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
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 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.
November 17, 2010
By the way, the ones who made the attack were the Pharisees. It’s always those people coming and saying, “But, your disciples, what are they doing?” Jesus says, “They’re hungry.” And please let me have a little liberty. He didn’t say this, but in essence, “I’m the Lord of the rules.” He let them do it. So now if we’re going to talk about keeping the sabbath, Jesus broke that one right there. And He did it not just in one place; He did it in many places. And He healed a woman, same thing. We have that passage about healing a woman that occurs on the sabbath. That’s just one example. How about: Honor your mother and father? Jesus turns around and says, “Well, who are they?” I mean, think about it in context. You cannot look at and separate the Old from the New Testament and say, “Well I read and study the Ten Commandments as an example. And that is my fishing license,” without understanding that God put this beautiful tapestry in the Old Testament to then unfold it, so it would be there and Christ would be revealed; as we always say, the Law has been fulfilled in Christ. Truly He had to come and take that barrier away for us for a Law that we could never live up to anyway. He fulfilled it.
Pastor Melissa Scott tells us that we can go through just taking the Ten Commandments, but that’s not the whole Law; that’s just the Ten Commandments. But there are the laws between man and man and the laws between God and man. And if you take them all into consideration, you understand Jesus fulfills both sides of the equation because He was all man and all God, both… in the God-man, fulfilling both.
We have for example adultery. What did He do when the woman was taken in adultery, in the very act? The Law says she should be stoned. What does He say to her? “Go and sin no more.” He literally broke the commandments. He was entitled to. That second set of tablets that were put in the Ark (representing Christ) which, in that type of Christ, could only be put in Him. Go back to the Old Testament; the tablets unbroken… really and literally were put inside that Ark, which was Christ: everything in it typifying Christ could only be contained within Christ. That’s what was carried away, gone. Where is the Ark? We can get into speculation but it’s gone. We don’t have it.
My point is there will be people who because of their ignorance in God’s Word will condemn you for your food, condemn you for your drink, condemn you for being in a church where they don’t have a better this or a better that, or they’ll just sit in judgment of you, whatever it is.
The beauty is that this book of Galatians, the more I study it, and the more I reread it, the more I see God had to use a man so well versed in the Law, understanding it so clearly. He could not have picked anybody else except for this man who understood perfectly well that only Jesus could be the complete fulfillment of all of this.
August 17, 2010
You have, you can jot these down and check them out. You have, I made notes of them, in Haggai, I believe it’s Haggai 1:13, where he says the “messenger.” Haggai 1:13, “Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger,” aggelo. So you can see it’s interchangeable. You’ve got references like that in Malachi Malachi’s name, which in the Hebrew, malak, ‘angel,’ ‘messenger’ and he even delivers a message and says he’s a ‘messenger.’ “Out of the priest’s lips” the message, the ‘messenger’ will speak, aggelo. So I’m trying to make the case this is not some. Okay? It’s not that kind, all right? That’s number one. Number two, ekklesia. I have to do this before we go forwards because otherwise we end up trying to fight what certain things might mean.
This one, you old timers all know about this word I’m going to do this for the sake of the new people: ekklesia; prefix, ek, and klesia, kleo, actually ‘out from among,’ ‘called out’ people. Pastor Melissa Scott tells us that the word I had you circle, ‘assembly,’ in Acts, what you have happen there, if you go back to Matthew 16:18 you’ll, just jot it down and read it at home, when Jesus says “I’ll build my ekklesia and the gates of hades shall not prevail or overcome it,” what you have is the first use in the New Testament of ekklesia, referring to what Jesus had in mind, which by the way we’re conditioned that the ekklesia is the ‘out called ones’ which make up the Church, which is true, but if you think of the Second Coming it even emphasizes that more so. We will be the ‘out called ones’ when He comes again to take His Church, so it has a double meaning on there.
But you go back to look at the use through the Bible, and you’ll see by the time we reach the book of Acts the term is being used generically for ‘assembly,’ and no specificity is until, probably, at least after the first century, going into the second century, this word becomes a stamp on the Church. But for the sake of conversation while I’m doing this, lest anybody take this word and say we know from this our words where we get Spanish, iglesia; French, eglise from this word, but lest anybody say that this word and its use start in the New Testament, you look into the Septuagint and you’ll find in Exodus 3:4 when God is calling to Moses, to the bush, when He’s calling him, and He calls to him, He called him ‘out,’ He ekkelessened, He ‘out called’ him. The application goes way back.