Weekly Bulletin Article 2012
By Bro Jim Brasseal, Pastor Landmark MBC
Dec 30, 2012 - The Night Comes When No Man Can Work
Dec 23, 2012 - Right Name
Dec 16, 2012 - Right Lineage, Right Time, Right Place
Dec 09, 2012 - Abraham and Jesus
Dec 02, 2012 - Grace as a Quality of Character
Nov 25, 2012 - God’s Good and Perfect Gift
Nov 18, 2012 - “Thanks be unto God for his Unspeakable Gift”
Nov 11, 2012 - Jesus Commends a Soldier’s Faith
Nov 04, 2012 - “Serve the LORD with Gladness”
Oct 28, 2012 - They Opposed Themselves
Oct 21, 2012 - Will You be the Same Person in Heaven?
Oct 14, 2012 - Politics can be Dangerous
Oct 07, 2012 - Good Advice from Brother Bob Nusko
Sep 30, 2012 - Gifts That Come Down From the Father
Sep 23, 2012 - Come Boldly Unto the Throne of Grace
Sep 16, 2012 - From Jerusalem to Lakewood
Sep 09, 2012 - Ye Have Sown Much, and Bring in Little
Sep 02, 2012 - My Yoke is Easy, and My Burden is Light
Aug 26, 2012 - Don't Go Through the Window
Aug 19, 2012 - Churches Helping Other Churches
Aug 12, 2012 - Pleasant Unity
Aug 05, 2012 - Showers of Blessings
Jul 29, 2012 - Report on the Bible Camp Near Somerset, CO
Jul 22, 2012 - Every Man in His Place
Jul 15, 2012 - Lessons Taught in the Communion Service
Jul 08, 2012 - Decently and in Order
Jul 01, 2012 - The Passover and the Lord’s Supper
Jun 24, 2012 - God’s Apprenticeship Program
Jun 17, 2012 - The Heavenly Father
Jun 10, 2012 - Pleasant Fellowship in the Gospel
Jun 03, 2012 - Prayer for Our Nation is Scriptural
May 27, 2012 - Forgetfulness
May 20, 2012 - A Channel of Blessing
May 13, 2012 - Timothy and His Mother
May 06, 2012 - An Opportunity But No Guarantee
Apr 29, 2012 - Baptism and Church Membership
Apr 22, 2012 - Necessities
Apr 15, 2012 - The Testimony of Some Who Came to Christ
Apr 08, 2012 - Faith, Hope, Love
Apr 01, 2012 - Earnestly Contend for the Faith
Mar 25, 2012 - Showing Faith and Walking in Faith
Mar 18, 2012 - Without Faith, You Cannot Please God
Mar 11, 2012 - Repairing the Tools
Mar 04, 2012 - Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 3
Feb 26, 2012 - Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 2
Feb 19, 2012 - Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 1
Feb 12, 2012 - Resurrection Pictured
Feb 05, 2012 - The Body of Christ
Jan 29, 2012 - Commitment to God and From God
Jan 22, 2012 - Looking for Trouble
Jan 15, 2012 - The Evangelistic Mind-set
Jan 01, 2012 - Do Not Count on Four More Months
The Night Comes When No Man Can Work
Dec 30, 2012
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
Jesus Christ came on a special mission from God the Father. He speaks of this mission in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” The will of Jesus was to please the Father. “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).
When we study the context of John 9:4, we understand that Jesus knew that he had a certain limited specific time to complete his personal ministry in this world. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). He told that little flock of disciples, “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” (John 16:7).
Jesus also taught his disciples that their time to bring in the harvest of precious souls was limited. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). His churches were commissioned to be his representatives and to carry on the work of preaching the gospel, teaching his word and administering the ordinances. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
As individuals in the Lord’s work, we know that we have only a short time to serve. The night of death is coming for each of us. The church age is also quickly moving to the final days of our service. Let us be busy and faithful to the Lord while we have time and opportunity.
A word of warning to the lost who need to be saved: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Felix trembled when Paul preached God’s message to him. Felix was so close to faith in Jesus Christ, but he decided to wait. He said to Paul, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). Many who procrastinate and refuse God’s mercy have gone into eternal condemnation in hell while waiting for a convenient season.
Dec 23, 2012
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
“His name” is not just the joining together of the letters “J-E-S-U-S.” “His name” indicates his true character as the Son of God. “His name” also speaks of the authority of Jesus. Peter said to the lame man who begged at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Peter was giving those words by the authority of Jesus.
Philippians 2:5-11 explains why Jesus has a name above every other name. Jesus humbled himself, he was made in the likeness of men, he took the form of a servant, and he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Each name and each title shows us some aspect of our Savior’s character and mission. The name “Jesus” shows that he came to save us from sin and condemnation. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The name “Emmanuel” means “God with us.” Based on the promise of Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” we can say, “God is with us.” The language of Matthew 1:21, which quotes from Isaiah 7:14 in the Old Testament, has a much stronger meaning. The language means that “this child born to Mary is God.” This harmonizes with the statement of I Timothy 3:16, “God was manifest in the flesh...” Jesus, the Son, is also identified as God in Hebrews 1:8. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” We can say based on plain Bible statements, “Jesus is God with us.”
The title “Lord” means “Master,” the one in command over us. The Philippian jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer included the titles “Lord,” “Christ,” and the name “Jesus.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus our Savior has the right family history, He was born at just the right time, in the right town, and he has the right name for his character and mission. He is worthy of our love and praise.
Right Lineage, Right Time, Right Place
Dec 16, 2012
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
The bulletin last week (Dec 09, 2012) showed that the promises and prophecies of the Messiah given in the book of Genesis stated very plainly that the future king of Israel would be of the lineage of Abraham (see Genesis 17:7 and 49:8-11).
The message I presented on Sunday morning, 12/09/2012, used Galatians 4:4, Daniel 2:44, and Daniel 9:25 to show God’s right time for coming of the Messiah, which was promised to be in the days of the Roman Empire. Daniel 9:25 gives the number of years from “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah...”
This article will highlight Bethlehem as God’s chosen place for the birth of Jesus Christ. The name “Bethlehem” in the Hebrew language means “the house of bread.” Jesus identified himself as “the living bread.” Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). You can eat that life-giving bread by receiving Jesus as Savior by faith.
Bethlehem has a prominent place in the history of the family of David. Jesus is of the house and lineage of David (Luke 2:4). In the book of Ruth, we have the story of Boaz and Ruth who lived in Bethlehem and were the great-grandparents of David, who was also born born in Bethlehem.
The angel of the Lord who brought the message of the Savior’s birth to the shepherds said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The title “Christ” shows that Jesus is the Messiah.
Our text verse in Micah shows that Bethlehem was not a major city in Judah. However, out of that small town came the one who would be Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is “from everlasting.” He was no ordinary citizen of Bethlehem. He was the everlasting Son of God worthy of our love and service.
Abraham and Jesus
Dec 09, 2012
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58).
The Family Tree Connection
The book of Matthew begins the genealogy of Jesus Christ with Abraham. In order for God to keep the promises that he made to Abraham in Genesis, Jesus the Messiah had to be in the lineage of Abraham. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Genesis 17:7). Because of Paul’s inspired letter to the churches of Galatia, we have no doubt that the promised “seed of Abraham” is God’s only begotten Son (Galatians 3:8-9).
The Faith Connection
Abraham knew Jesus Christ in faith. Abraham rejoiced when God revealed things to him about the day of Jesus Christ (John 8:56). We do not know all that God made known to Abraham, but we do know that Abraham was a man of true faith. “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:2-3). “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:8-9).
The Walking in Obedient Faith Connection
Two outstanding events in the life of Abraham show us that he was willing to walk with the Lord in obedience: (1) “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). (2) James describes the time of testing when God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham trusted God. He believed the promise that a great nation would come from Isaac. He proceeded with the sacrifice fully believing that God would raise Isaac back to life. God saw Abraham’s faith demonstrated and stopped the offering up of Isaac (Hebrews 11:17-19, James 2:21-23).
The Future Kingdom Connection
Jesus said, “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). This verse refers to that phase of God’s kingdom when Jesus shall rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in his Millennial Kingdom. These, along with many others who are in the first resurrection, will serve our Lord during that glorious age (Revelation 20:6).
Grace as a Quality of Character
II Peter 3:18
Dec 02, 2012
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18).
The word “grace” is most often used in the Old Testament and the New Testament to speak of God’s favor extended with mercy and compassion. His grace is not because of the worthiness of the one receiving grace but is by the loving kindness of God who is the source of grace. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).
God was gracious to the people of Israel even when “the fathers dealt proudly and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments” (Nehemiah 9:16). God’s grace is described in these words: “but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not” (Nehemiah 9:17).
In our text verse where the command is given to “grow in grace,” we see that the child of God can develop those same beautiful gracious qualities of character that we see in our Lord Jesus Christ. This truth is expressed in the words, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Ephesians 4:13-15 gives us more encouragement to grow more like our Savior in gracious Christian character. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness [maturity] of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up [mature] into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
Our development will be limited by the weakness of our sinful flesh nature as Paul shows in Romans 7:14-25. This command in II Peter 3:18 shows us that the weakness of the flesh combined with the power of Satan can not stop the spiritual growth of one who will walk with the Lord.
Please notice that in II Peter 3:18 we have growth in grace and in knowledge. These two qualities are linked. Knowledge alone will not make you a gracious, loving, faithful Christian. Paul expressed the truth that knowledge and love are both needed. “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity [love] edifieth” (I Corinthians 8:1). Knowledge alone, without grace and love will cause you to swell up with pride. Love will help you to be built up [edified] and strengthened in gracious Christian character. “Let others see Jesus in you.”
God’s Good and Perfect Gift
Nov 25, 2012
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
The article in the bulletin last week (Nov 18, 2012) gave attention to the unspeakable, indescribable gift of God sending His own Son for us (II Corinthians 9:15). This week’s article will examine scriptures that show us more of the quality of gifts from the Lord.
I. God Gives Freely
There are seven Greek words shown in Vine’s Bible Dictionary that are translated as “gift,” “giving,” or “free gift.” Vine gives this information on the Greek word “dorea,” which has the meaning of “‘a free gift,’ stressing its gratuitous character; it is always used in the NT [or New Testament] of a spiritual or supernatural gift” as in the following scriptures.
See John 4:10 where Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. Jesus said, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
See Romans 5:15 where the Bible is showing Adam’s transgression that brought sin and death to all humanity and the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is necessary for our justification. “But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many” (The Amplified Bible, AMP).
Hebrews 6:4 speaks of “the heavenly gift,” which is also “the heavenly free gift.” The unspeakable gift of II Corinthians 9:15 is the “free gift.”
II. God Gives Graciously
Another descriptive Greek word listed in Vine’s Bible Dictionary is the word “charisma” and is defined as “a gift of grace.” This word is translated as “gift” in Romans 6:23 (KJV). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Berry’s Interlinear New Testament uses the words “free gift.” With the full meaning of the word “charisma” in mind, we could correctly say that the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord is a “free grace gift.”
III. God Gives Richly
In I Timothy 6:17, the word “richly” means “abundantly.” “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” God is not opposed to “the pursuit of happiness” if you find your enjoyment in harmony with his will.
“Thanks be unto God for his Unspeakable Gift”
II Corinthians 9:15
Nov 18, 2012
This verse can be used if you are speaking of God sending His only begotten Son to be our Savior. The verse may be used if you are considering thankfulness unto God. When you connect this verse with the subject of cheerful giving to the Lord’s work (II Corinthians 9:7), the verse serves as motivation for sacrificial giving. God has given so much for us so we should be willing to return a portion back into the work of the great commission.
The word “unspeakable,” the negative of the verb “to declare” in our text, means that God’s gift is so great that we cannot find the language to fully describe it. The same word, the negative of the verb “to speak,” is used in II Corinthians 12:4. When Paul was caught up into Paradise, he was given revelations from God so wonderful that he was not allowed to speak of what he saw. The word “unspeakable,” the negative of the verb “to tell,” is used in I Peter 1:8. [Jesus Christ] “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The joy that we know in our fellowship with Christ cannot be fully told to another person.
Paul used another word: “unsearchable,” which is very close in the same message in writing to the Ephesians. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). The very best of God’s preachers cannot fully fathom, or reach the bottom of the depth, or preach all of the riches in Christ. In eternity, the Lord will keep showing us more of the riches of his grace. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).
God’s wisdom is also described with the word “unsearchable.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). Please do not use this verse to stop studying your Bible! Just be aware that with the most diligent study, you will never know all of God’s ways. That knowledge will humble you.
There is more to Thanksgiving than just one day of the year with good food and good entertainment.
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15).
Jesus Commends a Soldier’s Faith
Nov 11, 2012
“When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10).
This Roman soldier, who had one hundred soldiers under his command, had come to Jesus on behalf of his very sick servant. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” The soldier answered Jesus by telling him that all He had to do was, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus recognized his great faith.
This soldier and Cornelius in Acts 10 are a reminder to us that military officers can fulfill their duties and still be people of faith and service to the Lord. Brother Eugene Reagan, an ordained Missionary Baptist minister serving in Japan at the end of World War II, began teaching a Bible class to American soldiers and Japanese people. A young Japanese man, not a Christian, offered to serve as his translator. Shiego Kanaoya (1926-2012) was saved, called to the ministry, came to the Seminary in Little Rock, and then returned home to establish a new church. Before his death this year, he had served as pastor in Yokahoma, Japan for more than 50 years.
My early experience with the military made me think that most soldiers were foul-mouth infidels. In 1955, my hometown National Guard unit was activated and sent to South Korea. Replacements for those soldiers were recruited from the Columbia, Mississippi High School and rural high schools in the area. Fifteen of us from my high school enlisted and were sent to Ft. Stewart, Georgia for basic training. Some of our Regular Army instructors thought that every sentence had to be laced with profanity. I spent ten years in the Guard and have served for twelve years in Lakewood with the Army Reserve as a Civilian Chaplain and have learned that there are many men and women of faith and dedication to the Lord in military service.
Our military people need our prayers and support. Sunday November 11, 2012 is our Veterans Day. This special day was first proclaimed by President Wilson in 1919. Congress passed a resolution on June 4, 1926, which included these words: “Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:1-2).
“Serve the LORD with Gladness”
Nov 04, 2012
“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2).
God’s wonderful plan of salvation by grace motivates us to gladly and willingly offer ourselves in joyful service. If our salvation were by works and our service done to earn eternal life, that would change the purpose of our service. In Romans 4, Abraham is used as an example of God’s work of grace.
“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:2-5).
Salvation is not a contract between you and God in which you promise to faithfully work for the Lord, and He is obligated to pay you with everlasting life for that work. That kind of contract would place the Lord in debt to you. Eternal life would not be “of grace but of debt” (Romans 4:4).
In God’s way of salvation, there was a contract between the Father and the Son. By that contract (covenant), Jesus came into the world, lived a holy life, then offered himself to bear the sins of all humanity. Salvation is offered as a free gift so “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The blood of Jesus is called “the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
One who understands God’s grace can serve God with this attitude. “Thank you Lord for my salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Help me to serve you with gladness and gratitude. Please help me to give myself as a living sacrifice to show my thankfulness to you.”
They Opposed Themselves
Oct 28, 2012
“And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:5-6).
The same Greek word translated “opposed” in verse 6 is translated as “resist” in Romans 13:2, James 4:6, James 5:6, and I Peter 5:5.
When Paul preached in the synagogue in Corinth, he had a pressing burden that the Jews would understand that Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah that God had sent to be their Savior and Redeemer. Instead of accepting the gospel message and trusting Jesus as the Messiah, these Jews “opposed themselves and blasphemed.” They set themselves against their own best interest.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (II Timothy 2:25-26). To be caught in the snare (or trap) of Satan is not in anyone’s best interest. Satan is a liar and a deceiver (John 8:44). Satan is compared to a ferocious lion who seeks to destroy (I Peter 5:8).
When the gospel is hid to the lost, Satan “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3-4). Jesus promised, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
It is not reasonable to resist the truth of God’s saving grace. It is not reasonable to resist the precious truth of God’s inspired word. It is not reasonable or beneficial to oppose your own best interest and turn away from God’s blessings.
Consider this warning that was given by an Old Testament prophet. “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 7:11-12). Great blessings were offered by the LORD, but they resisted his way and opposed themselves.
Will You be the Same Person in Heaven?
Oct 21, 2012
“Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias” (Matthew 17:4).
On Thursday, October 18, it became necessary for Sister Wanda Wingard, the oldest member of our church, to have her husband, Brother Cal, moved to the Collier Hospice in Wheat Ridge. His condition has weakened and members of the family are coming to spend time with him and give support and comfort to Sister Wanda. Please keep this family in your prayers. In my time with the family on Friday, October 19, family members were recalling some of the happy times and memories of the many years with him.
Sister Wanda brought up this question: “Brother Jim, what scripture would you use to show that God’s people will know each other in heaven?” In trying to give an answer, we discussed Revelation 21:3-5. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” These promises indicate that no memories of sorrowful times would go with us into heaven.
I Corinthians 15:42-58 shows us what great things we have ahead of us in our new glorified resurrected bodies.
Consider the experience of the three disciples on the high mountain who saw Moses and Elias [Elijah] talking with Jesus. Moses and Elijah had passed on from this life many years prior to this encounter. Peter, James and John recognized Moses as Moses and Elijah as Elijah, even though they had never met them in the flesh. They did retain their own individual identity but without the shortcomings and sinful nature of this fleshly life.
In Luke 16:22 we read about Abraham and Lazarus in paradise. They both retained their individuality and personality. These, who had gone on into eternity, were not just some spiritual unknown essence. They were the same people but changed for a much better life.
I strongly believe that God’s people will know each other -- not in the same relationships that we had in this life -- but we will know each other in Christian fellowship and worship of our Lord in a wonderful way that far exceeds our experiences in this life.
Politics can be Dangerous
Oct 14, 2012
“And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist” (Mark 6:24-25).
John the Baptist was an unusual prophet and preacher of the gospel. He received a tremendous commendation from Jesus Christ. “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11) [Note: an excellent section (pages 268-270) in Seven Dispensations by J.R. Graves shows that the word “least,” used adverbially in this verse, has the meaning of “later.”]. With the translation by Graves, the verse shows that Jesus Christ, also born of a woman and entering into kingdom service after John, is greater than John the Baptist.
John’s ministry was at an important time in the ending of the age of the law of Moses and the beginning of the New Testament Age. “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). “Presseth” in this verse means to push against in opposition.
The circumstances of John’s death in Mark 6 raise these questions: (1) Was John meddling in a political matter by criticizing Herod and Herodias or did he have the right to speak God’s moral truth on this matter regardless of the high positions of those involved? (2) Can moral issues become so interwoven in political issues that we must take a stand for God’s moral law even if we criticize political leaders by our scriptural stand?
I have the right and scriptural duty to teach that Marriage is a God-given institution for one man and one woman (Matthew 19:1-8, Ephesians 5:31). This has become a political issue, but the teaching from the Holy Bible far exceeds any political consideration. We must not forsake the plain commandment of God even if a majority opposes God.
I have the right and the scriptural duty to teach that the unborn child is to have their precious life protected. In Exodus 21, God gives the laws regarding accidents that cause death and acts of deliberate murder. A careful study of Exodus 21:22-23 shows that the death penalty was imposed on one who purposely caused the death of an unborn child. Study the events when Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited with Elizabeth, who was expecting the birth of John the Baptist. There was conscious life in the womb of Elizabeth before John was born (Luke 39-45).
May God bless our nation and bring conviction and the godly sorrow of true repentance to those who have turned away from God’s holy precious word.
Good Advice from Brother Bob Nusko
Oct 07, 2012
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
I received a phone call on Thursday morning from Pastor George Moore of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He informed me that Brother Bob Nusko (January 2, 1922 - September 30, 2012) of Pascagoula, MS, had passed away at age 90. Sister Evelyn Nusko had asked Brother George to conduct the funeral service. Brother Nusko had served as pastor in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi. Brother Nusko was a blessing to me through many years, giving good advice and encouragement.
My first meeting with Brother Nusko was the same week in February of 1958 when I had talked to my Pastor, C.A. Walker, about the Lord calling me to preach His word. As I made my plans to leave Mississippi State University and enroll in the Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, my mind was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. I had voiced these apprehensions to my pastor. He told me that he was going to Bogalusa, LA to visit with Brother Nusko, who had attended the Seminary in Little Rock. Brother Walker invited me to go with him and discuss my plans and worries with Brother Nusko.
Brother Nusko got straight to the point in our discussion with this first question. “Are you sure that the Lord has called you to this ministry?” My honest answer was, “I am absolutely sure.” His next question began with this statement. “The Lord requires a complete surrender to His will and a continuing commitment as you face new challenges.” He continued, “Are you willing to make that commitment to serve Him?” My answer went something like this, “I have already told the Lord that I will do whatever He wants me to do, and I hope that I will be faithful to Him.” His third question began with a lesson about walking by faith. He used Abraham, Moses, and Joshua as examples. He said, “Jim, we cannot know the future. There are things ahead that could shake the very foundations of our life. We have to depend on the Lord to take care of the future. Are you willing to walk by faith?” As a young Christian, I did not fully understand how much was involved in that question, but I did answer, “Yes, sir.”
I have used the same line of questioning as I have had the opportunity to help men who were dealing with God’s call to the preaching ministry. I recall specifically the efforts to help Brother Bob Standley and Brother George Moore.
Walking by faith is for all who serve Christ and not just for His ministers. Hebrews 11 is a good lesson on the blessings of walking by faith.
See the latest mission report from Brother Jim Black in Bulgaria for a good lesson on how our Lord can provide for us each step of our journey of faith.
Bob C. Nusko, Sr. went home to be with the Lord September 30, 2012. Born in Donaldson, Arkansas he graduated high school, became a Baptist preacher, and started attending the Baptist Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas all before volunteering for the Coast Guard for World War II. At the conclusion of the war Rev. Nusko returned to continue his studies. Along with attending school and pastoring churches, Rev. Nusko married Evelyn Josphine McDaniel, December 31,1946. Over his long career, Rev. Nusko pastored and started churches in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi.
Rev. Nusko is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Elsie Nusko of Malvern, Arkansas, one brother, Bernard Nusko and his wife Opal Faye and their three children.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Evelyn Nusko; son, Bob Nusko, Jr. and wife, Denise; daughter, Rachel Clark and husband Dale; granddaughter, Lacey (Blake) McKnight; and two great grandchildren, Cooper and Zoey.
Visitation will be Thursday, October 4,2012 beginning 2:00 P.M., at Parkway Baptist Church, Pascagoula, Mississippi. Funeral services will start at 3:00 P.M., with Rev. Edgar Sutton, Rev. George Moore, and Rev. Willie Austin, Pastor of Parkway Baptist officiating.
The deacons of Parkway will serve as pallbearers. Entombment will follow at Jackson County Memorial Park, Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Heritage Funeral Home in Escatawpa, MS is in charge of arrangements
Gifts That Come Down From the Father
James 1:17, Ephesians 3:21, John 15:8
Sep 30, 2012
Written from Mongolia.
The blessings in Mongolia are because of God’s amazing gifts. Each of these 4 churches (Richheart in UB, Chore, Chingletei, and Uginoor) continue to have steady growth in membership and attendance. Uginoor had the best attendance in the weekday services. Most people there are herdsman, and September is a very busy time in preparation for the coming extreme winter months. School is very important, beginning with kindergarten. It is taught that you must study very hard and never miss your classes. School buildings are given excellent maintenance, as I saw while, visiting the school and meeting the teachers with Irmoon and Margad. At this time of the year, when children get out of school for the weekends, many families go out to their herds, miles away from town. Bro. Erdenebayer explained that attendance will increase when the herds are prepared for the long winter. This year will be difficult because coal and wood, which is used for cooking and heating, has taken a big jump in prices. Gasoline is now at $5 per gallon. Common laborers make $5 per day plus meals provided at the job site. With all the travel and special services here during my visit, 1800 miles have been driven by the two SUVs, at a cost of $500 for fuel. Help from churches in the United States is needed to help expand the work here, and it has been a blessing to me to bring special offerings for the pastors and churches.
The church in Chore had services this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with very good attendance. There were 44 present for Sunday. The theme for the meeting was: “The Christian Home.” All 4 churches have had this theme in services each year for 4 years. All of the pastors and their wives are wonderful examples for this subject. Personal testimonies are given about great trials and problems in their homes that God has brought them through. I stayed in the parsonage with Pastor Augii and his wife, Olzii. Sis. Olzii became very interested last year in having a flower and vegetable garden. She was in the hospital in the early spring this year, got a late start, but has grown a remarkable variety of flowers and vegetables. They have a well on the property that is a great blessing. Church members have also planted gardens. As a demonstration to the community, an International Agriculture Group provided and installed a greenhouse (25 feet by 75 feet by 12 feet high) made from steel pipes and plastic sheeting. Tons of manure have been brought in to mix with the very poor soil. Soil preparation is done with shovels, rakes, hoes, and hand trowels made from pieces of steel pipe by Bro. Augii. During my 3 days in Chore, Olzii prepared delicious meals with eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots, zuccuni, spinach, onions, and garlic. She also had dill and sugar snap peas, which had dried. Hundreds of sunflowers (a kind that grows about 4 feet high with 12 inch flowers) are coming to maturity, and they hope to dry the seeds and use them for snacks.
Augii and Olzii are well known and have a great reputation throughout this area. On Saturday afternoon, we attended what is called “The Chore Exposition” (like a County Fair and 4-H show in the USA). Hundreds of people (adults and children) were greeting them. One of the church members was awarded two gold medals and one silver for his sheep and goat rams. One other member was awarded two gold medals for her design and sewing of the traditional Mongolian garments, called “Dells.” Bro. Augii’s car is out of operation, so our transportation to the fair was provided by another member, held in high regard by the town. He is the High School Band Teacher, who also helps with the music and teaching young people in the church.
God is being glorified in the churches in Mongolia as they bear much fruit for Him. It is a blessing to help in this work.
Come Boldly Unto the Throne of Grace
Sep 23, 2012
Written from Mongolia.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The services at Chingletei Baptist Church on Wednesday, 09/19/2012, were an inspirational uplift. There were four components to the service. First there was very good music (Colossians 3:16). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.” Secondly, there was a time for prayer requests. Pastor Dennis Carrell made the first request: That there would be more men to be active in all of the four churches, that some would answer God’s call to serve as Pastors. Before going on in the service, prayer was made for that particular need. Then there were requests made by members for family issues. Women are treated very badly in many homes where the husband is not a Christian. One need is for a young mother, a faithful member, with two children whose husband left her for a seventeen year old girl. Right then, a fervent prayer was offered for that family’s need. Financial difficulties were mentioned. Chingletei is the poorest district in the UB metro area. They prayed about that need. Then lost friends and family members were named in requests, and the fourth prayer was offered for them.
Thirdly, I was then invited to bring the message, which was based on the first part of Mark 2. Only Jesus Has Power to Forgive Sin. We then were dismissed and gathered in the downstairs fellowship hall. Questions, discussions, and a good time of visiting was enjoyed. The large teen group did the serving of coffee, hot tea, and cookies.
The Lord answered a prayer for me through Brother Egi. Pastor Augie and his wife Olzii were here at Richheart when we returned from Uginoor. I had been told that I would go to Chore (150 Miles to the Southeast) for the Sunday service on 09/23/2012. Brother Augie requested that Egi and I be there for special services on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and he wanted the same lessons on The Christian Family that were presented here at Richheart four years ago. I began a struggle in my memory to reconstruct the outlines that I had used four years ago. Brother Egi informed me that all my outlines for my three lessons as well as his were in complete form on his computer along with a PowerPoint presentation that we had used. It is wonderful how God can use computers!
Just a note about Brother Erdenebayer in Uginoor and his two youngest children, Margad and Irmuun. On our first day there, they were afraid of me. Then, I got into a game of basketball with the four and five year old and some neighborhood children. They had an old rusty bicycle tire rim nailed to the wooden fence. I stood near the fence and retrieved the ball when it went out of bounds. When we went inside the ger for supper, they both were getting on my lap and chattering in an unknown tongue (it was unknown to me). They began to follow me everywhere, even getting me down on the floor for their practice in being Sumo wrestlers. Aren't grand kids such a joy? There has been more than just play time here. In the past nine days, I have preached six sermons and had part in Uginoor in two very good round-table discussions on some very important doctrinal issues. Please pray for the remaining services here.
From Jerusalem to Lakewood
Sep 16, 2012
This article originally appeared in the bulletin on September 25, 2005. It was written by Bro. Jim Brasseal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the organization of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church on September 5, 1955.
As we recall our blessed history, let us consider the wonderful things that our Lord has done for us. According to the organizational minutes, the congregation sang “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “Send the Light,” “I am Resolved,” and “Love Lifted Me.” Let me request that these songs be part of the services today (either this morning or tonight) to commemorate those who have served the Lord in this church for the past 57 years.
As we trace the history of the Lord's churches from Jerusalem to Lakewood, Colorado, we cannot follow the Lord's true churches down through the years by one specific name. In the scriptures, we find such expressions as “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2), but this is not a name but a possessive term. “The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16) is another term showing the ownership of Christ.
Jesus used the terms, my church (Matthew 16:18), little flock (Luke 12:32), my kingdom (John 18:36), and my disciples (Matthew 26:18).
As we study church history, we find that most often the true disciples of our Lord were named by their enemies.
John T. Christian, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi before he moved to New Orleans to teach in the seminary there, has shown in his history that the disciples holding to “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) have been called Christians, Montanists, Novatians, Donatists, Albbigensians, Waldensens, An baptists, and then Baptists.
Since the early part of the fourth century with the development of the Catholic Church, the name Anabaptist has been used most often to refer to all these groups.
The Anabaptists objected to that name being applied to them. Since those who came to them for membership without valid baptism were then baptized in the scriptural way, they did not consider the baptism administered by them to be a second baptism, but the first valid observance of the ordinance. The ordinance was not, therefore, re-baptism or ana-baptism. The prefix “ana” means to repeat or do over.
In studying church history, we see a vital Bible truth presented. Jesus said that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” (Matthew 16:18) his church.
Ye Have Sown Much, and Bring in Little
Sep 09, 2012
“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6).
The literal fulfillment of this verse occurred when the people of Israel began returning after the seventy years of captivity in Babylon. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt in the days of Nehemiah. They were allowing the house of God to lie in ruins while they were busy rebuilding their own “ceiled houses” (Haggai 1:4). You could summarize verse six by saying, “You are busy, busy, but there is no real inner satisfaction in your labor because you are not giving the LORD the first place in your heart.”
In the community where I first began serving as pastor, I met a hard working farmer. One early spring Saturday on his front porch after a serious discussion about God’s way of saving lost sinners, W.L. trusted Jesus Christ, gave a joyful testimony of his salvation, and promised, “I will be in church tomorrow and request baptism and church membership.” He became an active, faithful member and was instrumental in the conversion of his wife and an elderly lady who lived next door.
Then he began to expand his farming operation, which was not a bad thing, but his busy life began to have less and less time for the Lord’s service. I had moved on to serve as pastor in another town, but was back in his community to work with the pastor in revival services. We went to see W.L., who had suffered some set-backs in his farming business. He admitted, “I was much more satisfied and did better in my business when I had time for the Lord.”
It was about one year later when he rededicated his life to the Lord. He proved that his commitment was genuine. He was soon leading the Sunday School program in that church and had an outstanding testimony in the community. Recall the experience of the Apostle Peter, who denied the Lord, but came to true repentance and was used by the Lord to preach the wonderful sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). You could teach a lesson on Peter’s backsliding and restoration with the title “God is the God of Second Chances.”
Haggai 1 shows a blessed time of repentance and renewal. “...with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD” (Haggai 1:12-13).
Their repentance produced visible fruit. “They came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God” (Haggai 1:14).
My Yoke is Easy, and My Burden is Light
Sep 02, 2012
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
As we study these verses, let us first consider the admirable qualities that we find in our Savior.
I. Jesus extends a gracious invitation: “Come unto me.” He is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8). “All things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Jesus can supply rest for those who are weary and burdened with the many problems of life. A.T. Robertson translates the words, “I will give you rest” as “I will refresh you” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, page 92).
Jesus also extended his invitation to those who are thirsty for the water of everlasting life. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). Please notice that the invitation in Matthew 11:28 and John 7:37 is very personal. Jesus calls you to come to himself, not to some ritual, institution, or some religion. This is very much like the Old Testament invitation, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).
II. Jesus describes himself as “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). In humility, Jesus placed himself in total surrender to the will of His heavenly Father. “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). His meek and lowly heart is also described in these words, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ” (Philippians 2:7-8).
III. Jesus invites you to become a partner, a yoke fellow in His work. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” (Matthew 11:29). Yokes were not used for decoration or ornamentation. Yokes were tools to get the work done. There is so much that needs to be done to fulfill the commission from the Lord. There is a need for willing workers who will yoke up with Jesus and pull their share of the load.
Don't Go Through the Window
Aug 26, 2012
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not” (Acts 16:6-7).
The title of this article is from a statement that I have heard from several older preachers for many years. “If God closes the door, don’t go through the window.” The Lord can open doors of opportunities or the Lord can close those doors (Revelation 3:7). We need to be sensitive to God’s leadership and not go stubbornly against his will.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy were having a fruitful ministry in the area of Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5). They tried (assayed) to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit would not allow (suffer) them to go that way. As we read further in this chapter, we see that the Lord had a great work that he was leading them to do in Macedonia. In the city of Philippi, there were great blessings for Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15) and for the jailer and his household (Acts 16:30-34).
God’s Holy Spirit does still lead His people. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14) I will admit that we sometimes struggle to understand the leadership of the Lord. Some scriptures give us a clear direct answer for our decisions. For example, note these plain commands in Romans chapter 12: “Be not conformed to this world” (verse 2); “Bless them which persecute you; bless and curse not” (verse 14); and “Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (verse 17).
I know a family that is very burdened about where they can best serve the Lord. Blessings have come to them in the area where they have served for several years. It now seems that the door is closing on their continuing the same work. There is no definite scripture that tells them where they need to work. No vision will come from the Lord to settle the question.
Their prayer is: “Lord please give us the wisdom to make the right decision.” That prayer is based on James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Their heart’s desire is in harmony with Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
They know that they can trust the love, goodness, and the grace of the Lord. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). God made a promise to his people in the day of Jeremiah that can still bring comfort. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil” (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus gave us a good example when he prayed that the will of the Father would be done (Matthew 26:39).
Churches Helping Other Churches
II Corinthians 11:8-9
Aug 19, 2012
“I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself” (II Corinthians 11:8-9).
Last week, we gave attention to the unity and fellowship which the local church body can experience as it follows the instructions of Ephesians 4:1-7.
This week, we will examine the Bible teaching concerning the fellowship and cooperative work as churches help each other to fulfill the commission of Christ. The church at Philippi, a chief city of Macedonia, had sent offerings to Paul while he worked in Corinth and Thessalonica (Philippians 4:15-18). We know that the congregation in Corinth was designated as “the church of God at Corinth.” That congregation’s beginning is described in Acts 18:8: “...many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” That body of baptized disciples in Corinth was never called “The mission of God.”
We have had a hurtful change in the view of many Missionary Baptist people in regards to when a congregation is recognized as a church body. That unwarranted change is effecting the attitude of many churches in their support for small needy churches.
The new philosophy is described in this way: When a minister of the gospel is sent to a needy field, he will work to gather a body of disciples. They will be called a “mission” of the sending church. That sending church is often called the “mother church,” which is a title never used in the Bible. Other churches will help with the finances because they are “a mission.” The goal is to get a good building, build up the congregation so that they can be self-supporting, and then call and pay their own pastor. Under this view, some congregations are working as a “mission” for twenty years and do not consider themselves as an independent self-governing New Testament church. They know that the very day they are recognized as a self-governing church body, offerings from other congregations will almost totally stop.
Brethren, this is not the pattern we see in Acts 18, II Corinthians 11, and Philippians 4. This is not the pattern of the Missionary Baptist people in the early years of my ministry.
I was sent by the James Street MBC to begin a new church in the western suburbs of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. After a few services in a private home, we were offered a vacant house to use for our services. Fifteen saved, baptized members joined together in a covenant with the Lord and each other to organize the Unity Missionary Baptist church. Other churches sent offerings, and I began “taking wages to do service” for Unity MBC. We had no property and no building. We did rent a good quality piano on the rental-purchase plan. We were a scriptural New Testament church, winning other disciples, baptizing them, and growing in church membership. We had the good fellowship and the financial assistance of many other churches of our associated work in the Gulf Coast area. We enjoyed the unity, assistance, and cooperation as shown in the New Testament.
Psalm 133:1 and Ephesians 4:2-3
Aug 12, 2012
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Disagreement and division in the Lord’s work is not good and not pleasant, as we see from the example shown in Acts 15:37-40 when Paul and Barnabas disagreed over taking John Mark on their missionary journey. “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God” (Acts 15:39-40).
The oil used by Moses in the anointing of Aaron and his sons, the tabernacle, the ark, and vessels for the tabernacle service was a special blend of olive oil, perfumed with myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia (Exodus 30:22-30). The reference to this anointing oil in Psalm 133 pictures unity among the brethren as being very enjoyable. The opposite of sweet fellowship is a stinking odor.
The reference to the dew of Hermon (Psalm 133:3) is explained as the “snow on the mountain (elevation of 9,101) condenses the vapors during the summer so that the abundant dews descend upon it while the surrounding country is parched” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 470). Sweet fellowship with unity is compared to a beautiful lush garden. Where there is no unity, you have a dry parched landscape.
Ephesians 4 shows the qualities that are necessary for good fellowship with unity. Notice the key words of Ephesians 4:2: “lowliness and meekness,” which describe humility, Consider the last part of the verse: “with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” The opposite of these good Christian qualities would be self-will, arrogance, impatience, and short-tempered anger. Forbearing one another in love is like that sweet anointing oil and the refreshing dew.
The Amplified Bible translates Ephesians 4:3 in this way: “Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.” The Spirit of God guides us into all truth (John 16:13), and the Spirit of God spreads out the love of God in our hearts. Good sweet unity and fellowship is produced by our love of God and our love for the truth.
On Saturday August 11, 2012, we concluded two days of our Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association messenger meeting. It was a time of good Bible teaching, good food, and wonderful fellowship with our fellow Christians. Everything was as pleasant as perfumed olive oil and refreshing dew.
Showers of Blessings
Aug 05, 2012
“And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing” (Ezekiel 34:26).
If you start reading in verse twenty-two of this chapter and continue to verse thirty-one, you will see how Ezekiel describes the great blessings that come to the Lord’s flock when Jesus Christ, the heir to David’s throne, rules as the Lord of Lords, the one Shepherd over all the earth. No drought or lack of food will effect the earth. Instead, refreshing rain is promised in that glorious age.
In the days of Elijah, when the wicked Ahab and his wife Jezebel ruled in Israel, the LORD stopped the rain on Israel for three and one-half years (I Kings 17 and 18). During that time, the LORD used ravens to provide for Elijah (I Kings 17:6). The LORD also took care of a faithful widow even though her situation looked hopeless (I Kings 17:12-14). Her faith in God’s message delivered through Elijah caused her to use the very last of her oil and meal to make bread for Elijah. God honored her faith, and she and her son had food throughout the drought.
Elijah’s prayers are used as an example for us in James 5:17-18. “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” We are reminded in connection with Elijah’s example that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Another New Testament passage that uses the showers to picture God’s blessings is Hebrews 6:7-8. “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”
In our language of today, we would say, “When God pours out his blessings on you, you should produce beneficial fruit for his glory.” “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8). If your life yields disobedience against the will of God, that is compared to thorns and briers or to “wood, hay, and stubble” (I Corinthians 3:12), which will be destroyed when you meet the Lord in judgment. “If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Corinthians 3:15).
We need the showers of God’s blessings in our lives. We also need good prolonged gentle rain to refresh the earth. According to the Farm Report on the RFD channel, we are now in the most severe drought in fifty years, which will hurt farm production and exports as well as the prices at the grocery store. It is still Biblical to pray for rain.
Report on the Bible Camp Near Somerset, CO
Jul 29, 2012
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
All this week (July 23-27), we saw the power of the gospel demonstrated in the camp at Somerset, Colorado, over on the Western slope of the Colorado mountains, about 60 miles south of Glenwood Springs. Fifty-seven people from 8 Missionary Baptist Churches attended the camp. The gospel was presented in the preaching and devotionals, in the classes, around the campfire at night, and even while we enjoyed our meals and the recreational activities.
Three young ladies and one young man gave their testimonies that they had received Jesus Christ as Savior during the week. Their professions of faith were unique in that none of the professions were made during the preaching services. During the time of other activities, each one sought out a pastor, a teacher, a counselor, or a Christian friend to help them understand God’s way of receiving Christ by faith.
The salvation of these precious souls was the highlight of the camp. As a pastor, I also enjoyed the time of fellowship, discussions, planning, and working with the other 6 pastors and the 5 other men involved in this fruitful work. May the Lord bless us with many more wonderful weeks like this time at the Bible Camp.
The following comments were provided by Jeffery Barron:
Camp has always had a special place in my heart. I was saved at camp, and camp continued to motivate me to learn more about Jesus and to be active in the Lord's work. There is something special about a game of kickball, the satisfaction of a well thrown water balloon, and the perfect blend of graham crackers, a Hershey's bar, and roasted marshmallows. And who can deny the thrill in seeing your pastor being part of the fun, too?
The time spent with fellow laborers in Christ and seeing others saved is something special, too. There is great joy in studying God's word together and sharing burdens and praises from each other's experiences.
The bond of fellowship can be strengthened, and I believe that bond with those who went from our church was greatly strengthened by our time at camp.
Camp is a lot of work and very exhausting, but the rewards are well worth it.
Every Man in His Place
Jul 22, 2012
“And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled” (Judges 7:21).
Gideon is a good Old Testament example of leadership and responsibility in a time of distress and fear. The “LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years” because Israel had done evil in the sight of the LORD (Judges 6:1). The LORD called Gideon to organize an army to fight against this powerful enemy. After definite proof from the Lord (Judges 6:36-40), Gideon gathered an army of thirty two thousand men (Judges 6:3).
That army was reduced to ten thousand soldiers and then reduced again to only three hundred fighting men. The reason that the LORD wanted Gideon to go against the mighty army of Midian with such a small army is shown in Judges 7:2. “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”
That army of three hundred surrounded the camp of Midian with trumpets in their right hands and lamps under a pitcher in their left hands. With the trumpet blast from Gideon, all the pitchers were broken. Such confusion swept through the camp of Midian that they began to destroy each other (Judges 7:16-22).
The LORD was with Gideon’s army. They followed the instructions exactly, but we must not overlook one essential element in Judges 7:21. Each one of the three hundred men was faithful to his responsibility. “And they stood every man in his place.” The words “every man” do not allow for even one man to be slack in his duty.
The New Testament also teaches that each church member has a place of duty in the Lord’s service. In I Corinthians 12, the church body is compared to the human body with the different body parts having different necessary functions. “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (I Corinthians 12:21).
Whatever affects one member has consequences for the entire church body. “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (I Corinthians 12:26).
You have individual responsibility. No one else can “stand in your place.” Please think seriously about your duty as a member of this church body. Your faithfulness or your “missing in action” does influence other members.
Lessons Taught in the Communion Service
Jul 15, 2012
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).
Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had spoken to his church of the responsibility and authority that he was entrusting to them. The words of Jesus show that they were stewards of the ordinances. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
- We learn about closed communion from the way that Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. There were two main events on that night. First, there was the observance of the Passover supper, and, second, there was the institution of the Lord's supper. The reference to “the dipping of the sop” in John 13:26-30 takes place when the Passover lamb was eaten. The eating of the lamb was not a part of the service when the Lord’s supper was instituted. The references to the communion services in the letters to the churches (I Corinthians 11:23-26) makes no reference to the eating of the lamb being a part of the Lord’s supper. Judas Iscariot, as a Jew, was qualified to eat the Passover but was not qualified to eat the Lord’s supper. So, he left immediately upon receiving the sop from Jesus. His leaving left only those disciples who worked in fellowship in that particular body in the service for the eating of the unleavened bread and the drinking of the fruit of the vine. This practice is the foundation for the observance of closed communion in which only the members in fellowship in a particular church body take the Lord’s supper together.
- The connection between fellowship in the church body and communion is reinforced by the inspired instructions to the church in Corinth (I Corinthians 5:1-13). A member of the church was out of fellowship because of his immoral life. That person was to be put away (excluded) from the membership of the body (I Corinthians 5:13). Note the reference in verse 11 that states, “with such an one no not to eat.” The previous verses (I Corinthians 5:6-8) discuss the “unleavened bread,” which represents the sinless body of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26). We conclude that the “not eating” is in reference to the Lord’s supper and not in reference to eating a regular meal. Remember, Jesus ate with very wicked sinners (Matthew 9:11).
- Since the church cannot discipline those outside its membership, the church should not invite those outside its disciplinary authority to join in the participation of the Lord’s supper. Consider this confusing situation. One in the membership is excluded for an immoral lifestyle, and thus cannot partake of the communion based on I Corinthians 5:11. Open communion would say to one outside the membership, living the same lifestyle, “We have no disciplinary authority over you, and you are the only judge of your conduct. So, if you desire, you may take the Lord’s supper in our service.” If Landmark Missionary Baptist Church extended an open communion invitation, we would be in violation of I Corinthians 5:1-13. Such action would also violate God’s command to do all things decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40).
Decently and in Order
I Corinthians 14:33 and 14:40
Jul 08, 2012
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Corinthians 14:33). “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40).
The word “decently” denotes gracefully, becomingly, in a seemly manner. The expression “decently and in order” is used in I Corinthians14:40 to express the exact opposite to the word “confusion” in I Corinthians 14:33. The word “peace” in this verse indicates one quality that comes from decency and order. The word “decently” is very close in meaning to the word “honestly” (Greek: kalos) that we discussed in the article of 10/19/08.
Two instances (I Thessalonians 4:12 and Romans 13:13) are found in our King James Bible where the same word (Greek: euschemonos) translated “decently” in I Corinthians 14:40 is translated as “honestly.” These verses show the contrast between the lives of true decent Christians and the shameful lives of unbelievers.
Confusion and disorder are the fruit produced by sinful disregard for God's word and God's will. In families, in churches, in civil government, in finances, and in society at large, Satan is working as a roaring lion to destroy as many as he can by sin and confusion.
In II Timothy 3:1-7, there is a vivid description of this disorder as it grows in the last days. Please notice just three verses of this passage. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
Thank God for people who have Christ who strengthens them to live a decent, orderly life.
The Passover and the Lord’s Supper
Jul 01, 2012
“Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples” (Matthew 26:17-18).
The first instructions for the observance of the Passover are recorded in Exodus 12. The Lord’s first church disciples, in obedience to the law given to Israel, met for the observance of the Passover. It was at the Passover with his disciples that Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-30). As we study the instructions for the Passover in the Old Testament and the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament, we can see interesting parallels.
Both of the suppers are pictorial ordinances. The Passover teaches that protection is by the blood of the lamb, which was applied to the door lintel and the two side posts (Exodus 12:22). That blood was not the real redeeming blood, but it did picture the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. John the Baptist looked upon Jesus and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
In the upper room, when Jesus gave the unleavened bread and the cup with the fruit of the vine to his disciples, He said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). That bread was not his real body, and the cup did not contain one drop of his real blood. Those elements were a figurative lesson, an illustration, of his sinless life and body and his blood, which has redeemed us (I Peter 1:19).
Both of the suppers have restrictions in regard to those who participate. The restrictions for the Passover are listed in Exodus 12:43-51 and show plainly that the Passover was not open to just anyone who thought that they would like to participate. No stranger, foreigner, or hired servant could take the Passover. This refers to one who was not a part of the covenant that God had made with Israel (Exodus 12:43-45). Please note that there are provisions for the stranger, the foreigner, and the hired servant to become a part of Israel and thus be qualified to eat the Passover (Exodus 12:48).
When you understand that the New Testament ordinances are delivered to his churches, you will see that the Lord’s supper is restricted to those who have been saved, scripturally baptized, and who are actively working and fellowshipping in one of the Lord’s churches. If one is not qualified at the present time, there are steps that can be taken to become qualified. Even those who have gotten out of the Lord’s work can take the proper Biblical steps to be restored. We can learn how members can be excluded and then received back into the fellowship of the church by studying I Corinthians 5:9-13 and II Corinthians 2:6-9.
On Wednesday night, July 18, 2012, our church will observe the Lord’s Supper. Let us prepare ourselves so that we will observe the ordinance in the correct Biblical way.
God’s Apprenticeship Program
II Timothy 2:2
Jun 24, 2012
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).
This verse shows that we can learn by studying and working with others who are already strong in the Lord’s work. Paul learned directly from the Lord (Galatians 1:12). Timothy became a helper to Paul when Paul came to bring the gospel message to Derbe and Lystra (Acts 16:1-3). We can call Timothy an apprentice because in his traveling with Paul he was being taught by word and by example.
I know a man who started as a teen working with a master electrician. He paid close attention to his foreman, was diligent in taking the required classes, and now is a master electrician in a supervisory position with a large company. He has a second job as a contractor. His reputation in his area of business is excellent. He could not have accomplished this without the help of his teachers who helped him in his apprenticeship.
The text verse shows that Timothy was to continue the teaching he had received from Paul. Those taught by Timothy were to continue the teaching with other disciples. This pattern has been repeated for hundreds of years. In my personal experience, I can tell you that I have been blessed and helped by the advice and counsel of older pastors.
One of the great blessings of attending a messenger meeting such as we just completed in Fresno, California, is that I can see and fellowship with older brethren who have had good influence in my life. Sadly, I must say that time is taking its toll and there are very few of those of that older generation who are still living. I must be the older generation now!
We have an Old Testament example of King Rehoboam making a wise move to seek the counsel of older men. Rehoboam made a bad move by refusing the good advice of the older men and turning instead to follow the foolish advice of the companions of his own age. His decision brought serious rebellion and division in the nation of Israel (II Kings 12:3-21).
Lessons are not good just because they are old and are taught by older preachers. They are good because they are true to the Holy Scriptures and have been proven by generation after generation to have God’s blessing and approval.
May we be diligent in taking under our apprenticeship those younger disciples who need to be guided and taught “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
The Heavenly Father
Jun 17, 2012
“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32).
In this passage of scripture and in Luke 11, we can see a comparison of the care shown for the needs of the children by the heavenly Father and the earthly father. “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13).
We also have a comparison between the heavenly Father and the earthly father in the matter of discipline and chastisement. “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:9-10).
When an earthly father has the desire to provide for his children, which is a very serious responsibility, especially for a Christian father as taught in God’s word, he can better understand the love and care of his heavenly Father. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8). If a father neglects the needs of his family (spiritual and material), he is going against the teaching (the faith) of his Lord. The believing father is held to a higher standard than the unbeliever, the infidel.
I recently received this question:
In the human relationship of father and son, the father is always older than the son. Why do the Scriptures use the language referring to the Son of God and God the Father when we know that the Son is eternal with the Father?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). This question, like the questions concerning the triune nature of God, does not have an easy answer.
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5). This verse does not contradict John 1:1. In God’s plan of redemption, Jesus Christ was born into the human family, the Word was made flesh (John 1:14). There was a definite day, a day of conception (this day have I begotten thee), then a definite day in time for his birth. His designation as the Son recognizes that conception and birth and also recognizes that he placed himself in humble submission to the will of the Father.
We can thank God for our fathers who provided for us, even the discipline when it was needed. We can praise our heavenly Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit for the amazing love and grace shown to us.
Pleasant Fellowship in the Gospel
Psalm 133:1 and I Corinthians 1:10
Jun 10, 2012
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10).
These two verses are a good commentary on the word “fellowship,” which may be translated from these words:
- koinonia, which means a sharing in common or communion,
- koinonos, which shows a partnership, and
- metoche, which is used like koinonia but in a more restricted sense (Vine’s Bible Dictionary).
Our Bible shows that we can have fellowship with the Lord and with others who know the Lord. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).
Paul writes of “fellowship in the gospel” in his letter to the Philippian church (Philippians 1:5). Think of the things that those people had in common. They, like the Ephesians, were compacted by having one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:4-6). The word “compacted” in Ephesians 4:16 does not mean that they were mashed down. It means that they were joined in agreement and knit together (Colossians 2:2). Do you remember studying about the Mayflower Compact? It was the agreement by those who sailed to the shores of this land.
It is so good and pleasant to have fellowship in our local church body and fellowship with other churches who are working to fulfill the Lord’s commission.
In just about a week, I will be going to Fresno, CA, for a meeting with messengers from churches all over this world. One of my main reasons for going is to meet with the Coopers, who work in Mongolia, and help them in their Mongolia Mission booth. We will fellowship in the gospel and promote the spread of the gospel. We pray that our contact and information about the work of the Carrell's, Pastor Egi in Ulabaatar, Pastor Augi in Chore, and Pastor Erdenbayer in Uginoor will help each of them.
We desire to sustain the financial support and the prayers for the partners, the fellow helpers to the truth (III John 8), who labor in that needy field.
Prayer for Our Nation is Scriptural
I Timothy 2:1-4
Jun 03, 2012
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:1-4).
When we study Romans 13, we see that God has good reasons for the establishment of civil governments. We can see from the New Testament examples that governments can go contrary to the will of God. The authorities in Jerusalem commanded Peter and John “not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:18-19).
When the civil officers, the High Priest, and Jewish council reminded them of the command not to teach in the name of Jesus, they added this charge, “Behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us” (Acts 5:28).
In the prayer meeting that followed the unreasonable command given by the authorities, those early church members quoted from Psalm 2:2-6. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Christ], saying, Let us [Kings and Rulers] break their bands [Rule of God] asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2-3).
They did not ask God to bless those rulers in that hurtful command. They did ask the Lord: “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word” (Acts 4:29).
Look again at the aim of the prayer in the instructions to Timothy: “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” When the Christian message is hindered; when the lives of God’s people are adversely affected; when there is lawlessness, dishonesty and ungodliness, we need to pray for these things:
- That the servants of the Lord will have boldness to speak the full Bible message, even if the message goes against government policy.
- That the Lord’s churches will stand as shining lights in this dark world (Philippians 2:15).
- That God will remove, in His own way, the hindering dishonest rulers and raise up people in authority who will be a blessing to God’s people as they work in harmony with the will of God, which is “to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).
May 27, 2012
“Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).
On the Website, timeanddate.com, the information is given that Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) is observed to commemorate those who gave their lives in the military service to our nation. They also note the fact that the original purpose is being forgotten by many citizens, and the day is now considered a day to mark the beginning of the Summer vacation period.
Our text in Jeremiah and many other Scriptures show us that we often need reminders of our responsibility to God. The Lord’s church in Ephesus also needed their memory refreshed. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
The church in Ephesus had enjoyed many blessings from the Lord. They had a good beginning through the ministry of Paul (Acts 19:1-8). They received good doctrinal teaching as we see from the book of Ephesians. The information given in the second chapter of Revelation shows that they had the presence of the Lord, they worked, they labored, they were watchful for false apostles, and had not fainted. The word “fainted” means to grow weak and weary. They did receive a rebuke and a warning from the Lord because they were leaving their first love. This could be their love for the Lord and his kingdom work.
Jesus taught his first church, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
The Lord gave his church two pictorial ordinances. Baptism is a picture that reminds us of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The instructions to the Lord’s church in Corinth show that there is a memorial purpose for the Lord’s supper.
“That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:23-25).
A Channel of Blessing
May 20, 2012
“And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake” (Genesis 30:27).
The song “Make Me A Channel Of Blessing” (In Spirit And In Truth, Hymn 578) conveys the lesson that the servant of the LORD can be the useful instrument, the channel of blessing, from God to those in need. Consider the first stanza, “Is your life a channel of blessing? Is the love of God flowing through you? Are you telling the lost of the Savior? Are you ready his service to do?”
After his confrontation with Esau, Jacob fled to the homeland of his mother, Rebekah. That area is called Padanaram or Haran and is in the northern part of Syria. Jacob came into that land with nothing but God’s promises and his vow to God (Genesis 28:13-22). Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, knew that blessings had come to him because of God’s blessings to Jacob. Jacob was a channel of blessing.
There is another similar example in the life of Joseph. “And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field” (Genesis 39:5). Joseph, the bond-slave sold by his own brothers, became the channel of blessing: first to his Egyptian owner, second to the entire nation of Egypt, and third to his own kin folks by making grain available during the time of famine.
Paul expressed his desire to be used as a channel of blessing in Philippians 1:20-21, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Paul wrote by inspiration to the church at Corinth, the church that did not always appreciate his leadership. “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Corinthians 12:15). This is Paul’s way of saying, “I will lay everything, even my life, on God’s altar for you.”
Your life can be a channel of blessing if you will take up your cross and follow Jesus daily (Luke 9:23-24). If you follow the selfish, fleshly path, your life can also be a stumbling block (I Corinthians 8:9).
These words are from the fourth stanza of Hymn 578: “We cannot be channels of blessing if our lives are not free from known sin; We will barriers be and a hindrance to those we are trying to win.”
Timothy and His Mother
II Timothy 1:5
May 13, 2012
“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (II Timothy 1:5).
Timothy’s mother had a good positive influence in his Christian life.
The name of this young man means “Honored of God.” His name is spelled “Timotheus” in Acts 16:1, where he is first mentioned in the Bible. The ending of his name is from “Theos,” the regular word for God in the Greek New Testament. In Acts 16:1, he is identified as a disciple whose mother “was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek.”
These good Christian qualities in Timothy made him a useful companion to Paul in the Lord’s work:
- Acts 16:2 tells us that Timothy had a good reputation among the brethren at Lystra and Iconium.
- Timothy is described as a “workfellow” in Romans 16:21. This means that he was a partner in the work who pulled his own share of the load.
- Timothy was a disciple of very true genuine faith according to II Timothy 1:5.
- He is described as a minister of God. The confidence that Paul had in Timothy is shown in I Thessalonians 3:2. “And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith.”
The closeness of the fellowship between Paul and Timothy is shown in Paul’s words, “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith” (I Timothy 1:2).
Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother contributed to the outstanding Christian character that we see in Timothy. Their genuine faith served as a good example and pattern as Timothy grew stronger in faith.
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15). This verse makes us think of a boy learning from the inspired scriptures as he is taught by his grandmother and his mother. They taught him about salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Their love for the Lord, their love for Timothy, and their Bible lessons produced fruit and Timothy became a believer and “a disciple indeed.”
We must never under-value the good that can come from a precious godly mother. She is worth more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10).
An Opportunity But No Guarantee
II Peter 3:18
May 06, 2012
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18).
When a person receives Jesus Christ by faith (John 1:12), that person becomes a child of God by the new birth (John 3:7) and is then in God’s family (I John 3:1-2). In the beginning of the Christian life, that person is considered as a babe in Christ. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2).
We see in II Peter 3:18 that growth is a command. We see in I Peter 2:2 that the inspired word of the Lord is the food for spiritual growth. The child of God has the opportunity for growth, but the growth is not guaranteed. Right choices are necessary for one to grow stronger in the Lord’s service.
Colossians 1:9-11 gives a list of qualities for your Christian growth. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:9-10).
Becoming a faithful active member in one of the Lord’s churches where the Lord’s word is taught is the right choice. Notice the example of those who were added to the church in Jerusalem. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
You have the opportunity to develop bonds of fellowship with Christian friends. “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). Christians in fellowship edify, that is, they build up and strengthen each other.
You have the opportunity to be a witness here at home. “ 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). This church is helping missionary work in Mongolia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova. When you get involved in all areas of the Lord’s work, you are extending your witness to the other side of this earth. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Baptism and Church Membership
Apr 29, 2012
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
The Pentecost holiday that came after the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a momentous day for the Lord’s first church. He had instructed the one hundred and twenty members to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to guide and empower them for their world-wide mission. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
According to Acts 2:6-11, there were people from fourteen different countries who heard the gospel message in their own languages. Peter preached a powerful sermon setting forth the truth that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, approved of God the Father. He preached that Jesus was crucified in accordance with God’s plan, but that the deed was done by their wicked hands (Acts 2:23). Peter’s message showed that Jesus the Christ was resurrected from the dead and is now exalted and seated at the right hand of God. He declared that Jesus is Lord and Christ (Acts 1:31-36).
God used the message and the conviction of the Holy Spirit to cut into their hearts. About three thousand did not reject Peter’s message. They received the message, were baptized, and added to the membership of the one hundred and twenty who were already church members (Acts 2:41). Baptism did not save them from condemnation but was a public declaration of their identification with the Lord’s disciples and was one step in their church membership.
This order, shown in Acts 2:41, follows the order given by Jesus in the great commission: (1) make disciples, (2) baptize the disciples, and (3) teach the disciples the things that Jesus taught. The same order is shown in the missionary work of Paul. “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). The jailer in Philippi was baptized the night of his believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-33).
Scriptural baptism for converted people is the regular and consistent order that is shown throughout the New Testament. In the Jordan River, John the Baptist baptized those who gave evidence (fruit) of repentance (Matthew 3:8-11). During the personal ministry of Jesus, disciples were made and baptized (John 4:1).
We believe that obedience to God in this present time requires that we follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was baptized by John the Baptist. We can see the pattern of teaching the gospel, baptizing the new disciples, and establishing churches. We have no authority to change the message or the ordinances of the New Testament.
The faith, the teaching of the New Testament, was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3), God’s people, who serve Him faithfully in this age.
Apr 22, 2012
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14).
Jesus was lifted up when he was nailed to the cross and, there on the cross, suffered and died for all mankind. His sacrifice on the cross was an absolute necessity because of these two conditions: (1) God is holy and righteous and cannot overlook sin, and (2) mankind is sinful and needs atonement and forgiveness. On the cross, Jesus satisfied the holiness of God and provided the redemption needed by sinful man. God is “just” and “the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
Another necessity is seen in the question by the jailer in Philippi and the answer given by the Apostle Paul. The question is: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul did not say, “Do nothing. You are just fine.” To do nothing would keep the man in his lost condition. Paul knew that the man was required to believe from the heart (Romans 10:10). God would not save him against his will. Paul’s correctly answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” The last part of the answer indicates that the same promise applies to those in his house.
The jailer’s faith was not a work. Salvation is not received by any work, but is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
The word “must” is also used in connection with the resurrection of our body. This fleshly physical body cannot enter into the presence of the Lord in its present condition. There “must” be a change. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:53). The change from the likeness of Adam to the likeness of Jesus Christ is shown in this verse. “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Corinthians 15:49). “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
Paul’s great burden to preach the gospel is shown in the use of the word “necessity.” “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16).
The Testimony of Some Who Came to Christ
Apr 15, 2012
“Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Luke 8:39).
This article is adapted from a small booklet, Things For Young Christians To Know, written by Dr. Allen Adkins. He served for many years in the Gulf Coast Baptist Institute in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
“The woman at Jacob’s well, after her encounter with Jesus, went immediately into the city and spread the news that this One who had spoken to her was indeed the Messiah. She was an outspoken person who spoke for Jesus and many of the Samaritans believed on the Lord because of her testimony” (John 4:39).
“Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus but was not as outspoken as the woman at the well. In John 19:38, he is described as a secret disciple because of his fear of the Jews. After the crucifixion, he did come to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus.”
“Nicodemus, who questioned Jesus one night and learned the truth of being born again, was with Joseph of Arimathea as they prepared the body of Jesus for burial. We have no testimony of Nicodemus in John 3, but his actions in John 19 indicate that he was also a disciple.”
“The blind man who was healed by Jesus knew very little about the Lord. He knew that he had been blind but that his sight had been restored (John 9:25). His conversation with Jesus brought him to the realization that Jesus was the Son of God. His testimony is very simple: ‘Lord, I believe.’ Then he worshiped the Lord” (John 9:35-38).
“The poor man of Mark 5 and Luke 8 encountered Jesus and was set right in his mind and heart which caused him to sit at the Master’s feet, clothed and sane. He was a notorious man and all that saw him now knew that some drastic change had been made in him. He had been an untamed person, out of his mind, living as a lunatic in the cemetery. Suddenly all of this changed. The change itself is a glorious testimony. A changed life in an individual is one of the best testimonies that can be given to the saving grace of God. The changed man wanted to go with Jesus wherever Jesus went, but his instructions were to go back home and tell the great things that God had done for him (Luke 8:39). He published the good news throughout all the city.”
Please notice that God used the testimony of each one, even though there are differences in the way that their testimonies are given. The common elements are that they were saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).
Faith, Hope, Love
I Thessalonians 1:3
Apr 08, 2012
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” (I Thessalonians 1:3).
The three spiritual qualities of faith, hope, and love are linked in numerous Biblical passages. For example, I Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Another example is found in Colossians 1:4-5: “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.”
There is a connection between the three spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and love and the glorious gospel truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we study verse by verse in I Corinthians 15, we learn the absolute undeniable truth that Jesus Christ died on the cross to bear our sins, that he was buried in the tomb for three days and three nights, and that He rose from the grave in victory and power on the first day of the week.
Jesus Christ was the Son of God before His birth, He was the Son of God for all of His earthly ministry, and He is still the Son of God in heaven interceding for us today. His resurrection was a declaration of that truth. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
The word “hope” in the Scriptures refers to the sure expectation and confidence that God will fulfill His promises. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would have no hope for eternity in heaven with the Lord. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Corinthians 15:19).
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith would be useless and vain. “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (I Corinthians 15:17-18).
Our salvation, our hope, and our faith are anchored in the gospel truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). When we believed with all the heart, we were changed by the grace of God, and we became blood-redeemed, Spirit-sealed children of God (Ephesians 1:7, 13, 2:8). The love of God came into our heart. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
With faith, hope, and love, we can follow this command from God’s word: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).
Earnestly Contend for the Faith
Apr 01, 2012
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
This article has quotes from Faith And The Faith written by Dr. T.T. Eaton around 1890 while he was pastor of Walnut St. Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
“'The faith' is the body of doctrine taught in the Scriptures, centering in Christ and His work. It is written (Acts 6: 7) that 'a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.' In Acts 16:5, we are told 'so the churches were strengthened in the faith.'”
“What we are to believe, what we are to be and what we are to do 'according to the Scriptures -- this is 'the faith' which was delivered once for all and for which we are to 'contend earnestly' -- epi-agonize.”
“This world is not a friend to truth, any more than it is a friend to grace, 'to help us on to God.' Error has more of the nature of leaven than has truth. ['Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?' (I Corinthians 5:6).] Many languages have proverbs to the effect that 'a lie will get half round the world while the truth is getting on its boots to start.' One rotten apple put into a barrel of sound ones will rot them all, while one sound apple put into a barrel of rotten ones will not make them sound, but will speedily rot itself. One diseased man can spread contagion through a city, while one healthy man cannot impart soundness to the sick in a hospital.”
“Never was there a time when there was greater need to epi-agonize [contend earnestly] for the faith than now. Skepticism has become more aggressive than ever. For a time infidelity walked the earth in haughty exclusiveness. But now infidelity has professed religion and joined the church. Now it occupies pulpits and theological professors’ chairs, and the attack is from within. They seek to evaporate the faith into moonlit mist. They teach an inspiration that does not inspire, an atonement that does not atone, and a salvation that does not save” (pages 23-27).
We must not think that “The faith which was once delivered unto the saints” is a cold academic study. “The faith” is the message of Jesus Christ in agony on the cross, suffering for all mankind. “The faith” is the message in front of the empty tomb, “He is not here, but is risen.” Teaching “the faith” bears fruit, like the grey-haired farmer, Charlie Brimer, who spoke to the congregation, “Yesterday, out in my cotton field, I went down on my knees and asked God to save me by the blood of Jesus. I thank the Lord and this church, especially my wife, who has prayed for me for many years.”
“The faith” is the joyous music that rolls around the throne of God, praising the Lamb of God, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). “The faith” is the message of God’s whole Bible.
Showing Faith and Walking in Faith
James 2:18 and II Corinthians 5:7
Mar 25, 2012
“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7).
This article continues with quotes from Faith And The Faith written around 1890 by Dr. T.T. Eaton, Pastor of Walnut St. Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
In discussing our Christian walk after we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10), Dr. Eaton writes, “Faith is not passive. It is the doing. Christian faith involves turning from sin to God, surrendering the will to Christ, and throwing one’s whole power into His service. The Master with stinging reproach asks: 'Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?'”
“Christian faith is not only glad submission to God’s will, but heartily doing His will. Vain is the cry Lord, Lord; unless we do His will. The more confidence we have in the divine wisdom, power and love, the gladder will be our submission and the heartier our service in doing that will.”
“No wonder the Bible exalts faith. 'According to your faith be it unto you' (Matthew 9:29). 'The just shall live by faith' (Romans 1:17). 'That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ' (I Peter 1:7). 'This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith' (I John 5:4).”
Dr. Eaton rightly presented the truth that faith grows stronger as we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord. One college professor tried to convince him that as knowledge increased, especially in the scientific fields, there would be less need for faith, even Christian faith. Dr. Eaton challenged him with this question: “'Is it true,' said I, 'that the more knowledge your wife has of you, the less faith she has in you? And is it true that the more you know of her, the less faith you have in her? In your home are faith and knowledge in inverse ratio? If so, I pity you both.'” “Intelligent faith is not weaker than ignorant faith.” “Intelligent faith is not weaker than ignorant faith. So far from knowledge being in inverse ratio to faith, knowledge rests on faith and all progress in knowledge is by faith.” “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“Doubt always brings paralysis and death. Yet, strange to say, there are men who pride themselves on their doubts, who fancy to doubt is a mark of intellectual superiority, and an assertion of liberty of thought. Just the opposite is true. Doubt is always weakness. The strong man is the man of faith” (pages 7-10).
“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (I Timothy 2:8).
Without Faith, You Cannot Please God
Mar 18, 2012
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
A small book, Faith And The Faith, has very good lessons on the way the word “faith” is used in the Word of God. The book was written around 1890 by T.T. Eaton D.D., while he was pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Eaton also served as the editor of the “Western Recorder,” one of the most influential Baptist publications in his day. This article is from Dr. Eaton’s discussion of “Saving Faith.” The bulletin for the next two weeks will be on “Living by Faith” and then “Earnestly Contend for the Faith.”
“The poet Shelley wanted a religion without faith, and hoped someone would invent such a religion.” “A religion without faith would be a cold passive philosophy, powerless to benefit man and without influence upon conduct and character. Men are sinners. This fact requires no proof. The Scriptures tell us how God in His infinite grace has provided a remedy for sin in the atonement of Christ. How can a man get the benefit of a remedy unless he take it? Truth is of value only as it is trusted and acted on--i.e., only as it is faithed” [this word “faithed” is Dr. Eaton’s word for “believed,” meaning “trust,” based on his study of Medieval English. He found the word “faithed” used in Shakespeare’s King Lear.].
“How can a ship carry a man over the sea unless he go on board?” “It is necessary to use the means of transportation if you would cross the ocean, and that using is simple faith. There is nothing arbitrary in our Lord’s saying: 'He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life, but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him' [John 3:36].”
“Necessarily there can be no salvation without faith. Sin is not simply mechanical, to be relieved by a mechanical process. Sin is 'the transgression of the law' [I John 3:4] it is the violation of right by intelligent moral beings, and so can be removed only by faith in the remedy provided. Men must have faith. It could not be otherwise.”
“New Testament faith is far more than the mere acceptance of certain teaching. Faithing is more than believing [the facts] [The devils also believe and tremble (James 2:19). The devils did not trust]. A man might believe everything in the Bible, from lid to lid, and still be lost. Gospel faith is a heart trust in Christ as Saviour and Lord” (Pages 17-18).
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31).
The “believing” of Romans 10:10 and Acts 16:31 is “trusting.” “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12).
Repairing the Tools
Mar 11, 2012
“And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them” (Matthew 4:21).
Fishermen used boats and nets as tools of their trade. Repairs had to be made to keep the tools in good useful condition. It is interesting to see that the word translated “mending” is the same word translated “perfecting” in Ephesians 4:12. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” If you will think of both words as “preparing and equipping the fisherman’s net and the servants of God for useful work,” then you can understand the connection between the two words.
This pleasant weather has stirred my gardening interests. Some minor repairs (mending, equipping, and perfecting) of my chain saw, both tillers, and the lawn mower were necessary to get the tools into good useful condition. I have started planting spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, Romaine lettuce, and green onions. In using my good heavy hoe, I broke the twenty-five year old handle. I did not throw the hoe away. Using a good solid replacement handle, the hoe was soon repaired, that is, fitted, mended, and equipped for useful service.
Ephesians 2:10 teaches us that we are God’s workmanship and that God is the workman. II Corinthians 4:7 teaches us that we are just tools in the hand of God, just earthen vessels (clay pots) holding the treasure of the glorious gospel of Christ. Paul taught Timothy that he could be “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet [fitted] for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work” (II Timothy 2:21).
One responsibility that we have as the Lord’s church is to train, strengthen, edify, and equip the babes in Christ so that they will be useful vessels in the Master’s service. One member might need some repairs so that they can be a useful tool in the Lord’s vineyard. The word translated “restore” in Galatians 6:1 has the same meaning as “mending” and “perfecting.” What a blessing it is when one who goes astray from the Lord’s service will humbly seek to be back in fellowship. Broken handles and broken hearts can be repaired. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalm 51:12). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 3
Mar 04, 2012
The Witness of Church History
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). When Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, said “upon this rock,” he was speaking of himself, the one foundation for the New Testament church (Ephesians 2:19-21). There is also a promise in this verse that all the power and authority of hell, which includes Satan, cannot destroy the Lord’s churches. They will continue to do the Lord’s kingdom work while giving glory to God throughout all ages (Ephesians 3:21).
In the church bulletins of the past two weeks, we have considered the questions of
of scriptural baptism. I will conclude with the last section of Dr. Joseph B. Moody’s book published in 1906. A history of the teachings and the trials of the Lord’s true churches is found in “The Trail of Blood” by Dr. J.M. Carroll and in “Martyrs Mirror” by Thieleman J. van Braght.
The early Christian congregations were established in Judaea, Samaria, Galilee, North Africa, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Spain, Europe, and the British Isles. Documented historical records show that these congregations were evangelistic and missionary in their practices. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then following conversion, a complete immersion in water was required for admittance into the membership of the church body. They taught that there was no cleansing from sin in the baptismal water, but the ordinance did picture the gospel and was a public statement of faith and commitment to Jesus Christ (Acts 10:43, Acts 18:8, Romans 6:3-6). Each congregation was independent and autonomous in church government. The churches did cooperate and assist each other in missionary support (Philippians 4:15-18). Brethren from different churches came together to discuss false teachers who were hurting the fellowship of the churches (Acts 15:1-30). When some congregations faced hardship and financial distress, offerings were collected and sent by chosen messengers to those in need (Romans 15:25-26, II Corinthians 8:17-24).
Ministers of Satan (II Corinthians 11:13-15) began corrupting the plain blessed truth of the gospel and the ordinances that teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Biblical teaching of baptism for only the saved came under attack. About 300 A.D., in the same spirit of the false teachers of Acts 15:1, there developed the false doctrine among some that baptism was essential to the remission and forgiveness of sin. The next step was that even infants needed baptism to be saved. Initially, the false teachers immersed the infants. Sprinkling and pouring of water over the infant began to replace the immersions. Those who claimed the name “Christian” were divided into two camps. Many followed the corrupt doctrine of salvation by baptism, and this same heretical group came into union with the Roman government placing the Emperor Constantine as head of their churches. Those who remained true to the teachings of the Bible were persecuted. Because they would not accept the ordinances of those who had departed from the faith, they were called Ana-Baptists by their enemies (Ana-Baptists means re-baptizers).
Church history bears witness to the faithful disciples who have obeyed the commission of Jesus Christ.
Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 2
Matthew 3:8 and John 3:22-23
Feb 26, 2012
When, Who, and Where of Baptism
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). “And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized” (John 3:23).
This article continues the outline from J. B. Moody’s book published in 1906. We have a better understanding of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) when we understand the “When” and the “Who” of baptism as taught in the New Testament.
I. When may one be scripturally baptized?
The statement of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:8 shows that baptism must come after repentance, which involves a turning away from sin and a turning to the Lord. “Repent” was the first command given on the day of Pentecost by the Apostle Peter to those who had been “pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37). The word “pricked” refers to the conviction and burden that they experienced.
The inspired language of Acts 8:36-37 shows that believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a requirement for valid baptism. The Ethiopian was a true believer in Jesus Christ and was buried with Christ, but he was not buried to receive Christ.
The order that is followed in Paul’s ministry in the city of Corinth demonstrates the Biblical steps to God’s way of baptism. “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Hearing and believing came first. One prominent pastor advised his people that if they came to true faith in Christ after their baptism, then their baptism, done in unbelief, was validated by the faith. This advice goes contrary to the Biblical examples.
Jesus Christ was the Son of God before his baptism. If you are not already a son of God by believing on his name (John 1:12), then baptism cannot be correctly administered.
II. Who may be scripturally baptized?
The questions of “When” and “Who” are so closely related that they may be answered with the same scriptures. To further explain that a person must be saved before his baptism, please consider these things about Saul, also called Paul, before Ananias baptized him. Ananias called him “Brother Saul” (Acts 9:17). God said that Saul was “a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
III. Where is the proper place to have a baptismal service?
The place where John was baptizing had “much water” (John 3:23). We know that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:13), but not all New Testament baptisms were in the Jordan. One thing common to all the baptisms is indicated by the meaning of the Greek word “baptizo.” This word means “to immerse,” “to bury,” or “to submerge.” Notice that Jesus, when he was baptized, “went up straightway out of the water.” We answer the question by saying that the baptismal service is conducted where there is enough water for a complete burial of the person. J. B. Moody gives this personal opinion: “The ordinance is to be administered decently and in order. Proper attention to the place would make the ordinance beautiful to behold, and a joy to obey.”
Twelve W’s of Baptism: Part 1
Feb 19, 2012
“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?” (Matthew 21:25).
The title of this article comes from a book of 133 pages published in 1906. The author, Joseph B. Moody D.D., was born in 1838 in Clarksville, Virginia. He was pastor of churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, and, at the time of this publication, was pastor in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The book was given to me by my pastor, C.A. Walker, in 1958. In this article, we will consider the first three questions in Dr. Moody’s book.
I. Which baptism?
This question is asked because the New Testament does use the term “baptism” in reference to actions other than the immersion of a saved person in water. In Matthew 20:22-23, Jesus speaks to his disciples about the cup of his suffering. He knew that in drinking that cup (Matthew 26:42) he would be overwhelmed and buried under the suffering on the cross, so he uses the word “baptism” to describe the extent of his suffering.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus use the word “baptize” to describe the Holy Spirit empowering the Lord’s first church on the day Pentecost (Matthew 4:11, Acts 1:5). The disciples (about 120) were in one place, in one accord, when the Holy Spirit filled that room, thus they were completely immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The baptism commanded in the commission of Jesus Christ, which the Lord’s churches practice, is water baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-20).
II. Whence was it?
The question that Jesus asked in Matthew 21:25 can be answered from John 1:6 and John 1:28-34. John did not authorize himself to baptize or receive any authority from men. His work was by the plan, the purpose, and the authority of the God of heaven. The Lord’s churches do not work by the authority of men or by the governments of men. We work under the authority of Jesus who said, “All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
III. What purpose in baptism?
The text for Dr. Moody’s third chapter is from the answer of Jesus in Matthew 3:15, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” The righteousness of Jesus is shown in his complete submission to the will of the Father. “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). The baptism of Jesus was not the reality of his death and resurrection, but was a “likeness” and a “figure” of his death and resurrection. Baptism does not save us, but it is a picture of the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Baptism does not give the disciple the new life, but it is a commitment and a promise that the disciple will walk in the righteousness of the new life, which was received by grace through faith. “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).
Feb 12, 2012
“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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5).
In the baptism service that we have planned for February 19, 2012, the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will be taught in an object lesson.
The entire fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians shows us that the gospel of our salvation would not be complete and effective if our Savior had not come forth from the tomb after three days and three nights. Consider some of the plain statements made in that chapter.
If there were no resurrection:
- Then Christ is not risen,
- Those who testified that he rose are false witnesses,
- Your faith in Christ is vain and useless and our preaching is also vain,
- Those who have died believing in Christ are perished, and
- This life is most miserable for those whose hope is in Christ (I Corinthians 15:13-19).
Please notice that in the administration of scriptural baptism, there are lessons that look to the past, the present, and the future.
The Past. Christ suffered and died on the cross, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree (I Peter 2:24). His body was prepared for burial and placed in the burial cave of Joseph of Arimathea. After three days, Christ came forth in victory from the tomb in his glorious resurrected body. When a disciple of the Lord is buried in the baptismal water and then lifted up from that figurative grave, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is portrayed.
The Present. The words “even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) show that baptism is a commitment to live for the Lord. We are saying, “By grace through faith, I am a new person. As a child of God, I will live in a way that shows by my outward action that I have new purpose in life.” Fellowship, study, and work with the other church members can help the new disciple to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.
The Future. In the baptismal ordinance, the disciple is not left buried in the water. The raising up of the disciple is a picture of the future resurrection of the physical body. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17) .
Study the wonderful promises in I Corinthians 15 and then apply this admonition of verse 58. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
The Body of Christ
I Corinthians 12:27
Feb 05, 2012
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Corinthians 12:27).
The physical human body is described in this chapter, beginning with verse 14, as an example of the body of Christ. The verses speak of the foot, the hand, the eye, the nose, and the head. The different parts, having different functions, are connected to form one body (Verse 12). “...God hath tempered the body together” (Verse 24). Our text shows the cohesive union of the body, yet shows the individual position and responsibility of each member in the words, “and members in particular.”
Pastor Dewayne Hoppert of the Tulare Missionary Baptist Church in California in his excellent book, Free, gives this definition of the Lord’s church: “A local visible assembly of saved, Scripturally baptized believers, called out and covenanted together for the purpose of giving glory to the Lord through obedience to His Word” (page 206).
On pages 192-202, Pastor Hoppert gives the background of the Greek word “ekklasia.” He shows that the word as used before the writing of the New Testament can only refer to a visible body of citizens who were called out and assembled to act on behalf of their civil government.
Jesus used a possessive term in Matthew 16:18: “I will build my church” (my ekklasia). Jesus was speaking of that body of disciples that he had called out to take care of his business and working under his leadership and authority. The word “keys” in Matthew 16:19 refers to that responsibility and authority.
The phrase “the body of Christ” is a possessive term showing ownership (Ephesians 1:22-23). This same church at Corinth is described with another possessive term in I Corinthians 1:2: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth.” The possessive language is also found in Romans 16:16, “The churches of Christ salute you.” Christ is the owner of his churches because he established his church, he commissioned his church, he gave himself to purchase his church, and now he is espoused as a bridegroom to his church-bride (Ephesians 5:22-33, II Corinthians 11:2).
When a person meets the conditions set forth in the Word of God to be joined with other members in the local church body, then it is God that adds that person to the church (Acts 2:47). What a blessing to work in a body of disciples who belong to Jesus Christ.
Commitment to God and From God
II Timothy 1:12 and I Timothy 1:11
Jan 29, 2012
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Timothy 1:12). “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (I Timothy 1:11).
Paul describes himself before his conversion as “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (I Timothy 1:13). He also tells us that he was the chief of sinners (I Timothy 1:15). He testifies that “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 1:14).
Paul said, “he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.” He could be speaking of his heart, his soul, or even of his entire life. That which was committed was turned over to God and placed into the care of God with the full assurance that God would keep it safe and secure. This act of commitment to the Lord is another way to describe believing on Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) and receiving Him (John 1:12).
Peter encourages the suffering Christians to make a commitment to the Lord. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:19).
Paul not only had a commitment to God, he had a commitment from God. “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour” (Titus 1:3). Paul wrote, “A dispensation [a stewardship] of the gospel is committed unto me” (I Corinthians 9:17). The Amplified Bible gives this translation: “I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission” (AMP). “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (I Timothy 1:11). Paul understood his call from God as a personal responsibility.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Jesus Christ is not in this world in bodily presence to preach his gospel. He did commission his church to preach the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15), and God still calls men today to be preachers of the word.
Looking for Trouble
Jan 22, 2012
“And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter” (Ezra 10:16).
The title of the article does not mean that we are to look for ways to start trouble or to get into trouble. We can learn from examples in the scriptures that we can examine and investigate the causes that are hurting our work for the Lord. The exiles that had returned to the land of Israel were facing serious problems because the people, even the Levites, had disobeyed the commandments of God by not remaining a separated people. There was intermarriage with other nations that worshiped false gods. The leaders of the nation had to carefully examine the problem and take steps to correct the problem.
Acts 15 shows us a problem in the church at Antioch where false teachers were corrupting God’s plan of salvation by teaching that keeping certain practices of the law of Moses were necessary for salvation. “When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question” (Acts 15:2). Men who had been taught by Jesus Christ looked for the cause of the trouble and looked for the solution to this trouble. One of their main conclusions is shown in verses 7-11. God’s way of salvation is the same for Jews and Gentiles because God has put no difference between these two classes, “purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9).
A person who has been having a difficult struggle in all areas of life sought the advice of the pastor. After an explanation of many different issues, this question was posed by the pastor. “Since you claim to be a child of God and have knowledge of Bible teaching, are you willing to take a hard look at your life style, examine those areas where you are definitely living contrary to God’s will, repent of sin, and make a fresh commitment to surrender to the will of Jesus Christ, take up your cross, and follow Him?” (Luke 9:23).
The answer was given. “I don’t think that I’m ready to do that now, but please keep praying for me.” The pastor replied, “You are looking for trouble, and you will find it. You need to be serious about looking for God’s answer for the trouble.”
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
The Evangelistic Mind-set
II Timothy 4:5
Jan 15, 2012
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (II Timothy 4:5).
The word “evangelist” (Greek: euaggelistes) means “a messenger who declares the gospel.” The word is used in Acts 21:8 describing “Philip the evangelist.” It is also used in Ephesians 4:11 in the list of servants that the Lord placed in his church: they are (1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) evangelists, and (4) pastors-teachers.
One form of the word “gospel” (Greek: euggelion) is used 76 times in the New Testament. The words “to preach the gospel” (Greek: euaggelizo) are used 50 times.
The title of this article was used many times in the Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, by the late Brother Paul Goodwin as he taught the classes on personal witnessing. He would remind us that the mind and heart of Jesus Christ was filled with love and compassion for the lost who needed to be saved. He illustrated that fact with lessons about our Lord’s witness to Nicodemus (John 3), to the woman at Jacob’s well (John 4), and to the man born blind (John 9). Paul was shown to be an example of one having a burden and a compassionate heart. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Romans 10:1). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
We were taught that the evangelistic mind-set would affect the way that we interacted with people on our jobs, in our church communities, and with the people with whom we did business. We could see the checker at the grocery store or the attendant at the gasoline station with this mind-set: “Jesus Christ loves and died for this person. This person will spend eternity in hell or in the joyful presence of the Lord. I can take just a moment to give them a gospel tract and, if there is an open door, to speak a word about God’s gift of everlasting life. If they already know the Lord as Savior, they will usually respond with a positive testimony.”
The little country church where I served as pastor was about 60 miles from Little Rock and did not have Wednesday services. I often attended the Wednesday services where Brother Goodwin was pastor. He taught the same lessons on witnessing in his church, and it was common to see people bringing their friends and neighbors to the services. An evangelistic revival atmosphere filled the services. In many of the services, lost souls were saved, and professions of faith in Christ were made.
The lessons that I learned in the classroom and in those Wednesday services bore fruit in my ministry. Please bear with me as this old preacher reminiscences of “the good old days.” Let us pray for each other that we would let our thinking be influenced by the examples of those lessons taught by our compassionate Savior and his early disciples.
Do Not Count on Four More Months
Jan 01, 2012
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:34-35).
The lost sinner can learn of God's grace in this chapter.
- Jesus was not hindered in his compassion for this woman because she was of a different race, a Samaritan. "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9). God's gracious invitation is for all mankind. "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15).
- Jesus offered the water of everlasting life to a woman whose life was filled with sin. "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly" (John 4:18). Jesus offered her no approval for her way of life. His offer of eternal life included the forgiveness of sin (Acts 10:43).
- He showed her that the living water was a gift from God that could be received by asking. "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water" (verse 10).
Those who desire to do the will of God and witness to lost, condemned sinners (John 3:18) can also learn lessons from this chapter.
- We have the example of Jesus to follow. When he speaks of "my meat" (John 4:34), he shows us that he had a hunger and desire to do God's will.
- Witnessing for the Lord needs to be done now. Paul wrote, "Behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2). Do not count on tomorrow. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1). Jesus may return at any time. "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:42).
- The blessing of one person coming to faith in Jesus Christ can be multiplied as others are reached with the gospel. Notice the example in John 4:39-42. The testimony of the woman bore fruit with many other Samaritans. "And many more believed because of his own word" (John 4:41).
Somewhere within the reach of our church's testimony, there is a lost person that needs our compassion, prayers, and the same gospel of Jesus Christ that changed our heart.