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"Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright." Psalms 33:1
Grover Laird, Editor
7030 Dorsey-Evergreen Rd
Fulton, MS 38843
June 2020 Short Messages
Gain Is Not Godliness
"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." (1 Timothy 6:5)
People often feel that whatever produces prosperity is of the Lord. While material prosperity can be a blessing, (Proverbs 10:3) gain does not always come as a result of godliness.
Therefore, anything that makes more money available for people is not always of the Lord.
When Lot was considering a move that would provide more materially, he “ pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13:12) This gain ended in total loss. When Abraham looked for better conditions than existed in Canaan, he “went down into Egypt to sojourn there.” (Genesis 12:10) The Scriptures seem to suggest that this was a mistake. When another famine came to Canaan in Isaac’s day, he “went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines.” (Genesis 26:1) This resulted in trouble and loss. When hard times came in the days of Elimelech and Naomi, they “went to sojourn in the country of Moab.” (Ruth 1:2) After about ten years Naomi returned alone. Her own words were, “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” (Ruth 1:21a) Therefore, just anything that promises gain is not always godly.
It seems that in our day many will even endorse wrong, if it will produce material prosperity. But when riches become the main thing, one finds himself running into immeasurable trouble--"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (1 Timothy 6:9)
Many who push the Lord’s work aside in their pursuit for wealth end up in poverty rather than riches--"He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him." (Proverbs 28:22)
One of the most wealthy men in Old Testament times was surely Abraham. (Genesis 13:2; 14:14) Yet more than once he risk losing all that he had in order to do the will of God. (Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 14:8-16) These steps of faith caused him to gain rather than lose. When we forget about material prosperity and go all out to please the Lord, one way or another we gain. Jesus promised it: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
If the Lord is pleased to give us material blessings when we put Him first, as Matthew 6:33 says, He surely will give us the kind that is not mixed with sorrow--"The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." (Proverbs 10:22) Better still: He might give us the kind that is durable--"Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness." (Proverbs 8:18) But regardless of how the Lord blesses us when we put Him first we can always be sure, "A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." (Proverbs 28:20)
May we therefore never be guilty of supporting wrong just because it promises prosperity. Gain is not godliness.
Living In The Sunlight Of God’s Mercy
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)
For God to deal with us in mercy, is for God to treat us far better than we are due to be treated. It means that God does not deal with us according to justice. Therefore the only way we can live in this world with joy and peace, is to live with God’s mercy shining upon us. Our text tells us something about how this can be done
Notice first, we must confess our sins-- and this applies to everyone. (Ecclesiastes 7:20; John 1:8) Though this must be hard for some, for those who live by the Bible it seems to come easy. The Bible surely teaches it.
When Jesus gave the model prayer, He taught us that confession would always be in order-- “...When ye pray, say,...forgive us our sins..”(Luke 11:2,4) This surely means every time we pray.
Ezekiel spoke of Noah, Daniel, and Job being three of the greatest men that ever lived. (Ezekiel 14:12-18) We read where Job said in prayer,"Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:6) We read of a time when Daniel was down in “sackcloth, and ashes” confessing his own sins and the sins of his people. (Daniel 9:3-19) And I am just sure that Noah also faithfully confessed his sins. Some who are the most open and broken over their sins are the best Christians we have. (Nehemiah 1:6,7; Ezra 10:1) Those who can never get humble enough to confess, surely stand in need of a closer walk with God.
Our text also says we must forsake our sins if we live in God’s mercy. Our confession of sins really do not count if we have no thought of forsaking them. When God sends a judgment upon His people because of sin, just humbling down and praying will not bring forgiveness and healing to the land. God’s holds back the healing until there is a forsaking of sins--"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (11 Chronicles 7:14) No doubt many prayers are on hold until sins that caused the problem are forsaken.
While Out text teaches us that denying our sins and playing them down will keep us from prospering, it also teaches us that confessing and forsaking them enable us to live under the light of God’s mercy. Try it and see.
Hungering For The Firstripe Fruit
"Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit." (Micah 7:1)
In the words of our text, we see one who has been living on the gleanings of the harvest. Being tired of eating just the leftovers, he cries out for the firstripe fruit, the best there is. I believe this describes many in our day who are crying out for something better in Spiritual things.
Many are crying out for Spirit-filled services. Service where it is normal for people to weep because of an overflow of the Holy Spirit in the service. Services where sinners come weeping as they turn to Christ for salvation, and then weep for joy over their newfound peace. Services where amidst overflowing joy and thanksgiving, people are worshiping with “reverence and godly fear.” The soul of many today do desire the “firstripe fruit” of Spiritual services.
Many are also desiring to hear Spiritual, powerful preaching. Preaching that is not “in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.”(1 Thessalonians 1:5) Messages that were prepared with an open Bible and earnest prayer. Messages that went beyond all preparation, with all being convinced that it was more than a hand-me-down sermon. The souls of many today do desire the “firstripe fruit” of Spiritual preaching.
Many are desiring a closer walk with God. A walk where faith is strong and doubts vanish. Such a walk is real, (1 Corinthians 1:9) thrilling, (Psalm 16:11) full of peace,(Philippians 4:9) and in the reach of all. The souls of many today do desire the “firstripe fruit” of walking with God.
We do not have to make-do with the gleanings and left-overs. Our Heavenly Father loves us and is still able "... to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," (Ephesians 3:20)
There is, however, one verse we must all obey first if we enjoy the firstripe fruit--"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Salt Of The Earth
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”.-Matthew 5:13
Early in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of our importance as Christians in this dark sinful world. He did this when he referred to Christians being “the salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
When Jesus spoke of His children being “the salt of the earth,”He warned of the danger of one losing his strength, or savour, and would therefore be unable to affect the world for good. As far as our usefulness is concerned, He said we would then be “good for nothing.” If all of the saved did lose their savour, or power to function as salt, our nation would soon become as corrupt as an uncivilized country where the influence of Christ was never felt.
We are told that salt loses its savour by staying too close to the ground too long. Christians can also lose their savour by staying too close to the world too long. This is one reason why the Bible teaches the Christian not to conform to this present evil world--”And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Peter also warns us that fleshly lusts can be hard on the soul-- “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul....” (1 Peter 2:11). James tells us that a religion that is profitable involves separation from the world-- “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this. To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”(James 1:27) Unless we heed these warning, we will lose our power to affect others for good. We will lose our savour.
In this day of apostasy--and this is a day of apostasy, (Matthew 24:12;1 Timothy 4:1,2;11 Timothy 3:1-13) we are desperately needing the preservative power of spiritual Christians. Unless we have it, the foul smell of corruption will continue to rise from every part of our society, and it will grow increasingly worse. (1 John 5:19;Galatians 1:4;Matthew 5:16)
Taken from Sermons Devotionals Thoughts.
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