Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."

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1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"The Sheep To Be Nurtured, Not Neutered" by Shane C. Montgomery

Monday, December 27, 2010

  In my zeal to evangelize I am often mistaken for someone other than who I am.  Be it in doctrine or more commonly from those in my own Reformed faith, as a man who jumps the gun so to speak and encourages believers to get out and share the Gospel without giving them the tools to do so effectively and or correctly. This is a very common occurrence, that I encourage all believers to share the Gospel and to be a witness, this part is true, I do encourage all believers and I do so because Scripture tells us to, also, Christ commissioned us to be ambassadors.  Now if we were to say Christ only sent out the initial 72 men and later on sent out His 11 remaining disciples, if we say they alone were commissioned, then our entire religion is false and must be discarded as a cruel joke.  That would mean we have no Biblical basis for anyone past those men at that time in history to teach, preach, pastor, evangelize.  See how this would kill the Christian faith before it even began.  



  I do encourage all believers to witness, this is true, but I do not and never have, to the best of my memory, encouraged anyone to hit the streets without a solid understanding of the Gospel.  By this I mean a good understanding of Justification by Faith Alone, In Christ Alone, By Grace Alone, To the Glory of God Alone, and also throw in, In Scripture Alone.  The basics of the Reformed Doctrines of Grace in other words.  Do I believe they must first have seminary training prior to being a witness?  Absolutely not!  Should they wait awhile, until they have a firm grasp of the Gospel, Yes!   But to say they must wait until they are ready, well then, they will never be ready!   There is a time and a place for this, not when one is an infant in grace, but waiting until the person is an elder in the church is too long.  The amount of time needed for one to prepare to be a witness, and I do not like the word, "effective" that shows an Arminian mindset, rather I prefer, "Correct"  a correct way to speak of the Gospel is nothing more than the accurate, Biblical way.  A few weeks in Paul's epistles and the Gospels should prepare most people just fine, you do not need be a scholar to be a witness. Every believer should of course continue in their education throughout the coming years. This is understood, or should be anyway, as a duty in their sanctification. This continuing study will benefit them in many ways, including their witness.  Unfortunately, too many Reformed people discourage young converts from hitting the streets, I think this is a grave mistake and this does nothing but harm the new Christian.  Why deaden their zeal and love for Christ?


  I remember back to my early years, Christ had recently found me and delivered me from my sin bondage and I was so excited and so in love with Christ!  I saw Christ everywhere and in every thing.  You recall those days right.  At the time I was not attending any church, I was agnostic prior to Christ's love.  Having no idea what to do next beside digging out the Bible from the closet, my wifes aunt gave us for Christmas some years back and we had never removed it from it's cellophane wrapper.  Other than reading the Bible, which I did with great thirst, I had no idea what to do so I found a church in town that I thought would be a good fit.  I had been in there once before for my son's vacation Bible school, so this was the only church I knew.  So my family and I began regularly attending this United Methodist Church and even became members a few years later and even taught grade school Sunday School one year.   It was there that I finally became disgruntled with the order of worship, the sermons, the sermons were only 15 minutes long, I needed to be fed a lot more than that friends, I was starving for God's Word and instead I got these little 15 minute snippets on the pastors wife and her inability to cook.  Another problem, the fact no one brought a Bible to worship other than my family.  The sermons did not match up with what I was reading in Scripture at all.   I had about two years of personal Bible study and daily Bible reading under my belt by then, I was reading Scripture about two hours a day then and I was getting frustrated with what was being preached.  Nothing about God's grace, nothing about God's Sovereignty and so on.  


  It was during the early days, the first month of being in that Methodist church that I remember having the life knocked out of me by my very own pastor.   I had only been a believer for two months and was maybe at the church for a month and a half when I got to sit down for the first time with my new pastor.  This church had a rather large membership and getting five minutes with the pastor was like winning the state lotto, very hard to do.  I finally got my sit down with him after dozens of request, I poured out my heart to him about my love for Christ and how I was being drawn to witness, my new pastor looked at me and laughed, he said, "you are still new at this, this love for God will soon pass and you will calm down and learn to be like everyone else and just take it easy and come to church on Sundays, that's all you have to do, do not do anything stupid like witnessing or anything,"   That was my first talk with my pastor, I was deflated.   He knocked the zeal and life right out of me, and I did as he said, I showed up for church once a week and kept quiet.  But after awhile, I could keep quiet no more and God delivered me from that false church by showing me the doctrines of grace in Scripture.   Soon I was out of there and on the streets witnessing like mad.   I never turned back.  He was wrong, my love for Christ did not diminish, it did not die off, my zeal for sharing the Gospel only grew greater. My love for Christ grew ten fold since then!  He was so wrong.  God made sure I would serve Him, and I am.  


  The point to this long message is we have no right to tell anyone not to share the Gospel, going around killing the zeal in new believers or old believers for that matter is not sound advice, it is stupid advice, it is less the work of God and more the work of Satan.  Why would any Christian want to smother the love of Christ in any believer?   Never tell anyone their love of Christ will die!   Never tell anyone to "Settle down" let them be, let them show their love for God.  Let them be a witness. Never discourage anyone, if they are not ready, then help them be ready, if you are not part of the solution, don't be a part of the problem.  Mentor them, train them, help get them ready, don't squash their dreams and love for the Gospel and shoot them down, do not belittle them, don't laugh at them like my pastor did me.  Why would anyone want to conceal the Gospel?   Why would any Christians, especially a pastor, a minister of God's Word, why would they want to keep the good news under wraps?   Good news is meant to  be shared, passed out, delivered, spoken of, sung of, screamed from the rooftops even!  But never buried.  Never hidden.  Never covered up. 


  I do not know where that pastor is today, I know the members sent him packing shortly after my family left there, but I do know where I am.   I am pastoring a church, a Reformed church, a small one but a devoted one, everyone brings a Bible.  We are far from perfect, we depend on the blessings and provisions of God in all we do.  We witness big time as a church.  Are we effective?   Who knows!   Are we correct in our delivery of the Gospel?  Yes we are.  Are we honest in our approach?  Yep.  Are we devoted to be as loving as we can be and show the love of Christ?  Yes sir.   We witness not on our powers, but God's.  We witness for His glory and never ours.  We leave the church with a mission, clear cut and specific, The Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls.   We leave the rest up to God, to save who He will.  


  After finding the doctrines of grace in Scripture years ago, I had no idea what to do with it and how to understand it better, for this I stumbled on Charles Spurgeon who led me to John Calvin.  These two great men of God showed me the way in their writings, the helped me better understand Scripture and to this day are still a huge help to me.  Since then I have of course added several others, A.W. Pink, J.C. Ryle and the Puritans to name a few, but the first two guys, they are still my favorites, I still return to them.  It was in Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" that I first grasped solidly the doctrines of grace.   So for anyone who still claims I send people out unprepared, I am posting Calvin's teachings, in part, from his greatest work, the Institutes, in the next post, it will be above this one.   So everyone who reads this post can read the same teachings I was so edified by.   None of us are perfect, we all are a work in progress when it comes to sanctification, so please, be patient with new converts, show them the love they need from their brethren in the faith, show them the love I needed but never received.  


Be Holy!
Shane C. Montgomery

2 comments:

{ Craig } at: January 8, 2011 at 7:41 PM said...

great post Shane. I was recently told the reason why i go out witnessing because it helped me with my self esteem. Thats like the dumbest thing i ever herd. I dont even believe in self esteem its not scriptural lol

{ Bold Witness For Christ } at: January 8, 2011 at 11:40 PM said...

That's a new one! It takes a humble man to witness for the glory of another,(Christ) so what that person said to you of course makes little sense. I have been told my witnessing is a crutch. I am still wondering how that can be?! I imagine the lost are just so far off course they are easily swayed, ever notice how most non believers have no original thought process, just a rehashing of what they have heard elsewhere. It is sad brother, very sad. What they think is the prison of religion is truly freedom from the silly things in the world. Praying for you brother, keep preaching!

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