"He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30
As John the Baptist gazed upon the Lamb which would take away the sins of the world, one of the only things he could utter was his own complete unwothiness to be in the presence of such splendor and glory. Surely as the man considered his own frame, his own sin and wretched heart, he knew that his ministry, his person must give way, that he must fade into the light that is Jesus Christ.
The role of the minister of the Lord Jesus Christ is an ever decreasing one. The purpose of the pastor is to point people towards the Savior. He is like a mirror, reflecting the person and work of Christ. He should not be seen for himself, but in the fashion of a John the Baptist, decreasing that Jesus might increase. This is a real challenge for any man who is placed in a position of popularity, respect and influence. John knew the temptation to seek his own glory. He had followers; those who would have probably went with him whether he followed Jesus or not. But John knew his purpose. His heart was aflame for the Messiah. And his only desire was to lead people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ministers in the Church today would do well to check their motives, and their ministry. Are you leading people to Christ? When people look at you, are they immediately redirected to seeing Jesus? Does humility and deference define you as a person? John the Baptist understood and embraced his ever decreasing role in the presence of the splendor and glory of Jesus Christ. May we, as ministers of God, imitate the same.
“What you have as heritage, take now as task; for thus you will make it your own”. - Goethe
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways... and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." - Jer. 6:16
Dear Fellow Christian Gentlemen,
We stand at the edge of a epoch-changing time in our history. The lot has been cast. It has fallen to us to be the generation of men upon which much, if not all, of our future will be written. As I pen these words, the very foundation of our society is crumbling to the ground around us. Rampant demagoguery, decadence, and degeneracy has befallen us and we find ourselves pressed sorely under the hard Providences of a holy and righteous God. The spiritual weaponry of Christ's and our enemies are being wielded this very moment. The tips of their spears and the edges of their swords have been shaped and sharpened; anxious to draw your blood (if only figuratively for the moment). No one remains safe. God's enemies are eagerly anticipating the death and destruction of the Christian man. They long to see an end to all that the Christian holds precious and dear. The enemy's joy and satisfaction, his glorious victory will only be realized as your faith, your convictions, the people and possessions you treasure most (and if needs be your life), along with the ideals you value and the principles upon which you stand united with your brothers in Christ are completely wiped from the face of the earth, stricken from history, and covered in the fullness of the wickedness and depravity of fallen man.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. A challenge has been given. The prince of the power of this world and his minions have rallied together on the field of battle and they are relentlessly determined to send you to your demise. Therefore it is here and it is now that we, as men standing firm upon our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, must answer the call to service in our Master's army. It is now that serious conviction must root out flaccid complacency. Righteous principle must triumph over godless apathy. Fear must flee in the face of a fierceness and determination like that of our once honorable forefathers. It is up to this generation of would-be-warriors to face our enemies on the battlefield, robed in the full armor of God, and prepared to live, or if needs be die, for the cause of Christ! What we, dear brethren, have as a rich and precious heritage, the faith handed down to us, we must now take as our calling and task. Only then do we make it our own. There is an old path, a better way. There is the grace of God and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to quicken and strengthen us for what lies ahead. Be it in our coveted churches, in our homes and by our firesides, or in the realm of public opinion, civil affairs and cultural controversy, may we be found fighting the good fight of the Faith once delivered to us by the beloved saints.
The hour is at hand. The time has come. Chose this day whom you will serve. May the men of God in my generation, those of this era, be found faithful in their calling. May history record of many great deeds done, of higher and more nobler victories won, and of the mighty advancement of God's kingdom accomplished at the hearts and hands of my fellow brothers. Yes, we may stand at the edge of an epoch-changing time. Yes, if we fail to act today, the heritage we leave for tomorrow's children may be one of dread, despair and shame. But there is hope! Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world. Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English writer, author and poet. One of his best known works was a rousing call to tired soldiers to keep up the good fight entitled, "Say not the struggle nought availeth". Be encouraged my brothers. Trust in God and you will find rest for your soul. I leave you with Mr. Clough's though-provoking poem. Will you join me?
"Say not the struggle nought availeth, the labor and the wounds are in vain,
the enemy faints not, nor faileth, and as things have been, things remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; it may be, in yon smoke concealed,
your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, and, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, seem here no painful inch to gain,
far back through creeks and inlets making, came silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only, when daylight comes, comes in the light,
in front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, but westward, look, the land is bright!"
Post tenebras lux,
"Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" - Eph. 6:24
As the stories go, there were many fine pottery makers in the ancient Roman world, and it turned out to be a lucrative business for many. The pottery would be formed, then placed into an oven to cure. The well-respected potter would inspect his pottery after firing, and if any cracks were found, the vessel would be discarded and he would start over. Naturally, this would increase the overall price and value of fine pottery. Given the same situation, other less reputable potters would take the blemished vessel and rub wax into the crack, perhaps melting it somewhat, then paint over the imperfection and sell it as if it were pristine. These individuals could sell their pottery for cheaper prices, thus undercutting the sincere pottery makers. This prompted the honorable pottery makers to hang a sign over the entrance to their stores: sincerus... meaning this store has pottery without wax. The actual definition of the Latin word 'sincerus' means to be pure or clean.
Christians are called to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with sincerity. That is, we are to be guided in our faith and built up in our character by a pure and clean motive. Sincerity is the personal quality of living life from a pure motive without deceit. We can sometimes fool men into believing we are something we aren't. Like the potter who hides the imperfections and cracks with a wax covering rather than refining them, we can live our lives without sincerity, and maybe even pass ourselves off as something we really aren't. Yet, Christians are called to a higher standard. Ours is to be a people who with all grace, love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, that is with all our heart, mind, body, soul and strength. Our character is defined by our sincerity. Our Master Potter can spot a fake. Are you simply portraying yourself as something you're not? Or does your dedication and commitment to God flow from a genuine desire to love and honor Him? In short, are you sincere?