The Bible View #831 — Decisions

In This Issue:
Decisions and Their Cost
Spurgeon’s Right Decision
Nothing Less Than the Best
At His Mercy
How Livingston Took a Criticism

Volume: 831    October 11, 2021
Theme: Decisions

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Decisions and Their Cost
Bill Brinkworth

What makes the difference between a strong Christian and a weak one?  Much of the time, it is a Christian making the right decisions, sticking with convictions, and, as a result, growing spiritually.

The pastor of a church usually made the right decision in his life.  He had to make the right choice of going to church, attending Sunday school, not working on Wednesday night so he could attend services, reading his Bible, and daily praying.  After showing himself faithful with what God wanted him to do, God knew He could trust the man with further tasks. 

Somewhere in that man’s life, God spoke to him about full-time service and serving the Lord.  The man not only heard His call, but obeyed the summons and sacrificed whatever it took to please the Lord.  He, too, may have been tempted financially to work another job rather than trust God with what little he earned, so he would be available to preach and pastor. The right decisions were made.

One of the most spiritual people you know most likely also came to similar decisions in their life and chose the right, godly direction.  Few wake up one morning and say, “I will be spiritual today from now on,” and it instantly happens.  One’s faith and obedience to God grows as testings strengthen that person.

Most likely, the person had a choice of prosperity and a tempting opportunity, but chose the direction of serving and living for God.  No matter the cost or how their life would deviate from their desires, they made the right choice that they would not regret.

Perhaps the one seeking to serve the Lord faced medical trials where he put his faith in God above physical limitations. Maybe ridicule of family or friends about his faithfulness to the things of God was an obstacle that had to be battled.

However, the right decisions were made, showing the Lord that He was more important to what this temporary world offered.  Faith and obedience to God grew as the right choices were made through each trial and tribulation that was faced.

Sunday school teachers had to make the right decisions.  Sometime in their lives, the burden of teaching others became so important to them that the service to God as a teacher was more valuable than their own free time.  Their teaching ministry became more precious to them than their attending a football game during their study hours.  It became more precious to them than the money they had to give up to buy study material or treats for their class. Because of paying the right price their decision required, they were entrusted to be in the position they are today to be a blessing for the cause of Christ.

The faithful members of a church also made the right decisions.  They could have easily missed church, stayed home, and watched television.  However, the hearing of the Word of God and their edification in the things of God became more essential than other pleasures.

No one would have missed the church attendees if they had gone to another church because of hurt feelings.  Still, the urgency God gave them to join, take part, and attend His local assembly of believers was so needful to them that they made the right decisions not to miss services.

On and on the list could go of people who did without or did what was not convenient for them to do to please and obey God.  Obedience was most important to them.  Unfortunately, they are the minority in the body of Christ.  Too many do not have their priorities the same as the above examples.  Something in their lives became more important than God and obedience to Him.

Perhaps it was the first step after they were saved that was not crucial to them.  The young Christian also received the heart-tug to be baptized, start praying, or daily read their Bible, but something was more important to them than obedience. 

Maybe the fear of what others would think if they became “religious” scared them away from obedience to the Lord.  Possibly, they may have chosen not to sacrifice driving to church to hear the Gospel because an extra hour of sleep was more important to them.  They had the same amount of time as those previously described who obeyed and live for God.  However, they hoarded that time for themselves and decided not to make God a priority in their life.

Some may have started out making the right spiritual decisions. They may have been convicted about something God wanted them to change or do, but chose not to.  Their wrong decision to not obey the leadership of God was a blunt “No” in God’s ears. That refusal cost them further help from God.  What would be the sense of the Lord telling them other things to do if they were not doing what the Lord had already shown them to do?  Because of that wrong decision, the rest of their lives may be spent far from God, with only their self-interests being served and not God’s.

Eventually, they may find themselves far away from hearing the whisper of God’s calling in their lives.  They may still attend church, but the preacher’s words do nothing to stir them anymore. Their hardened hearts make them “used-to-be’s” or “once-I-was-gonna’s,” and now they sit and do not serve. They had the same opportunities to obey and serve as did others, but they chose the temporal rather than that which would please God and allow Him to work in their lives.  They, unfortunately, made the wrong decisions.

If you have to sadly admit you have made the wrong decisions in the past, it may not be too late to make the correct choice.  God is a second, third, or even a hundred chance God. Just the fact that you have a conviction about making wrong choices is a light showing that your heart is not completely hardened — yet.  There may still be an opportunity to make the right choices and serve God today.  Doing it tomorrow will be the wrong decision.  Saying “Yes” to God’s commandment that rings in your heart will be the right one. Decide and obey now!

“Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love to Him.”   — Emmons



Spurgeon’s Right Decision
Good News Broadcaster

Years before the death of Spurgeon, an American lecture bureau tried to engage him to come to America and deliver fifty lectures in all the large cities of the country.  As compensation, the bureau offered to pay all of Mr. Spurgeon’s costs and the expenses of his wife and his private secretary to come with him until they returned. In addition, they would pay $1,000 per night for each of his fifty lectures. 

Mr. Spurgeon promptly declined this tempting offer to make $50,000 in fifty days, saying, “I can do better. I will stay in London and try to save fifty souls.” No wonder he succeeded so marvelously in winning souls!  No wonder that at his death, over 12,000 converts rose to bless his memory and thank God that Spurgeon ever lived!

“If you don’t walk with God, you’re walking in the wrong direction.” 



Nothing Less Than the Best
Sunday School Times

Before the 1939-45 war, a school for the children of “untouchables” in India received a shipment of Christmas presents from English children each year.  Each girl received a doll, “whose clothes took off and on,” and each boy received a toy. 

One year, Doctor Sahib from a nearby mission hospital came to distribute the presents. He told the children about a village not far away, where the children had never heard of Jesus or Christmas and suggested that they might each give one of their old toys to be taken to those children.

They readily agreed, and he came the following Sunday to receive them.  The boys and girls filed past him and handed a doll or a toy each.  It was the new presents that they gave.  When asked why, a girl said, “Think what Jesus gave for us, and what He has done for us.  Could we give Him less than our best?”



At His Mercy
Heart and Life Bulletin

George Atley, a young Englishman with the heart of a hero, was engaged in the Central African Mission. A party of natives attacked him.  He had with him a Winchester repeating rifle with ten loaded bullets in the chamber. He could have killed them all. The party was entirely at his mercy.

Calmly and quickly, the missionary summed up the situation.  He concluded killing them would do the mission more harm than if he allowed them to take his life.  So, like a lamb to the slaughter, he did not fight back. When his body was found in the stream, his rifle was also found with its ten rounds still loaded. Soul future destinies were more important than his own life.

“… and if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves …”  Herman Melville



How Livingston Took a Criticism
Dr. Peloubet

Misjudged by a fellow missionary, Dr. Livingstone gave up his house and garden at Mabosta with all the toil and money they had cost him.  He did so rather than have any scandal before the heathen and began in a new place, building a new house, school building, and gathering the people around him. 

His colleague was so struck with his generosity that he said had he known Livingston’s intention, he would never have spoken a word against him.  Parting with his garden cost him a great pang.  “I like a garden,” he wrote, “but Paradise will make amends for all our privations here.”

Jesus Christ sacrificed also.  He gave His life on the cross so that we could live eternally.

The Bible View #810 — Church Members

In This Issue:
Every Church Has Them
What Can Keep People from Church
The Church of His Own Opinion

Volume: 810   May 17, 2021
Theme: Church Members

Every Church Has Them
Bill Brinkworth

Every church has its good and bad members. The church that John was writing to in III John had several of both categories, I am sure. However, the apostle wrote of three members in his letter.

Two of the members were good representations of what a Christian should be. Gaius was the “well-beloved” (III John:1). He was most likely a friendly person who many loved. Many reports from the church told John how Gaius was a blessing to the church family (III John:3, 6) and how the man attended to the needs of other Christians (III John:5). It was evident by his concern for the brethren that he truly loved the members of his church.

Another blessing in the church was Demetrias.  John also heard good things said about him (III John:12). These two were an encouragement to the apostle’s heart. It is always good and encouraging to hear how people get saved, get their hearts and lived changed by the Holy Spirit’s work, and do much for the cause of Christ and the people of God.

People like those two encourage others by their proof of love for the family of God. They are sometimes part of the reason many stay faithful in church. However, even if we are saved, we still have sinful flesh to contend with, and there will often be “stinkers” in every church. In this church, there was one like that. His name was Diotrephes.

Diotrephes had a terrible testimony in the eyes of others. Instead of showing the spirit of meekness the other two good members showed, this man exhibited improper Christian behavior. He was known for always wanting recognition (III John:9). 

I can imagine Diotrephes was one of those that always had something to say. He was the one that got much of the attention and the glory. He refused to accept John the Apostle and any missionaries John sent to the church (III John:10). This discontented man did all he could to talk poorly of John and his work. Diotrephes even had people kicked out of the church that showed charity to anyone Paul sent to the ministry.

This type of man ruins the testimony of any ministry. When man tries to get the glory, which Diotrephes was attempting to receive, the Holy Spirit is grieved. The work for Christ in a ministry can come to a screeching halt. That is one reason many once-thriving churches are now spiritually dead and doing little for the cause of Christ. Men like this man, unfortunately, often become an excuse for many leaving a church. 

In every ministry, there are two types. The good workers are the light in this dark world. They make the church a Christian family. The evil (III John:11) should be ignored and not be the reason anyone leaves a church. If one quits because of a “Diotrephes,” one can be assured that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the decision. If you have one or more of “Diotrephes” in your church, do not leave. Get your eyes and ears off them, and keep them on the Saviour. He will never let you down, and He is the reason you should attend anyway!

“You are not too bad to go to church.  You are not too good to stay out!”  
— Author Unknown


What Can Keep People from Church
Bill Brinkworth

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be ableto stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11

Daily the Christian must prepare himself to ward off the wiles, or tricks, the devil has for him. Satan’s stratagem is to do all he can to keep us from obeying God. One area he prompts us to be disobedient in is for us not to attend church.  However, we cannot blame all our disobedience on him. Our pride, laziness, and sinful nature also keep us from being faithful in attendance.

Some of the popular excuses in keeping many from faithfully attending church are:

Church “hopping”: Church attendance is a must for Christian growth. God has raised up a pastor of a local church to minister to your needs. When you miss church, you miss what God had for you that day. When you are a church member and go to this church today and another one next week, your “hopping” around keeps you from attending the church God has for you.

Discontentment: If God originally pointed you to that church to join and attend, you need to stay there until He tells you to move! “I’m not happy with the preacher” or “That church is too cold” are not excuses not to attend. The question should be, “Does God want me to attend there?”

Hurt feelings: All churches are made up of humans. All humans are sinners. Therefore, there is no perfect church! People will accidentally or purposely say the wrong things. Everyone gets their feelings hurt sometimes. I am sure you have hurt other’s feelings. Again, the question should be, “Did God call me here?” If He did, hurt feelings are not a legitimate reason to leave a church.

Sin: When people are purposely sinning against God, they most often do not want to be reminded of it. Where will they be reminded of it? In church. That is often why they will not attend.  However, to get one’s freedom back from the control of sin, one should hear the Word of God, not avoid it.

Conviction: When the Holy Spirit of God urges people to halt their sin, instead of obeying His small “voice,” they avoid it by keeping out of church. Sometimes they even join another church, where watered-down preaching does not remind them of what God has already spoken to them about.

Lack of understanding of the things of God. Since they do not read their Bible and do not know what it teaches, when they hear hard, convicting preaching from the Bible, they stay far away from it.  Ignorance of the Word of God keeps many from attending a strong, Bible-believing church.

Legitimate reasons, such as sickness, vacations, or work. Sometimes good excuses keep people from attending church for a week or so. That is understandable and happens. However, because they miss, it is easier to miss twice, then three times, then it is months since they attended the ministry. Breaking a routine of consistent church attendance is a subtle way of stopping faithful attendance.

Pride: “No one shook my hand,” “They are such an unfriendly church,” or “No one is going to tell me what to do.” These thoughts and others reflect that the sin of pride is involved.  Pride keeps many out of church.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

“Don’t wait until six strong men have to carry you to church in a casket.  Go when you can walk in.”  — Author Unknown



The Church of His Own Opinion
Bill Brinkworth

“Well, I need to get up.  It is Sunday.  I need to go to church,” he thought, as he rubbed his eyes. He struggled to make the first move of the day out of bed.

“But then again, why do I have to go?  God is everywhere.  So why can’t I worship Him here or on the lake?  I know, I can take the boat and go fishing.  It will be okay with God.  I’ll just talk to Him out in the boat and admire all He has made.”

The convicting voice of the Holy Spirit whispered, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb. 10:25a).

That fleeting remembrance of the verse soon left as the half-slumbering sluggard drifted in and out of sleep. Minutes later, he again awoke and continued his thoughts.  “Besides, the preacher is not always right anyway.  He thinks the Bible is the only source of knowing God’s way.  Why, it’s just a book and probably has a lot of mistakes. What does he know?  Besides, I’m a good person, and I think I know what is right. I don’t think you have to go to church every time. I don’t think God wants me to stay away from everything bad.  I know He wants me to have fun sometimes. He probably doesn’t expect me to be perfect.”

Again the soft voice of the Holy Spirit put in the contemplator’s mind a verse that was preached the last time he was in church, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

The fleeting reminder of the verse did nothing to change the opinion of the dozing man. Another thought was chased around by the man’s logic. “Yeah, I’m a good person.  I don’t need the preaching and Bible reading like those other folks. I do a lot of good things, and God knows about them. As long I’m not as bad as the others, I’m sure it’s okay with God.”

The Holy Spirit wanted to shouts, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Rom. 3:23), but He did not think the man would listen.  He decided He would try one more time to speak to the hardening heart, “… There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom. 3:10b).

The verse was received in the half-slumbering mind, but it, too, was ignored. “Well, if I don’t go to church, I can save some money by not putting it in the offering plate. Besides, the preacher just wants my money.  That church has got more than enough.”

Immediately, the Holy Spirit thought of the verse about how not tithing is robbing from God (Malachi 3:8-10).  Still, He reasoned, “Why should I tell him. He’s ignored everything I tried to tell him already.  He will just rationalize it somehow.  Probably the old excuse, ‘Well, that’s just an Old Testament verse and not for today.’  He has decided to do what he wants and will not obey anyway.” The Holy Spirit was silent to the slumberer and spoke no more.

Ten more minutes of dozing continued until finally, the man made another move to get out of his bed.  He already had formulated his plans for the day. He would walk the dog, get breakfast, and hook up the boat and head out to the lake.

One more local Church of My Own Opinion had just let out, but there would be millions of them meeting all over the world.  It was the most popular denomination.  As with most of the meetings, the Holy Spirit’s voice was not wanted to be heard, so He was likewise silent in most of their “services”.  He was very grieved (Eph. 4:30).

“I wonder why people change churches all the time.  What difference does it make which one you stay home from?”  — Author Unknown

The Bible View #759

Articles in this Bible View: “No More Guilt!” “Effects of Forgiveness,” “The Christian’s Ruby Ring,” “Where Some Guilt May Come From,” “Saved by the Blood,” “Ugly Forgiveness” …
Theme: Guilt

BIBLE VIEWS:
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The Bible View #756

Articles in this Bible View: “Peace Amidst the Storm,” “When Fear IS Sinful,” “Safe, Close to Jesus,” “Psalm 37:3-7,” “Bold As A Lion”...
Theme: Fear

BIBLE VIEWS:
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The Bible View #755

Articles in this Bible View: “False Colors,” “A Bright Or False Light?,” “What Kind of Example Are You?”
Theme: Christian “Fruit”

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The Bible View #753

Articles in this Bible View: “A Virtuous Woman,” “Bottom Feeders or Trophy Catch”
Theme: The Christian Woman

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The Bible View #749

Articles in this Bible View: “Mind Your Speech,” “Control That Tongue,” “A Harsh Word,” “The Sinning Tongue: …
Theme: Speech

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The Bible View #748

Articles in this Bible View: “God’s Wisdom Is Available,” “Godly Wisdom,” “Wisdom,” “I Don’t Know,” “What Wisdom Is”
Theme: Your Reputation

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The Bible View #746

Articles in this Bible View: “Your Name,” “Bad Reputations,” “A Rose” …
Theme: Your Reputation

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The Bible View #743

Articles in this Bible View: “Teach Me, Lord,” “Not of God”
Theme: Knowing God’s Will

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