Doing What is Right

Doing What is Right
April 10, 2019

The last major section in the book of Genesis covers the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob. You will remember that Joseph was favored by Jacob, and this caused severe sibling rivalry. Joseph was also given dreams by God, and he taunted his brothers, and even his parents, about the dreams. So, the brothers, out of hatred for Joseph, threw him into a pit intending to kill him at some later point. Eventually, they decided to sell him into slavery instead, and he finally ends up in the house of the Egyptian named Potiphar. The narrative picks up here in Genesis 39.

Gen 39:2 tells us that, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” We are told that Joseph was overwhelmingly blessed by God, everything he did was successful, and Potiphar’s family and dealings were even blessed by association. The end of verse six gives us a detail that sets up the next scene. We are told that Joseph was a handsome young man.

Potiphar’s wife grows to desire Joseph. She wants physical intimacy with him and tempts him day after day. Joseph’s behavior is commendable throughout this narrative. One of the first questions he asks is, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” This is a question we should ask ourselves when faced with temptations to sin.

We live in a time when the sexual revolution is raging, and the society is saying things like, “Do whatever you want. It’s your life. Whatever makes you happy. What you do with your body is up to you. There is no higher authority for your moral life than yourself.” These statements, of course, are lies from the evil one. When Joseph was all alone with this person, when no one was watching, when she was throwing herself at him, he still stands resolved that it would be a great wickedness and a sin against God that he will not commit. How exemplary! We do not have to give in to selfish, sinful desires! Meditate on Joseph’s life-story for yourself and teach it to your kids and grandkids.

Later in the narrative of Genesis 39, the woman ramps up her pursuits to another level and tries to take Joseph to bed by force. When the whole world would have said things such as, “Well, what’s a man to do? No one would blame him for going to bed with her. She gave him no option. . .” Joseph does what is right in God’s eyes and flees from evil. And, before you think that just because you are moral and do what is right that things will always go well for you, we are told that the woman framed Joseph with his garment that she stole from him and claimed that he tried to take advantage of her! Joseph cannot catch a break! He suffered for doing what was right. Yet, even in prison, we learn that the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy. Let us also do what is right despite the consequences so that our consciences may be clear, so that we may glorify God in a crooked generation, and so that we might find favor in the eyes of God no matter what others may think.

Praise to God—Our Christian Duty

Praise to God—Our Christian Duty
May 20, 2019

Heb 13:15 says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

One of the chief duties that every Christian is to fulfill is the worship of the living God. Believers from the very beginning of creation until now have been those who offered sacrifices of praise to God. There have been many different ways that this praise has been offered through the centuries, from the early days before the Law to the times of Israel when the people gathered in the Temple. The Church also continued to worship after the resurrection of Christ and found that they could at any place and time.

One aspect of biblical worship which seems to be consistent throughout human history is using our voices to praise God’s name. As another commenter affirms, “The OT sacrificial system has been set aside, but our grateful worship should still overflow to God” (ZSB).

Now, we are talking about Christian worship. Notice that the sacrifice of praise to God the Father is to be continually offered “in Him,” that is, through Jesus Christ. So, we no longer offer physical sacrifices, but we do continue to offer spiritual sacrifices which are pleasing to God. Jesus has laid down His life on our behalf, making peace between us and God through the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. And on the basis of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice, we now offer the spiritual sacrifice of praise to God’s name.

The primary ways in which we praise God today are through sacrificing our time and energy to be in the assembly to praise His name through song and other affirmations in the company of the saints, and we also sacrifice whatever it takes to confess God’s glory in the public square, whether pride, reputation, or any of the like. This is a continual activity for the Christian. Therefore, let us not give up praising God on Sundays and every day in between.

Key Values for Ministry

Key Values for Ministry

#1 Biblical (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The foundational statement that should be made is that my vision for ministry is biblical.  I believe that the 66 books of the Christian Scriptures are the uniquely inspired word of God.  They are all believers need for things concerning life, faith, and salvation.  With such a high view of Scripture, I am led to study, teach, and preach the Bible with great dedication.  Each time I approach the pulpit, I do so with one goal in mind: to help God’s people better understand His holy word.  Our preaching/teaching, worship, and various ministries should be solidly based upon the Scriptures.

#2 Christ-Centered (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Second, ministry should be Christ-centered.  If we truly believe what the Scriptures teach, that Christ has died for sin once for all, then why would we bother with anything else?  He should be treasured above all else because He has done what we could not.  He has saved us from our sins, from this present wicked age, and from the wrath to come.  We should want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am thoroughly convinced that the entire Old Testament points forward to Jesus Christ.  He is the fulfillment of all of what God said in time past.  The Old Testament was bringing us to Him in due time.  The New Testament, then, expounds upon the person and work of Jesus Christ while explaining how that directly and indirectly effects us.  Therefore, Christ is at the center of all the holy writings, and He should be at the very heart of all that we do in our ministries.

#3 Grace-Oriented (Romans 6:14)

The previous point leads to the next: ministry should be grace-oriented.  God has extended love, mercy, and grace to us.  We should do the same for one another and for those outside the household of faith.  If our holy Father is willing to forgive us of our sin against Him, then we must be willing to forgive one another.  A ministry/pastorate/congregation that is grace-oriented is quick to listen and slow to speak.  It is quick to forgive and slow to wrath.  It forgets those things which are behind and reaches forward to those things which are ahead.  To be grace-oriented is to create an atmosphere in the public worship times.  It is to create an atmosphere of grace in our meetings, events, ministries, and all the like.  When outsiders come into our gatherings, they should quickly realize that they have come into a place where they can rest.

#4 Team Ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16)

The vision I have for ministry is simple.  I believe that the pastor is charged with preparing his congregation for the work of the ministry and for building them up in the Lord.  This is, after all, the biblical pattern.  Thus, ministry is a group endeavor.  We are to serve one another and those who are in need.  We are to worship together, bear one another’s burdens, have the same mind, and together pursue holiness in Christ.  I believe in an every-member-ministry (as cliche as that sounds).  We must work together in our mission to make disciples of all the nations.  Every part must do its share.

#5 Open-Mindedness (Revelation 5:8-10)

The last thing I will say is that I believe ministry should be open-minded.  We should exhibit this value in many areas of the ministry, but especially in the area of racial and ethnic harmony.  We cannot be a respecter of persons when it comes to the task of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers or within the household of faith.  We are not to hold the faith of our Lord with partiality.  God loves the world.  Christ died for all.  We are to make disciples of all the nations.  Right now, God is saving people all over this planet.  We must see all people for who they are, image bearers of our great God.  I will fellowship with and minister to anyone that I come in contact with that is willing to have a conversation with me!