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)
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.
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.