Walking with God - Evangelism In Perspective 07/09/20
Pastor Ed Havey
Step Eight in our series, “Walking with God,” is evangelism. Evangelizing can be defined simply as witnessing. Are you telling others what the mighty God has done for you, and what he can do for them? Evangelism is a natural consequence, or should I say supernatural, resulting from the previous seven steps.
If you are (1) saved and have submitted to the command of (2) baptism, if you have committed to new relationships through (3) fellowship, if you are (4) studying the Word of God, if your heart’s desire is to be a (5) disciple of Jesus Christ, if you endeavor to (6) influence others as a servant, if you are (7) giving the first fruits of all your labor to the gospel, evangelism is culmination of those seven steps.
Assessing the mission to evangelize:
The world, by and large, has heard the gospel, has heard about Jesus Christ, and has made a decision for or against. We are not to resign to that, as many Christians do, with an apathetic disposition. We have all washed our hands in the bowl of indifference, which effectively decides there is no hope for those going to hell. This point of view fails in our call to promote the gospel in the darkest corners of the earth. When we judge one beyond hope, the devil has a victory party.
How do we persevere, then, to reach those resisting the word? The Bible advises us to be prepared, under all circumstances, to give a logical explanation to the hope we possess, an everlasting hope (1st Peter 3:15). That’s evangelism in a nutshell. Being prepared means to inexhaustibly study the scriptures. If you think you know your way around the neighborhood simply because you walked around the block a couple times, you are bound to get lost if you venture beyond that. You must expand your horizon gradually and even then you will lose your bearings on occasion.
So it is with the gospel. The elementary components are certainly sufficient. Man is a sinner and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life, in Jesus Christ. We possess death which we may discard by receiving the free gift God offers. That gift is received by confessing Christ as your Savior, whereby your sins do not determine your destiny. You who now possess Christ are given a new life, a new birth, a new direction. The old self will resist your new nature but, ultimately, the new will prevail over the old. Your new nature will hunger for the word of God. That is the spiritual food (Matt. 4:4) which will fortify the new nature, enabling it to dominate the old. The old will still have moments of triumph, as you surrender to temptation. Do not be discouraged but run back to the word which says, “Though a righteous man falls seven times in one day, yet he will rise again” (Proverbs 24:16).
Christ, the Living God, (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1) is the Savior. This same Lord was born of a virgin, supernaturally. Unlike anyone else, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He is unique. He who, because of this, was able to live a sinless life, ultimately fulfilled his mission on the cross, offering himself as the payment for the sins of the world. God demanded a perfect sacrifice to atone for sin. Jesus qualified. He did not earn the wages of sin, death, so that the grave could not claim him. This is the power of God and we are given the great privilege of offering this best of news to all sinners, who fall, ourselves included, woefully short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We must always remember the sinners we are, the common denominator between the saved and the unsaved. The uncommon denominator is Christ, applied to all who embrace him.
God required a lamb without blemish to atone for transgression. Since all people are blemished by sin, they must pay the price. Insufficient funds can only be overcome if someone pays the debt. Christ, hallelujah, is that someone, the unblemished Lamb of God. A wise preacher once said, Christ paid a debt he didn’t owe because we have a debt we cannot pay. Insufficient funds must be satisfied by either, receiving Christ as payment for your sins, or rejecting him and receiving eternity in hell. When a person understands that, the evangelist has gained a soul for Christ.
God is not willing that anyone should choose hell (2nd Peter 3:9) but the sanctity of freewill leaves the choice in the sinner’s hands. Isaiah 1:18, among countless other scriptures, reveals the heart of God. He speaks, here, directly to the sinner, pleading (why should the Almighty God plead for anything), pleading for the sinner to be reasonable, to stop denying the truth about the awful consequences of sin. God is not guilty of anything. He did not sin. We did. Isaiah 1:18 (God speaking), “Let us reason together, you and me. Though your sins be like scarlet, I can make them white as snow.” Do you here the Lord pleading on your behalf? The picture he paints is of one in a white garment, stained red by sin. He offers to wash that garment, to make it snow-white. If you will trust him, believing in your heart his promise to save whosoever should call upon him (Romans 10: 9-10), then finish the deal. Call upon the Lord, oh sinner, and receive the free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23). The only stain remover on the market for what has defiled your garment, is the blood of Jesus Christ. Ironically, washed in his blood, the garment is made white as snow.
In Matthew 28:19-20, the Lord ordains all Christians as evangelists. Dubbed “The Great Commission,” we are to make disciples, to baptize them in the name of the Trinity, and to teach them “the whole counsel of God.” How can we expect to be ready (1st Peter 3:15) with any effort inferior to the diligent study of God’s word. Therein is our hope and the hope of the world. It can be found nowhere else but in the sacrificial, unblemished, glorious Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Pastor Ed Havey
Walking with God -Tithing In Perspective 07/02/20
Pastor Ed Havey
We are in step seven of an eight step series called “Walking with God.” To remind you, they are:
1.) Salvation; 2.) Baptism (Rom. 6:3-4);
3.) Fellowship; 4.) Bible Study; 5.) Discipleship;
6.) Service/Leadership 7.) Tithing; 8.) Evangelism.
Step seven, Tithing, expresses gratitude, faithfulness, and obedience. These three qualities are the very essence of one’s spiritual life. They allow us to thoroughly enjoy the walk God invites us to take with him (Genesis 17:1, Galatians 5:16). That walk is handicapped where one of these three is missing. Tithing is the cord that binds these three together. Who is grateful and does not give? Who is faithful and lends no support? Who is obedient and does not obey? Learn from the scriptures what God expects of you.
Malachi chapter three shows us how passionate the Lord is on the subject of tithing. Both ends of the spectrum are clearly represented here. To tithe is to benefit from God’s promise “to open the windows of heaven and pour out on you a blessing you will not be able to contain.” To choose not to tithe is to be accused of robbing God (Malachi 3:8). An accusation by God constitutes a guilty verdict. Yet Israel argued the point, denying the accusation.
Tithing is so dear to God’s heart that he encourages us to “test him” (Malachi 3:10) to see if he won’t bless the tither. To test God is to violate one of his commands (Deuteronomy 6:16). But when it comes to tithing, God suspends the command. He is not accustomed to suspending his commands. He never says, it’s okay to lie. Nowhere does he counsel one to covet. Nowhere does he say, under such and such conditions you may cheat. But on the subject of tithing, God says, you may test me. You may disregard the command to the contrary. That speaks volumes on the priority of tithing. Be aware, though, God reserves the right to test you, to see if your faithfulness depends on prosperity, or if you are faithful regardless.
You will find him faithful. You may rely on his promise to bless you infinitely more than you can bless him.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum. Malachi 3:11. Because they were not tithing, their crops were invaded by devouring pests: i.e., locusts. Their vineyards woefully failed to reach their potential. God attributes the failure of their crops to their failure to tithe. You’re not going to cheat God without suffering consequences. You can be faithful and enriched or you can withhold from God and be frustrated.
God takes it personal if you do not tithe. He is offended. That, alone, should motivate us to tithe. Do not think that you are giving to a person. Just as you are not working for a man but for God,(Colossians 3:23), so you are not giving to a man but to God. Withholding from him is a serious offense. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) withheld from God with deadly consequences. Countless others have robbed God without suffering the same fate, but beware of a spiritual self-inflicted death imposed upon those who selfishly withhold from the Lord.
If you lack confidence in the church you attend, if you do not trust those in charge, that does not excuse you from the command to tithe. You must conduct a search for a church in which you can have confidence and invest your tithe there. It is incumbent upon you to locate where God wants you. Be very careful not to use your “reservations” as justification for not tithing. God will not excuse you for such a failure. Your faith will be found wanting, for it takes faith to be faithful.
To one who said he could not afford to tithe, a wise man once replied, “You cannot afford not to tithe.” If you are content with a life of poverty (Malachi 3:11), then tithing is not for you. But if you fear God and determine with all your strength to bask in his blessings, then tithing is for you. Find a place to invest in the gospel.
Proverbs 3:9-10, teaches a mystery on tithing. If you have a silo full of corn and you give one tenth to God, that silo will overflow and spill out all over the ground. Translation: tithing gives you more than you started with. If you take that same silo and do not tithe, its contents cannot be increased. This is God’s promise: 10, minus 1 for God, equals more than ten. Ten, minus nothing for God, equals a diminishing return. This law must be qualified by adding that God is not obligated to one with an ulterior motive. You must give without demanding anything in return. To the one whose heart is right, God will bless. But one who does not give, or gives for the wrong reason, his heart cannot be right. You cannot buy God’s blessings.
What is the spiritual conclusion on this subject? Should we point to people who have given faithfully and gotten nothing in return? That attitude fails to understand the eternal riches waiting for the faithful servant. God may, in his infinite wisdom, withhold the increase one is due but it will be realized in eternity. How else could God make such a promise and not keep it? Do not doubt his promise. To doubt his promise is to accuse him.
If God gave you eternal life: be grateful, be faithful, be obedient. Tithing expresses all three.
Pastor Ed Havey
Walking with God- Leadership In Perspective 06/24/20
Pastor Ed Havey
What does it mean to lead? Where is a leader typically located? The Lord doesn’t place a leader in the front, without also placing him in the back. Think of a shepherd. He sometimes has to guide his flock from behind in order to move it forward. Christ defines a leader as a servant. Everything he did, from dawn to dusk, was in the name of service. He said, “The son of man did not come to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). It was both his leadership and his service that called him to the cross.
To lead like Jesus, one must love to serve, love to show the way, live for others, dream for others, hope for others. A leader is fulfilled, not by his own success but, by the success of others. A servant is determined to please his master. It is the servant, not the leader, who is rewarded (Matt. 25:21). A true leader is not distinguished from a servant.
Listen to Paul’s teaching regarding the welfare of those he served: Phillipians 4:1, “You whom I dearly love, you are my joy and my crown.” Paul saw his eternal crown in direct relation to his service, to a church he founded and established. He served tirelessly, anticipating a reward. But understand this: his motive was not the crown. If it was, he would disqualified himself. The ulterior motive of a false leader would be the crown. Paul served, not to win the crown, but regardless of the crown. He served for the sheer joy of it.
Remember, Jesus, the leader, was called to the cross as a servant. After all, the cross, conventionally, is not the place for a leader. You don’t expect to find a leader on a cross. That’s a place for slaves, for servants. That’s a place for the defeated, not the victorious. Yet Jesus could not have been victorious without the cross. The truest leader who ever lived was a servant. He stressed to his apostles, whoever wants to be first must make himself last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35). Paul said, consider everyone to be better than you (Philippians 2:3). That is a servant’s attitude.
Shifting gears, don’t forget Jeremiah 17:9, There is nothing more deceptive than the human heart. You have your own worst enemy on your advisory board. To lead as a Christian, that advisor must be ignored, silenced. The human heart must not be allowed to influence your thinking. This is a direct contradiction of everything the world teaches. The world says to follow your heart. The Word teaches, if you rely on the human heart you are as far from God as you can get. How do you mute the human heart? That may be the greatest challenge in the life of a Christian, muting the human heart. Also called the carnal heart, it is the slave of the carnal mind. Now the question becomes, how do we free ourselves from the carnal heart and mind? Until you learn how to do that, you can neither lead nor serve. To overcome the carnal nature, any thought not approved in scripture as a godly thought must be rejected. Paul sternly instructs us to bring every thought into conformity with the word of God (2nd Corinthians 10:5). The more one is able to do that, the better he will lead and the better he will serve.
Our minds have been flooded with worldly philosophy. Our indoctrination began in the womb. There is more garbage in our carnal minds than we can comprehend. We need a steady and generous diet of God’s word to clean up the mess the carnal mind produces. That mind is like the Exxon Valdez, and your life is the Prince William Sound. Everything spilling from your mind is a contaminant. What if the only way to clean Prince William Sound was to recover every drop of oil dispensed by the Exxon Valdez? That’s how impossible it is for the carnal mind to save you. That’s how contaminated we are.
To serve the Lord effectively, don’t be deceived. Any input your carnal mind has can only frustrate your goal to serve the Lord. The word of God must be top priority in your life, if you will serve the Lord and, in serving, show others how to lead.
The message doesn’t change. You can put a new outfit on it, but underneath it’s still the same. You can call it leadership. You can call it fellowship, Bible Study, discipleship, walking with God. They all lead to the same conclusion. Meditate day and night, 24/7, on the word of God (Joshua 1:8).
Pastor Ed Havey
Walking with God - Discipleship = Disciple = Christ Follower 06/18/2020
Pastor Ed Havey
We are in step five of an eight step series called “Walking with God.” To review, the eight steps are
1.) Salvation; 2.) Baptism; 3.) Fellowship; 4.) Bible Study;
5.) Discipleship; 6.) Service/Leadership 7.) Tithing; 8.) Evangelism
Step five in a healthy relationship with the Lord is discipleship. A disciple is one who follows Christ and his teachings. All Christians are called to this position. Consider how the Lord identifies discipleship: Matt. 4:19, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” According to Christ, to follow him (to be his disciple) is to learn how to fish.
One does not become a fisher of men without an arduous education of the subject. The apostles, for example, spent three years, 24/7, learning from the Master how to deliver the gospel, the indispensable lure required in the job of fishing for men. One must be thoroughly versed in the word of God if he hopes to cast the lure effectively, adding people to the kingdom of God.
There are many logistical positions involved in fishing. Not everyone is in the boat, casting the lure. The equipment is produced through various assembly lines, far from the water. The rod, the reel, the lure, even the boat, the oars, the sails, are made available by an army of workers, whose reward is waiting for them in heaven. A disciple of Jesus Christ must find his place in the production of materials relevant to the distribution of the good news of Jesus Christ.
The body of water being fished is the world. It is a vast, hopelessly contaminated lake and when a fish is pulled from it, he is transferred to a pristine, pure body of water. He is removed from a filthy, deadly environment and released into an incorruptible, majestic body. He belongs to Christ now. Mission accomplished.
A fisherman, the disciple, is properly equipped for the work. Much of that equipment is procured at the fisherman’s own expense. He must acquire the fruit of long-suffering. Fishing must become a way of life for him, a frame of mind, a strenuous, determined, lifelong resolve, an absolute, uncompromising commitment to the cause of Christ. That is what intakes to be a bonafide disciple of the Lord. Such a one makes every effort to live right, to be faithful to his calling, to his spouse, to the brethren, and to the mission.
In Matt 10:37, Jesus said, “If you love your family more than me, you’re not worthy of me.” If your family comes before Christ, how can you, being unworthy of him, claim to be his disciple? You may think you are fishing for men when, in fact, you are more likely in the lake than on the lake.
Some endeavor to be a disciple independent of the church. They dismiss that the church is the body of Christ. How can you separate yourself from the body and remain a disciple? To put Christ first is to put his bride, the church, first, before all family and personal interests. You cannot relegate Christ to the back seat and profess to be his disciple.
Then there are those who divide their loyalty between the world and the church. Giving worldly functions priority over the church is, at best, a tepid, lukewarm commitment to the cause of Christ. Such a commitment or, rather, lack thereof, is repulsive to Jesus Christ. He will spew, out of his mouth, the lukewarm disciple. It is a contradiction of terms. You cannot be room temperature and on fire for Christ. That separates the sheep from the goats.
You squander an opportunity to witness when you put other interests ahead of the church. Your family knows that you do not practice what you preach, thus your preaching is in vain. You have not won your brother but you have succumbed to his way of thinking.
Discipleship is not a hobby or a pastime. I adjure you, evaluate yourself. If you are in the shallow end of Christianity, get out. Move into the deep water. You will celebrate such a decision for all eternity. You will not celebrate a stubborn spirit refusing to submit to God’s will for your life: discipleship.
Pastor Ed Havey
Stirred by the sermon at Trinity dated June 7, 2020
Matt. 22:29, Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God.” What a gem Pastor Joe, by the grace of God, discovered to show how relative the word is to the truth. Reread that verse and observe, without the scriptures, error is inevitable, lies prevail.
Opinion makes you vulnerable to Satan. Only truth (the word) can defeat him. Only the truth, not your opinion, can set you free. God does not have an opinion. What he speaks is absolute truth. An opinion is subservient to other opinions but the truth stands unrivaled.
We are not all the children of God (John 1:12, 8:44).
John 1:12 teaches that, whoever receives Christ “becomes” a child of God. To reject Christ is to remain a child of darkness.
John 8:44, Christ, speaking to the Pharisees, said, “You belong to your father, the devil …. there is no truth in him …” Here, Christ divulges, emphatically, that we are not all God’s children. Many, wittingly or not, are the children of Satan. This disturbing truth compels one to stop entertaining the lie that we are all God’s children. That demented theology will gain you a place in the infernal regions.
To dispute this Biblical reality is to reject the word of God. You cannot rewrite the word to fit a convenient philosophy. You cannot pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe in the word of God, without accusing the word of being wrong.
To insist that we are all God’s children is to accuse the word of error. And to accuse the word of error is to oppose it. You are only entitled to your opinion where it conforms to the truth, at which point you advocate, not an opinion, but the truth.
Matt. 22: 29, Upon being asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Because a person is not born a Christian, he cannot viably comply with this command until he becomes one. The Bible says, an unsaved person is, by nature, unable to comprehend scripture (1Cor. 2:14). Upon salvation, though, a person receives the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16), with which he can practice, through due diligence, not only the most important command, but the entire word of God. Granted, that is a life-long endeavor and not completely accomplished in this world. Even in eternity, the word of God never passes away, suggesting that the riches contained in it will never be exhausted. What an immeasurable wealth we have at our disposal. Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Don’t miss the connection between salvation and true, spiritual, eternal prosperity. That cannot be had without receiving Christ as Savior. Conversely, it cannot be lost to one who has received him. I implore you, through the scriptures, “procure gold refined in the fire” (Rev. 318), an obvious reference to heavenly treasure (Matt. 6:19-20). Such procurement is only possible for those who are in possession of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:20, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with me.” Notice the reception necessary on your part, in order to advance Jesus’ proposition. By opening the proverbial door, you receive him into your heart. Yes, Jesus is knocking on the door to your heart. Review the verse and notice that he is not only knocking but he is calling as well. He is making every effort to persuade you to let him in.
Too many people, tragically, think, if Jesus wants in, let him kick down the door. Permit me to tell you why he won’t do that. In the beginning, God created in man, a free will. By kicking the door down, he will have forced himself on you, thereby violating the free will he gave you which subsequently, would constitute a violation of his very word, which vows free will for all. If he were to kick the door down, he would be guilty of lying, making him no better than his adversary, the father of lies (John 8:44). And if proven a liar, his entire word would become illegitimate, as well as his position as Savior. If Christ is a liar, then Christ died for nothing and did not rise. But no, let God be true and every man a liar. By that logic understand that your free will determines your eternal estate.
Let me interject, do not try to beat God with your right to an opinion. That approach only defeats yourself. He is God. He is right. You may have a right to disagree with God but you cannot do so without being wrong.
Some argue that pre-destiny trumps free will, suggesting that those relegated to hell are not to blame. Such an argument is ignorant of what pre-destiny really means, in relation to free will. Allow me to expound: pre-destiny does not mean that you didn’t choose your destiny. It simply means that God, in his omniscience, always knew what you would choose. He knew your end before your beginning but he did not choose it. The inerrant word of God proclaims, “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2nd Pet. 3:9). This proves a difference between God’s will and God’s plan. Everything happens according to his plan. Not one attempt defying his plan will succeed. His will, however, is not always achieved. Men defy the will of God daily, from dawn to dusk. Even the Christian, with every sin he commits, disregards the will of God, who longs for us to walk with him, uninterrupted by sin. Enoch enjoyed such a walk with God (Gen. 5:24, Heb. 11:5, Jude 14), so much so that he did not see death, for God raptured him. Enoch proves that we can have, with the Lord, a relationship void of sin. And that we will have such a one in due course.
Isaiah 1:18, God says, “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be like scarlet, I can make them as white as snow.” God, accused by the world of being cold and calloused, is pleading for you to be reasonable, to stop resisting him, to admit that you are a sinner in need of the Savior. Is not the cold and calloused one the man who turns a deaf ear to God’s appeal? Stop playing semantics with him. Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance.
Who’s better? The road to peace is paved with humility. The proud cannot walk it.
There is no problem that does not have a Biblical solution. Jesus told us, if we want to be first, we must make ourselves last (Matt. 20:16, Mark 9:35). If we want to be the best, we must accept that we are the worst. Paul highlighted that truth (Phil 2:3) by admonishing us to “consider everyone else to be better than you.” He called himself the chief of sinners, labeling himself the lowest of the low. I have too much respect for Paul to challenge his claim. However, if Paul is the chief of sinners, I am the assistant chief.
In the powerhouse where I used to work, there was only one chief engineer. He had below him, three assistant chiefs. Of course, Paul’s inversion put him, not at the top, but at the bottom. He had the credentials to make such a claim, having murdered thousands of Christians before his conversion, which crimes Paul, at the time, was deluded into thinking that he was serving God. Once having lived in darkness, he admitted that he was, in the past, a violent man (1 Tim 1:13).
Think of the wonderful world this would be if everyone considered everyone else to be better than them. If, in my eyes, you are better than me, and if, in your eyes, I am better than you, that attitude would bring an end to war, an end to greed, an end to the lust for power. I would want you to have power and you would want me to have power. I would consider myself undeserving of power and you would consider yourself undeserving of power. The dispute among men would transfer, from a struggle for control, to a spirit of humility, thus embracing the truth that only God can be in control.
That defines humility. Putting ourselves at the mercy of others allows God to insure our well-being. Trusting that God instills a degree of mercy into every heart, inspires even the most proud to be merciful.
This profound truth must be qualified by addressing evil. There are demons, led by Satan, who possess not one iota of mercy. In fact, they perceive mercy as a weakness. They seize upon opportunities to prey upon the merciful, the meek. They influence carnal men to pursue the ways of darkness. Such men, some wittingly and some not, do their bidding, in allegiance with them.
Yet, Jesus insisted, Blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful. Don’t forget the other side of those coins. Cursed are the proud, cursed are the merciless. May we all have wisdom and strength to exhibit meekness and mercy over pride and violence. Yes, the opposite of mercy is, ultimately, violence. I do not see anywhere in scripture, God commending the violent.
Pastor Ed Havey
Walking with God - Bible Study In Perspective 06/03/20
This article is step four in our study, “How to Walk with God.” As a reminder, the eight steps entailed in this walk are listed here:
[1. Salvation] [2. Baptism] [3. Fellowship, new friends] [4. Bible Study]
[5. Discipleship] [6. Service/Leadership] [7. Tithing] [8. Evangelism]
Romans 10:17 says, Faith comes by hearing the word of God. How shall they hear it unless a man, ordained by God, is sent to preach (Romans 10:15)? Notice that preaching is not accomplished without the word. Paul told Timothy, Preach the word (2nd Timothy 4:2). In Acts 8:31, an Ethiopian reading the scriptures, says to Philip, “I cannot understand the word unless someone explains it to me.”
We can deduce from these scriptures that Bible Study is the brother of Fellowship.
It is also to be conducted privately. A dissection of 2nd Timothy 2:15 connects the study of God’s word with his approval of your life. In other words, if you hope to gain God’s approval, you must study his word, tirelessly. Here, the doctrine of eternal security is questioned. But you are saved regardless of your commitment to the word, with the following qualifier: without consuming the word, you are a spiritual anorexic, gaunt and ghastly, feigning good health, fooling no one but yourself. Jesus put an exclamation point on this when he said, every word from the mouth of God is necessary for a healthy spiritual diet (Matthew 4:4). Of course, there is no capacity for a spiritual diet without having been born spiritually, which happens by confessing yourself a sinner and receiving Christ as your Savior (John 1:12). This doctrine was expounded on in step one of this series: Salvation.
Joshua 1:8 instructs us to Meditate on God’s law (the scriptures) day and night. Therein is the private or personal variety of Bible study.
Talk to your children about the word, when you’re going in and when you’re going out. That means all the time.
Though we make friends there with which to keep godly company, the church is not a social gathering. We are to keep a godly vigil over each other, provoking one another to live right and to engage in good works (Hebrews 10:24). A Christian who criticizes fellowship deprives himself of one of the eight biblical steps necessary for a healthy walk with the Lord. Bear with me. Generally, such a critic accuses Christians in fellowship of being hypocrites. The devil has gotten in his head and persuaded him that declining fellowship puts him in better standing with God. The one who thinks he is better, is that not the very definition of a hypocrite? Does that not make him guilty of the very thing he charges against others? How does rejecting the biblical command to fellowship (Hebrews 10:25) translate to righteousness? Is he not a hypocrite who claims the word of God on the one hand but refuses to comply with it on the other? He would be much more profitable to himself and to the church if he would embrace the brethren.
Ephesians 5:25-27 contains an overwhelming inference that the church is the bride of Christ. Here, Paul draws a parallel between a husband and wife and Christ betrothed to the church. How, then, does one who dishonors the bride give honor to the groom? No loving husband has a relationship with anyone who disrespects his wife. You cannot snub the church and expect the Lord’s approval. You deceive yourself if you think so.
The church is also called the body of Christ. You cannot be a part of the body if you are not connected to it. Even the baby finger, when detached from the body, is dead. You make yourself an authority above God’s ordained people when you reject them. It is not them you reject. It is the living God.
The apostles spent three years, 24/7, under the tutelage of Jesus Christ. They were tested by the crucifixion, purged by the resurrection, unified by the Holy Spirit, to produce, not a dispersion but an unbreakable union. As Ecclesiastes 4:12 teaches, a cord of one may be severed but a cord of three is not easily broken. The lone Christian has only himself on which to rely and his contradiction on instructions to fellowship nullifies his effort to rely on himself. His only strength becomes his greatest weakness.
Conclusion: do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together but as the end draws near, become all the more committed to it (Hebrews 10:25).
Pastor Ed Havey
Walking with God - Fellowship In Perspective 05/27/20
The third step in walking with the Lord is fellowship. First, one becomes a believer. Secondly, one follows the Lord in baptism. Fellowship, third, is the development of new friends. The Lord told his followers (2nd Corinthians 6:17), “Come out from among them (the world) and separate yourself from them.”
As a Christian now, the scriptures call you a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17). You were not born a Christian but became one by confessing that your sin forbids you to live in God’s presence. Your salvation irrevocably made you a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Your citizenship is no longer here on earth. There is an eternal place in the realm of God reserved for you. As a citizen of heaven, it is no longer natural to cling to this world, for here you have become an alien. Some learn the hard way, like the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-24), that this world is not your friend.
God put an exclamation point on that truth when he said (James 4:4), “The friend of the world is the enemy of God.” But you are no longer his enemy. Therefore you are no longer a friend of the world. You are delivered from the judgment awaiting this world.
Satan is the prince of this world (John 16:11). Jesus is the King of heaven (John 18:36). Both are recruiting subjects to serve them. However, those who choose to serve this world have only eternal condemnation waiting for them while you, the Christian, are promised eternal life in heaven, not for what you accomplished but for what Christ accomplished on the cross. It was the sinless life he lived that made his sacrificial death acceptable to the Father. Do not believe Hollywood. Jesus lived a sinless life. Therefore death could not claim him. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but he did not earn those wages. Thus, the grave could not retain him but yielded to the resurrection. What a beautiful, logical gospel you embraced when you received Christ. You are no longer subject to the wages of sin, which is eternal fire, but his sinless life is applied to you and you are forgiven, accepted by the Father. When God looks at you, he does not see the sinner. He sees only his true and faithful, obedient, beloved, sinless Son. A wise old preacher once said, “Christ paid a debt he didn’t owe because we have a debt we cannot pay.
Now you are called to celebrate your salvation in fellowship with others who have also been so delivered. You have passed from judgment to forgiveness. You have a new mind (1st Corinthians 2:16) that must be developed through a new family. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are here to celebrate with you in worship (commonly conducted in spiritual songs). That is part one of fellowship.
It would be most unwise of you to decline fellowship. You would deprive yourself of a healthy spiritual life. To decline fellowship is to starve yourself spiritually. Find a Bible believing church. Plant yourself in it. The operative word there is “plant.” Let yourself be watered by ordained saints (part two of fellowship) who will also feed you the word. And you will grow by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Do you feel God’s presence since you’ve been saved? Be sensitive to his leading as he approves of fellowship.
Be reassured here, that if you belong to Jesus, he will obligate himself to keep you in the fold (in the fellowship) Christ said, “If a man has a hundred sheep and loses one, he will leave the ninety-nine and go and find the one and bring it back into the fellowship” (Matthew 18:12). Of course, he was speaking of his relationship with you. He wants you to remain among the fold. Observe the fellowship characterized by the hundred sheep. That is where Christ wants you.
Pastor Ed Havey
Baptism In Perspective 05/20/20
This week’s installment of “In Perspective” attends to the doctrine of baptism, or step two in Christian fundamentals. Two weeks ago step one, Salvation, was presented. Here are all eight steps in the series:
[1. Salvation] [2. Baptism] [3. Fellowship, new friends] [4. Bible Study]
[5. Discipleship] [6. Service/Leadership] [7. Tithing] [8. Evangelism]
These eight steps, taken with sincere humility, will accomplish a proper “walk with God” and allow a life pleasing to him (Genesis 17:2, Galatians 5:16). Don’t let Satan persuade you to neglect any one of these, or your journey with the Lord will suffer.
Genesis 17:2 offers a good explanation of this truth. God said to Abraham, “Walk before me and be perfect.” God, here, is not demanding perfection but is emphasizing that we can only know perfection by walking with him. Man’s weakness is his willingness to walk where God is not, settling for imperfection. Even the staunchest believer has a propensity toward that, which Abraham confirms on various occasions.
In that vein, we may translate Genesis 17:2 this way: “You will be perfect, Abraham, only to the degree that you walk with me.” Galatians 5:16 is the New Testament equivalent: Walk in the Spirit (walk with God) and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (you will be perfect).
This exercise, walking with God, was conducted by Noah before Abraham (Genesis 6:9), and by Enoch before Noah (Genesis 5:24). Even Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden (inferred in Genesis 3:8). It is made obvious that we are to walk with him. The question becomes, how do we walk with God? If we study the footsteps of Jesus, in his earthly ministry, he shows us how to walk with God.
Jesus said, “I always do what is pleasing to my Father” (John 8:29). He was telling us that we also may, by following him, do what is pleasing to God. When he was baptized, immersed in the Jordan River(Matthew 3:13-17), the heavens opened and the Father proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Baptism also announced the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It is a reasonable deduction, then, that anyone who would be involved in the ministry, meaning every Christian, should be baptized in obedience to Christ’s example. Many theologians agree that baptism is the first step of obedience in our relationship with God, notwithstanding this first step does not precede salvation. I personally was saved 14 years before I was baptized but it was only after baptism that the Lord took control of my life and blessed my ministry. No doubt, countless others can relate to how profoundly baptism affected their walk with God for the better.
As Colossians 2:12 teaches, to be baptized through immersion is to be buried in the likeness of his death. To emerge is to be raised in the likeness of his resurrection. The water symbolizes a grave, out of which you are a resurrected, child of the King. This is an accurate portrayal of baptism and the church ought to be true to it. Also, as controversial as it may be now, Biblical baptism was undergone only by those consenting to it. Any other kind of baptism is a deviation of the original intent. Let the candidate step forward and announce his salvation. Then, and only then, should the ordinance of baptism be performed. One can then proceed with full confidence that he/she legitimately completed the second step in his/ her walk with the Lord.
Pastor Ed Havey
To the Church In Perspective 5/12/20
Let me remind you of what the Bible says about the perilous times preceding the end of the age. I’m not suggesting that’s where we are, but only exploring the possibility. There are things happening today consistent with end times teaching. We know that a one world government will be issued in as the end draws near. We are not to be alarmed about these things without the great consolation that they are in keeping with God’s plan.
There are powers here and around the globe dedicated to the formation of a one world government. We see, plainly, the objective of the enemies of Christ, as they brazenly collaborate. The very pandemic we are subjected to now is seen, by these insidious conspirators, as a mere tool to be used to accomplish their goal of bringing all nations under one government. Though we feel powerless, as the evil intentions of this world gain strength, we also can celebrate the fulfillment of God’s word when the end does come. He has told us beforehand, out of his own mouth (Matthew 24-25), and by the Biblical prophets, the true prophets, specifically what will happen. We don’t need more information. The word of God is sufficient.
No man knows the hour when these things will come to pass. This pandemic may play out and things return to normal. I hope so.The current crisis may or may not be the beginning of the end. We are not to assume, we are not to prophecy about these things. Others have announced the end before, only to be disproven. All we can do, all we could ever do, is be faithful to the Lord, the word, and his bride, the church. Study your Bibles every day. Use this pandemic as an opportunity to develop a good habit: daily Bible study. Who doesn’t have a spare hour now to devote to the study of God’s word?
Just because we are not currently gathering every week does not mean that we are unfaithful, so don’t beat yourself up over your absence from the church. Unfaithfulness arrives when you abandon your service to the Lord. I was in quarantine and did not go to church for 10 weeks. I am not any less saved or any less persuaded that Jesus Christ is my Savior, with a capital “S.” As God has instructed, I focus on the cares of the day and celebrate, even in isolation, the day the Lord has made. I proclaim the good news to whoever I can reach. The pandemic has not terminated my ministry. In fact, it has expanded through social media. I have my poetry mission which ministers the gospel to many. I now have my Trinity Church/Monee web page to offer to seeker and saved alike. That page can be accessed through Facebook.
As he has done for me, God has gifted you also, which gift becomes more critical, not less, in times like these. He has gifted you in order that you may serve him. Your gift is needed more now than ever. Every gift revolves around the call to be a witness and provides an asset pertinent to the church. Use yours wisely. Do not neglect the gift God has given you. Discover it! Develop it!Understand its twofold purpose. Be a witness and do not deprive God’s people of the gift he has given you.
Do not value your life above your service to Jesus Christ. Don’t forget, if you love your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life in defense of the gospel, you will save it. The Lord is not asking you to commit hari-kari. Don’t recklessly hurl yourself against the opposition. Value your life. Protect it. Don’t step in front of a moving bus. But always be ready. The time may come when evil commands you to renounce your Savior. Pray now, that if that hour ever arrives, you will have strength enough to cling tightly to the living feet of Jesus.
Pastor Ed Havey
Christian Fundamentals (Step One) In Perspective 05/04/20
The first of Christian fundamentals is salvation. A walk with Jesus Christ starts there. It would seem unnecessary to even mention this obvious step. Why don’t we just move on to step two? After all, there is no Christianity without Christ. The fact of the matter is, there is a false Christianity, with standing room only, crowded beyond capacity with people who, tragically, do not know Jesus Christ and are on there way to hell. They will surely end up there if they don’t get off the highway of deception and get on the path of truth.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells us that when this age concludes, many, not a few, but many, who claim to be Christians will be exposed as impostors. In this passage they plead their case, giving what appears to be good credentials, saying to the Lord: “We have prophesied in your name and in your name we have cast out many demons. And in your name we have done many wonderful works.” That sounds like an impressive list of accomplishments. What are they guilty of? What did they fail to do?
I have studied this quandary long and hard and the word of God has given me a sound and logical answer to these questions. Their guilt is revealed by their own lips. They were trusting in their works for salvation. If you study the passage (Matthew 7:21-23), you cannot help but detect a proud, boastful spirit emanating from these unbelievers. They are practically demanding that Jesus step aside and let them in. They act as if Jesus is indebted to them.. They were using, not trusting, Christ as a means to earn a seat in the eternal, heavenly congregation. No such people will sit among those who will celebrate Jesus Christ and salvation by grace, in eternity. If the impostors were allowed in, Jesus Christ would not be the Lord of that place at all. For eternity, they would Lord over him.
This spirit comes from utter darkness and has thoroughly infiltrated the church. We were warned over and over about this throughout the scriptures. Two thousand years ago, Jude warned us in verse 4 that the enemies of Jesus Christ are in the camp, mingling among us, pretending to be some of us. Jesus himself said many times to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. The sad truth is that, in some Christian circles, the wolves outnumber the sheep. That is a testament to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, who can and does prevent such sheep from being devoured.
Paul said (2nd Corinthians 11:14) that Satan has the power to impersonate light. Translation: you may be focusing on a false light. Understand the gospel in order to shift your focus to the true light. You are a sinner and you cannot, however noble your effort, you cannot save yourself. You must fall, a broken person, defeated, before Jesus Christ, confessing yourself a sinner powerless to be anything else. That is genuine repentance and there is no substitute for it. Do not continue a futile attempt to save yourself. You can fall before Christ today, wherein he will lift you up, or you can find yourself among those many tragic and deceived people, who will fall before him too late, at which horrifying point they will learn a destiny of fire and brimstone. Do not find yourself in a position that you would not wish on your worst enemy, which is what all your tireless efforts to save yourself will earn you. Choose, rather, the gift of eternal life, which Jesus Christ freely gives to all who sincerely ask.
Comprehend, now, the necessity of addressing salvation as the first step in a walk with Jesus Christ. Inform friend and enemy alike that there is an all too obvious “false Christianity,” that every true disciple of Jesus Christ is obligated to talk about. God appointed Ezekiel a watchman (Ezekiel 3:17-19), instructing him that if he saw someone on their way to hell and did nothing about it, God would hold him accountable. We too, have been appointed to Ezekiel’s post. That is a most sobering reality. Do not disregard it.
Perhaps you wonder how you can do justice to such a calling. Pray pray pray, and pray some more that God would teach you his word and so equip you to do the work of an evangelist (2nd Timothy 4:5). Pray for that, and pray for that to be your priority in life. We have a mission field right here in the very heart of the church.
Pastor Ed Havey
God’s Word In Perspective 04/27/20
God’s word is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship with him (John 8:31). A wise preacher once said, “We communicate with God through prayer and God communicates with us through his word.” In that vein, if you are not studying his word, then you are doing all the talking. Neglecting to hear from God allows his enemy, Satan, to influence you. Satan promotes worldly philosophy. Mingling worldly and Biblical thought is like putting a cup of rice into a bowl of spaghetti. Separating the two will not be done without extreme frustration, aggravation, and impatience. You will likely quit trying and end up consuming both.
God instructs us to let every thought conform to the teachings of Christ (2nd Corinthians 10:5). Translation: challenge every thought and expel every one that does not compliment the word. That is a huge challenge, for we are bombarded, from our youth, with worldly and carnal thinking, all of which oppose the word of God. There are superstitions, astrology, psychic games promising to improve you, and other various forms of voodoo disguised as harmless entertainment. They are not harmless but offensive to the Living God.
My aim, in the weeks ahead, is to present all the fundamentals of scripture, which will allow you to be fully equipped in the knowledge and counsel of God. With these assets in your spiritual corner, you will learn to recognize all that the world promotes, and be able to, instantly, rely on something infinitely more valuable, the mind of Christ. The Bible calls itself a sword (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). If you don’t know how to wield it, to fend off the enemy, Satan will turn it on yourself, wounding you and making you resent the very thing designed to protect you in the spiritual battle raging around you. Do not become a casualty, due to your lack of training, in the fight between good and evil.
Since Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1), it represents his mind. Put another way: the Bible, from cover to cover, divulges the mind of Christ. We are instructed to put on that mind. (1st Corinthians 2:16). That will enable you you to compare everything you participate in against the word, wherein you will begin to weed out all that chokes the word. 2nd Peter 1:4 invites us to “participate in the divine nature.” To do that you must cease and desist any activity or entertainment that contradicts or disobeys the mind of Christ.
No one wants a relationship with someone who does all the talking. If you are long on prayer but short on reading the word, you are doing all the talking. Then you play worldly games designed to reveal, through various steps, what is best for your life. Wake up! You are dabbling in the demonic realm. Your misunderstanding of scripture makes you incredibly vulnerable to satanic influence, all in the name of harmless fun. Do not participate in such things. The word counsels you to avoid any and everything remotely resembling evil (1st Thessalonians 5:19-22). The Bible clearly says that doing what is right in your own eyes does not translate to doing what is right in God’s eyes (Proverbs 14:12). Your heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). Learn to see through his eyes. To do that effectively, you must be thoroughly acquainted with God’s word.
Because Satan has the power to impersonate light (1st Corinthians 11:13-15), therefore everything that claims to come from God must be proven or disproven with the word (1st John 4:1). If you are not thoroughly grounded in it, the word becomes foggy, and Satan, in that fog, deceives you into thinking that God has spoken. In the face of the relentless devices of darkness, the truth must be even more relentlessly defended. How impossible is that defense if your counsel from God is not entirely grounded in the word? If you do not rely one hundred per cent on the Bible for truth, you will be subject to influence by an impostor. Don’t sing the Lord’s praises only to contradict that song by collaborating, however unwittingly, with darkness. Know the difference, Biblically, between God’s light and all the cheap imitations the world offers. Accomplishing that, demands an all-out, lifelong study of God’s word, also known as, Jesus Christ. You can only know Jesus to the degree that you know the word, for they are one and the same (John 1:1). Obversely, to the degree that you do not know the word, you do not know Jesus.
Pastor Ed Havey