Archive | May 2014

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on James 4:11-12

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?           NKJV

James, chapter 4, opened by addressing the issue of conflict within the church. In verses 11-12, the Lord deals with judgmentalism, which is a major cause of conflict within churches.

In verse 1, the Lord warns us not to speak evil of a Christian brother or sister. He is not talking about confronting a brother or sister in obvious sin, which is actually commanded in Scripture (Matt. 18:15-17; I Cor. 4:14; Tit. 1:13, 3:10). Rather He is condemning careless, derogatory, critical, and false statements against brothers and sisters in Christ.
According to verse 11, those who speak evil of their Christian brethren, set themselves up as judges and condemn them, thereby defaming and disregarding God’s law which expressly forbids such slanderous condemnation. By refusing to submit to God’s law, they place themselves above it as its judges.

In verse 12, we are reminded that God alone is the divine Lawgiver and the only one who has the right to pronounce judgments on a person’s actions. Righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24) is not based on opinion, heresay, or personal preference, but on the explicit and clear commandments of the divine Lawgiver. Even when we confront someone else regarding their actions, we need to be certain that we know all of the facts and can quote explicit, black and white Scripture before we charge them with sin. In matters not plainly declared as sin by the Lord, we cannot accuse others of sinning or we become guilty of the very judgmentalism that God is condemning in our text.

Verse 12 closes with the question, “Who are you to judge another?” Our Christian brethren are our Lord’s servants, not ours. To Him alone, they stand or fall—just as we do (Rom. 14:4).

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From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on James 4:7-10

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.           NKJV

There is a very real, spiritual war going on between the kingdom of God and forces of Satan, and between the Christian’s renewed heart and the old lusts of the flesh. Satan’s main goal is to steal, kill and destroy every person made in the image of God and he especially hates Christians who are spiritual members of God’s family. Even for born again believers, living a life that is humble and close to God is a real challenge, and for unbelievers, it is impossible. If we really want to overcome evil in our lives, we need to seek the Lord’s help. We need to realize the wickedness that is in our hearts, and cry out for God to create in us a clean heart for an humble spirit and a repentant heart are what God desires from us (Psalm 51:10, 17).

How can we as Christians triumph over evil? First, realize that we need to repent (turn from our sins) and follow Jesus. Second, must not allow the world to entice and tempt us. Third, we must stay close to God though daily prayer and meditation upon His word. We must get down on our knees before God, for it is the only way we will get on our feet.

When we do these things, God promises to draw near to us, and to lift us up. Believe that He will and remember that we fight the spiritual battles because so many souls are at stake!

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Luke 1:28-35, 38

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him,she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. . . .Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.           NKJV

Mary is the most revered mother in history—sadly even to the point of being worshipped by the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that Mary was born without sin (compare with Lk. 2:22-24; Rom. 3:10, 23) and is an intercessor between God and man (compare with I Tim. 2:5). But in spite of the heresy of Catholicism, there is no doubt that Mary was a godly mother. Gabriel refers to her as a highly favored one and tells her that the Lord is with her (v.28). Using Mary as an example, let us consider three characteristics of a godly mother.

First, a godly mother produces godly children. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is blessed (v.28) and the same can be said of all godly mothers. God plainly states that children are a reward and an inheritance from Him (Psa. 127:3-5). Sadly children are not always viewed as a blessing. Biblical training (Prov. 22:6, 29:17) is often neglected and, as a result, children come to be viewed as a curse instead of a blessing (Prov. 10:1; 17:21, 25; 19:13).

Second, godly mothers are a blessing to their entire families. Gabriel told Mary that she was blessed among women (v. 28) and this blessing extended to her entire family—and ultimately to the entire world in the Lord Jesus Christ (vs.29-33). Timothy was taught the scriptures from a young age and, as a result, trusted Christ as His Savior because of the godly influence of his mother, Eunice, and her mother, Lois (II Tim. 1:5, 3:15). Proverbs 31 declares of the virtuous mother that her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also and he praises her (v.28).

Third, godly mothers are obedient to the will of the Lord. Mary replied, “Let it be according to your word,” despite the probable shame of being labeled an adulterous (v.38). She wanted God’s will for her life, no matter what the cost. God declares in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” The only thing that is worthwhile in a woman is the same as the only thing that is worthwhile in anyone’s life—everything else is worthless (Eccl. 1:2, 14; 2:10-11, 17-23; 4:16; 5:10; 6:7-9; 7:15; 8:10, 14; 9:9; 11:8-10; 12:8). What is the only thing in life that is truly worthwhile? Fearing God and keeping His commandments (Eccl. 12:13). A godly mother fears God and keeps His commandments. A godly father also fears God and keeps His commandments: and together they raise godlychildren who fear God and keep His commandments.

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 37:25-33

I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide. The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, Nor condemn him when he is judged.           NKJV

Psalm 37 contrasts the heritage of the righteous with the condemnation of the wicked. In our text, the Lord gives us three characteristics of the righteous.

First, the Lord lends generously to the righteous (v. 25). Though everything actually belongs to the Lord (Psa. 24:1), yet He generously bestows it on His people (v. 28, Phil. 4:19, Matt. 6:25-33) and even extends these blessings to the children of the righteous (v. 25). Do you doubt the truth of this statement? Then go into the homeless shelters and the prisons and see for yourself how few are the children of godly parents in those facilities.

Because God is generous to the righteous, in turn the righteous are generous to others (v. 26, Prov. 21:26). The righteous understand that they cannot out give the Lord (Prov. 19:17). God even pays back the righteous with interest in the next generation (v. 26, Deut. 12:28).

Second, the righteous are obedient to the commandments of God (v. 27). The righteous speaks what is right (v. 30). He speaks with wisdom because he speaks the word of God (Psa. 19:7). The tongue of the righteous reflects the righteous character of his heart. As a result of their obedience to the Lord, the righteous are hated by the wicked (v. 32, Jn. 15:18, I Jn. 3:13, II Tim. 3:12). However, the Lord will ultimately deliver the righteous from the wicked (v. 33).

Third, the righteous have an eternal inheritance in the Lord (v. 27). They have eternal life and eternal security in the Lord (Psa. 37:23-24, Jn. 10:27-30, I Pet. 1:5) and ultimately an eternal dwelling place as well from which they will rule with Christ over the earth (v. 29; Rev. 5:10, 2:26, 22:5). Are you numbered among the righteous? Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If so, are you obedient to His commandments?