Preface by Pastor Dave Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church, Hampton, Va.
In the following blog post you will find a compelling article entitled "Does It Matter What I Wear?" The short answer to that question is a resounding yes, it does matter! The leadership at Sharon Baptist church has never been of the persuasion that we tell you how to dress and what to wear. The only exception to this being for those who are in leadership roles and those who participate in the services from the platform. Rather, believing that the head of each home and individuals sole liberty should dictate our dress standard for both men and women. I believe the principals outlined in the blog post will assist in helping you to understand, it does matter what I wear.
Speaking the truth in love,
Is God concerned with what I wear? Like many areas in our lives there is not a definitive clothes prescription listed in the Word of God (i.e. Polo on Monday, Dress Shirt on Tuesday etc.). However, that does not mean that God is not concerned for with what we wear. Though we do not find specifics when it comes to clothes in the Word of God we do find principles in the Bible that address this important subject. Out of these principles we should deduce how we live our lives for the glory of God. These principles then can be applied to determine what is proper dress and what is not. Let’s look at an example of a principle that is easily discovered in the Bible to understand how this works. Consider the following verse:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7
This principle often called the ‘law of sowing and reaping’ and can be seen to apply both in positive and negative aspects. The principle states that what we reap is what we have sown. Notice the next verse that demonstrates this principle in action:
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8
Simply put, what is sown is what is reaped. We find in the book of Hosea the Word of God has more to say concerning this principle.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. Hosea 8:7
Here we understand further that we reap more than we sow. The nation of Israel had "sown to the wind" and now they would "reap the whirlwind." So often we do not think about the effects of sowing and reaping in our lives. This simple example shows us how these principles apply to our lives today even as they did when God had them penned. With that mind what does the Bible have to say about our dress?
Let’s look at just a few verses:
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7
This important verse tells us something about man and also something about God; both of which are important for us to note. We find that God sees both the inward man and the outward man; not only how we look but also the condition of our heart. Man, on the other hand judges based on what we see; the outward appearance. It is important then for us to understand that the world is paying attention to what we wear.
In the book of Exodus, we find these important verses concerning Aaron and his sons:
And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him. Exodus 28:40 -43
What can we understand about our dress from these verses? Certainly, God is not calling us to wear girdles and bonnets. We find from this verse though, that there was an expectation by God for the priests to dress a specific way. He specified that they should be covered up. The books of Exodus and Leviticus resound with the message that we cannot just approach God any way we feel like it. God is holy and therefore calls His people to be holy as well even in their dress.
Notice the next verse in I Timothy 2:9:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Before you are tempted to say this only applies to women, understand that the principle spoken of here is that of modesty. Yes, this verse is specifically directed toward women, but does that mean God does not expect us all to be modest? No, I believe there is a principle of modesty listed here. To be modest means- Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man. (Webster's 1828 Dictionary) The question could be raised do you dress to be the center of attention?
Still looking in the Word of God we find this next verse often overlooked when it comes to dress but notice what is written to the church at Corinth:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. I Corinthians 6: 19,20
For those who are born again we understand that God dwells in us. Our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Ghost.” Knowing this, Paul urges us to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The truth of the matter is we do not get to just choose what we wear based on how we feel, because the Bible declares we are God’s. We are bought with a price. We must glorify God not only in the inward man, but the outward man as well. The question then arises, How are we clothing the temple of our bodies? Is the glory of God part of our decision-making process when it comes to what we wear?
Another enlightening example is found in Exodus 19: 10,11. Notice what is said to the children of Israel in preparation for God coming down upon Mount Sanai.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Here we see clearly that God demanded outward cleanliness in His presence.
In II Samuel 12:20 in similar manner we find these words:
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
This incident was in respect to the judgement God rendered toward David as a result of his sin with Bathsheba. He fasted and prayed begging God to spare his child. But God in His perfect judgment took the physical life of the child. Once David understood that the child had died the Bible gives us the above comment. Notice David understood it was not proper for him to go into the house of the Lord dressed inappropriately. Insomuch, he “washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel.”
Lastly, tying all of this together I Corinthians 8:13 should be mentioned.
“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”
This strong statement by Paul is very telling. Paul is speaking of the principle of offence. The background for this statement was specifically about meat that was sold in the shambles which had been offered to idols. Typically, this meat would be discounted because of its use. And yet Paul says “if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth…” Think about the sacrifice of giving up all meat for the purpose of not offending. The truth of this statement is simply this, none of us are islands unto ourselves. What we do and say affects and teaches those around us. If I as a leader lower the bar of dress, I am non-verbally teaching others to do so as well.
What are some questions we can ask ourselves concerning our dress in light of God’s Word?
It is clear from just these few verses, that yes it does matter what I wear. Giving God glory in our inward man, let us then also dress our outward man for the glory of God!
- James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Just what is Easter? There are always lots of things going on, dressing up for Easter Sunday service in our new Easter outfits, big dinners with relatives or at church, even Easter egg hunts for all the children. But, just how much of all this and anything else that may take place to celebrate Easter really honors Christ? Why do we have all this confusion anyway?
1. THE FIRST MENTION OF EASTER
Easter is only mentioned only once in the Bible, and this is in connection with the Spring Festival of the pagan or non-Christian world long before the time of our Jesus Christ. It had nothing to do with Him or His resurrection. It was to celebrate Spring, the coming of new life after the long winter.
2. THE EVENTS CONNECTED TO EASTER
Every year in April, and very near to the same time as the Spring Festival, the Jews celebrated the Passover. This was a celebration of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It was also at this same time of year Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again. In A. D. 325, the church council of Nicaea met and decided that Christians would hold Easter each year as the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It would always be the first Sunday after the first full moon after equinox, or March 21. This can be as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.
3. THE CHRISTIAN MEANING OF EASTER
As Christians, and by that, I mean those who know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, we should not concern ourselves with celebrating the day of Easter. We celebrate an event on Easter. Jesus arose from the dead, proving Himself to be the Christ, the Son of God. Yes, He arose just as He said He would, and He ascended into heaven where He has prepared a place for us to go and be with Him. He will soon come again and take us to live with Him forever. Let us use Easter today as an advertisement and opportunity to tell the world what Easter means to us.
Jesus Christ came into the world to die as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and He did just that. He was killed by crucifixion, nailed to a cross. They took His blood-soaked body down from the cross and buried Him in a tomb cut out in a rock cliff. They rolled a large stone over the entrance and set a Roman guard there to make sure that no one stole His body away. Everyone thought that He had failed in His mission to earth. But, it was through His death that His mission was accomplished, and three days after He was buried, He arose from the dead. That is what Easter is all about! God providing salvation through His son, Jesus Christ in order that mankind might be saved.
Acts 12:4 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given amoung men, whereby we must be saved."
- Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Discreet-wise in avoiding errors or evil and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose: cautious: not rash.
Such a strong word that I would dare say is missing greatly in our society today! Although the word discreet is only found 3 times in the Bible and the word discretion is found 9 times, it does not lessen the impact of such a great word and characteristic which we should have.
Proverbs 19:11 says "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."
We need discretion, wisdom to choose the best reaction, in order to put away anger. Anger can get the best us of at times and it is not a pretty thing. There are so many situations that arise in our lives where we surely need discretion to prevent us from going off on someone or giving them a piece of our mind. In fact, we need discretion in every area of our lives. We need discretion to guide us in how we speak, in our actions and reactions, and in our daily life decisions. Where we go, what we do, what we listen to and what we look at will be greatly affected by whether we have discretion or not. Discretion could keep us from many conflicts between one another but we have to choose rightly.
The second part of this verse says, "and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." When is the last time someone did wrong toward you and you were happy to just forgive them? That is what can happen when we are right in our heart and life with our Saviour. No, it does not mean that we are devoid of feeling and emotion but it does mean with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can have joy and delight to forgive because we can remember how much we have been forgiven. But how can we really get to this and be discreet men and women of God? Proverbs 2:11 says "Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee." If we go back and read the verse prior it all makes since as to how we can have discretion in our lives. Proverbs 2:10 says "When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto they soul;"
Ah ha!!! There it is! Discretion comes from the wisdom and knowledge we allow to penetrate our hearts and minds from God's Word. Regardless of whether it is easy or hard, discretion comes when we accept and apply it. Wisdom defined is the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment. This verse tells us then, that if we receive knowledge and then delight in those truths; then discretion shall preserve thee.
The opposite also could be said. If we are receiving God's Word and not choosing to accept it then we will be lacking discretion. Sadly many lack discretion. Some lack discretion because they have totally chosen to reject Jesus and His payment for their sin on the cross of Calvary. There are others that have received a great amount of knowledge, teaching, and instruction and have trusted Christ as their Saviour, yet they pick and choose what they will obey. According to this verse they also lack discretion.
We have seen that wisdom must first enter in and we must choose to apply it but then we also saw that discretion shall preserve us in verse 11. Have you ever had something preserved? It is kept, it is also protected. It takes time to preserve something and there is a certain process to follow. It is also the same with discretion. The first step is gaining the wisdom of Jesus Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection for the sins of the world. Then accepting this by placing your faith and trust in Him and Him alone for your salvation to enter into Heaven one day when you leave this earth. As we then seek the Lord and ask for wisdom we can receive it of Him. The Bible tells us this in James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." But if we are receiving wisdom and knowledge of the things we need and then not applying it, again, there is no discretion in the matter. If all we ever do is come to Church and read our Bibles and never apply it, what have we learned, what have we read, and what good is it?
Think about it. What if you had a flat tire, you pull over, get out of your car, pull out the spare tire, sit it down and get back in your car and just sit there! You have the knowledge and the resources to change the tire but you are not applying it. What good is it doing you?
The Bible says in James 4:17 "Therefore To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Therefore, if we know what the Bible says and we are not doing it, we are sinning. I would venture to say that application is the most important part of the entire process. What if you heard the Gospel, that God loved you so much that he sent his only Son Jesus to die on the cross for you; that he was buried and three days later rose again and now he is in Heaven. You also understood that he desires you would put your faith and trust in Him alone and what he did on the cross to take you to Heaven and ask him to be the Lord of your life. The fact is that if you received this wonderful message but walked away not accepting it then the Bible says you would die and go to a place called hell.
John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Here you can see the great impact and destruction that can come from not applying the spiritual truths you are receiving! I would say then, if we are hearing the truth, taught week in and week out, but still are not applying what has been taught we are most miserable! This is especially true if we are Christians. I understand the battle between the flesh and the spirit and that it is a daily struggle. Yes, we will fail at times but we must not stay down. Seek forgiveness from the Lord and press on seeking to please him.
Proverbs 23:12 states, "Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge."
It first has to begin in our heart. If we have no desire to serve the Lord from our heart it will not happen or it will happen for a time but will soon fade away. Our hearts must be broken by our own sins and the sin around us in this world. We must see the great love our Saviour has for us and really grasp who He is and what He has done for us. When we do this our hearts WILL be affected. Then what we hear and learn from Gods Word we will take and apply it.
2 Peter 3:18 tells us, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
We are to be growing in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growing is a process and once we have hit a certain “mark” we continue growing. A baby does not crawl forever. As they grow, they learn how to pull up and eventually they learn how to walk. Itis a process of learning and growing just as applying knowledge is. We learn and we apply those things God is teaching us. As we mature some He then teaches us and shows us something else. We then apply those truths and grow. 2 Peter 1:3-10 talks about this growth and about the process of "adding to our faith." 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that we have been given ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him. But that passage continues stating that we must apply that knowledge. We must be diligent and add to our faith. Note that in order to add to our faith we must first have faith! Faith In what? Again, as with earlier, it all begins with faith in Jesus Christ and that His death on the cross paid for our sins; trusting in Him and Him alone to take us to Heaven, placing Jesus as the Lord of our lives. Only after that saving faith can we then have something to add to. Growing and adding to our faith is, or should be, a process that occurs the rest of our lives on this earth. Being a man or women of discretion is not just a one time thing we accomplish today and do not have to worry about it again. No, it is a daily process in applying and living out the truths from Gods Word.
Let it not be said of us as is stated in 2 Timothy 3:7, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
- Shannon Grandinetti, Women's Missionary Fellowship Director, Sharon Baptist Church
What a wonderful time we have had already at Sharon Baptist Church with the start of revival services. We encourage you to go back and listen to the uploaded audio files following each days service. We will have services all week at 7:00pm EST. We invite you to come and join us!
Here are some notes from the first morning service yesterday:
II Corinthians 13: 5-11
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
How does someone examine themselves? What are some evidences we can look at?
Here are some words to help us examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith:
I. Commencement - Start of His work in your life.
Can you go back to a time when God started or commenced His work in your life? Is there a time and a place when you personally trusted in Jesus Christ as your Saviour? The Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer in six ways at the commencement of His work in your life:
1. Convicts you of Sin.
2. Convinces you of being Lost.
3. Converts you.
4. Confirms your Salvation.
5. Conforms you to the image of Jesus Christ.
6. Comforts you.
If you cannot say for sure that God has commenced His work in your life please call us and we would be happy to show you from the Bible how you can know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Please contact us using the contact page on this website or call 757-838-0340. Additionally you can visit www.SharonBaptistHamptonVA.com/salvation.html
II. Confess - Jesus Christ to others.
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.
One of the greatest evidences as to whether you are in the faith or not is whether you confess Jesus Christ to others. The Christian wants others to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
III. Changes - Take place in the life of the believer.
II Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Someone who is in the faith will have a "new attitude." They will desire to be like Jesus. They will desire the truth of God's Word. The Bible says, "he is a new creature: old things are passed away."
IV. Continue - Will continue with the Lord through their life.
Acts 2:42 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
I John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
V. Communicate - The Gospel to others.
Galatians 2:2 "And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain."
VI. Contend - Contend for the faith.
Jude 3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Someone who is in the faith will contend for the faith. "Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye Soldiers of the Cross!"
Let us examine ourselves and see whether we be in the faith or not!
- Dr. Dan Knickerbocker, Evangelist
Listen to Sunday's Service here:
Psalms 85: 4-7 "Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.  Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?  Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?  Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation."
Most of us know very well that there are only two states of mankind. There are those who are saved, and there are those who are lost. All of humanity falls into one of those of those two categories saved or lost. A good knowledge of the Scriptures will convince us of this absolute division. We will live with the awareness that the whole world is divided and everyone we meet is either on the way to heaven with Christ as their Saviour (John 5:24), or will spend an eternity in the Lake of the fire having rejected Him (Revelation 20: 11-15.)
The Bible also teaches that there are two "classes" of Christians. Here is what Andrew Murray wrote about these two classes in his book, Revival.
"Everywhere in Scripture you will find God speaking of these two levels. The difference can be simply seen around us – between a healthy and sick man. Both are living men, with all the attributes that make up a man. But the one is able to fulfill his duty as a man, and to do so joyfully and successfully; while the other, because he is not well and lacks the needed strength, finds the performance of a duty a burden, if not an impossibility."
He continues on as writes, "Scripture divides Christians into carnal and spiritual – those who remain babes when they ought to be men, and those who have gone into maturity; those who walk after the flesh and those who walk after the spirit; those who live under the law and its bondage and those who live under grace, and the liberty and the joy that is gives. These illustrate the two possible states of believer – living either a feeble, sickly life, or a healthy vigorous one. Once we see this, every command to live up to the privileges of our state, every promise about the full salvation that the Holy Spirit can work, every warning about yielding to self and the flesh becomes a call to us to decide which of the two types of living shall be ours." (Pages 107-108)
There should be no doubt what God's will is for each of our lives. I also hope that you might know that my goal as a "spiritual father" and pastor is to do the same as written by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"
- Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Soul-Winning Principle: The Person
While much more could be said concerning the message that God has given to us to herald, we should venture into the area of the person that communicates this message. Is there anything we need to know about the Soul-Winner?
All throughout God’s Word we can see principles concerning God’s redemptive plan and in Numbers chapter 16 we are presented with a vivid picture of the Soul-Winner.
The chapter starts in verses 1-6 with rebellion. Notice what verses 1-3 tells us about this rebellion:
Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
Though it seems that this group was rebelling against Moses and Aaron, we are told in fact that they had rebelled against the LORD. Moses states this plainly:
“For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?”
And while we shake our heads at the foolishness of this group we cannot excuse ourselves from the truth that man, since the fall in Genesis 3, has been in rebellion against God.
"They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof." Job 24:13 (Compare with John 3:20)
Just like the children of Israel the natural man without Jesus is at enmity with God.
As the passage continues God renders judgment upon this rebellion and in verse 30-32; the wages of sin are paid.
And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
The only ground separating the lost man from eternity is God’s mercy and grace. Just as rebellion was judged then by our Sovereign God, judgment for every person is one breath closer. Those who are lost, without Christ, will face the result of rejecting Jesus Christ; rebellion against God. The pit of judgment could open at any moment. The time is unknown as to when every Soul will be called to account.
Surprisingly, though the same result has been repeated over and over again throughout man’s existence. It is shocking that the next group here in our passage continues down the same path. In verse 41 we see this sad statement:
"But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.”
How can this be that man would continue to walk off the cliff to utter destruction in the same fashion repeating the mistakes of untold numbers before them? And yet it is that all around us, the path of rebellion continues. What can be done? This is where we see this picture of our Great High Priest; our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But also, as ambassadors for the Great King, we see the picture of the Soul-Winner as well.
After the glory of the LORD appeared the LORD makes this statement:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.”
Who will not tremble at the wrath of Almighty God?
Notice the first response of the godly sort. “They fell upon their faces…” More than anything, the Soul-Winner needs to be on their face before God. We must avail ourselves of the throne room of grace beseeching our God for boldness, mercy, and the souls of men. And yet too often we are quicker to take up the censer, having forgotten that the increase comes from God.
Secondly, we find that the godly sort needs two things; fire and incense. The incense and fire from the altar speak of the only atonement that can appease the just and holy judgment of our God. Aaron here typifies both Jesus Christ who “who came into the world to make an atonement for sin and to turn away wrath…” (Matthew Henry) and also the Soul-Winner in delivering the message of Salvation. We as ambassadors, must take the Gospel message of our Lord and Savior; for it is the only option for the rebellious posterity of Adam.
Thirdly, concerning the messenger we must notice the urgency. Verse 46 tells us that Aaron must “go quickly unto the congregation…” Why? Because “the plague has begun.” There is no doubt that sin has destroyed man. The plague is already begun. In fact, we are told explicitly that those who have not accepted Jesus Christ “…the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
Lastly, it is not good enough to pray about it and prepare for the delivery of the message without going. Had Aaron not gone into the midst of the congregation all would be lost. Verse 47 tells us that the we are to go.
“And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation;”
In fact, this last phrase in verse 48 embodies the work of personal evangelism. “And he stood between the dead and the living…” What a powerful truth! Notice the dead are mentioned before the living. Picture Aaron running through the masses with his censer. In front, before him, where the atonement had not been applied we find the dead. Those behind him, saved by offering made unto God, stand the living. Let us take this phrase and not forget about this Soul-Winning principle; the person.
- James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
As born-again believers, we all long to see the Lord’s return; to see Jesus standing on the edge of heaven, calling us all home to forever be with the Lord. And as we walk through this dark and cold wilderness, that promise of the Lord’s appearing warms our hearts and brings peace to our souls. Yet this promise, when held against the backdrop of Christ’s sufferings and sacrifice, is quick to remind us of the multitudes that will perish and be forever lost when that great day is come.
His suffering reminds us of what His Church is to be about; and that is to seek and to save the lost, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), especially as we anticipate the Lord’s imminent return. (Hebrews 10:25).
The Burden that our Savior has for souls has been imparted to every believer, and that burden will naturally find its way into some area of service or work of the same. Jesus is happy to afford His people the opportunity and the occasion to serve Him, and none of us are denied of that blessing. To share with the world what Jesus has shared with you and I is fundamental to our faith. And so, we ask, “Jesus, you gave all, now what can I do?” Well…. have you considered the Bus Ministry?
The Bus Ministry at Sharon Baptist Church is one of those opportunities. It is a blessing that God has graciously granted us. It brings with it all that the Lord would have us to do in fulfilling His Commission to the Church; “to seek and to find”, “to go ye therefore”, “to compel them to come in, that my house may be full.”
When considering all that a Bus Ministry has to offer, you’re hard pressed to find a more effective way of getting the lost to Christ. So often the Bus Ministry is branded as a laborious and arduous work, yet how that work blesses the Lord and how He in turn blesses His Church, far out-shines any difficulties it may endure. The fruit that is born from this Ministry is tremendous and could never be rightly measured on this side of heaven.
Those that are reached through our buses are generally the young and unchurched, and this is where the seeds of the Gospel are more readily received. Consequently, as we plant the good news of Jesus Christ in our coming generations, the principles of sowing and reaping are sure to abound. Thank the Lord that He has purposely provided us a way to reach those that are least likely to be shown the love of God, or get to Church, or to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.
As an example, some boys on our buses got saved not long ago, and as I was getting their information, one of them, a 5th grader, could not give me his last name… He literally didn’t know it. Beloved, this is the world that we live in today. Now ask yourself, how else would they have heard, or where, or when… if at all?
The Blessings of God usually go hand in hand with a hard work, and the Bus Ministry is no stranger to its many forms. Buses are expensive; in fuel, tires, insurance, and in time. It takes a dedicated team of people to move it forward; from the Pastor, to the Director, to the Captain, to the Driver; to helpers and mechanics. There are those that faithfully pray, and generously give, and cook breakfast…Praise the Lord! Yes, it takes a lot to make it go but it’s worth it. The charge of the Bus Ministry demands an incorporation of the Body of Christ like nothing else, and what could be a more satisfying testimony to that Body than to know it is being used of God? My friend there isn’t one!
In Matthew 25:21, Jesus encourages us with these words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” I’m convinced, by witnessing first hand the saving power and life changing influence of the Holy Spirit in this ministry, that our Savior will repeat that verse again and again to the faithful hands that have labored, and do labor, to bring them in.
If you are in search of a place of service, if you desire the blessings of God and want to be a blessing to Him, then I submit to you the Bus Ministry.
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalms 126:6
- Spencer Close, Bus Director, Sharon Baptist Church
Yet another Soul-Winning principle that has great implications for our witness is the message that we are declaring. Why is the message so important? Because Paul tells us “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” If this message is the ‘power of God unto salvation’ we must know what the message is. In our day confusion seems to be the norm when it comes to the message of salvation. Popular thought concerning salvation today says there are many ways to Heaven. However, this leads to confusion in the heart of the individual and also in fact is contrary to the Word of God. Perhaps even worse is the inability of the child of God to communicate the Good News of salvation to someone who is lost. It is therefore critical that every child of God not only understand the Gospel Message, but be able to take a Bible and show someone else ‘the way’ (As it was called in the old days: John 14:6, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23) of salvation.
We first must declare what this message is; the Bible tells us first of all that this message is Good News.
From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve good news following the terrible results sin. In Genesis 3:15 we find:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Though on the surface this does not seem like good news, it in fact is. “Her seed,” spoken of here, is a reference to the enmity between man and the evil one. But certainly is a reference to the future when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would crush the head of the serpent, triumphing over our Adversary; that ‘old serpent’ (Revelation 12:9, 20:2) the Devil.
Moving forward in the Bible to Genesis 13 we find further these words spoken to Abraham:
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
‘All families of the earth’ are certainly blessed in Abraham by the coming of Jesus Christ. Our Savior Jesus Christ was in fact of the lineage of Abraham (Matthew 1:1); Him being all God and yet all Man.
And finally, as we come to Luke 2:10,11 where the Bible declares this from a heavenly messenger:
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy [or we could say, Good News], which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
The message we bring to this world is certainly good news. And this good news is Jesus Christ. To speak of any message that is devoid of Jesus Christ is no good message at all because the Bible shows that Jesus Christ is the good news. In fact, any so-called ‘gospel’ that does no center around the person and work of Jesus Christ deviates from what God’s Word teaches.
What about Jesus Christ makes this good news? We are told that our Savior came from Heaven to earth; was God in the flesh (incarnate); lived among us; died on a cross paying the sin debt for you and I; rose from the grave after three days and ascended back to Heaven victorious. Take note of the following verse:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Paul declares that this good news message is wrapped up in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But why did He die, why was He buried and why did He rise from the grave?
This is where the good news is applicable to those who are lost. Isaiah 53:5 gives us a good indication of why He died. “But he (speaking of Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” All of these phrases vividly speak of the suffering atonement that Jesus Christ made for us. The why is explained in the fact that we have transgressed, we have committed iniquity. This good news at first starts out with bad news. The bad news is that we have a problem that could not be dealt with otherwise. Peter in his first epistle explains it this way, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24) This problem originates for man all the way back in the third chapter of Genesis where we saw the first indication of Good News! He died, was buried but then we understand he rose from the grave. Romans 4:25 tells us why His resurrection is significant to the message. It states that Jesus Christ, “…was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” By His resurrection we see His work completed and accepted of the Father. We also understand that we who by faith accept God’s gift of salvation are justified or declared righteous by His resurrection. And lastly by his resurrection we have a lively hope according to I Peter 1:3!
So, we understand the message is the Good News, secondly, we understand the Good News is Jesus Christ, but lastly what are we to communicate to others on how to respond to this message.
The Response to the Message
We can sum it up as it is put in Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This message of Good News should draw men to repentance and a decision of faith or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is the prime mover of the heart, that God loves us so much, He sent His Son to be the payment (propitiation) for our sin who accomplished just that by His death, burial and resurrection. How can one accept this gift of salvation? By calling upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13). The heart expression of faith towards Jesus Christ. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10: 9-11)
Let us be good students of the Good News to communicate to others what we have already found!
- Pastor James, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
.It is no secret that we have been called to witness to others. Further it is no secret that it is a command from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many times, we focus on this fact in our efforts to rally more folks to come out to Soul-Winning and be a witness in their day to day lives. Obedience certainly is a key aspect in Soul-Winning, but oftentimes we do not stress enough the results of obedience.
In John 12:23-26 Jesus gives us a clear indication of this principle in light of his impending crucifixion.
John 12: 23-26
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Several items could be noted by this passage:
1. Abundance (fruit-bearing) comes from a sacrificed life.
Of course, we understand the immediate implication of this passage is our Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection. This is clear when He states in the first verse “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” But the truth is enlarged by Jesus Himself as the passage continues. In verse 26 we should mark the phrase, “If any man serve me, let him follow me;” Just as Jesus gave his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45), we too, if we are to be fruitful, must live a life sacrificed unto God. Herein we are given the great picture of fruit bearing. A seed that is unplanted, not buried in the ground, will produce no fruit whatsoever. But rather a seed must be planted in the ground; it must die and become food for the fruit vine that comes up out of it. This is certainly what Paul portrays to us in Galatians 2:20 when he states, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
a. The abundant Christian life is not a selfish life.
b. The abundant Christian life is a selfless life.
John Phillips in looking at this passage puts it this way, “It is possible to have a saved soul and a lost life.” (John Phillips) What a tremendous statement. Oliver B. Greene in looking at this passage states this as well, “He who loves his life, he who thinks more of life in this world than he thinks of the life to come, shall LOSE that which is the best part of his life-the inner man , the soul that will never die.” (Oliver B Greene)
So we can understand, fruit-bearing abundance comes from a sacrificed life, but secondly:
2. Loss according to the World is gain for the Christian.
Notice in verse 25 that the Lord gives us a paradox.
v25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
Seemingly on the surface this statement makes absolutely no sense because Man reasons in the opposite direction. This is portrayed for us in the philosophy of the Epicureans in Acts chapter 17 (Acts 17:18) whose worldly mantra was simply materialism.
Epicurus, the founder of Epicureanism stated this:
“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
“It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.”
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the other hand teaches us something that is vastly different.
a. Man’s grasp on self ----will end up in loss.
This 'self' life is the life that is concerned for the things that this world has to offer. This 'self' life is grasping for that which is only temporal to obtain joy. This kind of life will end up in loss. But on the positive side:
b. Man’s grasp on obedience (to Jesus Christ) -----will end up in reward.
II Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
So far we understand that abundance comes from a sacrificed life, and loss according to this world is gain for the Christian, but lastly:
3. Obedience Results in Joy.
Consider the following verses:
I Chronicles 29:9 “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”
A few verses later David states, “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” I Chronicles 29:17
The people had great joy because they obeyed in giving generously to the building of the temple which Solomon would accomplish.
In the days of Hezekiah, a move was made by that godly king to be in obedience to God by keeping the feast of Unleavened Bread (II Chronicles 30:21)
And in II Chronicles 30: 26,27 the Bible says, “So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.”
In Ezra 3:12 because of the rebuilding of the Temple God's Word states, “many shouted aloud for joy:”
God laid on the heart of Nehemiah to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah chapter 12 we have this verse spoken of concerning the obedience of those that returned with him:
“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” Nehemiah 12:43
The psalmist tells us, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
Psalm 126: 5,6 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Proverbs 15:21 (Speaking of the shallowness of worldly joy)
“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.”
Proverbs 21:15 “It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”
The truth is we could continue our trek through God's Word and see example after example where obedience and joy in the life of a Christian are connected. Getting back to our passage in John the Lord continues and tells us first:
a. One who serves, must follow.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me”
We cannot stress enough the connection between lip service and feet service. One who is a disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is following Jesus Christ not only in speech but in action as well.
So one who 'serves,' must follow but that simply means:
b. One who follows, obeys.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me”
Following is obedience. So putting this all together up to this point shows us that one who 'serves" must follow and if they are following really that means they are obedient.
Well what is one of the results of obedience?
c. The servant of Christ is in the presence of Christ.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be:”
One might say, am I not always in the presence of God whether being obedient or not? And physically speaking yes. God is omnipresent and therefore physically speaking we are never closer or farther away from God at any point. We also have the promise in God's Word which tells us He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But in terms of fellowship we are hindered in our disobedience.
I John 1:6,7 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
Yes of course it is true that we will ultimately be in heaven with Jesus Christ one day for those who are saved, but why not enjoy His the presence of Christ right now?
That of course leads us to the last statement which is:
d. The servant of Christ will have Joy.
v26 “if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
The most miserable Christian in the world is one who is disobedient to God. Dr. Clarence Sexton makes this cautioning statement concerning our service to the Lord, “Making service the goal leads to the belief that we can never do enough.”
But let me add to that with this statement: when we are obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have great joy!
Why is it that most Christians seem to look at the Christian life as an enormous burden?
Why is it that Soul-Winning is considered something we have to do rather than something we get to do? Perhaps it is because some have never experienced the joy of being obedient to the Lord.
Not one time have I come back from Soul-Winning and said, “Boy I wish I had never done that!”
- Pastor James, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Throughout the course of this year, we will endeavor to look at some Soul-Winning principles. A principle can be defined as the “Ground; foundation; that which supports an assertion, an action, or a series of actions or of reasoning. On what principle can this be affirmed or denied? He justifies his proceedings on the principle of expedience or necessity. He reasons on sound principles.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) As the last part of this definition states our goal will be to reason based on God’s Word. The application then would be that these principles ought to produce a change in our actions. Therefore, from God’s Word we can glean principles and from those principles we can apply actions which should affect our daily living.
With that introduction in mind, we will look at the first principle in this series of posts which is 'The Principle of Time'. Time of course is a commodity that God’s has given to man. No one has an indefinite amount of time living on this earth. The Bible is clear that our temporal bodies are destined for corruption because of sin.
In Genesis 3:19 God makes this declaration in judgement toward man because of sin:
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
We know from Psalm 90 that in general, our time is limited to threescore and ten years (70) or potentially fourscore years (80)(Psalm 90:10). Of course, there are folks that live well beyond eighty years old and there are folks that have much less than time than seventy years. But Psalm 90 emphatically tells us that our time is limited. Because of that fact, we are exhorted to redeem the time that God has given to us. That word redeem simply means “To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage…” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) In that same passage in Ephesians (Ephesians 5:16), the Bible alludes to the passing of time telling us “the days are evil.” Meaning that, the natural course of this world around us will present “allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin.” (Albert Barnes) So, what does this have to do with Soul-Winning?
1. Soul-Winning takes time.
Personal evangelism requires an effort from the individual. That effort requires time. In John 4, toward the middle of that chapter, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had just finished dealing with the Samaritan women and now was dealing with the crowds of people that were affected by the women’s testimony of Jesus.
Notice the words of our Savior concerning time:
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."
The contrast that is made here is between the prevailing rationale of the day concerning the harvest. In the example given by the Savior, worldly wisdom would tell them that the harvest is down the road, so now is not the time to worry about reaping. In other words, we could put it this way, “Soul-Winning can wait for another day, maybe then the harvest will come.” “Soul-Winning can wait because I have more important things to do with my time.” But the Lord says, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” [Emphasis Mine] In other words, the time is now!
He goes on to state, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”
Notice the action verbs used:
Reapeth – to reap takes time.
Gathereth – to gather takes time.
Soweth – to sow takes time.
Laboured – Labor, signifies time spent.
Each one of these actions signifies time spent. Realize further Jesus tells us that the harvest requires labour, and labour my friend requires time. A good example would be this:
Suppose I am a farmer desiring to have a bumper crop of corn this year. And yet every day I look out the window imaging what that crop might look like. Now I never go outside into the field to prepare the soil. I never take time to sow any seed. I just know that if I prepare the soil and plant the seed it will at the minimum produce some. Suppose you come in and see me sitting down watching television and ask me, “Aren’t you going to go out and plant the field so you receive a harvest.” And I reply, “I do not have the time to go out today, perhaps we will have a harvest anyways.”
What a foolish use of time that would be. To know and understand and yet not apply the principle of time to our Soul-Winning efforts. You see Ephesians 5:17 tells us in lieu of redeeming the time, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” In other words, the command to spread the Gospel [God’s Will] should permeate the use of our time, otherwise we are being unwise with what God has given to us.
2. The more time we spend Soul-Winning, the more results.
Now we cannot state that we will always see the results of our time spent immediately Soul-Winning, but we can say dogmatically that the more time we spend casting seed and reaping the more of a harvest there will be. Galatians 6 tells us that we can expect to reap what we sow. Not only that, but how much we sow will determine what we reap as well. The good news/bad news is, depending on what you are sowing, that you will always reap more than you sow. (Hosea 8:7) Meaning for example: one tomato seed produces more than one tomato. But there is something else to note as well. It takes time to sow. Therefore, the more we sow the Word of God, the more we can expect to see a bigger harvest.
Galatians 6:7,8 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
In II Corinthians Paul speaks on this same law of sowing and reaping, though contextually he is talking about giving, he states, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” Even though the context of this chapter is giving the law of sowing and reaping has much broader application.
We can then expect if we spend little time telling people about Salvation through our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ, we can count on seeing few people get saved.
3. Our time is limited.
Having already established this point indirectly at the beginning, all of us have limited time to sow and reap. There are approximately 525,600 minutes in a 365 - day calendar year. Using myself as an example I have spent 21,020,000,000 (21 billion minutes of my life already; 40 years). That is a lot of time I cannot get back. And further, that is half of the allotted time I have generally speaking according to Psalm 90.
On average if I were to spend 1 hour of Soul-Winning a week, I would spend 3120 minutes this year Soul-Winning out of that 525,600 minutes. That is approximately less than 1% (.005936) of the time the Lord would allow me to have this year. What a shame it is to understand that knowing God’s Will, we would allot less than 1% of that time to share the Gospel with others. (By the way, it is difficult to even get folks to commit that 1/2%. Oh my, I pray the Lord will help us to understand this important truth this year!)
- Pastor James, Sharon Baptist Church, Community Outreach Pastor
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
Showing People the Way to God
- Personal Evangelism
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