Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – February 2022
”Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps 1:1-3).
Well, it’s a new year, and what a year it has been already! Scorching heat, flooding…you would think God is trying to tell us that the end is near…
Everybody wants a blessed life! And there are people everywhere who claim to know how to find it.
Unfortunately, as Christians, we can also get swept up in the philosophy of the world. So how can we prevent this from happening to us?
In our verse today, the Psalmist starts by telling us where not to find blessing. We read it, and we think “dur!”, because it’s so obviously true. But knowing what we should do, and actually doing it are two different things. Sin can be disguised so subtly, that before we know it, we are entrenched in it. Three phases of setting ourselves up for failure, is when we stroll with the sacrilegious, stand with the sinners, and sit with the scornful.
Phase 1: Strolling with the sacrilegious
“Blessed is the man…who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…”
Constantly walking with those who offer no godly counsel is a path to nowhere; and seeking wisdom from those who don’t understand or respect God’s ways, is foolish.
Sure, there are plenty of people in the world that are equipped to give us good, sound advice. And on the surface, they make sense. But we need to know that not all care for biblical precepts. If we listen to them long enough, compromise will slowly eat away at our principles. We start thinking ‘this makes sense’, and before we know it, we are on the road to destruction.
That may sound a bit extreme, but you only have to look to the example of Eve. If she had turned her back on Satan’s curiosity- wrapped lies, and instead spent more time nourishing her relationship with God and her husband, then both of them would not have been dragged into the mess we are now in.
Strolling with the sacrilegious, only because we are piqued by their reasoning, is the first slippery step to ruin.
Phase 2: Standing with the sinners
“…nor stands in the path of sinners…”
Standing in the path, or ‘way’ of sinners means that you have intentionally gone out of your way to search for ungodly counsel.
There is a stubbornness component attached to this. Your feet, that were once planted by the river of God’s word, ready for spiritual nourishment (v3), are now firmly set in the world. You are way beyond the curiosity stage, and are now willing to invest your time and effort into putting ungodly counsel into practice. It becomes a lifestyle, yet a dangerous one, as your heart and mind are slowly being consumed by the world without you realising.
Look at the example of Lot. Lot was one who stood in the path of sinners, and his lust for the wealth of Sodom eventually cost him his family, and set Israel on a course of constant war with their enemies for future generations. (Gen 19).
Standing with the sinners, only because we believe their counsel outweighs the wisdom of God, is the second slippery step to ruin.
Phase 3: Sitting with the scornful
“…nor sits in the seat of the scornful”
Sitting with the scornful is the ultimate posture of contempt towards God and His word.
Not just content with following sinful ways, it has now become entrenched for you. Sitting denotes comfortability, along with a stubbornness to not change, regardless of the consequences. The scornful are the ones who shake their fists at God, and mock His ways. Being seated with them is a picture of being shut off to the outside influences, and only willing to listen, promote and be accountable to their evil ways. That is a sad place to be. And a dangerous one.
King Saul let the seed of jealousy germinate in his heart, and rejected God’s anointed. It ended up consuming, and destroying him (1 Sam 18).
Sitting with the scornful, only because in pride we think we are right and God is wrong, is the landing step on the slippery path to ruin.
So, how can we avoid all this? Am I just being confrontational for the sake of it? Just because someone comes up with a good idea or philosophy, should it automatically be ignored?
It is true that someone who ignores good counsel may indeed be a fool. There are some great concepts that have come out of the world. But to keep us grounded, they must be filtered through God’s word.
This is what we learn in the next portion:
“…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (v2).
Our focus should be so consumed with God and His ways, not the ways of the world. The moment we take our eyes off Him, we are lured by the world and its’ phony veneer. In writing this, I too am convicted. So often the laziness to study His word causes me to stumble. It is only when I see the world through the lens of scripture, that everything suddenly makes sense.
If we have a path to choose, a choice to make – especially when we can’t see a biblical stance one way or the other – here are six questions, in context, to help us decide what a Christian should do in these ‘grey’ areas.
(Full credit to this sermon from Jason Winslade, Redemption Church, Christchurch):
- Will it benefit me spiritually? (1 Cor 10:23)
- Will it bring bondage / cause addiction? (1 Cor 6:12)
- Will it defile God’s temple? (1 Cor 6:19-20)
- Will it cause anyone else to stumble? (1 Cor 8:8-9)
- Will it further the cause of evangelism? (1 Cor 10:32-33)
- Will it bring glory to God? (1 Cor 10:31)
I run into so many people that have stumbled and fallen into sin when I go street witnessing – people that were once ‘on fire’ for God, but have been lured towards the slippery steps of compromise, and have unceremoniously ended up on the landing of ruin, a broken, bitter, and angry person.
These people are hard to reach, because they genuinely believe they gave their best, and now shake their fist at God for causing their demise. Their hearts have become hard.
Let’s make it our goal to soften these people with the light of the law of truth, and point them to the cross!
I’ll see you at my place at 10am for prayer, before heading to the shops. Please bring a mask, in case the people we meet feel uncomfortable with talking without one.
Witnessing Tip: Seek Those The World Discards
There are many people out there that the world has turned its’ back on:
the homeless, the undesirable, the unlovable.
The world has rejected them, but not God. But for His grace, that would be us too.
They need the truth of the Gospel too!