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Worship: The Christian's Fuel

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Worship: The Christian’s Fuel

Wade Webster

We often sing,” This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”  As Christians, we are on a journey.  The journey is life and the fuel for the journey is worship.   

First, fuel is essential. Our cars, our houses, and our bodies all require fuel. In like manner, worship is essential. Christians run on it. Just as our cars require gas, our houses require electricity, and our bodies require food, our souls require worship. When we understand the essentiality of worship, we will not miss an opportunity to fill up our spiritual tanks (Heb. 10:25). Have you ever thought you were going to run out of gas? Have you ever waited a little too long and run out of gas? The worship services are like a gas station when our cars are running on fumes. They are like a Chick-fil-a when there hasn’t been any food in a hundred miles. When we understand the necessity of worship, we will also not miss an opportunity to encourage others to fill up their spiritual tanks (Heb. 10:24).

Second, fuel is expensive. Gas for our cars is expensive. Gas and electricity for our homes is expensive Food for our bodies is expensive. In like manner, true worship is expensive. We can’t offer to God that which costs us nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). One of my teachers in preaching school gave us an outline on this passage that I have used many times. He called the sermon: Four Attitudes Toward Giving. Attitude 1 – “I will not offer.” Some people are scrooges. They won’t give to anyone or anything. Attitude 2 – “I will not offer unto the Lord.” Some people will give, but not to the Lord. They will give to civic organizations or to special charities, but not to God. Attitude 3 – “I will not offer unto the Lord that which costs me.” Some people will give. They will even give to the Lord. However, they will only give that which doesn’t really cost them anything. Attitude 4 – “I will not offer unto the Lord that which costs me nothing.” The proper attitude toward worship is giving sacrificially.

Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Many may be met with who know God, but never glorify him as God, because they never adore him, and worship him, with the love of their hearts. They go to church or to some place of worship regularly, and sing psalms and hymns, and they may even have family-prayer at home; but their heart has never adored the living God with living love. Their worship has a name to live, but it is dead. They present to the Lord all the eternal harvest of worship, but the corn is gone, only the straw and the husk are there…”

Third, fuel is evaluated. Gas for your car is inspected and approved. There is a state regulatory commission that tests its purity. Electricity and gas for your home are regulated and metered. Food is carefully screened by the FDA and ingredients and nutritional information are listed on the package. In like manner, our worship is being measured. It will be approved or rejected based upon its purity. In the book of Revelation, John wrote, “And there was given unto me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Rev. 11:1). Measuring the temple and the altar doesn’t trouble me very much. However, the measuring of the worshippers does. We do not want to be weighed in the balances of God and be found wanting (Dan. 5:27). Do you remember when you were a little kid and went to an amusement park? Do you remember the measuring sticks that were posted at the rides to determine whether or not you were tall enough to ride? Do you remember how disappointed you were when you came up short? Just think of how horrible it would be to come up short when measured by God’s measuring stick or His word (Phil. 3:16; 2 Thess. 3:6; John 12:48).

To be acceptable, worship has to be in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).In spirit has to do with the right attitude. God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). In truth has to do with the right action. We have to do what God commands us to do in the way that He commands it to be done (Lev. 10:1-2/Eph. 5:19; Gen. 4/Heb. 11:4; Mt.. 15:7-9).

In this lesson, we have examined the Christian's fuel - worship. As we get ready to worship this weekend, let's make sure that we don’t neglect to fill up our spiritual tanks.

What the Savior Saw in the Seven Churches

Saturday, February 27, 2021

What the Savior Saw in the Seven Churches

Wade Webster

The Apostle John saw Jesus walking among the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:12-20; 2:1). With His piercing eyes of fire, Jesus saw the good and the bad of every congregation. Let’s see what He saw when He visited each of them.

The first church that Jesus visited was emotionless Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7). They were strong against error (Rev. 2:2, 6), but they were lacking in love. They had left the love they had for Christ at the first(Rev. 2:4). Their love needed to be rekindled.

The second church that Jesus visited was suffering Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11). This church was facing tribulation, poverty, blasphemy, prison, trial, and death. Jesus spoke words of comfort and hope to them. He told them not to be afraid and to remain faithful (Rev. 2:10).

The third church that Jesus visited was permissive Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17). This church was lax with members holding certain false doctrines (Rev. 2:14-15) . It was just a matter of time before what they permitted was preached.

The fourth church that Jesus visited was tolerant Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29). They were not just allowing certain false doctrines to be held by members, they were allowing them to be taught (Rev. 2:20; Gal. 2:4-5; Eph. 5:11; 2 John 9-11; Rom. 16:17-18). They had taken the next step toward full blown apostasy.

The fifth church that Jesus visited was spiritless Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6). As you know, death occurs when the spirit leaves the body (Jam. 2:26). The church at Sardis was dead by this definition. There was no spirit or life in them.

The sixth church that Jesus visited was patient Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13). In the midst of great persecution, they had not denied Christ’s name. They had held fast to the word of His patience (Rev. 3:8; 10-11).

The seventh and final church that Jesus visited was lukewarm Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). This church had lost its zeal, enthusiasm, and fervor. It was poor, wretched, miserable, and blind, but didn’t know it.

I am convinced that Jesus remains concerned about His church. As we get ready to worship this week, let’s give serious consideration to what He would see among us. Would he find us patiently persevering? Would he find us doctrinally pure in the pulpit and in the pew? Would he find us lacking in love or zeal? Would he find us dead? Would he call for us to repent?

True Worship

Saturday, February 20, 2021

True Worship

Wade Webster

The greatest conversation ever recorded on the subject of worship took place in Samaria and not in Jerusalem.  It took place on the side of a well, and not in the temple or a synagogue.  It took place with a worldly woman and not with a holy man.  Through the conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman, we learn the meaning of true worship.

True Worship Is That Which God Desires

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:  for the father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).  While God doesn’t need anything (Psa. 50:10), He does want something.  He wants man to worship Him (Psa. 45:11; Prov. 15:8; Lk. 22:15).  What a great privilege it is for us to be able to give God what He desires.

True Worship Is That Which God Deserves

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the FatherBut the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:  for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:21, 23). Please note the repeated use of the designation “Father.”  As you know, fathers are deserving of honor (Ex. 20:12).  As the “one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:6), there is surely honor due Him (1 Chron. 16:29).  It is from this standpoint that God condemned the worship of some in Malachi’s day.  We  read, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you” (Mal. 1:6).

True Worship Is That Which God Demands

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  Please notice the little word “must.” As you know, the word “must” is used to refer to that which is required.  Worship is a requirement.  It is a part of man’s duty to fear God and to keep His commandments.  In the long ago, Solomon wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).   

True Worship Is That Which God Defines

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  To define something is to outline it clearly.  Jesus made clear that worship must consist of the right attitude (in spirit) and the right action (in truth) in order to be acceptable.  One without the other is insufficient, no matter which one is present. 

All that the Samaritan woman ever needed to know about worship, she learned on the side of a well. Thanks to the inspired record of John, we can say the same.

Praying For Those In Power

Friday, February 12, 2021

Praying For Those In Power

Wade Webster

To the young evangelist Timothy, Paul wrote, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.  I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Tim. 2:1-8).

Based on Paul’s inspired instructions, we need to pray for our President, those in Congress, and those on the Supreme Court, our governor, our mayor, and all other political leaders.  In Paul’s inspired words to Timothy, we find four reasons to pray for those in power:

It is PRESCRIBED: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority…” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).  The word “exhort” means “to call for” (3870).  By inspiration, Paul was calling saints to prayer; especially, for those in authority.  He knew that government was ordained of God and was intended to be a minister unto us for good (Rom. 13).  However, he knew that government was dependent upon the prayers of Christians (Ezra 6:10; 7:23).

It is PROFITABLE: “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2).  “Quiet” means “stillness, tranquil” (2263) and “peaceable” means “undisturbed” (2272).  To the captives, Jeremiah wrote, “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jer. 29:7).  Those in positions of authority have a great effect upon the lives of God’s children.  Some bless, while others curse.  Cyrus allowed captives to return home and the king under whom Nehemiah served allowed him and others to rebuild Jerusalem.  Furthermore, at Nehemiah’s requested, he furnished supplies to be used in the rebuilding.  Sadly, more kings fell in the category of cursing God’s people – Pharaoh (Ex. 1), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3), Darius (Dan. 6), Herod (Mt. 2), the Jewish authorities (Acts 4:18; 5:42), and Nero (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

It is PLEASING: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). The word “acceptable” means “agreeable” (587).  Praying for those in authority is in agreement with God’s will.  It is consistent with God’s desire for all men to be saved and to come to truth.  He doesn’t want any to perish (2 Pet. 3:9; John 3:16).  As you know, some governments enact policies that aid the spread of the gospel while others enact policies that hinder its spread.  God wants us to pray for the king to do the right thing.

It is POWERFUL: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Tim. 2:5-8).  Notice that Paul spoke of “one God, and one mediator.”  The prayers of saints are powerful because they are on speaking terms with the only God and mediator (Mt. 19:26; 1 John 5:14-15; Phil. 4:12).  No one else in the nation has this privilege and source of power.  The prayer of a righteous or holy man avails much.  James wrote, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jam. 5:16). 

May each of us commit to praying daily for those in positions of power; especially, as a new Supreme Court justice is selected and appointed.  Millions of unborn babies, religious freedom, marriage, and America’s future hang in the balance. 

Jesus the Farmer

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Jesus the Farmer

Wade Webster

Probably, when you think of the occupations used by the Bible to describe Jesus, you think of carpenter, teacher, physician, or shepherd. You probably don’t think of him as a farmer.  Yet, He once described Himself in this way.  Matthew records, “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man” (Mt. 13:37).  Two of His parables, the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Tares, reveal that He had a great knowledge of farming (Mt. 13). 

He Understood the Soil: A good farmer recognizes the difference in soils.  Farmers prefer rich bottom land to rocky hillsides.  They prefer well-watered land to arid land.  Our Lord knew that there were differences in soils.  In the Parable of the Sower, He spoke of four different types of soil (Mt. 13). As you know, the four soils represent different hearts (Mt. 13:19).  As farmers today, we must also recognize the difference in soils.  Since we are not able to see the hearts of men, we must sow the seed whenever and wherever we are given the opportunity.  We must not become discouraged when the seed falls into unfruitful ground.  We must keep sowing. 

Farmers understand that even among good ground, there are different amounts produced.  Sometimes one acre will produce more than the next acre.  Jesus understood that some good soil will produce thirty, some sixty, and some an hundredfold (Mt. 13:23).   Jesus clearly knew that there are differences in people.  In the Parable of the Talents, we have talents distributed to men according to their ability.  As you recall, one man received five talents, another two, and another one (Mt. 25).  As farmers today, we must understand that different soils have different abilities and will produce different amounts (Rom. 12:4-8; I Cor. 12:14-27).

He Understood the Seed: All farmers understand that the seed must be planted to grow.  Seed which is still in the barn won't produce anything.  Farmers have to get their seed into the ground.  As a farmer, Jesus understood that the seed had to be planted. He often talked about men who "sowed" seed (Mt. 13:24, 31; Mk.  4:14, 26, 31; Lk. 8:5; 13:19).   No doubt, He understood that there are a number of different ways to plant seeds.  Some seeds like wheat are broadcasted over a large area.  As you recall, he often employed this method by teaching great multitudes (Mt. 13:2; 15:33).  Other seeds like watermelons are planted in small hills or groups.  In the gospel accounts, we often see Jesus talking to small groups of people (John 3, 4).  Some seeds like corn are sown in rows.  Jesus employed this method by being very systematic in His teaching.  Other seeds are sown by accident (Mk. 4:27). 

All farmers know that you have to use good seed.  Some farmers have one seed company which they prefer above all others.  Others save their own seed to guarantee that they have good seed.  If a farmer plants bad seed, he has to replant.   Jesus knew that good seed had to be planted (Mt. 13:37).  In the Parable of the Tares, Jesus spoke of sowing good seed (Mt. 13:24, 27, 37).  Of course, the good seed which Jesus sowed was the word of God (Lk. 8:11).   You may recall that the seed which the children of Israel were to plant was to be unmingled seed (Lev. 19:19).  Jesus and the apostles planted unmingled seed.  They taught the unadulterated truth (John 17:17; Gal. 1:6-8; I Thess. 2:13). Sadlu, while Jesus and His servants were sowing good seeds, others were sowing bad seeds.  As the Parable of the Tares reveals, the devil does his own planting (Mt. 13:38-40; cf. II Cor. 11:15).  Like Jesus, we must sow the precious seed of God (Psa. 126:6).  We must plant seed which is unmingled with denominationalism, liberalism, or modernism (Rev. 22:18-19).  We must plant the uncorrupted seed of the gospel (I Pet. 1:23).

All farmers know that seeds produce after their kind.  If they want corn, they plant corn seed.  If they want an apple tree, they plant apple seeds.  Jesus knew that every seed produces after its kind.  As Creator, He set this law up from creation (Gen. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:9).  He knew that the word of God would produce a child of God (Lk. 8:11; John 17:17).  Today, we need to learn that every seed produces after its kind.  It is true in physical creation and in spiritual creation.  The pure, unadulterated seed of the gospel will produce a Christian.  If you end up with something other than a Christian, then a seed other than the gospel was planted.            

He Understood the Sower: Farmers know that in plowing they have to keep their eyes fixed on the end of the row.   No doubt, you recall the words of Jesus when he warned about looking back once you have put your hand to the plow (Lk. 9:62).  The Hebrew writer pictures Jesus as fixing His eyes on the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:1-2).  Like Jesus, we must keep our eyes fixed on heaven (Phil. 3:13-14; Heb. 11:14-16).

All farmers know that there are threats to their seeds and plants.  They understand that insects like beetles, cutworms, and weevils, animals like birds, deer, groundhogs, and raccoons, and weeds all pose a threat.  As a farmer, Jesus understood that there were things which threatened seeds and plants.  In the Parable of the Sower, He warned of the birds and thorns (Mt. 13:4, 7).  In the Parable of the Tares, He warned of the tares which often grew among the wheat (Mt. 13:25-26).

The farmer has to plant hoping to reap a harvest.  He is dependent upon the right soil and the right weather.  He plants in good faith.  Jesus understood that the farmer must sow the seed in good faith.  He knew that some seeds would not sprout because the ground was too hard (Mt. 13:4).  He knew that some plants would not make it to harvest because of rocks and thorns (Mt. 13:5-7).  As farmers today, we must sow the seed in good faith.  We don't always know whether or not the seed which we have sown will prosper (Eccl. 11:6).  We must plant and water confidently knowing that God will give the increase (I Cor. 3:6).

All farmers understand that it takes time for the seed to produce a harvest.  You don't plant one day and pick the next day (Jam. 5:7).  As a farmer, Jesus understood that it takes time for a plant to grow.  In one of His parables, He discussed how the seed springs up and then grows up (Mk. 4:27).  He knew that the blade comes first, then the ear, and then the full ear in the corn (Mk. 4:28-29).  Today, we must understand that it takes time for the seeds which we have sown to reach maturity.  Sometimes, it takes months or years for the seeds which we have sown to produce. Often, it takes sermon after sermon and invitation after invitation to lead one to obedience.  We must not be discouraged when we teach a person the truth and they do not obey immediately.

In order to follow in Christ's footsteps (I Pet. 2:21), we must go to the field and work (I Cor. 3:6, 9).  Jesus was a farmer!  How about you?

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