Boaz Baptist Chronicles
|Posted on October 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM|
“… [A] good report maketh the bones fat.” Proverbs 15:30
My good friend reminded me recently that “Report cards are given at the end, after the testing.”
You might be saying to yourself, “At the end of what testing?”
That depends on the subject.
If we are talking about the school year, it might mean the final grade for that year.
Everyone is accountable to someone.
At your place of employment, whether they tell you or not, you are graded for your performance. If you mess up badly enough, they might not wait to give you a grade at the end of the performance period. They might just say “Good-bye,” right then and there.
Name a subject, everyone gets judged. Everyone is scrutinized for their accomplishments and how those accomplishments came about. The Apostle Paul made mention of that, when he said…
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5
There are no cutting corners in a good report card. You have to do it right or you fail the test.
The good news is that normally you have more than one test. Normally, you aren’t judged on just one achievement or one failure. That being said, if I did a good job on something, I wouldn’t be too smug or presumptuous, right then, because you never know if that’s the end of all your testing.
Moses, with God on his side, thought he would go into the Promised Land. And, look what happened to him. Read Numbers chapter twenty…
1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! 4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. 6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.
After all his accomplishments, Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land. “Why,” you ask? He failed a major test. God said smite the rock once, not twice. That simple action might seem unimportant to you, but apparently, it was to God. He made a big deal about it, because, unbeknownst to Moses, he broke the type or picture of a Jewish Saviour who would come and offer living water (John 4:10) after he was smitten once (Hebrews 7:27; 9:28), NOT twice on Calvary’s cross. Obviously, that Saviour was Christ Jesus the Lord.
A Bad Report
I Samuel 2:22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress. 25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.
Eli’s sons knew they were in trouble. They wouldn’t listen to anyone. They knew the jig was up. More then being in trouble with their father, they were in trouble with God, Himself. (Read verse 25.) [It’s one thing to sin against man, and “the judge” (a man—in this case, their father) chasten them…. That’s bad enough. But, worse—much worse, they sinned against the Lord.]
If you won’t pass the judgment of your earthly, physical, father or pastor, how will you pass God’s (judgment)? The simple truth, my friend, is you won’t!
A Repeated Report
I remember, in public school, that there were three or four reports given, periodically, throughout the school year. The teacher would issue the card to the student, and the student in turn would bring the card to the parent, so that they would know how their child was doing.
Some of the children didn’t want their parent(s) to find out that they were failing. So, they would, without revealing the failing grades at home, forge their parent’s signature onto the card, and usually with forgetful parents, no one was the wiser.
There is a good reason to know, where we stand with God, betimes (early), in judgment. Here’s the answer… Even though there will be a final report card, one day (I Corinthians 9:24-25), The Lord gives us chance after chance to better ourselves, before the last report is rendered, by giving us intermittent sporadic reports, along the way, to tell us how we are doing. This is done in two ways. One, by the Holy Spirit…
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:7-11
Will you let God’s Spirit do His job of reproof and judgment in your life?
And, two, we are given intermittent sporadic reports, along the way through earthly authority: like a parent, a teacher or a pastor.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be upset that someone in authority has pointed out to us that we haven’t, yet, made the grade. We should, actually, be thankful that someone cares enough to help us succeed. These in-between grades are given, hoping that we will recognize our weaknesses, moving us onto maturity and helping us to be over comers, in the final grade.
Be it a boss, a teacher, a parent or a preacher, if someone is telling you to straighten up, be thankful. Believe me, they have your best interest at heart. They want to warn you that destruction is inevitable, if you are persistent in the pathway of failure.
Paul said… “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 11:17)
May I add to the warning (above) that there are marks, in the form of ratings, on the back of these report cards that need to be heeded? These ratings candidly reveal your attitude. Someone once said your attitude determines your altitude. If the aforementioned is true, here’s a thought... Is your attitude working at optimum? Here’s a second thought… If someone, who is trying to help you sees that you have a less than favorable attitude, and tries to tell you your flaw, will you listen? Will you approach that failing grade with attentive remorse and try to do better for the next examination, or will you just slough it off, by your insouciance?
A Good Report
I’d like to end this sermon on a positive note, by quoting a few verses that prove you can have a good report, if you sincerely want one…
“And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.” Acts 10:22
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there….” Acts 22:12
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7
“For by it the elders obtained a good report.” Hebrews 11:2
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise….” Hebrews 11:39
“Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.” 3 John 1:12