Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Help? Or God help!

Exodus 32
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Golden Calf
32 Now when the people saw that Moses (A)delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, (B)make us [a]a god who will go before us; as for (C)this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “(D)Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a (E)molten calf; and they said, “[b]This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” 6 So the next day they rose early and (F)offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and (G)the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up (H)to play.
7 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go [c]down at once, for your people, whom (I)you brought up from the land of Egypt, have (J)corrupted themselves. 8 They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. (K)They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and (L)have sacrificed to it and said, ‘[d](M)This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” 9 (N)The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are [e](O)an obstinate people. 10 Now then (P)let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and (Q)I will make of you a great nation.”

The above story resemble modern churches when people are impatient with their problems. Instead of going to God for help. They want instant fix. Turning to self-help programmes for solution. Are we thrusting in the sovereignty of the Lord or are we thrusting self-help programmes? Leaders are you also being pressured by the crowds to start another program for your people to meet their needs? Or are you waiting on the Lord in prayer during times of uncertainty?

God is searching for those who comes to Him in prayers so that He may strongly support those (B)whose heart is completely His. We are rousing the wrath of God by not turning to Him.

2 Chronicles 16:9
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 For (A)the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those (B)whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

Did you honour God by calling upon the Lord in your days of trouble? 

Psalm 50:15
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 (A)Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall (B)rescue you, and you will (C)honor Me.”
Run to the Lord in times of trouble for He is mighty to save.

Isaiah 63:1
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
63 Who is this who comes from (A)Edom,
With (B)garments of [a]glowing colors from (C)Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
[b]Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, (D)mighty to save.”

Do you run to self-help programmes or are you on your knees in petition and supplication before the Lord your God. Giving God the honour due Him?

Malachi 1:6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Sin of the Priests
6 “ ‘A son (A)honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a (B)father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My [a]respect?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O (C)priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’

Did you treat God’s name with reverence? Did you hallowed God's name? Not believing in God has made God a liar which is an irreverent act towards God. Because God had said He is the great I Am.(Exodus 3:14) He is mighty to save.(Isaiah 63:1) And He will deliver. (Psalm 104:28)

Matthew 6:9
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 “(A)Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Excerpt from pastor John Piper explaining what it meant by Hallowed be Your Name.
(Numbers 20:12. During the wilderness wandering of the people of Israel, there was a time when they had no water. And the people grumbled against Moses. But God tells Moses to speak to the rock and to bring forth water for the people. But Moses' spirit is bitter, and he speaks rashly and strikes the rock twice with his rod.

The water comes, but so does the stinging word of God to Moses: "Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me (or: hallow me) in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

Notice the words: "You did not believe in me to sanctify (or: hallow) me." These words give us our first answer to the question, what it means to sanctify or hallow the name of God. It means to believe him. The first way to treat God as holy is to trust what he says. Instead of a peaceful confidence in the power of God to respond to a mere word, Moses was bitter and impulsive. God is not hallowed when we do not have a spirit of settled confidence and peace in his word.

John said, "He who does not believe God has made him a liar" (1 John 5:10). When you make somebody a liar, you profane that person's name. This is the opposite of treating the person as holy. Not trusting God is the exact opposite of hallowing his name. The first thing we mean, then, when we pray for God to cause his name to be hallowed is that he would cause people to believe him. "Hallowed be thy name" means "Trusted be your word."

You hallow the name of God when you trust him, revere him, obey him, and glorify him. And God will deliver you from all calamity.)

Do you wait upon the Lord for His deliverance?

Isaiah 64:4
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 For from days of old (A)they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who (B)waits for Him.

Excerpt from pastor Paul Washer:
Man need God and they need to be turn toward God! And only then will their life be corrected.
A Church as I was listening to recently that has grown to be very large and someone ask the pastor what are you doing? He said we’re simply meeting all the needs of the people. That’s not church. And what happens when you can’t meet all their needs. What happen when there are soldiers standing at the door? That says if you confess Christ, I’ll take away the fine home that Jesus gave you, I’ll take away the car that Jesus give you? If you build churches and build Christianity around this “Jesus will meet all your needs” you will not have Christianity! You will have an exalted Humanism and Jesus who has made a servant of man! The old preachers giving a hyper tactical lesson were often fond of saying this” you should believe in Jesus Christ. You should repent. And you should serve Him even If  He sent you to hell because He is worthy of repentance! He is worthy of faith! And He is worthy of services though you get nothing from it! Do you understand that kind of Christianity? Where is all about Him and not about man.

Anything that is put above God is idolatry.

We honour God by coming to Him in prayers and petition.

When you come out with a self help program, you are saying that God isn’t enough. Yes some of God’s word is used. But how much of God word is use and how much external resource is used? By using external resources you steal the glory due God.

Every time your people give praises to the program that helps their life. The program is glorified not God. And hence your people as a result of giving praises to self help program becomes an idolater. Oh how dreadful it will be for the one that cause my little one to sin.( Mark 9:42)

Mark 9:42
English Standard Version (ESV)
42 (A)“Whoever causes one of (B)these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] (C)it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

Self help is using God’s word as a support for their program. In the end it is their program that is in the limelight not God.

Are you using your teaching to highlight God’s word or using God’s word to highlight your teaching. Who gets the glory?

Than again one may say, we're using self-help programme as a tools to bring God's chosen to Christ. Well this may sound noble, I have my doubt. Is the gospel not compeling enough to bring God's chosen to Christ that we have to resort to using self-help as a "bait". The scripture say: My sheep will listen to my voice.(John 10:27). The gospel alone is enough.

Probably the people that comes for the self-help programme may not be God's sheep. They come because of meeting their needs and not because of responding to God's calling.

When we use self-help as a bait to lure people into Christ, we are indirectly being ashame (Mark 8:38) of the convicting power of the gospel. We don't believe that the gospel is compelling enough to draw God's chosen back to God.(Jeremiah 31:3) In which case we made God a liar by not believing in His word thus dishonoring His name.

Mark 8:38
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
38 For (A)whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, (B)the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He (C)comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Some may argue also that they are actually imitating Paul by becoming all things to all man.(1 Corinthians 9:22) Say you have a marriage problem. Come we have a workshop on marriage that can help you solve your problem. And thus using this opportunity to invite people to church and hence introduce them to Christ.

Paul's approach I believe will be to try to learn about people's culture and being adaptable to their ways of living before introducing them to the gospel in the pureest form. And not introducing something foreign apart from the gospel.

Excerpt from pastor John Piper explaining what it means by becoming all things to all man.

1 Corinthians 9:22
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 To the (A)weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become (B)all things to all men, (C)so that I may by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or (A)whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 (B)Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to (C)the church of God; 33 just as I also (D)please all men in all things, (E)not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, (F)so that they may be saved.

Do We Really Believe the Wrath of God Is Coming?

A question that presses itself on me here is this: is one of the reasons that we make as little effort as we do in winning others the fact that we don't believe the wrath of God is coming? For many today the good news of Jesus Christ is conceived almost entirely as another strategy to handle psychological needs—depression, grief, abandonment, loneliness, anger, low self-esteem, fear, etc. And the gospel does have an impact on all those things. But that is not what makes it the gospel. If the gospel did not touch any of those things in this life (which is conceivable), it would still be unspeakably good news. Do you believe that?

And What Does It Look Like?

In freedom, for love's sake, you try to overcome unnecessary, alienating differences that cut you off from unbelievers. In freedom, for love's sake, you learn the Maninka language and translate the Bible. In freedom, for love's sake, you eat dinner together the way they eat dinner. In freedom, for love's sake, you dress pretty much like the middle class American natives. In freedom, for love's sake, you get into their politics and their sports and their businesses.

And all the while you keep a vigilant watch over your heart to see if you are in the law of Christ. Here are two tests of how you are doing in this delicate balancing act. I close with these:

1.Are you becoming more worldly minded than they are becoming spiritually minded? If so, you have probably crossed the line of the law of Christ. Christ does not call you to lose your holiness, but to gain theirs.

2.Is your passion for winning your friends and family growing, or is it shrinking as you become all things to them? If it is shrinking, then you are not in the law of Christ at that point.

Here is the sum of the matter: Christ died to set us free. Free from the wrath of God, and free from the loveless limits of the law. Free for love and eternal life. Are we using our freedom to make this good news plain? Or are we so separatistic that we have no connection with unbelievers; or are we so worldly they don't know we have anything radically different to offer?

O may the Lord grant us to use our freedom to become the servants of all, that we might by all means save some! ]

Do not be afraid of what to say when you evangelize.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Matthew 10:16-20
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

A Hard Road before Them
16 (A)Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so [a]be (B)shrewd as serpents and (C)innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the (D)courts and scourge you (E)in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 (F)But when they hand you over, (G)do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For (H)it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Any practice that interferes with worshiping God should be stopped.
Matthew 21:12-13
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Cleansing the Temple
12 (A)And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the (B)money changers and the seats of those who were selling (C)doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘(D)My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a (E)robbers’ [a]den.”
We are but a worm! And our duty as a disciple is not to better ourselves through self-help but to have total reliance on God.
Isaiah 41:14
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 “Do not fear, you (A)worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the Lord, “[a]and (B)your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to abolish the pride and arrogance that keep us from being open to the Scriptures.
The primary work of the Holy Spirit in (Bible study) is to abolish the pride and arrogance that keep us from being open to the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit makes us teachable because He makes us humble. He causes us to rely wholly on the mercy of God in Christ for our happiness so that we are not threatened if one of our views is found to be wrong. The person who knows Himself finite and unworthy, and who thus rejoices in the mercy of God, has nothing to lose when his ego is threatened.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.
2 John 1:9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 [a]Anyone who [b]goes too far and (A)does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, (B)do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting (C)participates in his evil deeds.
We are to totally rely on God's providence alone.
Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.3He renews my strength.He guides me along right paths,bringing honor to his name.4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and failing love will pursue me all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Luke 10:41-42 New Living Translation (NLT)
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Using self help instead of the word of God to administer to God's people is a great humiliation to God.

Jeremiah 6:14-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 “They have (A)healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.
15 “Were they (B)ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
They were not even ashamed at all;
They did not even know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord.
The following link may be helpful.





No comments:

Post a Comment