The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

The Truth

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” 2 Corinthians 13:8 (KJB)

The truth is what Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about. Jesus is the Persona of Truth (John 14:6).  The apostle was not going to use the truth to control those who were walking, living in the truth.

Neither can  the Pastor, teacher, preacher of today.  The word of God is the truth.

I will leave you with some thoughts from a couple of sources:

From F. B. Meyer…

“None can really injure the truth or stop its victorious progress. As well try to stop the sunrise. We often help others most in our weakness, because then we rely most on the Spirit of God. It is the noblest end of life to build up others through our own expenditure, even to the draining of our strength and resources. The world is apt at destruction; and indeed not much art is required for pulling down. But the divine work is to build; we have God’s authority for that.”

and from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“Our apostolic power is given us that we may use it not against, but for the furtherance of, the truth. Where you are free from fault, there is no scope for its exercise: and this I desire. Far be it from me to use it against the innocent, merely in order to increase my own power (2Co_13:10).”

The truth of  the gospel is that  Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am the chief sinner. He died for me, and gave me a brand new life.  He died on the cross that all who would believe on Him might be saved (John 3:15-18).  He was buried, and He rose again.

He lives. He lives. He lives. That is the truth.

A S K

Ask, Seek, and Knock

Matthew 7:7-29

Though Jesus has taught us not to “Judge…lest ye be judged”; He has also given us commandment to make certain judgments. That can be seen in these things we will look at now. Jesus teaches us to Ask, Seek, and Knock. Could it be that the power of A.S.K. is that it is the mortar of God that holds the building stones (1 Peter 2:5) of the kingdom together, and keeps us strong in Him? We may know the answer to that question when we see Him face to face.

ASK, SEEK, AND KNOCK IN PRAYER (vv. 7-12).

* The first thing the Kingdom dweller must do is ASK;

+ for wisdom, knowledge, righteousnss, for making right judgments.
+ Ask for the glory of the Lord in all things.
+ Ask for His glory in your own life.

* The second thing the Kingdom dweller ASK in Seeking is to do it diligently, frequently, hopefully,

+ and once again; what ever we are seeking that we may glorify the Lord.
+ Also Seeking that others may enter through the right gate.

* The final thing in the ASK acrostic is in Knocking.

+ Be consistent, persistent, victorious, and again for the glory of the Lord.
+ Don’t give up on praying to fill the glory of the Lord.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (v.12). The “Law and the prophets” has to do with the whole of the Word of God.

PEOPLE MUST BE SURE TO SEEK TO ENTER THE RIGHT GATE (vv. 13-14).

* Jesus tells us to enter the “strait gate” or “narrow gate”.

+ This thought gives us a picture of a path that is also narrow.
+ This gate is seen as narrow, rough, rocky, and often dangerous according to the flesh.

* The other gate is wide and broad, and this is the journey which all of us are on until we heed the call through the “Narrow gate”.

+ The broad gate leading to destruction is the one of popularity.
+ You go along to get along. There is tolerance. There is political correctness. There you can be and are expected to be Socially Progressive.
+ It is the gate of the masses. It flows with ease; everyone is going the same direction.

* The “Narrow gate” is one which only very few enter.

+ This gate has a high price to enter it.
+ It requires righteousness. A righteousness that is far greater than any of our own – any greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Phraisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:20 (NKJV).

We must conclude also that there are two groups of people represented here. Quoting John MacArthur, “The many will include pagans and nominal Christians, atheist and religionists, theists and humanists, Jews and Gentiles — every person from whatever age, background, persuasion, and circumstance who has not come to saving obedience to Jesus Christ.” MATTHEW, Vol. 1, p. 457 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY.

* The few is not few because there is no room.

+ Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection has provided room for all who will believe.
+ However, you come in through the gate at the price He paid, not yours or mine.
+ The room God provides is boundless.

WITH PERSISTENCE, BEING CONSISTENT, AND IN THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION GIVE GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST (vv. 15-20).

* By our looking at verse 15 it seems we are required to make judgments by action, words spoken, and behavior.

+ A “False prophet” is to be identified as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
+ How does one discern a false prophet? By the words they speak and the lives they live.

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (NKJV).

“And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? — when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NKJV).

* Usually, false teachers/prophets like having a large following.

+ They are dependent upon the applause and accolades of the people.
+ The true prophet of God proclaims the Word of the Lord, and is not motivated by men, money, or mention.

* One of the fruits of a true prophet of God is his faithfulness to the Word of God.

+ The prophet of God will preach the Word of God even while he is being stoned, and hated and despised.
+ The prophet of God will preach even when it seems no one is listening, or seems that no one cares.

* The fruits give the verdict. The fruits of the true prophet of God will be that those who hear the Word of the Lord through him will be on their face before God, seeking righteousness, holiness, and the face of God.
* In fact, the fruits of the prophet of God may not be seen immediately; they may come after the prophet is dead.

THE FINAL JUDGEMENT IN IN THE HANDS OF THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE (vv. 21-23).

* Many of the false prophets and teachers are those who are relying upon their “good deeds” to get them into presence and pleasure of God.

+ They believe that by their many deeds they surely will be allowed into God’s house.
+ They have afterall healed the sick, cast out devils, and preached in His name; why shouldn’t God allow them in?

* The reason they will not get in is because they are not known by the Savior.
* They are in fact self-deceived people.

+ Because of a “Prayer of decision”, led by someone else, and false assurances given from men, and not from the Word of God they go from the church “altar” thinking all is well and there has never been any change made in their lives toward God, grace, and salvation.
+ They fail to examine their own lives –

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV).

* The Righteous Judge: who is Jesus Himself will say to those who do not know Him and are not known by Him; “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity”.

+ Notice, that He attributes what they have deemed as good works, as iniquity.

THE JUDGMENT THAT STANDS WILL BE THAT WHICH IS BUILT UPON THE ROCK AND THE STONES ERECTED THROUGH THE MORTAR OF ASKING, SEEKING AND KNOCKING (vv. 24-29).

* The foundation is one of obedience.

+ Is it required that a follower of Jesus be obedient?
+ Should a child be obedient to their parents? Obedience is as a child to a parent or master who has our best interest at His heart.

* It has a foundation which is built upon the Rock.

+ This rock will never fall, nor will the foundation that is built upon this Rock.
+ The Rock of Jesus Christ will never fall nor fail, but shall abide forever, “…And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18.

* Jesus Christ Himself is the Rock, and we must trust Him to be our Rock of security, strength, and power.

+ He is our authority.
+ The people who heard this Sermon on the Mount realized His authority.

“He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”.

+ He is the authority, and anyone who detracts from Him is a liar and a deceiver.
+ His judgment and the judgment of His Word will stand forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ministry Led By the Holy Spirit

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4 (KJV)

In chapter six there was some contention over the neglect of some of the Grecians because their widows were not being cared for; at least the way the families thought they ought to be.

The Church in Jerusalem was growing.  People were being delivered from sin and condemnation.  The apostles were loaded with many responsibilities, thus the accusations of neglect.

The apostles were chosen by the Spirit of God to be preachers of the gospel; so in that they would, and should give themselves to the ministry of prayer, and the preaching of the word.  O that the preachers of God’s word today would get that burden; for if we are not in the word of God and prayer we will be powerless, and find ourselves struggling with emptiness of heart and soul, wondering about if we are doing what we are called to do or not.

It is not that the apostles, or the preacher today would be neglecting their duties of service, and ministry; they are rather giving themselves to the greater responsibility of calling people to Christ, and His work in and through them.

With every Christian gifted by the Spirit of God to serve one another, the Church is blessed and it grows as God blesses and leads.  See Romans 12:3-15;  1 Corinthians 12.

The Church chose seven men.  The most remembered one is Stephen.  These seven men were full of the Spirit of God, they did the work they were chosen to do, and the apostles were able to do the work they were called and chosen to do, and the Church was blessed…

“…Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:6-7

You will note also, that, many priests of the Hebrews became believers as well.  Is God good, great, marvelous or what? He is.  He is indeed.

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:4-10)

God’s Controversy With His People 2

“Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.  Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.  They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.  For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.” Hosea 4:4-10 (KJV)

Verses 4 through 6 as well as the following four verses are directed toward the priests and prophets.

The priests and the prophets were told not to accuse the people, because they, themselves were at fault.  This, by no means takes any personal responsibility away from the people, for they too are guilty.  The greatest fault lies with the priests and prophets, because they had failed to teach the Law of God.  Why?  Because they rejected God’s law.  Their “Mother” [Nation] would be destroyed.  Church leadership which fails to proclaim the Law of God, the Word or God with its rebukes and warnings; as well as its blessings and promises is remiss in doing the work and will of God; thus rejecting God and His Word.

The preacher/prophet may fail to meet the expectations of the people, but if he fails to proclaim God’s Word he wreaks havoc upon himself, and the people.  If the priests (Every born again believer) fails to warn the lost of his/her condemnation, and fails to pray for the lost to be reconciled to God, then, we bring shame on ourselves and eternal havoc and ruin on those whom we have failed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In verses 7 through 10 the condemnation continues upon the priests.

It appears that as God blessed the priests (and nation) they began to be comfortable, and sin against God.  It is not sin to be comfortable, or to live in comfort.  The sin is while in comfort we forget, forsake, and do not praise the LORD.

The priests received offerings from the people.  Possibly a sin offering is implied by verse eight.  These meat offerings were to be eaten by the priests, and their families – as a means of support – and rather than rebuking the people for their sin, encouraged them to continue in sin.  Maybe not with words, but in the absence of words of rebuke.  So, just as the priests are condemned because they reject the law of God, the people are condemned because of their willful ignorance of God.  They loved their sin too much to find out what the will of God was.

There would be no satisfaction, no fulfillment in their indulgence of sin.  They would not be a fruitful people.  Even though they thought that enjoying the fulfilling of their lust through hedonistic temple acts would guarantee many children and bountiful harvest; it would not be so.  The reason God gives is, “Because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.”

There is much sin within the churches of the United States of America in the 21st century.  Yet, we have an awesome and wondrous Saviour.  His name is Jesus.  He died for us because He loves us.  He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  He will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation: Provided and Kept by Him

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”  2 Timothy 1:6-12 (KJV)

If Timothy was fearful, then he fit well with the rest of us who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  It is wonderful to have someone who is not only a spiritual mentor [teacher and guide], but a father in the faith to cheer us on as Timothy had Paul.

The Salvation of God is both provided by God through the shed blood of the cross of Jesus; and kept through the glorious power of the presence of Jesus [the Holy Spirit] within.

-T.A.

Message Of Jesus – Still Needed

“And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.  And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.”  Mark 2:1-2 (KJV)

“They crowded to hear Him, as we read in this passage, “until there was no room about the door.” They were amazed. They were astonished. They were filled with wonder at His mighty works. But they were not converted. They lived in the full noon-tide blaze of the Sun of Righteousness, and yet their hearts remained hard. And they drew from our Lord the heaviest condemnation that He ever pronounced against any place, except Jerusalem–“And you people of Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today. I assure you, Sodom will be better off on the judgment day than you.” (Matt. 11:23, 24)”  From J. C. Ryle Commentary

There is a need for humanity to hear the words of Jesus.  It is a necessity of human beings; if we are to be eternally saved; to hear and heed His Word.  The  earthquake (December 26, 2004) which caused the tsunami in the Indian Ocean; and various other earthquakes, storms, and wars; should be a wake up cry to the world.  God is still in charge of the world.  The death toll has been staggering – to say the least – reaching into the hundreds of thousands, and many of those going into eternal fires of torment.

There is sin still in our world.  Every one of us born of man is born into sin.  We are sinners by birth and sinners by choice.  It is because of sin that there is sickness, disease, death, tsunami, tornado, earthquake, storms, etc..

People will often gather; as they did for Jesus on the day we read here; to hear a great speaker, because of what they might see, receive, or to be entertained.  The people of Capernaum were awed by Jesus, and the words He spoke, but they would not take heed to His words.

There are people who are asking, “If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then why did He not prevent this horrible disaster in the Indian Ocean?”,  “Why did He not prevent the destruction of this tornado, earthquake, the death of my son or daughter; husband or wife?”  God is Omnipotent [All-Powerful] and Omniscient [All-Knowing], and yes He could have prevented the disaster, but because of the fall “Nature” just as sin is allowed to run its course.  We had just as well ask, “Why did my Dad die?” or “Why is there death in the world?”  Most Christians would agree that death is the result of sin, because we know those verses that tell us “death came into the world because of sin” (Rom. 5:12-21).

The world needs to hear the words and message of Jesus because there is coming a judgment upon the world unlike which the world has never seen.  It seems to me that God is screaming for mankind’s attention.  Still there are those who keep asserting that “…these things are only a thing of nature, there is no God, and this tragedy only proves it.”

In stark reality it seems to me to show that God is truly gracious; for if He were to take His hand completely away from His creation; the universe and the  world on which we live, and all that is in it would come to an abrupt end.  And He would be completely just in doing so.

People in Ezekiel’s day would gather to hear a preacher preach, but not do according to his teaching (Ezekiel 33:30-33).  Jesus said, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not what I say?”  Good question.  We as God’s people need to hear what God says and take heed to what He says.  The people of the world need to hear what God says, they need to hear what He says about repentance and faith, about His Son Jesus and the way to eternal life through Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus, God-Man, Servant

The gospels have been identified as being written identifying Christ from four different perspectives.  First, Matthew shows Jesus as the King of the Jews;  Mark shows Him as a servant – there is no genealogy showing His  heritage in birth;  Luke shows him as man – in fact the God-man;  and John shows Him as deity – fully God and fully man, and makes quite clear (to all who can see and understand) that He is Deity.

This picture is even seen in the book of Ezekiel 1:4-14, and verse 10 shows us the faces of the gospel.  The lion would represent royalty – the King;  the ox face would represent service – the Servant;  the man’s face would represent the man – the God-man;  and the eagle represents majesty/deity – the God who became flesh and dwelt among us.  In the Revelation 4:7 the Apostle John even list them in the same order as the gospels are in.

“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” Revelation 4:7 (KJV)

Study of Mark 1:1-20:

VV. 1 – 8  —   THE COMING OF THE ONE WHO CARES PROCLAIMED BY THE PROPHET.

The dignity of Jesus is full proclaimed by the messenger who was His fore runner preparing the way for Him – basically preparing the hearts of men to receive Him.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy – a fulfillment of Scripture.

The ministry of John the Baptist produced, for a time, a great effect upon the Jewish nation.

John’s doctrine of Christ was clear and characterized his own preaching – John knows that the one who is coming is mightier than he.  The One coming will not baptize you with water, but with fire.  He will change your life; cleanse you and make you whole.

VV. 9 – 20  —   THE COMMITMENT AND AUTHENTICATION OF JESUS AND HIS MINISTRY.

Jesus, being totally committed to His Father’s direction and plan for His life shows the commitment by following the ordinance of the law, and identifying Himself with mankind in baptism.  The Father confirmed Him by speaking from Heaven as an authentication of who He genuinely was/is.

Jesus was then placed under temptation without sinning to show Himself without sin to man, and as proof of His power to conquer sin and death.

The nature of our Lord’s preaching is similar to John’s in that He was calling sinners to repentance, and different in that He called for obedience to the gospel.  Now; just what is the gospel?  It is a word which means, “Good News”.

Jesus calls two men as He is walking on the sea shore – Simon and Andrew – and calls them to follow Him, and He will make them “Fishers of men”.  They would no longer be fishing for fish, but they would be “fishing” for the souls of men.   According to John’s Gospel chapter 1 and verses 40 – 42 Andrew is one who brought Simon [Peter] to Christ.

“One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”John 1:40-42 (KJV)

That is an amazing thing for a brother to do.  There is no contradiction here only further clarification.  When you put the four gospels together you have a full story, not complete, but the story as the writers witnessed it.

These men were called to the office of a preacher.  Not everyone considers the office a great one, but Jesus was a Preacher – a Preacher of preachers – if you will.  Jesus was committed to the work which He came to do.  In the beginning of His ministry it was to preach, and glorify His Father;

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

An Assuring Word

There is many a time that preachers can become discouraged, down-hearted, and just plain ole depressed. All people have those moments, and the men God calls to proclaim His Word are definitely no different.

The prophets were given God’s message to proclaim to God’s people. Jeremiah the prophet of God is known as the “weeping prophet”; because his heart is so often broken, and his eyes come to tears because of the backsliding of the people. There are times he doubts, fears, and is troubled, and God always comes through with words to encourage him; though sometimes, those words may also be disturbing.

Take for example the following:

“Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” Jeremiah 5:14 (KJV)

The man of God who proclaims the Word of God should do so with the burden of God’s Word on his heart; yet with joy knowing that God will complete His Word – it will be fulfilled. Many of the words of the prophets and the prophecies we have written in God’s Word comes across many times as being negative; however it is all proclaimed with a positive outcome in sight.

The prophet wept over the sins of his people, proclaimed the message of God’s Word with power and conviction; and at the expense of his life’s comforts and his life.

Look at God’s Word to Jeremiah; “Because ye speak this word…”. God is declaring Jeremiah faithful in preaching. “…Behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire…”. Fire burns; it burns the fuel that is added to it; and where there is no fuel the fires dies out. Again, God commends Jeremiah for speaking “My words in your mouth…”. The ‘words’ being fire means that God will accomplish what the prophet has spoken. It is very discouraging to the preacher to know that he is preaching God’s Word, and feel that God is not moving in the messages. When the preacher/prophet sees God moving in the lives of people, and is hearing God promising him that He will accomplish His Word; that encourages and blesses the preacher.

One of the sad things about the message of the preacher is knowing that it will affect people differently. Some will leave with anger concerning the message, and in most cases God will still continue working to cut away, the burn away the dross, and deal with that sin or sins in that life. Others will hear the preacher preaching the Word of God, and believe, and begin practicing the Word which they have heard.

The words in the mouth of the prophet made fire… and God continues, “…and this people wood…”. Wood is fuel for the fire. This is a sad element of the prophet of God. That God through this preacher would devour this people in their sins. It brings no pleasure to God’s prophet; but pain. Yet, there is this fulfillment of knowing that God is accomplishing His purpose and glory through this painful message.

Be assured pastor and preacher of the Word of God; God will accomplish His word. Every word will be fulfilled; and God will be glorified. He is glorified in the message of the cross of Jesus Christ; His Word has been fulfilled in the death of Christ, His burial, and His bodily resurrection. Preach Jesus; His cross, burial, and bodily resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship