Preaching: All about the Messenger, the Message, & the Ministry.
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The Preaching Ezine (the newsletter of Preachology.com)
Issue #031, March 15, 2014
What's in this Issue:
1. Are you "Called to Preach?"
2. Sermon outline on "Hooked" (at bottom of ezine)
3. New sermons, outlines, and illustrations (Some great poems too!)!
4. You could have your own sermon web page on Preachology.com!!
Mark Hollingsworth here. I hope you are having a great 1st Quarter to the New Year...2014!
I've been thinking about and reading about the subject of being "Called to Preach." What do you think?
John Henry Jowett said, "It is of momentous importance how a man enters the ministry. There is a 'door' into this sheepfold, and there is 'some other way.' A man may enter as a result of merely personal calculations: or he may enter from the constraint of the purely secular counsel of his friends. He may take up the ministry as a profession, as a means of earning a living, as a desirable social distinction, as a business that offers pleasantly favourable chances of cultured leisure, of coveted leaderships, and of attractive publicity. A man may become a minister because, after carefully weighing comparative advantages, he prefers the ministry to law, or to medicine, or to science, or to trade and commerce. The ministry is ranged among
many other secular alternatives, and it is chosen because of some outstanding allurement that appeals to personal taste. Now in all such decisions the candidate for the ministry misses the appointed door. His vision is entirely horizontal. His outlook is that of 'the man of the world.' Similar considerations are prevalent: similar maxims and axioms are assumed: the same scales of judgment are used. The constraining motive is ambition, and the coveted goal is succes. There is nothing vertical in the vision. There is no lifting up of the eyes 'unto the hills.' There is no awful mysteriousness as of 'a wind that bloweth where it listeth.' A man has decided his calling but 'God was not in all his thoughts.'"
Some profound words there! More on the subject next time!!
2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Happy St Patrick's day!!
YOU are a blessing to me!
2 Tim. 4:3 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...
What's New at Preachology.com?
There are new sermons and some great poems on my website...take a look!
Keep praying for us as we minister at the Prison to the prisoners and the officers and pray as Janey and I minister at the church as well.
I am praying for you and your ministry and enjoy hearing from you with your prayer requests.
PREACHOLOGY BIBLE INSTITUTE...still coming...in 2014!!!
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Hooked…in More Ways Than One
II Chronicles 33:9-16
Commercial fisherman have some pretty clever tactics for capturing their prey. Some use what's known as a "purse-seiner." It works something like this: A ship will locate a school of fish; it then sends a small skiff off the back of the boat, dragging a huge net. The skiff makes a wide loop around the school, lowering the net through the water. Slowly, the bottom of the net is drawn shut...then the loop is tightened. Before the fish can sense any danger, the net is drawn up like a purse and hoisted upon the deck.
Another example is called the "trot-line." In some parts of this country, a fisherman will run a trot-line along the bottom of a lake or stream. Each line holds hundreds of hooks. As fish move through the area feeding, they unsuspectingly take the bait. You'd think they'd let go when they felt the hook, but the trot-
line is set up in a special way. Each hook is fastened to the line with a piece of elastic. The unsuspecting fish has enough freedom to move and doesn't even know that it's been caught.
Our text today isn't about fishing...but it is about being hooked. Most obviously, it tells how King Manasseh was led away with a hook through his nose. But the more you think about it, you realize that Manasseh was "Hooked" in More Ways Than One... 1) He was hooked by the deceitfulness of sin 2) He was hooked by the mercy of God 3) He became hooked on serving the Lord.
I. Hooked on Sin
The book of Chronicles is just what its name implies: a chronicle, or record of the kings of Judah and Israel. It doesn't tell you everything they did during their rule, just the things they are remembered for.
What was Manasseh's claim to fame? According to our text, he seduced the people of Judah into such great wickedness that it shocked the heathen world. The
crowning achievement of his career was that he committed such horrendous sins that he put his heathen neighbors to shame.
That's a pretty striking statement when you consider the home from which Manasseh had come. His dad was one of the best kings to rule in the divided kingdom. The Holy Spirit devotes four whole chapters to the life of Hezekiah and the reforms he worked in the kingdom. But now, along comes his son and overturns all the good his dad had worked for.
Here's what he did. Verse three says, "He rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baal’s, and made wooden images, and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them." Then he set up an idol inside the Temple, he practiced witchcraft and sorcery. To top it off, he caused his sons to pass through the fire. To understand what that means, you have to picture a huge bronze idol that was parked outside the walls of Jerusalem. The idol
had the face of a calf and arms like a human being. That statue would be heated with fire. When it was red-hot, the heathen would place a living child in the idol's burning arms.
The question is, How could someone who was raised in such a godly home go so far astray? If Hezekiah had known about the wickedness of his son he would have turned over in his grave. And yet, it happened...it still happens today. The reason? Psychologists might say that Manasseh was just rebelling against his strict upbringing. But God has another answer. Manasseh had become thoroughly hooked by the deceitfulness of sin. A person doesn't just wake up one morning and decide to sacrifice his children to the idol Moloch. No, Manasseh's depravity had grown with time. The devil is a master at leading people farther and farther away from the Lord -- but just a few steps at a time. Finally, like the fish on a trot-line, people don't even know they've been hooked.
Have you been
hooked by the deceitfulness of sin? The devil always baits the hook with big promises..."This is going to make you happier or richer or better looking..." But it's a big lie. Satan has one objective and that is to bring you under the same condemnation that awaits him. Let the example of Manasseh stand as a warning: You can't fool around with sin. The devil won't be satisfied until you turn from Christ and worship a false god. And so, we need to let go of the hook and turn to the Lord for forgiveness.
II. Hooked on the Savior
As you might expect, God had a few choice words for Manasseh. In effect, He said, "I'm going to bring such a great calamity upon you that it will tingle the ears of those who hear it." He also said, "I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down." But the words fell on deaf ears. Manasseh didn't want to break from his sin. One day, the Assyrian army showed up and captured the city. They put
him in shackles and led him away with a hook through his nose.
Any child whose ever been led by the nose can appreciate what this is like. He may talk back or refuse to listen -- until Mom or Dad grabs him by the nose and marches him to his room. With the consequences of his sin looming before him, Manasseh came to his senses. He could only imagine the treatment he would receive from the hands of his enemies. So, he "Implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers." Now, what do you think? Wasn't it a little late to be thinking about repentance? Coming from a man who had fallen so deeply into sin, wasn't this expecting too much? Yes it was. And that's why you become hooked when you understand the mercy of God. The Lord heard his prayer and answered him.
This man was guilty of horrendous sins, and yet, he walks free. This is what the mercy of God is all about. The prayer of repentance always receives the
answer of God's unconditional forgiveness. God rescued him from the hands of his enemies and more importantly, God saved him from an eternity of punishment in hell.
Manasseh wouldn't live long enough to see (with his eyes) why God should treat him so kindly. You've got to fast-forward through history by seven centuries and consider the events that took place in the same town of Jerusalem. Here is another Man, a King, being marched to His execution. This Man is guilty of neither blasphemy nor idolatry, in fact, there is not a single smudge of guilt upon His record. He is pulled forward, not by a hook through His nose, but by His great love for lost sinners. When this Man turns to God in prayer, asking, "Father, if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from Me," He is not set free. Instead, He becomes the target of God's wrath over the sins of Manasseh, over the sins of you and me. God aimed His righteous anger at Jesus -- God lets us off the hook!
is why it is never too late to turn back to God in this life. You have never fallen too far; you are never stained so deeply with sin that you cannot be washed clean in the blood of Christ. Paul spoke of himself as "The worst of sinners," but he also wrote, "There is, therefore, now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus."
It took a hook in his nose to bring him to repentance; it became the hook of God's mercy. Today, God still has to lead us by the nose, at times. He has to confront us with our sins and warn us of the consequences. He may have to take us out of action for a while so that we turn back to Him. It's all a part of the way God deals with us in love.
III. Hooked on Serving God
Finally, Manasseh became hooked on serving the Lord. What happened when he got back to Jerusalem? Did he think, "Whew! That was sure a lucky break" and then go right back to his sinful ways? No, he launched a reform. He destroyed the very
altars he had erected. He turned the corner on his former wicked life and dedicated himself and his people to God. He even fortified the city against their pagan neighbors and stationed guards in the watchtowers. Was it easy? It never is. Serving the Lord means denying yourself. Breaking from sinful patterns means bucking the tide of your own flesh. But when you experience the freedom of God's grace in Christ, the Spirit empowers you to do amazing things.
That's the effect God's mercy has in our lives, too. God told the adulterous woman, "Go, and sin no more." Today, He's telling you, "I have forgiven you. Now, don't fall right back into the same old way of living again." That may cost you personally. It may make you stand out from the crowd. But that's a part of being hooked on serving the Lord. Let it be your daily prayer that the Spirit strengthens and enables you to take a stand for the Lord.
I once saw a lapel pin that looked like a gold-
plated fishing hook. It's a good reminder that Christians ARE hooked: We were formerly hooked by the deceitfulness of sin; we became hooked by the mercy of God; we are hooked on serving our Lord. I'm hooked. Are you hooked, too?