En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘sermons’

Listen to Sermons!

Posted by Scott on April 22, 2009

A wonderful little article excerpted from one of George Whitefield’s sermons. In this sermon he exposited Luke 8:18 where Jesus said, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.” These pearls of wisdom will help you listen to sermons in a way that will bring great blessing to your soul. Or as Whitefield said, “Here are some cautions and directions, in order to help you hear sermons with profit and advantage.”

1. Come to hear them, not out of curiosity, but from a sincere desire to know and do your duty. Not to enter His house merely to have our ears entertained, and not have our hearts reformed, must certainly be highly displeasing to the Most High God, as well as unprofitable to ourselves.

2. Give diligent heed to the things that are spoken from the Word of God. If an earthly king were to issue a royal proclamation, and the life or death of his subjects entirely depended on performing or not performing its conditions, how eager would they be to hear what those conditions were! And shall we not pay the same respect to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and lend an attentive ear to His ministers, when they are declaring, in His name, how our pardon, peace, and happiness may be secured?

3. Do not entertain even the least prejudice against the minister. That was the reason Jesus Christ Himself could not do many mighty works, nor preach to any great effect among those of His own country; for they were offended at Him. Take heed therefore, and beware of entertaining any dislike against those whom the Holy Ghost has made overseers over you.

Consider that the clergy are men of like passions with yourselves. And though we should even hear a person teaching others to do what he has not learned himself, yet that is no reason for rejecting his doctrine. For ministers speak not in their own, but in Christ’s name. And we know who commanded the people to do whatever the scribes and Pharisees should say unto them, even though they did not do themselves what they said (see Matt. 23:1-3).

4. Be careful not to depend too much on a preacher, or think more highly of him than you ought to think. Preferring one teacher over another has often been of ill consequence to the church of God. It was a fault which the great Apostle of the Gentiles condemned in the Corinthians: ‘For whereas one said, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos: are you not carnal, says he? For who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but instruments in God’s hands by whom you believed?’ (1 Cor. 1:12; 2:3-5).

Are not all ministers sent forth to be ministering ambassadors to those who shall be heirs of salvation? And are they not all therefore greatly to be esteemed for their work’s sake?

5. Make particular application to your own hearts of everything that is delivered. When our Savior was discoursing at the last supper with His beloved disciples and foretold that one of them should betray Him, each of them immediately applied it to his own heart and said, ‘Lord, is it I?’ (Matt. 26:22).

Oh, that persons, in like manner, when preachers are dissuading from any sin or persuading to any duty, instead of crying, ‘This was intended for such and such a one!’ instead would turn their thoughts inwardly, and say, ‘Lord, is it I?’ How far more beneficial should we find discourses to be than now they generally are!

6. Pray to the Lord, before, during, and after every sermon, to endue the minister with power to speak, and to grant you a will and ability to put into practice what he shall show from the Book of God to be your duty.

No doubt it was this consideration that made St. Paul so earnestly entreat his beloved Ephesians to intercede with God for him: ‘Praying always, with all manner of prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and for me also, that I may open my mouth with boldness, to make known the mysteries of the gospel’ (Eph. 6:19-20). And if so great an apostle as St. Paul needed the prayers of his people, much more do those ministers who have only the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

*Not sure where this came from, but George Whitefield wrote the bulk of it.

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Christmas At Uz!

Posted by Scott on December 26, 2007

From the Writings of Ray Stedman

Christmas At Uz

READ: Job 42:10-11

All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him apiece of silver and a gold ring (Job 42:11).

Doesn’t that sound like Christmas? I suppose you are saying, “Wait a minute. Come on, this is not Christmas! Why, this was long before anyone ever celebrated Christmas! This is two thousand years before Christ came. How could there be Christmas in the book of Job?”

The first thing to note about this is that the occasion that is described here is a family gathering. Job’s brothers and sisters and all his friends who had known him before are getting together. The uncles and aunts are there as well as all the cousins, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. By this time Job is a seventy-year-old man or even older, and though his own children had all perished, he must have had grandchildren and great-grandchildren by now, and all the neighbors and friends had brought their families. So this was a great family occasion as Christmas is for us and always has been.

The second thing you see here is that this was a time of feasting. They gathered to eat together, and we do that today. We start with stuffed turkey, and we end with stuffed people! This has always been the custom at Christmas. Throughout history and in most cultures where Christmas is recognized, feasting has been a part of the Christmas celebration.

Then there is another thing here that we can associate with Christmas. It is what we would call fellowship. Job’s family and friends gathered to comfort him and to express sympathy and understanding for all the pain and suffering he had been going through.

The giving of gifts also brings to mind Christmas. These friends gave to Job gifts of silver and gold. In the Bible these two metals are used symbolically as a picture of redemption. Silver is the sign of redemption, and gold is the picture of deity; God redeeming people. That is why this is Christmas at Job’s house. Job’s witness to his friends evidently had such effect upon them that in gratitude for what they learned from him, they gave him gifts of silver and gold to express their understanding of God’s redemption among people.

Job discovered two thousand years before Jesus’ birth and eventual death on the cross that One was coming into the world, and, as the angel said to Mary, “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This is what brings joy and gladness to believers’ hearts at Christmas time. If you know the Lord Jesus, you have the greatest gift God can give to a person. Out of the richness of your life you will find yourself gladly sharing from all that you have with those who have less, that there may be the ringing out of joy and thanksgiving in a season like this.

Thank You, Lord, for the greatest gift—the gift of Your Son.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Christmas At Uz” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Accepting What God Gives!

Posted by Scott on December 4, 2007

Accepting What God Gives

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Job 2:9-13

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said (Job 2:10).

Job’s rebuke is a very gentle one. He did not say, “You foolish woman!” He said, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” He is not attacking her; rather, he is suggesting that this is a temporary lapse of faith on her part and that, for the moment, she has begun to repeat the words of stupid, foolish women who have no knowledge of the grace and glory of God. In that gentle rebuke you can see something of the sturdiness and tenderness of Job’s faith. In this great sentence, he again reasserts the sovereignty of God: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job’s wife had the philosophy that life ought to be pleasant, and if it were not, there was no use living it.

That philosophy is widespread in our own day, and a mounting suicide rate testifies to the universal acceptance of it. But this book is given to show us that life is not to be lived on those terms. The reason we are here is not necessarily to have a good time. There are meaningful objectives to be attained in life, even when it all turns sour. When the pressure comes, when living is no longer fun, life is still worth living. A philosophy that wants to abandon everything as soon as things become unpleasant is a shallow, mistaken, distorted view of life. Job reaffirms that. “Shall we not take both good and evil from the hand of God?” We take His joy and His pleasure, the pleasant things of life, with gladness and gratitude. If God chooses to send something that is difficult, shall we then abandon that gratitude and begin to curse Him in protest because life is suddenly different than we thought it would be? The reason we are here is not merely that we might have a good time, and this is taught everywhere in the Scriptures. God, in His grace and glory, does give us many hours of joy and gladness and pleasure and delight, and it is right for us to give thanks. But do not abandon that when the time of pressure comes, because that is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to begin to complain and protest to God; to get upset and angry and resentful; to stop going to church or to reading the Bible. That is what Satan’s whole attack on our lives is aimed at doing.

Father, strengthen my faith in You, that I can accept from Your hand both good and evil. Thank You that Your purposes for me, though sometimes painful, are always good.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Pressure of Pain” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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The Test!

Posted by Scott on December 3, 2007

The Test

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Job 1

But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face (Job 1:11).

This book will help us more than any other book in the Bible to catch a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of God. We will see what we desperately need to see—that God is not just another man, great in power and authority, whom we call, influence, and command. God is not a heavenly bellboy, ready to run at our command. No, God is in charge, and He will always be in charge. If we are going to deal realistically with life, this is the way we must see Him.

We sometimes hear that this book of Job is the record of a great battleground between God and Satan and that Job is caught in between. Though there are aspects of this in the book, is this not a strange war, in which one side must get permission from the other before it attacks? What kind of battle is that?

Can you imagine a German commander during World War II stepping up to General Patton, saluting him, and saying, “Here, General, we would like permission to bomb your troops, destroy your tanks, and wreck all your plans!” I’m sure General Patton’s reply would have been unprintable and unrepeatable!

And yet that is the situation in this book of Job. Satan comes to God and asks permission to do something against Job. Now that is not a battle; it is not warfare; it is a test. That is what we need to see. Job’s faith is the subject of a very rigorous test. Satan is the one who brings it about, but God permits it.

You may be thinking, “I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes about me? I wonder what Satan is saying about me now and if he’s asking permission to get me!” If that is what you are thinking, my advice is, “Do not worry; live one day at a time.” For the thing this book tells us is that if Satan had his way, every one of us would always be in this kind of difficulty. Satan would tear us apart all the time if he could–not because he is angry with us but because he wants to get at God, whom we serve. But God’s protecting hand has been over us. If we can sit here in any degree of peace and enjoyment, it is because the hand of God has been like a hedge about us, protecting us and giving us great and wonderful things. Therefore, the attitude of every human heart ought to be, “Thank God for what I’ve got! Thank God for where I am now. What the future may hold, only He knows.”

And if it holds some kind of testing like this, it is only because, as Paul has reminded us in 1 Corinthians, “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

He knows what you can bear, and He will not put you to the test so severely that it will destroy your faith. But there are implications in every test that go far beyond the superficial aspects of the situation. That is what we need to remember. And as this remarkable book unfolds, we will see some of the things that God brought to the attention of Job.

Lord, thank You that You have placed a hedge about me and that with every test comes the strength to endure.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Test” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Thinking Christianly!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

Thinking Christianly

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

. . . continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of . . . (2 Timothy 3:14b).

Timothy acted upon what he had learned. You do not really believe something until you practice it. James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). It does not do a bit of good to say you believe the Bible from cover to cover, like some people do. Do what it says. Practice the truth; act on it; take it to heart. The process begins with the mind’s being instructed, then the heart’s being fully convinced. Then you practice what you believe.

I do not know what it was that may have helped Timothy, but I am sure that when he read a statement like, “Do not lie to each other” (Colossians 3:9), he was careful to watch his words and stop lying, if that was what he was doing. When he read, “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14), he realized that even though he, like everyone else, felt anger rising within him and he wanted to strike back when he was mistreated, that was the wrong thing to do. The Word of God taught that it was necessary for him to lean on the grace of God, to pray for people and find a way to do something good rather than evil in return. The apostle suggests two factors here that helped Timothy believe the Scriptures.

First, the Scriptures came to him through certain loved and trusted people. “You know those from whom you learned it,” Paul says. One of the things that makes believing the Bible much easier is when it comes to us through people we trust. In Timothy’s case, his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were the channels by which he was taught the Word of God. Being of Jewish background, they may have followed the exhortation of Deuteronomy 6, where Moses taught the people how to teach their children. Moses did not say to have a classroom in the home where children were to learn something by rote. Rather, he said, “Teach them when they rise up (when they get up in the morning), when they sit down (at mealtime), and when they go to bed at night.” Those are the teachable moments. Use the experiences of a young child’s day to reflect truth from the Scriptures that will lock itself into their hearts. What a powerful impact this mighty apostle made upon Timothy! He never forgot what he had learned, because it came through one whom he deeply respected, one whom he saw had answers to the difficulties and problems of life.

The second factor is that this came to Timothy at a very early age. “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures,” Paul says. Parents should not miss that emphasis. It indicates that childhood is a wonderful time to get the truth of the Scriptures into a young person’s heart. As a young boy, ten or eleven years old, I was given many memory verses in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School that I committed to memory. I remember those verses yet today. What a wonderful thing to have learned from early childhood the truth of the Word of God through those most precious and trusted.

Father, I thank You for this amazing book. I confess to You how infrequently I open it up and let it speak to me. Help me to let this book minister to my heart and mind.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Thinking Christianly” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Preach the Word! By Ray Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

Preach The Word

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-4

Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2).

This verse speaks of the great essentials that must be carried on to fulfill the prayer of our Lord and to advance the kingdom of God, to bring to fulfillment that amazing work that began by His first appearing upon the earth. When we read the phrase “Preach the Word,” however, most of us think that this is addressed to preachers like myself, that one has to do this in church, on a platform, or behind a pulpit.

This word is not addressed to preachers only. It includes all the people of God, for Paul does not merely mean to preach; the word is really “announce, proclaim, set it forth, deliver the truth, make it known.” It is not something you argue about; you declare it because God Himself has said it. This can be done over a cup of coffee, in an office, or in a car while you are driving to work. It is something that can come up any place, any time. Where human hearts are open, seeking, longing, and hurting, there is the place, there is the opportunity to “preach the word.”

“Proclaim the good news,” Paul says. It is not news of what we have to do for God. That distortion has been widely peddled across the world and in this country, and it has resulted in a phony Christianity. The gospel is the story of what God has already done for us. That is what ministers to the aching heart. The gospel is the news that God loves us, pities us, and sees us in our hurt, our agony, our failure, and our weakness. The gospel is that He sees us in our strutting boldness and pride, and still He loves us. And He has already done something about it–through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In that amazing series of events that came through Jesus’ appearing on earth, He broke the stranglehold of evil upon human hearts–He found a way to set aside His own just sentence of death. Through those who open their hearts to the Savior, He has found a way not only to die for us but to come and live in us and start the process of renewing us, remaking us, and restoring us to our lost inheritance. That is the word we are to proclaim. That is to be done by every Christian in every conceivable circumstance of life.

I hope that comes through clearly, because this is what the apostle Paul is seeking to bring to Timothy’s mind. Against this impressive background of the watching heavens and in view of the paramount importance of continuing the redemptive work of Christ, Paul lays this solemn charge on Timothy’s heart as he does upon us: “Preach the Word.”

Grant to me that I will commit myself afresh to be a purveyor of the truth, preacher of the Word, and herald of the good news that is in Jesus Christ.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Majesty of Ministry” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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-His Glory Our Aim, a quote by C.H. Spurgeon

Posted by Scott on October 9, 2007

spurgin_2.jpg     This is another great quote by Charles Spurgeon.  I have grown to enjoy his sermons, stories, quotes, and biography.

“He who makes God’s glory the one and only aim before which all other things bow themselves, is the man to bring honor to his Lord.”

Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.”

I would encourage all the dads to look into the history of many of the great men of God.  In this way, it can produce an overwhelming desire to know the God of these men as their lives truly was a reflection of the Lord they served.  These men’s lives pointed people to Jesus not to themselves.  If you run onto anyone that the draw is to themselves and not God, stop the study and reading of that individual.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-Great Quote from C.H. Spurgeon!

Posted by Scott on September 18, 2007

spurgeon_ta.jpg

I enjoy reading Spurgeon’s sermons from the past and about him and his family.  The history hog that I am leads me to study so many great people of our past and even a few in the present.  I ran across a wonderful quote by Spurgin the other day as I was reading and wanted to share it with anyone that might read it.

‘It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine.  I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus.  By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me….taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethern; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do and acknowledge that htis is the religion of God’s own church.”

imagescalvin.jpg   A factual update is that this doctrine or theology has been around far longer than John Calvin was alive.  It was formed on paper and in pulpits around St. Augustine’s time frame 300 A.D.   The Five Points of Calvinism did not come about until after John Calvin’s death.  The Arminian’s tried to change the course of the Protestant Reformed movement by sending Five Points of their own to the Synod of Dort….which was a council of the churches at that time.  The Synod of Dort rejected the Five Points of Arminianism after 180 days of comparing the scripture to what those points were and could find no truth in it.  So, they in turn came out with the Five Points of Calvinism to put in print the theology or doctrine of the church.  The actual Five Points of Calvinism are in the Theoogy section of my blog if you would like to read them for yourself. 

Hope you enjoyed that.  I will share from time to time other great quotes from past and present men and women of God.

 -Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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