THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
by Pastor Max Sobrekken, D.D.
For the past number of years we have seen the sad demise of humility among some Gospel Ministries which have grown in popularity and financial worth, but have almost forgotten the fundamental message of godliness and holiness!
God is the judge and we will all stand before Him and give an account of our lives. For years, I have studied carefully St. Paul's powerful admonition and warning to Timothy regarding the corrupting influence of money and the world. Recently, I have had a strong desire to share these words with you!
When Donna and I entered the Ministry, we decided to follow the godly example of Luther, Wesley and Livingstone. We owned our own home and vehicle when I left the business world and lived off our savings. Since I had been successful in business, I had no desire to become rich! What gripped my spirit was the awesome power of God!
As our Ministry grew we stayed on a minimum salary and because of my business ability was able to upgrade our home. For many years as a Pastor, our priority was the Gospel and we poured our finances into World Missions!
JESUS CHRIST WILL RETURN!
“Fight the 'Good Fight of Faith', lay hold on eternal life, where unto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good Confession:
“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the APPEARING of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and ONLY Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the LIGHT which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6:10-16)
St. Paul warns us against preaching a Prosperity Gospel, supposing that, “Gain is godliness.” He quoted the Lord Jesus Christ and the Doctrine which is according to godliness. Again, he commanded, “From such, withdraw thyself.”
THE GREAT DANGER!
“But they that will be RICH fall into temptation and a SNARE, and into many foolish and hurtful LUSTS which drown men in destruction and perdition.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, FLEE these things: and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Tim. 6:10)
Here is the Gospel in a nutshell: We are made Righteous only through Jesus Christ's death and Resurrection! Living in the Word of God and led by the Holy Spirit testifies to Christ's presence in us. Faith lifts us out of the realm of uncertainty gives us an 'amen' that all things are possible! The love of God is in us because He is Love! Patience comes only by knowing that we are in His will and His Word is true. As we pattern ourselves after our Lord Jesus Christ, we will sense His meekness!
The Downfall of a number of preachers of the 'Old Time Gospel' has been, 'The Love of Money'. How Tragic! St. Paul laid down a powerful marker: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” He warned against forgetting why we are preaching the Gospel. It is not to become Rich or Popular, but to please God and fulfill Jesus Christ's desire to reach the world for Him!
Erring from the Truth, for the sake of what money can provide! Looking to the World and its temptations. Taking your eyes off Jesus and His pure Gospel in exchange for Nothing of value! Let us take the counsel and advice of St. Paul: “Follow Jesus!”
I close with these final words from the pen of the great Apostle to his son in the faith: “Preach the Word... For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:5-8). Amen.