On this past Sunday evening, GLBBC welcomed Staff Evangelist Tony Petronico from Grace Baptist Church in Gaylord Michigan to the pulpit. Generally when Bro. Petronico is in the area, he gives us a call and asks if he can join us. Each time he comes, it is a little impromptu, but always a needed blessing for the people of Gospel Light. Not surprisingly, he brought us a great message.
We sang a hearty round of hymns and, for the very first time, Roberto Caletz stood in front and sang a solo. As Bro. Tony approached the pulpit, he commented on the hymns, telling us that a message had already been preached in song. Our first hymn, “Who is On the Lord’s Side?” asked the question, and “I am Resolved!” answered the question. Because we are resolved to live on the Lord’s side, we have the privilege of looking forward to “Beulah Land!” The lesson in this, Bro. Petronico pointed out was: “Stop coming to church and waiting for the preaching to be the blessing. All of the service is important!” It was already a great start to an evening of worship and preaching.
As for the rest of our evening, we listened to Bro. Tony Petronico deliver his penetrating sermon. His main theme was that, if we ever need revival in our families, today is the day. “Normal” should be the Bible and living by it. However, the truth is that normal is just what we accept; we tend to settle rather than strive for more. Have we forgotten that Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” John 10:10?
Several questions were put before us. “Are you living the abundant Christian life?” “Am I?” “Why is it that Bible principles become options when they interfere with our plans?” These are questions that sit heavy on one’s soul.
Bro. Petronico then provided a critical analysis of the many distractions we allow in our lives that divert us and our children from Bible principles. We let in abominations, just as did Jerusalem (see Ezekiel chapter 16), forgetting about Christ.
We read 2 Chron 29:5, “And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.” We were encouraged to “Sanctify” – To separate, set apart or appoint to a holy, sacred use. But just as the “fathers have trespassed” in 2 Chron 29:5, today also fathers have trespassed, neglecting their responsibilities toward toward their families.
Thus inevitably, one learns to “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:7. And so the people of Israel suffered for the evil of their fathers: “Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble” … “For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this” 2 Chron 29:8-9.
Bro. Petronico warned that there is trouble on every side because we don’t do what God says. Our families are held captive by Hollywood, the world, TV, movies, our computers, and so much more. Now is time to covenant with the Lord! “Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God” 2 Chron 29:10.
What is our problem? Assuredly it is this – Idols! An idol is anything that takes up more of our time than God does! If we were to tithe our time, we would give God 2.4 hours each day. It is easy to give the TV that much time, but do we give as much to the Lord? Bro. Petronico gave testimonies of tithing of both money and time. One example was people that pray for 3 hours daily, but end up having more than enough time to do what else they need to do. This is due to God multiplying their day because of their faithfulness to give of their time. This can apply to every area of our own lives!
If God lives in us, we force Him to sit there and watch our abominations and to listen to His name being blasphemed. Just as in Israel of old, we, as fathers, turn our backs to God and toward that which is evil in His eyes. Can we not then expect the same consequences that befell Israel? What is the fate of our children, who are being bombarded and “devoured” by the seductive idols and degrading images of this world. We are killing our kids. There was no subtlety in Bro. Tony Petronico’s admonishment: “Men, protect your family. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE!”