Everybody will agree there is a difference between ministry to
human need and ministry to the Lord. And I think everybody can see
that where priorities are named in God’s book He puts the priority on
ministry to Himself. But I submit that we are always hanging our body
on the opposite. Why do some Christians get a sense of defeat in their
life? Because they think they are letting down in their visible outer
I seldom see a Christian in a state of defeat where I cannot trace
the root to a pressure that has dominated the Christian world for years:
success is judged by that which you can quantify in the outer court. How
is an evangelist judged? By the number that he leads into repentance, the
number that he leads into dedication. How is a pastor judged? By the
number he leads into repentance, the number he leads into dedication: the
ministry to human need. When people grow old they begin to feel they
no longer have a place in the program of God. You trace it to the root.
They no longer have the strength to perform in the outer court, and it is
that pressure on them to get the work done from daylight to dark in the
outer court that is pressing in on them.
June 22, 2014
Everybody will agree there is a difference between ministry to
March 9, 2014
Now I have been teaching elementary grace, that God takes the
initiative when He calls anyone; we all know that. Do we? God is
speaking to every person here. Nobody is listening by accident.
Elementary grace: that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of
God; Being justified freely by his grace….” (Romans 3:23-24) We all
begin as sinners. We learn to memorize routine phrases. We get down
on our knees, and we say, because we learn it by rote, “If we confess our
sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” (1 John 1:9) And
because of some crammed-in theological creed we say, “Yes, I am a
sinner and I confess it.”
You don’t have to tell me and you don’t have to tell your neighbor, but way down in your secret heart, are you feeling you are a shameful thing? Do you feel a little unworthy? If you do, then this message can speak to you.
You have heard me discourse on sin. I have heard everything
called “sin,” from automobiles to the color or lack of it on your face, to
the length of your hair, to whether jewelry touches your skin or doesn’t
touch it. If somebody wants to corner me on the subject of sin, I am
going to start cataloguing the verses: Proverbs 6, six things God hates,
“seven are an abomination unto him.” Do you know what the seventh is?
“Sowing discord among the brethren.” Ephesians 4 speaks of things that
will grieve the Spirit away from you. You can read it; get yourself a
Bible dictionary, diagram the sentences. The opening of Ephesians 5 also
speaks of things that will grieve the Spirit away from you. Galatians 5
speaks of the “lusts of the flesh.” Now, that word lust takes on a lot of
drama in the modern world; but when they wrote the King James
Version, it simply translated a Greek word that means desire. The
“desires of the flesh” are contrasted with the “fruit of the Spirit.”
Romans 1 and 2, which we have already referenced, speak of
things that will, if you persist in them, result in God turning you over to
a strong delusion: you will believe a lie and be damned. Read
Colossians 3. Run the cross-references. There are things in God’s book
that He is forever against. I just named one of them: “sowing discord
among the brethren.” “Well, that applies to everybody but me, because I
tithe and I am like the Pharisees…” who do certain things but neglect the
January 6, 2014
God has not changed; the devil has not changed; man has not changed. God changes not. He still calls, He still leads. He still demands availability, symbolized by the tent. He still demands sacrifice and death to what I want, symbolized by the altar; but He is still a God of promise.
The devil has not changed: he will still try to break us down. And man hasn’t changed: we’ll still have our failures as well as our successes.
But wherever you are on your journey now, God’s Word claims the promise in Christ for you: “Lift up now thine eyes.” From where? Wherever you are.
Where art thou? In your sin? Let’s address that one first. There are sinners gathered together here in church on Sunday morning. We are all sinners saved by grace, but there are those who are forever kept away from God by some warped idea that when they come to God, they must be able to live a perfect life. Or when they finally decide to come to God, they think that they are going to straighten themselves out sufficiently that He will get a little better performance from them than what they think they are worth right now. “From the place where thou art, lift up now thine eyes.” The promise of the Lord is “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
November 10, 2013
“It came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the L ORD hath sent me to Bethel.”
That was the first time he said it. Elijah, the type of the Master, said to Elisha, “Tarry here,” don’t go with me, “for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him,” second time now, “Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee.”
They had departed from Gilgal, and Elijah said, “Wait there. I’m going to Bethel.” Elisha said, “No, I’m going with you.” At Bethel, Elijah said, “Wait here, I’m going to Jericho.” Elisha said no , “As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho”; there sure are a lot of those fellows everywhere you go! “And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LoRD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” Now, that is a jumping off place. “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry…here.” For the third time, notice the repetition, the master says, “Tarry,” don’t go with me, “I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” Now watch a word crop out that wasn’t there before. “And they two,” circle that word, “they two went on.”
September 15, 2013
Does Jesus or God prefer the distressed, discontented, debtors and the have-nots? Some people think that God prefers the ignorant and the have-nots. That’s not true. But what God does want usually eliminates everybody else. It isn’t that God prefers the have-nots: but He prefers something that tends to eliminate everyone but the havenots.
God will have nothing less than all of you: your talents, your gifts…and a part of you is not enough. It is 100 percent. I have said for years, if I could somehow conceive of a Christian commitment that would require only 90 percent of one’s life and let people keep the key to a 10 percent room in their house I could “win more to the Kingdom.”
But Jesus said, He “that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
There are no “volunteers” in the Kingdom. On every level, this is the commitment. It is morally wrong to subject any child in Sunday school to a teacher who thinks he is doing God a favor to teach.
There is no such thing as “your work” and “His work.” You are either His 100 percent or you are not His, and it is all His. You have no family: you raise your family for His glory.
You don’t have a business: you are a steward managing your business for Him. You don’t have a career or a future: you are His to command! There is no church that is mine or yours; it is His.
God will have nothing less than all of you. And that God would take such stuff on which to build His Kingdom as typified in the Adullamites and illustrated in the disciples tells me that it means a lot to Him to have 100 percent. He will start over with such as these, like the parable Jesus told of a certain man who made a great supper and sent nvitations. And all those invited made excuses. One had a wife, another had a yoke of oxen to look at, another had a piece of ground. The man said to his servant, “Bring in the lame and the halt.” (Luke 14:16-24)
When God calls, He wants all of you; that is a serious side of this message.
August 19, 2013
Now for some years there has been the suggestion creeping into the church world that when you get in darkness with no light you must have done something wrong. The suggestion is that if you are in this kind of circumstance, it must mean that you are out of God’s will. It seems like there is a parade of testimonials from people who are forever telling us that when they gave their heart and life to God, everything turned rosy; that when they got into the center of God’s will and quit resisting God, everything turned bright. I am one preacher who says there is a little too much illusionary Christianity being propagated today. This parade creates a momentum: when one says it, another one wants to say it; and that sends out a rosy glow, making people who have not yet moved into the stream of Christianity think that the minute they make that walk down an aisle and give their life to God everything is automatically right thereafter. Not so!
I find Christians all over the world forever being intimidated by that “accuser of the brethren” who says that when things go wrong, “You are out of God’s will.” They are wrong and bad enough in themselves, but he just adds on more weight: “It is happening to you because you did something wrong.” Not so! This kind of circumstance is not happening to you because you did something wrong. To those Christians who have said to me that the sign of being out of God’s will is things going wrong circumstantially in your life, I have oft responded: then all the saints in God’s book were out of God’s will most of the time! The Christian journey is warfare.
July 1, 2013
1 JOHN 2:6: “HE THAT SAITH HE ABIDETH IN HIM ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Hear it again, “He that saith he abideth in him…” and I might say, “Who is among us that saith this?”
We who are filled with the Spirit say that He abides in us because we know the promise that the Spirit comes to abide. In verse 5, John asks a question by implication; and then he answers it in the statement: “hereby know we that we are in him.” How do we know? “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
There is a lot of talk today about spirituality. There are those who point to someone else and say, “He is spiritual” or, “He is not spiritual.” I wonder what these people mean by that word spiritual. Some people think that in order to be spiritual, you have to float 40 feet off the ground and act funny. They relate spirituality to certain kinds of “feeling” phenomena, having not learned to distinguish between “manifestation” and “demonstration.” It is a subtle distinction.
June 2, 2013
As Jochebed to me symbolizes the preserving care and the love of a mother who will never give up in preserving the loved, helpless child, and as Jochebed symbolizes the love of God reaching to the helpless; then Mary, the mother of Jesus, symbolizes the never changing, never deviating, never bending, never wavering, never falling down love of a mother for the rejected one.
Have you ever felt rejected? I have. If you feel rejected today, look at Mary. She did not waver in her love, against every kind of opposition…even her own felt sense of being rejected.
There is another picture here; for at times, we tend to turn off on God and we reject God. But as an earthly mother would not waver in her love, and would be standing there while everyone else rejected Him, God will be standing there too.
November 25, 2012
Nobody is guiltless. So since you are guilty, along with this preacher, how are you going to get over it?
Don’t beat yourself to death because you are anxiously caring about that one little thing. Put something in its place: displacement. “But in every thing...” that is: that one little thing, or those many little things you have been anxiously worrying about. For every single one of the things you have been worrying about, when the worrying pressure comes, you put something else in its place, like a legal cancellation instrument, or like the turning of a valve...on what? “In every thing by prayer,” circle the words, “and supplication.” Circle the word “with thanksgiving.” Circle the word “let your requests be made known unto God.” Those are four separate Greek words. Pastor Scott continues explaining that prayer has to do with worship. It is that word where we express adoration and praise to God. In the midst of my anxious care, I am told what to do when that thought intrudes. Got a pain? “Oh Lord, it’s cancer!” A little indigestion? “Lord, I’m having a heart attack!” Have you ever done that? The minute it comes, instead of running to someone else to spread that refuse of fear, stop! You can’t take the fear away, but you can turn the spigot on something else. And God’s Word says “sacrifice praise.” It is pretty hard to keep worrying if you just turn these lips loose and start praising God.
July 25, 2012
There is a lot of talk today about spirituality. There are those who
point to someone else and say, “He is spiritual” or, “He is not spiritual.”
I wonder what these people mean by that word spiritual. Some people
think that in order to be spiritual, you have to float 40 feet off the ground
and act funny. They relate spirituality to certain kinds of “feeling”
phenomena, having not learned to distinguish between “manifestation”
and “demonstration.” It is a subtle distinction.
When you deal in semantics, you can talk in “reportive” or
commonly agreed upon meanings. Or you can stipulate just about any
meaning you want. I can call a blackboard a “bicycle”; and once I
stipulate that meaning, ever after when I talk about a bicycle I mean
something I am going to write on. Only those who heard the stipulation
know what I am talking about. When you trace many words to their
roots, you come to some common meanings and the word
“demonstration” puts the emphasis on my reactions to reality.
Demonstrations are as different as the multitude of personalities.
I don’t act the same way other people act at a Rose Bowl game, and
some wouldn’t act as I act. Someone might elbow the people sitting
next to him and yell and wave things around and jump and holler. I
don’t give up on football or baseball because of his demonstration; I just
write it off and say, “That’s the way he is.” Other people just sit silent
and boil; it is an inner fire that is flowing. Anytime you encounter
reality, this mechanism is designed to react. My Bible says, speaking of
God, that “in thy presence is fulness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11) Well, that
means that if you are going to encounter ultimate reality, “in whose
presence is fullness of joy,” you have to expect some variety of
reactions and demonstrations.
Again, it is a matter of emphasis: the word manifestation comes
more to the root of revealing that which was not seen. Sometimes God
manifests His presence with either demonstration or non-demonstration;
and once His presence is manifested, there is a spectrum of multiple
demonstrations. None of that defines spirituality, though manifestation
comes closer. Demonstration is not necessarily a mark of spirituality on
the part of the demonstrator.
The way some people approach producing spirituality is like a
farmer who goes out to an apple tree and, shaking the branches, demands
“Now, give me some apples!” They think they can “work it up.” Well, if
it is a good apple tree, it is going to bear good fruit. It is not a good apple
tree just because it shakes when the wind blows: every tree in the yard
shakes when the wind blows. There is nothing special about responding
to ultimate reality: that doesn’t make a good tree. The good apple tree,
because of what it is, produces fruit.
In the New Testament Greek, the literal meaning of spirituality is
“the expressions of the Spirit.” Literally, it is God being Himself through us. It is God having an opportunity in a garment of flesh to be Himself,
the expressions of the Spirit. Pastor Scott continues teach that when Paul speaks to the Corinthian church of their riches in the gifts of the Spirit, he calls them by a word in the Greek from which we get the English word plutocrats: literally, those Corinthians were “overfull.”
I challenge you to diagram the sentences of the Corinthian letter. Never once is there a suggestion by Paul that at any time were these Corinthians having less than a genuine infilling of the Holy Spirit: they were plutocrats in the Spirit.