Together, Upward

It’s a great blessing to share things with people because it will confirm it in your own heart, it will give them a chance to rejoice in the Truth of God.

Scripture: Acts 15:30


Alright, thank you very much. Hello friends, how are you? I don’t know whether our loved ones in the glory know about us, whether they can look over the banisters of Heaven, so to speak, and understand what’s going on here. I just spoke to the Heavenly Father, and I said, “Lord, if you can send an angel to look my Pop up somewhere in the glory, just tell him I’m ever so grateful that he was born and that he got saved, and that he had me. And because I have such a wonderful heritage from having a godly, God-fearing, Spirit-filled father.” Wonderful thing to have Christian parents. Some of you have not had that privilege, I know, but for those of us who have been graciously allowed by God to be born in homes where mother and father are praying people, it’s a heritage that you never get away from.

I’ve told you, I guess, more than once, how my mother prayed with two other Christian ladies all during the months when she was expecting me. She called me her man-child, when I arrived. And I know that I’m the product of those prayers and many other prayers. I used to get awakened early in the morning as a teenage boy, just my father and I living together in a rented room in Toledo, Ohio, and I would be awakened hearing him pray for his boy. “God bless my boy today, keep him from sin. Help him to grow up to be a man of God.” So, you know, you never get away from those things.

And I’m grateful for that dear man of God who had such a profound effect upon my life. He’s a great collector of song books. I noticed in the books that he had, which he used most often, I suppose he had some hundreds of them at one time. And I’ve preserved quite a few of them, not all, I guess. But I noticed in the books that he used most often, he had underlined with a red pencil the songs that meant much to him. Here’s one that says, “Heaven holds all for me. The earth holds no treasures, but perish with using, however precious they be. Yet there’s a country to which I am going, heaven holds all for me. Heaven holds all to me, brighter its glory will be. Joy without measure will be my treasure. Heaven holds all for me.” And he’s got that title underscored with a red pencil. And then just the facing page opposite, he’s underscored the title, “The Beautiful City of God.” “The Lord is the radiant Morning Star that leads to the gates of the land afar. The glory of God is a fadeless light that shines in that heavenly city bright. Oh, the wonderful home of glory bright, where all the redeemed are robed in white. O Jerusalem fair, my redeemer is there in the beautiful city of God.”

My father always lived for the future, for the days ahead in the time and glory. But he did have a faith that surmounted obstacles here on earth. I noticed in another book, it’s called “Spiritual Songs”, it’s dog-eared and just about falling apart, an old, old book. But he has drawn a circle around the title, “God Is Still On The Throne”, and then he’s underlined it in red. And then underneath at the bottom of the page, he’s written it with that same red pencil, “Praise His name forever more! !” [chuckle] And that song says, “Have you started for glory in Heaven? Have you left this old world far behind? In your heart, is the comforter dwelling? Can you say ‘Praise the Lord, He is mine’? Have the ones that once walked on the highway gone back and you seem all alone? Keep your eyes on the prize for the home in the skies, God is still on the throne. God is still on the throne, and He will remember His own. Though trials may press us and burdens distress us, He never will leave us alone. God is still on the throne, He never forsaketh his own. His promise is true, He will not forget you, God is still on the throne.”

And my dear old Pop wrote underneath those pages, “Praise His name forever more! !” [chuckle] Oh, great. I would take a little more time, but it’ll take too long, I guess. Just to go over some of these wonderful songs that he enjoyed, because they echoed the sublime faith and trust that was his. Here’s a book that I didn’t really knew he had before, published by some publisher down in Tennessee, whom I never heard of. Of course, that doesn’t prove anything. There’s a lot of things I don’t know, I guess, out there. But he’s underscored “God holds the future in his hands.” He’s underscored it with a green pencil. I guess, he had a green one that day, saved forever. And he underscored a song that says, “Somebody is reading you, wherever you go, whatever you do, morning and evening and nighttime too, somebody surely is reading you.” That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? People watch you and you don’t realize that, but they do. Here’s another one, “Fully Saved.” He loved to rejoice in the fact that he was really fully and divinely and forever saved by the grace of God. Well, I just thought I’d take a moment to thank God with you, for the dear man who over so many years was both mother and father to me, a combination of tremendous austerity and infinite tenderness, and great faith in God. Wonderful to have that kind of a heritage.

All right, let’s go to the 15th Chapter of the Book of Acts. What had happened now is that they’ve had this First Church Council, it could have been a church fracass, but it wasn’t, because they approached their problem in dependence on the Spirit of God. They gave human beings a chance to speak to one another, they didn’t shut off discussion. They pointed straight to what God had been doing as the basis for their reasoning, and then they used a combination of good sense and compassion in making their decision. How wise these people were as they were taught by the Holy Spirit of God. So they sent this letter to all the brethren in the churches, the Gentile brethren. Said, “There are three things you wanna watch for: One is idolatry, don’t put anything in the place of God. The second is immorality, keep your body clean. And the third is general healthful practices as laid out, for example, in the general regulations that Moses gave to God’s people. And if you do that, you’ll do well,” said they.

And so, they sent Paul and Barnabas, and Judas and Silas, as witnesses of this. If you wanna be sure of a thing, have somebody witness to it who doesn’t have his own neck stuck out, who doesn’t have anything that he has to prove in order to save face. That’s the way to be sure of a stable interpersonal situation. That’s exactly what they did. And they went to Antioch. Verse 30, “When they were dismissed, they came to Antioch. When they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the Epistle, which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation,” that means to the encouragement that it brought them. “And Judas and Silas who are prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words and confirmed them.” Now, if you are in a situation where something has been settled, what do you do? Just turn away and say, “Well, that’s that,” and wash your hands off it? No, whenever spiritual things are involved, you are never off the job until you have confirmed your friends in the truth.

That is to say, Judas and Silas felt that their work was not finished until they had themselves had a ministry to these people and encouraged them and sort of clinched, you may say, to use a carpenter’s term, clinched the truth in the hearts of their hearers. Put this on for yourself, if you will, in your own life and relationships. You see, it’s not enough just to deliver a Sunday school lesson, for example, or preach a sermon. There needs to be a little personal interaction between you and the members of your class, or between you and the members of your congregation, so that the truths that you have presented really have a chance to sink in, so to speak, and become their own. I’ll tell you what I used to do, I did it wrong first. I used to ask people, “What did you remember about the sermon?” And the very fact that the minister would be asking them would throw a scare into them. So then I learned to do it this way, and I think you can profit by my mistakes; when I would be talking about a sermon or a Sunday school lesson, I would volunteer the information that certain truths have been of great blessing to me.

And I’d say, “You know, I was really blessed on that point of such and such and such and such,” and I would lay it out to them again when I saw them, say, on a Tuesday after the Sunday’s ministry. Well, if they’d been listening at all, it would come back to them, they would remember that there was this truth. And you could see their faces light up, and they’d say, “Oh, yes, I do remember that. Yeah, that’s great, isn’t it?” Then you could start and talk about it and sort of drive it home a little deeper into their minds and hearts and confirm them in the truth. Now your job, as I say, when you’re ministering to people, whether it’s to one individual or to a Sunday school class or to a whole congregation, your job isn’t finished until you have driven the truth home and clinched it and confirmed it, and encouraged people to put it to work. That’s part of the job. And Judas and Silas knew this, and so they did it. Try that for yourself, will you?

Don’t embarrass people. You never teach a person much by embarrassing him, except how to dodge you the next time. If you specialize in embarrassing people and putting them on the spot, so to speak, they will learn how to dodge you and avoid any confrontation with you. Rather, specialize in being an encouragement, and the way to encourage people is to show encouragement to yourself. If you’re blessed by any particular passage of Scripture, others are more likely to be blessed by it. Now, this is part of the genius of sharing with folk day-by-day, the things that God has said to you in your own Bible study.

For example, I can’t wait to be able to preach a truth that I found in 2 Chronicles, where as Rehoboam came to the throne, you recall the story that Jeroboam and the people came to Rehoboam and said, “Now, would you please ease the tax burden on us? The taxes have been so heavy. And we wish you would ease it up now that you’re king.” And he said, “I’ll take three days and I’ll give you an answer.” During those three days, he asked all the old men, the old wise counselors of the kingdom, for their answer. They gave him one answer. Then he asked the young men, it says, with whom he had been brought up, and they gave him a different answer, But nowhere does it say that he asked God. So the great failure really of Solomon… Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. The great failure of Solomon was that he didn’t teach his boy to pray.

And it says later on at the close of his reign… He reigned 17 years in Jerusalem. And at the close of his reign, it says he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord. This was the great failure, you see? Three days and no prayer. Asking questions of old wise people, and of young supposedly wise people at least, but not asking God. Well, this sort of thing just dropped into my heart as I was reading and studying and praying in the morning hours for my own soul. What a joy to be able to share that with somebody, and to show the importance of praying and seeking God as graphically illustrated in the life of king Rehoboam. So I say, it’s a great blessing to share things with people, because it will confirm it in your own heart, it will give them a chance to rejoice in the truth of God, and you will have been a blessing, not an embarrassment.

Dear Father, help us to encourage people today and to confirm them in their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask in His name, amen. Amen. God bless you my friend all the way, that’s all for now.

Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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