Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Gallup polls reveal that a large percentage of the American public believe that fast food is unhealthy. Likewise Gallup polls reveal that most Americans believe that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. Yet, most Americans still eat fast food on a regular basis and most Americans consume news from the mainstream media on a regular basis.
The issue is not trust. We do not trust the healthiness of the golden arches and its fellow fast food establishments yet we frequent them. We do not trust the mainstream media yet we still watch and listen to them. It is apparent that trust is not nearly as important as we might think when it comes to deciding what we consume both in the way of food and news.
Perhaps nothing has influenced the thinking of America as much as the mainstream media. Most Americans are influenced in their opinions by what the media says. The liberal media has influenced Christians far more than we realize or will admit. There are reasons why Americans are so prone to violate what they know is good for them and consume what they know is bad for them. Let me give you a few of these.
We are creatures of habit. Most people do not do what they know is right or best but rather what has become a habit to them. Habits control our lives. We get into habits of eating certain foods and it's difficult to break that habit. The same is true about feeding our minds with bad news. We know they are liberals. We know they are anti-Bible and anti-Christian, yet we consume what they feed us, because it has become a habit for us.
It is convenient. For the same reason we go through a drive-through for fast food we watch and listen to news from the mainstream media. It's there and easy to get to. Much of the time we do so without thinking. Just as we go to the cabinet and grab a bag of chips we know we shouldn't eat, we turn on the news and watch news presented by liberals.
It is infiltrating. Almost everywhere you turn you find the influence of the mainstream media. News is everywhere and most of it is not good. Even sportscasting has been infiltrated by the mainstream media's liberal bias. ESPN has become one of the most liberal members of the media, spewing hatred towards a Christian Tim Tebow while defending an anti-American Colin Kaepernick. Almost everywhere you turn you see or hear the news.
It is entertaining. They know how to get our attention. They get us interested in a consumer news report and while we are waiting for that report we are being fed their liberal and biased stories. It is like going to McDonalds for a salad and smelling the fries while we are there. They know how to get our attention and they know how to keep it. The mainstream media are masters at marketing and at mesmerizing our attentions.
They are authoritative. The news is packaged in such a way as to make us believe that these people are authorities. They might be sitting behind a desk with jeans and flip-flops but we see the shirt and tie and the suit coat on camera. They are attractive and well presented. They are packaged in settings which have been tested for their appeal. They deliver the news in a way that best appeals to our senses. People who present the news are well-versed at making a good impression which causes us to believe them even while we claim not to trust them.
So why are we so willing to allow something into our lives that we know is bad? Perhaps the biggest reason is because Americans have forgotten how to think. In the 1920s our educational system changed from teaching children how to think to teaching them what to think. Children are not taught to logic they are taught to memorize. Rather than learning how to calculate they are taught what they should think.
Our educational system has indoctrinated our minds to accept what we are told as truth. As a result we have inadvertently allowed the mainstream media to tell us what to think. Most Americans know how to listen, but not to logic. That has led to a nation easily influenced by the “truth” presented by the mainstream media.
Why should Christians not allow themselves to be influenced by the mainstream media? If we are aware that they are saying is wrong, why is it such a danger? Knowing something is wrong does not excuse you to allow it into your mind. If you applied the same logic to pornography then you could say it is okay to watch pornography as long as you know it's wrong. What you allow into your mind is having an influence on your thinking. Knowing that it is humanistic and anti-Christian is not enough.
Even though Christ warned the apostle Peter of Satan's desire to have him Peter was unable to overcome the temptation to deny Christ when confronted three separate times. Satan desires to have each one of us so that he can sift us like wheat and shake our faith. This is often done through the mainstream media. Christians would be wise to guard their minds from the propaganda being spewed by them.
What about alternative media that calls itself conservative? While I am not against some of the conservative media sources I am still leery of the fact that most of these do not come from a Christian or biblical perspective. While their logic is superior to the mainstream media most of them are influenced by some humanistic ideas. A Christian should be careful how much they listen to these alternative sources.
What should a Christian do to stay informed?
First of all, most news is unnecessary information. We live in an information overload. Our minds are so filled with “news” stories that we have little time to think about the most important things. Let me share with you a couple of simple ways that a Christian can stay informed without being overtly influenced by the news world.
Read the news. When you watch news you are being influenced by visual things over which you have no control. When you read you have more control of the information that is coming to you. I read a few blogs and online newspapers to get most of my news. I am able to decide what I want to read and what is unnecessary. Learn to read the facts and block out the fluff. Get the information you need without being influenced by others opinions. Read the newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps you could read an online paper. Decide what articles to read based upon the subject matter. Do not read opinion articles unless it is someone who has a Christian perspective.
Don't become a news junkie. When you read a story do not overload your mind with useless information. The mainstream media loves to take a story and turn it into a saga. Be careful to avoid the over-consumption of information regarding a particular news event. If we are not careful we will go from being informed to being inundated.
Be prayerful regarding your intake of the news. Christians ought to always pray about anything we do. That would include the news that we allow into our minds. Ask God to give you wisdom before you watch and understanding to know how to respond to that information after you have received it.
Compare news to scripture. When you receive information always put it into the perspective of the Scriptures. Our response to news should always be based upon scriptural principles not our human responses.
Think on these things. Every Christian should consider Philippians 4:8 when they are consuming any kind of news. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” If the news you are consuming does not match up to these requirements, then it's time to stop. Guard your mind lest you become a casualty.
Replace the bad with the good. If you decide not to eat junk food you need to replace that junk food with good food. Instead of eating chips you could eat fruit. The same is true regarding news. When you have been accustomed to filling your mind with the junk of the mainstream media replace that with something which is good.
There is no question that the mainstream media has influenced the direction of our nation. God's people must not allow ourselves to be cast under their spell. We must guard our minds and separate ourselves from their anti-Christian and humanistic teachings. We may not be able to defeat them but we certainly don't have to give them our time or attention.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
Matthew 20:16, “So the last shall be first and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Luke 23:25, “And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”
We read twice basically these same words, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Then we read the statement, “Jesus Christ chosen of God.” The Bible says in Matthew 20:16, “…for many be called, but few chosen.” The same thing in found in similar words in Matthew 22:14. These verses have been so misunderstood, misinterpreted, and bathed in misinformation. These teachings are false and have sidelined potential personal soul winners.
Our hyper-Calvinist friends say this means many are called to salvation. They also say everybody who’s saved is chosen by God, thus God chooses some to enter Heaven and some for a devil’s Hell. These people, and their treachings, are full of prunes! God said He was not willing that any should perish. God leaves the decision of eternity up to, “Whosoever will…” God offers man salvation, but man must partake himself of what God has provided. God’s buffet table is set and He is waiting for man to use his free will to partake.
WHAT DO THESE VERSES MEAN?
It means that everybody can be saved from having to end up in a devil’s Hell. Plus, those who accept salvation can be chosen by God for full-time Christian service. Any one can be saved from going to Hell, because God calls all to salvation. Jesus died for the whole world not just part of the world! There is another call a call by God Himself to full-time service.
As we search the Scriptures we find the words chosen of God appears several times. It is a wonderful thing how that the Scriptures are the best commentary on the Scriptures. God explains Himself quite well! The Bible defines the Bible better than man can.
THE NATION ISRAEL IS CHOSEN BY GOD
Isaiah 44:1, “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.”
There are many nations in the world. People from any nation on earth can be redeemed, but God has chosen one nation to be honored with that nation, according to God Himself, is Israel. This choosing is by grace and not merit. There is no reason for this choosing. God chose this one little nation called Israel, not mighty Italy, not intellectual Greece, not powerful Babylon, not famous Egypt, but little Israel out of all the nations of the world.
God calls everybody to salvation through Jesus Christ. However, one little nation out of all the nations of the world was chosen by God Himself to be His wife. What an honor! By the way, it was not because it was a better people or a better nation. It was not because it was a famous nation. It was chosen because God decided to choose her. Pure grace and mercy!
Please do not misunderstand, everybody in every city of the world can be saved from going to Hell. God calls all men to salvation, but He chose one nation and one little city to be His.
God did not choose Rome, Athens, Cairo, Corinth, Alexandria, Luxor, Carnac, Nineveh, but Jerusalem! WOW! What an honor to be chosen by God to be the ONE city from across the world to be chosen for His own!
GOD CHOSE A HIGH PRIEST
Psalm 105:26, “He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.” Aaron the High Priest was chosen! There was only one High Priest in the entire world and that priest was Aaron, chosen by God Himself! Can you begin to imagine what an honor it must have been for Aaron to be chosen as THE High Priest!
The truth is Aaron was not one of the better men of the Scriptures. In fact Aaron in some cases was a very weak man, but some reason God chose Aaron to be the only High Priest at that time in the entire world. What an honor to be chosen by God as the nation of the world! What an honor to be chosen by God as the city, Jerusalem, the city of the world! What an honor to be chosen by God to be the High Priest of the world!
GOD CHOSE A MAN AFTER WHOM HE WOULD NAME ISRAEL
Psalm 135:4, “For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.”
Personally I would have never chosen Jacob. A man who stayed home to make chili while his brother goes hunting is not my kind of a man. However, God chose Jacob and his name was changed to Israel later on in His life!
The name Israel means “prince” and God chose Jacob. Please do not misunderstand, everybody is called to salvation, but here is one man out of the entire world to be selected by God Himself for Israel to be named after.
· What an honor for little Israel to be chosen
· What an honor for little Jerusalem to be chosen
· What an honor for Aaron to be chosen
· What an honor for Jacob to be chosen
Think about it; God by-passed Moses and chose Jacob, by-passed Abraham and chose Jacob, by-passed Joseph and chose Jacob, and by-passed Isaac to chose Jacob. When God chooses it is by grace. He does have that right and power you know?
God did not choose Israel as THE nation, except but by grace. God did not choose Israel, Jerusalem, Aaron, or Jacob by their merit, but by His grace. The truth is we do not know why God chose these by His grace! That is the reason He is God and I am Bob!
GOD CHOSE MARY
In Luke 1:26-36 God chose a woman named Mary. What an honor to be chosen by God to bear in her body the Christ child. What an honor to be chosen by God and it was not because she was better than anybody else. The truth is we do not know why she was chosen.
Anybody can be redeemed, but God chose this little lady to give birth to the Christ child. What an honor! This is done no by merit, but by grace!
GOD CHOSE THE 12 APOSTLES
In John 6:70 God chose twelve! He chose out of all His followers twelve to be His Apostles. I do not know why he chose these twelve Apostles and neither do you! The truth is, between you and me; I do not think Peter was such a red-hot Christian much of the time, which proves it is by grace.
The truth is all people can come to Christ, but God according to His own sovereignty, choose and will choose a few out of those who come for special service. Many are called, but few are chosen. God redeemed many, but chose twelve! What an honor to be chosen of God!
When God made me the pastor of the Faith Baptist Church of Bourbonnais, Illinois, on August 27, 1976, with 150 people and 90 of those on buses, I felt like the most honored man in the entire world! When God made me pastor of a New Testament Baptist church I was thrilled and overcome to think I was chosen by God to pastor one of His New Testament churches. I couldn’t sleep at night! I would rise at 4:30 and go to the church house and just walk around. I would sit at my desk and weep! I would then go to the altar praising God and letting out a shout every once in a while!
When God chose and placed me as pastor of Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, TX, the last Sunday of August, 1980, I was honored. When God chose to place me into the pastorate of LBT I was thrilled. I have not gotten over the grace of God in allowing me to be in full-time service as a pastor. I relished every moment and loved every single thing God allowed me to be a part of during those three decades. This was not because of merit, but all because of grace.
In 2009 when God decided He wanted me to go into the full-time work of caring for the churches in the USA, I was once again humbled. To be placed into a position to be a help and blessing to the men of God in America was an honor beyond honors. I have no church members now, but I do have the ear of pastors and preachers around this great nation and many parts of the world.
I was called to salvation saying yes at age 11. I was chosen at age 25 for full-time service. I was elated at my salvation and ecstatic at being chosen for full-time service. Both by grace.
God has given SOLVECHURCHPROBLEMS.COM, INDEPENDENTBAPTIST.COM, INDEPENDENT BAPTIST PUBLISHERS, INDEPENDENT BAPTIST PUBLICATIONS, THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE, REGIONAL SOUL WINNING CLINICS, INDEPENDENT BAPTIST ONLINE COLLEGE, and more to come not because of a calling but because of a choosing by God.
My friend, if God has chosen you then throw back your shoulders and realize you are a nobody, but God has chosen you for Him with you being a somebody special to Him! Kings, Presidents, Senators, corporate CEO’s, and educators have not been honored like you have been honored!
God has chosen you and before you become proud it is not because of anything you have done to deserve it. It is not according to your merit, but God’s grace! I am nothing and I know it, but God for some reason only known to Him has chosen and placed me in the ministry. WOW! What a thought!
Please understand we have no “Papal” hierarchy in God’s work. No man of God is over another man of God. Within the ministry for which men have been chosen lies the responsibility to organize that ministry. No man of God or men of God should interfere with men or their ministries, because they are chosen by God for God.
I have no right to tell Dr. Shelton Smith, Editor of the SWORD OF THE LORD ministry, how to run his ministry. Likewise he has no right to tell me what I can do and what I cannot do with the ministry God has chosen me to lead. No pastor or deacon board have been given by God the right to stop what God has started through His men.
· God chose a nation by His grace
· God chose a city by His grace
· God chose a man by whose name a nation was named
· God chose a woman to bear the body of Jesus
· God chose 12 Apostles by His grace
GOD CHOSE A MISSIONARY
Acts 9:15, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”
You who are missionaries are chosen by God; so enjoy being a part of these who have preceded you such as the Apostle Paul, Adoniram Judson, David Livingston, Rick Martin, and a Kevin Wynn and many others!
Wait a minute you were not chosen because of anything you did to attract God’s attention. You were chosen by grace not merit. If you refuse then you must realize God’s callings are without repentance! You may change your mind, but God does not change His mind. You may disqualify yourself, but you can still go soul winning in your city keeping people from going to Hell.
GOD CHOSE A KING
In II Chronicles 28:5 God chose a king named Solomon. WOW! What an honor to be chosen by God Himself! Hold it! God for sure did not choose Solomon because he was a red hot Christian. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 substitutes in case one of his wives was sick. A bus kid one time called them 300 combines! Ha! For some unknown reason God chose Solomon.
I am emphasizing the fact this is an underserved honor. What an honor to be picked or chosen out of a great group, already called, to be a part of a small group of the chosen! All by grace and certainly not merit. AMEN!
GOD CHOSE A MOUNTAIN CALLED MOUNT ZION
In Psalm 132:13 God chose a mountain called Mount Zion and that mountain was chosen to become the Pentagon, the Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court of the Millennium when Christ rules and reigns on the earth.
What an honor! God by-passed the great Alps, the beautiful Adirondacks, the Smokies, and the Rocky Mountains to choose one little Mount Zion on which Jesus Christ Himself would sit on a throne to rule and reign.
If you are a member of an aggressive soul winning New Testament Baptist church you ought to thank God every day, for you are a part of the only institution on the face of the earth started by Jesus Christ. Yours is a chosen place and a chosen church! By His grace God has allowed us to be a part of this great miracle of grace.
· We have noticed a chosen place
· We have noticed a chosen king
· We have noticed chosen priest
· We have noticed a chosen city
· We have noticed a chosen nation
· We have noticed chosen Apostles
· We have noticed a chosen missionary
· We have noticed chosen full time servants
THOSE CHOSEN IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION
Isaiah 48:10, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
There is another group that is never mentioned much as being chosen for full-time service. I find in Isaiah 48:10 those chosen in the furnace of affliction.
Would someone please tell me what Job ever did? Would someone please tell me of a great revival that Job ever preached? Please tell me of a great church Job every built? Please tell me of a great Ark that Job ever built? Please show me anything that Job did and yet Job was as much chosen by God for full-time Christian service as the Apostle Peter, or John, or Jonah with his great revival at Nineveh.
Chosen for what, he was chosen to suffer to show the rest of us how we are to suffer when our burdens come! I am saying to you that Job was chosen for full-time Christian service! Everyone is called to salvation but a few are chosen of God and such was the case with Job.
How about listing some of these honored to be chosen by God Himself!
· R. G. (our grandson)
· Lee Ann (my wife)
· And many others you could name
I am chosen to preach all the time while many of you reading this are just as called to suffer all the time by God! That wheel chair is not a wheel chair it is a calling of Almighty God. That physical pain is not a physical pain it is a calling of Almighty God. Many of you reading this are in full-time service and for the first time in your life you realize this is a calling of God!
· God chose a nation
· God chose a city
· God chose a High Priest
· God chose a missionary
· God chose 12 Apostles
· God chose a mountain
· God chose full time servants
· God chose a woman named Mary
· God also has chosen many for the furnace of affliction
These are just as chosen as the nation Israel, city of Jerusalem, Aaron, Jacob, Peter, Paul, (and Mary! Sorry I could not resist it!), and the twelve Apostles. In every church there are those who are so honored by God. They have been called into full-time service to teach the rest of us! They are chosen by God to teach the rest of us how to suffer and how not to suffer! They are truly full-time servants of God!
By the way, God carefully chooses them and if you are one of them you are not the unfortunate ones. I could name dozens of dear precious souls whom I have been privileged to pastor in my 44 years of ministry who preached much better sermons through their lives than I did from behind the pulpit. It is the rest of us that are the unfortunate ones!
Just as Aaron was chosen by God to be the High-Priest, Paul was chosen by God to be the missionary to the Gentiles, Jerusalem was chosen by God to be THE city of God, Israel was chosen by God to be THE nation, and Aaron was chosen by God to be THE High-Priest you have been personally chosen by God to full-time service to teach the rest of us something we do not know!
Please tell me what great church John Bunyan built? Tell me the great mission field in which John Bunyan served? Tell me what great college John Bunyan built? Wait a minute, I do not believe John Bunyan is any less chosen and less great than Charles Spurgeon. C. H. Spurgeon was chosen by God to pastor the great Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London, England, while John Bunyan was chosen of God to show all of us how we are to take our stand for right and how to suffer for right!
John Bunyan sat in prison for 12 long years and that was his full-time service. He was imprisoned because he refused to quit preaching on the streets! This was his full-time service.
God chose the deacon Stephen to show us how to die. God chose Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, to show the rest of a nation how to keep on going through the fire of slander, media persecution, law-suits, internet gossip forums, and ex-worldly church members. The Scripture says, “They departed from the presence of the counsel rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame.”
That is not a sickness you have that is a call of God that you have on your life for God Himself has chosen you. That is not a paralysis you have that is a calling of God that you have. That is not cancer that you have that is the call of God that you have. That is not a son with 14 major maladies that you have that is the call of God that you have. That was not an accident when you fell 20 feet from a tree and shattered your knees; that is the call of God.
You have an opportunity to tell the entire world that you can take it, keep on going, and they too can make it! You can praise God while at baby land cemetery at the graveside, at the funeral home and during the persecution!
That is why the Apostle Paul could say, “I rejoice in tribulation. I glory in persecution.” That is not a car wreck when your son was taken it is the call of God! That is not a disease they diagnosed it to be MS that is the call of God.
Please hold your head up high for God has chosen you to serve Him full-time. That is not loneliness when Christmas finds you alone that is the call of God. My wife Lee Ann is as much chosen of God as I am! R G. Gray III is as much chosen and called of God as Dr. Bob Gray II is!
Thank God the Gospel came to a little town of 1,000 people in Southwestern Michigan to a little 11-year-old boy in 1957. You see everybody can be saved from a devil’s Hell, but thank God for the time that God chose for you to do something for Him.