FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
23-30 May, 1999
Well as you can see this sermonet took two whole weeks to complete... but Iíve got a very good excuse... because thatís the way God planned it. And iffin the Lordís willing, next week Iíll even go so far as tell you the rest of the story.
But for now letís get on down to the business at hand. And what a better way to start off the week than with a few good Bible verses. So reading from Galatians 5:16-17, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
Now I realize itís been two whole weeks since the last edition, but after having read what you have just read would you even want to venture a guess on the topic of this weekís sermonet? Well how about The Good Fight Of Faith (The Spirit Of God Verses The Flesh Of Man) part VII? You see it looks as though weíre going to write a few more pages on how to fight the flesh. And seeing how most of us have tons of it to fight anyway, you would think that this ought to be some pretty helpful information.
So, in order to start things rolling, why donít I just give you another one of my very own real life examples. Because you see I can truthfully say (without a doubt) that my flesh has been fighting awfully hard lately not to do what the Spirit of God has told me to do. And the very good reason why itís been fighting so hard is because Father God has taken me to the next higher level on my mountain climb of faith. In fact if I were to really tell you the whole story on what Father God has commanded me to do, you wouldnít even be able to handle it.
But... seeing how Father God wonít let me spill the beans quite yet on my new faith challenge, I guess youíll just have to be satisfied with a few little innocent hints. In fact the biggest hint that I can give you is the one about God the Fatherís promise to me for the FMH Childrenís Club International. Because you see what He has promised me is everything that Iíve ever dreamed of and more (the ranch and beyond)... but it will only become a reality through my continued total and complete faith in Him.
So what do you figure this "total and complete faith" really means? Well the best way for me to describe it is exactly the way Father God has described it to me. Because you see He told me that my walk of faith for the FMH Childrenís Club International will be like walking up to the edge of a cliff... and stepping on out into thin air... while believing that God Almighty will provide the ground for me to put my foot on. And of course the very good reason for me to take that step of faith out into "the wild blue yonder" will be because of the fact that God the Father has told me to do it!
Now for most folks, what Iíve just described is nothing short of suicide. But for all those "true men of God", who totally and completely believe in the God of the Universe, this little cliff walking exercise is nothing but childís play. But seeing how weíre still on this very long running sermonet series of spiritual muscle building flesh fighting exercises, it shouldnít be any too hard to figure out that the reason Iím doing it is because I need it too. In other wordís as far as my cliff walking being "childís play", it still ainít "childís play" yet! Understand?
OK, so everything that Iíve said up until now has been said so that I can tell you the rest of the story... but the rest of the story is not the most positive sort of story that I would like to tell. In fact what Iíve got to say is a very strong warning from the Word of God concerning the very serious nature of flesh fighting (the good fight of faith). Because you see if a person doesnít take control over the flesh, then the flesh will take control over them... and once it takes control over them, it could possibly not only destroy them but all their friends and family as well. And seeing how the Childrenís Club will only be what Father God has said it will be through my total and complete trust in Him (faith), thatís the very good reason why God the Father is being so picky at choosing my helpers.
Because you see even though He doesnít consider just anybody for these Childrenís Club positions, you had better believe that the oneís He does choose are always put to a pretty severe test before their final approval. And if those chosen individuals pass their "test of faith", then their position within the Childrenís Club is likewise approved by God the Father. In fact if youíll think back several weeks ago you should remember the story about "the Prophet of God and the Old Prophet". And it was in that particular story that Father God not only gave me the test scores for one of His chosen Childrenís Club applicants but also the reason why he had failed.
But that was several weeks ago, and then it was only this past week that we got back yet another test score result. Because you see it was somewhere around mid week, as I was finishing-up with the supper dishes, that another brother in the Lord came to mind. You see this brother just so happened to be one more of those very special "helper applicants" who the Lord had just so recently put to the test. And even though I didnít know all the details as to why he had failed the test, I did know that he had.
Now I realize that this is going to be kinda hard for some of you to comprehend, but as I was finishing up with those nightly dishes the phone rang. And believe it or not but on the other end of the line was that same brother who the Lord had just given me his test scores. And of course the question that immediately came to mind was "what was I going to tell him?" Well not being one who reacts any too quickly to situations like this, I did the best job that I could on such a short notice. Because you see what I did was to remind him of one particular problem area in his life where I knew he needed to confess his faith. So I said what I said without ever mentioning anything about the test scores that the Lord had just given me.
In fact as of this moment I still havenít done what I needed to do. But... have no fear because thatís what weíre going to do in this weekís sermonet. And of course the reason why I need to tell my brother in the Lord what "thus saith the Lord" is because every applicant needs to know why theyíve failed Godís test. I mean get real, what weíre talking about here is something just a little bit more serious than flunking a 6th grade exam! Low test scores on Godís test of faith could mean failing that final approval test as an adopted child of God! So please get it in your mind that weíre not talking about grammar school... weíre talking about Heaven... and weíre talking about Hell! And the one word clue as to why this most recent applicant failed his test is the word "slothful". Because going back to the Scripture from last weekís message (Hebrews 6:12), and reading it once again, "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
So just what do you figure it all means? Well before we get too deep into the main text letís do a real quick overview of the whole situation. And starting it off with Matthew 22:1-14 we find, "And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding... And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
Now seeing how we donít even have enough paper to cover this entire parable, let me give it to you in a nutshell. You see in this little story Jesus tells us what it takes to get into Heaven (the kingdom of heaven). And even though there are many different ways in which people think they can get in, the bottom line reality is that thereís only One True Way (The Wedding Garment: the Righteousness of Christ). So seeing how Jesus made it abundantly clear that the wedding garment is the ticket to Heaven, then you would think it would be to everyoneís best interest to be wearing those threads (the Righteousness of Christ). Because you see for all those folks who think theyíre properly outfitted but who really arenít, the part about "and he was speechless" will most definitely apply to them.
I mean just think about it: how many folks do you figure would ever expect to get thrown into Hell for wearing the wrong outfit to a wedding? Well when it comes to this "wedding made in Heaven" you had better believe that thereís gonna be a whole lota folk speechless. Because you see the part about "many are called, but few are chosen" still holds true today... and it still holds true for all those who are trying to get into Heaven with the wrong covering. And of course thatís why itís so very important that we all follow the advice given by Paul in Philippians 2:12-15: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God..."
OK, so letís face-up to the facts... getting into Heaven ainít all that easy!!! In fact in the true sense of the word you might even say that itís downright tough!!! But tough or not, I think youíll agree thereís not much of an alternative if you take a close look at the alternative plan (Hell!!!). So thatís as good a reason as any why we should all pay very close attention to the very fine details: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeing whom he may devour..." (I Peter 5:6-8)
Now thereís a very good reason why that Scripture should sound familiar. Because you see if youíll think back a few weeks ago you should remember the nitty gritty details of how the Prophet of God got hoodwinked by the Old Prophet... and ended up loosing his life.. and of course it was the lion (the devil) that actually took it. And even though God the Father doesnít want anybody to be slain by that old lion Satan... itís a very real possibility that it will happen to most. Because you see when it comes down to the final count, the word "few" seems to apply to all those who are actually going to make it into Heaven: "...many are called, but few are chosen."
And that takes us right on back to the part about being slothful. Because reading from Proverbs 26:13-16 we find, "The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason."
So did you understand the Proverbsí definition of slothful? Well just in case you didnít, Webster defines slothful as being someone who is: characterized by sloth; disinclined to activity; indolent; lazy. And after having Websterís I guess it becomes pretty clear as to why that slothful person described in Proverbs is the ultimate in laziness. I mean that person is soooo lazy that just the thought of getting out of bed and feeding himself is just too overwhelming to even imagine. But now as for the reason why the slothful person is slothful... well, you really donít even want to ask. Because not only are his reasons many, but theyíre also as varied as the proverbial "lion waiting outside the door". But putting it into modern terminology, the reason why the slothful person stays home is so that he wonít get run over by a truck. Get it?
And now that weíve come up with a pretty good understanding of the word slothful, letís pick-up on a few more little tid bits from Romans 12:1-14: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God... to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith... Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good... Not slothful in business; feverent in spirit; serving the Lord..."
OK, so just what do you think this Scripture is all about? Well itís definitely got the word slothful in it, and it even goes so far as to talk about being slothful in business. But you see this business is not the business of Wall Street but the business of living. And of course as Christians ("brethren") we are expected to live our lives the way that Father God expects us to live them ("present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God"). But the only way that we are ever going to know how He wants us to live our lives is through His Written Word (the Holy Bible) and His Spoken Word (the Holy Spirit). And if you think that sounds like work you ainít heard nothing yet. Because after all that praying and studying comes the really hard part. You see once weíve heard what Father God wants us to do, then we have to be willing to accept it. And itís through this acceptance of Godís Word that the most remarkable change takes place in our lives ("be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind").
So when anyone really and truly becomes a child of God they get all turned-on and fired-up for God ("feverent in spirit; serving the Lord"). They have a new reason for living and their new vocabulary doesnít even include the word "self" ("that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God"). Because you see itís Godís will that everybody make it on into Heaven... but of course most are headed straight on into Hell. And seeing how God the Father has given each and every one of us some very special gifts (talents) to win the lost to Christ, thatís the very good reason why we canít be slothful in putting them to use.
And having said all that, letís turn to and read from Matthew 25:14-30: "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lordís money."
Now ainít it nice how this parable about the talents just flowed right on into our little message for today? Well as the story goes, there were three servants who were each given talents based on their ability. In other words none of them were given talents that they couldnít use. So all the servants put their talents to work except for the one who dug a hole and buried his in the ground. And as we read on into the story please keep it in mind what I have just said about Christians, talents, and soul winning. Because "After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reconeth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more... He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
So did you notice how that both the servants who put their talents to work winning souls got a great big ATTABOY from their lord? Well it just so happens that the attaboy they got carries a little more weight than most... because it meant a one way ticket to Heaven. And thatís what happened to the two hard working servants, but letís check-in and see what happened to that hole digging one: "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man... And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant... Take therefore the talent from him... For unto every one that hath shall be given... but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
OK, so are you starting to get the picture? Well here we have a perfect example of a slothful person... and the Lordís reward for being slothful. And just in case some of you might not understand what the Lordís reward for this "unprofitable servant" was (outer darkness where thereís weeping and gnashing of teeth), in plain and simple terms it means Hell! And Hell is exactly where this slothful Christian went... because he refused to use his God given talents to win the lost.
And now that weíve made that point perfectly clear, this brings us to the final point about what "totally and completely" believing in God really means. Because reading on into Hebrews 1:1-3 we find: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..."
You see in this first chapter of Hebrews we have a wonderful overview of the love of God. And it was because of the sin of man that God the Father had to speak to people through His prophets... that is until God became man (flesh) and gave His Perfect Life on the cross (the Word of God became Jesus the Son of God and He died so that we might live). And it was through His Perfect Death that we are now able to have Jesus (the Word of God) not only living in us but also speaking to us directly. In other words Satan (that old roaring lion) will have a hard time tricking us with his lies if we have Jesus (The Truth) living inside of us.
And then Hebrews 2:1-4 goes on to tell us how absolutely necessary it is that we hold on to each and every word that we receive from Jesus: "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For... How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"
You see salvation is never really final until check-out time. Satan (that Old Devil) has full rights to continue with his work of deception right on up until the time of death. And if Satan can get Christians to believe his lies then heís likewise gotten them to turn away from the Truth (Jesus)... and Hebrews 3:1-19 verifies it: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus... whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore... Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God... to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest... So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."
And thatís the very good reason why we should all be shaking in our boots at the mere thought of loosing our wonderful and glorious promise of Heaven. But it can happen, and it will happen if the Word of God thatís spoken to us is not totally and completely believed by us. Because Hebrews 4:1-2 goes on to say, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
The good fight of faith is not an easy fight. Itís a gutwrenching tough fight! In fact even Jesus the Christ, Who was God in the flesh, had one more tough time fighting His own flesh. You see it was His job in life to die on the cross for the sin of the world. And even though Jesus was God, His flesh still tried to convince Him not to do what God had called Him to do. But Jesus fought the good fight of faith and won. And He did it the same way that we must all do it... through the Spirit of God. And thatís why Hebrews 5:5-14 goes on to say, "So also Christ... Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him... Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God..."
Jesus showed us the perfect example of how we must all live our lives totally and completely dedicated to pleasing God the Father. As children of God He expects great and mighty things of us and through Him. So once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior He fully expects us to trust in Him and obey Him with each and every Word of God that we receive. And thatís the reason why itís not even good enough to just say Jesus is Lord and Savior... because we must live Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
As a Christian we must become perfect in Christ, continually striving to totally and completely obey each and every command that we hear from God the Father through His spoken Word and His written Word. In fact in no uncertain terms Hebrews 6:1-12 goes on to verify exactly what I have just said: "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit."
So thatís what God the Father demands... but thatís not what God the Father gets. And this message of the week is to not only meant for my brother in the Lord who flunked his faith test for the Childrenís Club, but itís also aimed directly at each and every one of you who thinks salvation can be had with a slothful attitude toward God. Without a total and complete dedication to God the Father salvation is not possible... and the rest of Hebrews 6 makes it abundantly clear: "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift., and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame... But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation... That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
So in closing, please let me try and put it all together for you. A child of God cannot be both righteous and slothful... it just doesnít work that way. In fact another word frequently used in place of slothful is sluggard. And it seems to me that the word sluggard must have come from the word slug... which just so happens to be a snail without a shell. And seeing how the shell is the protection for the very vulnerable snail, then it makes perfectly good sense to say that a snail crawling around without itís shell is absolutely dumb and stupid. And you see thatís exactly what a slothful Christian is... someone having the Word of God and not using it!
Donít lose out on Heaven. Give up on your slothful ways... totally and completely believe in God... and Keep on Keeping The Faith In Jesus!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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