Sound teaching and preaching. Direct biblical statements. Holiness. The name of Jesus in baptism. Take your pick; they are all under assault. While the apostles preached an exclusive message, modern Christianity seeks to clarify the Bible’s intent so as to broaden it’s range of acceptance. Bible doctrines have become too narrow for the casual Christian. Yet Paul wrote that if anyone preached a different gospel than what he preached, “let him be accursed.” He said that if an angel from heaven preached something different, “let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-10) Paul and the rest of the apostles were serious about the Word. They did not negotiate with truth nor did they water it down to make it more palatable for those on the outer edges of commitment.
What the first century preachers delivered was unfiltered and clear. They did not skirt around the issues of salvation or godly living. Neither the apostles or the prophets minced words. They couldn’t afford to minimize these eternal issues. They were bold and fearless as they stood in the face of opposition. Paul even knew that not everyone would accept this truth: 2 Tim 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap (hire) to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
As we preach and teach the Word of God, there is a fleshly rebuttal. I feel it almost every time I deliver such things. This current culture is pressing hard against even the most basic Bible doctrines. Mindsets range from “Live and Let Live” to total rejection of scriptural adherence, and if these things are not enough to fully push aside the preached Word, the next human-spirit is to accuse, dissect, and dismantle the messenger. It means that the preacher is under fire for invading the personal lives of the listener. In Latin it’s called Ad Hominem or “against the man.” I would speak of a demonic resistance, but there’s enough carnality present in this society that the devil doesn’t need to lift a finger. Fleshly and carnal spirits are sufficient enough to overtake families and homes without a demonic presence. The reason is simple: Worldliness never stays stagnate. It is advancing it’s ideologies and perversions.
In conjunction with these assaults comes this growing usurpation against authority. All authority is now suspect. Some churches view the speaker as “the preacher” and not as their pastor. Today, submission to spiritual authority comes with conditions instead of obedience. Eventually and inevitably, however, this rejection of natural authority will turn against the Bible’s authority to govern our lives and in time those who reject the messenger will also find fault with the Message.
Having said all these things, and knowing the time in which we live, I stand to say: However…and yet…nevertheless…we must preach the Word and let the seed fall where it may. There is a demand on us like never before to deliver sound doctrine; biblical teaching; holiness and the message of Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues. His name is Jesus and it is still the only saving name! No one will enter those gates without His name applied to their lives and no one will make Heaven their home without His Blood, and only the unadulterated truth has the power to save our eternal souls.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
A claim was made that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated occurred in Warrantor, Virginia, on June 3, 1861. From that moment there was a thought to set aside a day to honor all those killed in the war. They called it Decoration Day. The Civil War rocked the country; tore apart families; planting deep seeded resentment throughout. Yet as time went by, and breaking into the 20th century, America determined to honor all those who had died in battle. Thus the name was changed to Memorial Day: Honoring our fallen soldiers, but as the years passed, Memorial Day became a holiday marking the beginning of summer. The original intent is now almost fully expunged from our collective thought. Parties, outings; baseball and fishing have taken over the day. In a recent poll, only 28% of people correctly said that Memorial Day is about remembering those who died while serving in the military. Among millennials only 5% answered the question correctly.
To serve is commendable and we applaud all those who serve, but to give your life is the ultimate sacrifice from which there is no return. They died in battle. They died while serving. It should make us pause to consider the great price of our freedom. For us to be free, for Americans to live free, men and women had to die. The true cost of Freedom is blood.
Jesus died on the Cross which paid for our sins. Blood was the price for our Freedom. The Bible speaks of it so clearly, “There is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood.” Without Calvary, the Cross; His death, we would not have freedom from sin. We would all be enslaved in the bonds of the flesh, groping in darkness and confusion. It took His dying to make us free and for that we are indebted to Him. Today, we bless our Lord and honor our fallen.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
An old story tells of a man who awoke in the middle of a long night. His eyes quickly adjusted to his dark surroundings as there was no light to guide him. The night lasted for many years with no appearance of the sun. His life was lived out in blackness until one day the clouds were peeled back, revealing the powerful sun. Yet after so many years of living in the dark, he covered his eyes and escaped back into his home. He did not know how to live under the sun and it took him time to adjust his eyes and indeed his life, to the new found light. John writes, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
For those who are in the world, Truth – Light, is bright when it first appears. Worldly philosophies and carnal living is a darkness that imprisons the soul. When Truth is revealed, it often comes as a shining light into the darkness. John said that the Darkness cannot understand Light. They cannot co-exist. Paul wrote that the Light actually reproves the darkness. They are in constant opposition one to another now and forever. Not only do we preach Truth – Light, but the Word says that we are to be Salt and Light to this world. We preserve, heal, and chase back sin. We are witnesses of His Truth, and though we believe for instant salvation, not everyone will receive it the moment they see it. They need time to adjust to this powerful Truth in God’s Word. Some might even reject it completely, desiring to stay bound in the darkness, but our mission is to shine the Light of the Gospel into every life. Our purpose is to reach deep into that night that is cast onto this world and reveal the Son and all His glory. We are commissioned to be a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. Jesus said it, “the light must not be hidden under a bushel.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an her apron, she read it, and this is what it said:
For cutting the grass: $5.00
For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00
For going to the store for you: .50
Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: .25
Taking out the garbage: $1.00
For getting a good report card: $5.00
For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
Total owed: $14.75
His mother looked at him standing there; memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper and wrote these words.
“For the nine months I carried you while you grew inside of me: No Charge.
For all the nights that I’ve set up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge.
For all the books that I’ve read to you; teaching and training you: No Charge.
For all the days that I gave to you, worries and tears I’ve cried for you: No Charge.
For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge.
When you add it all up, Son, the cost of my love for you is: No Charge.”
When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at her and said, “Mom, I sure do love you.”
And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: “PAID IN FULL”.
In respect to the spring that is upon us, there is a truth that remains about life; in particular, this Christian life. While flowers bloom and trees find their leaves, the fact is that their strength remains hidden beneath the ground. Roots. Often unappreciated, unseen, uncherished; yet roots bring nourishment and sustaining stability. Even the mighty oaks in all their splendor cannot exist except their root system is secure. Those hidden wonders spread out almost 3 times the crown width which means that whatever beauty can be seen pales in comparison to what it takes to maintain it.
Paul admonished the saints to be planted and rooted. Be ye steadfast, unmovable. Col 2:7 “Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…” The things that can be seen are only possible by the things that cannot be seen. To weather storms of life; trouble in our homes; strife in our relationships; or offenses by other people, we must have a deep and broadening faith in Jesus Christ and the knowledge of the Word. There will be offenses. There will be trouble and it is then that our spiritual root system is known. And when we see the great faith and stability of others exhibited in their life through trial and pain, we know that they have been working on something that cannot be seen.
My prayer is that our church will focus on the worth of personal commitment and internal devotion. That we might decide and choose to serve the Lord regardless of circumstances. That our roots would be so deep and so broad that nothing and no one can shake us. I pray that you will make your calling and election sure and that Nothing shall separate you from this house and the Apostolic truth. Because there will be a pressing and a pressure that will try your resolve. But the beauty can remain because the roots have staked their claim.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole