How do you think we measure up to the very first "baptists"? This month we want to have a brief look at those men of old who searched the Scriptures for the truth and lived their lives by that Truth.
We'll look at this in 3 areas, as follows:
They READ. The Bible was honoured as God's revealed word to a fallen and needy people. Every word was taken as "thus saith the Lord". They allowed the Holy Spirit to direct their lives in accordance with holy scripture.
They PRAYED. Prayer was made "without ceasing". God was petitioned on every aspect of their lives. Close communion was a prerequisite of their relationship with God. In the gale of bigotry and violence against the Truth, close communion with the Lord was essential.
They TRUSTED. Living in times where you were burnt at a stake for your belief in salvation by faith alone, through Christ alone meant that you put your full trust only in the One who would not let you down.
They OBEYED. Obedience was total. Like the hymn-writer penned many years after these early Christians had long since gone to Glory:
Trust and obey, for there's no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
The GOSPEL must be faithfully preached in our local church and we must adhere 100% to the Word of God. We must reach out to the lost in our neighbourhood (and to our family and friends). As a church, how much time do we spend in Outreach activities? If the people are not coming in to our services, how are we bringing the good news to them? Today we have so many means at our disposal; the written word, audio and video tapes, radio and even television. Of course the best way is to simply show them that you care, present the Gospel to them and pray to God that they would come to Him.
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:14 NASB)
PRAYER must be "without ceasing"
We must truly believe that "apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, NASB)
In our own strength, really we can do nothing and we must acknowledge this.
It is God who provides the increase and we must petition Him often.
TRUST and OBEY. Do we? I think we all could trust more and obey a lot more. Perhaps it's because we get it too easy these days, but we need to stay close to Him so that we will be able to cope with whatever life throws at us. I believe that we will only be at our happiest when we commit our all to Him, trust Him with every aspect of our lives and obey Him implicitly. This sanctification takes time but thankfully our God is patient and loving. It's like the card my wife keeps in the kitchen, it shows a kitten who has spilt a saucer of milk all over the place, with the caption - please be patient, God hasn't finished with me yet!
We need to search our own hearts for the answer to that question.
Let's muse on what are the true values and with His help, commit all of our lives totally to His glory both now and forever.
"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe"
Hebrews 12:28 (NASB)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!