Showing items filed under “Pastor Ralph”
main image

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

By asking you a few questions: Would you agree or disagree with the statements,

  1. Private property encourages greed and envy.
  2. Meaning and purpose come from working hard to earn as much as possible so you can make the most out of life.
  3. What is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes.
  4. If you do good, you will receive good. If you do bad, you will receive bad.
  5. All people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.
  6. God helps those that help themselves.

These statements are just a few of the statements that were used by the research team from Barna Group to track what they have concluded is an ongoing shift away from Christianity as the basis for a shared worldview.  The research was conducted with practicing Christians (who go to church at least monthly and consider their faith very important in life) including 1,456 web-based surveys conducted in March 2017.

Well, if you’re like me, when I read about the population that was being surveyed, I was sure that the prevalent worldview that was going to be espoused was a Christian worldview.   I mean, they were interviewing Christians...but what they concluded was that it appears that among people who identify themselves as people of faith there continues to be evidence that they hold beliefs that are contrary to Scripture and Christianity.

It appears that many Christians have fallen prey to the ideas and beliefs of worldviews that stand in opposition to the truths that are given to us in the Scripture.  In other words, we believe and practice the wrong things.

Which statements above would you have agreed with or disagreed with?  Are you confident that you know what the Bible says about each one of the ideas presented within the statements?  Could you give some Biblical evidence that what you believe indeed lines up with what God says?

No wonder we have seen an increasing moral decline in our nation and among our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Key worldviews like new spirituality, marxism, postmodernism, secularism, pluralism, relativism,  go ahead...add a few “isms” of your own...these have influenced Christians’ beliefs about the way the world is and how it ought to be.

Would you be surprised to know that research indicates that 38% of practicing Christians are sympathetic to some Muslim teachings?

The research also indicated:

  • 61% agree with ideas rooted in New Spirituality
  • 54% resonate with postmodernist views.
  • 36% accept ideas associated with Marxism
  • 29% believe ideas based on secularism

The remedy; Christians like you and me, need to reaffirm our commitment to the Scripture, and the worldview presented, by learning and standing upon the Word of God.  There are too many Christians that take a verse here or there...usually out of context...and formulate a belief or an idea that doesn’t match with what the Bible actually says.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Who, in their right Christian mind, doesn’t want to find the approval of God.

That’s why with our commitment to the Word, must be a commitment to study the Word of God in its entirety.  When we only know the Scripture in “parts”, we are easy prey for competing worldviews and religions that have fragments or similarities to some of the teachings we find in the Scripture...then we latch on to those ideas without recognizing them for what they are...distortions of Biblical truth.

One of the easiest ways to make studying the Scripture a part of your lifestyle, thus becoming a person who is informed with what the Scripture teaches and then finding yourself able to develop and maintain a healthy Biblical worldview, is by joining a Bible Study group on Sunday mornings.

Together, with other Christians, you will study the Bible and think...informed thinking is what is you learn how the Scripture applies to the world and life that God created and maintains.  You will see how the world is from His point of view and how it ought to be from His point of view, ensuring that you will not be led astray from the purpose and plan of God for your life.

As we learn the Scripture and obey the Word we will then be ready to handle it, to stand for and spread the Word of God, the Christians’ worldview, in the marketplace of ideas.   Only the truth of Scripture will indeed, set people free.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,   and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

It’s not too late, but we are headed in the wrong direction, if Christians don’t know what the Bible says and how it applies to real life...and if we have fallen prey to competing worldviews and religions and actually have fallen for the “lie”.

Join a Bible Study the all of it...and you will find the truth and the approval of God. it as soon as you can!

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
main image

So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

Acts 24:16 (ESV)

On a business trip to Kansas City, Missouri, if my memory serves me right.  And that meant that my brother and I, along with my sisters, were left alone at the house for the time they were away.  So, again, if I remember correctly, my brother and I started throwing the football around...inside the house...probably...well, not wasn’t a good idea.  It wasn’t long before we started throwing the football around in the den of us would throw the ball to the other who would run from the dining area into the den and as the approach to the couch was made, leave solid ground and leap through the air onto the couch while catching the ball...just like the football players did on Saturday afternoon as they made circus catches during the college game of the week.  Boy, it was really fun.  I mean running as fast as you could, jumping outstretched, parallel to the ground, making the catch, and then  hurling into the was good! wasn’t so good.  One of us,  I’m pretty sure it was me, let a pass go, while brother was in full stride, and missed brother...and the couch...and plastered the old German clock...with that two foot glass front  that enabled you to see the inside workings of the clock,  that hung on the wall.  My dad had started to make, put together, and repair old wall clocks and sell them as a hobby.  Well, the glass in the clock shattered as well as my good time for the day as the clock fell from the wall onto the carpeted floor.  What was I going to do?  I guess moving to Alaska was out, but it did cross my mind.  I was going to really be in...big trouble...not little trouble...big trouble.

 I bet my mom and dad were going to talk to me for two or three hours about their disappointment in me, being the oldest child in the house.  And if there was one thing that really got to was those long talks.  Look, penalize me...punish me...discipline me...take stuff away...just don’t give me one of those three-hour talks...those were worse than punishment...but that’s what was coming.

So I thought and I thought and I thought and I came up with a plan.  There was a man who worked at the same place my dad worked...I think his name was McClure...or McClung...anyway, he was a great guy that was in charge of the financial loan office of the business, and I knew he would help me if he could.  And he did...he purchased a pane of glass, made the correct measurements, cut the glass...and installed it in the clock.  I assured him I would pay him for the glass in good time.  Good as one could tell...I was...we the clear.

Well...there was one started out as a mere whisper in my mind...but it wasn’t long before it began to take over every waking moment of my thought life as I waited for mom and dad to return from Kansas City.

My conscience...yes, I was already a Christian...and the Holy Spirit was beginning to bring that burden of wrongdoing into every waking moment.  I knew what I was supposed to do...Confess my sin to God and ask for forgiveness...and seek forgiveness from the ones that I had parents.  I was going to have to be specific and tell them exactly what I was sorry for and ask them if they would forgive me.

I mean, after all, I didn’t want my prayer life to be totally ruined and ineffective.  I knew what the Bible said, for we had just studied in Sunday school about how frequently Paul mentioned the pursuit of a clear conscience.

“having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

Acts 24:15-16 (ESV)

 On top of that, I knew the Bible taught the importance of having the ability to say that there’s no one that I know of that I have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that I have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with God and with them.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)

I could hardly wait for my parents to get home and as soon as they did I blurted out what I had done.  My conscience needed clearing and my heart needed cleansing...and thank the Lord both occurred.

Restitution to Mr. McClung was necessary...but I had successfully made the wrong...right...and my conscience was clear.  I could sleep at night...and my prayers could mean something again.  Thank the good Lord and my parents for providing a way for my mind and heart to be clear by forgiving me for what I had done.  It even made the two-hour talk...which I did receive...not so bad at all.

How’s your prayer life...seem ineffective...without power...just like you’re going through the motions?

Let me ask; is there anyone alive that you have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that you have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with them and with God?

Try Acts 24:16, “ So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”
Acts 24:16 (ESV)

What would it take for you to get to the place of a clear conscience?  Promises made to children that haven’t been kept,  items stolen from employers, hurtful words said to a spouse or children, slander against a fellow brother or sister in Christ, cheating, dishonesty, lies...

Just do what I did...and do.  Confess your sin to God and repent.  Seek forgiveness from those that you’ve wronged.  Make restitution if necessary and possible.  Seek to restore the relationship.  And do it now!  Being obedient to the Lord is not always convenient...but it’s always freeing...and that freedom... a clear worth it all.

Oh yeah... another lesson to pass on (no pun intended) don’t throw a football in the house!

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with

12345678910 ... 1819