Growing Christian Character Top
GROWING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
By James L. Thornton
PURPOSE OF THESE LESSONS:
The purpose of these lessons is to present to every Christian some basic principals from the Word of God that will help them become the strong, fruit-bearing, Christian God intended them to be. We as the people of the Name of Jesus have the precious pearls of God’s revealed truths to live by. There is, however, a great need for some practical principals that we can guide our every day living by.
These lessons contain several different messages of a very practical nature, and use Bible examples and principals, that all growing Christians can read and study and use to help them develop their personality and character.
James L. Thornton
Psalms 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall not prosper.
It is God’s divine plan in the natural world for things to grow and mature to their fullest potential.
Just one look around us indicates that God is concerned with progress and growth. If God is concerned that the birds, the flowers, the grass, the trees, and all living things grow to their state of full development, How Much More Concerned Is He That The Highest Of His Creation, Mankind, Grow And Reach His State Of Full Development And Fruit Bearing! God is certainly concerned with maturity, which is the state of full development.
Psalms 92:12 “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree: HE SHALL GROW LIKE A CEDAR IN LEBANON.”
The CEDAR TREES IN LEBANON were the greatest and strongest of all the trees in that area of the world, and David says that God’s people should imitate them in growth and strength.
Not only is God concerned with growth and development in the natural world, but He is especially concerned about His “BORN AGAIN” children and their growth and maturity. God in his Word has stressed the importance of growth and reaching towards maturity by every child of God as we read in the following group of scriptures.
1 Peter 2:2. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
2. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Ephesians 3:13. “Till we all come in unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (Complete, Whole, Mature) man, unto the measure of the stature (Full Grown) of the fullness of Christ.
14a. That we henceforth be no more children……
15b. …may grow up into him in all things,…
1 Corinthians 13:11b. “ .. when I BECAME A MAN I put away childish things.
EXAMPLES OF GROWTH:
1 Samuel 2:26. And the child Samuel GREW ON, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.
Luke 1:80 And the child (John The Baptist) GREW, and WAXED STRONG IN SPIRIT, and was in the desert till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
Acts 9:22. But Saul increased the MORE IN STRENGTH, …
2 Thessalonians 1:3. …. YOUR FAITH GROWETH EXCEEDINGLY, and the charity of every one of you… aboundeth!
FOUR WAY GROWTH:
Luke 2:40 “And the child (Jesus) grew, and WAXED STRONG IN SPIRIT, FILLED WITH WISDOM; and the GRACE OF GOD was upon him.
Luke 2:52. “And Jesus INCREASED IN WISDOM AND STATUE, And IN FAVOR WITH GOD AND MAN:
The above scriptures describe four important aspects of growth and maturation. The boyhood life of Jesus was an example of proper growth in The Following Four Areas:
1. WISDOM =============== Mental and Emotional Growth
2. STATUE ================ Physical Growth
3. FAVOR WITH GOD ======= Spiritual Growth
4. FAVOR WITH MEN ======= Social Growth
Gaining wisdom, developing healthy desires, growing up physically, becoming real friends with God, and learning how to get along with other people are necessary to successful and happy living. For any Christian, and for that matter, any Person, to neglect any of these areas will only end up the looser.
The Real Purpose Of Jesus Christ Coming Into This World Was Two-Fold.
1. To Seek And To Save That Which Was Lost! Luke 19:10
2. To Build His Church! Matthew 16:18
Jesus Christ came to SAVE “Whosoever Will” from their sins through a dynamic “Born Again” Life-Changing experience of John 3:5 and Acts 2:38!
Then using “Born Again” men and women, He “Built” them into what He would have them to be so they could win others and also be ready for Heaven!
THE CHURCH WAS FORMED AT PENTECOST:
On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) there were 3,120 men and women who were “Born Again Of Water And Of The Spirit” by repenting of all their sins, by being baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (pardon, forgiveness) of their sins, and by being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues.
We find the same “Born Again” experience taking place throughout the book of Acts and the Early Church of the first century;
1. Jerusalem ……. Acts 2:4, 16-18, 33, 36-40, 41, 42, 47
2. Samaria …..….. Acts 8:12, 16, 18, 19
3. Paul ………….. Acts 9:5, 6, 17, 18, (Romans 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 14:18)
4. Gentiles …….... Acts 10:44-48 Acts 11:14-18
5. Disciples Of John …. Acts 19:1-6
God’s wonderful plan of salvation, that He purchased on Calvary with His own blood (Acts 20:28), is still the same for us today. Jesus Christ shed His blood so you would have an opportunity to experience Acts 2:38 salvation. One may wonder why, In the Preface, we would be stressing God’s New Testament plan of salvation.
1. First Of All, what God required for souls to be saved in the New Testament in the book of Acts HE REQUIRES FOR US TODAY. The Bible says, “JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TODAY, AND FOR EVER” (Hebrews13:8).
The “Common Salvation,” and “Faith which was once delivered to the Saints,” that Jude writes about in Jude vs. 3, is the same as Acts 2:38. IF IT WAS NESSARY FOR THEM YESTERDAY, IT IS NECESSARY FOR US TODAY:
2. Second, BEFORE YOU CAN EVER HOPE TO BE WHAT YOU REALLY OUGHT TO BE FOR JESUS CHRIST, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN THE BIBLE WAY.
Each of us must have the same experience as New Testament Christians as recorded in the Bible (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:5-17; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-5). For it is the sure and only foundation of real CHISTIAN CHARACTER.
WHERE POWER COMES FROM TO BE A CHRISTIAN:
The scriptures says, “Ye Shall Receive Power AFTER THAT THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU…” (Acts 1:8). NOT BEFORE!
Zechariah 4:6b. “Not by (your) might, nor by (your) power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
We cannot become the person we ought to be on self-effort alone! It takes the “Power of God working in us both to will and to do his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
We pray that the following lessons will add to the growth, the maturity, and the strength of all who read and study them so that their Christian Character will be like the “Tree planted by the rivers of water” (Psalms 1:3).
^^^^^^^^^^^ TABLE OF CONTENTS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The purpose of these lessons ………………..….. 1.
Introduction ……………………………………………… 1.
Table Of Contents ………………………………… … 5.
Outer Pressures And Inner Braces ………… ….. 8.
Not For Sale ……………………………………………… 13
Meet For The Master’s Use ……………………… .. 24
Strong Shoulders …………………………………… … 43
Attitude Makes The Difference ……………………
The Mark Of A Father’s Love ……………… ……..
Mental And Emotional Maturity ………………….…
The Christian Virtue Of Hate …………………………
How To Gain Self-Mastery ……………………………
The Need For Strong Convictions ………………..
Keep Thyself Pure …………………………………… …
Straight Talk To A Son …………………………………
Armed And Strong ………………………………………..
The Last Chapter ……………………………………….
We will post the chapters as we get them finished. J. L.T.
GROWING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
||Chapter # 1.
OUTER PRESSURE AND INNER BRACES:
Psalms 51:6. (King David’s Prayer Of Repentance)
“Behold, thou desirest TRUTH IN THE INWARD PARTS: and In the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
2 Samuel 11:4-17. (Uriah The Hittite To King David)
vs. 11b “…… as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I WILL NOT DO THIS THING.”
Near the end of congressman Martin Barnaby Madden’s career as a congressman from Illinois, representative Madden noticed that a certain young congressman was often voting as pressure groups dictated. He also noticed that this young man would never express open dissent with anyone, but always agreed obligingly with whatever was being said.
Congressman Madden spoke of this to the younger congress-man, who admitted that he had this fault. “but,” the young congressman said, “you know how it is, Mr. Madden, the external pressures on us legislators are tremendous.”
“Young man,” said Madden, “I know all about the OUTER PRESSURES but where are your INNER BRACES?”
To everyone trying to live the Christian Life there are OUTER PRESSURES against your walk with God, your Holiness, your Purity, your Morality, your so called “Old Fashioned” standards of dress and conduct, against your Christian Character.
There are also OUTER PRESSURES of permissiveness and liberalism in Theology and doctrine that press against the Bible’s “STRAIT AND NARROW WAY” of salvation (Acts 2:38), the scriptural revelation Of ONE GOD (1 Timothy 3:16), and the basic Biblical “OLD PATHS” (Jeremiah 6:16) of truth.
The OUTTER PRESSURES are getting worse in our society. There is,
Rebellion against Authority,
Disrespect for Law, Order, Decency,
Disrespect for Older People, And Moral Conduct,
Disobedience to Parents, Teachers, and Ministers,
Flagrant disrespect to God, His Church, His Truth, His
Word, and His Person,
And a general letting down of integrity, honesty, respect,
Words such as the following are becoming a thing of the past in our world:
Respect for Others
There is much temptation in this world; in fact there has always been much temptation.
There is a lot of OUTER PRESSURE from friends, school, the world, false doctrine, false religion, cults, family, job associates, & Etc. OUTER PRESSURE to let down on the truth and give in on the basic Bible Teaching that we hold, and are absolutely necessary for salvation.
In today’s world Christians face drugs, dirty literature, liquor, cigarettes, bad language, disrespect to teachers and other authority, and immorality on every side. There is peer pressure to “compromise” and “join the crowd.” But God knows all about your OUTER PRESSURES and He has provided us INNER BRACES to help withstand the pressure.
Just remember that you are not alone when it comes to those OUTER PRESSEURS every other person who is trying to live for God faces these same or other like pressures.
We must also recognize that we cannot do anything about the OUTER PRESSURE but we can do something about our INNER BRACES.
We are know that in the construction of a building one of the most important thing is to dig down and lay a good, strong foundation (Luke 6:48). That sure foundation in the Christian life is obeying Acts 2:38.
The second most important things in construction of a building is the inner frame-work, the floor-joists, the rafters, the wall-studs, ceiling-joists, and etc. All of these are put in place to hold the structure up against all the forces of gravity, and wind and rain. Without all these being strong and properly placed the building will give way under the forces of nature.
Almost everything that is built including ships, cars, airplanes, boats, buildings, homes has INNER BRACES which everything else is attached to. If these INNER BRACES are not strong, even though the house may be beautiful on the outside, it is very liable to collapse. It may stand for a while but when the storm comes and the wind blows it is likely to fall under the OUTER PRESSURE.
Like wise the Christian must have strong INNER BRACES to withstand all the forces of the world that try to bring down our Christian Character. Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
BIBICAL EXAMPLES OF STRONG INNER BRACES:
(1) 2 Samuel 11:4-17 gives us an excellent example of a person who faced great OUTER PRESSURE yet exhibited great INNER BRACES that helped him to stand up against some unusual and strong OUTER PRESSURE, Uriah the Hittite.
(Uriah The Hittite To King David)
2 Samuel 11:11b “…… as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I WILL NOT DO THIS THING.”
When you read about Uriah the Hittite you will find that his INNER BRACES of
Devotion to duty,
Devotion to a cause,
Love of God’s truth,
Feeling of responsibility,
Were much stronger than the OUTER PRESSURES placed upon him by his own king.
The OUTTER PRESSURE OF THE BATTLE is more that enough, but on top of that, King David brought him back home from the battle to enjoy the comfort of home and the love of his own wife.
King David’s motive, however was to cover his own sin with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. Uriah had loyalty and respect for his king BUT REFUSED TO VIOLATE HIS OWN PRINCIPALS even under pressure from the king.
Uriah’s INNER BRACES were much stronger that the OUTER PRESSURES.
Note Uriah’s solid response to King David in 2 Samuel 11:11, “… as thou livest, and as thy soul livest, I will not do this thing.”
Uriah reveals in the first portion of that verse his deep INNER CONVICTIONS, HIS SOLID PRINCIPLES, and HIS TOP PRIORITIES, which he refused to compromise even at the command of his king.
David could not even trick Uriah into enjoying his wife’s love because Uriah’s devotion to duty, devotion to battle, devotion to a cause, and respect for time.
2 Samuel 11:11. “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”
Uriah’s respect for time was an INNER BRACE that kept him from enjoying his wife. H realized there was time for all things, BUT THIS WAS A TIME “WHEN KINGS WENT TO BATTLE” (2 Samuel 11:1) and not a time to sit home while others were dying on the battlefield. Uriah had established some INNER PRIORITIES.
It is important to note that David as a last resort tried to get Uriah drunk which he did (2 Samuel 11:13). David thought while Uriah was drunk that he would go down to his house.
Here is a time when most people lose their inhibitions and yield to their flesh, but not Uriah. His INNER BRACES HELD EVEN WHILE HE WAS DRUNK. His INNER CONVICTIONS were so strong that even intoxication could not alter them.
David as a last resort sent Uriah into the battle to get him killed. What is even more astounding is the fact that David gave Uriah the letter to carry which brought about his death. URIAH CARRIED HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT BACK INTO BATTLE.
Uriah probably knew what was in his hand, but not from reading his king’s mail mail, but from an inner intuition. His INNER BRACES of PRINCIPAL was to lead him to his death. BUT URIAH HAD RATHER DIE THAN TO VIOLATE WHAT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
To Uriah it was much BETTER TO DIE HONRABLY THAT TO LIVE AS A COMPROMISER AND A COWARD.
(2) The second example of a person with strong INNER BREACES we will use is Joseph. He resists the temptation of his mistress.”
Genesis 39:7. “And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9. There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Far away from home and his father’s house where he had been trained to serve and obey God, and now out from under the influence of those who had instructed and motivated him in worship of God, who would ever know if he gave in to the temptations of evil desires. The answer to this is, HIS OWN CONSCIENCE.
What a great answer to all motivations to sin, “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
(3) The third character witness we will bring to your attention is Jeremiah.
Jeremiah had been witnessing to the inhabitants and the king of Jerusalem because of their sins. Evil men took Jeremiah and put his hands and his feet in stocks by the city gates where he spent a terrible night. Jeremiah was downhearted thinking that the Lord had led him wrong when he saw his enemies gain advantage over him (Jeremiah 20:7).
THE INNER BRACES OF GOD’S WORD AND GOD’S SPIRIT came to his spiritual rescue.
Jeremiah 20:9b. “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
10. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
11. But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”
Two things we can count on to help us in time of need, God’s Word, and God’s Spirit.
Isaiah 59:19b. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”
The psalmist David recognized the strength of God’s word when he said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalms 119:11)
(4) Another example of Strong Godly Character is Daniel.
Daniel was a captive in a foreign country and threatened with being thrown in a den of lions if he did not stop praying to Jehovah and address his prayer to the king.
What did Daniel do?
Daniel 6:10. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Daniel was thrown in lions den but God did not let him down. Daniels STRONG INNER BRACES held him up in the face of great danger and God closed up the mouths of the lions so they could not harm him.
(5) There are many others we could call to record for their STRONG INNER BRACES:
THE THREE HEBREW CHILDREN ----- Daniel 6
ESTHER -------------------------------------------- Esther 4:16
Peter ------------------------------------------------ Acts 4; & 12
Paul ------------------------------------------------- Acts 16; 2 Corinthians 11:24-30
Jesus ---------------------------------- In Matthew, Mark Luke, & John
Betrayal, Gethsemane, Judgment Hall, Calvary
In all these their INNER BRACES HELD.
There are TWO VITAL PARTS OF ANY BUILDING.
1. THE FOUNDATION.
2. THE FRAMEWORK
It is important that a building be attractive and look nice, but ti is more important that a building be built upon a STRONG FOUNDATION and have STRONG INNER FRAMWORK. The strength of a building is not in its outer appearance, but ITS GUTS, ITS FRAMEWORK.
Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18b.) What Jesus was talking about was not a physical building made of wood and mortar but PEOPLE.
PEOPLE MUST BE BUILT. Holy Ghost Christians must have the PROPER FOUNDATION, and have STRONG FRAMING of TRUTH, PRINCIPALS, STANDARDS, CONVICTION, SPIRIT, and CHARACTER.
The world, the flesh, and the Devil will pound on our spiritual and moral walls to try to find a place of weakness. It is necessary that we have sufficient INNER CHARACTER BRACES to stand the pounding.
The most important thing in our life is to be saved and ready for heaven. Our most important possession is our soul. In order to keep our soul protected and ready for Jesus’ coming we must BUILD OUR INNER BRACES. We must study and know our-selves enough that we know our weak areas and BRACE THEM UP.
We can brace up our lives by BRACING UP OUR CHARACTER with,
PRINCIPALS FROM GOD’S WORD, and
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES such as
MORAL AND ETHICAL RIGHTEOUSNESS,
SOUND HABITS, AND
FAITHFULNESS TO GOD AND HIS HOUSE. (1 Peter 1:5-9)
IT’S TIME TO BUILD OUR INNER BRACES.
Back To Top
Chapter #2 NOT FOR SALE
Proverbs 1:10. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
Proverbs 23:23. “Buy the Truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”
DIAMONDS ARE FOUND IN THE PROVERBS.
Beginning with the 16th through the 24th chapter of Proverbs, nine chapters, Solomon gives moral, ethical, and spiritual precepts to his son. He speaks of the evil effects
HE SAYS TO GIVE HONOR TO FATHER AND MOTHER.
Then in the midst of these precepts he says, “Buy the Truth and Sell it not; …”
Truth is praised for its own sake as a supreme possession. Truth is to be acquired, and not to be parted with for any consideration, or any price.
Like the Pearl Of Great Price that the merchant found and in exchange, for which, He Gave All That He Had.
All the world is a market place and all the men and women are buyers and sellers. Every day is a market day, and evening brings the balance sheets of the things bought and sold, the tabulations of the net gain or loss.
Foolish people are selling the better things for the worse.
THE WISE BUY PRECIOUS AND ENDURING THINGS.
YOUR PHYSICAL STRENGTH,
YOUR MENTAL CAPABILITIES,
ARE BARTERED ON THE LABOR MARKET EVERY DAY.
In fact, even more of our beings are sold or bought each day.
WE ARE EITHER BUYING, OR SELLING, OUR SOULS DAILY.
A THING OF VALUE:
We all have owned, or own, things that had great value to us. We have said, “I wouldn’t take anything for it.” But, many times, with the passing of time, our appreciation of those things diminish. Then we are willing to sell these things, sometimes at a profit, sometimes at a loss.
Sometimes we get all the good from it and cast it aside. This is because much that we own has no lasting value.
“Buy The Truth And Sell It Not;”
It Is The Greatest Of Treasures.
Nothing which is purchased at the cost of Truth is worth the price.
Truths I Live By,
1. “I will not sacrifice my principals upon the altar of popularity.”
Do not sacrifice Truth upon any altar.
2. “I will be loyal to my Convictions at whatever the cost.”
In every generation of humanity since the Garden of Eden there have been many who were prone to “SELL OUT” for a price. Politicians, policemen, government agents, preachers, teachers, and other men and women in almost every field have “SOLD OUT” to be someone great, someone rich, or someone recognized. Some folks “SELL OUT” for much and some “SELL OUT” for little.
We will take a look at a few Bible Characters who sold their relationship with God and the results thereof. Everything sold has an asking price and the reward or sum received. We will look at the price of the sale, and also the reward of each sale.
EVE SOLD OUT
(1) The first character we will look at is Eve who “SOLD OUT” out her relationship with God, her protection by God, and her sustenance with God for something so much less and so little.
WHAT EVE SOLD
First let us look at what Eve sold. When God created Adam and Eve He planted a garden which would provide all their daily needs with no toil whatsoever. All they had to do was gather the fruit and eat till their hearts desire was satisfied.
Genesis 2:8. “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
God had also provided security:
(a) There was nothing to fear because all the animals had peace one with another.
(b)There were no storms to bring turmoil to their lives because all the elements of nature were calm.
(c)They were also created free from all disease and defects of the human body, therefore death had no claim upon them.
(d) The most valuable thing they owned was a close relationship with God Himself.
This relationship was very close. God had created man in His own image and walked and talked with them in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). God was pleased with His relationship with the first couple because He even brought the animals to Adam to see what Adam would call them.
From close analyses of the first two chapters of Genesis it indicates that Adam was created with very high intelligence not even having to learn how to talk. Since the fall much of this has been lost to human race.
In order for this relationship to continue through eternity God placed only one restriction on Adam and Eve. God had told them that they could eat of all the trees in the garden except one, THE TREE OF KNOWLEDG OF GOOD AND EVIL.
Genesis 2:16. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God made it plain that all they were enjoying would come to an end if they disobeyed this commandment. No earthy couple ever had so much to loose.
THE PRICE OFFERED:
Satan had been cast out of heaven and somehow gained entrance to that beautiful paradise of Eden. One day he approached Eve and made her an offer.
Genesis 3:1b. “And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Notice the first thing Satan offered was life instead of death. (v 4) (a lie)
Next thing he promised was being like God knowing good and evil. (a conscience)
THE SALE COMPLETED:
Genesis 3:6. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Adam and Eve “SOLD OUT” their close relationship with God, their livelihood, their freedom from fear, their very lives itself. They “SOLD OUT” for the things that the world has to offer.
“The lust of the flesh,”…….. “she saw that it was good for food.”
“The lust of the eyes,”…….. “pleasant to the eyes.”
“The pride of life.”………… “to be desired to make one wise.”
THE REWARD FROM THE SALE:
Genesis 3:7. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
As we said every sale has its reward. Adam and Eve were rewarded with a conscience which told them of their nakedness, but this conscience also told them that they were not right with God. It brought shame and fear about coming into Gods presence.
GOD ARRAIGNS ADAM AND EVE:
Every sin brings judgment and God brought Adam and Eve into His court for sentence (Genesis 3:9-24).
THE RESULTS OF THE SALE:
(a) It brought homelessness to Adam and Eve,
(b) They were expelled from the Garden, and
(c) Eve brought suffering to all women through child bearing.
(d) Adam was forced to work to earn their living by the sweat of his brow.
(e) And finally they would return to the earth from which they were taken when
death came upon them.
The Devil offered “his price” and they (SOLD OUT)
ESAU SOLD OUT
(2) The next Bible character we will look at is Esau who “SOLD OUT” his inheritance, or birthright, for a bowl of pea soup.
Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah and had the right of the family inheritance. Evidently Esau thought little of the right of inheritance because he was willing to SELL IT for so little gain. Yet it was the highest priced meal in history.
Genesis 25:31. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33. And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Esau, by birth, had the right to,
“The blessings of God,”
“The leadership of God’s people,”
“The favor and protection of God.”
Jacob came along and said to Esau “SELL ME THIS DAY THY BIRTHRIGHT.”
Esau was at a WEAK MOMENT: He was at a moment in his life where the birthright was NOT IMPORTANT TO HIM.
Somehow his daddy had failed to instill into him THE VALUE AND IMPORTANNCE OF THE BIRTHRIGHT.
ESAU SOLD OUT HIS PLACE AND POSITION IN GOD FOR SUCH A CHEAP PRICE-----“A BOWL OF RED POTTAGE.”
Genesis 27:34. “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
38. And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Later the scripture tells us he “sought it carefully with tears.” Hebrews 12:17
There is always a great price to pay, and remorse in the end when we “SELL OUT” our inheritance with God. When Satan comes and offers us his price let us be quick to tell him that we are “NOT FOR SALE.”
JUDAS ISCARIOT SOLD OUT:
(2) One of the greatest tragedies of the Bible is the story of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ own disciples who “SOLD OUT TO SATAN.” Judas “SOLD OUT” for a price—a cheap price at that.
WHAT JUDAS SOLD:
Judas had been chosen by Jesus to be an apostle. This was the highest office that Jesus had to offer any man. Judas became a member of that Apostolic Band who surrounded and followed Jesus every day for more than three years. Judas had been given authority over unclean spirits and devils. Judas also prayed for people who were sick and they were healed (Luke 10:17).
Judas beheld God in all of His glory. He knew the redeemer, the savior, the healer, Judas knew the “WAY,” the “TRUTH,” and “THE LIFE.”
One of the 12 key places of leadership was his in God’s Kingdom.
The glory of Pentecost lay just ahead.
A place in the Lamb’s book of Life was his.
Heaven’s gates were waiting for him.
His name on one of the 12 foundations of the Holy City. (Revelation 21:14)
JUDAS’ PRICE 30 PIECES OF SILVER:
The Devil offered him his price and Judas SOLD OUT all of this for 30 pieces of silver.
SOLD his place in the Kingdom Of Heaven,
SOLD the Glory of ETERNAL LIFE,
SOLD THE PRINCE OF LIFE.
FOR THE MOMENT JUDAS WAS HAPPY:
We have said that THE SALE OF ANY THING HAS A DOUBLE REWARD. And in the case of Judas he has his money. The bag he carried was heavier. He had visions of how he was going to spend the 30 pieces of silver. Maybe he thought about buying a plot of ground close to Jerusalem.
A REVIVED CONSCIENCE:
They laid hold on Jesus and bound him and led him away to the house of the High Priest. There they sought for, and finally found, false witness to testify against Jesus. They derided him, and mocked him, they spit upon him, and buffeted him with their fists.
When daylight came they led him away bound, to Pilate to seek his death.
Judas Iscariot was witness to all of this.
Judas could take no more. His conscience would not die.
Judas Iscariot knew in his heart that the things which were said were not true.
He had seen and heard so many wonderful things which Jesus had done.
He's not a blasphemer
He's not a criminal
He's a good man
Jesus was being condemned to death for something he did not do.
And Judas felt responsible for it.
Judas Iscariot's conscience was revived and he felt guilty, and remorse.
Judas Iscariot was heart sick probably for the first time in his life,
AND HE CAME TO HIMSELF.
THE BARGAIN REPENTED:
Judas was smitten with remorse when he saw Jesus led away bound and delivered over to the Roman Governor.
Matthew tells us that Judas Iscariot repented himself. (Matthew 27:3)
But this was not repentance towards God.
Repentance in itself is not enough as we shall see.
Judas once again confronted the Chief Priests and Elders.
Judas Iscariot told the Chief Priests and Elders "I have sinned."
What A Confession!
Of the thousands in our Bible fewer than a half dozen made that confession openly.
King Saul said "I have sinned a great sin" (1 Samuel 15:24)
Job said "I have sinned (Job 7:20)
THE PITILESS PURCHASERS:
But Judas Iscariot found no pity with the High Priest and Elders.
You should be left to bear the fullest penalty of your own sin.
(Matthew 27:4) What is that to us? See thou to that?
These religious men had no concern either of his fate or of his tortured conscience. They had no pity.
THAT IS THE WAY SATAN TREATS EVERY SINNER:
Who knows? Perhaps if Judas Iscariot had received sympathy and counsel from those who should have given it, He might have been saved even at that last hour.
OUR ATTITUDE WHEN WE SIN:
It is our God given right to repent. It is his privilege to give us forgiveness.
Hebrews 4:15. For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, …”
16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
A TORTURED CONSCIENCE:
No greater pain can we bear than a tortured conscience.
It drove Judas Iscariot to suicide.
It would have been different had Judas sought out the one who he had wronged.
Judas Iscariot could have been the first to come to the foot of the cross. He would have no doubt found that place of forgiveness.
Jesus was already dying for the sins of all men, even Judas Iscariot.
The blood of Jesus will never lose it's power.
A TRAGIC END:
For so long Judas Iscariot had been hard hearted, But now he was broken hearted.
Matthew tells us that he threw the money down in the temple and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:5)
Luke tells that Judas Iscariot's bowels gushed out. (Acts 1:18)
SIN HAS A DREADFUL END
THE TERRIBLE ETERNITY:
If by taking his own life, Judas Iscariot thought he could end the misery of his conscience. He made a terrible mistake.
Conscience goes with us to eternity.
Remember The rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31)
When sin and trouble gang upon a person, he despairs of life.
If he thinks suicide as a way out of his inner remorse,
He is cruelly deceived of the devil.
Peter said, “Judas by Transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25)
Jesus said "I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
How far different from the place Judas Iscariot went?
"He went to his own place."
All men do, saints and sinner.
Paradise or Perdition,
The choice is made this side of the grave.
Men go to their own place, not because they were not loved of God, and not constantly warned of their peril.
Each sinner writes his own biography in that one sentence
"HE WENT TO HIS OWN PLACE."
Judas Iscariot's repentance came too late.
He could not set the clock back.
He had passed the redemption point.
We have spent considerable time on Judas perhaps the study of his life will help give warning to each of us that we are human just like Judas and subject to all the temptations of the flesh. Remember Judas had a closer walk with Jesus than any of us, and yet yielded to the price Satan offered him and HE SOLD OUT FOR ONLY 30 PIECES OF SILVER.
The Power Of Money, Though Enormously Great, Is Limited.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS MONEY CAN’T BUY
1. A Good Name,
2. A Good Reputation,
3. An Easy Conscience, Free Of Guilt,
5. A Man’s Trust,
6. A Woman’s Love,
8. The Right To Pray,
9. A Place In God’s Church,
10. An Inheritance With Saints.
These things must be bought with something besides money,
They must be bartered for.
We must give up something in exchange for,
Truth, Character, And Trust.
The tendency to “SELL OUT” starts in childhood. If a child is not taught that wrong is punished, and if he get no spankings, then WRONG IS NOT MADE DISTASTEFUL TO HIM. Children oftentimes get their desire by doing wrong.
If he cries long enough, he get candy.
If he throws a temper tantrum, he is given an ice-cream cone to appease him.
He finds he does not have to mind his parents because he knows will receive no punishment.
If this process is allowed to carry on in a child then he’ll learn that he can say “NO” to the teacher, “I WON’T” to the adult, “I DON’T HAVE TO” to the law, then finally “NO” TO THE LORD.
Disrespect and rebellion should never be tolerated in our children. They do know better and if they don’t know better and if they don’t they need to be taught better.
The tendency to “SELL OUT” continues into young adulthood. Many young people do right if it turns out right. They feel right needs to be proven. Every action is determined by its results or rewards. According to this opinion NOTHING IS RIGHT OR WRONG IN ITSELF, ONLY HOW IT TURNS OUT.
Therefore any action, thought, or deed can become right if it turns out right. In other words the end always justifies the means. THESE PEOPLE ONLT STAND UNTIL THE PRICE IS BIG ENOUH. These people have not been taught to live by principals. Their convictions only last until the “SELLING PRICE” reaches their whim, fancy, and their desires.
This tendency to “SELL OUT” continues in adulthood.
From such untrained, undisciplined, unloved children and young people come our gangsters, our crooked politicians, and compromising preachers, our loafers, our lawbreakers, and our home-breakers.
From the earliest point in childhood we should be taught that we should have “CONVICTIONS” and Godly “PRINCIPALS” that “DO NOT CHANGE” with every little wind of fad or fashion. “CONVICTIONS BORN OF GOD’S WORD” and “TRUTH” and “PRINCIPALS OF RIGHT AND WRONG.”
YOU NEED TO SETTLE IT IN YOUR MIND.
YOU NEED TO SETTLE IT IN YOUR HEART.
YOU NEED TO MAKE IT A STRONG DEEP CONVICTION OF YOUR SOUL
“NEVER TO SELL OUT YOUR,”
for any price to satisfy temporary selfish desires.
Do right for it’s own sake,
Do right away from church,
Do right away from home,
Do right away from your city.
Serve God in truth, righteousness, and holiness and when the Devil, the world, the flesh comes along and offers you a price place a sigh over your soul that says, “NOT FOR SALE”
Back To Top
Chapter #3 “MEET (fit) FOR THE MASTER’S USE”
2 Timothy 2:20. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”(Set aside for special use) (A vessel of honor)
God desires people that He can use in His service. It is up to each individual to prepare himself for the service of the Lord. There are certain things that God requires for us to do in order to be a usable vessel or instrument.
There are FOUR KEY WORDS in the scripture we have used in 2 Timothy 2:20-21.
V. 20 –Vessel, Honor
V. 21—Meet, Prepared
Vessel = A hollow or concave utensil (bottle, kettle, cup, bowl)
For holding something.
Honor = Outward respect, a symbol of distinction, a person of superior standing, One who’s worth brings respect or fame.
Meet == adj. ; Suitable, proper, fit (fit for use or action). (Clean)
Prepared = adj. ; ready, equipped.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 Paul says that our body is “the temple of the Holy Ghost,” an that we are to “Glorify God in your body and spirit.” This scripture tells us that your body, my body, is the vessel, the utensil for holding God’s Spirit.
Our scripture text (2 Timothy 2:20-21) lays special emphasis, not so much on the contents, but on the container, the utensil, BUT THE VESSEL ITSELF. If the container is weak, has a crack, the contents will flow out.
OUR EMPHASIS IS ON THE CONTAINER
We in Pentecost have stressed the contents (The Holy Spirit) and have forgotten about the container.(A DIRTY CONTAINER CONTAMINATES THE PRODUCT)
Jesus said in Matthew 9:16. “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
WE MUST GET “NEW BOTTLES.” NEW VESSELS, NEW CONTAINERS TO HOLD THE “NEW WINE.”
MEET (fit) FOR THE MASTER’S USE:
We have preached, and talked about what will keep the “new wine” or contents flowing, such as praying-fasting-holiness, but have neglected some things to keep our bottles strong.
WE MUST REMEMBER IF WE KEEP THE HOLY GHOST IT WILL KEEP US.
In order to keep the Holy Ghost we must KEEP OUR VESSEL and
OUR CONTAINER in proper condition.
Our vessel needs to be symbol of distinction, honorable, of superior standing.
“MEET (suitable, proper, fit) FOR THE MASTER’S USE.”
Remember, once you repent of all your sins (cleaned up your vessel, your bottle), once you have been baptized in the lovely name of JESUS CHRIST for the remission of your sins (washed your bottles clean from the stains of sin), and once you have been filled with the HOLY GHOST with the evidence of speaking with other tongues (Acts 2:4)
YOU HAVE THE RESPOSIBILITY TO KEEP THE
CONTENTS OF THE NEW WINE BY KEEPING IN
TOP CONDITION THE VESSEL OR CONTAINER.
PAUL ADMONISHING TIMOTHY:
(Written between first & second Imprisonment A.D. 63-67)
1 Timothy 4:12. “Let no man despise thy youth; but
BE THOU AN EXAMPLE of the believers,
IN WORD, in CONVERSATION, in CHARITY, in
SPIRIT, in FAITH, in PURITY.
13. Till I come,
GIVE ATTENDANCE to READING,
to EXHORTATION, to DOCTRINE.
14. NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE,
15. MEDITATE UPON THESE THINGS;
GIVE THYSELF WHOLLY TO THEM;
that thy profiting may appear to all.
16. TAKE HEED UNTO THEM, and
UNTO THE DOCTRINE;
CONTINUE IN THEM
for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
MANY PEOPLE GET THE HOLY GHOST BUT FAIL TO KEEP IT. WHY?
When we look close we can find the answer. The answer lies in the fact that when they got the Holy Ghost they thought the “New Wine” was all that was needed.
THEY FORGOT ABOUT THEIR VESSEL, THEIR BODY, THEIR TEMPLE, AND THEIR CONTAINER.
DON’T FORGET YOUR VESSEL. Your vessel must kept clean, it must be kept honorable, and IT MUST BE KEPT FIT AND READY for the Master’s use.
People fail to keep the gift of the Holy Ghost because
THEY FAIL TO CONSECRATE their body, their mind, and their actions to God’s word and will.
We must, through CONSCIENTIOUS EFFORT yield ourselves to God’s Word and WILLFULLY submit our body, mind and soul to solid principles of God’s truth and Word.
(1) NEEDFUL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CONTAINER, THE VESSEL:
DISCIPLINE -- To train, develop by instruction and exercise
to impose order.
Training that corrects and molds.
Perfects mental facilities or moral character.
SELF RESPECT -- Respect for God, respect for others, respect for self.
The second great commandment is “love your neighbor as Yourself.”
YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PERSON.
You are a unique individual.
Respect God enough to love and
Serve Him in truth according To HIS plan.
Respect others enough and their rights as a person and the Human family to
Have compassion on them, minister to them, and to live in harmony with them
without compromising your own self-worth and respect. Romans 12:18.
Respect yourself enough not to tear yourself down in light of other people.
Respect your body as the temple of the Holy Ghost and REFUSE to let anything defile.
You gain in self-respect by doing what is right and proper.
CHARACTER = def. Distinctive quality. One of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual. A person marked by notable or conspicuous traits
Moral excellence , strength, and firmness.
Character is the better half of your wealth.
Your most valuable Possession as a Holy Ghost Christian is Godly Character.
A great preacher rightly said, “Be what you ought to be then you Can do what you ought to do.”
Many talented, intelligent, and people blessed with ability have failed in life for lack of character.
In most cases talent will flee from character, but character will seek out talent to perform a necessary task.
STAND FOR NOTHING AND YOU WILL FALL FOR
ANYTHIING: (Stand up for what’s right, noble)
Character has three vital ingredients,
BACKBONE, BACKBONE, BACKBONE:
MATURITY = def. The stage of coming into full development. “Perfect”
Being able to accept, cope with, and handle, the demands, Situations, troubles, and
pressures of life.
OBEDIENCE = def. Submitting oneself to proper authority.
A child submitting to parental authority.
A sinner submitting to God’s authority.
A saint submitting to God’s authority.
A citizen submitting to and abiding by the laws of the land.
RESPONSIBILITY = def. The ability to carry loads without complaining, Bickering, or seeking glory.
The more mature we become the more responsibility we can handle and carry with trust.
Responsibility is being accountable to someone for one’s actions.
Responsibility is to see a job that needs to be done and willingly and voluntarily do it
without complaining or seeking glory.
Responsibility is doing a job right for its own sake.
Responsibility is saying like Harry Truman said,
“The buck stops here.”
A mature, responsible person can say “The buck stops here” if, a venture is a success and if a venture is not a success.
The immature and irresponsible want credit for the successful venture but want to pass the buck to someone else when it is not so successful.
The responsible person finds the way to overcome all obstacles.
To complete a given task.
The irresponsible finds the excuse why they could nor complete a given task.
INTEGRITY = def. Doing what you said you would do.
Being a man or woman of your word.
It has been well said, “A man is only as good as his word.”
We must back up our words with action.
HONESTY = def. Being true to yourself. Being true to God. And being true to others.
Shakespeare rightly said, “To thine ownself be true then thou canst not be false to any man.”
THESE ATTRIBUTES DO NOT DESCRIBE THE CONTENTS,
THEY DESCRIBE THE CONTAINER, THE VESSEL.
(2) GETTING THE SINFUL VESSEL HONORABLE THROUGH ACTS 2:38
Acts 2:38. gets the bottle or vessel, or temple cleaned up Through repentance, washed up through baptism in the name Of Jesus Christ, and filled up with the new wine of the Holy Ghost. (We cannot neglect Acts 2:38)
The purpose of Acts 2:38. is to prepare your soul for eternity and get your temple, your container, your body, your vessel MEET (fit) and prepared for the master’s use.
YOU MUST BUILD UPON THE PROPER FOUNDATION:
(3) VESSELS REFINED, REMOLDED, REMADE, AND REPAIRED.
After one has been “born of the water and the spirit,” God with loving and careful hands begins to remold, remake, and refine our vessel to make it what it ought to be for His glory.
Trials, testing, challenges, and adversities are like the fire that refines the gold by taking out the impurities. Trials are like the refining process that iron goes through to make pure steel.
NO CHRISTIAN IS EXEMPT FROM THE REFINING PROCESS
It is God’s way of helping us to mature and grow up in Him.
The refining and remolding process is sometimes slow and painful but the End result is a high quality vessel that is pure and clean and ready for the Master’s use.
There are many examples in God’s Word of how God made his jewels under the hardest pressure.
Faith was born out of adversity in Abraham’s life.
Determination was born out of the struggles of Jacob’s life.
Patience was born out in Joseph’s life.
Moses, Joshua, the Three Hebrew Children, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah Esther, Job, Jeremiah, Stephen, Peter, and the Apostle Paul are just A few examples of God’s loving refining process.
It has been rightly said that “A diamond is just a lump of coal that stuck To its job.” Science tells us that diamonds are formed under tremendous Pressure. (No pressure on earth can do it)
God has left us a beautiful example of His work in our lives in the book of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 18:1. “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2. Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6. O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
God wanted to teach Jeremiah how He was working for the good of the people of Israel, so He sent him down to the potter’s house to watch the potter at work.
As Jeremiah watched, the potter took a lump of clay and began the process of fashioning a vessel on the wheel. As the potter worked with His hands shaping the lump of clay into a vessel of his own design something happened, and the vessel he had planned to make was suddenly marred, or miss-shapened, in His hands.
(The clay did not fall off the wheel)
As Jeremiah watched, the potter, did not, at this point, cast the clay away, but, in his great patience, put the clay back on the wheel and fashioned another vessel from the same lump. (The most important character in this is the potter)
We want to look at this passage and learn, as Jeremiah did, something about how God works in our own life. We will see some of the same procedures being applied in His task of fashioning us into a vessel “Fit For The Master’s Use.”
THE CHURCH IS THE POTTER’S HOUSE.
Something is taking place in the Church, (Helps to shape our life) because the Potter is at work.
One day God put on His work clothes. (Philippians 2:5-8)
God is the potter who works in the potter’s house.
The mind of the potter rules there. (A vessel like He wants to make)
There (in the church) we will hear the Word of the Lord.
It takes a special kind of clay for the Potter to make a vessel from.
It is dug out of the river bottoms, out from underneath the surface.
Psalms 40:2. “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
God is looking, digging, for you.
The clay is worthless without the Potter.
The clay has to be broken in His hands.
I WANT EVERYONE TO NOTICE THAT THIS ENTIRE PROCESS TAKES PLACE IN THE HANDS OF THE POTTER:
The Potter takes the clay (that’s us) and breaks it apart and kneads it like a baker kneads the dough, working it IN HIS HANDS.
We can liken this unto conviction when the Holy Spirit begins to work on us and we become broken on the Altar, weeping and agonizing before God. This is God’s way of separating us from our sins and the things of the world, we call this repentance.
Then the Potter washes the clay to wash away the dirt or earth which is not real clay.
We submit to Water Baptism to wash away our sins, (Acts 2:38) or the elements in us which will not make a vessel which can be used.
Then the Potter takes the lump of clay which has been broken and washed and puts it in a press. This process is very necessary because the press is used to get rid of impurities, sand, gravel, twigs, leaves, and all foreign matter.
The press is very essential to rid the clay of all impurities because when the vessel is baked it will break if there are impurities left in it. So next time we feel the pressure maybe it is God trying to rid us of some impurity. Let us pray day by day that God’s will be done in our lives
The pressure comes as a natural process of following God.
If we read the history of God’s people they were all under pressure at various times.
After the clay has been broken, washed, and pressed, the Potter takes it IN HIS HANDS places it upon the Wheel. The Potter’s wheel consists of a round table top attached to a shaft that is rotated by petals which the potter turns by His feet and legs.
Round and round the top spins and the Potter grasps the clay with HIS HANDS forming a circle around It. He applies slight pressure and the clay begins to rise in HIS HANDS, and take on the form of a vessel.
The Potter touches the clay and shapes it as it spins on the wheel. The Potter has in His mind the shape and size of the vessel He wants to make from this particular lump of clay.
Sometimes, as in the instance Jeremiah witnessed, the clay that the Potter is working with, for some reason, does not form, or shape to His satisfaction.
Maybe it was too firm or stiff, so He adds a little more water to the clay making it more pliable, kneading it with HIS HANDS until it feels just right. It may have been too soft, so He adds a little more clay to the lump and works it in with HIS HANDS.
Whatever the reason for the marred vessel, THANK GOD THE POTTER STARTS ANEW, repeatedly if necessary, with the same lump of clay, on the same wheel, to make another vessel.
YOU AND I ARE THE CLAY IN THE HANDS OF THE MASTER POTTER, and no matter what happens, no matter how many times He has to start over with us, DO FALL OUT OF HIS HANDS as round and round we go.
STAY ON THE WHEEL AND LET HIS HANDS MOLD US INTO A VESSEL HE CAN USE. This is very necessary for, as we describe the further process there comes a time when the vessel can no more be reworked.
THE CURING PROCESS
At length the Potter puts the finishing touches on the vessel and when He finishes He gently sets it aside somewhere on a shelf with hundreds of other vessels.
This is called the Curing Process. This also is a very necessary process. The vessel sets there not being used for days, sometimes weeks, just Curing Out, not yet ready for service.
Did You Ever Feel Like God Has Just Set You Aside And Forgotten About You?
Remember I told you how important that the Curing Process was.
In the back of the Potters House is a furnace and a green vessel, or one that is not cured, will not stand the awful heat of the furnace.
God knows us best, and He knows what we can stand, HE IS A MASTER POTTER and will, if we will allow His Process to work in our lives, make of us a Vessel FIT FOR HIS USE.
The furnace is heated to near One Thousand Degrees and the cured vessel is placed in there for hours and hours, this is called firing, or the cooking process.
In the wall of the furnace there is a small opening into which the Potter can look at each vessel to see how they are standing up to the firing process. Remember God never takes His eyes off of you.
MEET (fit) FOR THE MASTER’S USE cont.
If each process has gone well a smile will come across His face as He watches each vessel become the finished product He started out to make.
But if one vessel begins to sag a little it has not had time to cure before it was placed in the furnace, then he will take a long rod to push it over into the fire lest it turn over and take others with it.
If there have been any impurities left in any vessel, a twig, a leaf, even a grain of sand, it will literally explode from the extreme heat.
Now we can see the importance of each of these processes as we place ourselves INTO THE HANDS OF THE POTTER and ask Him to make of us a vessel for His service.
EACH OF US WILL BE ASKED TO GO THROUGH THE FURNACE.
This is the trials, and for some, tribulations, and others, severe persecutions to endure. This is the finishing touch; this is what makes the clay into a vessel that can be used for many things.
Without this process the clay would never become an enduring vessel. Some fired clay vessels are among the oldest objects, made by man, that have ever been found. Some are thousands of years old. God Is Fashioning Us For Eternity.
THE POTTER’S FIELD
Out behind the Potter’s House is a waste refuse where all the broken pieces of pottery, which would have been a vessel, are thrown, it is called The Potter’s Field.
A walk through the potter’s field would reveal a terrible waste. There are not only broken pieces, but crooked vessels, and Marred Vessels, some with no handles, pitchers without a pouring spout, and on and on, Vessels Of No Use To The Potter.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Everything that is in the Potter’s Field was intended to be a vessel of some kind.
Everything that ends up in The Potter’s Field is there because of flaws of some kind. Some, the clay Was Impure, Inconsistent, Others Broke When The Heat From The Furnace Was Applied.
BIBLE HISTORY IS FILLED WITH BROKEN AND MARRED VESSELS:
The Lord chose twelve lumps of clay to make special vessels from.
He found them.
He dug them out of various occupations and places.
One was a tax collector,
Four were fishermen,
Another was sitting under a fig tree,
One was a Zealot,
The rest were men of varied occupations.
He took them into His Hands and began to work with them.
He put them on the wheel and applied gentle pressure.
At times He set them aside to cure.
Then He put them in the furnace of trial.
One of them sagged and denied Him,
But Jesus took him in His hands and reworked him.
One of them broke and betrayed Him,
And was cast out into The Potter’s Field.
Acts 1:16. “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
20. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (KJV)
LET US ASK GOD TO MAKE US INTO A VESSEL LIKE HE WOULD HAVE US TO BE:
(4) LEARN TO SAY “NO” TO SIN, TO THE DEVIL, TO TEMPTATION:
Proverbs 1:10. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
Have backbone enough and convictions enough to stand on your own two feet and absolutely refuse in Jesus’ name.
Be definite in your actions and firm in your speech.
(5) FORM GOOD, POSITIVE, CLEAN, PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL HABITS:
Learn Good Personal Habits
Shine your shoes
Make your bed
Clean your room
Do your chores
Boys do men’s work, yard work, mechanic work
Girls do ladies work, learn to cook and keep house
Do homework on time
Read proper books and literature
Keep proper company
Do not go anywhere that is questionable.
Form Good Spiritual Habits
Pray often each day
Read and study your Bible each day
Be faithful in Church attendance
Try to fast at least once each week
Witness to your friends about Jesus.
Be Consistent In Your Actions And Habits
(6) KEEP YOUR BODY UNDER SUBJECTION
1 Corinthians 9:27. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Keeping bodily appetites, passions, and desires under control of the Holy Ghost and the “will” is vitally important for the Christian.
SELF-CONTROL which is the “WILL” conquering the Fleshly Cravings leads to a happy, rewarding, and fulfilled life.
All desires are not sinful such as sexual desire for the opposite sex BUT THEY MUST BE KEPT UNDER CONTROL AND DIRECTED IN THE PROPER DIRECTION.
Hebrews 13:4. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
In Romans 1:24-32. The apostle Paul give a graphic example of people who go to the excess of sexual pleasure and the result of God giving them over to a depraved mind.
GREED something else that needs to be controlled early in life as I can grow until a person is obsessed with it.
A Biblical example of this is found in the book of Genesis 24:30 when Laban, the brother of Rebekah saw the jewels on his sister’s arm his greed immediately him drew into sending his sister to marry a rich man. Years later the greed that was forming in him at that time grew until he swindled his nephew, Jacob, in a deal for a wife Genesis 29:25, and later cheated Jacob 10 times in his wages Genesis 31:36-42.
Greed leads to many other offences such as theft, lying, and unhappiness with your lot in life. Hebrews 13:5. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
KEEP YOUR BODY STRONG
By keeping our bodies strong through physical exercise and proper nutrition helps us stay mentally alert and able to think and act properly.
Mental discipline is necessary to keep our mind on things that are wholesome. If we let our mind dwell on unholy or immoral things we will begin to lean towards them.
Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Mental control which is a process of keeping out negative and destructive thoughts is so important to the Christian. Someone said it well, “YOU CAN’T STOP THE BIRDS FROM FLYING AROUND HEARD, BUT YOU CAN KEEP THEM FROM BUILDING A NEST THERE.” Every Holy Ghost Christian has a mighty defense against all destructive mental thoughts.
LET GOD HELP YOU FIGHT YOUR BATTLES:
2 Corinthians 10:3. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5. Casting down imaginations, (negative thoughts) and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:
MEET (fit) FOR THE MASTER’S USE cont.
THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP CONTROL YOUR MIND
The following is a list of things that you can do to help bring your mind under control and discipline your thoughts.
(1) Proper physical exercise.
(2) Constant Bible reading and reading good clean literature.
(3) Harmonizing speech and action.
(4) REFUSE to let your mind wander off of the task at hand.
(5) Do everything with a purpose with no aimless, purposeless thoughts.
(6) Work with purpose, play with purpose, plan ahead, maintain a Schedule, do constructive thinking.
(7) Meditate on God’s Word in quiet moments.
(8) Think on things that are pure, honest, lovely, upgrading, inspiring.
(9) Take command of your thought life in Jesus Name (2 Corinthians 10:5).
(10) Be consistent in your efforts, don’t give up because of setbacks.
(11) NEVER GIVE UP--settle it in your mind—NEVER GIVE UP.
(12) Make definite affirmations out loud when faced with challenges.
“I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME.”
“GOD IS WITH ME NOW.”
“I WILL OVERCOME.”
“NOTHING WILL SEPARATE ME FROM
THE LOVE OF CHRIST.”
“I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR
THROUGH HIM THAT LIVES ME.”
Remember, YOU HAVE NO WEAKNESS IN JESUS.
Commit your body, mind, and soul to Him and TRUST HIM to keep you in every situation.
When you falter be like the prophet that said,
“Though I fall seven times I SHALL ARISE!
THE LORD SHALL BE A LIGHT UNTO ME!” (Micah 7:8)
One heavyweight boxing champion was asked what made him most successful? He said, “When I’m knocked down, in pain, and my body aching, I JUST MAKE UP MY MIND TO GET UP ONE MORE TIME AND GO ONE MORE ROUND.”
That’s what God asks us to do.
(7) DO LITTLE THINGS WELL
Make up your mind to do the little seemingly unimportant things well.
IF A JOB IS WORTH DOING IT IS WORTH DOING RIGHT.
If you are going to shine your shoes, do it right, and do it well.
If anything is your responsibility, DO IT RIGHT AND DO IT WELL.
Make this a solid principal of your conduct.
Remember, you are not fit to take on large tasks and large responsibilities If you are not diligent in the little things.
REMEMBER—THERE IS NO LITLE TASK!
If a job needs doing it is worth doing well and worth doing right.
(8) KEEP A GOOD NAME:
Proverbs 22:1. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
Ecclesiastes 7:1. “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.”
(9) KEEP A CLEAN CONSCIENCE:
Conscience == The sense or awareness of one’s of own conduct, intentions, or obligations to do right.
A facility, power or principal enjoining good and evil.
The since of right and wrong.
Conscience is that little INNER VOICE that never seems to rest when we do something that injures it.
Conscience begins in childhood and is trained to learn right and wrong. It learns when our parents say no to something we should not be doing.
CONSCIENCE IS FORMED BY THE PRINCIPALS WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.
It is further trained in school by teachers and those in authority. Conscience gets its most important training in Sunday School and Church services as we hear God’s Word which tells us how to live in favor with God.
The conscience is given by God to convict us when we are in the wrong.
John 8:9. “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
OUR CONSCIENCE IS THE GREATEST PREACHER WE WILL EVER HEAR.
Every time we do something wrong, CONSCIENCE BUILDS A PULPIT and begins to preach to us. Let us listen to our conscience because once injured enough it will cease to preach and remain silent and then we are doomed to eternal damnation.
BLESSED IS THE PERSON WHO HAS A CONSCIENCE
We want to look at the progression of an injured conscience to the point of silence.
A GOOD CONSCIENCE
First let us look at how a person feels that has a good conscience.
The conscience will speak for itself.
Romans 9:1. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”
Paul near the end of his ministry is brought before the Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem where he defends his life.
Acts 23:1. “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
Paul is saying “whatever you may think of me, I have in every thing approved myself to God, and lived honestly. We see here the character of an honest man.
With a good conscience, and that gave him a good courage.
“However I may be reproached, my heart does not reproach me, but witnesses for me.”
He had aimed at nothing but to please God and do his duty,
I have lived in all good conscience; I have had my whole conversation (manner of life) under the direction and dominion of my conscience.
Acts 24:16 “Acts 24:16. (KJV) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”
A WOUNDED CONSCIENCE
Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded?
Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flows out, And he bleeds to an everlasting death.
1 Corinthians 8:12. Paul speaks of wounding the conscience. It is possible for a person’s conscience to be hurt.
The conscience is sensitive like the Holy Spirit.
When we do wrong the Holy Spirit is hurt.
Likewise the conscience is hurt.
And like a sore thumb if it is continued to be hurt, it become infected. Then the infection has to be cleansed.
We need to BE SENSITIVE TO THAT LITTLE INNER VOICE that tells us we have done something wrong and begin immediately to make things right.
We cleanse our conscience by praying and asking God to forgive us, and also making things right if we have offended someone. Then the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from that sin and also purges, or cleanses our conscience.
Hebrews 9:14. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Titus 1:15. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
Your conscience is defiled (corrupted) when you start to believe that nothing is wrong and begin to do and practice all sorts of evil things.
No person can live in filth and not expect to get filthy.
No person can live in filthy pleasures and practices and remain clean spiritually.
The same with spiritual attitudes and beliefs.
This leads to rebellion against all Godly guidance and counsel.
The Bible warns us that some will backslide and leave the true teachings of God’s Word and listen to the Devil and believe and teach all kinds of false doctrine. Their conscience which once spoke and warned then of their offenses, has been overridden (not listened to) until it has become callused and no longer sensitive to wrongdoing.
1 Timothy 4:1. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
A person who has not been raised in an environment where they had their conscience trained to know good from evil, does not know better when they commit an evil act. They feel no guilt or remorse when they do wrong.
Many of those have no inner restraint and rely on the natural laws of the land to guide them in their daily life. Many even break these laws and end up in prison or an outcast from society.
When they hear the Gospel message and begin to realize they have committed offences against God and are convicted in their hearts of their transgressions, and if they will repent and turn their hearts towards God, obey Him in water baptism, His blood will cleanse and renew their unholy conscience.
Hebrews 10:22. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
By reading God’s word, and listening to Gospel preaching, their conscience will begin to learn Gods laws and commandments and be conformed to the Bible Standard of Holiness. Many are those who have had THEIR CONSCIENCE ACTIVATED in midlife.
NO MORE CONSCIENCE:
It is possible for a person to commit sin over and over to the point where the CONSCIENSE WILL NOT BOTHER THEM and finally become dead. Then the person has no conscience or inner voice to deter him from evil things. WOE BE UNTO THE PERSON WHO HAS NO MORE CONSCIENSE.
10. LEARN TO HATE THE THINGS THAT GOD HATES:
You cannot love God without hating some of the things that God hates.
1. Hate quitting.
2. Hate sin.
3. Hate the devil.
4. Hate compromise.
5. Hate weakness.
6. Hate false doctrine.
7. Hate laziness.
8. Hate slothful business practice.
9. Hate complaining.
10. Hate hypocrisy.
Psalms 97:10. “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”
11. BE STRONG IN YOUR CONVICTIONS:
There is an old saying “The man who will not stand for his convictions, will fall for anything.”
LET THIS BE YOUR RULE TO LIVE BY:
I WILL NOT SACRIFICE MY PRINCIPALS
ON THE ALTAR OF POPULARITY.
Pentecostal people, God is making you, molding you, refining you, and preparing you unto every good work.
BE A PILLAR IN YOUR HOME, YOUR CHURCH, YOUR
SCHOOL, AN YOUR JOB.
IF YOU WILL BE WHAT YOU OUGHT TO BE, THEN YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO. Then you will find that you will be a vessel that is,
“MEET FOR THE MASTER’S USE.”
Back To Top
GROWING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.
Chapter #4 STRONG SHOULDERS:
James 4:17. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Romans 14:12. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
A sign was posted at a Lake which warned visitors of their responsibility. “Swim at your own risk! No life guard on duty.” This sign pinpoints their responsibility.
A Band director said his worse problem with the students was not:
Teaching about instruments,
Teaching the fundamentals of music,
Teaching people to play together
Worse problem: Was teaching responsibility,
Getting students to feel responsible to care for their
Responsible to prepare for their lesson.
Responsible to attend rehearsal.
Responsibility (def) Answerable, accountable, commitment, obligation.
LACK OF FEELING RESPONSIBLE not taught by parents, Mon and Dad takes responsibility.
A. SHOULDERING RESPONSIBILITY IS A SIGN OF MATURITY:
1 Corinthians 13:11. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
IRRESPONSIBILITY IS IMMATURITY:
1. LIFE IS A ROAD: filled with alternatives, decisions, sharp curves, Pot holes, dust, mud, and Y cutoffs. We are all responsible for our journey!
2. FROM THE BEGINNING men and women have tried to escape from responsibility. Man blamed the woman, the woman blamed the Devil (Genesis 3:12-13).
“LET JOE DO IT!” is the philosophy of irresponsible people.
The responsible-mature person steps forth and says, “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8).
Romans 13:11. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
STORM: There was a storm at a house where several people were staying.
Wife—“Do you think you should put down the windows?”
Husband— “If we lie still and play asleep maybe someone else will.”
MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE WILL,
Obey Acts 2:38,
Give in the offering,
Teach Sunday School,
Repair the window,
Feel responsible to help around the church,
Mow the grass,
Sing in the choir,
Go to street service!
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY!
Paul says, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” (Romans 1:14)
In other words, “I feel responsible to all men.”
4. ALL MEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN SALVATION
Matthew 25:9. “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Acts 2:40. “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
5. HOLY GHOST CHRISTIANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR
1. Their livelihood—(1Timothy 5:8)
2. His way of handling the Bible—(Revelation 22:19)
3. The use of his ability—(Matthew 25:14-30)
4. Their opportunities. “as we therefore have
opportunity let us do good..” (Galatians 6:7)
5. Their handling of business.. (Romans 12:11)
6. Their deeds… (Galatians 6:7 “Whatsoever a man
sows that shall he also reap.)
7. Their carrying out of God’s will and commission.
(Luke 6:46, James 4:17, Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15,) “Go ye..”
“Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:29)
RESPONSIBLE CHRISTIAN MANHOOD requires the ability to carry and shoulder responsibility. Young man, young woman, learn at an early age to begin to take on and carry loads (life’s duties). Do little things well so that as you grow into maturity and manhood, or womanhood, you will do the larger tasks well.
Young men should take on manly responsibilities while young ladies should begin to assume womanly responsibilities. As each becomes older, he, she, should take upon himself the responsibilities to care for his, her, soul.
He, she, should have a daily routine of prayer, Bible reading, and study, pay tithes, and regularly attend Church.
As a maturing Christian, you should voluntarily look for jobs that need to be done at home and in the Church and do them without being asked or prompted.
One sign of maturity and having “STRONG SHOULDERS” is the ability to see tasks that need being done and taking the initiative to accomplish them and get them done in the best possible way.
A sign of maturity is the desire to “do a job well for its own sake” and not for the praise of men and being in the lime light.
The Scripture names two characteristics of Christians with “STRONG SHOULDERS.”
1. The ability to bear their own burdens. (Galatians 6:4-5)
2. The ability to bear and share someone else’s burden. (Galatians 6: 2)
“STRONG SHOULDERS” is the ability to say like Harry Truman said by placing a sign on his presidential desk, “The Buck Stops Here.”
GOD IS LOOKING FOR young men and young women of character.
WHAT YOU ARE is more important that what talent, what ability, what beauty, or what family you have.
GOD IS LOOKING FOR men and women of “STRONG SHOULDERS” in the Church. He is looking for “PILLARS” who can take responsibility, be faithful, be predictable, be stable, be consistent, and be reliable in the work of GOD>
The main strength of every Church are the “PILLARS” who may never sing a special, play an instrument, or do some fantastic thing to gain people’s attention. THEY ARE THE ONE’S WHO HAVE “STRONG SHOULDERS.”
They never miss a prayer meeting, never miss a Bible study, give faithfully and consistently to the cause of Christ. They are stable fathers, mother, husbands, wives, and who stick with the Church through thick and thin.
The great Apostle Paul gave the greatest compliment of the scriptures to three men when he said, “And when James, Cephas, and John, “WHO SEEMED TO BE PILLARS …”
“PILLARS” are columns that support a superstructure. “PILLARS” are firm and upright and support great weights without bending, breaking, or falling.
GOD IS WANTING TO MAKE EACH OF US PILLARS WITH “STRONG SHOULDERS.”
I hope you enjoy these lessons and will use them to help build Strong Christian Character in our Churches.
This study will be continued when we get some more lessons prepared.
I hope you will use this as an outline for your life, and teaching to others.
Write to me Godsgrazingfield.net
Back To Top
Back To Home Page
By, James L. Thornton