Geldings are Fruitful
Geldings do not reproduce biologically, but sadly, geldings do reproduce morally and philosophically. Geldings produce geldings. We do not need more geldings. We need more real men with heart and Spirit and courage and the ability to walk fearlessly into the battle in a way that brings courage to those around them and brings correction and the purpose of God to their world.
Geldings are drones. They are ordered around by the queen bee. They are not trained to think but they are ordered to follow, lock-step in the burden-carrying lines. They are strong but defenseless. Their heart has been removed. Their will crushed. They have no spirit. They are living only to pull the load dictated by the owner.
They look the part but their heart is gone. They know the whip and the lash but the spirit of wonder is gone. The spirit of romance is gone. The Spirit of God is gone.
We have politicians and cowboys. But where are the men? Where are the real men?
Where are the Calebs and where are the Joshuas and where are the Daniels? Where, I say? Where are the men who cannot be bought or sold?
Men who will die before they cause dishonor.
Men who will treat all with respect and dignity.
Men who will face down the corruption around them.
Men who will call it sin.
Men who will not participate in wrong.
Men who obey the Spirit of God without question.
Men whose words are consistent with their lives.
Men who can be trusted implicitly.
Men who do not gossip.
Men who do not falsely accuse.
Men who fear only to break the heart of God.
Men who pull more than their share of the load.
Men who are not geldings.
Men who are not controlled by bit and bridle, but are guided by the eye of God. Men whose powerful energies are sourced in the Holy Spirit dwelling in them so they do not sin and are not caught and blindsided by deception. Men who are not Spiritually blind. Men with the discernment and understanding and wisdom of Almighty God. Men controlled by no one but the Only One. Men who live for the audience-of-One. Men with the regal carriage of Jesus Christ Himself. Men with a clear countenance and pure heart.
These men are not drones. These men are productive in all and every way. These men are men whose watchword is the Word of God.
Men, God is calling you today. Get your heart right with God if it is not. Put your shoulder to the wheel. Enlist your energies for the King of Kings. The time is late. This is your hour. Stop the nonsense. Stop being called away from your real calling. Time is short. Eternity is long. It is time to renounce the gelding behaviors. It is time to reproduce the life of God in you.
Stand firm in the faith
Act like men
Let all things be done in love
I Corinthians 16:13-14
Geldings are Fruitful?
And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that our civilization needs more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’.
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests [hearts] and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.
We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
— C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
The Holy Spirit in Acts 8:4-25
Intro – The new Church was growing dramatically. Religious leaders were being converted. But, not all was well. The new Church was beset with problems. Some from without and some from within. Simon the sorcerer “joined the Church.” Was he for real or was he an opportunist who saw religion as a way to advance his already powerful life?
I. Simon the sorcerer/magician v.9-11
He is self-proclaimed – “I am someone great”
He has the attention of the people
The people gave heed to him
He has power over the people
They attributed his power to God
He “bewitched them”
II. Many believed v.12
Philip was preaching
He was preaching about the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ
Many men and women were baptized
III. Simon also believed v. 13
He was baptized
He followed Philip
He was amazed when he saw the miracles
IV. Samaria v.14-17
Samaria had received the word of God
Peter and John were sent to Samaria
They prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit
The Samaritans had only been baptized in the name of Jesus
Peter and John laid hands on the Samaritans who then received the Holy Spirit
V. Simon wants that power v.18-19
Simon offered to pay for the ability to impart the Holy Spirit
He wanted that kind of power
He wanted to be able to impart the Holy Spirit to others by laying on his hands
VI. Peter’s response v.20-25
A. The Holy Spirit cannot be purchased with money
Your money will perish with you
You are not thinking correctly
B. Your heart is not right with God
Therefore you have no part in this matter
C. REPENT of your wickedness
You need to pray so that the intents of your heart may be forgiven
D. You are poisoned by bitterness
You are bound by iniquity
E. Simon, “You pray for me”
So judgment will not be on me
F. The Apostles continued to preach the word of God as they returned to Jerusalem
Why do people give attention to impressive persons who are dishonest?
Can people be bewitched/deceived today?
Why do people follow deceptive persons?
Why is discernment lacking?
What does it mean to repent?
Did Simon repent?
Why must we repent of the “thoughts of our hearts?”
Simon believed, was baptized, and followed the apostles but his heart was not right.
God versus Satan in Zechariah 3
A scene in Heaven
We live this out on earth and may not be aware of the war in Heaven
Our heart is the battle ground where this war is being fought
The Servant of The LORD standing before the Angel of the LORD
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest
Standing before the Angel of the LORD,
The false accusations
Just like he did to Job – Satan is accusing God’s servant
And Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
God’s servants are in a Spiritual warfare
The Lord is our strong defense
And the LORD said to Satan,
“The LORD rebuke you, Satan!
The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!
We are only sinners saved by grace
Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?
Our imperfections and our human righteousness
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments,
And was standing before the Angel.
The mercy, grace, and the righteousness of God
God is our strong advocate
Then God answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.”
And to him He said,
“See, I have removed your iniquity from you,
And I will clothe you with rich robes.”
And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head,
Protection for God’s servant
We are clothed with the righteousness of God – (Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For
He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.)
And they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.\
(Exodus 28:2 “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother,
for glory and for beauty.)
Purity of heart of God’s servant
Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command,
Provision for God’s servant
Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.
The justification provided by God – the Branch and the Stone
‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign;
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the LORD of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Someday Satan will be defeated,
The war will be over and peace will reign
In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts,
‘Everyone will invite his neighbor
Under his vine and under his fig tree.'”
We are in a war. If we could see the war going on in Heaven where Satan is allowed access to God and where Satan accuses us day and night, we would understand why our hearts struggle in this battle. Someday the battle will be over. For now we fight the good fight clothed in the armor and the righteousness of God.
If you are one of God’s servants and warriors, stay faithful, knowing that “in due time you will reap if you do not faint.”
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. Revelation 12:10
From Job to Joshua to Jesus to you; the battle rages.
We are fighting the battle of the ages.
We are standing with God and we know who wins.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73: 23
The Best Kiss
Wilt thou not revive us again:
That thy people may rejoice in thee?
Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and
Grant us thy salvation.
I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for
He will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but
Let them not turn again to folly.
Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him;
That glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring out of the earth; and
Righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and
Our land shall yield her increase.
Righteousness shall go before him;
And shall set us in the way of his steps.
Cultural Dimensions of the Gospel – Part III
South and North
My father’s roots were in West Virginia. He married a Pennsylvania “Dutch” girl. He never did find a way to fit in. The locals always seemed to him to be focused on more money and more land and more…. The poor and seemingly less cultured folks from West Virginia were polite and sharing of the little that they had. They said “please pass the bread.” In Pennsylvania it was, “I need more bread!” The Southerners called you ‘honey’ and ‘sugar.’ They hugged you. The Northerners spoke their incomprehensible Deitch even knowing that the strangers could not understand. They shook your hand.
How could Dad fit in? He did not. He never adapted to the North. He would have been far more at home in a Southern culture. They would have the same Christian doctrine as the North but, would apply it very differently. Is that a sin? Of course not. The easy-going South seemed lazy to the North. The extreme diligence of the North seemed materialistic to the South. Is that sin? Of course not.
Both cultures were impacted by the Scripture but they had very different applications. That is true in many places in the country and in the world. Do not force your culture on someone else. No matter how much you think that farming is part of the gospel. It is not necessarily so. All cultures can be informed and controlled by the Scripture and still be quite different in application.
My father could easily be taken advantage of in the North. He thought the asking price was the fair price. He did not know that he was to offer far less and then, after dickering, come to an agreed price. He would pay the price that was asked to the shock of the high-price-asker. He was easy to take advantage of. He did not know that people would intentionally take advantage of him. Christian people. He did not understand that that was just the way the culture operated. For him, the playing field was not level.
How is it with you and your congregation? Do you focus on the Scripture teaching and implement that teaching/doctrine or is your focus elsewhere? Is the Church of Jesus Christ your passion? If it is, then teach and live the Scripture and inform all other cultures that you meet about that culture-changing message. Allow those people to adopt the Scripture principles within the individual elements of their culture.
Dad thought that the culture in the North would eventually understand him. They did not. Their cultural practices were their culture. They were Christians but the cultures clashed. That is not necessary. Do not try to force your specific applications on other cultures. Teach them the Scriptures and allow them to make the applications. That will transform their culture.
We are not called to create clones.
We are called to make disciples.
That is what Jesus said.
That is what we need to do.
Stephen Responds to False Accusations – Acts chapter 7
The early Church experienced problems within (Ananias) and persecution from without (Sanhedrin).
They also experienced growth –Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7). This growth became a threat to the religious system.
I. Stephen’s qualifications
Of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom,
Full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs
They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke
He was chosen by the new Church to be ordained – prayed and laid hands on him
II. The false accusations against him
Members of a synagogue disputed with Stephen
They secretly induced men to say that he blasphemed
They stirred up the people and elders and scribes
They seized him and brought him to the Sanhedrin
They also set up false witnesses
III. History of false accusations – some examples
Naboth – (I Kings 21:8-14)
Jeremiah – (Jeremiah 26)
Jesus – (Mark 14:55-59, I Peter 2:22-23)
Stephen – (Acts 6:13)
Paul – (Acts 18:12-14)
Read Psalm 109
IV. The Demonic wickedness of false accusations
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
II Timothy 3:1-5
The word translated “false accusers” is the word for devil – (English diabolical)
To falsely accuse a Godly person is the worst persecution of all – Satan’s tactic
A. His Response
Opening greeting is like Moses’ words to his people
Stephen – “Men and brethren” 7:1 – Moses – “Sirs, brethren” 7:26
Recounts the history of Israel – God’s faithfulness and Israel’s unfaithfulness
Examples: Joseph, Jacob (Israel), Moses
Moses was rejected by Israel
Joseph was rejected by his family
Jacob did not receive the promise made to him – it is still to be fulfilled
The Sanhedrin rejected Jesus 6:35–‘they understood not’
Moses prophecy of a prophet shall God raise up 7:37
God does not live in temples made with hands
B. His rebuke
51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 “who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” Acts 7:51-53
VI. Sanhedrin’s response
They were cut to the heart – they were guilty
They displayed barbaric behavior – they felt justified to do that
They cried out and stopped their ears – they did not want to hear truth
They cast him out of the city and stoned him to death –they got rid of him
They did not take Gamaliel’s advice (Acts 5:34-39)
The Glory of God – 7:2, 55
Stephen, a ‘deacon’ preached the God of glory and saw the glory of God
Stephen saw Jesus standing (to welcome His child home)
Stephen prayed that their sin would not be laid to their charge
(Jesus had prayed the same prayer)
This was a memory in the mind of a young religious leader named Saul
The religious leaders would not tolerate the truth applied to themselves
There are heretics – those who do not accept the Word of God
There are “heretics” – those who do not accept religious systems
Religious systems reject God’s prophets in favor of their own politics
Stephen responded with Scripture and history
The Bible contains much history for our learning
God takes rejection and persecution and turns it into blessing
Devout men carried Stephen to his burial after he ‘fell asleep’
God always has “7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal”
There is the way of truth and there is the way of comfort
Which will you choose?