Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is God Glorified In Us?

              Reading John 13:31-35 quoted below, we see that Jesus was glorified and in Him God was glorified.
              Our first task is to do as Jesus did, and that is to glorify God.  There are other things that must be done such as: soul winning, tithing, supporting missions, calling on neighbors, and even warming a pew.  However, doing just one is not a pathway to glorifying God.  All are a “part and parcel” with a great big plus sign after it.  These are physical things.  There are also spiritual things that must be done.

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

First, we are to be obedient to our God, our Jesus who is our Master.  Our focus must be on Jesus Christ and what He wants us to do.  He tells us our new commandment is:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

This is a new commandment to a newly converted disciple, and is also new to many hard-hearted Christians.  We as brethren must work to glorify God.  Our filthy mouths and our bitter hearts are all a blasphemy to God.
              When we stop and reflect on our being, we may find a person we really don’t like.  When we determine what we have become, we must do whatever it takes to turn ourselves into the person that God wants to call His own. Consequently, we become what other men call a “Christian.”  We become their personal Bible; we may be the only Bible they will ever read. 
              Regardless, we as Christians will be judged daily (with parameters that we are not even aware exist.)
              So, in terms of glorifying God, where do you stand?  Does your walk and your talk match?  Is it obvious to the lost that you are a “sold out” Christian?  Does your walk and talk glorify God?

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
              Do you have that assured true heart, drawing nearer to God daily?  Have you cleared your mind of all the evil judgment you have recently made?  Does God really see you as righteous?  If not, take time now, repent and get your walk and your talk back on track.                                     

 Bro John R. E Chastain

John 13:31-35  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.  (32)  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.  (33)  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.  (34)  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  (35)  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our God

            In our verse Leviticus 26:9-12 quoted below we are told, “I will have respect unto you,..  He, God, will look toward us and through a material abundance, He will show us how much He loves us.
            In our society today, we clearly have abundance, and we know God is looking toward us.  However, He could remove the abundance and look away from us.  We don’t seem to grasp who it is that supplies all our need.  We look at our checkbook and our paycheck, and state I earned it with my own back.  My effort has given us this abundance.
            God has told us He will watch over us.  However, He expects us, (for the abundance He has provided,) to follow Him.  Yet, in our vanity, we claim Christ, and we know He loves us, yet we will not follow Him.  Going to Church, reading our Bible, and praying are things that are a nuisance to us.             We readily receive His blessings, but supporting our Church, supporting our Missionaries and tithing is just something that is unrealistic.  God knows we need money.  God knows we believe. He does understand and knows our disobedient hearts.
            Through the Holy Spirit, He does walk “among” us.  Are we listening to God’s Spirit?  The Holy Spirit is working to get us to walk the path we claim, God’s narrow strait path, His Holy path, that path from which we have turned away. 
            Listen to Him, get back to Him, and walk with Him, as He wants to walk with you, as He walked with Adam.                                  

Bro John R. E Chastain

Leviticus 26:9-12  For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.  (10)  And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.  (11)  And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.  (12)  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

Our Duty

(Jeremiah 31:10)  Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, ...

            There are at least four other verses in the New Testament that reflect the thought God gave Jeremiah in this verse.  The scripture given below re-enforces this thought to “ of one mind,..
            You and I have been given a commandment to serve.  There is always the question, “What does it mean to serve?”  Many believe if I show up occasionally I have done my duty.  Others show up regularly and are great pew warmers but nothing else.  Then we have those who are regulars and serve with tithes and offerings.  They support their Church and their Pastor.
              Yet, there are others who respond to the call of God to “Go.  They “Go” to distant lands, to give up the luxuries of a comfortable life here in the United States.  In some cases, they contend with disease, and horrible living conditions.  Some of us cannot imagine what they must go through.   I emphasize “must” because it isn’t the anticipated deplorable conditions, and it isn’t a desire to drag their family through and into areas which in our minds are not safe, it is the answer to God’s call that he “must” “Go.
            Now we get down to our duty.

(Mark 16:15)  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

            Our duty is also to “Go.   This command is to all Christians, regardless of our health, our prosperity, regardless we are to “Go. 
            Some of us have not received this call “to go,” but have received a call to support those who respond to God’s call.  It is called Faith Promise Giving.  In prayer, we are to ask God to give us an amount, an amount He will provide, so we can provide the Church the money to support Missionaries. 
              Look to God!   Understand, to be in God’s Will, we must take an action by either “Go”-ing or by supporting those who do “Go.

(Acts 1:8)  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

            Be that witness  throughout the world. Put yourself in God’s Will.  It is our duty.                                                                          

Bro John R. E Chastain

Our Blessings

          The scripture Matthew 5:3-8 quoted below states two things: 1.) if we are or do, and 2.) God will bless us.
              If we are poor in spirit (humbled by the Grace of God), if we mourn (over lost souls), if we are meek (willingly turn the other cheek), if we hunger and thirst after righteousness (hear the Word of God, and resolve to follow), if we are merciful (willing to forgive, willing to help others), and if we are pure in heart (sincere in following God),  we will receive Blessings from God. 
              We can define Blessed as being “happy in the works for God.”  We as Christians are somewhat like the lost, (those who do not know Jesus as their personal Saviour), we want to be Blessed of God, yet we are not willing to do what is required to be Blessed of God.  We willingly go to church, and we half-heartedly listen to the preacher as he expounds the Word of God.  Moreover, we may in some instances think he is wrong even though he has backed up what he said by scripture. 
              We are not willing to be a “Fundamental” Baptist in reality. We want that only in name.  Consequently, we are hypocritical in our walk, and we don’t show our children the proper walk.  To them it is “do as I say, not as I do.”    Then we wonder why we cannot get youth into our church when we act like their parents. 
              We, as Baptists should set an example beyond reproach.   To be what we claim would be a major challenge for some, for others near impossible.
              Why?   Because we as Baptists are too involved with the world.  We love the school athletics; we love all the extracurricular activities, and then bemoan how hard the academic studies are on the children.  It is the academics which will prepare our child for life.  As we teach here in our Sunday School and in the preaching services, we must prepare the child for his adult life.  Otherwise, it may well be a wasted life.
              A wasted life is a hard life, a life of no redeeming value, and a life of constant hardship.  Why do you want that when you could have the Blessings of God?  Look to Jesus; receive that blessing, and that happiness He will give you.                                                 

Bro John R. E Chastain

Matthew 5:3-8  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (4)  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  (5)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  (6)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  (7)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  (8)  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Definition of A Christian

(Proverbs 14:24-27 KJB)  The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.  (25)  A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.  (26)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  (27)  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

            These verses from Proverbs 14 were published on the back of our Church Bulletin this week.  I wrote a Devotion for our weekly bulletin, but I had this Devotion in mind for this article, “...from the Pulpit.”
            By carefully reading this Proverb, we can see that these few verses define a Christian, a summarized version, but nonetheless a definition.  Below, I have collected those portions which I have used.
(Proverbs 14:24-27 KJB)  The crown of the wise is their riches:.. (25)  A true witness delivereth souls:.. (26)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  (27)  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

            The “…crown of the wise…” (in regards to our riches,) tells us to be wise and prudent with what God has given us.  It isn’t being overly frugal, but careful as to how others see us in our spending.  This “crown” shows we are tithers, we support missions, we support our local church, and we attend regularly.
            Again we are told to be “…A true witness …” someone who asks his neighbors, his friends, and his family to join him at church.  He is a person who willingly tells any or all he meets about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he does it with “…strong confidence ..,” a confidence that shows a “…fear of the LORD …” [“…fear….” being defined as “moral reverence” of the LORD.]  He knows who he serves, and has the understanding that his LORD will meet the needs of his “…children..,” his family, and himself.  He knows that his reverence of the LORD will protect him today, and down the road.
            I believe this shows a good overview of a “good Christian,” however, as was with Job, we must protect ourselves against ourselves.

(Jeremiah 9:23-24 KJB) Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  (24)  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

            We are not to “…glory in his wisdom …”, as that would defeat our fear [reverence,] of our LORD God.

(Revelation 2:4 KJB) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

            We must be very careful in our “walk and our talk.”  Does the LORD have “…somewhat against thee …” because you may have strayed away from “…thy first love…”  These verses define us.  Can we all say, “Yes LORD, I am a Christian as defined above, and LORD I do know my heart is with You.”  Where is your “…first love …?”

Bro. John R. E Chastain

This Devotion was written for publication in the Wellington Leader, Wellington, Texas, for publication under "...from the Pulpit"  April 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Wise Man or A Fool

              Reading Proverbs 14:24-27 quoted below, we see the definitions of two people.  The first person is wise in what he owns, and is a true witness.  He delivers souls and has a strong confidence and his children are protected through his fear of the Lord.  The second person we are told is a folly (weakness of intellect; imbecility of mind; want of understanding; depravity of mind,) a foolishness of fools.  We are also told he is deceitful (tending to mislead, deceive, or ensnare,) like the devil willing to draw you into his foolishness, (absurdity; folly.)                                                
               So how do these definitions affect you and I?  What one man calls wise, another might call folly.  So how can we know if our lives are being written as “wise” or in “foolishness?” 
              For us to answer these questions, we must resort to God’s Word.  God’s Word is the final authority; and it should be the final authority in our lives.  How do we know, without a doubt, if we, and our family, are living wisely?

Joshua 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

              Who do you and your family serve?  A wise man knows who God expects him to serve.  Joshua gives us the choice of a wise man and his family.  It does not matter what your parents were, make your choice, “choose you this day whom ye will serve;..”   The choice for every person is to choose God and His Son, Jesus.  This doesn’t mean you will always make wise decisions.  You will make mistakes, in that there is no doubt. 

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (2)  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.

              However, by choosing God and seeking His “…that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” you will have made the correct choice, a choice of living a sacrificial life in the service of God.  By transforming our minds, we can more clearly see God’s will, and we will be more conformed to Him than to the “world.”
              Choose God today and avoid the “…the snares of death.  Accept Jesus.  He is the way, the only way.

Bro John R. E Chastain

Proverbs 14:24-27  The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.  (25)  A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.  (26)  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  (27)  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

The Word of The LORD

              Reading Psalm 33:6-9 quoted below, we find the LORD spoke, and the heavens were made.  We know of three heavens, and that the one mentioned here is our universe.  Our faith tells us that our God, our Lord in Heaven created ALL by speaking, and it was done.
              In our day, I am glad only God can speak things into creation.  Can you imagine the folly if men like Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, could just say, “Eliminate Washington D. C.,” and it be done.  On the other hand, think about our own President and our Congress.  There would be no end to the changes, by speaking things “to be done.”  There would be no end until the last two men finally said, “no more.”  I sincerely thank God for the blessing that He alone can speak and it be done.   
              Our words get us (and the world) in enough trouble as it is.  We make pledges (promises) we either cannot or will not keep.  As sinners, we are a “fickle lot.”  We must get our hearts on the foundation God has established for us, the one fundamental promise we have in our possession, our Holy King James Bible.  However, if we lay our heart on His foundation with a lack of sincerity, this lack of sincerity is the source of the first temptation to leave that foundation.  We “pick up” a perversion of God’s Word and live in a place of rose-colored glasses, a place of “itching ears,” a place where commitment is a proverb cast away. 
              We are taught from the Old Testament through the New Testament, Genesis through Revelation that there is only one God, and there is only one Gospel.  We are also taught that once we are saved, there is repentance and a commitment requirement.  Salvation, (being saved,) is an eternal situation, consequently, we cannot lose our Salvation, but our reward might be very slim in quantity.
              God has stood fast for us, He has looked away at our sins, yet with great mercy He continues to grant each of us unmerited favor.  His mercy endureth for ever. 
              Are you committed to God and His Son?  Have you allowed the Holy Spirit control?  If you cannot answer these questions with a secure “yes,” you need to go to God, recommit yourself to Him, and do it with a sincere heart.

Bro John R. E Chastain

Psalms 33:6-9  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.  (7)  He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.  (8)  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  (9)  For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Thank Have Ye?

              When I read the verses below, I got to thinking about my own walk with the Lord.  The question I asked myself was, “Do I walk to be merciful like my Lord, or do I walk for gain?”  I have said from the pulpit, “The only difference between us as Christians and those without the Lord is our eternal, everlasting, forever and ever destination.”
              I cannot relate to you how merciful God has been to me.  His mercy allowed this wretched old sinner a clean white robe, and a place in heaven.  Neither His mercy, nor the white robe, nor the spot in Heaven is deserved.  Yet, He hung His only begotten Son on that “Old Rugged Cross” so I could set myself, through Him, onto that road which leads me to the strait gate.  He is the one who showed me the exit ramp off the old broad way.

(Matthew 7:13-14)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat 14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

              Yet, when I think about my walk, I know I have not walked as I should have.  I can always go to:

(Romans 3:23)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

But that is just an excuse, and I certainly do not want to ignore God’s direction.  We as Christians need to look different from those of the world, not just our dress, and our appearance, but it must be Christ seen in us that is being seen by the world.
              I pray as I work to better myself before the lost, that we all will seek to show Christ in us.  I am certain some who read this short dissertation might have one foot in sin and the other foot claiming Christianity.  (We are told we cannot straddle the fence.  Either we are saved or we are not saved.)

(Luke 16:13)  No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Mammon is the world.  It is the broad way.  If we cannot serve both, we need to determine whom we want to serve.  We must choose whether it is God and His Son, or Satan and his world.  Which do we choose?

Bro. John Chastain          

Luke 6:32-36  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  (33)  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.  (34)  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  (35)  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  (36)  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

They That Have Not Seen

              Reading John 20:24-29 quoted below, I think about today’s doubting Thomas’.  I cannot tell you how many I have met, but many have been “professing” Christians.  I have heard Baptist preachers, (so called men of God,) correct our Bible.  I have heard them cast doubt on particular verses with absolutely no authority to do so.  These are the worst of the lot, and without divine intervention upon their piety, they are as the Pharisees, a lost cause.
              My concern is really for those who for whatever reason have cast themselves out of Church.  It may have been because of an inability to cope with Biblical doctrine, (needing teaching for “itching ears.”)  This is generally a decision over silly things: like the color of the building, the color of the carpet, and possibly over who is going to clean the carpet.  These people may know the Lord Jesus, but have put their pride on their shoulder, and are unwilling to surrender their pride to the Lord.
              The remaining folks either have not heard the Gospel, or if they have, and not received doctrinal discipleship which would encourage and help them grow in the Lord.
              A person who accepts Jesus and then fails to come to church will never have the chance of reaching over and touching the nail holes in our Saviour’s hands.  The wound on His side will always be out of reach.  (I know we cannot do physically what Thomas could have done.  Yet, with growth in Jesus Christ, we will be able to see those wounds with a much clearer eye.)
              Our faithfulness in Church, our faithfulness in Bible reading / study, and our faithfulness in Prayer are what take the doubts away.  As Jesus tells us, Thomas was blessed because he saw.  We who cannot see will be blessed through our belief.
              Until I personally take His hand on my road to Heaven, I will never physically see those wounds.  However, I do see those wounds through spiritual eyes; eyes that see my Jesus on the Cross; eyes that see my Jesus in agony; eyes that see my Jesus say, “It is finished”; eyes that see my Jesus placed in a tomb; eyes that see my resurrected Lord out of that tomb; and eyes that see Him ascend to Heaven and sitting at the right hand of our God in Heaven.
              Without this faith, I have no eyesight, because this eyesight comes from my Salvation, and doing God’s will: reading and studying my Bible, praying, and being faithful in Church.  Are you approaching 20 / 20 spiritual eyesight?

Bro John R. E Chastain

John 20:24-29  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  (25)  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  (26)  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  (27)  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  (28)  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  (29)  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.