Month: June 2020

The Burden Of The Shepherd

  One of the many metaphors of the Bible pertaining to the Church, and specifically the pastor of the church, is that of the Shepherd.  The Greek word for Shepherd, poimen, is used several times in reference to Christ (i.e. Hebrews 13:20; 1Peter 2:25) but in Ephesians 4:11 the word obviously refers to the pastors of churches.  “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors (shepherds) and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11).”

  The job of the shepherd of sheep, is to protect his flock, guide them to green pasture, feed them and provide life giving water, to love them and be willing to sacrifice life and limb for their well being.  When it comes to the other side of the analogy, the shepherding of men, we have to look no further than Christ for the perfect example.  He was the “Good Shepherd,” who literally gave Himself for His sheep.

    Would to God that the burden of protecting, feeding, watering, nurturing and loving were taken more seriously by every God appointed shepherd (pastor) of our day. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28).”   “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (1Peter 5:2).” 

  It is a sobering fact that God holds us who are called Pastor accountable for the quality care and guidance that we provide for HIS sheep.  “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17).”

  Lord, help me to be this kind of pastor!  Lord, bless my sheep!

God Forbid

  The Bible says that you are more than another animal, you have an eternal spirit that will live forever somewhere.  God forbid, but if you were killed in an accident today, where would you spend eternity?

  Some continually dismiss the thought, thinking that they will get around to it later, but no one is guaranteed a tomorrow; people die unexpectedly every day.  God says, “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14).”

  So, where will you spend eternity?  God says there are only two options: heaven or hell.  To say, “I plan to spend eternity in heaven,”  begs the question, How do you propose to get there?  Every possible answer falls into one of two categories: either you plan to go to heaven because of what you have done (i.e. baptism, church attendance, good deeds, etc.), or you plan to go to heaven because of what has been done for you.  All religions promote a “you can do it” philosophy.  They believe that heaven is reserved for those who do, or don’t do, certain things.  Their hope is that in the day of judgment, their good will outweigh their bad.  They will be disappointed.

  Only biblical Christianity teaches that salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us… (Titus 3:5a).” “Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:9).” Salvation is a relationship with God, to those who choose to accept it as a gift from God; but like any gift, if you try to earn it, it ceases to be a gift. 

  Jesus, the Son of God, left heaven to die on a cross and pay the penalty for your sins.  He was buried, but rose again on the third day, and is alive to offer you His blood bought forgiveness as a gift from God.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).”  Salvation is received by placing your dependence upon what Christ has done for you!

Pluralism

  Perhaps you have heard the word pluralism in the context of church or religion before, but do you realize the far reaching effects that it has had on our nation?  Pluralism is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as, “a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization.”

Temple Of All Religions in Kazan, Russia

  A couple of words in the definition are a bit troubling to me.  Though it sounds warm and fuzzy for people of different faiths to come together in one culture and live happily ever after, the reality of it is that many religions of the world are by nature mutually exclusive.  Some, as we have been made painfully aware in these last several years, obligate themselves to eliminate those who don’t see things their way.

  One’s religion, by nature, defines his world view.  Questions like: Where did I come from?  Where am I going?  What am I to do along the way?  are answered in accordance with one’s world view.  How you answer these questions will determine how your life will affect the “common civilization” mentioned in defining pluralism.  The reality is that our nation or any other with a pluralistic world view, is divided against itself.  Jesus warned that, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Matthew 12:25).”

  The only hope for a pluralistic society is for its citizens to discover and agree upon what is truth.  Reason requires that when men differ either one is right and the other wrong, or perhaps both are wrong, but both cannot be right.  There is only one truth and everything else is a lie.  From the beginning of time, wise men have determined to“let God be true, but every man a liar… (Romans 3:4)”  History bears it out: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalm 33:12).”  …and cursed are those who forget the Lord.

Choose Your Master

  It becomes increasingly apparent that humanity does not like to answer to any authority.  They do not want to be policed, surveilled or even instructed in matters that pertain to international, national, regional, local, familial or personal matters.  In a word, they want to be “Free.”  This proposed freedom is not the freedom that was purchased by the blood of countless thousands, shed on battlefields that circumvent the globe, but a redefined freedom whose definition looks very similar to that of the word Anarchy.

  Most Americans would be against Socialism if they would take the time to understand that it is a stepping stone to full fledged Communism in which everyone is subject to the ruling class.  Though the Communist Play Book says that the ruling class will dissolve as a perfect society is formed, that has never been the case.  But then the only thing that we have learned from history for sure, is that we don’t learn anything from history.

  Why the blind-push for what will ultimately result in anarchy and tyranny?  Man is selfish and self-centered by nature.  Who wants to be told what to do by man—or by God?  We want to have it our way, but never stop to consider what the world would be like if the almost 8 billion people who live on planet Earth, all have it their way, at the same time.

  This is why God, from the beginning, created us to be dependent upon Him.  Also, as Creator and Sustainer, He has established ground rules and moral absolutes to promote health, happiness and purpose among His creatures.  He has ordained that authority structure be utilized in every institution and organization known to man.  He is a God of order.

  So, we were created to be dependent, and to answer to authority.  But we were also created with a free will (the right to choose), because God did not want robots or puppets, but people—souls who could choose to submit or to rebel.  Those who submit will have the privileged opportunity of fellowship with Him forever, by faith in Jesus Christ.  Those who rebel will not.

Treasures

  How does one measure wealth?  Obviously, money can be counted, interest rates calculated, dividends added and debits deducted, but surely there is more to the measure of a man’s worth than the bottom line of a spread sheet.  For example: Those who have been blessed with children are indeed rich in the treasures of earth.  The Word of God teaches us that, “children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”  And then consider the home—it is more than a house.  To have a peaceful haven filled with love and acceptance and the fellowship of a family who fears the Lord, are priceless treasures that are easily taken for granted.

  But, someone might counter, “A home requires a house, and a house full of children requires a host of essentials. Just try to keep the wolves from the door of your happy home, without money.”  All right, I concede that, though “the best things in life are free,” without the funds to maintain them, we would starve to death in the first week, or freeze in the shivering cold.   Though our cup runneth over, we must have the money to pay the pourer.

  Perhaps it is hard to focus on the future while the present requires so much of us, but you should also know that the Word of God speaks of a truer treasure than all of our present joys.  It says,“…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:19-20).”  In exchange for your confident dependence upon Him, God promises forgiveness of sin and a home in heaven.  And then, as a believer, you can collect priceless treasures there, by your humble service here.  Wise is the man who considers tomorrow, today!

  Bottom line, …you are certainly rich with the temporal treasures of earth, and God has made it possible for you to have eternal treasure in exchange for your faith.  Tell me—where is your treasure?  It is a critical question, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21).”