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Message given on March 16, 2008

Stability

Jamess 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Jas 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Have you ever noticed how unstable we become if we are troubled and undecided about something? Yet, as soon as we make up our minds, we feel better. If we can just get to the point where we just believe. Just trust in our Lord, that pleases God more than anything. How would we feel if we told our children something and they kept coming to us day after day asking us if we really meant what we said? Or even worse, how would we feel if we told them something and they said, "I don't believe you really mean that." When we read a verse or a promise in the bible, how do you think God feels if we question it and say, "Well maybe that was just for the apostles in that day and not for us." Or we may say, "That doesn't really mean what we think it means?" "We can't take that literally." "This part of the bible is true but that couldn't be." This type of thinking brings confusion and an unstable mind. Faith brings comfort, assurance and strength.

Many start to know the Lord and fall away simply because they are unstable. Their faith is shaky. They do not last because the enemy sows a tare of unbelief or doubt into their minds and they fall away. This is why our church is here. We are here called of God to make disciples and keep one another from falling away and returning to the sin we were saved from. Remember Jesus didn't just come to forgive sins but to deliver from sins. He came to rescue our souls out of sin so that we can become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

If we are unstable and confused, we cannot save a lost friend, family member or neighbor to Christ. How can we witness to them, if we are unsure of ourselves and our own salvation? That too is why the church is here. We are to exhort, correct, teach, preach, rebuke, encourage, comfort and pray for and with one another.

In order to become sound in faith and be able to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit we must study the word diligently.

1Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

We not only save our own souls from being lost for eternity but we will save others by staying faithful to the word of God and faithful to the assembling of ourselves together with believers.

Sinners may make fun of true believers but they actually do not respect someone who says one thing with their mouth but lives entirely different.
They have no respect for a half-hearted unstable person who calls himself a Christian. There is hope though. God has sent the proper equipment and that is the written word and the Holy Spirit to give us understanding of the word.

We get spiritually lazy though when we want everyone to do our praying, our studying and our seeking for us. God wants us to seek Him and seek to be His vessels. We are vessels of the Holy Spirit but we are not called to just sit around and let everyone else do our worshipping for us. When we lead in singing, it is not just to be heard or to entertain but we are here to encourage all to worship and sing together.

We sometimes have one person pray and others listen and that is proper in some cases but real prayer is when all of us are praying and seeking God at the same time. We are not here to listen to someone else pray but to seek God ourselves.

I really like the Church of God type of concert prayer rather than one person at a time because we are not here to listen to someone pray a great prayer or sing a beautiful song. We are here to sing to God and pray to God in worship together. Some of these things have their place but concert worship gets our minds off how great so and so sings or prays and gets our minds on to the Lord.

We need to learn to worship Him in praise, in song and in fervent prayer. We need to do this when we are alone, as a family if possible and when we come together in our worship services.

Even the pastor is not here just to do everything to an inactive audience. Leave that stuff to the theaters. We are here to participate, not to be spectators.
We are here to strengthen each other in the faith so that we can be an influence upon those we work with, go to school with and live among.

Notice the verse I read says to give attendance to reading, to exhortation and to doctrine. It is good to have things that involve the community like dinners, giving to the poor and helping the needy and I hope our church gets to the place where it can be active in these things but in saying that we must never get away from the first calling of the church.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This is the first commission given to the apostles. We must be faithful to the foundation and first calling of the church. We are never to depart from sound doctrine and substitute good deeds and good works for the teaching for the word. There is no reason why we can't do them both if possible. We are to teach others to observe all things the Lord commands.

We are never to ignore the word of God even the book of Revelation. God gave us this book to read and to understand. The Holy Spirit is here to teach us all these things but we must seek to understand and ask. He is not going to just drop knowledge from the sky to an unwilling audience. We have to seek.

2Timothy 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

To avoid instability we must study the word of God.

We need to become stable and know what we believe and what we stand for. We cannot tell someone else about the Lord if we do know what we are talking about. Remember the first verses I read, "If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God. God wants us to understand His word. He is not the author of confusion and unbelief.

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

This is stability when we abide in Christ and forsake not his commandments. We are here to teach these things and make disciples.
I said this before to this church many times. We must not be overly concerned with numbers. Numbers can be deceiving. God is not going to give us more people if we do not disciple and care for the ones we already have. God also will not give us more people if we do not want more people. We should desire to grow and increase in numbers but not to look at numbers to judge whether or not we are spiritual. Remember the narrow way is the way that leads to eternal life. Looking at big numbers does not mean big in the sight of God. The majority usually chooses the wide road that leads to destruction.
I never did like copycatting. A church down the street thinks up a good program that causes them to grow and we think we can copy them and do the same things. It is easier to take a course on how to build a successful church than to meet together in prayer to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for what will work for our local congregation.

First of all we need to believe. Never should the word, "can't" enter our vocabulary. We can if we believe to the point that our faith becomes active.
I am here because I believe God wants to use this church to reach this community for the Lord and make disciples. I cannot let that go.
I want to see more people come but I know that we must be happy with and care for the ones we already have.

I remember Bro Robert Webb one time said that he would open up his church and have service even if there was only one person that showed up.
We must not neglect that one little child that may come in our midst. A little child can't give big offerings or do great and mighty things but if one comes to us, we must recognize our responsibility to that one to lead them to the Lord and teach them God's word. That one small child even the one who doesn't behave properly may be one who God has sent to see how we would react.

Every day I see the need for change and repentance from dead works. I've got so much changing to do. I pray always to be made in His image. I know I fall short. We as a church have a lot of changing to do. We as a country have a lot of changing to do. We need to return to the word of God and become stable in that same word. He is not going to send people to us if we are not going to love them, teach them and care what happens to them.

The pastor cannot do this by Himself. The Lord never ordained a separation between the clergy and the laity where the pastor does all the work and the congregation just watches and sits. God never calls us to be bench warmers. Bench warming is not listed among the gifts of the spirit.
We are a body that the Lord wants to fill with the Holy Spirit and then use each one of us in whatever gift and calling we are called into.
We all have a part. God gives gifts to more than just the pastor. The Holy Spirit is for all who believe, not just special people like Kathryn Kulman or Benny Hinn.

We don't have to run here and there to find God. He is right here in our midst. Unbelief keeps us from believing that He is here and receiving all He has for us. Unbelief brings instability and doubt.

That is why Eve failed in the garden. Satan was able to convince her that the word of God wasn't really the truth. If we stop studying the word and meeting together also to study and have fellowship, Satan has a better chance to deceive us and make us start doubting the word of God. The word has to be preached and taught but it must be received upon good ground so it will grow and be strong.

Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Mat 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Mat 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Mat 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold some sixty, some thirty.

The first person who received the seed by the wayside is the one who heard the word but treated it with indifference or half-heartedness. He did not really understand what was being said I think because His heart didn't really want to understand it. We are as close to God as we want to be. If we do not want understanding, do not seek understanding and do not believe God will give us understanding, then we will not understand.

If we do not believe this church is called of God and do not believe in the success of this church in spiritual things then we will not see it grow and prosper spiritually. If we do not love this church, support this church and work with the church, we will not see anything accomplished. We have to believe and seek God diligently for anything we ask in prayer.

We can't just let the pastor do the praying, caring and work. We have to believe and put our shoulder to the wheel ourselves. We have to be fervent, willing, and not give up at the first sign of trouble or if we see nothing is happening.

I mentioned once before that I was praying and felt like some of us were taking the grace of God lightly and not realizing the seriousness of the word of God and the work of God. We take God lightly like it is something we can spend time with if we get the time. This person who receives the seed by the wayside may be a family member or a friend who occasionally attends church and listens to a little but does not receive it into his heart and allow it to change His life and save his soul. I've seen kids grow up in the church and not experience salvation because they were just wayside listeners who took the word of God with a grain of salt and did not take it seriously.

Receiving the word of God is the most important thing one can do in his or her entire life. That word is first the gospel which will save the soul.

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Salvation is two part. We receive the word and lay aside the filthiness of sin. Here is the message of holiness again. We can't really get away from it.
We must stay rooted and grounded in the word and praying always in the Holy Ghost.

The one who receive the seed on stony ground is the one who receives it with joy but does not get rooted and grounded in the word. Maybe he is trusting in a onetime experience of salvation and does nothing to build upon that foundation. He does not keep seeking God and does not become grounded in the word.

The one who receives the seed among thorns is the one who receives the word with joy but allows his friends, his riches, his family, his co-workers, his games, his sports, or many other things of the world to choke the word and snuff it out. Too busy for God. When we are unequally yoked with unbelievers to the point that we are with them more than we are with those that believe God's word, we will get weak and become unfruitful. In saying that, I'm not referring spending time with people in order to witness to them. But if we spend leisure time with them so much that they influence us instead of us influencing them, then we are in danger of allowing the seed planted in us to become choked. It can be choked also by good things. We are running around caring for the things of this life that we become unfruitful spiritually. Anything we do that gets a hold of our desires and occupies our mind over and above the things of God will choke the word. If a person sits in front of the television 24 hours a day, how would God ever be able to speak to him?
And we wonder why we go around defeated, unstable and walk in unbelief.

The bible says that signs will follow those that believe. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Signs followed the disciples to confirm the word they preach. The word builds faith. How are we going to become fruitful and build a spiritually strong church if we spend 24 hours watching TV or doing so many things that occupy our time and only 5 minutes in the word. And we wonder why the signs are not following us. We look to this ministry and that ministry to see if someone is getting healed or saved and wonder why it doesn't happen here.

It will happen here if we get in the same mind and one accord and refuse to allow doubt and unbelief enter into our minds. We are always looking for a great evangelist to bring us a revival or some tv minister to bring us the answer when the answer is here right in our midst.

To make a church grow it takes all of us together first believing then praying fervently, then we don't give up at the first sign of trouble. We put our shoulder to the wheel and stay the course.

Are we spending time in the word, in prayer and in fellowship with other believers praying for the word to go forth and bring forth fruit or are will busy doing everything else. If we announce a prayer meeting, how many will show up? If we announce a teaching series on the book of Revelation, how many will show up? We cannot sit around do our own thing all week and then come to church expecting to be blessed.

If our church runs out of money and the doors are closed, we can't blame the pastor. He is only one person. It takes all of us believing we can make it work. Are we willing to do our part? I believe with all my heart that God doesn't want this church to close. I want to be able to stand before God knowing that I did all that I could to make things work.

I wasn't always that way. There were times when I had to drag myself to church and didn't really want to show up. I got my feelings hurt and wanted to run somewhere else. I admit I didn't quit on God and the people I went to were marvelous and treated me with love and support. I will never forget them for that. But one day dear Emma called me and as soon as I heard her voice, I knew that I belonged here. I knew that God wanted this church to be a light in this community. It took a while but I began to believe and see a small flicker of light. A small spark of love was growing in my heart to this little group of people we call a church.

God chose Israel not because it was a great and mighty group of people. They were small, weak and despised by the world but He chose them to bring His Son into the world to save, not just Israel but the wicked Gentiles.

God does not despise the weak and small. He doesn't see success like the world sees it. The weaker we are the more glory He gets when a soul is saved which is still the greatest miracle that has ever happened in the whole world. Wouldn't we like to see the parting of the sea and believers walk across on dry land? That would be great. Don't we know though that when one little child is saved and finds Jesus Christ as Lord of his or her life, that is the greatest miracle that we could ever witness.

When we begin to labor in prayer with tears and strong desire to see souls saved, we are going to see just that. God knows whether or not we really care about the salvation of the lost. He knows if we are just giving lip service. I can stand here and say I care about the lost but only God knows for sure whether or not I do. We will see our prayers answered when we really desire what we are praying for and believe that God will answer.

1Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

God is raising up preachers and prayer warriors across our land warning the church to repent and get back to the word of God and get rid of all the foolishness and empty programs that do not call us to repentance and do not save the soul. We have majored in entertainment, motivational speaking, plays, dramas and so much nonsense the gospel is hidden and it is bringing forth no fruit.

Many like David Wilkerson and Conlon Carter are warning that Godís judgment is coming upon this nation because they refuse to turn from their sin. The churches should be warning people and preaching repentance but they have failed. The spiritual state of this nation is worse than it ever was and according to 1 Peter, judgment will start with the house of God.

We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and I hope we can all stand before Jesus unashamed and be able to hear Him say, Well done, good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord. I truly hope all develop a hunger for the word of God and the infilling of His Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Psa 119:131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
Psa 119:132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
Psa 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Psa 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psa 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

One final warning about instability

2Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
2Pe 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
2Pe 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

Those that are unstable will twist and distort the scriptures to support what they want to believe rather than what the word actually says. That is why we need stability, we need to stay on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ which means to abide continually in Christ and obey His word as John 15 exhorts us to do. We need to know what we believe and be steadfast and unmovable in it. As evil days approach, we need to know what we believe and stand by it.

If any one of us lacks wisdom let him ask of God believing that God will answer if we do not come to Him with a heart of unbelief. He said He would give us understanding so let us take Him at His word. We must seek to understand His word and keep it always within our hearts so that we can be prepared when an opportunity comes to share this word with someone else.


 

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