Ministry In A Hostile Culture!


July 16th, 2014

I Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

 
I Peter 2:15 “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”

 
Many segments of our nation’s culture are growing ever more hostile and hateful toward Bible-believing Christians, and as this transpires we must take care to be proactive, as Christ was. We must be intentional Christians in this day of postmodern influences. If we are not proactive we will be reactive, falling into defensive or oppositional positions. History has taught us that such reactions to the culture only further isolate us and minimize our influence and impact for Christ. As the United States shifts into a more and more postmodern age, we must confront the reality that this is beginning to reshape legislation, institutions and the very moral fabric of America.

 
I fear that many Christians today do not know how little influence we really have on our culture, our communities and our very own children. Last Wednesday evening in our church, I started a short Bible study series entitled, “Why Millennials Are Walking Away from Church.” This is a phenomenon that is stretching across theological borders. While we are experiencing this in fundamental churches, it is an even greater epidemic in evangelical churches. I refuse to bemoan this reality and just get nasty in my disdain for this apparent falling away, and to an even greater extent, apostasy. We must recommit ourselves to “overcome this evil with good.”

 
How does God tell us to respond when the culture turns hostile toward us? He tells us to actively live such “honest” and “good” lives among the pagan culture around us that they cannot deny our “good works.” (I Peter 2:12 and 15) I like to call this Aggressive Authenticity. Without this engaged energy shaping our lives and ministries, we will continue to be marginalized by the hostile culture in which we minister.

 
When we send a missionary to an unreached people group in the interior of the Amazon or the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we understand that there is a process that must be followed. First, the missionary must lovingly show God’s goodness and love and begin building relationships, learning the language and reaching out and investing in individuals, especially tribal leaders. These are just a few of the ideas that are involved in penetrating a hostile culture. Everything the missionary is doing is both gospel based and gospel focused. That is why he is there; but to ignore the relationship building and trust establishing steps is to almost certainly guarantee failure.

 
As crazy as it may sound, building strong Bible-believing churches in today’s American culture is nearly the identical challenge. For too long, we in the American church have expected non-believers to behave like Christians in a moral and Biblical manner. However, as we are witnessing in almost every arena of American life, our Biblical, Christian values are becoming less and less common and unfortunately, even viewed with hostility. We cannot continue to hide our light under a bushel. Let me quote the Saviour in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 
There must be a Revival of good and godly living among Christians again, as was mandated by the simple words of I Peter 2:12 and 15. Today’s shallow, libertarian believers cannot reclassify our “good works” as legalism. We must all re-evaluate the honesty and goodness of our lives among the pagan culture in which we find ourselves. The gospel still works (Romans 1:16)! Bible preaching is still the method of God’s choice to propagate our message (I Corinthians 1:21). But we must not let the Messenger hinder the Message.  While our position must be Biblical, our disposition must also be just as Biblical.

 
Do not be afraid of sinners; Jesus was not. He was “a friend of publicans and sinners.” Why is it that sinners are afraid of us, but they were not afraid of Jesus? Are we more holy and separated than He was? I think not. However, in my humble opinion, they could not resist His Aggressive Authenticity. He reached the heart before He changed the life. We too must climb down from our ivory palaces and engage the individuals we work around and live among with His grace and His goodness if we hope to have any impact on our degrading culture.

 
On the sobering morning of September 11, 2001, the world watched after two airplanes crashed into the twin towers in lower Manhattan. An army of firefighters and first responders began to enter the burning buildings as thousands were exiting. Their heroic actions brought a holy significance to the senseless tragedy. If there is any hope left for a Moral and Biblical Revival in our land, we who name the name of Christ must be the ones running into the burning building while everyone else is running out. We cannot give up on the crumbling culture all around us. We must go after the addict, the oppressed, the broken, the divorced, the abused, the derelict, the scared, the vilest of sinners, the young, the old, the confused and even the contrary without regard for ourselves. The gospel is the world’s only hope, but we must get out in the streets where sinners live if we hope to change the culture. We do not need to defend ourselves - we need to go after the lost. As our culture grows ever more hostile to Christianity, I think of how Charles Spurgeon described the controlled silence of Jesus during his crucifixion: “The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows.”

 
Jim Elliot went to a hostile culture in 1956. His blood ran into the river where his plane landed in Ecuador. Jesus Christ went into a hostile world, and His blood ran from the foot of the cross. As we go into a hostile culture with the gospel today, we too will bleed. This is the great reality from which most modern Christians shrink and begin looking for a new and an easier way to live the Christian life. There is no easier way! The Apostle Paul testified soberly in Acts 14:22: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
 
 


 


Youth MINISTRY!

May 10th, 2014


What is the goal of your Youth MINISTRY? Every ministry of the local church needs a good strong philosophy behind it or you will simply fall into the trap of mistaking Activity for Accomplishment. Let me begin by making several declarative statements: 1. A Youth Director’s job is not to be an Activities Director. 2. A well-organized youth ministry is to primarily provide for your teens a Life’s Foundation not just Lots Of Fun. 3. The Biblical youth department is the wise parent’s best friend. The youth department and the parents of teens must be on the same page or frustration and failure will be the norm.  Let me make three very important observations to help you Experience and Enjoy an Effective youth ministry:
 

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES

The teenagers we are now dealing with are called Millennial’s. If your birth years range from the early 1980s to the year 2000 you’re a millennial. Can we reach this generation and still preach standards and stay fundamental and conservative? The answer is absolutely YES but we do need to understand the times. Today’s teens are growing up in a culture that is very different than what I faced growing up in the 60s and 70s. Culture has always been changing but the rate of change has accelerated dramatically. Morality is no longer mainstream in most parts of our country. Just telling teenagers what is right and wrong is not nearly as effective today as it was thirty or forty years ago when the whole church would shout a loud “amen” in answer to any moral dogmatic declaration.


If you go to echoespublications.com you can order a recent Preaching series I preached at our church titled “Developing A Biblical World View For Your Family.” We must do more than yell at them, we must win their hearts and minds for the cause of a Biblical Based World View. Many young people today who are hungry for substance – want a deeper argument with stronger rationale, and the ability to dialogue and intelligently lead a skeptic to Biblical truth. They want to be and should be handled with an Isaiah 1:18 approach. Gun barrel straight preaching is the foundation to a strong youth ministry, but we live in a culture that demands both relational and doctrinal depth. This generation of good and godly teenagers, want strong preaching but they also realize that a more secularized culture responds better to intelligent, rational, substantive dialogue that validates Christianity, than it does to rabid declaration of dogma with no logic. Let me say it a little bit more to the point - every day the young people growing up in our church’s face a culture that incessantly shoots holes in their Christian “beliefs.” I am convinced that they realize how desperately they need depth and solid answers WHY in order to be effective in turning hearts and minds to the Saviour and the Scriptures.

 
We don’t have to dip our sails, and tone down our preaching to reach today’s teens, but we do need to do more than holler “bless God” when we are preaching. I have observed that when a preacher yells “bless God” what follows will rarely be spirit led and sadly it may even be fleshly. I love the leadership moniker that says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


UNDERUTILIZING THE TEENS

I have often said, “As goes the teenagers so goes the church.” The teen department can revolutionize the spirit of the church much easier than the church can revolutionize the spirit of the teen department. If the teenagers of a church get on fire it will change a church. The fear of many church leaders is that teens should not be put into any leadership positions. I actually believe that the very opposite is true. Teenagers certainly need to be trained and need to earn any leadership that they are given but it’s called Youth MINISTRY. The culture of our Youth MINISTRY has always been to get teenagers as involved in ministry as possible. We don’t let teenagers sing solos in our church but we have several teenage singing groups that sing regularly in our ministry. Every Sunday night for almost 19 years our 50 plus voice teen choir has performed a featured choir special in our evening service. Our teen choir is known all over the country, having made 7 CD’s and has been the inspiration for hundreds of other youth choirs all over the nation. At Grace Baptist we believe in letting teens serve. Many teens serve in our church Bus Ministry. At one point several years ago four of our bus routes had one of our teenagers as a Bus Captain. Three of those four teens are full time in the ministry today. One teenage Bus Captain was a young lady who is now a missionary’s wife. We encourage teenagers to work in our Primary I & Primary II church services and our Junior I & Junior II church services, and rest home ministries.  


Every youth department should be a MINISTRY training ground. Get your teens involved in MINISTRY. This needs to be more than talk however, it needs to the strategy of your entire Youth MINISTRY. Take your teens on mission’s trips not just to amusement parks.


Over two decades ago, I sat all the parents of our teens down and challenged them with this philosophy. I don’t mean to kick anybody’s pet dog but none of our teens are going to play in the NBA regardless of how good they can play ball for our Christian Schools. I think sports are important but they should not be as important as they are in most of our churches. It is far more important that our teens know how to sing, play an instrument, win a soul to Christ and lead a ministry than it is that they are good ball players. We have always been competitive in sports, but never has sports been as important in our ministry as I have observed in many other ministries.  But we do have one of the best youth choirs in America. Remember the important principle, “You Will Reap A Harvest Where You Place An Emphasis.”


UNDERVALUING THE TRUTH

You build a youth ministry on the same foundation you build a life, a marriage, a family, and a church. The foundation must be the Word of God. That’s why we must build youth groups around old fashioned, gun barrel straight, red hot, Holy Ghost filled, preaching. You keep people with the same methods that you reach people. If a youth ministry is built around fun then every activity has to be fun, but if you build it on the Book then you can add fun to anything you do. But if you build your youth group on fun nobody will be receptive when you expose them to good strong preaching.

I am convinced that today’s teens are absolutely looking for leaders to show them HOW. They are looking for gracious, biblical, Spirit-filled leaders who will compassionately believe in them, encourage them, influence them, and acknowledge them as leaders for the next generation. They run from those who caustically cut them off, but they run toward those who fuel their passion for Jesus and believe in their potential for the gospel.

Good Friday Or Good Wednesday?


April 9th, 2014

 
The Gospel Is The: Death Burial And Resurrection
Of Jesus Christ

Good Friday is a traditional religious holiday observed primarily by Catholics and protestant Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross of Calvary. Let’s be very clear about something – This is Traditional but it is not Scriptural. In the 28 year history of Grace Baptist Church we have never observed Good Friday. Jesus was not crucified on Friday. The day of his crucifixion was Wednesday. Unfortunately the papist tradition of a Friday crucifixion is not mathematically or scripturally possible. A Wednesday crucifixion coincides with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb (Which Is An Old Testament Picture Of Jesus Christ). A Wednesday Crucifixion of Jesus Christ allows for Christ to be in the tomb for three days and three nights as he told the Pharisees (Matthew 12:40), rather than two night and a day if he had died on a Friday.

There ought not to be anything that you and I believe unless it's in the Bible. What does the Bible teach? Now, I know that all over the country on the Friday before Easter, people have their Good Friday services, and many start at noon, because people say our Lord was crucified over 2000 years ago on Friday and at that time of the day.

It makes a very pretty picture, except it's not true. Our Lord was crucified on Wednesday. He gave up the Ghost at three o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. He was laid in the grave somewhere about six o'clock on Wednesday evening. He was in the grave Wednesday evening, all day Thursday, Thursday evening, all day Friday, Friday evening, and all day Saturday, and He rose from the grave on Saturday after sundown, which was the beginning of Sunday and the end of the third day in the grave. It is important for you to bear in mind that a Bible day started at 6:00 PM in the evening, not at 12:00 Midnight.

No doubt someone who is reading this is thinking, "Well, my church doesn't believe this." I am not wanting to be the least bit controversial or critical but can I ask you a question, “Do you attend a Bible believing and preaching church?” What matters is what the Bible says on any matter. What does the Bible say? In the Bible, it doesn't say the morning and the evening were the first day; it says the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

The Hebrew day began at six o'clock in the evening, not as our day does with the morning. So, our Lord was in the grave three days and three nights. What days? Thursday, Friday, Saturday. What nights? Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, don't you see. He came out of the grave, about evening time on Saturday. Luke 24:1–3 says, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." When Mary and the other women came to the garden tomb it would have been Sunday morning, which began on Saturday night at 6:00 PM.

Someone might ask, “Pastor did not the Bible say that he had to be taken off the cross before the Sabbath?” This seems to mean, the Sabbath was the day after the crucifixion. You see, now that throws a monkey wrench into this Wednesday talk. Now, what day is the Sabbath? Saturday. And if the Sabbath is the day after the crucifixion, then what day would it normally seem that our Lord was crucified? Friday. And that's where we have the problem. All right, if you turn to (Mark 15:42) you will see the Bible says, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” This is where we get Good Friday from, but we need to look a little deeper. There is no way in the world you can get seventy-two hours between Friday afternoon at three o'clock and Sunday morning.

Doesn’t (Mark 15:42) prove however that Jesus was crucified on Friday? Is there a contradiction? The answer is no, there is not a contradiction. There are two kinds of Sabbaths. There is the seventh day Sabbath and the High Day Sabbath. Two different kinds of Sabbaths. (Leviticus 23:23) mentions a Sabbath that was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month of the year. This was an annual Sabbath and it coincided with the annual “Jewish Passover”. Is this the Sabbath that coincided with the crucifixion of Jesus? Listen to (John 19:31) “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” A "High Day" Sabbath was not the seventh day Sabbath or what we know as Saturday.

Let me ask you a question. Was our Lord crucified, the day before the weekly Sabbath, or the day before a High Sabbath? John says it was a High Sabbath. Does it have to be on Friday? What does the Bible say? (John 19:14) “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! All right, now what Sabbath was it, then? The Passover Sabbath. All right, which means our Lord was crucified the day before the Passover Sabbath, and not the weekly Sabbath. So our Lord was crucified on Wednesday, and on Thursday was the Passover Sabbath. Does this have any further significance? Oh yes, the Passover is nailed to the cross. Man no longer comes to God through the Old Testament ceremonial law, but through Christ.

Does the Bible say anywhere that Jesus was crucified on Friday? In fact, it doesn’t. For centuries, many have just assumed that to be the case. In summary, if Jesus was indeed dead for a full three days before He was resurrected before dawn on Sunday morning; and if He indeed was taken off the cross the day before the Sabbath, then for all the various passages regarding the death of Jesus and His resurrection to be simultaneously true, the Sabbath following the crucifixion of Jesus must have been a special Sabbath, a high day, and not the regular Saturday Sabbath.

The only “crucifixion day” that works, therefore, and allows a full three days and three nights to pass before the two Marys found the open tomb at dawn on Sunday morning is Wednesday. So, it is good Wednesday that we should be observing, not Good Friday.

You might ask: Why is this issue worth raising? Does it really matter? Here is why I believe this is at least an issue worth raising. The fact that Jesus spent three days and three nights in the belly of the earth before being resurrected is the only sign He offers to the world that His claim to be the only begotten Son of God is true. It is the sign of the prophet Jonah, and it evidences the single most important event in the history of the world, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead

Christians disagree on a lot of doctrines, but there are two fundamental things that one must believe to be counted as a believer. A Christian must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead. That is the crux of the matter. Whether He was crucified on Wednesday or on Friday, to be a Christian one must believe that God raised His Son from the dead.

Sure, Christmas is fun and like most believers I enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus, when God became a man and walked among us. But Jesus joined the human race for two primary reasons: First, to show the world what God was like by living a perfectly sinless life; a life in which Jesus perfectly expressed both God’s anger toward sin and God’s mercy toward those who recognize their sin and acknowledge their need; and second, after living a perfect and sinless life, He came to die for the sins of the world as the spotless Passover Lamb, the one Lamb to which all those other Passover lambs only pointed.

The resurrection of Jesus is the very heart of Christianity. It is the one sign that tells us with perfect certainty that the sacrifice of Jesus was acceptable to God and that a way had been made for our sins to be forgiven, if we but believe His message.

After being dead for three days, Jesus arose, triumphant over death and hell. That’s powerful news; life changing news. And it makes me cry like Job of old, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” I hope you can say that, too.
 
 
 

Building A Church One Life At A Time

March 24th, 2014

Dr. Derek Hagland, Dr. Jon Jenkins,
US Senator Debbie Stabenow
I just got back from Washington D. C. with my friend   Dr. Hagland, our college Vice-President. Dr. Hagland was a teenager, in some trouble, when I first met him over two decades ago. He grew up in Gaylord, where God had called me 28 years ago to go and start the Grace Baptist Church. I had the personal joy of leading Bro. Hagland to Christ, when he was 15, shortly after I met him. He eventually surrendered to preach and went to Bible College. After college graduation he came back and joined our staff. He has been on my staff since 1998. He and his precious wife, Amanda have 5 great kids that have all been in Grace Baptist Church their entire lives.

Many churches, sadly, have grown largely by gaining members from other churches. This may increase a churches attendance but in my humble opinion it is not the Biblical method of building a church. The Biblical method of church building is winning people to Christ, maturing them through discipleship and then training them to reach others just like they were reached. When you look across your church auditorium I challenging you to take an honest inventory of how many faces you see that were actually reached and won to Christ by your ministry. Thank God for good folks who are already saved that God may lead to your church, but the Biblical method is still winning people to Christ, maturing them through discipleship and then training them to reach others just like they were reached.

I get asked often about the miraculous story of Grace Baptist Church, of Gaylord, Michigan. God has raised up here in a town of 3,500 people one of America’s largest rural churches. This much I can assure you of – The Blessings of God upon our church honesty have very little to do with me. But this is also true – For almost 3 decades we have been investing our energies in people like Bro. Hagland. The way a church is built is – One Life At A Time.

Make people the number one priority of your church. Jesus must be preeminent in a New Testament Church. When He is lifted up the Scriptures promise that He will draw men to Himself. Slow down and invest your time, energies and resources into people. Sometimes we get so focused on drawing a crowd that we forget the individuals. Last night our service was absolutely packed to our auditoriums capacity. The service ended at about 7:30 PM. I spent nearly 45 minutes talking and fellowshipping with folks in the lobby. Then I went to my office for 3 appointments. My wife and I pulled out of the parking lot at about 9:15 PM. I was tired, but had to go home and get packed to head out of town for two days of preaching in Jennings, Louisiana. My ride came early this morning at about 4:30 AM. My youth Pastor Jeremiah Young ran me to the airport as we had an hour long ride and meeting, making plans for our young people and the upcoming few weeks as we try to reach more people.

No matter how busy each of us may think we are, we must make time for individual people. The Biblical way to Build A Church Is One Person At A Time.

TeenSpec 2014!


February 21st, 2014


In February 1989 the very first Winter Teenage Spectacular Youth Conference was hosted in the brand new auditorium of the Grace Baptist Church of Gaylord. We were absolutely blown away when almost 400 teenagers and youth workers showed up to fill our little building to capacity. It was the humble beginnings of a miracle conference that has continued now for over a quarter of a century.

 
TeenSpec has attracted teenagers, churches and youth groups from 35 different states and 7 foreign countries since 1989. What began as a Saturday youth conference, evolved into a three day, 11 sermon mega conference, attracting youth groups large and small from many parts of the nation. Conference attendances have swelled to over 1,500.


TeenSpec has become the granddaddy of all winter youth conferences with literally tens of thousands of life changing decisions having been made over the years. There are several other tremendous youth conferences that have either grown out of TeenSpec or that have begun to be hosted during the same time of the year. Yet somehow, and to God be the Glory, TeenSpec has remained the favorite of hundreds of churches across the county.

 
The 26th annual addition of TeenSpec is about to begin. This year’s conference, February 27th-March 1st should be a Miracle Meeting. The crowd looks again to be tremendous and the lineup of speakers is as good as it gets. Several of our staff men, Dr. Derek Hagland and Brother Jeremiah Young will be joined by four nationally known powerhouse preachers, Bro. Randy Dignan, Bro. Tony Shirley, Bro. Abdel Judah and Bro. Chris Dallas. Old fashioned, Holy Ghost filled preaching is what it’s all about.


It’s not too late to make plans to attend. This year’s theme is sure the needed message for this troubling hour in which we live. The next generation needs to “Keep Calm And Carry On.” Truth has not changed, nor has the need for a new generation of believers to embrace and advance the cause of Jesus Christ! Go to teenspec.com for more information. See you in GAYLORD!

The Treasures Of Peace!


January 20th, 2014


Romans 5:1–2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have Peace With God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:9–10 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

These great verses from the King James Bible illustrate for us the Significance and the Source of the Christian’s Peace. Few Treasures in all of life can surpass the Treasure Of Peace:

I recently came across this article about a study conducted by the Duke University Department Psychology & Neuroscience This is one of the most respected such programs in the nation. They have 38 Primary Faculty and over 50 Allied & Secondary Faculty members. The Duke University Department of PN reportedly did a study on "Peace Of Mind." The study discovered the primary factors found that contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability. They are as follows: (1) The Absence Of Suspicion And Resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness. (2) Not Living In The Past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression. (3) Not Wasting Time And Energy Fighting Conditions You Cannot Change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it. (4) Force Yourself To Stay Involved With The Living World. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress. (5) Refuse To Indulge In Self-Pity When Life Hands You A Raw Deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune. (6) Cultivate The Old-Fashioned Virtues - love, humor, compassion and loyalty. (7) Do Not Expect Too Much Of Yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable. (8) Find Something Bigger Than Yourself To Believe In. Self-Centered Egotistical People Score Lowest In Any Test For Measuring Happiness. This study really reveals the Treasure Of Peace!

The Treasures Of Peace are such a Priceless and such a Powerful reality. If there was ever a day in the history of humanity when mankind needed to get ahold of these great Treasures, it is today. Do you have these great Treasures in your life today, my dear friend?

1. There Is The Peace Of A Quiet Conscience (NO GUILT)  

2. There Is The Peace Of A Restful Mind (NO ANXIETY)                   

3. There Is The Peace Of A Surrendered Will (NO RESISTANCE)  

4. There Is The Peace Of A Hopeful Heart (NO FEAR)  

5. There Is The Peace Of Loving Fellowship (NO DIVISION)

This peace is not found in mere religion or in the resolve to reform oneself into a better and a kinder person. The Bible speaks about the Peace that can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ:

1. There Is Peace With God (Romans 5:1)                           

2. There Is Peace From God (Philemon 4; II John 3)  

3. There Is The Peace Of God (Philippians 4:7)   

I love the words of the great hymn written by Warren D. Cor­nell, in 1889:

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.


Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!


What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!


Refrain

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!


Refrain

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:


Refrain

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!


Refrain

As great of a Treasure that it is to have Peace I remind you that:

1. The Source Of Our Peace Originates In Justification 

Romans 5:1–2 “Therefore being justified (JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”  

I love the words of the song: "I'm justified! I'm happy in Jesus today.  The sins I've committed, they're all in the Past; They’ll never condemn me, for He holds me Fast!  I'm justified! I'm justified!  I'm happy in Jesus today!" This song can only sung and it's Treasure realized by one who has personally accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. If you have never trusted Jesus as your Saviour, I urge you to do so this very day friend.

2. The Force Of Our Peace Overcomes Tribulation

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake (DURING THE BLOODY REIGN OF BRITAIN’S CATHOLIC MONARCH MARY I – OR OTHERWISE KNOWN AS BLOODY MARY) because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Bishop Ridley's execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the Peace Of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need.
 

 

Feeding Sheep Or Amusing Goats?

January 9th, 2014


Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Metropolitan Tabernacle
London, England
How far has today’s church drifted from the pattern of the book of Acts. I contend that we all need a fresh encounter with what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what we have heard. Many 21st century believers need to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences. We must honestly call into question the host of comfortable notions that are common among Christ's followers today. Under the false banner of Cheap Grace many believers and churches today Legitimized and Rationalized selfish and sinful attitudes and actions.

I recently came across an old article written by the Prince of Preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Spurgeon, of course, was one of the greatest preachers of his generation (1834-1892). Spurgeon saw the direction the church was taking with entertaining the congregation and a marketing ideology creeping into the Bride of Christ. If Spurgeon thought his generation was becoming more entertainment focused rather than edifying in its approach to ministry can you even imagine what he would think of today’s contemporary services, CCM worship and watered down preaching and drama focused services? It is not with an ounce of a critical spirit but rather with a broken heart that I share with you the great Victorian preacher’s words.

Spurgeon’s article was titled “Feeding Sheep Or Amusing Goats.” An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.

Then again, "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt" (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy---something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead" (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.

Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, "Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow." Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.

In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, "Come out, keep out, keep clean out!" Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, "Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are." If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God's link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Join me in praying that the church of today, the ones filled with spirit filled and dedicated Christ followers, would clear itself of all the rot and rubbish the Satan has imposed on her, and bring ourselves back to the message and methods of the ancient, apostolic church!