This Sunday at First Central Bible Church, we will turn our attention to 1 Samuel 19-22 in our ongoing study of the life of David. In these chapters, God is removing all the things and people that David depends on for strength. When he reaches the bottom, David will cry out to God. The theme of the section is that God removes our crutches so we will lean on him alone. Here is a video preview of the message, “Kicking Away the Crutches.” Please join us on Sunday, either in person or online.
Author Archives: wheelsms
Keith Mathison has penned a blog post entitled, “A Social Media Jekyll & Hyde Effect.” As he points out, soft-spoken evangelicals can turn into raving maniacs on Twitter or Facebook.
It usually happens when the topic is something controversial – like politics during an election year. You see people writing things in Tweets and Facebook posts, and in comments about such posts, that they would never say to the face of another living human being. Your kindly little hymn-singing great-grandmother suddenly turns into a foul-mouthed, cruel, and vindictive Mr. Hyde – right before your eyes. And you think to yourself, “Granny?”
As Keith explains, social media platforms seem to lower one’s inhibitions. When you couple that with perceived anonymity and not having to look someone in the eye when you pen your words, it is very easy to give into the temptation to speak without grace and sin with your words.
I tend to agree with the author. I have been astounded and appalled by Christians who copy and paste messages with profanity on their Facebook account. I have been amazed by some of the articles that are linked in a person’s Twitter account. I shake my head, roll my eyes, and wonder where this came from. Do they really feel that way? Do they really believe that viewpoint? Don’t they understand how it affects their Christian witness?
As Christ followers, we need to think before we speak and write. We need to ensure our words are seasoned with grace. We need to strive to build up one another.
Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Be a good Dr. Jekyll. Don’t let Mr. Hyde come out to play and wreak havoc.
Book Review: Anyone But Me: 10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear and Be Prepared to Share the Gospel, by Ray Comfort
Ray Comfort is a passionate evangelist and apologist for the Christian faith. He has been sharing his faith for nearly fifty years. Yet he still battles fear almost every time he approaches someone—just like you and me. Ray’s goal is writing this book is to help each of us get over our fear so that we can confidently share the message of the gospel.
The subtitle of the book highlights 10 ways to overcome your fear and begin sharing your faith. The book is a loose collection of stories and biblical teaching around 10 characteristics or strategies that the author believes is helpful in dealing with fear and getting the message out. The 10 ways are loving, obedient, decisive, defiant, focused, prepared, truthful, practiced, faithful, and prayerful. A large part of the book is examples from the author’s own life of how he lives out each of those characteristics.
One interesting, but different aspect of the author’s practice of evangelism is his use of the 10 Commandments. He will often ask an individual if they are a good person. If they respond, “Yes,” he will ask them how they measure up against the 10 Commandments. As he explains,
This is why any evangelism that leaves out the law in preparing hearts for grace is so dangerous. It merely convinces sinners rather than converts them. It changes minds, not hearts, and abandons people in the pew who are still in their sin.
The book will give you several ideas of how to use everyday activities in sharing your faith. You might want to adopt the author’s practice of riding his bike with his dog wearing sun glasses as a way to capture someone’s attention and start up a conversation.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
How many friends do you have? Are they friends or acquaintances? Are they friends of convenience? Circumstances? Commitment? How do we know the difference? What does a biblical friendship look like?
There are five basic principles of friendship that we need to keep in mind. The first is that all of us have a built-in need for relationships (Genesis 2:18). Second, your choice of friends will determine who you become (Proverbs 13:20; 22:24-25). Third, friends share a common bond. In the case of David and Jonathan, it was a confidence in God (1 Samuel 14:6; 17:37, 45-47). Fourth, you cannot be friends with everyone. People are like LEGO building blocks. We each have a limited number of connecting points. Fifth, not all friendships will achieve the same level of intimacy. If you study the life and ministry of Jesus, you see that he ministered to the crowds, sent out the seventy, called the twelve disciples, had an inner circle of three, and was closest to one—John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.
In 1 Samuel 18-23, we see the relationship of David and Jonathan. They demonstrate that friendship is characterized by love and loyalty. Each of these prime characteristics has a balancing element which is important since we tend to go to extremes in these areas.
Friendship is characterized by Love (1 Samuel 18:1, 3). After their first encounter, Jonathan’s heart was knit together with David’s. Literally, it means they were chained together. This love was seen in Commitment (1 Samuel 18:3-5; 23:17-18; Proverbs 17:17; 18:24). Jonathan made a binding covenant with David and sealed it by giving him his royal robe, shield, sword, armor, and acknowledged that David would be the next king. This type of love is also seen in Confrontation (1 Samuel 20:1-7). David felt betrayed because Jonathan did not warn him that King Saul was still trying to kill David. They worked out their differences and came up with a new plan to find out the truth.
Friendship is characterized by Loyalty (1 Samuel 19:1-7). On three occasions, Jonathan made a covenant with David to watch his back and protect him. This type of loyalty is seen in Encouragement (1 Samuel 23:16; Proverbs 27:9). When David was at his lowest point, Jonathan came and helped David find his strength in God. Loyalty is also seen in Investment (1 Samuel 20:12-17; Proverbs 27:17). Jonathan helped David look to the future by asking him the “What if?” questions.
Friendship is characterized by love and loyalty. If you want to have that type of friendship, stop looking and start being that type of friend.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 5, 2020. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.
This Sunday at First Central Bible Church, we will consider “The Marks of Friendship” as we study the relationship of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18-23. Why don’t you join us? Here’s a video preview of the message.
I am puzzled by those who say they have no interest and desire to be part of a local church. I heard that sentiment again most recently from some students in one of the online classes I teach. To be honest, the statement and the attitude behind it bothers me.
I freely admit that I am biased when it comes to the topic. I grew up in the church. I am a pastor and have devoted my life and career to the ministry of the church. I have a personal stake and investment in this issue.
However, the value of the local church is not merely based on my personal opinion and feelings alone. You can trace the importance of the church throughout the pages of the New Testament.
- Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
- The book of Acts describes the beginnings of the church.
- The book of Acts describes the pattern and practice of the church (Acts 2:42-47).
- The church in Antioch led the way in reaching the world with the gospel (Acts 13:1-4).
- The apostle Paul planted churches as part of his missionary strategy (Acts 13-14).
- Paul wrote letters to churches to help strengthen and establish them.
- Elders were given the task of leading and shepherding churches (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
- Jesus addressed the seven churches in Revelation 2-3.
- The writer of Hebrews specifically warned his readers not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Some might say that they only need a small group. After all, they reason, Jesus said that when two or three are gathered together, he is in their midst (Matthew 18:20). While that promise is true, the context of the passage (Matthew 18:15-20) is about church discipline and judgment, not about small group fellowship.
Don’t buy into the lie of the enemy that you can live the Christian life by yourself. Don’t move through life as an orphan cut off from the family of God. Find a local church where you can learn, grow, and serve. Ask God to change your perspective about the value and importance of being part of a local church.