That Isn't Natural
Mark 9:34-35: "But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."
What our Lord requires of believers is not natural to them. A servant's heart can be pretended, and false humility can be worn like a Halloween costume, but the reality is beyond the reach of the flesh.
The flesh requires to be served, it will not willingly humble itself to serve. It wants the church to dance to its tune; it dances to no one's tune.
I have seen it often over almost fifty years of ministry: people want the church to "meet their needs," but not many have their eyes open to meet the needs of others. The same is true of families: families are broken up by divorce because somebody thinks his/her "needs" are not met. It is a consumer mentality and people want to get their "money's worth" out of every relationship.
Those who preach should preach to edify, not to entertain and win the praise of men, and certainly not to win fame and fortune. Those who teach must teach so as to be understood and to enable the weak to stand and the feeble to walk. Those who sing, should sing for edification, and not to please men and win praise from them.
In this we are like the people our Lord referred to in Lu 7:32: "They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept." The rulers rejected Christ because He did not dance to their tunes nor wept to their dirges.
Solomon put it this way: "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him." Pr 18:17 The man who wants to rule others may make a good case why it must be so, but others see through him and realize the true motives driving his actions.
It is a good thing that our Lord did not have this attitude. "Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Going By Principle Always "Works."
It is when we depart from following Christian principle that we go out of the way. It is not faith to follow whims, emotions, or dreams. The life of faith is a life of principle, for faith trusts in the faithfulness of God to keep His promises.
It is not easy to live by principle. Often the wisdom of the world would counsel us not to be rigid and unloving and to bend the principles that Christ taught us, but it is always results in us losing our way. The path that leads away from the strait and narrow may appear to be headed in the same direction and get to the same goal, but it never does.
But it is easy to be deceived in this. Jesus warned that there were those who would kill the saints, thinking that they did God service. Many things that masquerade as principles are not at all. This is why a throrough knowledge of the Scripture is necessary and why it is wise and proper to listen to others. There is safety in a multitude of counsellors, Solomon said [Proverbs 11:14]. It is folly to trust in your own heart and rush madlong into ruin. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. [Pr 12:15]
If a church is a true church, then there are wise and good people within it, for Christ is the head of the church and He sends the Holy Spirit to equip the members and to fulfill the will of the Father that we be conformed to Jesus Christ. We should seek out the counsel of such members and not allow ourselves to be carried away by the angry and bitter: "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go..."Pr 22:24 "An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression." Pr 29:22 Stay away from those who have grudges and those who insist on having their own way, for neither of these is the way of Christ.
"For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life..." [Pr 6:23]
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