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Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

The leaves are falling.  Soon the snow will be flying.  Before long, the grass will shove through the earth and the flowers will blossom.  The heat of summer will emerge, and the fall will be here before we know it.  Seasons make the year interesting.  Just as with the seasons and natural progression of hot and cold that God established, the Christian life and God’s church also goes through changes.

Change is something that human nature is resistant to.  We get comfortable.  We become accustomed.  What is “Normal” is what we have known to this specific point in our lives.  We can arrive at “new normal” when we willingly adjust our expectations.

Change in the Bible is good.  If you are a Christian, the specific moment you trusted Jesus for salvation, a big change took place.  You passed from “death unto life!” In John 5:24 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Change for the Christian is good. For example: we are to be “transformed” (Changed from the inside out) by the renewing of our minds in Romans 12:1-2.

The Christian is to be continually changing to look more like Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul teaches, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Change is good.  Individual Christians are changing to look more like Jesus.  Churches also go through changes.  One preacher aptly stated: “Churches are always in transition.”  Very true.

A local church cannot remain stagnant.  A church must strive to be vibrant, meeting the edification needs for its members and the evangelism needs of its community.

Here are three areas a church can benefit from change:

  1. A renewed spirit of unity. We are to strive together to fulfill the Great Commission. We are unified by Christ around the Gospel.  Philippians 1:27, commands, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Perhaps this humorous story will help: “Intending to raise cattle, a family from New York bought a ranch out West. When their friends visited and inquired about the ranch’s name, the would be rancher replied: “I wanted to name it the Bar-J. My wife favored Suzy-Q, one of our sons wanted the Flying-W, and the other liked the Lazy-Y. So we’re calling it the BAr-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y.”

“But where are all your cattle?” the friends asked.

“None survived the branding.””

There are casualties in a church when the members are not united around the main thing. Don’t be distracted in your service to the Lord!  Preferences, nuances, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And personality issues should not divert your attention.  Keep serving Jesus.  Stay united to the cause of Christ and do not allow side issues to get your eyes off Jesus.

  1. A restored community of trust. Paul’s ministry even encountered seasons of disunity and discouragement.  When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, some of the believers were divided.  Read 1 Corinthians 1 for more details.  Some liked Paul’s preaching, others preferred Apollos (A great orator), and others enjoyed the passion of Peter.  The division was causing problems in the church.

Paul makes a hasty trip to Corinth in between these letters to try to resolve their issues.

Later, in 2 Corinthians, we find Paul sending another letter, not to elevate himself, but to elevate Jesus and help the people start to trust God again.

2 Corinthians 3:1-5 says, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles (letters) of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

The church belongs to Jesus.  He purchased her with His own blood.  We can trust the church to God.  Jesus can overcome any doctrinal, personal, or preferential problems a church may face.  Paul knew that he was not sufficient to solve the division, but Jesus was (and is) sufficient.   Paul was not boasting in his ability, but in the fact that these Christians had started to yield their sin, personalities, and problems to the Lord and God healed their church.  Jesus said: “I will build my church.”  We can trust Him!

  1. A revived attitude of respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 instructs, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”

Pastors are not dictators.  If pastors were dictators, then no church member would ever miss a service, and no one would ever not bring their tithe to church, and members would bring Snickers candy bars to every church function. Lol… if you like.  The role of pastor is that of “Servant – Leader.”  It is an accurate and healthy description.

Pastors are to be gentle shepherds leading and feeding the flock.  Sometimes that includes protecting the sheep from wolves (in sheep’s clothing), false doctrine (bad spiritual food to eat), and dangerous pasture fields (emergent church models).

There should be a mutual respect among the members of a congregation for one another.  Church members should be trusting the deacons.  Church members and deacons should have an attitude of trust with the pastoral staff as well.

One service I was preaching through this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5, and suggested that it helps the pastor of the church when the church members are not fighting or bickering and that when a church was at peace, the true work of the ministry can thrive.  It is a true thought.

A thoughtful man, a genuine student of the Bible, suggested to me that the peace among the members was also connected to their respect or lack of respect for the pastor.  Read that verse again please.

“Esteem” means to “deem, consider, or count.”  A faithful church member must be able to count the pastor as respectful and worthy or he will not be able to learn, grow, or develop in that church.  A result of disrespect is that the pastor is not able to lead as effectively as he should.  Why can he not lead effectively?  Because of the lack of peace.  A pastor constantly putting out fires cannot commit the time called for – for the actual work of the ministry.  It could look like this old saying: “Too many chiefs – not enough Indians.”  Let the pastor be the “Servant – Leader” overseeing the overall work of the church.

These are 3 examples where change is good!  If these areas are lacking – Change!  Change to the glory of God.

  • Are you united with your church family in the purpose of the Gospel?
  • Do you have an attitude of trust for the other members, deacons, and pastoral staff?
  • Is there a mutual respect that you have for the church leadership that creates a peaceful environment?

Change is good.  Christians as well as churches go through “Seasons of change.”  Transitions and changes are sometimes difficult and even turbulent because human nature does not like change; but when we see Jesus – it will be worth it all.  When we make the needed adjustments as individuals and as a church, the Lord is glorified.

And. His. Work. Will. Continue.

 

 

 

 

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What Kind of King Will You Be?

What Kind of King Will You Be?

And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.  2 Kings 9:6

The meaning of life is a consideration that many throughout time have pondered.  Countless hours of thought and meditation have been invested into the deep questions of life such as:

  • “What is the purpose of my life?” or
  • “Why am I here?”

After being born again, you may ask a similar question:  “Now that I am a Christian, is there something I am called of God to do or to be?”

We can learn something about our purpose from a man named Jehu.

Jehu is a man who was a captain in the Israeli Army in the Northern Kingdom.  Judah is to the South of the land and comprises the Southern Kingdom.  The Northern Tribes and Southern Tribes are divided, having separate capitols and different kings.  Jehu is a military leader of men.

We also know that Jehu liked fast chariots.   2 Kings 9:20: informs us of Jehu’s reputation, “…the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.”  Jehu was known as a fast and daring chariot driver. 

In 2 Kings 9:1-7, we find that God tells Elisha to send a messenger to anoint Jehu to be King over The Northern Kingdom.  Ahab’s son, Jehoram is on the throne, but God tells Jehu that he is to become the next king.

The messenger goes  to a place called Ramoth Giliad to accomplish this anointing.  Ramoth Giliad “is a famous city in the mountains of Gilead; often called Ramoth-Gilead, and sometimes Ramath-Mizpeh, or the Watchtower, Jos 13:26.  It belonged to Gad, was assigned to the Levites, and became one of the cities of refuge beyond Jordan, De 4:43; Jos 20:8; 21:38.  It was famous during the reigns of the later kings of Israel, and was the occasion of several wars between these princes and the kings of Damascus, who had conquered it, and from whom the kings of Israel endeavored to regain it.  Here Ahad died, Joram was wounded, and Jehu was anointed king of Israel, 1Ki 22:1-53; 2Ki 8:28,29; 9:1-14; 2Ch 22:5,6.”  (American Tract Society Dictionary)

Jehu is anointed to be the next king.  Anointing is the Hebrew word “mashach,” and it means to rub with oil, to anoint; to consecrate; and also to paint. (Strongs)

We must understand that God anoints His children for certain callings and tasks.  He then sets us apart and equips us for fulfilling His calling.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament paints this word “anointing” with 4 insightful colors:

  • “First, to anoint an individual or an object indicated an authorized separation for God’s service. Moses anointed Aaron “to sanctify him”
  • Secondly, though the agent might be the priest or prophet, writers speak of anointed ones as those whom the Lord anointed (e.g. 1 Samuel 10:1; 2 Samuel 12:7). Such language underscores that it is God who is the authorizing agent; that the anointed is inviolable (1 Samuel 24:8ff.); and that the anointed one is to be held in special regard (cf. 1 Samuel 26:9ff.).
  • Thirdly, one may infer that divine enablement was understood as accompanying māshaḥ. Of both Saul and David it is said in connection with their anointing that “the Spirit of God came mightily upon him” (1 Samuel 10:6ff; 1 Samuel 16:13ff.).
  • Finally, in the form māshîaḥ, māshaḥ was associated with the coming promised deliverer, Jesus. Though this association with the term māshaḥ is not as prevalent in the OT as often supposed, the prospect of a righteous, Spirit-filled ruler is increasingly discernible in the OT (cf. Isaiah 9:1-7; Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 61:1).”

The questions: “What is your purpose of my life?” and “Why am I here?” take on new meaning for the Christian.  We have an anointing of God like Jehu.  We have a new purpose and mission to fulfill.

Many people today are looking for value and purpose in all the wrong places.

  • Drinking alcohol and taking drugs are not a good motivation for living.
  • Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is not something to live life for.
  • Getting a new car (chariot for Jehu) is not a goal to be consumed with.
  • Setting the DVR and recording your favorite TV program is not the purpose for your life.

Consider God’s anointing of Jehu and see how much better it is to follow the call of God in your life.

God has a greater purpose for your life!  2 Kings 9:6 

Jehu could be more than a chariot driver.  Anyone can grow up and drive a car.  A car is not a good aspiration.

Jehu could be more than a captain in the army.  Thank the Lord for the Captains in the US Army today.  We are blessed for leaders of men who can lead others to victory, even when under fire.  Men and women are called to certain vocations and positions, but arriving at a position is not the same as fulfilling it.  God had more in plans for Jehu than merely filling a title or holding down a job.

Jehu could do more than simply have a family.  A person who is not saved can have a family just as much as a Christian can have a family.  Anyone who wants a family can have one today.  Some people are called to be single, and others are called to marriage.  At any rate, the Lord wanted more from Jehu.

Jehu was called of God to do something that no other person was called to do.  Jehu was called to be the next king.  Anyone can get a car, work a job, or start a family.  Only people seeing their anointing can do more.

God has a greater plan for your life!  2 Kings 9:7

Jehu had the opportunity to fulfill the Will of God.  Ahab’s family was to be executed because of Ahab’s and Jezebel’s intense sin.  God said in Deuteronomy 32:35 “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”  Judgment belongs to God.

Ahab had killed many innocent people.  1 Kings 18 reveals that prophets of Jehovah were persecuted.  There verse 4 says, “For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.”  While Obadiah was trying to help God’s men, Ahab allowed his wife Jezebel to “cut off” or kill many.

Jezebel was a wicked woman.  1 Kings 21:15 says, “And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”  An innocent man is dead because a queen wanted her cowardly husband to have a piece of land that belonged to a man who refused to sell.

Jehu was able to fulfill the plan of God replacing Ahab’s descendants on the throne of the Northern Kingdom.  You and I are able to fulfill the will of God as we yield our lives to Him each day.

Jehu was able to fulfill the Word of God.  God had promised that none of Ahab’s decedents would be king in 1 Kings 21:29, “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.”

Please note:  We are not to kill people who hate God.  God calls us to serve Him with love and to show love to those around us.  People who harm others in the name of their faith are tragically mistaken.  We fulfill God’s Word in a different way in the civil society today.  Sometimes soldiers carry out God’s plan, even today.  Sometimes God uses other nations to judge others in battle, etc.

For us everyday citizens, we are to be consecrated to be used of God where we live.  We can seek to fulfill the Word of God in our lives today with prayer, witnessing, and church participation.  We can go beyond merely living a conventional life, we can live a life consecrated and set apart to the Lord.

God has a greater promise for your life! 2 Kings 10:30

The promises of God are better than the promises of the world, our flesh, or the devil.  If Jehu refused the anointing of God on his life, we would only know he liked fast chariots.  That is not much to be known for.  Sometimes when at funeral services it is sad to hear of the lifetime achievements of a person that only lived for temporal things.  The Lord has more for us than the here and now.  You can do better than being known for a nice car.

If Jehu refused God’s anointing, he would not have become King.  None of his children would have been kings.  He would have had a job in the army, a chariot, and a family, but he would not have gone on to find the promises of God.  God promised Jehu that his family would have a king on the throne for the next 4 generations.  That was God’s promise to Jehu.  God will not give you a kingdom today, but the Lord sees you as a king with great potential.

We must understand that God anoints His children for certain callings and tasks.  He then sets us apart and equips us for fulfilling His calling.

In Revelation 1:6 we discover how the Lord looks at Christians today:  “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  God sees you as a king!

What kind of king will you be today?  If you study Jehu’s life, he goes on to remove all the Baal worship in the Land.  He removes all of Ahab’s descendants from succession to the throne, and also executes wicked Jezebel as part of God’s judgment on Ahab and Jezebel for their extreme wickedness.

However, King Jehu does not regard God’s Word in his reign.  He does not obey the Law that the Lord had given to Moses.  Jehu allows other false gods to be worshipped and he became known as an “ungodly” king.  What a sad testimony for a man who was set apart and anointed to serve the Lord.

In light of Jehu’s life, 1 Peter 2:9-10 may take on new meaning to you: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

What kind of king will you be today?  Be a king who fulfills the Will and Word of God.  Anyone can accomplish the temporal things of life.  You have been anointed a king.  Be more.  Be a king for the Lord.