My brethren, we must be careful to avoid elevating men to too high a status.
Men are mortal and commit sins. If the Old Testament teaches anything, it teaches the hazard of putting men on a pedestal and glorifying them.
An example of this is Solomon. When he was young, Solomon started life as a good person. But when he became king, he changed. He married a daughter of Pharaoh, strictly forbidden under the Mosaic law, and murdered two men, one of which had been initially pardoned by his father. After Solomon’s life was over, his nation divided and both parts were finally deported.
Yet, to this day there are people who glorify Solomon for building a temple, something God specifically told NO ONE to do (2 Samuel 7:7).
If we would glorify anyone who has lived on the earth, let us glorify Jesus Christ. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet who obeyed the whole Mosaic Law. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet that is worthy of praise!
Humanism has used the educational system in the U.S. to teach people to deify people. In every school in every county of every state there are pictures of presidents and other people children are taught to revere. If the truth was taught along with the fables of these men, then children would know they are HUMANS, not gods.
We must be the influence that teaches people to worship GOD.
While preparing for Sunday evening’s lesson, a study of Mark 6, something I read moved me to sadness.
The apostles, who had just returned from preaching a message of repentance and helping the sick and demon-possessed, said something. While I know there is much more here, I was drawn to this something they said as the day grew late.
“Send them away,” they said of the crowd who had sought out Jesus (Mark 6:36). Perhaps in the weakness of fatigue and hunger themselves, they forgot what their work was all about.
It breaks my heart to think there are brethren, who for weakness or lack of vision, say this same kind of thing to those who are teaching the gospel, and thereby say this to those who are lost. How can we send them away? They wanted to be with the Master!
We can’t send them away. We must feed them.
Jesus couldn’t send them away. We mustn’t either.
The older I get, the more I realize the less time I have on earth, and thus, the more I realize how precious time is: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2007/02/11/appreciating-the-value-of-time/. Once time is gone, it can never be reclaimed. Do I waste time? Not that I know of. I’m always busy taking care of my wife, working in the yard, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing daily meals, studying the Bible, writing articles, reading good books and publications produced by faithful proclaimers of God’s word, preaching and teaching. Doing all of this plus working as a library substitute for our local school district, keeps me plenty busy – never have time to be bored, that’s for certain.
I do watch the news and weather on television, plus two weekly shows, NCIS and Criminal Minds. Don’t know if that’s wasted time or not, because both shows motivate me to use my mind in figuring out the plots.
Our vacation Bible school was announced yesterday, and that was the most important announcement made.
It was important because our VBS is more than just food, fun and frolic. It is an opportunity for people to learn the gospel so they might be saved.
The announcement was important because VBS is an excellent opportunity for the church to reach out to those who are unfaithful and bring them back.
It was important because VBS is a fantastic way to involve people in the preparation, presentation and representation of the truth. When one considers the real work of a preacher, isn’t it about convincing others to get involved in their salvation and the salvation of the lost?
It is important because it trains young minds in the most important instruction a human being is ever likely to receive: the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The announcement made during services yesterday was crucial to us, wasn’t it?
The “little ones” in my life is my congregation of loving and caring people who help me when I’m in financial straits. Conversely, I help them in preaching and teaching the sound gospel of Christ (or whatever else needs to be done). We help one another, and in so doing, both of us are richly blessed by the Lord.
I definitely lean to the extrovert side. Naturally, a 6 maybe 7. Like Mike, I push myself to be more outgoing. I do enjoy interacting with people and can meet and greet most with ease. Teaching the adult class at church, moderating and guiding the discussion is pure fun. Preaching is different. Sometimes I feel close to enjoying it, but that feeling can soon pass in favor of feeling pressure.
I don’t like to be in very large crowds, like busy urban malls, shoulder-to-shoulder amusement parks, and packed stadiums. I do need my daily alone time, otherwise my discomfort level begins to rise. Speaking in front of people I don’t know, requires lots of self-talk interspersed with brief prayers.
Through God’s mercy and providence, I began a study of Psalm 90 just prior to my mother’s recent death.
The Psalm strengthened me through the grief process and helped me to understand some lessons I had never before considered. Principally, is death purely a punishment, or did God institute death as a way to teach human beings a valuable lesson?
As I studied, it occurred to me man’s problem has always been to think of himself as God. This began in the garden of Eden when man’s transgression was prompted by Satan’s temptation, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it (the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5 NASU).
When Moses fell by transgression, it was chiefly because he placed himself on a par with God. We tend of make a very big deal about what he did with his rod to bring water to the rebellious Israelites, but what he said in the process is very important: “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10). God told Moses his mistake was not “to treat me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel.” Moses was guilty of not making a distinction. God is the only God and should be identified as such.
Moses is the author of Psalm 90, and it is interesting that he made its subject God’s eternality and man’s frailty. Moses made the following points:
- “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (verse 2). This is a significant distinction between man and God. God is immortal, man is mortal. That man lives only a finite time is instruction that there is only one God and man is not such an entity.
- “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passes away…” Repeated in 2 Peter 3:8, this simply refers to the truth that time has no meaning with God. It matters a great deal to man, but not to the eternal. This is another distinction.
- “As for the days of our life, they contain 70 years… we soon fly away.” Again, God’s eternality and man’s frailty is made evident. God will be in the world after we’re dust. He exists long after we leave this bodily form.
- “So teach us to number our days…” Here’s the verse that caused me to stop and think about death as an instruction. God doesn’t say that we should consider death as a punishment. We should understand, while we are in this body, the distinction between us and God. If we understand that, we can use that knowledge to keep ourselves from sin. Isn’t it the case, after all, that almost every sin we commit begins with the thought that we should be able to rule our lives as God, knowing both good and evil?
Death was presented to man as a consequence of his own actions. God, however, means death to be a process in our spiritual education. He presents it to us so that he can, “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”