The sin of Phariseeism! Every once in a while, I preach or teach on this subject because it's a sin that remains a problem in our church. Phariseeism! You will not find that word in your dictionary because it's one that is used within mostly in our fundamental churches. Liberal churches don't have a problem with it because there isn't a faithfulness to the Scripture and every one does that which is "right in his own eyes." Even though it does show up occasionally in other churches, Phariseeism as a rule is a fundamentalism problem!
I have often said and I will repeat it again, that knowledge without compassion or love is a dangerous thing! With great knowledge comes great responsibility and that responsibility includes our relationship not only with the world, but with each other.
The key verse of Romans 14 is vs)12 where it is written, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." God requires a personal accounting at the Judgment Seat of Christ and that concern us. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for standards and holy living. I believe that it's the obligation of every believer to be different when it comes to the standards set by the world. We will all give an account for the knowledge that we have and our testimony of the grace of God in this world, but this will be a personal accounting to God not to man!
I want to call your attention to vs)10 of Romans 14. The verse actually speaks of judgments being made by both the pharisaical brother and the brother that claims liberty in grace. The more "liberal" brother can look down on the "pharisaical" brother and be just as wrong in his judgments. Words such as "legalists" are often used to justify their loose standard of living. Romans 15:1 says, "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." This verse speaks of the "brother at liberty" as the strong one.
When studying chapter 14, it immediately becomes obvious that the "weak" brother is the one who "eateth herbs." I am not against a vegetarian who does so by personal preference. In the American Indian vocabulary, a vegetarian is one who does not know how to hunt! By "eateth herbs," the Holy Ghost is speaking of one who abstains from meats because of religious conviction. You can live on the Hallelujah Diet as far as I am concerned and be right with God. But you can also live on a Hog Diet like the rest of us and still be right with God. Although, you may see God a little sooner!
Colossians 2: 20-23 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
The "Eye of the Pharisee" is found in vs)10. He is characterized by the judgment of others. The Bible teaches self-judgment! I can preach on not judging one another until I am blue in the face and the problem continues because the Pharisee can only see through the "Eye of the Pharisee!"
1 Corinthians 11:31 "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."
Matthew 23:4 "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
John 9: 39 -41 "And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.  And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." Our Lord condemned Phariseeism!
Please take the time to read these five reasons we should not have the "Eye of the Pharisee."
1. Phariseeism Violates The Fellowship Of Believers (Romans 14: 3-4)
When believers argue their "convictions" and "preferences," it's just that: an argument! What I stand for is between the Lord and I! What you stand for is between the Lord and you! When what we stand for becomes an issue between you and me, it divides the fellowship of the church.
2. Phariseeism Withstands The Man Of God
Acts 15:1-2, 5 "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
The enemy of Christ was the Pharisee! Even God’s man cannot withstand the scrutiny of the "letter of the law," just like no one else can. They will hold him to a standard that no man can attain or they will hold him to "their" standard that even they cannot always live up to. Pharisees are not followers, they are leaders. They must have followers in order to lead! Pharisees are not students, they are teachers. They must have students in order to teach! Pharisees are not edifiers, they are destroyers!
3. Phariseeism Is Detrimental To Evangelism
Matthew 23:13 "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
The Lord called the Pharisees "hypocrites." Have you ever heard the lost say that they would not come to church and sit on the pews with all of those hypocrites? Most of the time, their claims are unjust but, on occasion, they are right! The lost hear what the Pharisee says and then see how the Pharisee acts and reacts! How many times have I heard of people who have said, "I will never come to your church as long as so-in-so is there!" Or, "If he she is a Christian, I don't want to be one." How about this one. "If they are going to Heaven, I don't want to go there." Or maybe this "If that's the way their God is, then I don't want their God."
4. Phariseeism Drives Away The New Families And New Believers
Matthew 23:15 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."
Pharisees automatically migrate to new blood. They are proselyters! Grace teaches the new converts while Phariseeism chastises them! It's not that they don't want to get right with God. God is merciful, compassionate, longsuffering, and gentle with the new believer. They leave because they can't live up to the standards and expectations of the Pharisee. I am still glad that, when I was newly saved, people let God work in my heart as I heard the Word of God preached. God grew me at His pace and His way was perfect!
2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
5. Phariseeism Eventually Destroys the Pharisee!
Luke 11:52 "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."
A key is made to unlock a door. Grace is the key that unlocks the door to the believer. Grace brings both love and liberty to the believer and is the key to holy living.
Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;"
I am so glad that I was saved by grace! I am so glad that I am being taught by grace!
Beware of becoming pharisaical! All of us have that potential! Pharisees not only destroy those around them, but eventually destroy themselves because they cannot live up to the letter of the law!
We want to have a good, separated church. We want to have a loving, kind church. I believe that God can reconcile these two positions. The key to holy living is not standards set, but seeing God’s people fall in love with Him!
"Be the Church"
- Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Perhaps one of the greatest pitfalls in the Christian life is when we deceive our own selves into thinking everything is ok. It is one thing to be living contrary to our Savior and know it, but it is entirely a different thing to think everything is ok when in fact it is not.
When we come to the book of Jeremiah, we are reminded of the deceitfulness of sin. The book of Jeremiah is perhaps one of the most shocking and sobering books in the Old Testament. Because we have the Word of God and are looking back into history, we can easily see the folly in the decisions that the people of Jerusalem made. We can also see the deception that was believed by the people of Jerusalem. They certainly experienced a bitter end as they were swept off into captivity. As we look at just a few verses our eyes should be enlightened as we discover the truth that they were blinded and deceived thinking there was peace.
Consider the following verses from Jeremiah chapter 6:
"Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets. To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 6: 8-15)
Please make note of the specific phrase in verse number 14, the Bible says that the message of the day was “Peace, Peace.” In the ears of the people they thought, “everything is going to be okay.” “God certainly would not bring destruction upon this place, this is Jerusalem, the privileged city of God.”
At the beginning of these few verses God is calling to His people with this simple thought:
Be thou instructed
We would do well to make note of these three words, “Be thou instructed…” Those words should resound in our hearts every time we pick up the Word of God. When we enter into the church house we should come in with the desire to “Be thou instructed…” When we are around the spiritually mature our motto should be, “Be thou instructed…” When our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ speaks we ought to say within ourselves “Be thou instructed…” Unfortunately, too often in our day we reject being instructed. We reject the Word of God. we reject the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. We reject the counsel of men and women of God, that our Lord has placed in our lives. The truth is we allow everything else to instruct us, rather than the Lord. We look to the television and are instructed of it. We look to google and are instructed of it. We look to Social Media and allow it to instruct us. It is no wonder that our spiritual eyesight is dim.
In our passage Jerusalem, the great city of our great God allowed themselves not to be instructed by God, but rather were deceived by false teachers. They readily received what was palatable to their itching ears. “Peace, peace” is what they heard.
If we are to avoid this pitfall we must not only be prepared to be instructed, but we must then listen to the instruction.
Notice as the passage continues we find these words:
“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.”
This question should alert us to the truth that our Lord desires us to be warned. Jesus made this statement in Matthew 23:37 as He looked upon His own precious people:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Perhaps this same question is being spoken to us today, “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear?” The indication is by the context of this passage, that nobody was listening. Though God sent Jeremiah to testify, ‘their ears were uncircumcised’ and ‘they could not listen.’
Why could they not hear the pleading of their God? Why were they deceived with the false message of “Peace, Peace!”? The sad comment and answer to the question is given in the latter part of the verse:
“…the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach they have no delight in it.”
A reproach and no delight. When they heard the message, they decided not to yield to the Lord. They heard the message with contempt. They rejected the ‘hard’ sayings. One commentator said this, “they reproached it, and blasphemed it, as a novel and false doctrine, and thought it a dishonour to them to receive and profess it; and just so the Jews vilified the Gospel, in the times of Christ and his apostles; and as many do now, who treat it with contempt, as unworthy of God, as contrary to reason, as opening a door to licentiousness, and think it a scandal to preach or profess it:” (John Gill)
Those two vividly descriptive words ought not to be in our vocabulary when the Lord speaks to us. Rather we should hear and accept what God is teaching us. We should yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit as He makes application of God’s Word in our lives.
So simply put, Hear the warning.
When we refuse to listen we willfully stop our ears and therefore we “cannot hearken.” So often it is that until people are willing to hear, they cannot and will not hearken. All of the wisdom of God spoken with great oratory will do nothing until we ‘hear’ willfully. Such was the case with Jerusalem, they rejected Jeremiah’s delivering of the message of God, and chose rather to be deceived.
The Bible plainly declares the turning point in one word in verse 11, “Therefore…” The next few verses catalogue for us the list of frightening judgments that the Lord would “pour” out upon the people. None were exempt for it states, “from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.” (v.13) Yet they said, “Peace, peace.”
So much could be gleaned from this rich passage in Jeremiah chapter 6, but what application can you and I see from these few verses:
1. Be Thou Instructed – Have a willing heart to be instructed by God. (God has given us His Word, the Holy Spirit, and teachers/preachers for our instruction. We would do wise to have a heart that is willing to be instructed. In the Bible, people were often called, stiff-necked and hard-hearted who were not willing to be instructed.)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7
2. Hear The Warning – Perhaps you have received warning from one of the biblical avenues listed above: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, a teacher/preacher (a spiritually mature man or woman of God). We would do well to hear the warning. This is not just a willingness to be instructed, but the actual reception of instruction. Remember the earlier verse:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” – Matthew 23:37
This verse tells us “prophets” were sent. Not just once, nor twice, but the Word of God is littered with evidence that God repeated over and over again the message of warning. He is doing the same for you and I today in His mercy and grace. If you are being warned of God over and over again concerning the same area of your life, and it lines up with the Word of God, it would be foolish to disregard the warning.
3. True Peace Can Only Come With A Right Relationship and Fellowship with God.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
Peace with God comes first when we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Before one can have any peace with God at all, they must repent of their sin and trust in Jesus as their Saviour. Agree with God that you have missed the mark, and ask Jesus to save you. Jesus paid for your sin. He was crucified, He died, and rose from the grave victorious. The Bible plainly declares, “repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21) “….the word of faith, which we preach;…” (Romans 10:8b) is this, “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)That is believing on Jesus Christ for salvation. Until that takes place in your life, you can say “Peace, peace” all you want, and yet there is no peace.
Secondly, for those who have trusted in Jesus as their Saviour ask the Lord is their truly “peace” in terms of your fellowship with Him? Is there something that you are failing to be instructed in? Is there a warning that you are ignoring? Surely, our Lord and Saviour desires us not to be deceived with a false message of “Peace, peace” when there is no peace.
- Pastor James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
What is it that allows us to labour with God in ministering to people? What makes the Christians different from the lost world? What evidence is there that God is with us? All of these questions should cause the faithful minister of Christ to contemplate the title of this post, "Having Power with God." In Exodus chapter 33 we are given some insight to this very subject. In this chapter we find this great leader, Moses, who was certainly called by God and is seen here in the most fascinating and enlightening discourse one can find in the Old Testament. This passage gives rise to our understanding as to how we can have power with God to minister to others. Oftentimes it is that we minister to others in the strength of our flesh rather than the strength of the Lord. This is done not purposely or even maliciously, but takes place because we have failed in the first things that Moses exemplifies in this passage.
Take note of the following passage and in particular the phrases that are highlighted.
Exodus 33: 7-17
"And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name."
Please make note of a few items with me:
1. Moses' entering into the tabernacle.
Verse 8 tells us "the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle." Then in verse 9 the Bible continues "And it came to pass as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended."
There is something very rich and vital we see here in these two verses. Something that is oftentimes overlooked but notice repeatedly it is said 'Moses went and entered into the tabernacle." What was the tabernacle? What was this place? It was the prescribed place where Moses was to meet with God. This tabernacle though temporary and outside the camp because of the people's disobedience was the meeting place with God.
Notice Moses went there. (v7)
Notice it was a place set aside. (v7)
Notice it was separated from everything else. (v7)
Notice that the people saw his actions. (v8)
This is the first great characteristic of someone who has power with God, they go to the place set aside to meet with God. They go to the place set apart from everything else. The quiet place, the place where it is just them and God. They come away with a glow on thier faces because they have seen the glory of God. Moses purposed to go there. the Bible says "everyone which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp."
We are only told in this passage of two particular folks that went out to the tabernacle. No doubt there were many others that went there seeking the LORD. Moses and Joshua are certainly shown to have spent much time there! Do you understand that Moses had to purpose in himself to enter into this place? He had a desire to meet with God and actually set apart to do so! God help us to be with him apart, in the separated place.
Well to have power with God we must 'go to the tabernacle." Secondly please note:
2. Moses' communion with God
We see first of all the interaction that took place.
v9 "And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses."
In verse 9 we are told that God spoke to Moses. "...and the LORD talked with Moses." But then also in verse 12 we are told the Moses spoke to God. "And Moses said unto the LORD..." There was true communion and fellowship taking place. God was speaking to man and man was speaking to God. The passage goes on to explain that this was no cold, empty, heartless time but rather it was a sweet communion that took place. Notice the language of the Bible in verse 11, "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...." What a marvelous statement this is! Think about it for a minute, God speaking to Moses in such familiarity. By the way this phrase 'as a man speaketh unto his friend...' in no way is meant to bring down the Holiness of God to the level of man, but rather denotes an intimate fellowship between God and Moses. Oh how God loves us so much to stoop down to converse with us!
How true it is that we must go to the tabernacle to meet with God and also we must commune with God! These things are required to have power with God. There is no way around it, if we are going to minister in the power of the Spirit of God, we must be with Him!
So far we have Moses' entering into the tabernacle, Moses' communion with God, and thirdly we see:
3. Moses' search to know God
Moses' relationship as a child of God is explicit in this passage. As Moses talks with God he mentions a vital phrase that we should take note of, "And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight." This particular phrase that Moses repeats as being God's Word concerning him tells us his relationship to God had already been established. In Galatians 4: 8,9 we find these similar words, "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" Those Galatian believers could say they were "known of God..." How? They were known as His children. Much the same, Moses could not have power with God without being a child of God, but God knew him by name! Praise the Lord for that! Because of this Moses' response to know God is manifested. In verse 13 we find these words Moses speaking, "Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people." At the top of the list, in this sweet communion time was a desire to know God! Oh how fruitless our time is reading God's Word if we are not endeavoring and desiring to know Him! Paul expressed this similar life goal in Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" In this glorious verse in Philippians Paul emphatically says he desires to intimately know our Lord Jesus Christ is every possible way. Moses requests from God the same, "shew me now thy way, that I may know thee..."
Well lastly we find this great truth concerning having power with God:
4. Moses' labor depended upon God's presence
God's response to Moses' request is very telling. God states, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Notice particularly the last phrase 'I will give thee rest'. As we think upon what transpired after this moment, it seems there was anything but rest! This really was the beginning of a long journey for the children of Israel. What is meant by rest here was conquering the promised land. As it was then, so it is today, that the victorious Christian life is a life of conquest. But the rest is found in God's abiding presence and power to be victorious. One commentator put it this way, "not ease, and peace and tranquility of mind, or a freedom from the fear of enemies and all dangers by them, much less rest in the grace...but rather the promised land itself..." This speaks to the verse much quoted from the book of Philippians which states, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians4 4:13) The real emphasis of this verse is not on the doing of all things, but rather on the "through Christ which strengthenth me." You cannot have the all things without the victorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
As we close Moses' response should be written on the epitaph of our hearts, "And he [Moses] said unto him, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." What a powerful statement! Moses here is not signaling a lack faith but rather confirming God's promise. He states "its not even worth doing without you!" Oh that we would have such a heart and tell our Lord these very words.
We must be with Him, commune with Him, and be transformed by Him before we can do anything for Him. This is especially true of the greatest labour that God has for us, that of personal evangelism!
- Pastor James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
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 have 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 the individuals soul liberty should dictate our dress standard for both men and women. I believe the principles 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 is 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
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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