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Message of the Month
Truth and Presentation!
Volume 5   No. 6                                                                                                                              June 22, 2003
This message was first written  by Samuel M. Smith  June 22, 2003 ©2003 Up Way Publications.
Truth and Presentation
Truth. We Apostolic believers pride ourselves in always standing for TRUTH, regardless. We say we believe the Bible over what any modern man says and we stand firm in those beliefs,  but how do we present those truths?

If you go into a fine restaurant and order steak, let us say, in your very favorite degree of doneness and cooked with just the right sauces to give it that flavor you like best of all and the cook knows how you like it and takes great care to prepare it just the way you like it, but the waiter feels that because it is truly just the way you ordered it and is careless in serving it, carries it in obviously dirty hands or slaps you in the face with it or dumps it in your lap, you are not going to receive that steak! You are going to be furious and at the least demand that server's firing and possibly, depending upon the management's response,  may never go to that restaurant again.

I enjoy the old-time hymns of the faith and actually prefer them myself over many of the newer choruses, so I greatly enjoy an hour-long television program put on by a beautiful and old Apostolic church based here on Oahu, but while the singing is very good and most of the sermons are true to the original Gospel message, the singers more often than not lack enthusiasm and the minister who brings the message, although it is said to be "Spirit led and Spirit inspired," seldom delivers in a manner showing any unction, anointing or enthusiasm for the message.  Is this a "sour grapes" commentary on the service? I truly hope it is not taken that way. 

Well, then, Bro. Sam. What is the answer? How do we present our steak of truth more appealingly? How do we show more enthusiasm for our steak of Bible truth when it seems that the truth we possess is such a "slam-dunk" winner over the lies and heresy others preach?

Why does the really delicious, delivery from drug and demonic bondage, the healing of physical ailments, the real transformation from a self-centered and angry, bitter lifestyle into the victorious, overcoming power of a true saint of God, empowered and led by the Holy Spirit which we preach seem so unpalatable to so many who are not in the church? I believe the answer is clear. We do not present our steak in a delightful, appealing manner.

Visualize yourself in the fine restaurant again. The well-known chef has prepared steaks just the way you like them for as long as ou have patronized that restaurant. But your favorrite waiter is out on this day and another waiter serves you. As he first approaches your table, he perceives that you are not happy for whatever reason. He assumes you don't like him and will not tip well after the meal, so carries a grudge 

with your order to the kitchen. As he returns later with your beautiful steak, he tosses it on the table so that the steak slides off the plate and into your lap. The steak was indeed a properly seasoned, well prepared steak just the way you like it, but are you going to eat it? Are you going to, like it?  Is it going to nourish you?  Not likely! Even if you retrieve it from your lap, wipe the grease and sauce off your suit and go ahead and eat the steak, it is neither going to taste as good as you expected nor, because of the natural resentment toward the waiter and his attitude, is it going to be easily digested.

God's word is like the delicious steak which He has prepared with love and care to bring your life to a peak of real joy and happiness, but if the waiter, the pastor or evangelist who serves that word has an attitude that causes his delivery of that delicious Word of God to be un-attractive to you,  it is not going to provide the delicious nourishment God intended for you to enjoy. 

Now please don't misunderstand.  Not every sermon should have you shouting in the aisles and not every word from God is going to make you happy at first, but even the harshest, worst "medicine" sermon should produce a sweet result when you act accordingly and allow the medicine to cure your spiritual ailment. 

What I am talking about here is those services and sermons and churches where although they take great pride in preaching the Apostolic Plan of Salvation that is the only way to a truly transformed life, one metamorphosed into the new life in Christ Jesus, the singers, though practiced and polished lack the enthusiasm and joy of their salvation. It has become a ritual. A mere form of godliness.  The sermon lacks real prayer-fired unction and anointing although it is of an inspired subject and well-studied and prepared. 

A few years ago, I used to hear sermons delivered with so much zeal that the preacher got red in the face and the words poured out almost faster than the preacher's mouth could form them. True, some listeners did not like this rapid-fire delivery and complained that the preacher preached so fast and hard that they could not catch his words.  But nobody questioned that the unction and anointing was there. 

Personally, I heard that complaint and may have gone too far the other way myself, and so always want to preach clearly and distinctly which does seem to reduce the "fire" in my sermons.

But then there are those who are quite successful in leading crusades and having television broadcasts who, although they fall short in the truth department, have great followings of loyal listeners and supporters. Today, hundreds of thousands follow the radio and television "ministries" of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Greg 

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Truth and Presentation!
(Continued from Page 1)

Laurie, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts and the list could go on and on.  Could it be that they present the steak on a nicer plate with more ambiance than we who preach the whole truth? Some of these men really do bring thousands to a point of believing that they are sinners and need salvation and the pricked heart of Holy Spirit conviction, but then, instead of instructing the new believers as the original Apostles did to "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,"(Acts 2:38), they are instead told that all they have to do to be saved is to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved...." (from Acts 16:31). Since it is much easier to count "success" by this shorcut method of making people believe they are instantly born-again Christians by just believing, this makes for  bigger success stories and because it is now more or less considered orthodox, is the most common practice. 

But what can we who preach the truth, the real Apostolic Plan of salvation that really brings deliverance, salvation, healing, peace and joy do to make our delivery of that steak more pleasing and palatable?  I believe we all tend to be too busy to spend the time we should spend on our knees in effectual, fervent prayer. I believe we tend to rely too much upon the fact that we are preaching "the truth" and I am acquainted with many who feel that even preparation for a sermon is unnecessary because if they will "open thy mouth wide" the Holy Spirit will fill it with the right words to speak. The "only Believe" preachers do pray and do study their sermons, and many also study the tactics of successful salesmen. 

So what is the tactic of a successful salesman? First, he is enthusiastic about his product and the enthusiasm shows through his speech and actions. Can you visualize a successful Cadillac salesman driving up to take you to the Cadillac showroom in a Lincoln? Not likely. Even though he might use such an ooccasion to tell you how much better the Caddy is than the Linc, use of the negative is not a good sales tactic in general.  Keeping your thoughts positive only towards the Caddy and not even mentioning the competition unless your client brings up the subject is much more effective.

Second, the super salesman tries to keep everything positive. He agrees with the client on everything he can.  If we Apostolic Christians would concentrate on agreeing with all the good things other denominations teach and preach and then share deeper truths as we feel confident and know that our hearers have learned to trust our Bible knowledge and our sincerity. Both are critical. Both Bible knowledge AND sincerity are crucial. Even more critical is that we show the love of Jesus Christ, His real, genuine love and caring, His compassion.  And here is where we who hold the Apostolic truth so dear so often fail. We are right and we know we are and sometimes we come off as "know-it-alls" and it is all too true that "nobody likes a know-it-all." We MUST share the truth in love.  And this is where agreeing on every point possible is important. 

Did you win your spouse by finding every fault you could from the start? Not likely. You complimented that person on every point you could find to compliment. You agreed on everything yhou could agree on and may even have compromised a few of your lesser areas of disagreement for the sake of harmony and winning the love and affection of that special someone. Now, just as I do not recommend that 

you compromise on anything really wrong to win a spouse, I do not recommend compromise on any real salvation issue, but serve it nicely on the attractive plate, don't just throw it on the table or slap them in the face with it!

Genuine Apostolic Christianity should be like the perfect steak. Joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Our desires and enjoyment are those of new creatures in Christ Jesus.  Jesus promised that "And ye shall receive power [dunamis] after thate Holy Ghot is come upon you..." (Acts 1:8) and the Apostle Paul, in Romans 6:4, says, "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,  even so we also should walk in newness of life." and in 2 Corinthians 5:17, says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." These scriptures say that our nature is changed when we become a new creature in Christ. No only will our desires, our "want to" be changed, but also, we  will have the power to overcome the wiles of Satan as well as to bring glory to God through being empowered to do miracles of healing and other desirable and joyful things. 

Sadly, far too many truly Godly Christian parents, even Apostolic pastors, have children who are anything but godly.  But stop and analyze. Did you serve their steak of real Apostolic Christian life attractively on their plate of life? Have you made holy living a joyful way of life or have you presented it as an unpleasant duty and obligation? Did we throw their steak at them or slap them in the face with it? 

Sometimes we may wring our hands and wonder why. After all, we protected our children from seeing ungodly things on TV,  didn't allow them to wear clothing considered by the church to be unholy, never let them go to movies or "dress out" in shorts for physical education,  never let them go to the public beaches or swimming pools where they might see someone of the opposite sex in scant clothing and lust or be lusted after by others.  So why did our children go off into sin as soon as they were old enough to go out on their own? Did we slap them in the face with the steak instead of serving it to them in a delicious, delightful manner?

The Bible tells us, through Solomon, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6). 'But I DID train up my child in the way I believed he or she should go and they still went bad. Was it in their genes?'' But how did you present that training?  Was it served attractively, deliciously?

That child will be a powerhouse for God whose parents teach them the right way and then allow that child to flex his or her muscles by doing right when faced with the possibility of doing wrong.  When the right way is presented as delicious, delightful.  Yes, do allow your child the opportunity to stumble and fall occasionally but you be there then to pick him or her up and teach them by their mistakes.

So whether you are seeking to win souls on the street, your co-workers, friends, neighbors or relatives, ir even your own children, remember that the most joyful truth can be served in an unpleasant manner and instead of bringing a delightful, joyful and victorious life in Christ Jesus, can be like the "just right" delicious steak dumped in the lap instead of served on an attractive plate. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16).

--  S. M. S.
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