What To Preach + 11

 

“There are too many people ready to assert their rights who are not ready to assume their responsibilities.”

~ Vance Havner

II Corinthians 4:17: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

In This Edition:

The Reign Of Grace

God Reveals Himself

Our Weakness and God’s Power

Sharing God’s Nature

Administrator’s Note:

A Compelling Reason

Our God: All Sufficient

Bible Test

Strength For The Day

Two Things We Know

When Self-Defense Is A Sin

What to Preach

“Wouldn’t you think that Jesus, with only three years to go, would have visited Rome and Athens, would have sought all available publicity, would have called on celebrities and appeared at forums and symposiums, would have rushed from dawn to midnight, making every moment count, would have held public debates and put on healing exhibitions? Instead, He stayed in an obscure little Roman province, talked with a few individuals, mingled with ordinary people, exasperated His brothers by not performing in Jerusalem. It is all so foreign to our American way of doing things. Maybe we had better learn the gait of Galilee!”

~ Vance Havner

Sea of Galilee, Israel

 

The Reign Of Grace

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

 

It is amazing that God should still send forth the good news of His grace in a world where His Word and will are increasingly despised.

The growing wickedness of “this present evil age,” of course, only emphasizes the true character of grace, for grace is the mercy and love of God toward those who do not deserve it (See Ephesians 2:2-6).

It is interesting to observe that while the four “Gospels” and the Acts take up twice as much space in our Bibles as the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, yet the word “grace,” in the original, appears only 27 times in the “Gospels” and the Acts, while it occurs 107 times in the Pauline epistles: a ratio of 27 to 214 in favor of the Pauline epistles! Furthermore, only a very few times in the “Gospels” and the Acts is the doctrine of grace referred to, while in the Epistles of Paul almost every reference has to do with the doctrine of God’s love and favor to undeserving sinners.

True, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” but it was not manifested at His birth, or even during His earthly life, for He lived and died under the Law (Galatians 4:4,5). As “the law was given by Moses,” not at his birth, nor when a prince in Pharaoh’s court, nor yet when he served with his father-in-law in the desert, nor even when he returned to deliver Israel from Egypt, but years later at Sinai, so “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” not at His birth, nor during His earthly ministry, nor even during His resurrection appearances, but after His ascension to heaven, when He committed the dispensing of it to Paul (Ephesians 3: 1-4).

“Not silver and gold (I Peter 1:18): no amount of redemption money could buy us out of sin’s market, “nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Not flesh and blood: We are born of the Spirit, (John 1:13), and no mere flesh and blood can enter God’s Kingdom. Not by might nor power (Zechariah 4:6): God’s work must be done by God’s people in God’s way by God’s power.”

~ Vance Havner

GOD REVEALS HIMSELF

By A.W. Tozer

 

I often wonder how so many people can live with a continuing hope that they will in some way be able to commune with God through their intellectual capacities. When will they realize that if they could possibly “discover” God they realize that with the intellect, they would be equal to God? Isaiah is a dramatic example of God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Isaiah could have tried for a million years to reach God by means of his intellect. But brainpower is not the means by which we find God! Brethren, it is true that all of us would still be far from God if He had not graciously and in love revealed Himself to us. In the space of a short second of time, the Lord who loves us can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man or woman. It is only then that an Isaiah, or any one of us, can say with humble assurance, “I know Him!” A committed Christian, then, should have upon him an element that is beyond psychology-beyond all natural laws and into spiritual laws!

Verse

I saw also the Lord… then said I, woe is me! for I am undone. Isaiah 6:1, 5

Thought

Brainpower is not the means by which we find God!

Prayer

Lord, I pray that you will continue to help me find you in your own way, because I know that the wisdom of man is foolishness to you.

 

Our Weakness and God’s Power

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

 

When our Lord was on earth He healed great numbers of sick and diseased people. The believers at Pentecost also healed many in the name of Jesus, offering to Israel His return from heaven upon condition of their repentance (Acts 3:19-21).

All those who were healed, however, finally succumbed to physical infirmity or disease again and died after all. This was because the Lord Jesus was rejected as King, not only in His incarnation but also in His resurrection. Romans 8:22,23 declares the result as we see it in our own day:

“…we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit [that is], the redemption of our body.”

But Christians in “this present evil age” often need physical infirmity to draw them closer to God in prayer and faith. Paul himself said:

“…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh… lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me: My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:7-9).

The Apostle’s response to this shows how well he understood that suffering and weakness are an important part of Christian discipline.

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… I take pleasure in infirmities… for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Corinthians 12:9,10).

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a for more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:16,17).

 

 

“Barnabas was the Friend of the Suspected. When the Christians were fearful of Paul, the new convert, Barnabas recommended him to the brethren. When Antioch was moved under the preaching of the gospel, Barnabas was sent to investigate and make sure it was authentic. When Paul was for dropping John Mark as a companion, Barnabas took him and he turned out all right after all. There is a lot of suspicion among the brethren these days and we need more than one Barnabas.”

~ Vance Havner

 

Sharing God’s Nature

By A.W. Tozer

 

Our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own good, “that we may share in His holiness.” God’s motives are always loving! I have known people who seemed to be terrified by God’s loving desire that we should reflect His own holiness and goodness. As God’s faithful children, we should be attracted to holiness, for holiness Godlikeness-likeness to God! God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows. Only God is holy absolutely: all other beings can be holy only in relative degrees. Actually, it is amazing and wonderful that God should promise us the privilege of sharing in His nature. He remembers we were made of dust. So He tells us what is in His being as He thinks of us: “It is My desire that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Me. I want you to be more like Jesus, My eternal Son, every day you live!”

Verse

Precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.2 Peter 1:4

Thought

God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows.

Prayer

Lord, I pray that you will help me to grow in grace today, as you make me more like you.

 

“Our Lord said to Pilate, “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” (John 18:34). Is your knowledge of Jesus Christ second-hand or is it your own? It was said of Thomas Chalmers that he had “an original experience of Jesus Christ.” It is original or nothing. The people of Sychar said to the Samaritan woman, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42).”

~ Vance Havner

 

ADMINISTRATOR’S NOTE: The following is included because I believe it needs to be. I, personally, don’t believe one part of the complete Word of God greater or more important than another. Every word, every jot, every tittle is in the Scriptures as God-breathed with God’s reason. For us. All of it. While the Epistles of Paul are most important and vital in a Christians life, as a one-time Gentile (anyone not born a Jew) the Epistles of Peter are equally important, as are the Epistles of John and James in the complete message and instruction of God for all people. The Apostle Paul was a great man of and for God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and he is the apostle to the Gentiles, the heathen, the non-Jew. His Epistles establish the order of the church and the path of a true believer, and are vital for our spiritual walk pleasing and acceptable unto the Lord — but let us not discount or ignore all the apostles, all the prophets, all of the Holy Bible for our edification, instruction, reproof, chastisement, joy, and growth in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

A Compelling Reason

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

“I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing” (II Corinthians 12:11).

The Apostle Paul did not like to “glory” or boast about his apostleship. He would much rather spend his time teaching the great truths of the Mystery, and the Word of God, rightly divided. However, the immaturity of the Corinthians “compelled” him to such boasting. They were so impressed with the boasting of the “false apostles” (11:13) that Paul was forced to speak to them in the only language they seemed to understand—that of boasting.

Grace believers are often accused of boasting too much about the apostleship of Paul, and to this we plead guilty. We too would much rather spend our time teaching the great truths of the Word of God, rightly divided. However, the sorry state of modern Christianity is such that we too are “compelled” to boast about Paul’s apostleship. The immaturity of contemporary Christianity has caused them to overlook Paul as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), and presents us with a compelling reason to emphasize his apostleship.

Paul found the Corinthian situation especially disappointing, since as he told them, “I ought to have been commended of you.” As the one who had begotten them in the gospel (I Corinthians 4:15), they should have been singing the praises of his apostleship, instead of forcing him to defend it. And so it is today. All who are saved in the dispensation of Grace are saved by grace through faith apart from works (Ephesians 2:8,9), a gospel that is exclusive to the Apostle Paul. And so in a very real sense, all who are saved today are begotten of the Apostle Paul, and should be singing the praises of his apostleship, instead of forcing us to defend it.

The false apostles in Corinth were probably protesting, “Why, Paul isn’t even one of the twelve apostles! We have as much authority as he has!” This forced Paul to declare that he was “not a whit behind” the very chiefest apostles, i.e., James, Peter and John. But if Paul only claimed he wasn’t “behind” the twelve apostles, why do we insist on emphasizing his epistles ahead of the epistles of James, Peter and John?

Ah, Paul’s apostleship was equal to theirs, but he was the apostle of a different group of people. As he told the Galatians, “He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles” (2:8). All state governors are equal in authority; no governor is a whit behind any other. However, if I am wise, I must recognize the authority of the governor of my state. And if we are wise as Christians, we must likewise recognize the authority of “the apostle of the Gentiles.

 

Our God: All Sufficient

By A.W. Tozer

 

Have we modern men and women never given thought or meditation concerning the eternal nature of God? Who are we to imagine that we are “bailing out” the living God when we drop a $10 bill in the Sunday offering plate? Let us thank God for the reality of His causeless existence. Our God only is all sufficient, uncreated, unborn, the living and eternal and self-existent God! I refer often to the great worshiping heart of Frederick William Faber, who in these words celebrated his vision of God’s eternal self-existence: Father! the sweetest, dearest Name, That men or angels know! Fountain of life, that had no fount From which itself could flow. Thy vastness is not young or old, Thy life hath never grown; No time can measure out Thy days, No space can make Thy throne!

Verse

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.Genesis 1:10

Thought

Our God only is all sufficient, uncreated, unborn, the living and eternal and self-existent God!

Prayer

Lord, I do not come close to being able to understand what you are, except that you loved me enough to make me your son, so I call you Father. I fear you as the one and only God.

 

“King Darius leaned over the lion’s den and asked Daniel, “…is thy God…able to deliver thee…?” (Daniel 6:20). An uneasy world wonders today whether the Christians’ God can save us in the hour of trial. Blessed is that man who, though sore beset, can answer, “Yes, He is able to keep what I have committed; able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think; able to make all grace abound; able to succour the tempted; able to save to the uttermost; able to keep us from falling; able to subdue all things unto himself.” And, above Darius, stands our Lord asking, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” If we can reply, “Yea, Lord,” He will answer, “According to your faith be it unto you.” “

~ Vance Havner

 

Bible#99

Bible Test

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

READERS’S PLEASE NOTE — Pastor Stam passed from this fleshly life many years ago, and wrote the following piece well before his earthly death:

 

A Bible test was sprung recently on five classes of college-bound 11th and 12th graders in an American public school.

Some thought Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers; that the Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther and John; that Eve was created from an apple; and that the stories which Jesus told were called parodies.

Eighty to ninety percent of the students could not complete the most familiar quotations from Scripture.

The teacher, Thayer S. Warshaw, was understandably upset and rightly asked: “Is the student to study mythology and Shakespeare and not the Bible? Is it important for him to learn what it means when a man is called an Adonis or a Romeo, yet unimportant for him to be able to tell a Jonah from a Judas?”

This writer’s heart is with that teacher and all who are awake enough to see that the Bible is disappearing more and more from American life. How can we expect anything but juvenile delinquency, the rapid general rise in the crime rate, the growing divorce rate, increasing dishonesty at every level of business and social life — how can we expect anything but these conditions when the Bible is flaunted and despised? This departure from the Word of God is bound to get us deeper and deeper into trouble.

But whatever the conditions about you, you may have the joy and peace and light that comes from that Blessed Book. The Bible tells us frankly that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) since a just God must deal with sin. Ah, but it tells us also that “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3), and that the believer may have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”(Romans 5:1).

Read the Bible, especially the Epistles of Paul, who was raised up to proclaim “the gospel [good news] of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). You will never cease to thank God for having given your attention to this wonderful Book.

 

STRENGTH FOR THE DAY

By Vance Havner

 

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13

As thy days, so shall thy strength be.
Deuteronomy 33:25

Red-letter days and lofty experiences tend to fade. Resolutions, though penned in blood, soon lose their original drive. Spiritual stimulants, like shots in the arm, may serve a purpose, but living by shots in the arm, whether physically or spiritually, is abnormal. The trolley car does not run all day on one big push of power at the start. Its slender arm reaches up and keeps constant contact with the current.

Christ is our strength and He is with us all the days and is ever available. He will not give us tomorrow’s strength today, nor will yesterday’s grace suffice. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” but also sufficient unto the day is the strength thereof with which to meet the evil.

Believe Him for today’s strength today!

 

“A farmer’s clock ran amuck one morning and struck seventeen. The man of the house jumped up and ran all over the place, saying, “Get up, it’s later than it ever has been before!” It is later than it ever has been by God’s eternal timepiece. It is later than you think.”

~ Vance Havner

 

Two Things We Know

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

 

In Romans 8 the Apostle Paul points to two great truths which every true believer knows. The first (Verses 22,23) he knows by experience; the second (Verse 28) he knows by faith.

Romans 8:22,23: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

The words “until now,” in this passage, are significant, for our Lord came to earth healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, making the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to leap for joy. But He was rejected by sinful men and nailed to a cross.

After His resurrection and ascension His persecutors were given another chance, however, as Peter called upon them to repent so that “the times of refreshing” might still “come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19,20). But again the King and His blessed kingdom were rejected so that, in the words of Paul, the whole creation continues to groan and travail in pain “together until now.”

But in this passage the Apostle points out that even God’s children are not exempt from this suffering, for the most sincere believer, the most consecrated saint, must still partake of the sufferings and sorrows of the world while he waits for “the redemption of our body,” when “we shall all be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51).

But while every believer knows about suffering and sorrow by experience, there is something else he knows by faith. Verse 28 speaks of this:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

The true Christian is not a mere optimist; he is a believer in God’s Word, and God has much to say about how He is working all out for the good of His own. We have room here to quote but two passages:

II Corinthians 4:17: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

 

WHEN SELF-DEFENSE IS A SIN

By Vance Havner

 

And he, willing to justify himself, said…
Luke 10:29

Endless are the devices by which we try to justify ourselves. When Samuel faced Saul returning from battle and disobedient to God, Saul tried to argue the case and explain why he had not exterminated the Amalekites as God had commanded. It is a mark of the disobedient heart to defend itself. David, when confronted by Nathan, did not argue, he broke into the penitence of the Fifty-first Psalm. Saul said, “I have sinned,” but true repentance does not substitute sacrifice for obedience. The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. David offered that sacrifice. But Saul tried to substitute a burnt-offering.

When the voice of God confronts you with your sin, do not offer God an argument. You cannot justify yourself, anyway. One could finish the text above with dozens of alibis men offer to explain themselves. But when a man really does business with God all arguments and excuses are forgotten in the honest confession, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” God justifies freely by His grace, and we are “just-as-if-we’d-never-sinned.”

 

WHAT TO PREACH

By Vance Havner

 

We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
II Corinthians 4:5

Here is proper orientation for a preacher. He is not to preach himself, his experience, his ideas, his pet themes. The pulpit is no sounding board for a man. He is to preach “Christ Jesus as Lord,” the threefold Name so often set forth in Scripture – Messiah, Mediator, Master. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

It is a ministry of “Not I but Christ.” Where does the preacher come in? “Ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Not just servants, period. We are not to be glorified flunkeys waiting on fussy church members. Only that service which is for His sake counts. A lot of things we do and a lot of things people demand are not for Jesus’ sake.

But He is the subject of preaching and we are servants. Woe to the man who would make himself the subject and Christ a servant to advance his own ministry!

What to preach? Here is the answer to the old, old question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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