Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

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



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 Problem With Hardened Hearts!" By Shane C. Montgomery

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
  When Jesus walked on the sea it was a sign of His divinity, but more important than that and not to contradict your Sunday school teacher, His walking on the sea was a message to His future ministers.

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with these verses from Mark and see if you see this, I underlined the key verse for you,..........

"And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened."                                             Mark 6:45-52 (KJV)

 Jesus, always the Teacher, always training His twelve ministers, those men who would go into the world and preach the Gospel.  He gives them a crash course in just how strong He is and just how weak we ministers are.  Of course I do not compare myself with His original apostles, that would mean I was called forth by the living lips of Christ while He was walking this world during His ministry 2,000 years ago, and no, I am not that old!  There is no such animal as an "Apostle" or a "Prophet" for that matter, anymore.

Nonetheless, Jesus was preparing His ministers for their future ministry.  He still does today.  I believe Scripture makes it clear that Christ was often frustrated with His early ministers, just as He is today, me being one of them.  "Do you have ears and not hear?"  Yep, I have ears and often miss the message He is trying to teach me.  I wish I could say I was made for ministry, that I was a perfect candidate and remain the perfect minister, but of course that would be a huge lie.  I will be the first to fess up that I am very much inadequate for my duties.  I am no where near cut out for ministry......and neither are you.  Neither was Peter, John or any of the Christ's apostles.  And all of us for the same reason.   Verse 52 tells us why, we have hardened our hearts!  Just like the men on that boat that was being whipped about by the sea, Jesus had to walk out to them, on top of the water, and what did they do?  How did they react to seeing Jesus walk on water?   They were shocked and amazed, problem was, they thought wrong, they mistook the Son of God for some sort of water demon.  Can you believe it?  Sounds silly doesn't it?  But truth be told, we would have done the same thing and if this miracle was to happen today, we would mistake Our Savior for some kind of ghost or some other oddity, we would not have the true heart to see Him for who He is.  Our hearts have been hardened by the foolishness of the world, the corruptions of our sins, and  the weakness of our faith.  See, we live in this world where we are trained from a early age to shun humbleness, we are fed pride and told to be self-sufficient.  In other words, we are not adequate for ministry, we are the exact opposite of that, we are adequate for little more than being self-absorbed, prideful, sinners.

  You see, being fitted for ministry means we admit to ourselves that we cannot do it alone, we admit to ourselves that we are still full of pride and arrogance, we all want to be the best instead of being happy to serve in His Kingdom.  I am just as guilty as the next guy here, I often forget I cannot depend on my abilities but can only depend on Christ's!  You might say that is of course correct, who would believe anything else?  Well, you would.  We all do.  It is because of our fallen human nature that our hearts have been hardened.  Just like Pharaoh when Moses demanded to "Let my people go" our hearts are no better than his.  Pharaoh asked the question, "Who is this Lord that I should listen to Him and obey Him?"  "I am the king!"   Do you see a little of yourself in Pharaoh?  Yeah, we all do most of the time.  Because just like Pharaoh so soon forgot the wonders God performed through Moses, and just as the apostles so soon forgot the wonders Jesus did by feeding 5,000 men and more if they would have counted the women and children, and all with one child's lunch for the day.  If you were there, if you witnessed Christ feeding thousands of people with a few fish and little bread, would you remember just how wonderful it all was by that night?  If you had witnessed the feeding of thousands from such little food, would you have realized that you had better believe and put all of your trust and faith in this Jesus Christ and not to get all worked up when adversity strikes?  Would you?   More than likely, you would have done the same thing that the apostles did on that small ship that night, you would have been full of fear, not only when the sea was tossing the small boat around like a toy, but also, and maybe even more so when you witnessed a figure walking toward your ship, right on top of the waves!

  If even one of those men on that boat was trusting enough in Christ and not trusting in his own ability, then that man would have stood up and said, "That is Jesus, He is coming to save us, settle down you guys!"  But no one did that, and even today, with all our knowledge, all our books, websites, sermons, worship, everything, we still forget to put our trust and faith in Christ!  We still try to fix everything on our own strength.  We have hard hearts and prideful spirits, so we honestly believe we are good enough and strong enough and educated enough, that we are maybe even a little better than others and so we can handle the storms on our own, we think we can witness on our own, we can minister on our own, but then we fall flat on our faces.  We fail.   All because we forgot.  Our hearts are hardened, we trust in ourselves and forget about our need of a Savior, still today, we need a Savior.  Christ was trying to teach those men who so soon forgot the wonders and the gifts of God, that God works through Christ and Christ works through His followers.  That's us folks.

 Are you like me?  Do you sometimes forget that just as Christ never meant for His apostles, His future ministers to work on their own abilities and intelligence, neither does He want us to work with only ours.  If we do, we will fail.  It is only a matter of time.  Me and you, we cannot feed 5,000 people from one boy's lunch box.  But through Christ, we can feed the world!

Be Holy!


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