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Monthly Archives: May 2014

5/19/14 – “WALKING AS ONE”

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Psa. 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psa. 133:2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.
Psa. 133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore.

Picture this; you have two people in a boat. One is facing toward the front, the other is facing toward the back and they are both rowing. They are both working very hard at trying to get to their destination. Each is putting out all the effort they can, and yet where are they going? Nowhere. One says the way they are going is the right way while of course the other person disagrees and says their way is right. Most of the time these differences are based on what man wants and says and not what God’s Word says.

But what if they got on the same page? What if they were able to put their differences behind and focus on what God says is the primary goal? If they could do so and both get faced the same direction now as they start to row they are going to see results. The effort they are now putting out is getting them where they need to go. They begin to see progress and change.

This has of course always been a problem for the body of Christ, and the devil loves to create disunity. When you even look at the history of world leaders the ones that have accomplished the most are those who do not compromise the key principles that one must stand for, but they are not someone who thinks they have all the answers either. They focus on getting to know the other person, instead of just trying to fulfill their agenda. In other words they are not focused on self. Sounds like Jesus to me as He said He did not come to be served, but to serve.

Here in Psalm 133 we see the power that is the result of unity. Scripture reveals it is pleasant and good for brethren to dwell in unity. He relates it to the anointing oil that was used to anoint Aaron the priest. This anointing is described here as running down over every part of Aaron and his garments. It is described as the dew of Hermon that would fall upon the mountains of Zion, which brought forth growth and therefore God’s blessing. Is it possible for the body of Christ to walk in unity? It is if we will do some key things that scripture reveals as to how we walk unified in Christ. I want to share those things with you this week.

Before we go any further we understand that scripture does reveal there are those whom we cannot unify with. Scripture does warn us of heresy, and it warns us of believers who have chosen to create division and dissention through strife. As scripture warns where strife and division exist there is every evil work. So anyone who understands scripture knows that there is no way we are going to unite with everyone. Not even the apostles in the New Testament could do so, yet within the body of Christ there is still much division, which is usually the result of believers majoring on the minors instead of majoring on the majors. Christians could be much more unified then we are. This needs to start within each local body of believers and work outwardly. If churches individually continue to walk in disunity they are going to have a hard time getting in unity with other believers.

1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

The first and biggest key to unity would have to be walking in the love of God. When we yield obedience to this very first fruit of the recreated human spirit, the unconditional love of God, we will like Jesus get our focus off of self and begin to focus on loving one another. John reveals to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that for someone to not love their brother and yet say they love God could not be true. If we love God we must also love our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what Jesus did when He referred to coming as one who did not want to be served, but to serve. He revealed this clearly to His disciples when at the last supper He got up girded Himself with a towel and proceeded to wash His disciples feet. He then told them to do likewise.

One of the keys to walking in this same love that Jesus walked in begins with our actions. The love of God was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit when we were born again. That love just like faith does no good without actions. As James speaks of faith that has no action is dead, so it is with the love of God. That love is in us but we must exercise that love just as we must exercise our faith. Many don’t realize that if you want to get good at walking in love just like anything else you do in life, you must practice doing so. Walking in the love of God is as simple as treating others the way you want to be treated, even when they are not treating you the way they should. The reason this is difficult for some to do is because they allow their flesh to get in the way. This is why Jesus said we must crucify the flesh.

To deal further with the flesh we must develop our spirit man. Galatians reveals that when we are walking in the spirit, governed by our spirit man, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. The flesh does not want to treat others the way you want to be treated unless that other person is showing you that kind of love. But Jesus Himself said if you only love those who love you then we are no better than a sinner. So development of our spirit man is vital, which is done by becoming spirit conscious, feeding on the Word of God, acting on the Word, and walking in love. Look for opportunities to walk in the love of God with those who don’t seem so lovely. The more you practice doing so the better you will become at walking in love.

1 Cor. 1:10  Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
1 Cor. 1:11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your arguments, dear brothers and sisters.
1 Cor. 1:12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”
1 Cor. 1:13 Can Christ be divided into pieces? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul?

Another big key to unity and this is a must for every local church is to be of one mind, united in thought, and purpose. There are those who may think this is not possible, but scripture would never tell us to do something we cannot do. This was a problem in the church at Corinth that was causing disunity. They were not of one mind, thought, and purpose. Notice that in verse 12 it begins to show us that they were divided because they were all associating with someone different thinking this made them superior to others. We need to be grateful for godly leadership, and remain submitted and humble unto God.

The key here is for the body of Christ to first and foremost recognize the leader God has placed in the church for their development and growth as a believer. When you have people going to multiple leaders trying to get their way they are out of order. In the home the dad and mom need to be on the same page so that there won’t be the difference of opinions being given to their children. They won’t always agree as to what they think is right for their children, but if they will do what they can to stick to the Word of God and not personal opinions, this will help eliminate a lot of those problems. In the church God does provide different forms of leadership but the pastor needs to make sure he is establishing leadership according to scripture. That leadership needs to support the vision of the pastor. We won’t always agree on how to do things, but if we are heading toward fulfillment of our vision we will get there.

Believers need to realize they won’t always agree with everything their leadership believes or does, but the key is to stay focused on the vision of that body. This is where our focus must be. I have made the mistake in the past thinking I could not work with others in the body outside of our church that did not believe just like we do. This was a huge mistake on my part. I have learned that if there is anyone who has a vision that lines up with scripture then I can agree to disagree with our differences and focus on working with them to reach that vision. This is how we learn to be of the same mind, thought, and purpose. It did not say we would all be of the same beliefs.

So if we can work at walking in love and keep practicing doing so, willing to forgive others when they don’t, we can begin to see the power of unity established. We need to get focused on the vision and not on our differences in our doctrine that are not leading to heresy. We must quit trying to prove each other wrong and start focusing on getting faced the same direction in the boat. As we do we begin to see great things happen. People’s lives will begin to be transformed and changed to the glory of God!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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5/5/14 – “CONVENIENT CHRISTIANITY?”

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Acts 20:22 “I am determined to go to Jerusalem now. I don’t know what will happen to me there.
Acts 20:23 However, the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me.
Acts 20:24 But I don’t place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I’m running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Jesus—the mission of testifying to the Good News of God’s kindness.

Convenience sells. It sells cars, food, clothes, toys, games, music, books, and unfortunately some churches. America is a land of convenience. The very definition of convenience reveals this truth. Convenience – Fitting in well with a person’s activities and plans, involving little trouble or effort. I am glad the apostle Paul was not a Christian of convenience. If he had been he would not have fulfilled what God had called him to do. Notice above in verse 24 Paul knowing that he was headed for suffering said that he did not place any value on his own life. Powerful! He wanted to finish the race he was running to carry out the mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is a reason the church in the days of Paul was revered by men. They were not Christians of convenience. They faced major persecution; Paul himself was beaten with rods, whipped, imprisoned, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked and left at sea. Yet none of these things moved him. It is predicted that the apostle Paul in his lifetime as a minister traveled some 10,282 miles to preach the gospel, most of which was on foot. Paul fasted often he said because he had no food to eat, went many nights without sleep as he traveled to get to the next town to share the life changing truths of the gospel. If you look at his life I would call it anything but convenient.

Why is this so important? Because God wants to do a work in our day in reaching a lost and hurting world around us, but that won’t happen if we are living our lives based on convenient Christianity. You change the lives of others when you have a genuine walk with God that is real, filled with the Word and the Holy Spirit, and you are able to go wherever God takes you and share the uncompromised Word of God even when it is not convenient. Jesus Christ paid a very dear price to set all men free, not to gives us a convenient Christianity. All through the Bible people who were obedient to God were called upon to do things that were quite inconvenient.

The body of Christ is truly the most powerful force on the earth, but yet not walking in much power. One of the reasons is because if Christians want convenient Christianity they won’t do what Paul knew to do to see that power manifest in and through his life. Paul knew that he could not place any value on his own life, what he wanted, but instead on what God wanted for him to do. Such a believer is one God can fully use for they are simply a vessel yielded to their Master through which He can flow through and manifest Himself to others. Paul did not care about what others thought of him, he did not care what it took for him to carry out his calling. Paul was only focused on one thing, to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.

Phil. 3:10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
Phil. 3:11 That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].

If you are still with me and reading this article I am not saying that our Christian walk should be all hardship and struggle. What I am saying is that if we are only serving God based on convenience, we really are not serving God. We are serving ourselves, our own plans, and that which takes little effort on our part. This does not make for a church that is going to evangelize the world as we have been commissioned by the Lord to do so. Paul states above that his determined purpose in life was to know Jesus, and to know the power that comes from His resurrection, knowing this would also involve sharing in Christ’s sufferings. You don’t hear much preaching on this today.

Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 11:1 that we should imitate him, as he was himself imitating Christ. Even Jesus did not live a life of convenience. In Jesus’ life He walked approximately 21,525 miles. During His three years of ministry He walked approximately 3,125 miles. Jesus was often separated from His earthly family. During His travels He had no home or bed to sleep in, spent nights awake in prayer. He faced the ultimate separation from His Father, enduring the cross and then going into hell itself to pay the price for our sins.

Rom. 12:1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?

If we want to know as a believer like the apostle Paul we have finished our race and fulfilled our purpose in God on this planet we cannot live for us, placing a higher value on our life above the life of Christ. Paul knew the first key was in dealing with the body, which represents a major part of the old nature of man. When you serve your body you are going to give your body what it wants. When it is hungry you feed it, thirsty you give it something to drink. When it is tired you are going to rest, when it is hot you are going to try and cool off, or when it is cold you are going to try and get warm. There of course is nothing wrong with the above except when it comes to how we make our choices in life. Paul could not always eat when he was hungry, he could not always sleep when he was tired, nor could he comfort his body every time it was uncomfortable and fulfill what God wanted him to do.

When you think of all that Christ has done for us as Romans 12:1 states, should we live our lives based on what is convenient for us? Should we not present ourselves to God, setting our life apart to Him? You can do so and still enjoy all that God has for you to enjoy in this life. I can assure you that when we live for our flesh we will never find true fulfillment in life. When we develop our spirit man, who we really are, and like Paul no longer place any value on our own life, but instead on what God wants us, there is no greater fulfillment. The problem, it is not easy and thus for some they don’t want to put out the effort it takes to be all Christ wants them to be, fulfilling His purpose in their life.

Years ago at the age of 13 I got on the back of my first bull wanting to become a professional bull rider. As I began to pursue this career it was a burning passion in me. I went through 4 years of getting on bulls only making one qualified ride in four years, but I would not give up. After going to a bull riding school within a year I was the reserve champion of the Southwest Rodeo Association. Two years later I had my professional card. My life evolved around rodeo. I made sure if I took a job they would have to let me off for rodeos on the weekends. All my money and time was consumed with getting to the next rodeo.

In 1985 I got born again. I couldn’t believe God wanted to have a relationship with me. After giving my life to Him I would hear testimonies of others how God was using them in touching people’s lives. I told God I wanted to be used by Him in the same way to touch the lives of others because I was so grateful He had changed my life. The Lord in my spirit gave me a question one day. What if you were as passionate and devoted to Me as you have been about bull riding? How different would you life be? My passion began to change, because I wanted to know Him more than anything else in life just like the apostle Paul. Next thing I know the Lord began to use me. I began to see miracles happen, and spent many hours when it was not convenient obeying God to spend time sharing the gospel with others, at times going early into the morning when I had to get up early and go to work the next day. But I have never regretted any of it.

There is nothing like seeing God work through your life to help others. Today we become far to enveloped in our own little world, living by our own schedule, what is convenient for us and all the while at times missing the opportunity to be used by God and know that we are fulfilling His will. I have not read of any great man or woman of God in the Bible who served God based on what was convenient for them. It wasn’t convenient for Moses to go out into the desert for God to prepare Him to deliver His people. It wasn’t convenient for Esther to risk her life to save God’s people. It was convenient for Joseph to be imprisoned for fleeing from sexual impurity and then be imprisoned for doing so. It wasn’t convenient for Jesus to go to the cross in our place, but because He did we now have new life. Don’t be a Christian of convenience. Obey God and fulfill your calling as the body of Christ in reaching people with the gospel.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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