From the minister's desk
from the minister's desk
This month’s lesson will remind all of us that we are not only susceptible to Satan’s lies, but live with them and are tripped up by them daily. Satanic activity on earth takes many forms. He operates overtly in activities such as witchcraft, sorcery and other occult related practices that are well known in many areas of the world.
But his most devastating work and attacks are his covert attacks on unsuspecting victims. His overt (public) activities has deceived millions, and his covert attacks through false doctrine has led millions astray. Here are a few of Satan’s most believable lies which scriptures clearly disproves; ‘God is a Cosmic Sadist, God is a liar, Man is God’s slave, Man serves God only for human rewards and adversity results in turning from God.’
Is God a sadist or tyrant? Satan’s most effective work is found in the mind of men. He is a liar from the beginning. Remember, “he was more subtle than any beast of the field which God had made.” Look at how he phrased his question to Eve. “Really? Did God say you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Gen.3:1 What a clever ploy. The implication is that God filled the garden with many delightful, delicious fruits and has forbidden man from eating any of them just to frustrate him. God is inflicting an impossible set of rules on man. Therefore, it is impossible to please God. Eve unknowingly moves closer in Satan’s direction when she misrepresents what God said; “Neither shall you touch it.” 3 Satan’s desire was to reverse God’s instructions, turning God’s permissions into prohibitions. The instructions were clear and concise, “Of every tree in the Garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it…” 2:16-17 Rejecting the hundreds of permitted things and reaching for the one forbidden thing is a common practice of the human race from earliest childhood all throughout life. Scriptures says, “No good thing will be withheld from them that walk uprightly.” Psa.84:11 “All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient.” 1Cor.6:12 God is a God of permission, not prohibition. “… God gives us richly, all things to enjoy…” 1Tim.6:17-19 Satan is a liar and he continues to insist that God is a sadist, a tyrant and everything is prohibited. God is not a sadist, Satan is!
Is God a liar? Notice in Eve’s conversation with Satan, after he got her to respond wrongly to his first question, he boldly makes an assertion or statement. “You shall not surely die.” 3:4 He is saying, “God is lying to you. He cannot be trusted, and his word is not true.” Satan now affirms to Eve that there is another system of truth that takes precedent over the word of God. So, begin the first problem of the universe, the problem of truth. Even today we are dealing with “alternative truths.” Ever since the first lie, the world has repeatedly asked the question, ‘what is truth?’ Satan’s answer is anything except the word of God.
Just about all of the problems of our present age have come because we have turned from the truth of revelation (revealed in God’s word) to the sinking sand of mere human philosophy. The current version of Christianity filled with man’s corrupt theology has produced a corrupt moral standard. Churches are now declaring that trial marriage is legitimate. The Bible says, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Exo.20:14 Nation laws have been passed to say, homosexuality is legal and is a legitimate expression of feelings. The Bible says, “… those who commit such things are worthy of death.” Rom.1:32 Some advocate a revolution against the government. Bible says, “… the powers that be are ordained of God.” Rom.13:1 The list is endless of the lies perpetrated by ‘the Father of lies.’ We must turn from the voice of Satan to the careful, diligent study of the Bible.
I remind you of the fact that God created the angels of which Lucifer, Satan, the devil was among them. Is the creature more believable than the creator? To many, yes! If you believe Satan, you have to believe in God because Satan speaks of Him and claims to be smarter than Him. Scripture tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, … all things were made by him; and without him was nothing made that was made.” Jo.1:1-3 God through Paul said, “let God be true and every man a liar.” His response was to a question; “what if some don’t believe? Shall their unbelief make the truth of God of none effect? Rom.3:3-4 God is not a liar, everything and everyone that opposes God is a lie. Where do you stand? We will resolve the other lies later. May God continue to bless and keep those who believe Him and His Word.
To those of you in the congregation who have supported me in this ministry, I need you to know that I am eternally grateful. I pray that God will bless you tremendously in His own way. I know that I could not have survived this long without God and those of you who have been here with me and some even longer. Many have come and gone in my time as your minister and I want you to know that leaving you has never crossed my mind. I have committed myself to the Lord and His work, wherever he places me. I am thrilled and honored that He placed me here with you.
Long before the complaints popping up now, I’ve heard directly and indirectly through others of the discontent some have had with me and my preaching. But I am more thankful that none have been able to disparage my life and work. It is true that if you love what you do, it keeps you focused daily on doing better and therefore keeps the distractions at bay. I love what I am doing for the Lord. I want to share with you, God’s Wonderful People, my concerns and what drives me to do what I do with, for, to and because of you. I am concerned for your souls and my own.
I truly consider myself a servant in the Lord’s army, kingdom, vineyard, church, etc. Whatever you call it, I know where my heart is, where my help comes from, whom I serve and how I am charged to serve. I have been given a promise to look forward to, commandments to obey and a group of people to lead in the Lord. I do take my orders seriously.
I am instructed to “take heed unto myself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this I shall both save myself and them that hear me.” 1Tim.4:16 So I can’t preach itching ear sermons. I can’t try to please people over God. So, people will rebel and express themselves, but I will not give in.
I ‘ve been charged to “preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For in my time they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables. But I must watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of my ministry.” 2Tim.4:1-5 This is what God is going to hold me accountable for. I am concerned.
Like you I must “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called and has professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1Tim.6:12 I am trying to help you to fight the good fight by equipping you with God’s armor, but you must put it on and use it. You don’t have to like it, but to defeat Satan, you must wear it and use it in this fight. You ought to be concerned.
Peter said and I have read about, seen and heard “the false prophets and teachers” in my own lifetime, among us and the brotherhood. I have heard the “damnable heresies” and seen the “pernicious ways many are following,” even to the point of “them speaking evil of the truth. They are covetous, greedy and with feigned words make merchandise of God’s people.” 2Pt.2:1-3 The sad part is that the people love it.
I am told that “if I put the brethren in remembrance of these things, I shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words and of good doctrine, whereunto I have attained.” 1Tim.4:6 In putting you in remembrance, I must “…warn you or I will surely die…” Ezek.3:16-21
So, I hope you can see and understand why I am the way I am. I hope that you will join me and continue to work with me and support in the Lord’s work. For I know that He will prevail, and I want to be found in His favor and receive His promises. I pray you do to.
We are preparing ourselves for the Lord, His work and Heaven. “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” What else is more important in this life than to be prepared for the next life? Though many may not believe that there is a next life, that does not may it true. God said there is, and the scripture says, “For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true and every man a liar.” Rom.3:3-4 We do not compare ourselves to the world, nor do we “compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measure themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” 2Cor.10:12 We only seek to give unto you what thus says the Lord.
“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen is better than the fat of rams.” 1Sam.15:22 It’s not what you know but what you do with what you know! “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Eccl.12:13 Don’t just know God-Obey God.
Like Moses, many of us were minding our own business when something or someone came into our lives, causing us to pay attention to something we’ve been ignoring or was ignorant of and we haven’t been the same since! With Moses, it started with him, seeing an Egyptian killing a Hebrew, which he was also. (Ex.2:11) With us it may have been someone’s door-knocking or talking to us at work or some other place about God and the Church and we haven’t been the same since! But now that we know God and have committed ourselves to Him, we must be about doing God’s work! We must obey God.
Ex.7:1-5… God said, I have made you special to Pharaoh and I have given you someone to help you do my work! I’ll tell you all I want you to say and do and Aaron will tell it to Pharaoh. I will perform many signs and wonders to Pharaoh and all of Egypt that they may know that “I am the LORD.”
Jesus says to us, “You are the salt of the earth; …You are the light of the world..., let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mt.5:13-16 “My Father will send the Holy Spirit unto you to abide with you, comfort, teach, help and guide you in all things.” Jo.14:26 We have helped to know and do the will of God. But we must obey and do all of God’s word.
Don’t use or allow age to hinder you from doing God’s will. Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them. Age did not stop them. Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 years old when they confronted Pharaoh. Ex.7:6-7
God told them what to do, when to do it and what would happen. They did it and was challenged by sorcery, but God’s power prevailed! 8-12 You know that God is real, God is just. God is a jealous God. We can’t serve Satan and expect to live with God. We must come to know God and obey God.
Rom.6:16-18 says, “Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey;… but thank God that you were servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you. Being made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.” Now we must continue in the doctrine of Christ until God calls us out of this world.
Looking at Moses life, don’t make the mistakes he made, mainly letting people come between you and God. Moses was called “a friend of God.” God loved Moses. Moses knew God and the power of God. But somebody or something got to him over time and he disobeyed God and did not make it into the Promised Land with the people he led for 40years. You and I could easily lose our place in Heaven by letting other people get to us, causing us to disobey God. You know what some of that looks like; not worshipping, not engaging in ministry, not fellowshipping one with another, not loving one another, going to other places rather than bible classes, etc.
Paul posed this question to the Saints in Galatia; “You did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth? Gal.5:7 We must be careful not to let others hinder us from doing what we know to do in Christ. That will not be an accepted excuse. James made it plain; “To him that knows to do good and do it not, to him it is sin.” Jas.4:17 We are seeking to know the Lord, trust in His Holy Word and do as He commands.
Church, let’s prepare ourselves for the Lord, let’s do the will of the Father that we may not only get to see Heaven, but be with them eternally in Heaven. Don’t Just Know God-Obey God.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created man in his image and likeness.” He gave the man some basic needs that would lead to fulfillment or happiness. He gave man ‘Something to Do, Someone to Love and Something to Look forward to.’ Read Genesis 2 to see what that looks like.
I try to teach as the Lord has taught me in how to achieve happiness, fulfillment and “a peace which surpasses all understanding.” Also, to enjoy “all the spiritual blessings that are in Christ Jesus.” I do seek to get the most out of life, but what is that really? I believe it varies for each person. For me, I find contentment in Christ Jesus. This is what that looks like to me; ‘My first love is God and all His being. I seek first to do the things He has told me to do. I am looking forward to being with Him one day. I am content with following the steps He has ordered for me and allowing Him to guide me, bless me, protect me and deliver me. I want the same for each of you as well. I want to continue to ‘love, praise and worship God, have favor with all people as the Lord adds to the Church daily.’ Yes, I look forward to every day, especially Sunday. ‘I love the thrill that I feel when I get together with God’s wonderful people.’ He has brought me this far. I’d be foolish to leave Him now. I am happy, content and filled full of God’s love and mercy.
Please don’t mistake this to mean I don’t love my wife, my family, my friends and you all. Just know that we must all know our place in each other’s life in relation to God. God tells us that these things, including people, are temporal and will pass away. So, the ultimate goal must be Heaven which, we will have to strive to reach until death. This will keep God and Heaven in their rightful places, first.
When we set goals and achieve them, it may give us temporary gratification and happiness. But there is a higher, longer lasting happiness and peace available to us as God’s children. Yes, it is available, but we must obtain, secure or achieve them! We must work and “walk in the works ordained by God.”
To get the most out of life, give your life to Christ. What does that look like? Trust that “He has given us all that we need that pertain to life and godliness.” So, our daily life and issues start with listening to His voice, His words. Looking at three categories of basic needs will help a lot; ‘someone to love, (Him) something to do (His Will) and something to look forward to’ (Heaven) keeps me happy, content and fulfilled. Most people will not understand this, mainly because they don’t believe it or haven’t even tried it, though it is God’s plan for man. How about you? Are you happy? Do you have God’s peace? Is Heaven your goal? I pray that your answer is yes! If not, come, let us teach you how from God’s word.
If the Lord returned today, would you go back with Him or will you be left behind? Have you prepared yourself to be in eternity with Him? Are you seeking to make your calling and election sure? What is your understanding of the Church and why you must be a member to be saved? How much time do you think you really have before your life ends? Will you accept the Savior’s invitation to come to Him, obey Him and be saved? If you will accept the Word of God as truth, here are a few scriptural references to consider to ‘prepare yourself to meet Jesus.’
It is clear that “Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Mt.7:21-23 Are you doing the will of God?
If you are not in the Church, the body of Christ you cannot be saved. But even those in the Church must be doing the will of God, because “The Son of man (Christ Jesus) shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire:…” Mt.13:41-42 Are you doing the will of God?
There is a grave danger in thinking you have time to prepare later. “Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said; “Today,” if you will hear my voice, harden not your hearts…” Heb.3:12-15 We are told in scripture to “Redeem the time for the days are evil.” Eph.5:16 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must know that preparation includes hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. “That Jesus suffered, hung on the cross, bleed, died and rose again on the third day, ascended back into heaven and is now sitting on the right hand of God, interceding for you and I.” Have you heard the good news about Jesus and what He has done for you? Now you can prepare to meet Him face to face and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
You must believe this gospel in faith which results in your loving God for the gift of His only begotten Son to take your place in death. Loving and obeying Jesus as your Lord and Savior. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” Mk.16-16 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must repent of your past sins. You could never fully account for every sin you have committed, nor do you have to, but you trust that God will forgive you for all of them as He has promised. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of behavior. This change comes as a result of you renewing your mind with the word of God. “I tell you nay, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Lk.13:5 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must confess with your heart and mouth that Jesus is the Son of God. “He that confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven, but he that deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Mt.10:32-33 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
Then you must be baptized in water for the forgiveness of all your past sins. You get a new beginning, born again in Christ. Baptism puts you in Christ, where salvation is and if you be faithful, even unto death, God promised to give you eternal life with Him in Heaven. Are you prepared to meet Jesus? If not, you can get prepared right now by giving your life to Christ as scripture commands.