 4:11-16) Pastoral Appreciation often is celebrated through a world view. Like: Taking a pastor and his family out to dinner, sending a card to the pastor with names of the congregation on it or having a time of recognition during the service on a Sunday morning. Other things have been done to show honor to the Lord’s servant over the years. Yet, we still see a transition of pastors from pulpit to pulpit before seeing their work coming to a healthy completion. The church is called to discipleship, when a pastor moves on from one pulpit to the next without someone being Biblically mentored into the position of pastoring or shepherding (Greek: ποιμήν poimḗn) the people of God, then God’s best for the congregation was not fully enjoyed.
The Holy Spirit has given a gift for instructing the people of God so they may know His will for them and how to live in a manor worthy of the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 2:12) The people of God are told, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies (προφητεία prophēteía).” The person with the gift of New Testament prophecy proclaims the word of the Lord for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (“Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 184). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 says, “…the one who prophesies speaks to the people for their up-building, encouragement and consolation…. The one who prophesies build’s up the church.” Many have been edified, consoled and aroused to service for the Lord through someone exercising their gift to proclaim the written Word of God. In this context we are honoring those who exercise this Holy Spirit gift for the forth-telling of God’s will and message. (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letters to the Corinthians (p. 128). Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster John Knox Press.)
True Biblical honoring of the person who has the call to publicly read the Scriptures is to enable that person to devote themselves to that task. (1Timothy 4:13) The Apostle Paul told Timothy, …devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have.” (1 Timothy 4:13) The world view and influence of honoring pastors every October has not fixed the tragic results of preachers leaving the ministry of preaching the Word. Of those who would give me an answer to my question, “What is your greatest frustration?” Number one answer was, family and the congregation they serve not protecting their time to fulfill the ultimate call of “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
In 1994 at the North American Conference of Evangelist, the Billy Graham team put together a great number of Proclaimers of God’s Word to Preach the Word to encourage a new generation of preachers. They were taught the message to proclaim, the character of the messenger, and the new methods to use. Logos Bible software and Sermon Central are host websites with Biblical teachings which build up and equip others to preach the Word of God around the world.
This October, how do you honor the Lord’s gift to the church (Ephesians 4:12) those who are given the charge to preach (2 Timothy 4:2) the Word of God?
by Terry Laughlin | Dec 30, 2019 | Original Sin
Grasping the Foundation of Mankind’s Destruction
The book of Genesis records the four deadly words which plagues us even to this day, the very words which keep those who choose to live in disobedience – blinded to God’s will for them. Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1)
“Did God really say” is the essence of the denial of God’s perfect will, the elevation of the will of man over the will of God. It is the foundation for questioning Divinely marked boundaries and overstepping His limits for us. This deceiving idea is the motive for every sin committed since that tragic day in the Garden of Eden and is the foundation to every sin which will be committed until the final day of Judgement. It is belief of Satan rather than believing God’s warning. God told Adam and Eve not to eat or even touch the tree in the midst of the garden, or they would die. (Genesis 3:3) (Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., p. 131). Chicago: Moody Press.)
The lie spoken through the serpent, “You will not surely die!” (Genesis 3: 4) Once the lie was presented, the surrendering over to the flesh was more intriguing than their desire to maintain their relationship with God. The Bible says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
One of the greatest proofs of the truths of God’s Word is recognizing the consequences of the fall of mankind which are as follows: (Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., p. 131). Chicago: Moody Press.)
- The farm ground is cursed, so it yields more weeds than good seeds, which can steal life giving moisture and choke out good fruit bearing plants and grain fields. (Genesis 3:17)
- Sorrow and increased of pain to the woman in child-bearing. (Genesis 3:16)
- Exhausting physical labor in order to exist and live a comfortable life. Rather you are making a living using manual labor or using your mind. You and I often are exhausted at the end of our day of laboring. (Genesis 3:19)
- Physical and spiritual death. (Genesis 3:19; 5:5; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1)
- There is a fear of God, facing His judgement and us giving an accounting. (Genesis 3:8-11, 22-24; Matthew 12:34b-37)
“Did God really say” and questioning God’s best for us has moved us to often be intrigued by the world view, give into the leading of the sinful-nature and listen to the devil’s lies. It seems like such a little sin, eating from a tree? It is not the size of the sin, it is the act of disobedience that breaks God’s heart. It is the questioning if God really said and the rationalizing of the apparent benefits which causes us to justify our actions.
Past U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy said, “He thinks he does not belong in the House because he believes in fairness, facts and process unlike the usual win-win ideology in politics.” I heard Representative Gowdy in an interview say, “It matters how we get there to achieve a goal.” (JustRichest.com/trey-gowdy-bio-wife-son-height-why-he-left-politics)
As Christians: It matters how we as the children of God determine the decisions we make, our motives in touching the Holy things of God and our desire to obey God’s instruction to us. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
“Did God really say,” is the foundation causing our world view to embrace lifestyles which break the heart of God. (Leviticus 18:22; 12:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10) There are articles drawing questions on our modern day translations of our Bibles, Lexicons and Greek key word definitions, saying they do not accurately interoperate original writings. The Bible gives us clear instructions on how to handle this, “…[We] must hold firmly to the trust-worthy message as it has been taught, so that [we] can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who appose it.” (Titus 1:9) The church must oppose false teachings and expose them in the same manor God’s enemies are promoting their deceptions. Go out and meet the enemy with the sword of the Spirit!
“Did God really say” has motivated certain book printing companies to print Neutral Gender Bibles. One passage they have rewritten is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Child, so that everyone who believes in that Child may not perish but may have eternal life.” (1995 Oxford University Press) The more accurate translations say, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The Greek word for “Son” (υἱός huiós) means a male offspring or one’s own male child. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 116). New York: United Bible Societies.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. (p. 186). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies.)
“Did God really say,” is now causing Americans to tolerate lifestyles of men having more than one wife, missing using Scripture to support their agenda. There are reality shows teaching their convictions on how to manage households with more than one wife. Jesus said, “at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh…” (Mark 6:9-10) It cannot be clearer, one man, one wife becoming one in spirit.
“Did God really say” has overtaken our government. They no longer seek the advice of men of God who are equipped to teach a nation how to seek, enjoy the protection and the guidance of God. The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.” (Psalm 133:11-12)
“Did God really say” has blinded the cold hearted, opening the doors of this nation to the shedding the blood of the innocent, mislabeling their cause as woman’s choice. God’s call us to, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:11)
The solution to influencing the world view, strengthening the brethren in Christ and exposing the lies of the devil is to live in such away which says, ““God really did say!” We are a people of God who “meditates on [God’s] precepts and fixes our eyes on His ways and we delight in His statutes; we will not forget His word.” (Psalm 119:15-16)
In this world is a truth we must battle all of our days, it is fought in the area of our minds. As long as we have breath, the enemy of our souls will always be casting out the thought, “Did God really say?”
A true Biblical understanding of dangerous words in the Word of God, “Did God really say”, is captured in the third stanza of a the hymn, Come, Fount of Every Blessing, “Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love:” In that stanza is the prayer of a child of God who shares the Lord’s heart, “Take my heart, oh, take and seal it. With Thy Spirit from above. Rescued thus from sin and danger. Purchased by the Savior’s blood. May I walk on earth a stranger, as a son and heir of God.”
In Genesis 2 we read of God planting a garden, the place where He put Adam after man was formed. The Garden of Eden the first home of Adam and Eve the place with the concept of a “Garden of Delight,” a place of God’s blessing and prosperity. God did not dwell in the garden; rather it is a place where he met with man. (Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, pp. 200–201). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) Listening to the deadly words, “Did God really say” was the beginning of mankind’s being cast from the place where he and she could have fellowship with God. Thus, physical and spiritual death came through the one man Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:21)
This defeat of mankind was not the defeat of the one man, Jesus Christ. When He was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the Devil, our Lord laid down the foundation which feeds our souls, enriches our relationship with Christ and secures our ability to know and live out God’s will for us. The answer Eve should had given the tempter was the revelation which God had given them, “God really did say,” and made her choice to overcome the desire to be like God.
Christ defeating the tempter with the written of God is the proclamation of the child of God to communicate to the world, “God really did say! Our declaration is the same as Christ, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:1-11)
Changing “Did God really say?” from a question to a declaration, “God really did say!” Opens our spiritual hearts to eternal life, a place where the Holy Spirit Christ dwells so we may have constant fellowship with Jesus and our heavenly Father.