Beloved Brothers and Sisters:
In reading a book by Joel Beeke on Christian zeal, I became convicted by my all-too-often lack of zeal. What excuse can we have for a lack of zeal for our God when the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength (Matt 22:36-38)?
In quoting from a puritan writer, Beeke mentioned the absolute tragedy that unbelievers labor much more diligently, much more zealously, to be made pleasing to the world on the path of destruction than most professing believers will ever labor to be found pleasing to God on the path to glory. May this not be so of us!
Lest we be confused, Beeke gave some helpful marks of Christian zeal vs. false zeal:
- Christian zeal is marked by love for God
- Christian zeal is ruled by Scripture
- Christian zeal is devoted to good works
- Christian zeal begins with self-examination
- Christian zeal cares about others
- Christian zeal is constant
- False zeal is most obvious, and often burns brightest, in trivial and circumstantial matters.
- False zeal is kindled by passion and vainglory in correcting others
- False zeal leads a person beyond the bounds of his place and calling
- False zeal is more eager at first than at the end
- False zeal is discouraged by the difficulties of religion
- False zeal is more led by example than by rule
- False zeal becomes busy with controversies and circumstances in religion
- False zeal is uneven; there is no uniformity to it
- False zeal makes a person disruptive of human societies and civil governments.
- False zeal proceeds from natural rashness
We all know the danger of false zeal. We all remember times in our own lives when we acted out of false zeal. Lest we see the danger and abuses of false zeal, let us consider this though from Beeke:
Does the Lord call us to anything less than zeal in Christianity? Is there any ground in Scripture to assume that a Christian life of mediocrity and coldness will give us confidence in the Judgment Day?
The call of Christ is a call for zealous living. What else but zeal can describe the single-minded devotion that marks the true disciple of Jesus (Matt 6:19-24)? What else but zeal can rightly say that it counts all things as loss for the sake of knowing Him (Phil 3:8)? What else but zeal will keep us diligent in our pursuit of righteousness, diligent in our pursuit of unity in the body, diligent in the pursuit of the lost; all while facing every trial and suffering?
May God forbid that we would have it said of us that we have grown lukewarm (Rev 3:15-16). Join me in praying that God would fan the flame of gospel zeal in our hearts and in our congregation. Join me in praying for an outpouring of God’s Spirit that would result in radical love of God, radical obedience to God, and radical service one to another.
A Note From Brother Ken:
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ at Marnardville Fellowship,
How good and how pleasant it was to gather together with you this past Lord’s Day to worship our great King and glorious God together, both at the Basswood gathering and the Maynardville Fellowship. We are so thankful for the faithfulness of Brother Ronnie and both our Brother Matthews who always point us to our glorious triune God in all the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments. “And can it be that we should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood” was gained for us as it was for Abraham, by God’s “quickening ray” of His Holy Spirit of Christ? Praise be to God all the promises are in Christ alone!
So thankful for Caleb and Chandler’s faithfulness in leading us in our evening worship at Maynardville. We praise God for the visitors He continually sends to worship with us.
I have been meditating on Chandler’s exegeses of 3 John and the love that God has for His children. Could it be that our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life with His own blood? “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
Well many of you are sitting under a spiritual Niagara Falls at T4G and there is no way you can consume it all this week. Thankfully you will have two years to meditate on all of it until the next T4G should Christ not appear first!
I had planned on taking Gail this year but our youngest daughter Deborah was due on the 14th and while you were having your closing session Tuesday evening we were blessed with our thirteenth grand child. I flew directly from Louisville to Salt Lake City after the closing session of the 2012 T4G and just made it to Salt Lake City in time for the birth of Deborah’s first child! Didn’t want to presume this year.
Beloved I have some things that have been on my heart for some time that I would like to share with you.
First, last year when Sonny and Sally Shankles were walking through the multiple surgeries with Sonny’s broken foot, our Lord gave Brother Ronnie and Brother Matthew (C) and I some blessed times of fellowship together In the hospital surgery waiting rooms at Sonny’s discomfort. During these times Brother Ronnie had asked me if Gail and I would consider coming alongside Basswood as they were prayerfully desiring to reach out in the Maynardville area. At the time, Gail and I believed our time to leave Morristown was drawing near. Then at Hannah Shankles’s wedding both Brother Ronnie and Brother Matthew (C) again asked Gail and I if we would consider coming alongside them. As we prayed over this, although we were not exited about the driving, we had peace that this is what would be God’s will for us. It has been a joyful blessing to walk with you these last months and to have each of you in our lives. We thank our God for each of you.
Secondly, after attending the first first couple of T4G conferences early in the 2000’s I believe God put on my heart to gather some brothers together that were like-minded here in the Maryville area for our mutual encouragement and fellowship. Gail and I hosted two of these gatherings and I also was meeting with these men for breakfast at various places here in East Tennessee. Brother Matthew (C) joined Jerry White and I for one of these on a Saturday morning in recent years at the Dandridge Perkins Restaurant.
Gail and I are purposing to host the same type of thing again this 4th of July. However, this time we are considering a picnic at our property on the Tellico River and invite the wives and children. What I want to present to you as Maynardville Fellowship for your prayerful consideration is would be for all of us to host the pastors and elders and their families as a ministry opportunity for Christ’s Body at Maynardville Fellowship? I have already talked with Matthew, Caleb and Chandler about this and they were agreeable for me to present this to you as a ministry opportunity for us. Maynardville Fellowship would be the hosting church and give us opportunity to minister to others as Basswood has ministered to all of us.
In the past I had treated this in the context of “Together for the Gospel” here in East Tennessee, however, I would like to present this in the context of “Together for Making Disciples” in east Tennessee and to the ends of the earth. I am thankful for the recovery of the Gospel by the work of God’s Holy Spirit over these last forty years but that is only the means to the Matthew 28:18-20 end, the fruition to be seen in it’s fulness at the Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory.
Although we will devote time for everyone to get to know each other, (name tags and all), and enjoy an outdoor meal together and for the children to also have time together we anticipate spending an hour or two in worship. I have asked Brother Jerry White and his wife Gerrie to come up from Baton Rouge to share with us and Bill and Kelley Housley will be here from Papua New Guinea all of whom have been making disciples throughout the world.
Many of our old Baptist confessions, if not all, contain a paragraph exhorting local churches to enjoy mutual fellowship on the Lord among like-minded brothers and sisters which is an outflow of practical Christianity as expressed in the two opening verses of this letter.
As of right now I anticipate inviting pastors, elders and brothers from Sojourners Church in Seymour, Covenant of Blount County, Riveroaks Church in Maryville, Broadway Baptist Church in Maryyville, East Tennessee Baptist Church in Morristown, Basswood Church and Maynardville Fellowship and possibly a few more.
Would you prayerfully consider helping Gail and I in being hands and feet that the Holy Spirit could use to display the life and love of Christ to these men and their families that are constantly pouring their lives into others? Gail and I are prepared to take on the financial responsibilities but we I do not believe we could provide the necessary hosting responsibility without each of you and your spiritual gifts.
For the praise of God’s glory in the Church of His Beloved Son by His Holy Spirit of Christ,
Ken (and Gail)
In Case You Missed It
- Brother Chandler taught us last Sunday evening from 3 John. He faithfully gave us insight into the shepherding heart of the Apostle John. In John’s care for the brethren, we see the heart we ought both desire and pursue by God’s grace. You can listen here.
- Remember that this Sunday morning is our commissioning service at Basswood. The service is is at 10:30, and you can get the directions from Basswood’s website here. Everyone is encouraged to come and celebrate what God has done in establishing a church in Maynardville.
- A number of you have responded to me with updated information for the church directory. For that I thank you. For those of you who have not yet, please get that to me.
- Names and birthdays of everyone in the family
- Phone numbers
- Email Addresses
- Physical Address
- Remember that Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014) is our first Sunday morning service. Our morning services will be at 10:00 am, and on Easter we will be meeting together at 9:00 to enjoy breakfast together before the service. This would be a good occasion to invite the families from Project Christmas to come and join us, or anyone else from the community that might be willing to come on account of the holiday.
Scripture Reading and Prayer
In order to promote unity of heart and mind among us, we are encouraging as many as are willing to join with us in reading through the entire Bible this year together, as well as devoting specific Scriptures to prayer each day. It is our prayer that as we meditate and pray over the same Scriptures each day, that God will work in our midst to bind us to one another, and to give us a common vision for the ministry here in Maynardville. Prayerfully consider joining with us in this endeavor, and we will see how God will work in our midst.
Our Scriptures to pray over this week are:
- Thur (4/10): Matt 22:37-39
- Fri (4/11): Jn 7:38
- Sat (4/12): Jn 4:23-24
- Sun (4/13): Ps 37:4, Ps 1:2; Ps 16:11
- Mon (4/14): Ps 27:4; 27:8
- Tue (4/15): Ps 42:1
- Wed (4/16): Ps 63:1-3
- Thur (4/17): Ps 51:17; Heb 13:15; Ps 51:15
Our Scripture reading schedule for the week is:
- Thur (4/10): Deut 31:1-Josh 2:24; Lk 13:22-14:6; Ps 79:1-13; Pr 12:26
- Fri (4/11): Josh 3:1-4:24; Lk 14:7-35; Ps 80:1-19; Pr 12:27-28
- Sat (4/12): Josh 5:1-7:15; Lk 15:1-32; Ps 81:1-16; Pr 13:1
- Sun (4/13): Josh 7:16-9:2; Lk 15:1-18; Ps 82:1-8; Pr 13:2-3
- Mon (4/14): Josh 9:3-10:43; Lk 16:19-17:10; Ps 83:1-18; Pr 13:4
- Tue (4/15): Josh 11:1-12:24; Lk 17:11-37; Ps 84:1-12; Pr 13:5-6
- Wed (4/16): Josh 13:1-14:15; Lk 18:1-17; Ps 85:1-13; Pr 13:7-8
- Thur (4/17): Josh 15:1-63; Lk 18:18-43; Ps 86:1-17; Pr 13:9-10
With Love and Affection in Christ,