Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For All Children

This past Sunday, I gave all of our elementary school children a copy of the new resource from Lifeway called I'm a Christian: Now What? 

For years Southern Baptists used The Survival Kit to disciple young believers.  I well remember a man in my home church taking me through TSK when I was in elementary school.  Well, for today's world they have retired TSK and introduced IACNW?

This devotional gives children something to do for 90 days.  I field-tested it on my two youngest children this summer.  It was a joy to see the youngest one putting the book and his Bible by his bed many nights and not getting out of bed in the morning until he had completed his work.

Topics include What is a Quiet Time?, How Do I Know the Bible is True?, How Do I Hear God Speak to Me?, How to Prepare Your Child for Worship, and many others.

I have challenged the children to go through the workbook this fall, and we will follow-up with a party in December.

Remember, disciples are made one person at a time.  Dads and moms, this is a great tool for you to use with your children.  If you are not in the habit of leading family worship, this is a great tool to help you start!

The Glance Back

Sonny Holmes wrote this great word after attending our home church's 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday.  It was so good I wanted to share it too . . .

Yesterday was a satisfying glance back, but only that, a glance. Harriet, The Chester, my brother Mike, his wife Sally, and a crowd of  like-minded seekers worshiped with our fast- forward on pause so we could look back. It was the fiftieth anniversary of Edwards Rd. Baptist Church, Greenville, SC. Hundreds of us relished the sight. But, it was a glance, no more. Mature people know we can't go back.

Scripture leans us distinctly forward. When angels with flaming swords were assigned to guard the gates of the Garden of Eden the message was clear: one, perfection is no longer possible; and two, there's no going back. During the Exodus, the children of Israel often wished to return to the relative comforts of Egypt but were consistently moved forward by the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. The prophets moved the nation to covenant renewal with the promise of redemption. Jesus would not be detoured away from the finishing business of the cross. And, the Apostle Paul wrote to forget the past and press on toward the prize of the high calling of Christ. As much and as often as we'd like, there's no going back.

But, there is the glance back, the quick reference point of the rear-view mirror to see where we've been. That's what the fiftieth homecoming of ERBC was for me, a momentary cessation of motion to permit moments with important touch-stones of the past. So, Sunday, Pastor Aaron Rayburn, the wise leader of ERBC now, invited people from the past to speak, challenge, and inspire those in attendance with the Word of God, and remembrances from the epochs of the church. We laughed and cried, reflected on valued friends and events, and thanked God for a precious past. The anecdote's and stories previous pastors Bill Palmer and Earl Crumpler told were a blessing. H.S. Yarborough and Jerry Brown, both previous music ministers at ERBC, both sang, surprising everyone with the strength and beauty of voices given to Him many years ago. Alistair Walker, a previous interim pastor, brought a great Bible message. The ERBC Choir sang, as did Turning Point, led by previous music minister Danny Whipple. It was a blessing in every way.

Read the entire article here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Edwards Road - 50 Years!

This weekend I am remembering with joy the church of my youth – Edwards Road Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. Tomorrow ERBC celebrates her 50th anniversary!

My parents joined ERBC in the 1960’s when the church was young and met in the old chapel. Mom and Dad were members there for 25 years (spanning 35 years – with about ten years in North Carolina!). For years I heard the old stories of that
small group of charter members, including Jake and Frances Matthews, Billie Burns, and Chester and Esther Holmes. They had a vision for an evangelical church on that side of Greenville. While visiting Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary once and staying in the guest house, I opened a book of photographs by the bed and found pictures of the early years of ERBC! The guest room was named after Bill Palmer, who I believe was the church’s first pastor.

When we moved back to Greenville in 1980, we soon joined ERBC. I spent many happy days in the fellowship of that church, including several milestones of my life – all the way from my baptism in 1982 to my ordination in 1998. I expect that most if not all of the foundational lessons and shaping that I needed for life were first given to me by my family and then reinforced by the people of ERBC in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

The church was our family’s primary social outlet, and Mom and Dad both served for years in a number of capacities. Dad stood at the front door and greeted almost every Sunday for more than a decade with his friend Jerry Fowler. Mom served in numerous areas, teaching the Bible and serving through prayer ministry. She still hears occasionally from young ladies that she taught in Sunday School in late high school, as she hoped to instill in them qualities to help them walk with God long-term.

Many people, more numerous to name, impacted our lives from ERBC. So many wonderful people, some in the grandstands of heaven now, intersected our lives: Earl and Louise Crumpler, H. S. and Linda Yarborough, David Bennett, Allie and Ann McNider, Bob and Kay Gray, Steve and Gloria Taylor, Danny and Freida Cole, Ben and Billie Burns, Mickey and Barbara Massey, Janice and Marty Clark, and countless others. I recall listening to Henry Kluizenar (not sure of that spelling!) singing songs to God with his beautiful voice. And H. S. sharing Sweet Little Jesus Boy close to Christmas.

Memories abound: Christmas parties, Easter musicals, Royal Ambassadors with Tony Brown, Children’s Bible Drill, children’s choirs, youth trips to Williamsburg, Virginia, choir and mission trips to New York, Kentucky, and Myrtle Beach, Bible studies and Sunday School. And lots and lots of fun with the youth group! I can’t remember my youth without recalling Edwards Road and her people. Numerous members of that youth group from the late ‘80’s and ‘90’s are now serving the Lord vocationally and in their churches scattered many places.

To this day I enjoy remembering gathering with the church to worship, most often led by Earl and H. S., and being together as God’s family. Those were blessed days, and I am thankful to have been a part of the church’s life.

For many years ERBC was for our family what a church should be – a place to be trained in the Word of God, a place to worship God, a people with whom to share love and life, and a place to use our gifts for God’s glory and for His kingdom. ERBC was a huge part of my “sovereign foundations” which taught me a love for the Lord, His Word, His church, the Great Commission and Great Commandment, and the sanctity of human life.

Life contains difficult choices. When my parents left ERBC in 2000, it was the most difficult decision of their entire life. In 40 years, I have never seen my parents grieve like they did during that time. That was a testimony to the love they had enjoyed with ERBC for 35 years.

Though I can’t attend the celebration tomorrow, I thank God for the church. I do remember attending the 25th anniversary celebration!

Wishing Edwards Road well on her 50th anniversary, and may the Lord use them for His glory until He comes! Thank God for that small group of people who stepped out in faith 50 years ago and started a small church!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Quotation of the Day

"The therapeutic concerns of the culture too often set the agenda for evangelical preaching." —Albert Mohler

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Blessings of the Bed

The following is a journal entry from 2004 . . .

This past weekend we got Hendrix a “big boy bed.”  Dad and I had taken Mom-ee and Pa-Pa’s first bedroom suit and saved it; Dad had marked it with some tape - “Hendrix Wilson.”  Hendrix and I borrowed a truck and went to get it last Friday.  He had talked about wanting a big boy bed for weeks.  “Daddy, I don’t want to sleep in a crib anymore; I want a big boy bed.”

He spent the night at Mom and Dad’s Friday night and Tracey and I put the bed together on Saturday.  We were sad taking the crib down.  That room held so many wonderful memories.  What a precious, fun three years.  We stood in his bedroom remembering bringing him home the first time into that room.  The placement of the room had not changed much in those three years.  How many nights I would sneak into his room after he was asleep, leaving the hall light on so that I could see him.  Standing by his crib, making sure he was covered (later he started putting his pillow over his head when he slept), stroking his hair and sometimes bending down and kissing his cheek.  Then, many times kneeling beside his crib and praying for him.  I would ask God to pour His Spirit out on my son, to fill His room, but mainly his life, with His presence.  Asking God to have His way in that boy’s life.  Asking God for grace and wisdom to be the daddy he needs.  I remember at times rocking him before putting him to bed.  Then we went through a stage this past year where first he wanted songs.  I would get face to face crib level with him, me on the floor, him laying down.  We would sing and sing – Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Jesus is a Rock, Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, and Marvelous Grace.  I have tried to start teaching him that last hymn.  Sometimes he would say, “Sing grace, grace, Daddy.”  Then he tired of the songs and wanted stories.  We went through different phases.  For a while he loved Jonah and little boy Samuel.  Later Goldilocks and then Red Riding Hood.  Then he liked the story of the woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ cloak.  How I pray the life of these stories, the living presence of Jesus, will manifest Himself in his life.

The bed was a hit.  I picked him up Saturday and we talked about the bed coming home.  He was excited.  He was overjoyed when he saw it.  Saturday night I got in bed with him and you would have that the rapture had occurred.  Sunday morning he didn’t want to leave his room – he was sitting at the end of the bed all dressed up holding on to the post and just looking at the bed.  Sunday night when I got in bed with him he grabbed onto one arm and kept asking for stories.  When I tried to get up, he grabbed me with both arms and said, “Don’t go Daddy.  You stay in my bed with me.” 

Last night we got in bed and I told one story.  Then he looked at me and said dramatically, “We didn’t kneel in the den Daddy.  We have to go kneel in the den.”  So we got up and he went to find Tracey, who was in the bathroom.  He busted in and shouted, “We have to go to the den and kneel, Mommie.  We have to pray!”  After prayer (actually as I was closing) he was done and he got up and hurried off.  I asked him where he was going – he said, “To my room.”  He was ready for bed.

What a wonderful kid.

The Sheer Weightlessness of So Many Sermons—Why Expository Preaching Matters

If preaching is central to Christian worship, what kind of preaching are we talking about? The sheer weightlessness of much contemporary preaching is a severe indictment of our superficial Christianity. When the pulpit ministry lacks substance, the church is severed from the word of God, and its health and faithfulness are immediately diminished.

Many evangelicals are seduced by the proponents of topical and narrative preaching. The declarative force of Scripture is blunted by a demand for story, and the textual shape of the Bible is supplanted by topical considerations. In many pulpits, the Bible, if referenced at all, becomes merely a source for pithy aphorisms or convenient narratives.

The therapeutic concerns of the culture too often set the agenda for evangelical preaching. Issues of the self predominate, and the congregation expects to hear simple answers to complex problems. Furthermore, postmodernism claims intellectual primacy in the culture, and even if they do not surrender entirely to doctrinal relativism, the average congregant expects to make his or her own final decisions about all important issues of life, from worldview to lifestyle.

Read the entire excellent article by Albert Mohler here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pastor, Bring Your Bible to Church

I enjoy using an iPad. It is, in my opinion, one of the most impressive devices yet invented. In one light-weight, travel-sized tablet the user has everything at his fingertips. That includes not only the typical social media apps that every user has on his smartphone, but also countless tools that have characterized the laptop or even the home television.
And yet I am finding that cutting-edge, 21st-century technology is subtly but quickly changing important, even indispensable aspects of Christianity. Consider just one example: the ever-growing tendency to substitute a physical, visible Bible (remember . . . the ones where you lick your finger and turn the pages) with a tablet in the pulpit.

To clarify, I am not against pastors using a tablet in the pulpit for, say, sermon notes. Rather, I'm concerned about replacing the physical Bible with a tablet in the pulpit. As the pastor enters the pulpit to bring the Word of God to the people of God, no hard copy of the Bible is to be found in his hand, gracing the top of the podium, visible to the entire congregation as the book at the center of attention. Instead, the congregation sees a tablet. While this may seem harmless enough, I believe there are several potential dangers this subtle shift generates.

This is a great article by Matthew Barrett, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University.  Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Honoring God - The Implications of Covenant

1 Samuel 2:29-30

Life Lesson:    Living in God’s covenant means that we seek to honor Him.

A man of God brings a word in a setting for an amazing revelation of the heart of God and His ways among His people.  He sent a man to warn his people of the faithless Eli but also to pronounce a significant transition.  God in his love would seek to lead his faithless

Those who honor God, God will honor, and those who do not honor God, He will lightly esteem.

This message would ring down through the rest of time for God’s people.  Over and over he warns and encourages His people to walk faithfully with Him in His covenant.  This is His invitation to His people of every generation to this very day.

Gen. 12:3; Ex. 19:5; Matt. 13:11-12

God’s people had to decide . . .

1.         Did they believe God?

2.         Would they remain faithful to the covenant God made with them?

3.         Would they bring their lives into the covenant relationship that they had entered with God?

4.         Would they listen to God, hear His voice, and obey Him?

5.         Did they expect God to do His works through them? 


God sends messengers and messages to His people

The Lord is always challenging us to hear, to listenMatt. 11:15; 13:9; Rev. 2:7,11,17,29;

Sometimes people reject God’s messages/messengers   Matt. 23:31,37; Acts 7:51-53


God will honor those who honor Him – the Covenant relationship

            Exodus 19-20; Deut. 28

            The covenant says, If you will . . .  then I will.  If you do not . . . then I will not do.

God emphasizes fear in the covenant relationship (Jer. 5:22; Ex. 20:18-21)

It is no minor significance that when God first gave His people the privilege of entering a covenant relationship with Him, He deliberately gave it in a way as to create fear in Him.

 The loss of the fear of Holy God – is nearly always at the root of all sin, even in our own day.  When God’s people lose their fear of God, they lose their fear of sin.  When they lose their fear of sin, they depart from God and become of little use to God.  Then God sets out, in mercy, to discipline them so they will return to their covenant with Him.  Once Israel agreed to this covenant, God held them accountable to their promise.  Theirs now was a life of faith.  This has always been God’s way.  – Henry Blackaby

What happens when our hearts turn away?  (Deut. 30:17; Is. 29:13; Matt. 15:8-9)

* We no longer hear Him.                  
* We no longer experience His manifest presence.
* We no longer obey Him.                 
* We listen to other voices and follow them.
* We become hardened.
* We may still continue our outward allegiance to God through religious activity.

God’s people may try to continue an outward allegiance to God in spite of their hearts 

            Is. 29:13; Matt. 15:8-9; Mk. 7:6-7; Rev. 2:4

When we no longer obey, we have departed from our love relationship with God.  (Jn. 14:15,23-24)

God’s antidote for a departing heart is one word: “Repent”  (Ez. 18:31-32; Matt. 4:17)

            Repent is one of the most important words in the whole Bible.

             The Bible never talks of "rededication."  It speaks of repentance.  The basic message of Jesus, John the Baptizer, and the early apostles was "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand."

Repentance brings us back to the covenant relationship where we can once again honor God and be    honored by Him, minister to God and receive His manifest presence, bless od and be blessed.

Repent is a positive - not a negative - word.

Honor Him or be lightly esteemed

For God to honor a person is incredible.  But for God to lightly esteem is a fearful statement.  It carries with it the withdrawal of the affirming presence of God.  It means His blessings are now withheld, including protection, provision, and victory. 

John Piper wrote, “God’s own glory is uppermost in His own affections. In everything He does, His purpose is to preserve and display that glory. To say His glory is uppermost in His own affections means that He puts a greater value on it than on anything else. He delights in His glory above all things… God’s overwhelming passion is to exalt the value of His glory. To that end He seeks to display it, to oppose those who belittle it, and to vindicate it from all contempt” (Desiring God, p. 43).

Sources Used: Chosen to Be God's Prophet by Henry Blackaby

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Pastors, Don't Become Obsessed with Passing Fads

Be careful about getting too concerned about being cutting edge instead of trusting in God's Word.  Bob Russell gives a good word to pastors at the NACC 2012.  View the clip here.  "He who marries today's fad will soon be a widow."  - Charles Spurgeon

Ouch! Pitfalls that will Keep us from the Promise - Part Two

. . . continued from Ouch!  Pitfalls that will Keep us from the Promise - Part One.

Pitfall Number Three – They did not trust God nor walk in habitual gratitude (1 Cor. 10:9).

As they traveled, the Bible says that the people grew impatient on the way  (Numbers 21:4).  OUCH!!!  Is that talking about me?  They got tired of their journeying.  They wearied from wandering when they could not see clearly where they were going.  They were tired of not seeing enough happen to satisfy them.  And they got impatient. 

Not only that, but in their impatience the Bible says they spoke against God and against Moses (5).  God nor Moses met their expectations.  They failed to trust God.  They questioned the goodness and faithfulness of the One leading them through the wilderness.  They failed to respect and trust Him as their Shepherd, Provider, Protector, and Source.  I heard Jack Hayford say that when "difficult days come, the natural temptation is to question the trustworthiness, the goodness, and the faithfulness of God, and to just want to return to Egypt."

The tangible problem in Numbers 21 was the lack of water and the lack of preferred food.  They were tired of the manna!  Domino's did not deliver in the desert.  Before we get too critical of the Israelites, we are often tempted to do the same.  We have legitimate needs and wants in our lives that seem to go unmet.  We never seem to meet "Mr." or "Mrs." Right and stay single.  We see our friends blessed in areas where we feel dry.  We wonder why some of the dreams of youth never materialized.  Our parents are sick instead of well.  Or our parents are dead and we wish they were alive.  Your children live far away but your neighbor's children live in the same town.  The air conditioner breaks in my van - again.  We see more bills than income.  Maybe you longed for a house-full of children and the house has none.  Whatever the need or want, we all have them that go unfulfilled.  And, like the Israelites, we can either stop trusting God - or we can lean in and trust Him more through our lack and disappointment.

I've been through dry and difficult days in different seasons of life.  And so have you.  I remember how dry and lonely was my first year of seminary.  Alone in a state where initially I knew no one, leaving the comfort of home and the familiarity of a lot of friends from college, it was a hard first year.  I remember many times that year being tempted to question whether God was good and faithful.  And many times wanting to quit the journey.

In the paths of discipleship, God at times takes us through the valley, when our needs are getting met in ways different than what we prefer and when many of our wants may not be met.  When those needs arise, we can doubt God and run to Egypt (getting our needs met in illegitimate ways) - or we can stick through the difficulty and trust God.  Instead of trusting and thanking God, they turned to doubting and complaining.

The punishment from the Lord this time was an invasion of venomous snakes that killed a number of people.  The remaining people, afraid of their own deaths, run to Moses pleading, We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you.  Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us (7).  The ongoing ingratitude to God and criticism of their leaders were foundational issues to the Lord.

Pitfall Number Four – They tolerated sour spirits and ceaseless complaining (1 Cor. 10:10).

Pitfalls one and two have to do with outward actions involving our bodies.  Pitfalls three and four have to do with attitudes and words that reflect our spirits.  Pitfall four specifically has to do with their grumbling spirits.

The reference is most likely Number 16, when an organized opposition to Moses and Aaron arises.  Korah, a man with tabernacle duties, was not satisfied with his part and he wanted more.  He spearheads a group who complain that they are just as important as Moses: Why then do you set yourselves [Moses and Aaron] above the Lord's assembly? (3).  It is a clear challenge to the authority of the God-appointed leadership.  The other men want recognition and authority as well. 

It is a long account in chapter 16 that ends with Korah's family dramatically being killed by the Lord as the earth opens up and swallows them whole.  An amazing note that highlights how quick the flesh often is to rise up in complaining is found in verse 41.  The very next morning, it says that the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron saying "you have killed the Lord's people."

Amazing!  Had I been one of the Jews who the previous day witnessed the earth open up and absorb an entire group of people who had opposed God's leaders, I think I would have kept my mouth shut!  But the stubbornness of the flesh prevailed and the entire group is still complaining.  Again, God sends a plague through the midst of the assembly.  The Bible says that 14,700 die on that die before God uses Aaron to stop the punishment.

God takes a sourness of soul and ceaseless complaining very seriously.  So seriously that when referring to them in 1 Corinthians 10, the Bible says that these sins kept the people from entering their Land of Promise.  It is so easy to do because of our flesh.  God provided manna, and the people didn't quite like the taste, so they complained.  They tolerated a sourness in their soul.  The sourness grew and manifested itself in ceaseless complaining.  First, they complained about God.  Why has he left us here?  Why has he not provided more?  Is he still aware of us?  And then their sourness manifested itself in a ceaseless complaining against their leaders.

What a contrast to the type of spirit Paul exhorts us to have: Let your gentleness [or your sweet reasonableness] be evident to all.  The Lord is near (Phil. 4:5).  The apostle goes on to say that in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (6).  How different would these accounts be had the people traded their sinful indulgences for worship - if they had replaced their sour spirits with prayer and thanksgiving - if their complaining were replaced with praise and trust?  The cure for a sour spirit is a life of prayer and thanksgiving.

They forgot in the wilderness that life was not mainly about them.  It was about God forming a people who would worship and follow  Him.  That formation included hard times when they learned to trust Him in new ways.  Sadly, they failed the test.  They missed God's best because they tolerated the wrong things during the in-between.

A tremendous beginning ended miserably.  An incredible deliverance through the Red Sea, perhaps the greatest moment in Old Testament history, led to a refusal to trust God and enter Canaan.  Their children stepped over their bleached bones in the desert – a memorial to unbelief.  Their massive failures warn us to not follow their example.


Dads and Moms, Are You Ready for the Fall?

I hear the lazy days of summer coming quickly to a close!  No, technically fall does not begin until September 22, but who really feels like any of September is summer?  For me, summer draws to a close as the school bells begin ringing.  There is something nice and needed about a slower pace in summer.  I always enjoy knowing that my wife and children have extra time to rest and play.  We all love getting away on vacations.

However, there is also something nice and needed about the structure of the fall - of getting back into a routine that helps us be productive and timely.  One thing on my mind as I look to the fall is how am I going to disciple my family this fall?  From September through December is four months - that is 1/3 of a year!  How will I capitalize on that time to help lead my family closer to the Lord?

Spontaneity is great, and some great moments of teaching our children come unexpectedly.  However, most things worth building are worth planning to build.  I have learned, as with preaching, that the better prepared I am, the more likely I will be ready for those spontaneous moments when they do come.

Dad (or Mom if Dad is not around or won't), sit down the next week for an hour or so and ask the Holy Spirit to help you map out a plan for how you will lead your family in the coming months in family worship.  You might take them through a book of the Bible.  Or a character study of a Bible hero.  Or a topical study of some character traits.  I have heard of several families before taking one character trait a month and studying passages that speak to that quality.  One year we took a few months and went through the eleventh chapter of Hebrews verse by verse.  We had many discussions about the Bible characters in the great "Hall of Faith" and the lessons God was teaching each one.

I have found much help using the Family Night Toolchests from Focus on the Family.  They provide simple, interactive family devotions and games around certain topics: the 10 commandments, basic Christian beliefs, the Proverbs, etc.  I have purchased all of mine used from Amazon.  One example is the 10 Commandments Family Night Tool Chest.

I know how easy it is to let our schedules get full and let too many opportunities slip by when I had nothing planned to share with my family.  Prepare now, dads!  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Just start somewhere and do something.

Shaping their spirit, mind, and character from God's Word is one of our most important tasks.  The Bible says to take God's commandments and teach them diligently to our children (Deut. 6:7).  Let's give it our best this fall.

The Deadly Consequences of Sin

1 Samuel 2:12-17, 27-36

Life-Lesson:         A heart that pleases God fears Him and fears sin.

Certain things, if not seen as lovely or detestable, are not being correctly seen at all.   – C. S. Lewis

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.  – John Wesley

Character is in part formed by what we hate, because we move to be different from whatever that is.  – Henry Cloud, 9 Things You Simply Must Do

How seriously does God take sin?   Num. 32:23; Ezek. 18:20; Gal. 6:7; Rom. 12:9

Sin does not serve well as a gardener of the soul.  It landscapes the contour of the soul until all that is beautiful has been made ugly; until all that is high is made low; until all that is promising is wasted.  Then life is like the desert – parched and barren.  It is drained of purpose.  It is bleached of happiness.  Sin, then, is not wise, but wasteful.  It is not a gate, but only a grave.  – C. Neil Strait
Things Sin Will Damage:
·         It will affect my thinking negatively.
·         It will change my behavior significantly.
·         It will affect my feelings irrationally.
·         It will sour my testimony indefinitely.
·         It will tarnish my closest relationships painfully.


THE SINS OF ELI’S SONS (12-17, 22)

The words “wicked” or “worthless” (belial)  men are meant to shock us 

They were guilty of the sins of stealing, contempt for the Lord, sexual immorality, greed, disrespect for their father, and exploitation of their office.  The bottom line is that they had no respect for God or other people – only an absorption with themselves.  Note that the sin was very severe in the presence of the Lord (1 Sam. 2:17).


While Eli’s words were true and right, there is something pathetic about them.  There was not a direct rebuke and demand for repentance, but a  pleading “Why?”  He did not address them directly as sons of worthlessness (12) that they were, but appealed to them as “my sons” (24).  We sense a certain helplessness in Eli’s imploring speech.

God had given them up to their contempt for Him and His ways (Ro. 1:24,26,28; He. 6:4-6)

Their hardness was both their own choice and God’s judgment on them for that choice. 

Eli’s failure to provide discipline for his sons - The writer implies that Eli neglected his parental responsibilities earlier in life (Dt. 6:7; 21:18-21).

The Paths of Discipline –

There is formative discipline (involves teaching and training) and corrective discipline (involves rebuke and correction)

See 2 Timothy 3:16 - the Word can be used to teach, train, rebuke (or convict), and correct

Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12; 5:12,23; 12:1; 13:24; 15:5,10; 19:18, 20; Hebrews 12:6

The wise person loves discipline!  He chooses it when things are good (formative), and he receives it humbly when things are bad (corrective).



When a holy man or people allow sin to reign, God will often send a warning through another of God’s servants. 

Conviction of Eli’s sin:           Reminder of clear revelation (27).  Contrast of dishonor and honor (29-30).  Severe consequences to come (31-34).

The greater the man, the dearer price he pays for a short season of sinful pleasure.  – F. B. Meyer

A similar, chilling confrontation: 2 Samuel 12:7-14

Once David crawled into bed with Uriah’s wife on that moonlit spring night, never again did he know all the former joys of close family ties, public trust, or military achievement.

This wasn’t his family’s fault or the public’s fault or the Philistine’s fault or the prophet Nathan’s fault.  It was David’s fault, full-on.  – Charles Swindoll
When sin needs to be confronted: 
When it is outward – it affects other people. 
When it is serious – it has devastating consequences.
Also, sin should be addressed according to the level of knowledge and influence.
One cannot be kinder than God.  Menninger has noted in his book Whatever Became of Sin? all sorts of people carry loads of guilt around because modern constructs of human problems do not allow for the concept of sin and thus do not allow for forgiveness.  The cruelest thing a counselor can do is to consign a guilty person to a state of nonforgiveness by eliminating the biblical constructs of lawbreaking and sin.  The modern tendency is to shift blame onto others or one’s circumstances, the data you receive from counselees will often be shaped by a victim theme.  – Jay Adams, How to Help People Change

Remember:   Those who honor Me, I will honor!