Volume 98 Issue 01   January 1998
BEFORE A FALL
Written By: Peter Denby, Jr.
Today I would like to talk with you about the subject of attitude. We need to look carefully at what we do and say. I am reminded of the prayers of both the publican and the Pharisee in the synagogue. (Luke 18:9-14) And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. Two men went up to the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. This story is obviously black and white and sometimes we fail to see that the world throws situations that are gray instead. It will not jump right out at us. It is very easy to see the sins of others and then not see the sins that we face. Or even worse we fail into the same sins that we were so against. Pride cometh before a fall.
Recently I spoke with a man whose wife is an active adulteress. He had spoken against the sins of his wife for quite a long time. He said he was trying hard to find a way for his wife’s soul to be saved. He prayed for her soul and that she would leave her sin behind. He had the attitude that he was better than her, without realizing it. His pride of being better than her was broken when he had an adulterous relationship with another woman. He went the same way as his wife. He divorced his wife and moved far away to live with the other woman (who was separated from her second husband, but still married.) Neither of them was right. I talked with the man later and he said that his wife had caused him to stumble by her actions. I told him that he was responsible for his actions and explained what I had seen concerning his pride. He was unwilling to listen to what I had to say about pride or God’s Word concerning fornication and adultery. Two wrongs don’t make a right, they make two people estranged from God. Interestingly enough, the problems that they were running from were still there. They were still as unfulfilled as before. They soon moved on as the relationship did not last. Nothing had really changed. They were still searching for a way to love themselves. They would not accept, deep down in their hearts, that love which Christ offers to all of us. What each of these people were looking for was self worth. Both were hoping to find it in each other. Each is as far, if not further, from where they really wanted to be when they got together.
We need to be doing it God’s way not our way. It is sad that in this situation two people who know God have left each other to have adulterous relationships and that other people are not only not hearing the message that they need to hear about Jesus but the example will probably make them more callus to the Word of God.
When we have pride in our lives we let down our guard against the devil. The devil is able to wander in unnoticed and take us away. The devil is a sly old fox who will do anything to get you into his camp. How do we make sure that we do not get involved in the same offenses that those above fell into. This will sound corny and oversimplified but we need to stay away from the ‘pit’. When we are walking along and not looking were we are going we will fall. I remember one day as I was working security in a campground. I was going along the trails without my flashlight on. I managed to run into a four foot tall post. I managed to get the top of in squarely in the stomach. If I had been walking ‘in the light’ I would have OK. If I had not had the ‘pride’ that I knew my way around that campground well enough to go it alone (without the use of my flashlight), I would have been OK. How often do we forget that God is there to be our guide. He will hold our hand and walk us through. He will even pick us up and carry us when we need it.
WHO WILL GO FOR
Written By: Peter Denby, Jr.
We just read a story of a group of people who were thinking more of what they wanted out of life than what they could give to others. Yet as I ended that message I mentioned that the example of these two people may actually repel people from wanting to follow the Word of our Lord and Saviour. Jesus depends on us to spread His Word. We are His messengers. If we are to be His messengers the we need to be following His Word for people to see. There is a great Southern Gospel song that tells us that this person would rather SEE a sermon than HEAR one any day. This is not to say that they don’t want to know God’s precious Word, but that they want to find someone that is living what they preach (teach). 1 Timothy 4:12 tells us that we need to “be an example to the believers in Speech, Conduct, Spirit, Love, Faith and Purity." Many of these are violated everyday. This verse says that we need to be an example to those who already know what they must do, so how much more should we be an example to the unbelievers. What example are we being?
Who will go out for
me? The Lord asked this many times in the Old Testament. Would God have
accepted the people mentioned in the last sermonette? Would they be the
ones that would be able to show the purity of God? Would they have a good
influence on the people that they meet? Let us look at some of those who
were messengers for Christ. First let us look at Saul (the Apostle Paul).
When he was ‘blinded by the light’ of Jesus, what did he do? (Acts
9 & 22) Did he do exactly as Christ had told him? Did he ever
go back to persecuting Christians? NO! Please don’t get me wrong, Paul
was NOT perfect. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans
3:23). If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and
the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If
we claim we have we not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word
has no place in us. (1John 1:8-10)
So as we proceed we need to remember that we are able to receive cleansing for our sins once and then again by our confessing them to God. If we are honest with ourselves, and with God, we can be great witnesses for Christ. We are commanded, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
So let us get off our sofas, easy chairs and beds and let people know that we, as well as Christ, are alive. We would not want someone to be missed would be. As a wrap up, let us do the following.
Keep pride out of our lives; Allow Jesus to guide us;
Go into all the world and let everyone
know who Christ is and that He lives for them!
Continually protect your own salvation by always following and living God’s Word and plan.