Randy Amos

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An Effective Ministry, A Guest-post by Randal Amos

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Paul’s ministry in 1 Thessalonians 2

2:1 – Paul taught his entrance among the Thessalonians was a positive thing.

What qualified the ministry to be counted as positive?

13-16“Ye received it [the word preached] not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God”.  Therefore the Word effectually changed their hearts.  They became followers, not of Jewish religion and its legal practices, but of the other churches of God in Christ Jesus.  And they suffered for this culturally and religiously but kept going on.

Why were the results effective?  Following are 8 things that characterized his ministry. 

#1.   2:2The Right Mentality  (mental toughness)

Paul was jailed and shamed in Philippi.  Yet he and the others did not quit.  They then went on to Thessalonica and “were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention”.  They had the heart of a lamb but the hide of a rhinoceros.

Negative happenings did not change their faithfulness.   

#2.   2:3-4The Right Message

Their message was not religious law, political reform, financial prosperity, a better health-diet or a self-help program but “the gospel of God”.  Their “exhortation was not of deceit” with twisted error or trickery.  It was a message that did not try to please men but only God.  He opened God’s Scriptures and proved the gospel – that Christ suffered fully for our sins to save from our due judgment.  And that this Jesus rose from the dead showing He is that Christ (God’s anointed Lord and Savior), Acts 17:1-3.

Many speakers dynamically motivate but with the wrong message.

#3.   2:5-6The Right Motive

Paul did not wear a “cloke of covetousness”, i.e. pretending on the outside to care and represent God which would mask from them his real reason – being after their money through guilt, greed and gimmicks.  He did not make “merchandise of you” (2Pet. 2:3).

Neither did he flatter their egos to make them feel ok and special the way they were so they would like him.  “Nor of men sought we glory” that would make him a spiritual hero to them thus making it easy for him to take advantage of them.  They, as saved souls, in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ were his only glory and joy, 2:19, 20.

He was not in it for self but for God – Who tries the heart, and is a witness of it.  

#4.   2:7, 11The Right Match  (balance)

When Paul was among them he was neither a tyrant nor a wimp.  He had both father and mother qualities to him.  He was “gentle among you” (not harsh) as a nursing mother is with her dear children.  But he also “exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father” does his to children.   He was kind but firm in the things of God.

He had grace and truth like his Lord. 

#5.   2:8, 17-20The Right Moving  (what moved his heart was love, not self)

He had heart affection for the people themselves.  He just didn’t give them the gospel and ‘hit and run’. “Ye were dear unto us”. With desire he tried to return – then wrote them.

He loved the Lord and His people also.  He knew a head has a body – both are cherished.

#6.   2:9The Right Method

It was more than just bringing the saving gospel word to them but he used methods that were strategically meant to reveal God’s character and ways – thus aiding their knowledge of God.  Because they needed the example to work for a living, he, rather than depend on them for financial help (which was his due, 1 Cor. 9), “labouring night and day” with his own hands in hardship to help meet his needs. (Acts 18:3, 20:34).  Thus they would learn not to covet.  Later he could compellingly and un-hypocritically charge from God to the idle busy bodies; “if any would not work, neither should he eat”, (2 Thess. 3:10).

The method in telling the message of God should compliment the God of the message, (1 Cor. 2:1-5).

#7.   2:10The Right Manner of Life

Paul not only told them what was right, he lived what was right.  “How holily, and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.”  Holy is piety toward God.  Justly is righteous fairness toward man.  Blameless is public reputation.  Paul was a living example of his message – written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

Paul not only talked the walk but he also walked the talk. 

#8.   2:12The Right Mark  (aim of ministry to hit – goal)

Paul was not after money or fame.  He was not after stunning numbers but after their walk“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory”.  As he would further write in 4:1; “ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more”.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”, 3John: 4.

May we seek these 8 qualities by His grace in our ministries for the Lord Jesus.

Guest-post by R.P. Amos: Inclusive Diversity Or Exclusive Singularity – Which is of God?

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

The Bible answer would be both. But it depends on the setting. For example, most are inclusive of a diversity of food from potatoes to potluck but they are exclusive of eating garbage. Most include a variety of friends for their children but would exclude criminals.

There are three major areas in which God operates: the world of nations, the church of Christians and the kingdom of heaven (to come). Let’s consider the strategy of all three.

1 The World “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”

God’s agenda to the world is salvation and His tool is the gospel of Christ. The gospel (good news) of forgiveness, pardon from judgment and acceptance with God through the Lord Jesus Christ is open to all nations. Salvation is inclusive of all continents, classes, cultures, conduct and color. One’s religious upbringing, politics, gender, morality, finances, or sin does not exclude them from repenting and trusting the Lord Jesus. When saved they are equally forgiven, given the Spirit of God, and have His everlasting life.

The Corinthian church was taught about fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners, and told, “such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Yes, the gospel invitation is the most inclusive, pluralistic and diverse offer in the world.

 2 The Church “the church of God at Corinth … for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are”

God’s agenda with the church is edification in holiness. His tool is the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s goal in salvation is to have a separated people for Him. The saved church, unlike the condemned world, is to be an exclusive place from sin and error so God alone is glorified. While believers can befriend the world and aren’t to punish it (God will), yet in the church there is to be discipline of those practicing sin to maintain holiness unto God.

All believers are given the Holy Spirit. A transforming work begins to conform them alone into the image (likeness) of His only Son, Jesus Christ. The church has a single head – the Lord Jesus. It has a single power – the Holy Spirit. It has a single body of truth – one faith. It has a single authority on morals and truth – the Holy Scriptures. It is to have unanimity of mind, message and judgment under one Lord – Jesus Christ. It has one God and Father. And it has one hope for the future – the coming kingdom of heaven. Rather than staying a pluralistic diversity the church is to become a singular similarity.

3 The Kingdom the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD

God’s agenda with the kingdom is peace on earth with justice for all. His tool is the return of Jesus as King. Only the righteous inherit the kingdom (God’s church is to be a microcosm of this coming kingdom). It’s where Christ alone will be the world king. It’s where all nations shall come to the Lord Jesus alone for teaching and worship. The unrepentant, the unbeliever and the unrighteous are excluded from it. And it is because of this exclusion that there will be peace at last and glory unto God as the whole earth will be at rest. Like having peace in a marriage, all other wooers must be excluded.

{Some Scriptures: #1. The World. Mark 16:15 / Gal. 3:28 / Col. 3:11 / Rev. 5:9 / 1Cor. 6:9-11.

#2. The Church. 1Cor. 1:2, 3:17 / Acts 15:14 / Eph. 3:21 / 1Cor. 5:9-13 / Gal. 4:6 / Rom. 8:29 / Eph. 1:22, 23, 4:3-6,13 / 1Cor. 1:10.   #3. The Kingdom. Zech. 14:9 / Rev. 19:11-21 / Isa. 2:1-4, 11:1-9 / Gal. 5:19-21 / Eph. 5:5-6.}

 Practical Application From Above: Same Sex Marriage

 This is the teaching of Scripture concerning the sins of the Gentiles (nations).  Their depraved sins are a result of God in wrath giving them up to a depraved mind. This is because they intentionally pushed God from their minds. Their impaired mind will cause them to self-destruct morally, physically, and spiritually without knowing it. (Romans 1)

Therefore, God has a day that He will judge the world. (Rom. 2:5 / Acts 17:31).  But until that day the church is to take them the merciful gospel of salvation.  We are not to punish the world or disassociate from them – yet we are not to be partakers of their sin. For if they repent and believe on the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, they too are called out of this world for His Name, Acts 15:14. They will be forgiven, saved from wrath and given a new mind. We must not be sidetracked in fighting for political issues of social change. A straight married couple without Christ will go to the same hell as a same sex married couple. The answer is the gospel conveyed by our good works and word, Philp. 2:15, 16. The solution is not a better world now but the coming kingdom tomorrow, Rev. 11:15.

However, in the church we are called to judge within.  We must obey God rather than man, Acts 5:29.  If the church is commanded to perform sinful marriages, or allow such in fellowship, or if we must personally marry the same sex, or change the truth of His Word – then we must be prepared to suffer persecution by His grace.  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth as God’s holy house, 1Tim. 3:15.  The 7 churches were exhorted by our Lord not to judge the corrupt world they were in but to judge themselves and repent of certain things so that they might please Him as His house and lamp stand.

1Cor. 5:9-13 puts it concisely:

:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

In the world we are to be a pacifist but in God’s holy church we are to be an activist. In the church, Titus was told to exhort and rebuke with all authority. But in the world he was told not to fight or speak evil of men but be gentle unto all – for we used to live in sin too, and are only what we are because the Lord’s kindness came to us, Titus 2:15, 3:1-8.

Guest post from R.P. Amos: “What God Looks for in a Local Church”

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

When talking about a local church many will mention its “worship music”, or youth group, or dynamic preacher that leaves them inspired. Some will highlight the liturgy that emits holy feelings, or how their needs are met, or that they feel happy there. Others will focus on friendly care for the hurting or big numbers showing successful growth or gospel mission outreach. In the Corinthian church you will see 9 characteristics the Lord Jesus commissioned Paul to teach. These please the heart of God in His house.

1 – UNITY      1Cor. 1:10-16 – “perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment”

The unity the Lord is talking about is not just the absence of fighting or agreeing to disagree. It’s not just a unity of purpose – all sharing a common goal like fans do for their ball team. It’s unanimity: all speaking the same thing with the same mind by having the same thinking in discerning right and wrong. It’s a unity of truth!   This can only come by owning the Name (authority and wisdom) of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

 2 – GLORY     1Cor. 1:29 – 4:21 – “That no flesh should glory in his presence”

The church is to glory only in the Lord. As condemned sinners we by grace alone have been given (not earned) every spiritual blessing. So since all was given to us by grace there is no reason to “glory in men”. The Lord censures identifying our ‘Christianity’ by a man’s name – or – giving special titles to a man based on his gift or calling. Clerical vestments for the “ordained” that marks one out as more educated than other brothers and sisters are found not in NT Scripture. This would give a measure of glory to man. All believers are equally called “brethren” in Corinthians, matching the teaching of the Lord Jesus when on earth, (Matt. 23:6-12). The only one who gets a title is Jesus: the Lord Jesus. Things like a clapping ovation for man’s “performance” in the church would be strange when the Lord says, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”.

 3 – PURITY (HOLY)     1Cor. 5 – 6 – “put away from among yourselves that wicked person”

A major characteristic of God’s house is holiness. We tend to focus on happiness. “Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, forever” says the OT. And the NT says, “for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are”. Holiness is a separation from sin and consecration to what is right. That’s why a “brother” living in certain sins is to be dealt with by excommunication, not toleration. That is not “shooting your wounded” but removing a cancer so health can be restored. Also, joining our body in an immoral sexual union is to be fled from for we are the Lord’s temple and His Holy Spirit lives in us.

 4 – FIDELITY   1Cor. 7 – “remain unmarried, or be reconciled – let not the husband put away his wife”

Faithfulness in the marriage union until death is to characterize a man and a woman in God’s house. The Corinthian letter to His church instructs a believing woman not to depart from her husband. But if she does separate (perhaps for some safety reason, etc.) from her husband, she is to remain unmarried or seek to be reconciled says the Lord Jesus. Only her husband’s death frees her to remarry, (1 Cor. 7:39).   And the believing husband (though he has marital authority) is commanded by the Lord not to put away (divorce) his wife. For the husband as head is to mirror Christ and the church. Will Christ the Head ever put away His church from His body because of our failure?

5 – CHARITY (LOVE)           1Cor. 8 – 10, 13 – “charity [love] edifieth”

Charity of course means to give. Charity or love is more than words but the giving of self for the welfare of others. Charity in matters of liberty is willing to give up personal freedoms before the Lord when it might offend another person’s conscience in his walk before the Lord. Charity will foster edifying over dividing. Paul said, “if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth …”. The Lord taught, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”.

 6 – AUTHORITY 1Cor.11:1-16 –“the head of every man is Christ – the head of the woman is the man”

Based on creative choice, the Lord has established man as the authority over the woman. This will demonstrate itself among the churches of God with the woman being covered and the man uncovered when praying or prophesying. Also to show God’s choice, the man is to have vocal responsibility in the churches while the woman is to be silent there. Submission is not stating inequality in value for “the head of Christ is God”. However, the man is not without a head for his head is Christ. Therefore, whatever man does in relation to the woman needs to come from Christ and not his own personal desires.

 7 – MEMORABLY     1Cor. 11:17-34 – “this do in remembrance of me”

The Corinthians had turned the “Lord’s supper” into their “own supper”. What was meant to focus on the Lord in the church was abused and turned into meeting their social needs. They are reminded when they come together in the church that a primary purpose is the remembrance of the Lord. The Lord’s Supper is a continual object lesson to show forth the Lord Jesus Christ’s great redeeming death till He comes. It is a time of mutual fellowship in Christ when thanksgiving is offered as the Lord did. In a memorial service one in love focuses on the person who died, not his or her own personal needs.

 8 – PLURALITY    1Cor. 12 & 14 – “ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn”

Because the Spirit gives all believers various gifts, there is to be the liberty of a plurality of brothers involved in a church meeting. This will provide a varied and full spiritual diet to help the believers learn and be comforted. It will also help keep the brothers in the Word as they (not just one professional man) have some responsibility in contributing to the growth of the church. It’s not just sitting in the “pew” to take in. However, this liberty of gifts is an orderly plurality controlled by the Lord’s written commandments for His churches to promote learning and His headship protocol.

 

9 – VERACITY (TRUTH)      1Cor. 15 – “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received”

While charity (love) is a key characteristic, we learn that charity “rejoiceth in the truth”. Truth gives the right understanding of God. Truth sets free from satanic deceptions to entice one away from the Lord’s ways. So in chapter 15 the Spirit guides Paul to correct the doctrinal error that the resurrection is past. He does not keep silent so as not to offend. But he reveals truth to encourage the church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” in a dark world. He did not use opinion or popular consensus but the Word from the Lord.

Notice this all starts with the unanimity of chapter one of having the same mind in God’s wisdom – “the mind of Christ”. If this is off, the rest will be harder to reach. Are we seeking a church with these characteristics and helping such with our involvement?

To Judge or Not to Judge – Which is Christian? (A Guest-post by R. P. Amos)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Sometimes an answer is not an “either or”, or even “yes or no” but both.  It can depend upon circumstances.  For example, is it right or wrong to eat peanuts?  It could be right and a source of protein if you like them.  But it could be very wrong and life threatening if you have an allergy to them.

So often we hear that a Christian is “not to judge”.  Is this entirely true in light of God’s complete revelation in the Bible?  True, the Lord Jesus says, “judge not”, but then He goes on to say, “but judge righteous judgment”.  So which is it?  Both!

The Greek word for “judge” is anakrino or krino.  Krino means to pick out, select, conclude, decide, choose, approve or disapprove.  Anakrino means to discern, examine, question and scrutinize.  Don’t we in our daily lives make continual judgments – from medicines, good or bad food, the right partner for life to the best value for our money? What government exists that doesn’t have law and order, and judges its offenders?

FOUR AREAS WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE

1.  Heart Motives.  We can’t know what a person is thinking as to why he might be doing an action. Without having further knowledge we should not reach conclusions.  1Cor. 4:3, 5

2.  Outward Appearances.  We must not judge how something appears to look on the outside without further evidence of righteous facts.  John 7:24, 1Sam. 16:7

3.  Another’s Liberty.  Each man answers to God, not us, on personal matters of liberty concerning things like celebrating days, wine, foods, etc.  Rom. 14: 2, 13

4.  Another’s Actions IF You are Doing the Same Thing.  It is hypocritical to judge something in your brother’s eye when you are doing something similar.  Matt. 7:1, 3

FOUR AREAS WE ARE TO JUDGE

1.  Ourselves.  We are to always judge what is right or wrong in our lives.  1Cor. 11:31

2.  Actions that are the Best.  Just like we make judgments on a banana if it is the best value for the price, we are to judge what is the most excellent decision.  Philp. 1:9, 10

3.  Doctrine.  It is not we who make a judgment on truth but we simply trust God’s judgment of what is true and false as revealed by His Word of truth.  1Cor. 14:29 / 1Ths. 5:20-21

4.  Sin in the Church.  While the church is not to judge the world with punishment, it is to judge “believers” living in active sin by excommunication for a time.  1Cor. 5

May we have courage to judge, and yet love when not to judge, to be used of the Lord.