July 2019   
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Deuteronomy 6:12-13

They say there are two signs of old age:
•    The first is not being able to remember as well as we once could.
•    I can't remember what the second one was.

If a loss of memory is any indication of old age, I am afraid many of us are not as young as we thought we were. Seriously, forgetting is a problem we all l have. Because God knows this is a problem with the human race, in His Word He tells us the things we are not to forget.

Millions of people have forgotten about God, the very One Who brought them the blessings our nation enjoys. What are some of the ways we are doing this?

•    On June17, 1963, our Supreme Court ruled prayer and the Bible out of public schools for teachers. Actually it is still legal for a student to take a Bible to school. They can even lay it on their desk unopened.
•    Atheist Madelyn Murray said, "We find the Bible to be nauseating, historically inaccurate, replete with the ravings of mad men. We find God to be sadistic, brutal, and a representation of  hatred and vengeance. We find the Lord's Prayer to be that muttered by worms grovelling for meager existence in a traumatic paranoid world."
•    The strong movement exists to make it be against the law to place nativity scenes on government property.
•    Replicas of The Ten Commandments have been removed from government buildings.
•    Markers of any kind with a cross symbol are covered over or relocated.
•    Religious movies in public schools are being declared illegal.
•    Christmas plays and Easter pageants are being banned.
•    Even the names have been changed to “holiday program.”
•    Distribution of literature in public parks is being banned.
•    High school auditoriums are being closed to all religious groups.
•    Baccalaureate services are being ordered discontinued.
•    Suits are being filed to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
•    Tax exemption privileges for churches are being challenged.
•    Chaplaincy in the armed services is being undermined. Chaplains are no longer allowed to pray “in Jesus’ name.”
•    Postage stamps with religious significance have been halted.
•    Gideon Bible distribution to school children is no longer permissible in some areas.
Yes, all across this nation there are ungodly people who are doing all they can to wipe out everything that has "God" stamped upon it.

•    In many homes, the only time children hear the name of God is when it is taken in vain.
•    Families gather around the table to eat, and like pigs at a trough, they dive in, never giving God thanks.
•    Family Bibles are being replaced by other reading material.
•    Religious portraits are being replaced by pictures of freaky-looking rock stars.
I know parents who got all upset because the government has thrown God out of school classrooms. But the truth is, they threw Him out of their home years ago. I have heard these same parents say in almost a bragging way, "I haven't been to church in 10 to 20 years.

A preacher talked to a dad recently and reminded him of something he had reminded him of almost 20 years earlier--his need for God in his life.
•    The dad's daughter has now lost all respect for herself and everyone else, and he does not know what to do with her.
•    She does as she pleases, when she pleases, and however she pleases.

The pastor had to tell him the truth.
•    He said, "The problem is, those children of yours are almost grown now. They have grown up not hearing about a God who loves them, who is also a holy God who will punish them when they do evil.
•    They do not fear God because you never gave them a chance to know of Him. You raised them in a home that forgot God."

One responsibility God assigned to parents is teaching them about Himself. It began with the Israelites in Deuteronomy 11:18-21. Throughout Scripture God continued to demand this (Psalm 34:11). God also gave an essential message about child-rearing in Proverbs 22:6.

Ministerial students from eight leading theological schools, including Yale Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary, were polled.
•    54% did not believe that Jesus went back to Heaven physically.
•    56% did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ.
•    71% did not believe in a real Heaven or Hell.
•    98% did not believe in the eternal life of man.
•    99% did not believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
We should be concerned, because as these ministerial students infiltrate the pulpits of our churches and preach incorrect doctrine, millions will be doomed. Pulpit committees have to be more careful when selecting a pastor. lt is for sure, if a man does not believe God's Word, he certainly will not preach it.

It is too bad, but Satan has about accomplished his purpose. People in government, homes, and seminaries have forgotten God. We further prove this by not honoring God's day.

Our nation is taking a definite swing backward away from the principles it was founded on such as honesty, hard work, and dependability. How many people do you know who just do something for someone just to be nice? Most always it is for a price. One merchant recommends another’s product if there is a payoff involved. No longer do we dare leave the church doors unlocked so people could come pray--not that they would because someone would vandalize, and carry away any objects not fastened down!

Deuteronomy 6:12-13 is such a strong, timely warning. It is imperative we not take it lightly! Any time we see the word "BEWARE” we had better stop and pay attention.

The preacher once entered a yard that had a sign on the gate: "BEWARE OF BAD DOG." He read the sign but really did not let it penetrate his mind since there was no dog in sight. But, when he had almost reached the house, he heard something coming around the corner. It was so big he could hear its feet pound against the ground. Then, as he got his first glimpse of that beast, he thought about Daniel in the den of lions. He prayed, "Lord, you saved Daniel from the lions, save me from this man-eating dog!" To make a long story short, God did protect him. Now, every time he sees a sign that says, "Beware...," he heeds the warning.

Some friends of ours also have a sign on their door: BEWARE OF BAD DOG. If you very cautiously and slowly come close, you will see this 5 to 6 inch tall dog. Some trickery!! However, God does not play tricks. When He says BEWARE, He means BEWARE. God would not have put this BEWARE in the Bible had there not been something to BEWARE of. I’ve already mentioned how we have forgotten God in our government, our homes, Bible colleges and seminaries and not keeping the Lord’s day holy. I’m afraid the list continues.

Have you noticed that conversations include everything except God? Every day we converse about the weather, sports, politics, hobbies, clothing, cars, houses, gardening. I saw a T-shirt recently on an elderly man. The message was, “ASK ME ABOUT  MY GRANDCHILDREN.”  If anyone asked, I guarantee he would tell you about them. But seldom do folks talk about God. Folks talk about the things they love, and this would indicate they do not love God. I’m convinced that the reason folks to not talk about God is because they have forgotten about Him.

When I was in high school in 1958, I bought a 1950 Chevrolet. It was really nice. Everywhere I want folks want to examine it. Interior and exterior were okay. I spent hours talking with folks about it. But when I went to the Army, I had to sell it. Since I no longer have it, I very seldom ever think about it much less talk about it.

Usually those things we no longer have we do not talk about. That’s why I believe that today very few talk about God as they’ve forgotten Him. In fact, God is so seldom talked about that when someone does talk about him it almost shocks us. Well, God never intended it that way (Hebrews 2:1-4). Why meditate on God’s Word? A man can do something great like running a touchdown, and we will talk about it for days. But God does great supernatural things every day, and He wants us to talk about Him. That’s why He says “Beware you don’t forget the Lord.”

I recently read a church advertisement.
•    Their church slogan was, “The Church with the Fellowship of Excitement.”  
•    Then it listed all the kinds of programs that excited them.
•    They had things that appealed to the natural man, from trips for the elderly to various activities for the young.
•    Every age level had an activity.
I’m not against these things, as you know, because we have activities. But I’m afraid some churches are being built, not around the fellowship with God or His people, but around activities and programs. The one thing that makes the church different from the world is the church offers people fellowship with God and with God’s people. You cannot find godly fellowship with sinners.

When we socialize or talk with friends, we sometimes call it fellowship, but there’s a vast difference when this is applied to Christians. There was a time when folks would come together in fellowship with the Lord. That is, they talked about God. They would spend hours and hours in fellowship around the Word of God. When you left that kind of fellowship, you always looked forward to the next time.

God is very clear about fellowship: He wants the fellowship of His followers. One offering He established was the Fellowship Offering in Exodus 20:24. The rules for this offering are found in Leviticus 7:11-18.
•    This offering was voluntary either as an expression of thankfulness (Leviticus 7:12) or the result of a vow or as a freewill offering (Leviticus 7:16).
•    Called a “peace offering” in the King James and NASB translations, this offering is one which is not brought in obligation to the Lord, or as atonement for sin, or any other requirement.
•    It is the offering of one who simply needs to express the peace God has planted in his life.
•    When God is doubly good to you, then a peace offering is the fitting gesture of the thankful heart, living in God’s own peace.
•    True worship always is voluntary, personal, and spontaneous.

Scripture describes various aspects of fellowship:
(1) With God
•    in the knowledge of His will
•    in agreement with His designs
•    in mutual affection
•    in enjoyment of His presence
•    in conformity to His image
•    in participation of His joy
(2) Of saints with one another
•    in duties
•    in ordinances
•    in grace, love, and joy
•    in mutual interest, spiritual and temporal
•    in sufferings
•    in glory

In 1 Corinthians 1:9 and 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul wrote about fellowship as did John in John 1:3 and 1 John 1:6-7. Encouragement and assistance were two aspects of fellowship in the early church which should be practiced as we fellowship today (Romans 15:1-2; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 13:16). I cannot imagine Jesus’ 12 disciples having what we call fellowship today. It is sometimes no more than arguing, gossiping, or secular socializing.  The reason they do not have any fellowship of the Lord is because they do not know what God intended to do through fellowship.

David wanted proper fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 86:11-13). David talked about what the Lord showed him. Have you ever noticed how people tend to talk about the way in which they walk? If they walk in the way of holiness, their talk is of God (Isaiah 2:3; Amos 3:3). How are they agreed? They speak of the same things and believe the same way together in the Lord. Those who do not know how to have godly fellowship together remind me of the man who to get a new pair of glasses. The patient said, “Doc, will I be able to read with these reading glasses?” The doc said, “Yes you will.” The patient said, “Great because I never could read before.”

Yes, there are those who never knew what God intended fellowship to be to start with. People from all walks of life and of all kinds of temperaments can have fellowship when that fellowship is in the Father. For example, the Lord’s 12 disciples were a very diverse group.
•    Simon was known for his temper and for being impetuous.
•    Matthew, the former tax collector, was known as being sophisticated by some, and perhaps is being a crook by others.
•    James and John, two of the four fishermen, were known for being ambitious.

True fellowship of believers is recorded in Acts 2:44, 46-47.

★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.
      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church Sedalia, Missouri 2015