Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
(540) 473-2325

When God Draws the Line in the Sand

As a pastor I know the word of God will step on your toes at times. It is impossible for the pastor to teach the Bible and this not happen from time to time. The question is then; are you willing to allow your pastor to teach the word of God when it is corrective? If I am honestly teaching biblical viewpoint and these biblical concepts and precepts tell you where you are not in accord with God’s thinking then this means you can grow here. It is to be looked at as an opportunity for you to allow Christ to increase in your life. The alleged downside is your old self will decrease. If I do as so many pastor’s do and not teach hardly anything from God’s word you will not know if you are walking in accord with God. Now which one do you want? Do you want God to mature you, or not? Do you want to walk in fellowship with God or with the world?

Now, it is God’s word that draws the line in the sand, not the pastor. I could probably fill up this church with folks who want to think they are always right with God, and to do that all I would have to do is not exposit, or explain the concepts and precepts found in the Bible. But this could never be a God honoring church if I did that. I want the Holy Spirit to fill this church will Spirit controlled believers, not sin nature controlled believers.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, a young pastor at Ephesus, to... “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us.”

II Tim.1:13-14.

The Greek words for our English words hold fast the form, is a compound word, hupo/tuposis, which means to sketch, or to lay out a pattern. With the prefix preposition, hupo, the Greek preposition meaning to abide under, it means the pastor is called to hold fast under the authority of the pattern of sound words. The reference to sound words, Gr. (hugiaino), means healthy wholesome words. New Testament Bible doctrine (God’s teachings) which was given by our Lord Jesus Christ to the Apostle Paul and other writers under inspiration contains the pattern of sound words every believer needs in order to fulfill the plan of God in the dispensation of the church age, Gal.1:10-12. That pattern must first be upheld by the pastor in his life and ministry, I Tim.4:12-16.

If we stick to the pattern given by our Lord we cannot go wrong. If we get off the pattern of God’s word the outcome will not reflect the will of God for our lives or our church. The pattern for the New Testament believer is taken from the character of Jesus Christ. And each believer is called to conformity to that divinely ordained pattern, Rom.8:29; 12:1-2; Phil.2:6.

The inhale, retention and exhale of divine teaching, taught line upon line, precept upon precept, builds up the faith of the believer. The concepts and precepts of the word of God, along with the Holy Spirit’s given understanding, are the glue that connects the doctrines of the word of God. It is with these divine doctrines that God imparts his wisdom to his children. His wisdom is needed for the proper application of his word to our life circumstances. The lack of God’s wisdom missing in Christianity today is evidence that his word is being ignored.

If we believe the word of God is inspired and authoritative we will submit to it’s commandments for our time. If we understand the character of God in his divine attributes we will trust God. We will know God is right in everything he says.

If we digress from the doctrinal path that was taught and laid out by our Lord, and begin following the traditions and programs invented by men to fill the church we will not get the results God’s wants in his church, Jn.7:16-17. In Christianity we have been substituting our wants and the results we want to see in our churches for what God’s wants to see in his church; that is, Holy Spirit filled, spiritually edified mature saints.

Programs, materialism, and competitive showmanship along with tolerance of all beliefs must be replaced by repentance, and a renewal of interest in the expository word of God. Those who think they have arrived spiritually in Christianity need a good dose of humility. Isaiah said, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [ the answer ]... Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” Isa.28:9.

Can you imagine a child still on the breasts and drinking nothing but milk all of his life? This is compared to the born again believer who is not fed solid food. Spiritual perspicacity, [keenness of perception] is only demonstrated by those saints who have gone from the milk of the word to solid food. Pastor- teachers need to provide solid food to the hungry saints, Eph.4:12-16. If you’re not spiritually hungry, you’re not spiritually healthy.

The Sunday school class is ideal for nurturing the young folks and these classes should be mostly milk, and the doctrinal basic series is for the maturing of these believers. The basics series is also good as a review for the mature saints as well. But going on to spiritual maturity involves self-discipline, self-motivation, and humility. The more you grow the more humility you need.

Make yourself come for the word even if you don’t feel the best. Make yourself stay awake even if the subject is foreign to you or you think you have heard it before. One phrase; one precept, one line of a verse of scripture may be all that stands in the way of you having an awakening about God or your own life. One thing said through God’s servant may be all that stands between the present fears you have to a life of unexpected freedom and happiness. God was not a fool in calling men to minister his words to his church, yet some believers live as if God were a fool. Some never see the benefits of being faithful.

The doctrinal path will illuminate certain things about you that will expose your sin weaknesses and prejudices. At first you will be uncomfortable because the old sin nature will not want to let go of your sins, and you will be tempted to skip out on further illuminations from the Bible. However, if you stick it out you will be relieved of your insecurities and secret burdens and the joy of the Lord will increase in your life. When one secret weakness and insecurity is released from your disquieted soul quite often other hidden weaknesses and insecurities are released as well.

Ex.1- The fear of being wrong and messing up will go away and so will thinking you have to justify your life to others and control all circumstances around you. Ex.2 - The sin of lying will greatly diminish when you stop being a hypocrite or a thief.

All of these add up to growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. All of these add up to being filled with all the fullness and joy of God, Eph.3:14-19.

In conclusion, let’s grow together by sowing the seed of God’s word and watering the seed of God’s word the way God defines a church growing, and lets let God take care of the increase in numbers.

The Pastor
May 2009