Minister’s Desk

Sept. 28, 2021 Fire In The Belly

When disagreements are seeded … they often grow into “Ivey’s of poison.”

Disagreement and discontent are everywhere in the world … compliments of Satin.

Perhaps you know a married couple … newlyweds or … silver anniversary unions

You ask yourself … “Do they ever agree on anything?

Do Christians ever disagree about ministers? … Yes

Do Christians ever disagree about other church related matters? … Yes

The Apostle Paul “pleaded”

1 Corinthians 1

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. (NKJV)

Disagreements … are natural … in the right environment … they aren’t all bad.

It’s when people become disagreeable that things get bad.

It’s not the … disagreeing with someone, … that’s a problem

But when we become disagreeable in our attitude and speech,

… disagreements … can grow into “Ivey’s of poison”

First thing we observe about … Disagreements … they put a “fire in your belly.”

Disagreements cause you to … think

Unfortunately, disagreements often cause you to … have an “attitude” – reflected by your speech.

Consider … Paul – Barnabas – and “John, called Mark”

Acts 15

36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”

37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.

38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.

39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;

40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.

41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (NKJV)

(37) Now Barnabas was “determined” …

Barnabas had a fire in his belly.

Caused him to … think (shall we say “determine”)

… which lead to … an “attitude” – reflected in his speech.

 

(38) But Paul “insisted” that they should not take with them … John / Mark

Paul has a fire in his belly.

Caused him to … think (shall we say “determine”)

… which lead to … an “attitude” – reflected in his speech.

 

(39) Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another.

Who’s to say … I am right … you are wrong?

We don’t know everything. … We don’t have all the answers.

If it’s a scriptural matter … and … the Word of God is clear-cut about it,

The disagreement should resolve itself with

“gentle persuasion based upon facts, discussed in love”

Two areas where we are challenged to apply

“gentle persuasion based upon facts, discussed in love”

Are: (1) … areas where the scripture does not appear clear-cut

AND (2) … areas of disagreement … on matters other than scripture

None of us have all the answers.

No one person is right about everything and every issue

… this is why – we must not turn disagreements

… into … disagreeable situations – put up walls  & break down communication.

(39) Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another.

This writing (verse) is from the same Paul who penned:

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

When an “opinion” is seen in the eyes of the “opinion holder” as “gospel truth”

… “Ivey’s of Poison” get watered, nurtured, and often grow out of control.

Some things are matters of opinion … others are not.

Through “prayerful discernment” … we should get better at identifying the two.

Disagreements … put a fire in your belly.

And, Disagreements … (remember this) God uses our personality.

(39) Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;

(40) but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.

(41) And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (NKJV)

These two men … with fire in their belly … God used their personality

To double the evangelical efforts …

… Never underestimate the Power of God

Over time, it is clear John Mark regained his place in the heart of the apostle Paul.  (Colossians 4:8-10) I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), (NKJV)

. . . Never underestimate the Power of God

xxx

 

Sept. 21-2021 Stagnation or Decay

(Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  (NKJV)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:10-17

(Matthew 13:12) “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  (NKJV)

“For far too many confessed Christians … Their spiritual house is a mess”

It takes focused effort to improve at anything.

Take cooking for example.

When man made fire … he learned to cook over flame

When man created the oven … he learned to cook in the flame

When man created the crockpot … he learned to cook all day

When man created the instapot … he learned to dump it in – set it – forget it

When we dump it in – set it – and forget it … “culinary” skills decline & stagnate

When we dump a pre-set – limited amount of biblical knowledge into our brains

Set it – and forget it … our spiritual skills decline – stagnate – then decay

If you exercise your muscles, you will become stronger.

You stop exercising, you don’t keep the muscles you have,

you begin losing them … and you end up with less than what you started with.

If you work on a building, you can create a house.

If you stop all efforts on the building,

it will eventually fall apart and … your house is now a mess

For far too many confessed Christians … Their spiritual house is a mess

There is no longer exposure to new ideas

Constantly growing in knowledge … evolves into constant neglect of knowledge.

Stop Learning – Start Losing Ground – Stagnate – Decay

Stagnation:

the state of not flowing or moving.

lack of activity, growth, or development.

Decay:

the state or process of rotting or decomposition.

hardwood is more resistant to decay than softwood

Stop Learning – Start Losing Ground – Stagnate – Decay – (Spiritual) Death

hardwood is more resistant to decay than softwood

Hardwood is resistant to decay

Spiritually Strong is resistant to decay

Spiritually Strong is Not a part time endeavor

Why do people approach Christianity part way?

(Romans 13:11) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  (NKJV)

Christians … once faithful Christians … approach Christianity part way

Stop Learning – Start Losing Ground – Stagnate – Decay

BECAUSE

“he learned to dump it in – set it – forget it”

“… when we choose to stagnate spiritually, we are displaying an ungrateful attitude described as one who has “forgotten that he was (we are) cleansed from our (old) sins.”

Successful Christian Living in Today’s World (pg. 96) – Mike Winkler

(9-5-2021 Sunday 10am Bible Study)

Spiritual Growth requires Spiritual Relationships with Spiritual People

(Proverbs 27:17) Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.  (RSV)

When you limit your spiritual studies to your own companionship,

your opportunity for spiritual growth is limited to your own understanding.

Stagnation OR Decay?

A lack of Spiritual effort doesn’t mean Stagnation, it means Decay, leading to Spiritual Death.

I need to lose another 5 pounds “minimum”

I can put myself on a starvation diet … and I will wonder why I am getting weaker

I can exercise … and know why I am getting stronger

When we put ourselves on a spiritual diet

… it is no wonder that our faith gets weaker

When we put ourselves on a spiritual exercise program

… our faith will strengthen

ONE Pray … the more distant the prayers, the more distant our God

TWO Fellowship … the first rule of exercise is have a companion

THREE Cook over an open fire …

(Psalms 119:130) The opening of thy words giveth light; It giveth understanding unto the simple.  (ASV)

The word giveth light … like the light of an open flame … it flickers, it enlightens.

(Hebrews 1:1-3) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  (NKJV)

FOUR Rebuild the foundation first

If you started a house … and then neglected it … there is a mess to clean up

Start dusting … replacing that which is decaying …  build on what remains solid

FIVE Know we are all are “Just A Step” from Eternity

A lack of effort doesn’t mean stagnation, it means spiritual decay.

(Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  (NKJV)

(Romans 13:11-14) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.  (NKJV)

(2 Peter 1:9) For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.  (NKJV)

(Romans 3:23-26) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  (NKJV)

… we are all “Just A Step” from Eternity

(Song) One more step

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:

Refrain:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you
.

2. Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you’ll be looking at along with me:

3. As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me traveling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you’ll be telling me the way, I know:

4. Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me traveling along with you:

5. You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,

keep me traveling along with you:

(Luke 19:10) “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  (NKJV)

xxx