June 2-3 2014
The service began at SCABC with some beautiful hymns about redemption, salvation and the cross, led by Zac Estep. Pastor Decker followed by introducing Pastor Jeffrey Ables (Berean Baptist Church, Springfield) as the meeting’s first speaker. After a special, “Oh How He Loves You and Me,” Pastor Ables comes to the pulpit. He read 1 Corinthians 3:1-10, and announces the title of his message: “Laborers together with God.”
One of the many problems at the church of Corinth was their favoritism. Some attached themselves to Apollos, others to Peter, and some even to Paul. Verse 5 says “Who is Paul, who is Apolos?” Paul is not questioning his identity, he is questioning his position. These people had elevated human leaders, and Paul wants them to question, “Are these men really that important?”
The positions they held were not of high honor. He says in verse 5 that they were just ministers. Though this word may bring a level of respect today, back then it referenced servants doing menial tasks.That is what we are to do, just help people by bringing them God’s truth. Our position is not honorable, but our objective is infinitely important.
Even though these teachers, these ministers were not to be held in high honor, they did have a work to do. Paul uses an agricultural analogy to describe the work of the minister. The farmer can plant and water, but he cannot give life to the seed. The minister does what God will not do, and God will do what the minister cannot do. Only God can regenerate people. And that’s why God gets the credit, not man.
Pastor Ables gives a brief overview of Paul’s ministry from Acts. How did all of those people get saved? How was Paul able to spread the Gospel to so many places? Because, he was not laboring alone: he labored with God.
Paul was not like Peter. Apollos was not like Paul. We are not like each other. But we must continue the work anyway, because it is not our personalities that bring the increase, it is Jesus Christ, who is laboring with us. After this encouraging message, the service was closed in prayer by Pastor Kent Hogan (Bible Baptist Church, Carthage) and we enjoyed some great desserts and snacks prepared by the ladies.
The next morning the ladies had a refreshing breakfast prepared for us. After breakfast, we went to the auditorium. The first service began at 9. After some congregational singing led by Pastor Decker, Don Ivie (South Campbell Avenue Baptist Church, Springfield) came to the pulpit.
He read Psalm 100, and began an uplifting address on rejoicing in God. He talked about how this Psalm is full of joy, gladness, and praise. Unfortunately, these things are often short lived in our lives. We need to continue to praise God for what He has done. His title was “Four things I’m still Thankful for.” He gave us four reasons to rejoice in God.
1. Redemption by the blood. He took us to Colossians 1:14. Our redemption in Christ is secured by Him alone, not by our power or anything that we have done. What Christ did for us erases our sin, removes our guilt, gives us peace, and secures our eternal life. It translates us into His kingdom. It justifies us before God. The blood of Christ is something for which we should always be thankful. Rejoice in God because of the redemption through His blood.
2. Reservation in the book of life. No matter what happens here on earth, we can always rejoice in God because our name is in the book of life. Nothing changes that. We can rejoice in God because our reservation is secure.
3. Return of The Lord. Jesus’ return is just as sure as if it had already happened. God the Father pledged it (Acts 2:31-36) and Jesus promised it (John 14). The return of Christ will happen. We can rejoice in God because Christ is coming back.
4. Resurrection of the saints. We can rejoice in God because we have the promise of the resurrection.
After this uplifting message, we sang a hymn, which was followed by the preachers introducing themselves. A special was sung by Mrs. Decker and Mrs. Estep, and Pastor Sam Davis (planting a church in Carl Junction) approached the pulpit.
He opened with 2 Peter 2:6-8. He began by showing that Lot is a good example of how not to live for God. He took us to Genesis 13, where Lot and Abram part ways. What was the mistake that Lot made? He showed us that what defined Lot’s life is self-centeredness. His selfish outlook on life led to all of his other bad decisions. When we make decisions solely based on self, we are asking for a destroyed life.
Lot never knew what would happen to his family. He wasn’t planning on losing his wife. He wasn’t planning on having incest with his daughters. He began with one decision: “I will live for myself today.” That was the basis for every self-inflicted problem that would follow.
His selfishness pushed him closer to Sodom. Why? Because when God lost the pre-eminence in his life, he looked for comfort and fulfillment somewhere else.
In Genesis 19 we see Lot sitting at the gate. This was a place of authority and influence (Ruth 4, 2 Samuel 15). This shows that Lot had become one of them. How did this happen? How could he degenerate so far? It all began when he chose to live a self-centered life.
Later in the same chapter, Lot is with the angels when the men of the city begin to knock on the door and ask to see the travelers. He identifies with them by calling himself their brother. Then he offers his own daughters to them. He had no clue where his self-worship would take him.
All destroyed lives begin with a decision to live for self. Pastor Davis summed up this convicting and helpful sermon when he encouraged us to live with God as the preeminent Person in our lives.
After a short break, we returned to the last service. Pastor Decker led in some wonderful hymns about our grace in Christ, and finished with a special called “He Will Hide Me.”
Pastor Wes Stewart (Bible Baptist Church, Cassville) came to the pulpit. He opened the last session of the day by reading from 2 Samuel 16:20-17:14; the story of Hushai and Ahithophel. Then he took us to 1 Chronicles 27, where it says that Ahithophel was David’s counselor, but Hushai was David’s companion.
The story of Hushai and Ahithophel is the account of God answering David’s prayer in 1 Samuel 15 when he asked to make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.
Ahithophel followed David’s rebelling son Absolom. He was a wise counselor. He was very intelligent. He was so wise that coming to him was like enquiring at the “oracle of God.” He was known for his great counsel. He had a great reputation in the community. But he didn’t really care about David. He had wisdom, but not love.
As ministers, our reputation is important, but it is not the only thing that calls for our attention. Sometimes we feel that as long as everything about our ministry looks good, then it is successful. We may think that if people look up to our external work that this validates our ministry. He turned to Luke to use the illustration of Mary and Martha. Martha’s activity and reputation was commendable, but it’s not what Jesus called “needful.” Pastor Stewart said this: “We cannot keep up our spirituality on the name of pastor alone.” We need communion with God.
When it came time for Ahithophel to make a decision, he chose Absolom. Why? Why would he follow such an arrogant rebellious man that cared nothing about David or his God? Since Aithophel was more concerned about his work than the person he served, his work no longer was what God wanted.
How often do we in the ministry go with what’s convenient rather than what God wants? We compromise because we are more concerned about our ministry than the One for Whom we minister. “A man’s reputation can become his idol.”
“The Christian ministry is not so much about keeping up the outward man as it is about walking with God.” Pastor Stewart exhorted us to be a companion, not just a counselor.
We closed in prayer led by Pastor Darren Myers (Landmark Baptist Church, Rolla) and exited to the fellowship hall. The people of South Campbell prepared a delicious fish fry and many of the preachers stayed for the meal and fellowship afterward. This meeting was a refreshing one. Thanks again to South Campbell Avenue Baptist Church for hosting. – David Harris