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Biblical Success is Faithfulness

Biblical Success is Faithfulness

The world defines success by results or production. Christians must be different because we trust in a sovereign God. This means that all outcomes of our decisions are his and his alone. We must not try to control things we cannot control. We are faithfulness driven, not results driven. faithfulness is all he requires. The only ability God cares about is your ability to obey his commands and trust in him for the outcome. Keeping faithfulness as the biblical definition of success protects us in four ways.

  1. Faithfulness protects us from the comparison Game. If we lose sight of a sovereign God we can easily fall into discontentment as we compare ourselves with other Christians and their accomplishments. We so easily fall into the sin of comparing ourselves to other Christians who have seemingly done more for God. But God has not called you to be results driven. He has called you to be faithful and leave the results to him.

 

  1. Faithfulness protects us from pride. Measuring your Christianity by what you have not done for God always leads to pride. What festers in the heart of a person who becomes discontent in what God has not allowed them to do? Pride. Simply being faithful and trusting God brings peace to your mind protecting you against an over inflated opinion of yourself.

 

  1. Faithfulness protect us from thinking too less of ourselves. Satan whispers and says, “God does not think you are good enough. If he did, he would give you that position in life.” If not governed by the biblical definition of success, our hearts will sink into depression which soon leads to a deflated, paralyzed Christian who blames themselves for the result they did not desire and completely missed being successful in their faithfulness.

 

  1. Faithfulness also protects us from apathy. Apathy is a common misapplication of the sovereignty of God. The bible never uses the sovereignty of God to promote apathy. God’s sovereignty always promotes action. Has God placed you in a position to do something great for his kingdom? Then do just that with all your might! God expects you to make wise changes to your situation if he has given you the ability and position to make those changes. Why withhold a blessing from others when it is in your power to bless them? Why withhold your gifts and talents from God and the church when God has blessed you with them? Our actions, or lack thereof, are reflections of our trust in God. Whatever you find your hand to do, do it with all your might and leave the results up to God!
Posted by Matt Williams

A Broken-Hearted Church

You know it when you see it and miss it when it’s not there. Have you ever been a part of a broken-hearted church? Like people, churches go through ups and downs. Seasons of heart felt compassion for the lost and a hatred for their sin. The two usually go together. I have been praying for God to bless our church with conversions. Real conversions. I am not interested in transfer growth. I am driven by a desire to see us add to our number by one on one gospel conversations that lead to salvations. As much as I desire this I am also sure of one thing. God will not bless our church with salvations until we become broken-hearted for the lost around us.

            Take Psalm 51 and apply it to your church. We should be praying that God has mercy on us and not give up on us. We should request that his Spirit not depart from us because of our cold indifference to the lost around us. Our prayer should be, “Create in us a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” A heart and a spirit that is freshly renewed with evangelistic zeal. David prays, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” God despises our carelessness. I despise my carelessness. But I care that, sometimes, I don’t care. God will not despise a church who is broken-hearted for the lost. A church that cries out to God and begs him for the blessing of more disciples will be blessed. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Mt. 7:7). If the king of Nineveh can issue a city-wide decree to fast and pray for God to relent from a disaster then our church can collectively join our broken hearts and call out to the Lord of the harvest to give us souls. Ask and keep asking until he grants the request. The Church needs the piety of Ezra at the evening sacrifice (Ezra 9) when we fall to our knees and spread out our hands to the Lord, ashamed at our indifference to winning the lost to Christ. And if people refuse us, let it not be because we did not pray, and did not ask, and did not plead with them to turn. God is a merciful God and will hear our prayer. His desire is a broken-hearted people who cry out to him for lost souls. 2 Cron. 7:7 say, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

            How much more barrenness can the church stomach? On and on and on, Sunday after Sunday with no souls! When will enough be enough? How long will we hide our lights under the baskets of indifference? When will the people of God pray in one voice for God to grant life and speak to dry bones? I pray that we do before its too late. May God grant us to be a broken-hearted Church.

Posted by Matt Williams
in Bible

God's Sovereignty & Man's Responsibility

God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility

        You clicked on this article for the same reason I choose to write about this topic. Because how one balances these two truths found in Scripture is still a hot issue in Christian culture and is one that is not going away. When we think about God’s Sovereignty and man’s responsibility we are talking about a pair of truths that stand side by side that seem irreconcilable, yet are both undeniable. A Christian cannot seriously read the bible and deny God’s complete sovereignty in all things. And yet, the same serious reader, cannot deny that man is responsible and that his actions, or lack thereof, have real consequences.

            First, lets consider God’s sovereignty. Prov. 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Or consider Isaiah 46: 9-10 “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose”. How can God declare the end from the beginning? Not only does God know what is going to happen but he is the one who will sovereignly bring it about.

Now for man’s responsibility. Consider Luke 13:3 which says, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” It is not merely the hearing of the gospel which saves someone but man is responsible to repent and trust in Christ to be saved. Another example is found in Jonah. Upon hearing that God was going to overthrow his city, the king of Nineveh commanded a city wide fast and said, “let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”  

God is sovereign and yet man is responsible. Sometimes even in the same verse! Consider Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God but who does God hold responsible? Scripture says that lawless men crucified and killed Jesus! Wow! How can both be true at the same time? The author certainly admits mystery but not contradiction.

J.I. Packer, a well-known and respected theologian echoes this truth when he says, “God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are taught us side by side in the same Bible. Both are guaranteed to us by the same divine authority, both therefore are true…they must be held together, and not played off against each other.”

God wants us to embrace his sovereignty in all things but he also expects us to act. God has end goals in mind which he will achieve through the means of sinful people like you and me. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? If this confuses you, even a little bit, you are in good company. God does not expect complete understanding in everything he has written down but does expect us to study what he has written down in an attempt to understand it in the best way we can. It would be a mistake to neglect the study of something even though we recognize we cannot understand it completely. It would also be an equal mistake to assume that we have arrived in complete understanding of this topic. Balance is the key. We should not over emphasize God’s sovereignty to the neglect of man’s responsibility and vise versa. God bless you as you continue your study.

Posted by Matt Williams

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