Greater Glens Falls
Bible Baptist Church
"The church that dares
                             to be different" 
   Welcome      News Letter
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2012
 
              "WITH WHOM SHOULD WE FELLOWSHIP?"
 
        Frequently, I am am asked by members of other churches using the name "Baptist" why our church does not fellowship with them. Their false conclusion is that "you do not like us, and God commands that we love one another."
        The issue is not love. In fact, I do believe in and I do practice the Biblical doctrine of "love one another." Love requires accountability (cf. II Corinthians 5:10). Love is at the very heart of the doctrine of reconciliation, which is not practiced by most Baptist  Churches any more, because it would require returning members to the church they left in rebellion.
         Biblical reconciliation is mandated in God's Word. Therefore, failure to participate in the process does at least these things: (1) It violates God's Word (not a happy position for any believer, much less a pastor); (2)  It stunts the spiritual growth of the person who should be required to repent; (3) It violates the authority of the church the person is leaving; (4) It opens the opportunity for judgment upon the pastor and the church receiving the rebellious person from another church; (5) It breeds more and more rebellion; (6) It angers God (as all sinful acts do).
          Sadly, many Christian Colleges so promote numerical growth in churches that they do not teach nor do they encourage teaching and practicing by their graduates the Biblical doctrine of reconciliation.
          The Bible teaches many principles concerning the necessity of and the process of using BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION.
 
                                 BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION
 
PRINCIPLE # 1
          Reconciliation demands that the person offending be reconciled to the person offended, not someone else (Matthew 5:24, "...first, be reconciled to thy brother..."). Reconciliation is basic to having fellowship (a word meaning "to hold in common").
          On numerous occasions, someone who violated God's Word seriously, and our church had to deal with it Scripturally, went to another church, joined on statement of faith, and sent this word back to us: "I went forward in this church and 'got it right' with the Lord." That cannot be. God would not approve of, nor would HE accept, the opposite of what His Son taught. In this passage, it is the offending one who is expected to take the initiative (cf. previous verses). His initiative has as its purpose restored fellowship (which was broken by sin).
           Imagine an adulterous husband telling the wife he had offended that he "got right with another woman" instead of with her (See the pattern in I Corithians 7:1, using the reconciliation of the wife).
           Imagine a wayward son or daughter calling home and telling the mother and father he or she had embarrassed that "it was made right with another Mom or Dad."
OBVIOUSLY, MANY PASTORS ARE IGNORING GOD'S CLEAR WORD!
 
PRINCIPLE # 2
           The effectiveness of worship is hindered by a refusal to deal with unconfessed sins, or broken relationships (and people who leave a church unscripturally have committed sin). In the Matthew 5:24 passage, the issue is purifying the heart before going to worship at the altar. Purifying the heart is engaging in the first step of restoring fellowship.
           Yet, when I see "rebels " in public, they usually want to boast to me about how spiritual they are and tell me this: "My, God has been blessing my life."  They usually have what I call "the honey attitude," but without dealing with the cause of the loss of fellowship.
           Somehow, I find in God's Word that He does not bless unconfessed sin. What is the main enemy of REVIVAL? Leonard Ravenhill points out that it is the refusal to deal Scripturally with sin. That means that many fundamental Baptists could be the cause of not getting the REVIVAL we often say we are praying for. 
           II Chronicles 7:14 puts dealing with sins as a main point in regaining with God lost spiritual ground. Yet, Fundamental Baptists still undermine the church's authority (except their own church) and wonder WHY REVIVAL TARRIES!
 
OBVIOUSLY, GENUINE WORSHIP CANNOT OCCUR IN A HEART WHICH REJECTS BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION.
 
PRINCIPLE # 3
           Reconciliation between believers is based upon the same blood sacrifice that brings about reconciliation of each person to the God he offended.
           Unreconciled persons are called "enemies." Think about that relative to people you may have offended and with whom you refuse to be reconciled (Romans 5:10). They are also not in harmony with the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus in Heaven (cf. Hebrews 2:17).
           Salvation from personal damage occurs through reconciliation between believers, just as salvation from damnation occurs through reconciliation between God and man (Romans 5:10). Even for saved persons, reconciliation is the key to "fullness of Christ's life" in our day-by-day activities. Fellowship with God is restored by reconciliation, and fellowship between believers is restored by reconciliation.
OBVIOUSLY, REFUSING RECONCILIATION IS BLASPHEMING THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. WHY WOULD BELIEVERS DO THAT?
 
PRINCIPLE # 4
           Believers have been entrusted by God with the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18). 
           This "trust" reveals a strong responsibility: believers ought not to be at odds with each other, but should practice reconciliation with each other as a testimony to the lost community. To go "win souls" while not being right with one of God's children is hypocrisy.
            If we are to teach how to reconcile, and if we are to practice it as a prerequisite to teaching it, what does that say about church splits, angry Christians, and bitter alliances within the Body of Christ? This mentality does not promote fellowship within the Body of Christ.
OBVIOUSLY, GOD KNOWS WE CANNOT BE ENTRUSTED WITH WHAT WE REJECT BY REFUSING TO PRACTICE IT! 
 
PRINCIPLE # 5 
            Failure to practice reconciliation within the church body when their are disagreements rejects the pattern God set for dealing with broken relationships (II Corinthians 5:18-20).
           Somehow, I have always thought that God knows more about how we should act than we do. As Creator, He has absolute right to set patterns for His creatures. However, by rejecting the reconciliation doctrine, many so-called "Baptist Pastors" are actually trying to take over God's position. How arrogant is that?
           The Corinthian letter is written to saved people; therefore, the message is not about "soulwinning," although I have heard many preachers take it out of its context and say "it is all about soulwinning." Well, you don't tell a personal message to people unless the personal message actually applies, especially if your name is "God": Paul writes, "be ye reconciled to God" (v 20). This indicates that failure to reconcile with another brother or sister means you are not reconciled to God..... WOW!
            The Corinthian church was allowing incest in its midst earlier, and Paul wrote to demand action on their part (I Corinthians). Now, after the fact, they had not been receptive toward the man who obviously dealt with his sin. Paul was telling them that reconciliation also involves restoration (which is the main reason most Baptist preachers do not practice it today.....they want the newcomers to stay in their churches and tithe and add to the report).
             Having an extra body in a pew is a poor reason to disobey
God by not carrying out the reconciliation process as God demands. 
OBVIOUSLY, BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION IS MORE IMPORTANT TO GOD WITHIN THE CHURCH THAN IT IS TO THE PASTORS OF MOST CHURCHES. 
 
PRINCIPLE # 6
 
             With the ministry of reconciliation, God also gave the standard (or we might say the tool) required in the reconciliation process: "...and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (v 19).
             How powerful is this? To refuse to practice Biblical Reconciliation, one must reject the actual Word of God. If one refuses the process, he rejects the tool God gave with which to carry out the process.
             However, "rebels" are excellent hypocrites. I have never had anyone get angry with me, falsely accuse me, leave the church, and continue to try to get others to "join their selfish, sinful cause" who did not say, "I believe God's Word."
             They are so spiritually dull that they actually believe they are "good Christians" despite their bitterness and anger. The pastor who accepts them into his church actually reinforces their rebellion, making them feel more "right" about a wrong decision. No wonder REVIVAL TARRIES!
OBVIOUSLY, REFUSAL TO CARRY OUT BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION REJECTS THE WORD OF GOD AND SUBSTITUTES PERSONAL OPINION FOR GOD'S TRUTH. 
 
SUMMARY:
             It is unlikely that the modern church (even Fundamental Baptists) will promote national revival (there will always be some pockets of spiritual renewal where believers practice Biblical reconciliation), because there are too few churches (Independent Fundamental Baptists included) who are willing to take the time and energy, as well as support restoration, in order to help each offending believer to "be reconciled to God."
             In our area, there are all too few churches claiming Baptist Heritage which actually have pastors who promote the Biblical approach to solving disagreements. Baptist History makes it clear that believers could not arbitrarily jump from church to church over disagreements (they must have had a letter of transfer, indicating "in good standing" in the church they left).
             At Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church, people have learned they cannot come here from another Baptist Church without a letter showing pastor approval. Furthermore, our first order of business is to work with their pastor to seek reconciliation and restoration (which means they will remain in that congregation).
           
 
 
JULY/AUGUST, 2012
 
              "OVERCOMING REBELLION THROUGH ACTIVE SUBMISSION"
 
      Dr. Reuben Ewert, Founder of "Living The Truth Ministries," says that we overcome rebellion by "practicing active submission." He also points out that most preachers begin their sermons on submission with Ephesians 5:22, focusing on submission of wives to husbands.
      Paul starts with submission for all believers: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord" (Eph. 5:21). Since it is a participle, the emphasis is upon ongoing and active submission in ones life. Dealing with submission of the wife is only one part of the total picture.
      There are two basic views of the subject of submission:
      FIRST, the view of the godless world. This view is one of passivity. If one submits, he allows people to "walk all over him."
      SECOND, the view of God's Word is active, submitting to others as a meeter of their needs in order to make them successful. A person who is actively submissive will not be involved in rebellious activity.
      Let me give you a few observations:
      (1) God's Word equates rebellion with witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23). This makes it a serious problem associated with Satanic involvement. It is a form of spiritual idolatry.
      (2) God's Word links rebellion to lack of submission (Hebrews 13:17 indicates obedience is a form of submitting). To disobey is to rebel.
      (3) Obedience begins with submission, not the other way around. As Dr. Ewert observes, "We don't start with obedience. We start with submission, because only a submissive person will obey." Even a cursory reading of God's Word should reveal that obedience is the badge of a submissive heart.
      Since "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), the solution to the rebellion problem has to be developing the skill of "Active Submission." How do we practice this "Active Submission"?
                                                         I
                               MAKE YOUR AUTHORITY A SUCCESS!
 
       In Psalm 79:9, Asaph wrote, "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy name's sake."
      "We are not saved just to go to heaven. We are expected to glorify the Lord and honor His holy name." (Dr. Reuben Ewert).
      It is living outwardly the inner new birth that distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever. At home, at work, in sports, in churches, and between individuals, it is making someone else a success that helps develop "Active Submission."
      With every pastor I have served under, I have tried to make his ministry a success. On every job I have worked, I have tried to make my employer a success.
      We should approach each authority the way Paul approached God: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9).
      What if a child said, "Dad, what can I do to make you a success?"
      What if the wife said, "Honey how can I make you a success?"
      What if the employee said, "Boss, how can I make you a success?"
      What if a political leader asked his people, "How can I make you a success?"
      What a if a church member said, "Pastor, what can I do to make your ministry a success?"
 
      PRACTICING ACTIVE SUBMISSION BEGINS WITH MAKING YOUR AUTHORITY A SUCCESS!
      What is another way to practice and develop "Active Submission?"
 
                                                  II
                                    EARN AN AUDIENCE!
 
      Solomon deals with this idea in Proverbs 25:6-7: "Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king...." The picture here is one who pushes himself to the forefront without having earned a hearing. It is projecting ones own prominence to another.
      A commercial on TV years ago said, "We make money the old fashioned way. We earn it!"  We need to learn that the privilege to be heard must be earned as well.
      Dr. Reuben Ewert reminds us, "If you have not earned an audience, you will be considered arrogant and proud if you push your agendum upon someone else."
      The rebel pushes himself in before he is asked. Some years back, I had a young man in our church that I wanted to mentor to take over this ministry. However, without having earned an audience, he tried to push his way into areas of my responsibility without being invited, causing much trouble in the church. 
      In Proverbs, Solomon wrote, "Better it is that it be said unto thee, come up hither...." (25:7). Your authority will call you forward in his timing when you demonstrate loyalty and Christian Character over time.
      I worked for a pastor three years, doing all he asked me, supporting him in ministry, doing menial tasks to keep him from having to do them, and accepting any job he gave me. After the three years, he began asking my advice, asking me to preach, and giving me responsibilities normally reserved for him. I had earned his trust, and he knew I wanted to make him a success.
 
     IF YOU ARE NOT SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR AUTHORITY, YOU SHOULD NEVER BE IN AUTHORITY OVER OTHERS!
 
      Active submission requires (1) that one demonstrate Christian character over time; (2) exhibit loyalty to ones authority over time. There is another element in the process of "Active Submission."
 
                                                     III
           SEEK TO APPROACH AUTHORITY WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS!
 
       MATTHEW 26:39 GIVES US THIS PRINCIPLE: Jesus had gone to pray before He went to the cross. He said, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
       Unmet expectations produce bitterness, leading to a host of other distressful attitudes and emotions. As Jesus did, we should approach our authority without expectations.
       When we pray to the Lord, it should be with His will in mind. How do I know if I pray in his will (without expectations)? FIRST, if we are angry when our request is not granted, we had expectations, and we tend to get bitter at God. SECOND, if we are not angry when the request is not granted, we came without expectations (accepting in advance His will). 
        We should approach our earthly authorities the same way. If we avoid expectations in approaching our authority, we will not be bitter, no matter the results.
        Joseph, in an Egyptian prison, interpreted Pharaoh's dream without expectations of reward. He could have been sent back to the same cell, and his trust in God and submission to Pharaoh would not have changed. I, too, must learn that every authority to which I submit does not have to justify his decisions to me. Certainly, God owes me no explanation for His conduct.
        Bitterness is the result of unmet expectations, and, if my submission to my authority is genuine, I will not be disappointed, angry, and bitter over his decisions.
        Overcoming rebellion is a major victory in ones life, and we accomplish this victory through "Active submission,"
  I. Making someone Else A Success.
 II. Earning an Audience.
III. Approaching Without Expectations.
 
     HAVING NO EXPECTATIONS IS A GENUINE INDICATION OF ONES ACTIVE SUBMISSION TO ONES AUTHORITY!
 
        There is another element in the process of "Active Submission."
 
                                                   IV
                   BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR YOUR IDEAS!
 
        Do you remember "The Golden Calf" incident? When God told Moses He would wipe Israel and begin a new nation with Moses, Moses prayed, "...if thou wilt forgive their sin---: and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written" (Exodus 32:32).
        Moses had sought to honor his authority (God); Moses had earned an audience; Moses had accepted God's decisions without expectations; now, Moses was willing to sacrifice for his own ideas given to God.
       No wonder God gave this man the title "Moses, the servant of the Lord."
       Selfish people do not want to invest themselves in others. Moses was willing to do so, even if it meant forfeiting his own life. It is a sign of maturity to be willing to invest yourself in what you ask God for in your life.
       I've had people come to this church and tell me they wanted a Sunday School Class for College aged young people. We did not have one, so I asked if they were willing to head it up, teach it, and promote it at a local college.
       "Not on your life," they said. "We don't handle responsibility like that."
       Reuben Ewert stated in a sermon, "Two of the greatest manifestations of the old nature are STRIFE and REBELLION. In traveling over twenty years  to thousands of churches, I have seen rebellion against authority as the major problem in churches."
 
      THE ONLY SOLUTION TO ACTIVE REBELLION IS ACTIVE SUBMISSION!
 
       Contrary to popular opinion, submission is not weakness, not restriction, not bondage. Rather, "Active Submission" is actually freedom.
 
 
      COMING IN TWO WEEKS, "FREEDOMS RESULTING FROM ACTIVE SUBMISSION."
 
 
 
 
 
JUNE, 2012
 
 
                 "MAJOR MISTAKES PARENTS MAKE IN REARING THEIR CHILDREN"
 
      The responsibility of rearing children is clearly outlined in God's Word. In Genesis, Adam and Eve were told, "Be fruitful and multiply," a clear indication that parental responsibility was part of original intent.
      Psalm 127 was given to remind us that children are important ("heritage of the Lord"), and, because of how God values those children, parents will give account of parenting activities. This Psalm also indicates that children are offensive weapons ("arrows in the hand of a mighty man") to be launched against a godless society (the target).
      Deuteronomy 6:1ff is the traditional passage accepted by Jews as the outline for developing in the heart of each child a priority for the Person of God. Loving God is basic to child-rearing (many Christian homes are failing in this area, and certainly the unsaved are).
      Very few Christian parents are aware of their mistakes; many do not want to know about them; some who know have no intention of making corrections in their errors.
      Let's examine some of the more obvious mistakes parents make in rearing children.
 
FIRST: Many Parents Fail To Develop Themselves As Spiritual Models Worth Following.
      Deuteronomy 6 begins by referring to "commandments, statutes, and judgments" in verse one. The Scripture says, "These words, which I command thee this day, shall BE IN THINE HEART" (6:6).
The Truth must be INTERNALIZED.
      The passage then says, "...that ye might DO THEM in the land"(6:1) and "...keep all his statutes and his commandments" (6:2).
The Truth must be EXTERNALIZED.
      NOTE: Externalized Truth without Internalized Truth is hypocrisy, and Jesus   
                condemned it in the Pharisees.
                Internalized Truth that is not Externalized is cowardice, and only those who
                have INTERNALIZED and EXTERNALIZED Truth are qualified to teach it to
                others.
       When Truth has been successfully INTERNALIZED and EXTERNALIZED, then it can be CATHECHIZED (taught to others, in this case ones children). The passage says, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (6:7).
 
       THE MOST SALIENT ELEMENT IN THE TEACHING PROCESS IS THE CHARACTER OF THE TEACHER.
 
       Children are quick to catch inconsistency between what a parent says and what a parent does. I used to ask my children during their childhood, "Am I living consistently with what I tell you to live?" This self-check is a strong safeguard against personal hypocrisy.
 
SECOND: Many Parents Do Not Prioritize Personal Instruction Time With their Children!
       Failure in this area will follow you all your life. The passage says, "...these words... shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them DILIGENTLY unto thy children..." (6:6-7). We are even told what "diligently" actually includes the following: "lying down"; "rising up"; "sitting in the house"; "walking in the way." I call this "OPERATION SATURATION." The child's environment during the developmental years should be dominated by Revealed Truth.
       Psychologists tell us that children are usually excited about what their parents are excited about. If I am excited about God's Word, then I whet the appetite of my children for TRUTH.
       Over the years of their growing up, my children got to "spend time with Dad." I looked for ways to teach Truth through the areas of their interests. I would read the Hardy Boys with my son and Nancy Drew with my daughter. We would examine the passages by what God's Word said.
 
        BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES WERE ALWAYS AT THE CENTER OF ANYTHING WE DID TOGETHER.
 
        Children do not understand the idea of "quality time." They only grasp "quantity time." Your children spell LOVE this way: "T-I-M-E." When you spend time with them, you earn the right to instruct in TRUTH.
 
THIRD:  Many Parents Do Not Recognize and Cooperate With The Child's God-given Individuality.
        While the Deuteronomy passage gives the strongest guidance in the actual instruction process, it is not as strong in focusing on the individuality of each child. For that, we go to Proverbs 22:6, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go...."
        "The way he should go" is a Hebrew word focusing on "his way," that is, the individuality of each child in God's eyes.
         Our concern is for TWO WAYS: first, we want to be sure the child is properly instructed in "the way," meaning what God's Revealed Word says about how to live; second, we want to adjust the Revealed Word to the personality and level of the child throughout the teaching process.
         It is a major mistake to assume each child can be taught the same way, disciplined the same way, and encouraged the same way, and will respond the same way. A study of the "Personality Types" would help the average parent to avoid this serious mistake in child-rearing.
 
         THE INDIVIDUALITY OF EACH CHILD WAS ALWAYS A CONCERN WHEN I APPLIED BIBLICAL TRUTH TO HIS OR HER CONDUCT.
 
FOURTH: Many Parents Do Not Place The Child In An Educational Environment Which Supports Scriptural Instruction In The Home.
         Jeremiah the Prophet reported to Israel these words from the LORD: "Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jeremiah 10:2ff). When put with Deuteronomy 6, that makes it a sin to expose children during the developmental years to that which contradicts what THE WORD OF GOD teaches. Yet, many Christians make no effort to put their children in Christian Education environments or to home school them according to God's Word.
         While many Christians miss this point, the judge (Henry Meigs) in the Kentucky Trial (1972-1974) saw the real issue. He asked me on the witness stand, "Pastor Goodell, do you preach that it is a sin for Christians to have their children in the state schools?" My answer was, "Yes, Your Honor!"
         The years of early development are very crucial in child training, and failure to recognize this leads to surrender of the child's heart and mind to the ungodliness of statist educators.
 
         DURING THE DEVELOPMENTAL YEARS OF MY CHILDREN, MY WIFE AND I CAUTIOUSLY CONTROLLED WHAT THEY WERE EXPOSED TO WHICH CONTRADICTED BIBLICAL TEACHING.
 
FIFTH: Many Parents Do Not Focus On Spiritual Goals In Child Training Which Can Add Value To Life!
          I grew up in an interesting home. It was extremely materialistic, focusing on making money, building businesses, and having "things." Both parents owned businesses, and we had money. However, there was no genuine happiness, and our lives were less than joyful (much anger, conflict, and confrontation existed in the home).
          THEN JESUS CAME! What a difference it made when my parents turned to Jesus Christ, were saved, baptized, and started serving HIM.
          As parents, my wife and I have striven to teach our children this principle from our Savior's lips: "Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The ungodly teach their children to "love the world" and "to collect things." God wants us to set the value goal higher than that: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth....But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." (Matthew 6"19-20).
          Deuteronomy 6 teaches that parents are to communicate to their children that they should "love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, and mind." Dr. Warren Wiersbe warns, "Whatever DELIGHTS us will end up DIRECTING us!" Teach the child to love the LORD above all else.
          In Colossians 3:1-2, the Apostle Paul told the believers to "set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." "Whatever DELIGHTS us will end up DIRECTING us!" Children need to be taught that this world can produce only temporary satisfaction, not eternal satisfaction.
 
          DURING THE TRAINING OF OUR CHILDREN, MY WIFE AND I TRIED TO TEACH THEM THAT THE COST OF SOMETHING WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE VALUE OF SOMETHING.
 
SIXTH: Many Parents Do Not Recognize That Wrong Disciplinary Patterns Actually Produce Some Problems In Child Rearing.
          Paul warns, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
          Children can be provoked to anger by (1) being ignored, (2) being over-protected, (3) by being punished for an infraction the parents commit as well, (4) by not being held accountable consistently, (5) by being punished for something another sibling is allowed to get by without being punished for, (6) by punishment too harsh for the violation, (7) by being embarrassed with the punishment.
          On the other hand, nurture and admonition help balance the process of child training. NURTURE: this refers to actual training; ADMONITION: this speaks of "placing the law into the mind" (the teaching part of training).
          The common response by a child who senses inconsistency in discipline and punishment is that he rebels. The parent then believes it is necessary to punishment the rebellion. That complicates matters if you "provoked to anger."
 
           THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THIRTEEN DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO DISCIPLINE, AND MY WIFE AND I TRIED TO BEGIN WITH THE LEAST SEVERE AND MOVE TO THE MOST SEVERE, DEPENDING UPON THE CHILD'S RESPONSE IN EACH STAGE.
 
SEVENTH: Many Parents Fail To Create An Environment Of Unconditional Love In Which The Child Can Develop.
           I Corinthians 13 is the "love passage" in God's Word. The Apostle Paul, directed by the Holy Spirit, gives specific action traits of BIBLICAL LOVE (called by the King James translators, "charity").
           This love is called by many descriptive action words, as indicated: longsuffering, kind and gracious, not envious, does not rashly promote itself, does not behave inappropriately, is not self-seeking, is not edgy, does not assume evil intentions, does not gloat over failure of others, does rejoice in successes of others, supports others in burdensome times, has faith in God's promises in all times, is hopeful in hopeless situations, shoulders burdens with others, and will never give up on anyone.
           How sad when I have counseled children to hear them say, "I never felt loved." My wife and I tried so hard to never use love as bait to get the right response from our children. We wanted them to know that our love for them was always there, and they could do nothing to keep us from loving them.
 
           MY WIFE AND I ALWAYS TOLD OUR CHILDREN THAT OUR LOVE FOR THEM WOULD NEVER FAIL, EVEN IN THE HOURS OF THEIR GREATEST REBELLION.
 
           In one church in which I presented this series, a man came up to me and asked, "Is it ever too late to correct these mistakes?" He said he had made them all. I said, "The good news is that it is never to late to do the right thing. However, you need to know that correcting years of wrong performance is harder than starting off right. Why don't you go to your children, ask forgiveness for the failure, and ask them to help you establish the relationship they wanted with you in their childhood."
           HE DID SO! I am happy to report that his children were very forgiving, and they were excited about finally getting a real dad.
 
                             WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
 
*************************************************************************
 November, 2015          
 
 
 

  
 "BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES  OF LEADERSHIP"
 
     ln I Timothy 3:1ff, the apostle Paul dealt with selecting pastors for the churches. Today, many teach that it all right for a divorced man to stand in the office of pastor.  Leaders in the New Testament took a much stronger stand than that, indicating it forbade a man who was divorced from being a pastor (overseer, bishop); also, some believed it forbade his having the office if he had married a woman who had been divorced.
 
       In Word Studies of the New Testament, this statement appears: "While Paul advises against second marriages (I Cor. 7:8, 9, 27, 39, 40), in the Pastorals emphasis is laid only on the remarriage of church officers and church widows" (LOGOS, I Timothy 3:2). It is the leadership that is restricted from being divorced, remarried, and serving as pastor.
 
       Since there was a way to say "first in a series" or "one at a time" in the Greek language, I support the view that divorce cannot be in the life of one who fills the office of Pastor. He must clearly be a "one woman man." In The Bible Exposition Commentary,  this is stated, "It means that a pastor must not be divorced and remarried. Paul was certainly not referring to polygamy, since no church member, let alone a pastor, would be accepted if he had more than one wife." By the principle of extension, the rule applies to his marrying a woman who had been divorced.
 
       The Critical Commentary (Logos) supports this view: "It must, therefore, mean that, though laymen might lawfully marry again, candidates for the episcopate or presbytery were better to have been married only once. As in I Timothy 5:9, "wife of one man," implies a woman married but once; so "husband of one wife" here must mean the same." Consistency of translation must be followed.
 
"Vigilant"
 
       The idea behind the Greek word "nephalion" is "well-balanced, temperate, having sobriety in the sense of restrained." The letter to Titus also contains this word referring to older male believers teaching the younger men self-control. A vigilant man is mature enough not to be distracted by his environment.
 
"Sober"
 
       "Sophrona" introduces another character trait for those who would lead God's churches. The man should be "moderate, serious, and earnest" (Logos, Wuest). While Matthew Henry initially associates this with watchfulness against the wiles of Satan, he goes further and says "he must  watch over himself, and the souls of those who are committed to his charge" (Logos, Henry).
 
       In my judgment, the word "sophrona" (translated by the KJB men as "sober") is more in line with the seventeenth century English meaning: it refers to a godly leader who knows when to be serious and moderate in his conduct toward others, also giving attention to areas in his own life which need spiritual cultivation and development.
 
"Of good behavior"
       Matthew Henry comments, "He must be of good behavior, composed and solid, and not light, vain, and frothy" (Logos, Henry). The Critical Commentary says, "...orderly, to the outward behavior, tone, look, gait, and dress" (Logos, JFB). There appears to be a concern for controlled demeanor, a dignity to the person who would lead God's church.
 
       The word translated "of good behavior" is "kosmion," meaning "ordered or properly arranged." It is the word from which we get "cosmos." Certainly God's CREATION is well-ordered with all elements functioning as originally intended (even though affected by the Fall of Man). We also get the word "cosmetics" from "kosmion." The idea is to put in order or to properly arrange for the best results. In Word Pictures of The New Testament, we are told the word "kosmion" relates to decent conduct, that which is appropriate to the nobility of the office.
 
       In Wiersbe's comments we read, "The pastor should be organized in his thinking and in his living, as well as in his teaching and preaching. It is the same Greek word that is translated 'modest' in I Timothy 2:9, refering to a woman's clothing" (Logos, BEC).
 
"Given to hospitality"
 
       "Philoxenon" means literally "love of a stranger." It indicates more than a simple invitation to "come over for supper" or "let's go get a cup of coffee and chat." The King James translators understood its broad-based meaning, using the word as it would be used in casual English conversation of the day.
 
       Early Christians would often be banished from public life by Roman authorities. Many were driven from their homes and were publicly persecuted for their faith in Christ. They were in need of a place to stay and sustenance for their bodies. Since churches had no buildings, they met in homes. The idea of "hospitality" referred to a pastor's opening his home to those in desperate need of care, as well as for regular worship.
 
       I see hospitality as the pastor's recognition that all his resources belong to God and are delegated to him for distribution wisely to meet the legitimate needs of others. The idea behind hospitality is that of unselfish sharing in light of the existing insufficiency of others in the body of Christ. The Apostle John deals with this idea in all of I John.
MARCH 2011
 
 PART II of  "Biblical Principles of Leadership."
 
        In February, we saw that leadership is not the same as management. Management involves handling people and their responsibilites. Leadership, on the other hand, is a character concept. One can be an unprincipled manager (using the position to take advantage of others or manipulate them for his own personal benefit). Some pastors are good managers (building large complexes), but they lack character and cannot be trusted with the lives of others or the ministry of truth.
 
        Paul focuses primarily on character traits, but introduces some of the expected skills of those called of God to be overseers of ministry. A chief skill of a pastor (overseer, bishop) is that he is "apt to teach."
 
        The Greek word is "didaktikos," focusing on the skill of teaching. The need to become skilled in teaching before assuming the noble office of overseer reinforces the need for apprenticeship. The commentator Alford says the word doesn't mean simply "given to" nor "inclined to" the act of teaching. Rather, the focus is upon a developed skill (cf. LOGOS, I Timothy 3:2, Wuest's NT Word Studies), which included a willingness to confront gainsayers.
 
        Alexander Strauch says, "an elder must be able to open his Bible and exhort and encourage others from it. He must be able to discern false doctrine and refute it with the Scriptures" (LOGOS, Opening Up I Timothy). Walvoord (in LOGOS, Bible Knowledge Commentary) agrees with the idea of skilfully using God's Word to confront wrong and correct it in the congregation as part of the idea of "didaktikos." This is further supported by Paul's later admonition to "study to show thyself approved unto God...rightly dividing the word of truth"(II Timothy 2:15).
 
         The idea of observed and evaluated experience and teaching is also seen in this statement (3:6): "not a novice." While the main point is that he is not recently converted, it also applies this way: newness to a place of responsibility for which he is unprepared. Taking the office of a pastor is a noble goal, but it should be viewed with a sense of matured responsibility.
 
"Not given to wine"
 
         Wuest's Word Studies In The Greek New Testament (LOGOS) states, "The compound structure means one who sits long at the wine." Because of the poor drinking water of the day in some areas, travellers would often mix wine with water to dilute and to sterilize it for consumption. This would be similar today to my travels to third world countries and dropping a chlorine tablet in water to purify it.
 
         The same word appeared outside the New Testament in the writings of Xenophon, Aeschines, Aristophanes, and Aristotle. Vincent suggests it meant "not quarrelsome over wine" (Wuest, LOGOS).
 
         Today, with better water purification methods, the believer has no need to mix wine with water for safe drinking. Total abstinence today should be expected of every pastor who seeks to be a godly leader of the church. Wuest observes this: "While this injunction does not teach total abstinence in the case of intoxicating liquor, but rather temperance, yet the present day Christian should use such an injunction as I Corinthians 10:31 as a guide in the case of present day indulgence in intoxicating liquors" (Wuest, LOGOS).
 
         Warren Wiersbe further notes this: "It is a well-known fact that water was not pure in those days, so that weak wine taken in  moderation would have been healthier to drink. However, there is a vast difference between the cultural use of wine in the Bible days and supporting the alcohol industry of today" (BEC, LOGOS).
 
         In researching alcoholics and in counseling them over fifty years, I have learned that the alcoholic (sin, not disease) always began his long road of addiction with the first drink. A godly pastor would be a total abstainer regarding alcohol. He would avoid exposing himself to the possibility of abuse.
 
"No striker"
 
            The Greek phrase "me plekten" speaks of one who "is not a brawler, one who is not ready with a blow, not a pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome person" (Wuest, LOGOS). One reading is "not a bully." Another says "one without a chip on his shoulder."
 
            Matthew Henry coments, "No striker, one who is not quarrelsome, nor apt to use violence to any, but does everything with mildness, love, and gentleness" (MHC, LOGOS).
 
            There is no place in the pastoral office for one who is so self-centered that he takes any disagreement with him as a challenge to his authority, then responds as a pugnacious person. One who is no striker does not view any situation as needing immediate violent action on his part. He is in control, and he does not allow his temper to "be lost."
 
"Not greedy of filty lucre"
 
            "aischrokerdes" refers to "gain by base means, a person fond of sordid gain" (Strong, LOGOS). Utley states (in Paul's Fourth Missionary Journey, LOGOS), "it can mean avaricious. It is a combination of the word for silver and the word for brotherly love." He also states that "greedy of filty lucre characterized the false teachers."
          The pastor should be one who is an example of sacrifice in service, not one who is in ministry to inflate his ego, gain popularity, or for what he can get out of the church by evil manipulation. The attitude of Christ toward the His church should be the attitude of the pastor toward that very same church.
"but patient"
 
            This particular word is "epiekes," referring to "gentleness." It is the attitude of a shepherd gently lifting a lamb with a broken leg in order to provide proper mending. Paul uses the word again in Philippians 4:5, where the translators rendered it "forbearance." The idea is that it is a "sweet reasonableness" or "gentle moderation" in handling problems involving personalities.
 
            The pastor ought to be one who works to develop the people under his charge, while considering their individual weaknesses and limitations. His rebuke is gentle, but direct. He seeks to motivate, not dominate.
 
"Not a brawler"
 
            The focus of this word is upon being "peaceable" (Wuest, LOGOS). The word is "amachos" speaks of "one who is not ready to fight a battle or enter a conflict" (similar to the other term "me plektos"). Spurgeon says it is not going around with his fists balled up.
 
            Matthew Henry says, "He must be patient, and not a brawler, of a mild disposition....not apt to be angry or quarrelsome; as not a striker with his hands, so not a brawler with his tongue..." (MHC, LOGOS). Henry also points to Christ's management  of His emotions, as well as to the pastor's need to show self-restraint in situations designed by others to provoke him. This restraint is basic to leading others.
Not covetous"
 
            "Covetousness is bad in anyone, but it is its worst in the minister, whose calling leads him to converse so much with another world" (LOGOS). Wuest observes, "aphilarguron means to be fond of silver" (LOGOS). It speaks of one who ministers out of avariciousness. The pastor who uses the church for personal gain is covetous, a lover of money. Warren Wiersbe observes, "You may covet many things besides money: popularity, a large ministry that makes you famous, or denominational advancement" (BEC, LOGOS).
 
"One that ruleth well his own house"
 
            Walvoord (Bible Knowledge Commentary, LOGOS) observes this: "An overseer must manage his own family well. Paul's specific focus here is upon the children. The most reliable (though not infallible) means of determining the quality of ones potential leadership is by examining the behavior of his children. Do they respect their father enough to submit to his leadership?"
 
            It is obvious this cannot be done if he is unmarried and/or without children. Paul is directed by the Holy Spirit to include this requirement because the same skills necessary for proper parenting are also required for pastoring the flock of God. "One that ruleth" is "proistemi, a word indicating to put oneself forward, to go first, to put oneself at the head, to preside over," and this suggests willing assumption of the role to guide or lead his family, as well as his being the first to practice the patterns he encourages others to follow. The reference to "his own house " reveals that his ability to manage the development of his wife and children is reflective of his capacity to oversee the development of the members of the church.
 
            "Having his children in subjection with all gravity" is an expansion of "ruleth well his own house." The picture is not  that of a domineering man, but of a loving overseer. The word for children (teknon) does not refer to a specific age or sex; however, the context suggests that the children should be of such an age as to choose to respect the father who leads the family. "Subjection" is the Greek "hypotage," referring to a military general who arranges soldiers in battalions in military order. This suggest lovingly imposed order within the family structure. The word "well" supplies the idea of "moral rightness, measuring up to the intended purpose" (Strong, LOGOS). The phrase "with all gravity" is "semnotes," indicating propriety, more specifically, "behavior which is befitting, implying a measure of respect and dignity." The father who would be a pastor should exhibit appropriateness in order for his children to respond appropriately.
 
"how shall he take care of the church of God?"
 
             There is no question to a reasonable mind that Paul sees family management in a proper fashion to be a basic requirement for the one who "desireth the office of bishop." Not all commentators agree on this, but many do. I believe that, since  Paul included it in the list of requirements, it is a requirement. It is as binding as any other one of the requirements set down by the Holy Spirit through Paul's pen. If this one is dropped, who is to say all the others cannot be eliminated?
 
             Similar to the parable of Jesus regarding the stewards (giving increased number of cities to the faithful), Paul seems to be saying that a man must demonstrate capability over a smaller sphere of responsibility (his family) before he can be trusted with a larger sphere of responsibility (God's church).
 
             If he cannot manage a few people, why increase the size of  his area of responsibility? I believe we should see this as a requirement for the overseer since it is in the list of requirements. Why include it if it is intended to be optional?
 
            Wouldn't it be GREAT if our churches had leaders who met God's qualifications instead of the watered-down traits promoted by some prominent preacher? Let's get back to the Word of God for the standards of our leaders.
 
 
Pastor Guy Goodell
 

 
 June, 2016
 
"It Is Still The Blood"
 
        There is a modern trend (even in evangelicalism) to skirt the reality of the blood of Jesus Christ by calling it representative of something else (usually death). One author stated in his commentary on Hebrews that blood only represents a violent death; Jesus did not have to shed literal blood.
 
         Exodus 12 pictures the requirement of the Israelites to put real blood on their doorposts (12:7). Every blood sacrifice under Old Testament Law required the shedding of real blood. While death was certainly in view, blood and death are different. Leviticus 17:11 says, "...for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul."
 
         In anticipating His death on the cross (Matthew 26:26-30), Jesus indicated that the fruit of the vine represented real blood, not simply the violence of His death (though it was certainly a violent one). The early church believed that it was the blood of Jesus Christ that made atonement for sin. In Acts 2:42, "the Apostles' doctrine" included the shed blood of Christ, as the entire Book of Acts indicates.
 
         No one who understands figurative language would question that any word can sometimes be used symbolically, even the word "blood." We use symbols: "the door of opportunity"; "The White House says"; "She stabbed me in the back"; "I had to sign that agreement with my own blood." Liguistic experts, however, urge that we always view the word in its original context before assuming its figurative nature.
 
          Acts 17:26 uses the word "blood" to refer to "race" (i.e., the human race at large). In Acts 20:26, Paul declares himself "pure from the blood of all men" (referring to his accountability for their lives or souls). In I Corinthians 15:50, we are told that "flesh and blood" cannot inherit the kingdom of Heaven (referring to corrupt humanity). In Revelation 6:12, we are told the "moon became as blood." Here, the words "like" or "as" are indicators of simile.
 
           However, when the word "blood" is used of the death of Christ, there is no indication we are to take it symbolically, especially when there are words which could clearly reflect the symbolic nature of it use (the Holy Spirit is a perfect grammarian). In the Exodus account, when the death angel passed over Egypt, he saw actual blood on the door posts. Let's examine the blood of Christ from the following perspectives.
 
 
  I. THE CRUCIFIXION
 
           The Roman Soldier who stood by the cross thrust a spear into the side of Jesus: "Forthwith came there out BLOOD and water" (John 19:34). That was real BLOOD, just as there was real water (fluid). The BLOOD He shed at Calvary was special. It was the only time in history that the BLOOD flowed from One Who was virgin-conceived and virgin-born.
 
           Charles Haddon Spurgeon commented, "Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious BLOOD. It is precious because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ's people are atoned for....Christ's BLOOD is also precious in its cleansing power; it cleanseth from all sin....O precious BLOOD which makes us clean...permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved....The BLOOD of Christ is likewise precious in its preserving power....Remember it is God's seeing the BLOOD which is the true reason for our being spared. The BLOOD of Christ is also precious in its sanctifying influence....There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus....And precious, unspeakably precious, is the BLOOD, because it has overcoming power....'They overcame him (SATAN) through the BLOOD of the Lamb....'" (Morning and Evening, April 16).
 
           Can we doubt the reality of special BLOOD flowing from the body of Jesus and call ourselves "Bible Believers"? Spurgeon goes on to say, "He who fights with the precious BLOOD of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The BLOOD of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven's gates are opened. The BLOOD of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!" (Ibid.
 
 
Let's examine the BLOOD of Christ from another perspective.
 
II. THE RESURRECTION
 
          In John 20:11:18, Mary sees Jesus in the area of the sepulchre, and He warns her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father..." (20:17). Leviticus 16 outlines the duties of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. (1) It was an offering given once each year (Lev. 16:2); (2) It was an offering behind the veil at the mercy seat (16:2); (3) It required special attire on the part of the priest (16:4); (4) It required an acceptable sacrifice (16:3); (5) It required the shedding of real BLOOD in anticipation of the real BLOOD of the Lamb of God Who would come (16:14ff); (6) It required that all men withdraw from the high priest as he went behind the veil to make the offering for atonement (16:17).
 
          Leviticus 21-22 reveals the holiness requirements for the high priest on the Day of Atonement. No priest could touch anything or anyone who was unclean (22:6); furthermore, any unqualified person could die if approaching the priest or the mercy seat (cf. Numbers 18:7,22, and chapter 19). Jesus rose from the dead, and He had not yet offered His BLOOD on the mercy seat in the Tabernacle in heaven. Jesus was about to enter His priestly ministry, and He followed the Old Testament requirements for making an offering at the altar.
 
          All aspects of Christ's existence are linked to the acceptance of His BLOOD sacrifice in Heaven: (1) Incarnation-virgin-conception and birth; (2) Unquestionably holy life; (3) crucifixion (shedding of that precious BLOOD); (4) Ascension to Heaven (to present to the Father the sacrifice that provides our eternal hope); (5) Constant intercession in His present status as our High Priest.
 
          Matthew 27:50-54 pictures His death on the cross, preparatory to His ascension to the altar in Heaven with the only sacrifice the Father would accept on our behalf: Christ's BLOOD. The editors of The Defender's Bible (Ph.D's, M.D.'s) have this comment on the sacrifice:
          "The veil was a heavy curtain separating The Holy Place in the Temple from the Holy of Holies, behind which the glory of God met with the high priest just once a year, on the Day of Atonement. For it to be torn in two, especially from top to bottom, even in an earthquake, would seem to require a miracle, possibly an unseen angelic hand. Symbolically, this tearing of the veil would mean that Christ had now opened the way for all to enter directly into the presence of God. We now may have 'boldness' to enter into the holiest by the BLOOD of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh" (Hebrews 10:19-20...cf. Defenders note).
 
          Spurgeon comments: "The atoning BLOOD which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered ONCE for all by the great High Priest" (Morning and Evening, April 19). In the passage, there is no reason to believe that words mean anything but their normal meaning. Flesh is flesh; veil is veil; earth is earth; rock is rock; graves are graves. Likewise, when His BLOOD is referred to, there is no reason to think it means anything but BLOOD.
 
III. THE ASCENSION
 
          "When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). This pictures a priest having completed his work. In Hebrews 2:17, we are told, "he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 3:1 asks us to "consider...the high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ." Hebrews 4:14-16 also indicates ongoing priestly ministry on His part on our behalf. Acts 1:9-11 shows the actual ascension as it occurs, and, in Ephesians 4:7-13, Paul states that Jesus first descended into the lower parts of the earth (Abraham's Bosom) to lead Old Testament Saints into Heaven (they could not have gone there until His BLOOD had been shed).
 
IV. THE PRESENT PRIESTLY MINISTRY
 
          It is not a figment of the imagination that activity is going on in Heaven right now on our behalf. Christ, our Great High Priest, carries out intervention with the Father through the BLOOD shed at Calvary. This is a reality to our benefit. The sins of all ages are nothing to the BLOOD of Jesus. Sin is dealt with at the moment of salvation, and throughout our earthly life sins are dealt with through the BLOOD of Jesus Christ (I John 1:9). Hebrews 5 states that Christ is a High Priest after the order of Mechisedec. See also Hebrews 6:17-20 and 7:22-28.
 
          Spurgeon observes, "No BLOOD of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with HIS OWN BLOOD. Hence, access to God is permitted, and is the privilege fo every believer in Christ Jesus" (Morning and Evening, April 19). The BLOOD continues to worki for us: "The BLOOD of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). "Cleanseth" translates the present progressive, indicating ongoing action.
 
          Spurgeon continues: "Forgiveness of sin is a present thing....the present tense indicates continuance; it was 'cleanseth' yesterday; it is 'cleanseth' today; it will be 'cleanseth' tomorrow (M and E, April19).
 
          Satan quakes at the BLOOD of Christ!
          Demons quake at the BLOOD of Christ!
          Weak-hearted religionists quake at the BLOOD of Christ!
          Ungodly rebels quake at the BLOOD of Christ!
 
 
 
 
Someone gave this poetic expression about the BLOOD of Jesus Christ:
 
"Sins against a holy God;
Sins against His righteous laws;
Sins against His love, His BLOOD;
Sins against His name and cause;
Sins immense as is the sea; 
From them all, His BLOOD, it cleanseth me!

***********************************************************
                                    "Down Is A Lot Easier Than Up!"

Proverbs 14:14 tells us this:
 "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself."

 Backsliding implies a willful step. It may be open, as when one decides to turn away from following God. It may also be hidden, as when one loses his watchfulness regarding his walk with the Lord, in which case he is pulled away slowly by forces he has been ignoring.

Backsliding also implies a direction. It is a moral of spiritual 180 degree turn. The individual is going in the opposite direction from which he was taught or initially chose.
 

The Hebrew word translated "backslide" is "sur," meaning "to pull back, to go back, to retreat, to turn around, to apostasize" (e-sword). Let's examine several points about backsliding.

  
                                                         I
                                 BACKSLIDING BEGINS IN THE HEART

All outward sins are a manifestation of a flow out of the heart: "the backslider in heart." The Hebrew word for heart, "lev," can refer to emotions, will, or intellect, unless it is clear that the physical organ is meant. the Hebrews saw it as the center of anything, the deepest part of the internal aspect of a person.

Another verse in Proverbs thrusts upon us a warning about our responsibility to keep right with God: "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

The Hebrew word translated "keep" is "natsar," which means "to guard, to protect, to maintain, to stand watch or sentinel over" (e-sword).

"Diligence" is the translation of the Hebrew word "mishmar," which means "a guard, the man set on post, a prison warden, the officer of the guard" (e-sword). This reiforces and gives added strength to the word "keep."

Obviously, self-protection of one's internal center--heart, soul, mind, will-- is of vital importance in preventing backsliding.

The conjunction "for" indicates cause/effect; it answers the question "Why guard my heart?" The answer is that the heart is the point of origin for all actions: "for out of it are  the issues of life." Everyting comes out of the heart.

                                                          II
                                BACKSLIDING IS A VERY SELFISH ACT

"The backslider in heart is filled with his won ways...."   Simply stated, the backslider wants and does what the backslider enjoys. It is all about the backslider. His concern, "I want what I want when I want it." He does not care for God's will, and he has no concern for what the word of God says.

The backslider has built an altar to his own will, and that is where he worships. "Filled" with his own ways means he is satisfied only by what he wants. He is satiated with self and surfeited with fleshly pleasure.

What shall he be filled with? He is filled "with his own ways." The Hebrew "derek" for "ways" refers to "a road, a path worn by use, a pattern established as a habit from persistent use" (e-sword).

Since the backsliding is proud, he is a willing participant in the sin (PRIDE) which was the sin of Satan (Isaiah 14). The backslider has sided with the Devil and thumbed his nose at God. The backslider heart looks at God and says, "Don't tell me what to do."

Following a different pattern, the good man has set up a different internal heart, one from which he can draw spiritual satisfaction from a right relationship with the Lord. His heart directs him in a different direction from that of the backslider.

Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD...." unlike the backslider, the "good man" has put aside his selfish ambitions and has chosen the path that is NOT filled "with his own ways," like the backslider. The "good man" has given priority to God's word and God's will: "...he delighteth in his way" (Psalm 37:23).

                                                      III

                            BACKSLIDING IS DIFFICULT TO REVERSE

When Israel got tired of waiting on Moses to come down from his private consultation with God, they pressured Aaron into allowing them to make their own god, and up popped the golden calf.

In anger God said, "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them..." (Exodus 32:8). In other words, they backslid in forty days.

The entire verse (Exodus 32:8) gives the reasons why backsliding is difficult to reverse.

FIRST: Initial rebellion. When a believer decides to go against known truth, deliberately depart from what God said, that informed choice established a very strong hold on him. Rebellion breeds more rebellion.

SECOND: Deliberate disobedience. Once the decision to rebel against God is made, it is followed by actual performance to the contrary of God's word. "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them." The backslider in heart immediately follows with backsliding in practice.

THIRD: Illegal substitutes. Both our right and our wrong choices can be reinforced. Backsliding leads to our developing unscriptural patterns with which we feel comfortable over time. These routines also continuously reinforce our rebellious initial decision. At some point we develop our own "golden calf" to worship in God's place.

When we substitute what please us for what God commands us to do, we enter a downward spiral that leads further and further away form the Lord, making our return to Him more difficult. Down becomes easier than up. the more time you spend worshiping your substitute for God, the more difficult it will become to reverse your backslidden condition.

The reason this is true is that the backslider has chosen expediency because it provides the immediate satisfaction he craves over the responsibility that comes with serving God and worshiping Him.

FOURTH: Ignored accountability. In Exodus 32:7, God told Moses "the people have corrupted themselves." They had acted against what Moses had taught them. In doing so, they had acted against God, because Moses' message came from God. Rebellion against God always results in accountability to God.

The word "corrupted" is from the Hebrew "shachat," which  means " to mar, to corrupt, to cause to decay, to bring to ruin, to put to waste, to cause to perish" (e-sword). there is seldom any good outcome to backsliding, and every moment spent in rebellion against God is wasted time. Wasted time can never be regained, and past mistakes cannot be totally corrected. We cannot go back to the time we rebelled and recover and relive that time. It is gone forever.

The people ignored God's evaluation of their backsliding; they also ignored what God could do to them because of their backsliding; God di bring a plague upon them for their backsliding. He probably would have killed them and started over with Moses, had Moses not interceded for their preservation (Read Exodus 32).

It is possible to become comfortable in the backslidden state, which can lead to a type of comfortableness with routine, even when it is wrong. We then prefer to conclude that "It is easier to stay down than it is to go up."

AVOID BEING A BACKSLIDER!