Jump Start # 3185
Acts 12:24 “But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.”
Ever so often a person gets to do something very special. It might be a bucket list item, something you really want to do in life. And, even more rare than that, is when a person gets to do it a second time. That happened to me last week. A year ago I was invited to speak in the old Cane Ridge log church building that was built in 1791. The same building that Barton W. Stone preached in and was the one of the driving forces for the American Restoration movement. I’ve been in that building often. Stood in the pulpit before. Always thought it would be so wonderful to actually preach there. I got to do that last year. And, this past Saturday, I was invited to come back and to do it again. Lessons on the restoration in one of the oldest exciting log church buildings in our country, amazing!
My lesson this time was on what happened after Cane Ridge. There was a greater emphasis upon the word of God. The preaching at Cane Ridge drove a stake through the heart of Calvinistic theology in that region. The free will of man meant that all could be saved and it also allowed simple farmers to take up the word of God and preach. They didn’t have to be licensed or ordained before a board. Farmers by day and preachers by night is what they were. And, all those years later, there I stood preaching in that same building. Amazing!
In my lesson I shared four powerful reminders as we sat in the log cabin:
First, the authoritative nature of the N.T. must not be forgotten. There is no greater threat to this today than putting one’s personal feelings above the Scriptures. God’s word is absolute. Those early pioneer preachers understood that. We must do the same. How I feel about something cannot be the standard that we go by. Feelings can change. Feelings can be misleading. We do not all feel the same way about the same thing. God’s word is absolute and unchanging. It’s the same for those first disciples as it is for us. It’s the same for those in Europe as it is for us.
Second, the uniqueness of the primitive church must be maintained. What God did in the first century worked. Those same patterns and methods work today. Preach the word into honest and good hearts and lives will change. A threat we face today is when people think of God’s church as just any ole’ church. It’s just a denomination among denominations. The uniqueness of what was taught and practiced must be taught today. We must preach Christ. We must preach righteousness.
Third, a contentment and satisfaction of what God has established must be developed. The history of the restoration movement is a history of division and trouble. Progressive spirits collide with those that want to stay the course with the way the Bible reads. When one appreciates and understands that what God has given us cannot be improved upon then one will be satisfied to continue onward with God. It’s when we believe there are better ways, other ways, new ways, whether in worship, organization, or other areas, then changes start taking place. A contented heart stays with God. A satisfied heart stays with God. When we want different, different is usually what we will get. And, most times, that different is not found in the Bible. God did not ask for our input when He planned the Gospel way.
Fourth, the elevation of the holiness of God in our lives and worship must be at the forefront. It’s about God. It’s always been about God. The emphasis within the N.T. letters to the churches is not about them, but about God. When we honor the Lord first, things will be as they ought to be. A reverence must be realized as we approach God. The temple worship stressed that. Somehow we’ve lost some of that. Casual, laid back, sloppy, careless, and we’ve lost the sense of awe before the Lord.
I wondered as I left that log church building how many prayers had been said in that old building? I wondered how many hearts were comforted by the teaching of God’s word? I wondered how many lives came to know Jesus through the preaching of His gospel.
Our passage today tells us that the word grew and was multiplied. As the word spread throughout the world, more and more were becoming disciples of Jesus. Cane Ridge was a force a long time ago that got some preaching out in the frontier land.
Preaching at Cane Ridge—simply a honor that I won’t ever forget.