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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Holding up the Lantern

Pastor Randy King preached on faithfulness the Sunday we visited his church in Oshkosh. He made many good points, but the one that made an impression on me was based on Romans 3:1-4:

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

Basically, these verses are asking why we are so affected spiritually by others and their failures. If we look to man, we’ll always be disappointed. But even so, if someone close to us falls into sin, do their choices make the faith of God without effect? Is God’s truth negated by their behavior? God is Truth. Does that change by what man may or may not do?

Pastor King said,”You are smaller than a hypocrite if you hide behind him.”  If we stop serving God, get sidetracked or become unfaithful because of another person, then our object of faith is a person and not God.

1. The behavior of others ought not stop us. (vs.3)

2. We are given the gifts we need to be faithful.

3. Those with the truth are held to a higher standard and expectations. We have a duty and more opportunity to live for Him. (Luke 12:48)

4. Even if others fall, especially if they were in our sphere of influence, we need to remain faithful anyway.

I have seen many people fall into sin. I’ve seen teachers, pastors, friends, children, etc. choose to live outside of God’s will and pursue the world. If my faith was built on people, I would have quit a long time ago. Besides, how will those who wander away from God ever find their way back if I’m not up there on the hill holding up the lantern?

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