Monthly Archives: August 2015

Role of Church Leadership – A Ministry of Service in the Church (Part 2)


Role of Church Leadership Pt2.001
As we approach the book of Acts we do well to remember that this is a narrative of what happened in the early days of the church.  As a record of history, the Book of Acts it contains doctrine, but it is not a book of doctrine.  I heard a preacher say recently, “Narrative is not normative,” and we do well to keep that in mind.

Today we are in Acts 6:1-7 taking a look at what took in the first church at Jerusalem.  There are lessons to be learned on the role of church leadership, lessons that apply to Kitwe Church.

The church is not an organization, it is a living organism!  An organization is a group of people who work together in an organized way for a shared purpose.  The church is not an organization!  The church is a living organism and as a living organism it is organized.

The church is a living body of which Christ is the head and every believer a member of His body.  The Holy Spirit of God indwells individual believers with the life of Christ.

Biblical church organization then is never an end in itself only the means to facilitate what the Lord is doing in His church. So let’s look at how the local church is organized.

God has appointed two offices in the church; the Office of Elder (also referred to as Overseer and Pastor/Shepherd) and the Office of Deacon.

The word deacon comes from the Greek word Diakonos and simply means servant.  It literally speaks of one who “waits on tables” as a server.  The word deacon is emphasizing the attitude of a servant.  Though the word deacon is not used in this text, it seems to be the first appointment of the office that would eventually be referred to as the Office of a Deacon.

THE PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH (1)

Why was the church was growing?
Because of preaching – day of Pentecost, preaching the gospel of Jesus resulted in 3000 salvation decisions, message at the Temple resulted in 5000 more people believing in Jesus (4:4).

Because the Holy Spirit gave power to those proclaiming the gospel, and brought conviction of sin to those who heard the message,

Because those who heard, responded in faith and received forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ

The church faced problems

Problem from the outside – persecution (ch. 4). This threatened the furtherance of the gospel when the rulers commanded them to be quiet and stop speaking in the name of Jesus! The response of the Apostles was to pray for boldness to continue to preach Christ.

Problem from the inside – sinning members (5:1-11). This problem threatened the credibility of the gospel of Jesus.  If Jesus doesn’t change lives then all the claims to the power of the gospel is in vain! The response was the disciplining of the offending members.

This bring us then to the third problem mentioned, a problem from the inside of the church – dissension among the members (6:1)

When you have people from 16 different countries and language groups come together as one in Christ, there are bound to be misunderstandings! (2:8-10)

The Hellenists were the Greek speaking Jews.  These Jews had migrated to other countries and had adapted to other cultures and adopted a language other than Hebrew.  They were seen as turning their back on the culture and traditions of the orthodox Jewish faith. The Hebrews were the Hebrew speaking Jews, and they looked with disdain at the Hellenists. This was a deep cultural animosity that threatened the unity of this new church!

Solomon once said that there is nothing new under the sun.  Don’t we see this same attitude in our day?  One people group look down on another people group because of differences in language, culture or traditions.  They feel superior to others, and of course all of this is based in pride.

The complaint that was brought to the church was legitimate!  The widows of the Hellenists were in fact being neglected. People were dissatisfied because genuine needs were not being met.

THE PROBLEM SOLVING STRATEGY OF THE CHURCH (2-4)

For a church to grow, there must be a plan – The plan is people

Why is planning needed in a growing church?

  • Because people and their needs are overlooked when there is no plan. There is much work to be carried out in a growing church, the widows needed to be cared for.
  • Because there are many legitimate needs among the membership of a growing church and it is not possibles for the pastors to meet all these needs. There are too many people with too many needs!
  • Because there is love that must be expressed.

The church must be organized to a level that ensures that ministry is being carried out in a meaningful way and that needs are being met.

Someone once said, “I don’t like organized religion.” Does that mean you prefer disorganized religion? We all have a part, we must all serve. If we are to function together and serve one another well there must be some plan in place.

What was the plan they enacted? (3)

  • They were to select competent people (deacons).
  • They were to be men (I Tim 3:1-2).
  • They were to be from among the congregation. These people were already “among” them. They were not to look for help from outside. Our commitment is to raise up leadership from within Kitwe Church. Both pastors and deacons.
  • They were to have a good reputation, testimony – outside the church and inside (I Tim 3.7-13)
  • They were to be spirit-filled men – exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23)
  • They were to be full of godly wisdom – they must have an understanding of God’s Word

For a church to grow there must be priorities (4)

Those chosen by God to serve the church must understand and fulfill their roles.

There are two full-time priorities of the pastors:

  • Ministry of the Word – preaching, teaching, studying (II Tim 4.2).
  • Prayer – bathe his messages in prayer, pray for his people.

These are the priority for the pastor because of the duties he is called to perform as a Shepherd.  John Stott suggests the following as the duties of a pastor:

  • He feeds the flock “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood*—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.” Acts 20:28
  • He guides the flock – sheep tend to stray. “You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.” Titus 2:15
  • He guards the flock – there are wolves out there. “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” 1 Tim. 4:1
  • He heals the flock – many are wounded.

It is the carrying out of this priority that equips believers to accomplish the work of ministry (Eph. 4.12)

Deacons are assigned to carry out the necessary logistics of the church.  

The role of the deacons is to “wait on tables.”  Paul was concerned for that needs of the poor and widows be met (Ro. 15.26, II Co. 8-9) but he never wanted to be distracted from the ministry of the Word by the logistics of the service needing to be carried out (I Co. 16.1-4).

THE PROCEDURE THE CHURCH USED TO APPOINT DEACONS (5-6)

The church made the choice (5)

The congregation from among themselves chose men with the qualifications.

Congregational rule – the church decides on all matters of appointment of leadership, and affirms the expenditures of funds or goods to be used in the ministry.

The church brought the men before the church leadership (6a)

They set them before – used in reference to setting before judges. They were examined to see if they indeed fulfilled the qualifications

The chosen were ordained as deacons (6b)

They committed these men to the task before God in prayer. They laid hands on them – symbolizing the acknowledgment and commissioning to the work which they had been called. Symbolizes approval.

Let’s wrap this up by applying what we have seen to our church right here in Kitwe!  Note two applications that

First the result of this action was that the word of God spread like a fire across the city of Jerusalem!  Is that not what we long to see happen right here in Kitwe? To see people who are lost, found to see hurting hearts healed by the power and grace of God; to see those living in darkness rescued and brought to the light!

Second the number of disciples in Jerusalem multiplied.  When God is at work, and the Word is being taught, and people are stepping up to serve the Lord, the church grows! The true church is something that is so different and beautiful that it is attractive!

So here is our plan between now and the end of the year at Kitwe Church:

  • Baptism service – for all who have been saved but not yet who biblically baptized.
  • Charter the church according to the laws of Zambia – we will ask those wishing to join Kitwe Church as official members to sign up.
  • From those who come into membership we will ask the congregation to suggest to the elders the men they wish to serve as deacons for our church.

My prayer is that you will come to faith in Jesus Christ if you are still contemplating the invitation of Christ to salvation!  Please accept God’s full and free forgiveness of your sin by receiving Christ right now!

For those who know Jesus Christ and have seen the beautiful work of His Spirit in your heart, commit to serving your Lord this week, to obeying Him in all things.

May God’s richest blessings be yours.

Download the sermons or stream online at the following links:

Role of Church Leadership Part 1

Role of Church Leadership Part 2

Download the pdf version Role of Church Leadershop Pt2

Role of Church Leadership – A Ministry of Service in the Church (Part 1)


Role of Church Leadership.001

There are many prevailing ideas about the church today. If we were to ask what comes to your mind when you hear the word “church” we would likely get a variety of answers depending upon your exposure, background and childhood.

Some people view the church in light of liturgy and traditions. Some think of people wearing special clothes and referring to people as Pope, Priests, or Bishops.

Others think of the church in terms of dead orthodoxy. The honest assessment is that church is absolutely boring. What a crime – to bore people with the living Word of God!

Still others see the church as a place to get rich at the expense of the church members!This view is especially prevalent in our society – ministers tell parishioners that it is God’s will for you to be healthy, wealthy and successful. Nothing could actually be further from the truth of the New Testament.

These are people who view God as an heavenly Bellboy. Like those well dressed Bellmen waiting to open doors and carry your bags at a high priced hotel, God is viewed waiting around to serve man. In actual fact the opposite is true! We were created to serve God, not the other way around.
Is it any wonder that many people today view the church as being an organization of hypocrites.

The Church is actually none of the above!

The Church is the Body of Christ. He is the head we are “members of His body”

Eph.5:25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.* 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

In our relationship with one another in the body we are called upon to serve each other.

Gal. 5:3 Through Love, serve one another!

There are not any “big people” and “little people” in the church. We are all just redeemed sinners on a journey together to heaven! We share a unity with one another that is not centered on a ball or a bottle or a business deal or a cultural back ground but that we share the life of Jesus!

The church is not an organization, it is a living organism!

  • As a living organism it is organized.
  • As a living organism it has life.

Biblical church organization is always a response to the needs of the body.

Biblical church organization is never an end in itself only the means to facilitate what the Lord is doing in His church.

There are two offices in a New Testament church. Search through the NT and you will not find mention mention of priests in reference to church leadership. To find a priest you will need to go to the Old Testament where the priest represented God to the people, he offered sacrifices in the temple.

There are two offices:

Office of Elder – there are three biblical terms applied to the same office. Consider these Scriptures in relation to this office:

  • Episkopos -is interpreted as Overseer, or Bishop.  It speaks of the responsibility the pastor has for the spiritual well-being of the church.

Titus 1:7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.

  • Presbuteros – speaks of the authority, to teach and rule.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

  • Poimen – is simply to Shepherd, to lead a flock, to guide and provide.

1 Peter 5:2-3 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Office of Deacon:

Diakonos – Minister and emphasizes the attitude of a servant. Literally it means to wait tables.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

In our text in Acts 6:1-7 we find that the first church in Jerusalem was facing a problem that threatened this new congregation.

THE PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH (1)

Problems are Satan’s tactics to destroy the church. Satan is never happy when the gospel is being proclaimed! God was at work, thousands have repented of their sins and placed faith in Jesus.

The first problem: Persecution from outside (4)

The reason: 3000 saved on Pentecost, 5000 men saved and added to the church in Acts 4.4; Believers are being discipled (2.42) and Satan is not going to take that lying down!

The result: Apostles arrested and threatened not to speak in Jesus’ name (4.2-3,21).

Their response: They prayed and asked for boldness to continue to preach (4.29-30).

And the result? Multitudes of disciples were added to the church! (4.32)

Sin from the inside (5:1-11)

In this account we find that a couple wanted to impress the congregation by giving a large financial gift to the church. They were free to give what they wanted, but they chose to lie and say that they were giving all the proceeds from the sale of property when in fact they were keeping a part of the proceeds.

Their Response: The church elders confronted them with their sin and God killed the hypocrites! Wow, imagine if that were to happen to hypocrites in the church today!

What was the result? Multitudes were added to the church (5.14)!

Now we see the third problem: Dissension among the membership (6.1)

When you have people from 16 different countries and language groups come together as one in Christ, there are bound to be misunderstandings! (2:8-11)

Hellenists – Jews who had been dispersed among the nations and had lost much of their ethnic identity, they only spoke Greek.

Hebrews were Jews from Jerusalem who spoke Hebrew. The Pharisees held Hellenists in contempt. This was a deep cultural animosity between the Hebrews and the Hellenists in the culture, and this cultural animosity threatened the unity of this new church!

Church was growing, disciples were multiplying! Possibly 20,000 by this time. Church growth presents new challenges.

The problem was that people were dissatisfied because their needs were not being met. Widows of the Hellenists were being neglected, while the widows of the Hebrews were being cared for. God cares for the widows, and so must the church! (I Timothy 5.3)

So we will pick up the story and lessons from here next week.

Listen or Download mp3: Role of Church Leadership – A Ministry of Service in the Church (Part 1)

Sermons From Kitwe Church Available For Download


Kitwe_Church___SermonAudio_com

Each week the sermons preached at Kitwe Church are uploaded to our SermonAudio.com church page.  These mp3 audio files are available to stream online or for free download.

Here are links to the three sermons from our most recent short series on Qualities Required In Church Leaders.

 Qualities Required in Church Leaders Part 1

Qualities Required in Church Leaders Part 2

Qualities Required in Church Leaders Part 3

Please get in touch if you have questions or if we can be of help to you.

If you are in Kitwe and don’t have a church home, please visit us this Sunday!  We meet at 10h at the MOTHS Club on Kuomboka Drive in Parklands directly across the street from ZNBC Television Studio.

 

Qualities Required in Church Leaders: Family, Maturity & Reputation


Qualities Required in Church Leaders Final.001

People do not usually rise above their leaders! The character and effectiveness of any church is directly related to the quality of its leadership. Failure to adhere to biblical standards for leadership has caused many of the problems in the church today.

Paul is writing to Timothy, a young pastor at the church of Ephesus because men who were unqualified had found their way into church leadership (1:3, 4:1-3). Some were women (2:12) others were guilty of sin and needed public rebuke (5:20). (Acts 20:29-30)

The qualifications for church leadership deal with character, not gifts and abilities. Someone has said that “Character is what you are when no one is looking.”

God does not have a double standard; He requires all disciples to live blameless lives. For a pastor or deacon to fail to live blameless means he is not qualified to serve in the office.

In our previous study in First Timothy chapter three we have seen that:

CHURCH LEADERS MUST HAVE BLAMELESS CHARACTER (2-3, I Co. 9:27)

You can read the eleven character qualities mentioned in verses 2 to 3. Today we want to begin with verse four:

CHURCH LEADERS MUST HAVE A BLAMELESS FAMILY LIFE (4-5,11-12)

His leadership in the family (4)

He is to manage his home.(4)

“Rule” means to preside over, rule, manage. There are shared responsibilities in the home, but the man is the leader. (Eph. 5:25)

He is to manage his home WELL! (4)

He is to manage his home excellently, beautifully; “well” means something that is appealing to the eye. There are men who rule their home, but they don’t rule it very well – they don’t achieve the desired result.

He is a good ruler of his family (Eph. 6:4).

His children are submissive = military term, to line up in rank under order. His children are respectful – they are reverent, controlled, and disciplined.

Father’s we must not provoke our children to wrath!

  • Bring them up – speaks of tender involvement of the Father in the life of his children.
  • Discipline or training.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6

He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Prov. 13:24

  • Instruction – to verbally instruct our children.  One way we train our children in the things of God is to lead our family in family devotions.  There are many good resources that you can use to share the Word with your family.

His wife is a godly example (11, Eph. 5:22-24)

It is possible that a man who is qualified for spiritual leadership can be disqualified on the family level.

His leadership in the church (5)

The sphere of his rule – “church of God;” the local assembly.

The nature of his rule – “care” – sacrificial giving on behalf of others (Good Samaritan, Lk. 10:30-34).

CHURCH LEADERS MUST BE BLAMELESS IN SPIRITUAL MATURITY (6,10)

Those who are placed into church leadership must now be new converts; “Not a novice.”

He must be humble. Humility is to be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded. To have a modest opinion of oneself. He would never campaign for the position, and is filled with holy fear the thought of serving as leader in the church.

He must not be a new convert but rather he must be spiritually mature.

The reason is to avoid pride.  To avoid falling under the same condemnation as the devil. Lucifer was disqualified from service and cast out because of pride. (Ezk. 28:14-17; Is. 14:12-14) See: Diotrophes (3 Jn. 9)

CHURCH LEADERS MUST HAVE A BLAMELESS PUBLIC REPUTATION (7.10,11)

The quality of his reputation – Good

A leaders must have good internal character and good external reputation. Testimony is the report, the testimony of other people.

Evaluation of his reputation – Outside

This is the reputation he has out in the community, not among those in the church. He has a reputation for integrity, love, kindness, generosity and goodness among those in the community who know him.

He is seen as a man of character. Does not take or offer bribes. Does not lie or misrepresent the truth to get what he wants or to escape unpleasant consequences.

Consequence of his reputation – Reproach

Disgrace (Ro. 2:24; Phil. 2:15). A spiritual leader should not be embarrassed at what might be found if someone were to interview his associates. Failure to have a blameless public reputation leaves the leader with potential for entrapment, Paul refers to this as the 
snare of the devil” (I Pt. 5:8).

So there we have it…

The Ephesian church needed to examine her leaders in the light of biblical qualifications. We too must examine our leaders in the light of these same qualifications. Church leadership is not a popularity contest, it is not for those who have physical and mental giftedness but who lack Christian character.

God has identified the moral character, family life, maturity, and reputation He requires of church leaders. The future of any church depends upon the quality of its leaders. Everything rises and falls on leadership!

God does not have a double standard – one for leaders and one for other believers. These qualifications apply to EVERY believer. However in leaders it is crucial.

The congregation will learn only what they see modeled in their leadership. IT MUST BEGIN WITH THE LEADERS!

Download this Bible Study: Qualities Required in Church Leaders Web #3

Qualities of Church Leaders – Blameless Character


Character.001

Today we return to our study of I Timothy 3:1-13.  As we consider the qualities of church leaders I want to be very clear that God does not have a double standard – one for leaders in the church and one for “normal people.”  The character qualities required in church leaders are the character qualities God intends for all of His children.

Paul is writing to Timothy, a young pastor in the city of Ephesus.  Ephesus was an influential metropolitan city of the day.  This city was known for several things: The Temple of the Goddess Diana and all of the wicked worship practices associated with it (Acts 19:24-35).  Ephesus was also known for the colosseum that hosted gladiator games.  As you enter the ancient city of Ephesus today the road is lined on either side with the tombs of the gladiators who were the heroes of Ephesus.  The city was also known for the magic arts.  People from around the world would travel to Ephesus to purchase books on magic (Acts 19:19).

The church in Ephesus was is in danger because unqualified leaders were finding their way into leadership.  Leaders were being appointed based upon the criteria of the culture of the day or based upon standards of successful business practices of the day.  Paul is writing to Timothy in order to correct this problem.

People do not usually rise above their leaders! The character and effectiveness of any church is directly related to the quality of its leadership. Failure to adhere to biblical standards for leadership has caused many of the problems in the church today.

This is a list of required character qualities that is impossible for us.  In our humanness we cannot live out what God requires.  This is exactly why God has given His Holy Spirit to dwell inside every child of God.  The Spirit of God empowers us to do what otherwise is impossible.

If you are investigating the claims of God, but have not yet put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you cannot live a blameless life in these areas.  The hope I offer to you today is that if you will come to Christ you too can receive His power live blameless in these areas!

Let me quickly review the territory we have already covered in our text in a previous message and then we will look at the final four character qualities mentioned:

  • CHURCH LEADERS must be sexually pure (2,12). A man who is devoted in heart and mind to the woman who is his wife. He loves, desires and thinks only of her. He must not be divorced and remarried, or have more than one wife.
  • CHURCH LEADERS must be Self-Controlled (2). Not given to excesses, a state of mind which is free from the excessive indulgence of passion, lust, or emotion. He is able to keep his head in all situations.
  • CHURCH LEADERS must be Sober-minded (2). Self-controlled. Well disciplined, is able to order his priorities.
  • CHURCH LEADERS must be Respectable (2). One who is well organized in his thinking, teaching and living.
  • AN ELDER must be Able to teach – Skilled in teaching (2, Ro. 12:7). This is the one qualification that distinguishes a Pastor and a Deacon. A deacon does not have to have the gift of teaching.
  • CHURCH LEADERS must Not be drunkards (3,8). Not “one who drinks”. This was especially important in the Ephesian culture! Alcohol was frequently a part of pagan worship. Refers to ones associations.  He is not a person who frequents bars, taverns. He is not at home in the noisy scenes associated with drinking. His lifestyle is not that of a drinker.
  • CHURCH LEADERS must not be Violent (3). Speaks both of physical violence and verbal violence. (1 Ti. 6:4-5)

So let’s pick up from here and discuss the final four qualities in greater detail:

A Church Leader Must Be Gentle (3)

Gentleness or meekness is not weakness, rather it is power under control (II Ti. 2:24).  Gentleness means that he easily pardons human failure. It is the ability to remember good and forget evil. He doesn’t keep record of wrongs people have committed against him.

Being gentle means he is able to take criticism without reacting.

Some people pride themselves in never forgetting an offense.  They keep a mental spreadsheet where they carefully log all offenses.  When the information is needed they are able to pull up wrongs done in the past, complete with date and time!  This is not how God wants us to live in relationship with one another.

These people are angry.  Anger that is not dealt with turns into resentment and then bitterness – these are sins that destroy the one who holds onto them (Eph. 4:26-27).

A church leader who is gentle is a leader that is not looking for a fight. CH Spurgeon commented to his pastoral students, “Don’t go about the world with your fist doubled up for fighting, carrying a theological revolver in the leg of your trousers.”

A Church Leader Must Not Be Quarrelsome (3)

He is not short-tempered or disposed to argue and fight.  He is not contentious. He is not always taking the opposite side in discussions. He is a peacemaker (Mt. 5:9).

He Is Not A Lover Of Money (3)

This describes someone who doesn’t have money but loves it and desires it. It speaks of Indecent or dishonorable gain. An elder or a deacon must not go after gain that would dishonor his character (I Pt. 5:2).

Love of money can corrupt a man’s ministry because it tempts him to view people and ministry opportunities as a means by which he can get more money. Greed for money is the chief characteristic of false teachers (I Ti. 6:6-10).

Money is not the only things can be coveted, we can covet popularity, respect, position, or a large ministry.

The Ephesian church needed to examine her leaders in the light of biblical qualifications. Church leadership is not a popularity contest, it is not for those who have physical and mental giftedness but who lack Christian character. The future of any church depends upon the quality of its leaders.

God does not have a double standard – one for leaders and one for other believers. These qualifications apply to EVERY believer. However in leaders it is absolutely critical.

The congregation will learn what they see modeled in their leadership. IT MUST BEGIN WITH THE LEADERS!

Before and After Salvation, God’s Way


Before & After Salvation.001 There was a lady who was walking along the road early one morning. She was carrying a large load of potatoes on her head to sell in the market that morning. A friend of hers drove by in a truck and stopped to pick her up. She was very grateful to him and thanked him over and over. She got up into the seat but still held her potatoes in her lap. Her friend looked over at her and said, “Why don’t you put the potatoes down here on the floor? There is plenty of room.” She looked over at him and said, “Oh no sir, you have been so kind to give me a ride, I could not ask you to carry my potatoes too.” How many times do we do the same thing? We place our total trust in Christ for our eternal life, but we struggle to trust Him with our day to day life. Trusting in God does not stop when we are saved. The trust must be extended to daily life!

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

When helplessness defines our life and hope is properly placed, Christ is the answer for the sinner and the saint.

John 5:1–9 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

Helplessness defines our life v5 

The man with an infirmity had been in that situation for 38 years, he knew he was helpless. The man with an infirmity was in that condition because of sin. v. 14 Before Salvation – We were helpless to save ourselves, we were helpless and we had to know this to be saved.

    1. Ephesians 2:8–9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    2. Using our own strength will only cause God to fight against us. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
    3. We had to come in desperation knowing that Christ was the only answer.

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.

The same attitude, dependency, and faith we have toward Christ for our salvation is the same attitude, dependency, and faith we must have toward Christ for our daily life. After Salvation – We are helpless to live a life that glorifies God – we have to know this daily.

    1. John 15:5 for without me ye can do nothing.
    2. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
    3. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; And we all do fade as a leaf; And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
    4. Do we have the same daily desperation for Christ that we did for salvation?

When helplessness defines our life and hope is properly placed, Christ is the answer for the sinner and the saint. 

Helplessness defines our life and Hope must be properly placed

Why did Christ ask the man with the infirmity, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Let us see what this question might have done for the lame man.

  • It turned his attention from the water to Christ. Imagine his life of complete attention to the water. His red eyes from not blinking enough. His weary face from long hours awake. His discouragement knowing that even if the water did move, no one was going to help him in time.
  • It let him realize his total helplessness. He had to ask someone else and it would be too late. vs. 7
  • It opened his heart to the hope of a cure.

Up until then this man watched the pool of water every day, trying to be the first one into the water so he could be healed. All his hope was in that pool of water. He did not realize that that his hope should have been on the Creator of the universe who was talking to him. Before Salvation – Salvation is not in ourselves or anything cursed by the fall

      1. Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
      2. Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

After Salvation – Glorifying God does not come from our flesh or in anything cursed by the fall.

      • We are created to glorify God

Colossians 1:16–17 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

        • We fall short of our purpose of creation. Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned…
      • We have a different focus for our hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

      • We cannot glorify God by our own effort.

Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

When helplessness defines our life and hope is properly placed, Christ is the answer for the sinner and the saint. 

Helplessness defines our life, Hope must be properly placed, and Help only comes from Christ

The man with the infirmity looked to Christ suggesting that he knew his faith and dependence may have been in the wrong place. v. 9 Maybe there was something more in which to hope. Maybe there was another solution. What about us? So we think we have it all worked out? Do we think that we know all the options and we understand all there is? God will bring life to a place where we lose hope in anything that is not God. Only then will we consider there may be another Hope. Before Salvation – Our salvation can only come from Christ, though many desperately search for other means

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

After Salvation – We can glorify God only through Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall strengthen your heart. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

      •   Substitutes – Idols, things we depend on in place of God
        1. Health
        2. Money
        3. People

How do you know if you are trusting in any of the above? Well, what happens when you lose them? Do you fail to glorify God? Do you get discouraged? Do you lose your hope?

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Rejoice when God shows you your weaknesses. When you are too tired to face a new day, when circumstances and people pile up against you, then the field is set for God to work.

When helplessness defines our life and hope is properly placed, Christ is the answer for the sinner and the saint. 

Conclusion: Is Christ saying to you “Wilt thou be made whole?”  Have you been struggling for 38 years in your own weakness with your hope fixed on something affected by the curse of sin? It is time to take a good look at reality. You can’t do it, you are helpless without Christ’s daily help. You need to get your eyes off of whatever it is that you have been trusting. Christ is trying to get your attention. Hope is only found in Him. Let’s not be guilty of trusting God for our eternity and doubting Him with our days.

Questions & Answers: Are There Still Prophets and Prophecy In Our Day?


Are There Prophets?.001

YES…

Prophecy in the sense of “forth-telling” is happening today.  Anytime someone stands to teach and preach the Bible that person can authoritatively say, “Thus says the Lord…”

and NO…

But most likely your question is not about this kind of prophecy.  There is no prophecy today in the sense of “fore-telling.”  There is no gift of prophecy in the sense of miraculous predictions though direct revelation. God is not giving extra-biblical revelation, he has given us His Word, and it is complete for now.

God gave us His Word in three ways: Revelation, inspiration, illumination.

  1. Revelation – from God to man. Man hears what God wants written.
  2. Inspiration – from man to paper. Man writes that which God wants written (II Ti. 3:16; I Pt. 1:21).
  3. Illumination – from paper to heart. Man receives the light of that which God has written.

The Holy Spirit of God is not giving Revelation and Inspiration in our day.  This is because He has given us the completed Word of God – our Bible.  The work of the Holy Spirit today is to illuminate the revelation of God to our understanding. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Consider the Biblical test for prophecy:

  1. It must be true (Ezk 13:4-9)
  2. It must not contradict previously revealed truth (1 Co. 14:32; 1 Jn. 4:1)
  3. It must come to pass without fail (Deut 18:20-22)

If a person claims to be a prophet and speak for God, but not all of his prophecies are true, if he contradicts previous truth or if even one of his prophecies fail to come to pass, we are instructed not to honor him.  We are not to listen to what he has to say, he is a deceiver, a false prophet (2 Pt. 2;1).

Sola Scriptura” – Scripture alone!  God’s Word is the only basis for Diving authority.  God in His written word has given us all that pertains to life and godliness.

2 Timothy 3:16       All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17       that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.