Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Beggars

“I have been young and now am old; yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25 If that’s true, why do Christians beg?As I’m writing this article, I have just left my living room where I have been watching scenes of one of the worst natural disasters in recent American history; the ravages of the 2005 hurricane, Katrina, in Louisiana and Mississippi and the surrounding area. My heart is aching with grief for those destitute people in need of water, food and shelter who have lost loved ones, as well as everything they owned. For some answers as to why God allows such disasters, go to my link, Acts of God.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

Especially in times of crises, civic and religious relief organizations need our help. For organizations, such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross or perhaps your denomination or local church, to solicit funds and volunteers is a selfless act of mercy. We all need to do whatever we can to help those in genuine need. Rescue Missions and Christian homeless shelters deserve all the help we can give them as their employees and volunteers do an often thankless job of meeting spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

SCAM ARTISTS

But as we do what we can to help the truly needy, we need to be aware of the Scam artists who go down through the phone book calling and begging churches for money. It’s amazing the detailed hard-luck stories they tell. I’ve heard some of the same stories repeatedly year after year. I guess some stories work well and make money for the beggar.

Some of the most sacrificial, unselfish, kind, thoughtful people I have ever met are in full time Christian service. On the other hand, some of the rudest, most thoughtless, selfish, self-centered people I have ever met are also in Christian service.Some people in Christian service have the mentality that since they are in full time Christian service that everyone owes them money and special attention. Some are rude and demanding and expect other Christians to go out of their way for them. It’s a joy to show hospitality and sacrifice for selfless, appreciative Christian servants; but it takes all the joy out of sacrifice when dealing with rude, thoughtless people who have the attitude that since they are in Christian service, everyone should cater to their whims and give them whatever they need.

MISSIONARIES

Some missionaries need to raise their own support before they can be sent out to a field of service; but they must beware of developing a beggar’s mentality, expecting everyone to do special favors for them because they are “in the Lord’s work.”

EVANGELISTS

Some evangelists I have known have a fixation on love offerings and travel expenses. If evangelists would concentrate their attention on avoiding canned-messages and seeking God’s message for a particular church, love offerings would meet their needs and expenses would be met. God’s people are generous. Feed the sheep and be honest with them and they will provide the wool willingly in abundance.

PASTORS

Pastors, get over self pity. Don’t whine because the people do not love you or care about you. Don’t whine because they do not offer you free baby sitting or yard service. I have seen some good preachers ruin their effectiveness and ministry by expressing self-pity to their congregations. Don’t complain or even hint that you are over- worked or underpaid. That is a pathetic attitude in a man of God.

Learn to live on what God supplies. Above all, understand that GOD is your source of supply. Quit looking to man for your source of supply. If you depend on your congregation, you are going to find yourself trimming your preaching so as not to offend your source of supply.

Beware of taking advantage of business people. They don’t owe you a ministerial discount. If they want to do something special for you, accept their generosity with appreciation to them and with thankfulness to God for His supply of your need.

If you are guilty of coveteousness, recognize it as a sin and confess it to God. Everything we have received has freely been given to us by the grace of God. Jesus says to us in Matthew 10:8 “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Jeremiah reminds us in Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.

Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:6 ” Be anxious for nothing; but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” Did you note that Paul does not tell us to let our needs be known to others?

The child of God who is faithfully doing God’s will can always count on God to meet his needs, whether he is a pastor, missionary, teacher, evangelist or involved in a secular job. Note also in this verse that there must be an attitude of thankfulness to God. Thankfulness should not be difficult when we realize that we deserve nothing; that all we have, we have by the grace of God.

May God teach us to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves. Philippians 4:11-12 May we be thankful for the way He supplies all our needs Philippians 4:19 and much, much more. Ephesians 3:20-21 May we be sacrificial and discerning in our giving to the truly needy.

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May 10, 2011 Posted by | Preaching | Comments Off on Beggars

# 1 Introd. to Romans

Understanding the Book of Romans is the key to understanding all the major doctrines of the Christian Faith, especially the salvation doctrines of justification, sanctification and glorification.  I am convinced that Paul’s Epistle to the Romans  is the clearest, best organized, most logical and most complete treatise on God’s plan of salvation and Christian living of any book of the Bible.

HUMAN AUTHOR

 

Though the Holy Spirit is the divine author of the entire 66 books of the Holy Bible,   a wide variety of holy men were the human authors who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.   Thus, the sixty-six books of the Bible from Genesis through The Revelation are inspired of God and thus they are the inerrant and the perfect Word of God with the power to save sinners and edify saints.

The human author of Romans is the Apostle Paul, who before his conversion was the Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, the hater of Christ and the chief persecutor and murderer of first-century Christians.

SAUL’S CONVERSION

 

In Acts 9 Luke records the miraculous conversion of Saul.   Paul also recounts in Acts 26  his conversion in his trial before King Agrippa years later. Saul, who was an eye-witness of the stoning of Stephen (one of the first deacons in Christ’s Church),  never got over the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit as he was party to Stephen’s murder and as he watched this saintly man die.  Trying to drown out the voice of God, Saul grew even more hateful as he went everywhere killing Christians.

On the road to  Damascus,  as Saul was rounding up Christians to persecute; God in His sovereignty confronted him,  beating him over the head, so to speak,  and knocking him to the ground.  It was the only way God could get his attention.  You can read the details of that confrontation in Acts 9.

Years later Saul, whose name was changed to Paul after his conversion,  shares his testimony of conversion in his Epistle to the Philippians in chapter  3.  In the first  6 verses of that chapter, he describes his life before his conversion and in verses 7 through 14 he describes life after his conversion.  Before his conversion his confidence of pleasing God was all centered in himself.  After his conversion, his only confidence was in Christ alone.  That’s the story of everyone who is regenerated by the power of God.  Before we are saved, our confidence of attaining God’s favor and Heaven is in ourselves and our self-righteousness.  After we are saved, as we understand our hopeless, lost condition;  our confidence is in Christ alone.

BOND SLAVE OF CHRIST

Radically changed by the power of God, his name was changed from Saul to Paul.   So radical was that change that from his conversion he saw himself as a bond-slave of Jesus Christ.  Doulos is the Greek word for bond-slave.   A doulos was an involuntary forced slave.   However, Paul by his life shows us that as we are constrained by our  love for Christ, we become His loving, voluntary slaves.   That has been my status for most of my life  and it ought to be your status if you are a Christian.  As bond slaves of Christ, we have no rights. Our only rights and our only desires are to please Christ in all our attitudes and actions.

CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE

 

Though not one of the twelve Apostles with whom Jesus spent three years, living with them and teaching them spiritual truth;  Paul spent three years in the  Arabian desert  learning directly and personally from the risen Christ.  Though Paul ministered to Jews, the major emphasis of his ministry was to gentiles whom he won to Christ and to the churches he helped to establish throughout the  Roman Empire,  He is the major human instrument God used to give us His New Testament.  Paul is the human author of nearly all the New Testament  Epistles, including the Epistle to the Romans which we are presently studying. Read Acts9:15  and Ephesians 3 concerning Paul’s special calling. 

As Paul, so every preacher is called of God to spend his life ministering the Word of God to people, even though sometimes he may be called upon as Paul to make tents temporarily  to meet his needs.  Though Paul’s calling and ours is to serve Christ; that service can best be expressed by having a servant heart to serve others, rather than lording it over them, as Peter taught in I Peter 5:1-6

In the messages to follow we will learn the fullness of what it means to be saved from our sins and to be a Christian.  Paul explains it logically and fully in Romans and by the end of this series in Romans, if you are now confused about spiritual truth; you should be rejoicing in a clear and complete understanding of God’s plan of salvation

 

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on # 1 Introd. to Romans