From the minister's desk
When you have a conversation or encounter with the Lord, what would your answers or responses be to the questions He has asked already? Every time you read his word, your bible and come across a question He asked, how do or would you respond?
“If you only love them that love you, what reward do you have?” ______________________________________________
“If you only speak to those who speak to you, isn’t that what the world does?”______________________________________________
“Don’t you understand that whatever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the man.”______________________________________________
“Whom do you think or say to others that I am?” ______________________________________________
“Where did you get that from?” __________________________________________
“What are you giving or giving up in exchange for your soul?”______________________________________________
“I have said that you are gods and all of you are children of the Most High. Can’t you believe that I am the Son of God?” ____________________________________
“I am the resurrection and the life; he that lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” __________________________________________________
“I left my home above for you, what have you left for me?”______________________________________________
“I gave my life for you, what have you given for me?”______________________________________________
“I agonized and suffered much for you, have you suffered anything for me?” ______________________________________________
“I brought you salvation full and free, what have you brought to me?” ______________________________________________
By and by, when this life is over, “we must all stand before the judgment of Christ and give account of things done in this body, whether they be good or bad.” When that time comes will your answers or responses cause you to hear “well done thy good and faithful servant” or “depart from me, I never knew you?” You can answer and respond correctly while getting ready to meet the Lord at judgment. Obey Him now!
“Examine your own selves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Don’t you know that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates?” 2Cor.13:5
Reprobate means ‘to reject as unworthy, unacceptable or evil. To refuse to accept or reject, not standing a test, depraved or condemned.’ Who wants to be this or seen as this? So, we are told to examine our own selves. Many ignore or avoid examining themselves for fear of what they might find. There may be too many things, people or
places they may have to give up. Not many will say outright that they reject or refuse to accept Jesus, but many do it in their actions and attitudes. I want to help us ‘avoid being castaway’ as reprobates or rejects by Christ.
Life is too short, and eternity is too long to miss this “great salvation” offered unto us in our time. Our time is now, and we are told to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time for the days are evil.” Eph.5:15-16 We ought not ‘ignore or avoid God.’
As we study the subject, “Still Fleeing to Tarshish” the focus is to help us ‘stop running from our God given responsibilities’ and trying to ‘ignore or avoid God.’
Read Psalm 139:1-15... Believe it and you will stop trying to ‘run from, avoid or ignore God.’ Our God is ‘omnipresent’ meaning He is everywhere all the time. Our God is ‘omniscient’ meaning He knows everything about everything and everyone! Our God is ‘omnipotent’ meaning all powerful, having unlimited power and authority. Who in their right mind after learning this and believing it would even think about running from the Lord, ignore Him or try to avoid Him? We know better! Let’s do better for the Lord’s sake and ours.
Jesus tells us not to run from him or avoid him, but to “come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mt.11:28-30 What a loving Savior. Why would anyone try to avoid, ignore or run away from Him? Where else could you go? He is the one who has eternal life. Let us not end up being castaway because of our rejection of Christ, disobedience to God and fleeing to Satan.
After the fall of Adam and Eve and Cain killing Abel, God blessed Adam and Eve with Seth who begat a son Enosh. “For God has appointed another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain killed. And to Seth was a son born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” Gen.4:25-26 Adam, Eve and Cain received God’s grace- unmerited favor, as He allowed them to live on. Now there is a godly seed (Seth) and the evil seed (Cain) multiplying the earth. We are the result of this population and the end is nearer now.
The corruption of mankind reached its highest point when even the difference between the Sethites and the Cainites became obliterated by intermarriages between the two parties and from sensual motives. We read that "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." At that time the earth must have been populated in great measure and its state is thus described, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." This means more than the total corruption of our nature as we should now describe it and refers to the universal prevalence of the open, daring sin and rebellion against God brought about when the separation between the Sethites and the Cainites ceased. We can see the open, willful, daring sin and rebellion against God in our lifetime. We need God’s grace!
There was none in that generation "to call upon the name of Jehovah,” except Noah. Can you see how even in our generation, when parents do not continue in the word of the Lord, nor teach their children how generation after generation can grow up not having God in their lives and become evil continually? This also explains how we end up with few in a family obeying God and many are not. Why are you in Christ and many others in your family are not?
"In those days there were 'giants' (in Hebrew: Nephilim) in the earth … the same were the mighty men (or heroes) which were of old, the men of renown." Properly speaking, these Nephilim were "men of violence," or tyrants. In short, it was a period of violence, of might against right, of rapine, lust, and universal unbelief of the promise. With the virtual extinction of the Sethite faith and worship, no further hope remained, and that generation required to be wholly swept away in judgment. Right now, we see in our society and government the violence, might against right and a universal distortion of what Christ came and died for.
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah." Noah was of Seth’s seed. "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation." The Hebrew word ‘perfect’ implies, ‘spiritually upright, genuine, inwardly entire and complete, one whose heart had a single aim’ and lastly, "Noah walked with God." We have God’s grace. It is sufficient for us if we accepted it and live in it.
“God’s grace that brings salvation has appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age.” Tit.2:11-12
Jesus came to rescue mankind from eternal damnation. He started the work, set the standard and guidelines and clearly said that “If any man come unto me and does not put me before his father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters and even his own self, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Lk.14:26-27 What does this mean to you? He came to rescue you also that you might serve Him in rescuing others!
Have you counted the cost of discipleship? Have you committed to His discipleship? Are you doing the work of discipleship? “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” Gal.6:7 Don’t you know that “if you do not obey the Gospel, the words of Jesus you cannot and will not be saved.” 2Thess.1:7-10 Don’t let Satan trick you as he did Eve that God is not telling the truth. Believe God! “God cannot lie.” Tit.1:1 The Lord has told us what to do, how to do it, when to do it and even why it must be done, and we still seem to find excuses not to do! Imagine what it could be like if more of you had a hand in doing work for the Lord verses against him! The Lord has already said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad.” Mt:12:30 You must believe that God has provided clear instructions and a guaranteed assurance that if you believe in His Son, believe what is written about Him and obey it you will have eternal life with Him. Jo.20:30-31…
To you who are doing things in and around the building, you are to be commended by us all. You are serving us in making it pleasing and comfortable to come and worship God our Father. Thank you so much and know that God is pleased with that for that. Satan tricks us into hiding behind sayings like “you are doing it for the Lord, he’ll reward you” while we enjoy the benefits of your work and do nothing ourselves – not even to say thank you! Yes, God will reward you, but he told us to consider one another too. The person who says I don’t need or want no praise from anybody is lying and shows it when he doesn’t get it from somewhere. Why be a hypocrite! They are those who complain “people don’t appreciate what you do and I’m not going to let them take advantage of me.” Man takes everything too far or not far enough and God’s work is affected. Prov.27:2, 21, 31:31… John 12:42-43… We must learn how to handle praise or a thank you but not discard it when it is due someone else!
Those who are teaching, giving OBS classes, going door knocking, bringing folks to Church, providing rides to people etc., please know that God has special blessings for you in that you are impacting souls which is God’s main priority.
So, we can’t allow pride to hinder us when we need help, nor can we let it hinder us from helping others. There is a cost. Please know, it’s never too high, for the price Christ paid is much higher. There must be a commitment. “If any man come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Lk.9:23 There must be work. Jesus asked, “Why call me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” Lk.6:46 Then this discipleship must be seen by the world through our lives and relationships, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another as I have loved you.” Jo.13:34-35
There will be no excuses for anyone to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and not have known what they must do to be saved, especially if they are disciples of Christ. Let’s work a bit harder at rescuing others, but let’s also count the cost, be committed and work for our Master “with all our heart, soul and might.” Let’s be true DISCIPLES of CHRIST and stop running from your commitment to God!
We need to stop and look at what’s going on and how people are trying to justify their actions and desires for a new church, new doctrine or a new way to worship God. Folk either forget or ignore that their Creator do not succumb to them but they to Him or they will be lost! There is only one Gospel that saves! If we lose people for staying with “the faith once delivered to the saints” the bible says they were not with us in the first place. 1Jn.2:19, Isa.55:11… They are those who could “not endure sound doctrine, but… and turned unto fables.”
A recent Google report shows ‘a generation is the length of time between a person’s birth and their child-bearing years; approximately 20 to 30 years.’ There are currently six identified generations living in America and go by different names and corresponding years. This is not necessarily factual, but a theoretical assessment based on a study, research and behavioral patterns and thinking of most of the population in America. Regardless of the behavioral patterns and thinking of each generation, the Bible still covers all with no changes! The doctrine of the Church of Christ must remain the same as it is ‘the Church for all generations’ who wants to be saved!
The Greatest Generation (1901-1924) is just one of many generations that scholars have studied and distinguished for their perseverance through difficult times as a testament to their extraordinary character. Their remarkable actions, during times of war and peace ultimately made the United States a better place in which to live. Born and raised in a tumultuous era marked by war and economic depression, these men and women developed values of "personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith." These characteristics helped them to defeat Hitler, build the American economy, make advances in science and implement visionary programs like Medicare. They are credited with much of the freedom and affluence that Americans enjoy today. Despite these credits they remained remarkably humble about what they've done. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices.
The Silent Generation (1925-1945) called ‘the Lucky Few’ refers to people who grew up during this time worked very hard and kept quiet. It was commonly understood that children should be seen and not heard. Around 50 million live births between 1925 and 1945 who were influenced by the Great Depression and World War II, and more. These are described as being highly ambitious and having a need for achievement, power, and status. It has been suggested that the economic suffering and loss of status during the Great Depression led to this attitude. During this era congress launched an assault on political freedom in America and Senator McCarthy’s overzealous attempts to feed anti-communist sentiment in America made it dangerous for people to speak freely about their opinions and beliefs. They became cautious about where they went and whom they were seen with. Therefore, the people were effectively 'silenced.' The children of this generation were described as withdrawn, unimaginative, unadventurous, and cautious. How could that affect their religious views?
Baby boomers, X, Y, & Z are mostly who makes up America today. In 1946, the first year of the 'boom,' there were 3.4 million babies born in the U.S. These numbers steadily increased to roughly 4 million babies born each year between 1953 and 1964. By the end of 1964, when the trend started to decline 76.4 million people were born during that 22-year period which comprised about one-quarter of the U.S. population. Generation X are people born 1961-1981. This era according to a U.S. census counted 82.1 million Gen Xers. These people are highly educated, active, balanced, family oriented and happy. They openly acknowledge and embrace social diversity in terms of such characteristics as race, class, religion, ethnicity, culture, language, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The word of God is “settled in heaven” and gave One Church for all generations including this one and any that follows! Generation Y or Millennials refers to the people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. Teenagers and twenty-somethings have been dubbed the Millennials and have been characterized in a number of different ways. On the negative way they've been described is lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job. In positive ways being more open-minded, and more supportive of gay rights and equal rights for minorities. Other positives describing them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living. Now think about the babies Gen. Z, the ones we are teaching and developing now. If we don’t do a better job of getting Christ in them now, it will be more difficult to get them in Christ later! What will they turn out to be like and how will they impact the future of the church? Still one church for all generations!