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Dec 28, 2008 - Riches and Poverty Examined
Dec 21, 2008 - A Precious Gift for the Lord
Dec 14, 2008 - Thanks be unto God for His Unspeakable Gift
Dec 7, 2008 - Abraham Rejoiced to See the Day of Christ
Nov 30, 2008 - Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God
Nov 23, 2008 - With Thanksgiving Let Your Requests be Made Known unto God
Nov 16, 2008 - Two Rich Churches
Nov 09, 2008 - Lay Up for Yourselves Treasures in Heaven
Nov 02, 2008 - Three Treasures inside the Ark of the Covenant
Oct 26, 2008 - Decently and in Order
Oct 19, 2008 - An Honest and Good Heart
Oct 12, 2008 - Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost
Oct 05, 2008 - Baptism: an Ordinance with Reference to the Past, the Present, and the Future
Sep 28, 2008 - Why Do We Love the Lord?
Sep 21, 2008 - Sin Defined
Sep 14, 2008 - Jesus is the Light of the World
Sep 07, 2008 - Help Wanted
Aug 31, 2008 - They Went Out From Us
Aug 24, 2008 - Building Your Life on the Biblical Foundation
Aug 17, 2008 - God Shows His Love for Sinners
Aug 10, 2008 - A Pioneer Baptist Missionary in China
Aug 03, 2008 - The Power of the Gospel
Jul 27, 2008 - The Devil's Toolbox
Jul 13, 2008 - The Troubled Sea
Jul 06, 2008 - Life at its Best
Jun 29, 2008 - Haggai's Message for Hard Times
Jun 22, 2008 - This is the Day
Jun 15, 2008 - Instructions for Fathers
Jun 08, 2008 - The Lord Knows Your Heart
Jun 01, 2008 - Salvation
May 18, 2008 - The House of the Lord
May 11, 2008 - Under the Wings of the Lord
May 04, 2008 - Through His Name
Apr 27, 2008 - Lord, Open Our Eyes
Apr 20, 2008 - For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is Settled in Heaven
Apr 13, 2008 - Growth in the Lord's First Church
Apr 06, 2008 - An Examination of the Word "For" in Acts 2:38
Mar 30, 2008 - The Ministry of Jesus Christ Continues
Mar 23, 2008 - Victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ
Mar 16, 2008 - Music in Heaven
Mar 09, 2008 - False Witness Against Jesus Christ
Mar 02, 2008 - The Agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
Feb 24, 2008 - The Night Cometh When No Man Can Work
Feb 17, 2008 - The Field is the World
Feb 10, 2008 - God’s Promises Do Not Fail
Feb 03, 2008 - The Call to the Gospel Ministry
Jan 27, 2008 - The New Birth, the Renewing of the Mind, and the Resurrected New Body
Jan 20, 2008 - He Saved Us by the Washing of Regeneration and Renewing of the Holy Ghost
Jan 13, 2008 - Passed from Death unto Life
Jan 06, 2008 - Only One Way to Eternal Salvation

Riches and Poverty Examined

Luke 16:19-31
Dec 28, 2008

"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores" (Luke 16:19-20).

Jesus taught this lesson, and it gives us a view into the conditions that were experienced by these two men when they died and passed on into eternity.

I. Wealth Does Not Show That Your Soul is Right with God

The Bible does show us that some very rich men were men who trusted the Lord. For example, Job was described as "the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3), and Abraham had great possessions and his own trained servants who numbered three hundred eighteen (Genesis 14:14).

The rich man of Luke 16:19 had great wealth, but he did not have the most important possession of all. He did not have eternal salvation. This is shown by the words of Jesus in Luke 16:22-24, "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

II. Poverty and Affliction Do Not Show That God Has Forsaken You

This poor beggar was in a pitiful condition. He desired to have just a few crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. His body was full of sores (Luke 16:20-21). However, this poor beggar did have a gracious Savior. He left his hungry sick body behind, and his eternal being was carried by the angels into Paradise where he found comfort.

The rich man did not go to hell because he was rich, and Lazarus did not go to Paradise because he was poor. The difference is trust in Jesus Christ to save from condemnation. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

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A Precious Gift for the Lord

Matthew 2:11 and II Corinthians 8:5
Dec 21, 2008

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11). These men knew that Jesus was born to be the King of the Jews, and that he was worthy of worship. The gifts they offered were meaningful and valuable.

There is a precious gift that you can give the Lord. If you are saved then God has already given you a wonderful gift. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Your gift to the Lord is in no way a payment for his gift of eternal life. You were "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).

Your gift to the Lord must be presented because of love or it amounts to nothing. "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing" (I Corinthians 13:3).

Isaiah, in Old Testament days made this gift to the Lord. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

Paul commends the churches of Macedonia for making this gift to the Lord. "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (II Corinthians 8:5). The Christians in Macedonia were in great affliction and deep poverty but they gave sacrificially to help Paul in his work. Notice the words of verse five, "but first gave their own selves to the Lord."

That is a precious gift that the Lord desires to receive from you.

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Thanks be unto God for His Unspeakable Gift

II Corinthians 9:15
Dec 14, 2008

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15).

Human language cannot fully describe God's wondrous plan that brought Jesus Christ into this sinful world to be our Redeemer. The word used in Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament to translate "unspeakable" is "indescribable."

Consider the amazing message that the angel, Gabriel, brought to Mary who was espoused to Joseph. "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:31, 34-35). By means of the Virgin Birth, God in his love (I John 4:9-10) gave us a Savior who was the Son of God and the Son of Man.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was fitting that the multitude of the heavenly host praised God saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).

John Flavel, an English minister (1630-1691), expressed the wonder of the nature of Christ in these words, "Jesus Christ did really assume the true and perfect nature of man into a personal union with his divine nature, and still remains true God and true man, in one person, for ever" (The Fountain of Life, Page 52).

Because we are sinners in nature and practice, our redemption could not be accomplished by our obedience to God's holy laws (Galatians 2:16, 3:13). Our redemption was accomplished by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1: 18-19).

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Abraham Rejoiced to See the Day of Christ

John 8:56
Dec 7, 2008

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).

In Hebrews 11:23-28, we read of the faith of Moses. This statement is made in verse 26: "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." These verses show us that God had made known to his people in Old Testament times that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would be born into this world.

Isaiah 7:14 shows that the Christ, Immanuel, would be born of a virgin. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Micah 5:2 tells us that the Christ, the ruler in Israel, would be born in Bethlehem. "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."

God made this promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:18, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." We learn from Galatians 3:16 that the promised seed (descendant) is Jesus Christ.

Jacob, under inspiration of God, made known that the Messiah (Shiloh) would come through the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-12).

Christ was often called the "son of David" in the New Testament (Matthew 1:1 and 21:9, Luke 1:31-33). This title is based on the promises that God made to David that his seed, his descendant, would one day establish an everlasting kingdom and sit on the throne forever(I Chronicles 17:10-15).

The suffering and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was foretold in Isaiah 53.

Job 19:25 speaks of the resurrection of Christ.

The Bible is proven to be the inspired Word of God by these fulfilled prophecies. Our Almighty LORD has the power to reveal his plan thousands of years in advance, and He has the power to keep all his promises. Why would anyone doubt his precious word?

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Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God

Revelation 2:9-10 and 3:17-18
Nov 30, 2008

"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).

Those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ are not truly wise. These unbelievers may boast of their worldly wisdom, their intelligence, and their learning. But God says, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Corinthians 1:19-20).

"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:14-17). These verses teach us the difference between wisdom from God and worldly wisdom.

Do you desire God's wisdom in your life? Ask God for this precious gift (James 1:5).

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7).

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With Thanksgiving Let Your Requests be Made Known unto God

Philippians 4:6
Nov 23, 2008

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6).

From the human viewpoint, think of a situation like this: You have helped a neighbor in many different ways. At different times, the neighbor has had no one else to turn to for help, so you gladly "at a considerable sacrifice" have done what you could. The neighbor whines and complains about his life but never offers any appreciation or gratitude for what you have done. Would such an attitude irritate you? Would you hesitate to offer any more assistance?

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations" (Psalm 100:4-5).

God wants to hear our prayers and our requests, but He also wants us to express our thanksgiving. It would be wise to thank Him for what He has already done before you start bringing a new list of all that you want the Lord to do for you now.

One good illustration of thankfulness by one man and no thanks offered by nine men is the lesson that Jesus gave about the ten lepers who were healed, but nine of them did not turn back to offer any thanks to the Lord (Luke 17:11-19). They were very much like the ungrateful neighbor.

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Two Rich Churches

Revelation 2:9-10 and 3:17-18
Nov 16, 2008

"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9).

Jesus Christ describes this church in Smyrna as being rich even though they were facing severe tribulation and poverty. Notice the words of Revelation 2:10: "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Their riches consisted of their faithfulness to Christ even though they were enduring trial of their faith, which is more precious than gold (I Peter 1:7).

"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Revelation 3:17-18).

The church at Laodicea claimed that they were rich, but they were making that boast based on material possessions and not on their faithful service to Christ. Christ describes them as poor and lukewarm in need of the true riches.

How do you measure poverty or riches?

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Lay Up for Yourselves Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6:20-21
Nov 09, 2008

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:20-21).

This commandment from Jesus Christ can be illustrated by the parable that Jesus gave us about the rich farmer (Luke 12:16-21). The land of the rich farmer brought forth so plentifully that he determined to build new barns to store all his fruits and goods. His attitude is expressed in verse 19. "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Notice verses 20 and 21. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

That rich farmer expressed no thanks to God nor did he indicate any desire to use his possessions for the glory of God.

You can make a deposit into the treasury of heaven by using some of your possessions to work with one of the Lord's churches to fulfill the commission of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). When your church uses offerings to get the gospel to lost souls, you are putting treasure into heaven. You can read the October mission report from Mongolia and see how the gospel of Jesus Christ changed the life of Enkhjargal, who had been addicted to alcohol, who had fear and turmoil in his family, and had no peace. He has been saved, now leads the singing at Rich Heart Baptist Church, and now gives this testimony,"Throughout all the life, [I] want to [be a] witness [for] the Lord and dedicate myself in service for Him wherever he wants me to be for his service."

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Three Treasures inside the Ark of the Covenant

Hebrews 9:4
Nov 02, 2008

"Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant" (Hebrews 9:4).

Hebrews 9 shows us that the tabernacle, the furnishings, and the gifts and sacrifices that were offered there were lessons to the nation of Israel to teach them about the eternal redemption obtained through Jesus Christ.

The Ark of the Covenant, covered by the mercy seat, was one of the most precious of the items. God said, "And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel" (Exodus 25:22).

We can learn wonderful lessons from the three items that were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant.

  1. The pot in the ark contained a portion of manna, which had come down from God to provide the physical food for the people. Jesus Christ spoke of that manna. "I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 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 6:48-51).
  2. The almond rod that budded showed the nation of Israel that the tribe of Levi was chosen for the priesthood and that the family of Aaron was chosen for the High Priest. That Old Testament priesthood pointed to Jesus Christ. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:11-12).
  3. The tablets of stone on which God had written his law was a reminder that we are guilty of breaking God's law, but Christ lived in perfect obedience to the will of his Father. As the sinless Lamb of God, he bore the penalty of the broken law for us. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

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Decently and in Order

I Corinthians 14:33 and 14:40
Oct 26, 2008

"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.

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An Honest and Good Heart

Luke 8:15
Oct 19, 2008

"But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15).

These words describe a faithful, fruit-bearing disciple of the Lord as having an "honest and good heart." Vine's Bible Dictionary defines the word "honest" with these words: "fair, right, honorable, of such conduct as deserves esteem." When we examine other scriptures that use the word, we can also use the word "truthful" in the definition.

"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:17). "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (II Corinthians 8:21). "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation" (I Peter 2:12).

We can learn a lesson on the beauty and blessedness of honesty as contrasted with dishonesty from a Biblical illustration that shows us the vile, ugly results of dishonesty and lies. Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, tried to buy a vineyard from Naboth, who refused to sell. Ahab's wife, Jezebel, bribed false dishonest witnesses to lie and accuse Naboth of blaspheming God. On the word of these dishonest witnesses, innocent Naboth was found guilty and stoned to death. Jezebel delivered the ownership of the vineyard to Ahab, but it wasn't very long until God's righteous judgment caught up with these two thieves (I Kings 21-22).

God's people have a Christian duty to be honest and truthful in all of our dealings with family, work, school, and church.

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Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost

Romans 14:17-18
Oct 12, 2008

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men" (Romans 14:17-18).

There is a discussion in Romans 14 regarding how some of the disciples thought about eating meat or eating herbs. "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him" (Romans 14:2-3).

"But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died" (Romans 14:15). The Old Testament law given to Israel forbade the eating of certain meats such as fish without scales or pork. If an Israelite under the law ate the forbidden food, he was unfaithful to God's law. There is a different standard for New Testament Christians expressed in these words: "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak" (Romans 14:21). The same principle is taught in I Corinthians 8:13. "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."

One of the principal concerns of a New Testament Christian is that he builds up ("edify" I Thessalonians 5:11) and strengthens his fellow Christians.

The identifying qualities of our New Testament Christian service in the kingdom of God are not meat and drink. Notice the words, "For he that in these things serveth Christ" (Romans 14:18). Our service to Christ is to be in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." The word "righteousness" is often used in connection with our new birth salvation (Romans 4:1-9). We are right with God by faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The word is applied to our Christian walk in Romans 14:17. We are to walk in humble obedience to God's will (Romans 12:1-3).

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Baptism: an Ordinance with Reference to the Past, the Present, and the Future

Romans 6:4-5
Oct 05, 2008

"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).

Baptism is a picture or in the words of I Peter 3:21, "a figure." When a saved person is immersed for the scriptural reason, by the authority of a New Testament church, the baptismal service teaches us these lessons:

  1. The ordinance looks back to the past and is a symbol of faith in Christ, who died, was buried, and who came forth from the grave with victory over death. "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Romans 6:4).
  2. The baptismal service is a symbol of our present day walk in the service of the Lord. Salvation changes us from the condition of death unto life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Our baptism does not produce the new life, the new birth does that. Our duty to God is to live as a Christian with a new purpose and a new walk. "We also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).
  3. The burial in water, then the raising up out of the water is a picture of our future resurrection in the likeness of the resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:5). "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Corinthians 15:52).

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Why Do We Love the Lord?

Psalm 116:1-8
Sep 28, 2008

1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

These verses from Psalm 116 go so well with Luke 18:13, the prayer of the humble publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus said, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified" (Luke 18:14). God's promise is true. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

The faith in the Lord, which is expressed in these verses, brings a change to the heart. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). This change brings hope. "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).

Even the backsliders that are out of fellowship with God still have the love of God deep in their heart. The backslider is living after the flesh and is not living in harmony with that love (Romans 7:18-25). If there is no love for God in your heart, then I plead with you to come in faith to Jesus Christ and call upon him for mercy and eternal salvation.

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Sin Defined

I John 3:4
Sep 21, 2008

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). Four words are often used to explain our disobedience to the law of God.

(1) SIN, which means to miss the mark or to wander out of a marked out path. (2) TRANSGRESSION, which means to step over or pass over the line. (3) INIQUITY, which means crookedness. (4) EVIL, which means badness, wickedness, or depravity.

The mark, the path, the line, the straight way, and the standard of righteousness and good are God's perfect commandments, his will, and his way as taught in his holy scriptures.

Romans 14:23 has this statement "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." We should consider Hebrews 11:6, "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." Whatever you do without faith in God displeases him and is described as sinful. John 3:18 shows us the reason for condemnation. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even with God's wonderful salvation, we are still sinners saved by grace and forgiven through the blood of Jesus. God will provide the strength that makes it possible for us to walk in fellowship with him and not let sin dominate and control our life (Romans 6:11-18).

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Jesus is the Light of the World

Isaiah 9:2 and John 8:12
Sep 14, 2008

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isaiah 9:2).

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

The darkness of Isaiah 9:2, which is quoted in Matthew 4:16, is a vivid description of the religious and moral depravity that prevailed when Jesus began his ministry. The Gentiles were corrupted by paganism (Romans 1:20-32). Most of the Jewish people had rejected God's plan of salvation and service.

Paul described his burden for his own nation in Romans 10:2-4: "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

Jesus Christ is the great light of Isaiah 9:2. He is described in Hebrews 1:3 as being the brightness of the glory of God the Father and the express image of his heavenly Father. Jesus shined as the great light by his righteous sinless life, by establishing his first church, by his teaching of the truth, by his compassion for this lost world, by his sacrificial crucifixion, and by his victorious resurrection.

The darkness of sin still covers this world, and Satan still works to blind people to the glorious gospel of Christ (II Corinthians 4:4). When we read Philippians 2:15-16, we can picture the church at Philippi as a lighthouse. Landmark Missionary Baptist Church can be the same kind of lighthouse today. I pray that each member will follow the command of Christ. "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).

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).

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Help Wanted

Matthew 9:37-38
Sep 07, 2008

"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."

God in his wisdom has designed an amazing plan to get his precious gospel to this entire world, to have his Bible doctrines taught all over the world, and to have that plan structured in a way that it continues from one generation to the next.

God's plan is that Jesus established the first New Testament church and gave his commission to that church (Matthew 28:19-20). He also gave the Holy Spirit to empower his church. "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). When his plan is followed, churches will be multiplied and spread to all parts of this world.

God's plan does require faithful servants who will become laborers in the fields that are white unto harvest. As Brother Neil Morley often writes in his Solomon Islands mission reports, "God is doing great things, and you can be a part of it."

That faithful servant might be a missionary like Brother Dennis Carrell who has gone to a distant foreign land, Mongolia, to serve Christ.

That faithful servant might be a member of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Lakewood, Colorado who is faithful in all areas of their Christian life. They are faithful in decent moral conduct, faithful in supporting the attendance and financial needs of the Lord's church, faithful in standing for true Bible doctrine, and faithful in being a witness at home and in distant lands.

God has a great plan and great work to do. You can be a part of it.

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They Went Out From Us

I John 2:19
Aug 31, 2008

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

It is sad but true that some will make a profession of faith, become church members, but then fail to continue in the service of the Lord. Jesus describes some who become unfruitful in the Parable of the Sower. In Matthew 13:22, Jesus explains that the seed that came up (indicating a true conversion) but was soon choked by the thorns represents the one who lets the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the word. "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22).

Those who do not continue in the Lord's service are described in very ugly language in II Peter 2:20-22. These verses could apply to those who profess to be Christians but have had no real heart faith and conversion. The word "knowledge" in verses 20 and "known" in verse 21 could refer to just a mental understanding without real faith. "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

Some who backslide and fall away from the Lord's work can be restored by loving concerned Christians. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

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Building Your Life on the Biblical Foundation

Matthew 7:24-25
Aug 24, 2008

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock" (Matthew 7:24-25).

Chapters five, six, and seven of Matthew are commonly called "The Sermon on the Mount." Basic principles of the Christian life are found in this sermon. From I Corinthians 3:10-11, we learn that the foundation rock is Jesus Christ. You first need to be firmly anchored to Jesus Christ by a personal experience of salvation, which can be yours by receiving and trusting him. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

The words "heareth" and "doeth" in Matthew 7:24 are used to describe the wise man. The words "doeth them not" in Matthew 7:26 are used to describe the foolish man.

God has given us his precious inspired word to help us grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). By personal Bible study and Bible classes in one of the Lord's churches, you can hear and learn the will of God.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2). Please notice that the wise man did more than just hear. Each child of God needs to participate in the Lord's work, faithfully serving in one of the Lord's churches to help carry out the commission of Christ. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

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God Shows His Love for Sinners

Romans 5:8
Aug 17, 2008

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

The word "commend" is also used in Romans 3:5. "But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say?" This word has the meaning "to prove," "to show," or "to demonstrate."

Consider these verses that prove God's love for sinners.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9).

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

If God's love for all sinners, the death of Jesus for all sinners and God's willingness that no one perish were all that is required for the salvation of a lost soul, then no one would be lost. God offers salvation as a free gift (Romans 6:23). That free gift must be received by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

Those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior have the privilege and responsibility to let others know that God offers eternal life and a home in heaven.

According to Hebrews 2:9, God's love is demonstrated by the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for every person.

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A Pioneer Baptist Missionary in China

Matthew 28:19-20
Aug 10, 2008

"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."

The commission of the Lord to his first church and now to all his churches has in it the words "teach all nations." That includes the nation of China, which now has more people than any other nation. That nation is under the control of an atheistic communistic government, which opposes the teaching of God's word. Reports do sometimes come out that the gospel of Christ is being received by a few people. As you watch the news reports of the Olympic Games, offer a prayer to God that a door for the gospel would open once again in China. Following is some information on a pioneer Baptist missionary in China that had great influence among our Baptist association.

Tarleton Perry Crawford was born in Kentucky on May 8, 1821, the fourth of ten children. In 1851, he graduated from Union University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. During his college years, he was influenced by such giants in the Lord's work as J.R. Graves and J.M. Pendleton. Just before his graduation, he surrendered his life to serve as a missionary in China. The Big Hatchie Baptist Association of Tennessee "a strong Landmark body" agreed to contribute to his support. He also received an appointment from the Convention Foreign Mission Board. He worked for about fifty years in China.

Early in his ministry, Dr. Crawford began to voice opposition to methods being used by the mission board. This opposition led to his being dismissed by the Foreign Mission Board. In his book, "The Evolution in My Mission Views," and in a small booklet, "Churches to the Front," he set forth his principles, which he based on mission work in the New Testament. Our church is in agreement with those same New Testament principals, some of which are: (1)The commission of Christ was given to the Lords churches and not to any board, convention, or messenger body (Acts 13:1-3), (2) The gospel is the power of God unto salvation and converts are not to be enticed to make professions by offering financial rewards (Romans 1:14-16), (3) Churches are responsible to raise support for the missionary and should not turn that responsibility over to some man-made authority with extra-scriptural methods (II Corinthians 11:8-9, Philippians 4:15-17).

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The Power of the Gospel

Romans 1:14-16
Aug 03, 2008

"I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 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."

I rejoiced as I finished reading the report from the Lord's work we support in Mongolia. This scripture in Romans came to my mind. Paul knew by personal experience that the gospel of Christ by God's power and grace could change his heart and life. After his conversion, Paul was willing to make any sacrifice so that he could make the true gospel known to all classes of people (Romans 1:14-15). There is still life-changing power in the true gospel of Christ. We count it a blessed privilege to give to help the Rich Heart Baptist Church in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia.

Brother Cooper's report (www.mongolianteam.org) highlights these blessings. The testimony of Altanbat is given. This 65 year old Chinese man has suffered because of his opposition to communism. He received Christ in 2004 and became a church member in 2005. He is now living in Sweden, and He is approved by Rich Heart Baptist Church to teach God's word to Mongolian people in Sweden.

Brother Cooper also writes about Erdenbayer and his wife, Davaamaa, who will be baptized the first Sunday in August. His desire is to learn all that he can, and then return to his home village of Ogginoor to teach the word of God there.

One of the new members is a young mother, Oyuntungaa. "She first showed up a little over two years ago. She was living on the streets and had just lost her second baby and needed some help. Since money cannot be just given to anyone who asks, she was offered a job cleaning the building. This she did and has been attending on a semi-regular basis ever since, until about eight months ago. At that time she became regular in attendance and also started coming by most everyday. One of the ladies of the church took her under her wing and began mentoring her. This young lady would very seldom ever smile and would mostly walk around without any expression on her face. When she accepted Christ as her Savior her countenance changed, and when she presented herself to the church for baptism she had a beautiful smile that we had not seen before. After being baptized she stood for just a minute with tears running down her face. She still has a very difficult time ahead of her. Life in Mongolia is not easy for unskilled workers. Please keep her and her baby in prayer" (excerpt from Mongolian Mission Team July 2008 Report).

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The Devil's Toolbox

Matthew 23:15
Jul 27, 2008

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

The devil, described as the wicked one and the enemy in Matthew 13:38-39, is going about in this world as a destructive roaring lion (I Peter 5:8). One of his goals is to blind the minds of those that believe not (II Corinthians 4:4). He is not working alone but has many instruments to assist in his evil wiles and methods (Ephesians 6:11).

The scribes and Pharisees that Jesus rebuked and condemned in Matthew 23 were tools in the hand of Satan. Their false message of self-righteousness was a stumbling block in the way of sinners coming to Jesus Christ in humility and faith.

Paul describes some of the devil's tools in II Corinthians 11:13. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." The confusion that is produced by the preaching of the false gospel turns many lost souls away from eternal salvation.

Consider the words of Jesus to the apostle Peter, and you will see that Satan can even use a child of God for his wicked purposes. "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat" (Luke 22:31). By Satan's influence, Peter cursed and denied the Lord.

In the discussion about going to eat meat that was offered in the idol temple (I Corinthians 8), we learn that we need to be very careful about our Christian influence lest Satan use our bad example in a way to hurt some lost soul.

God's desire is that we let our light shine so that we have a good testimony and not be used as a tool against the work of the Lord.

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The Troubled Sea

Isaiah 57:20-21
Jul 13, 2008

"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:20-21).

A good description of a storm-tossed sea is found in Mark 4:37. "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full." Jesus calmed that storm and brought peace and safety to his disciples. Another storm is described in Acts 27:14-41. The ship that was taking Paul as a prisoner to Rome was completely destroyed, but all of the 276 passengers and crew were saved from the shipwreck.

Isaiah 57:20-21 describes the condition of the wicked lost soul in need of forgiveness and reconciliation. Sin has brought turmoil into the heart, soul, and mind of the wicked. Romans 3 and Isaiah 59 describe the person who has no peace with God. "And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:17-19).

Man's own efforts, works, and religion cannot calm the storm and bring peace to the troubled soul, but God has a plan that will not fail. Romans 5:1-21 shows God's plan of salvation. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:8-10).

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Life at its Best

Matthew 16:24-25, John 10:10, I Timothy 6:17-18
Jul 06, 2008

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:24-25).

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

"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; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate" (I Timothy 6:17-18).

These scriptures give us valuable insights into the purpose of life, the value of life, and the enjoyment of life. We have physical life because of God's creative power. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). By faith in Jesus Christ, we have spiritual life, which is everlasting life (John 3:16-18).

But there is more to your life in this world than just being prepared for heaven. As we live in this world, we can take up our cross and follow our Savior (Matthew 16:24-25). To take up our cross means that we are to sacrifice for Christ. To follow Christ means that we are to be an obedient disciple.

We have the opportunity for an abundant life (John 10:10). This means that our life can be fruitful and productive.

We have the opportunity for an enjoyable life (I Timothy 6:17). This means that there can be real joy in our life, "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8).

The life of faith, obedience, sacrifice, fruit-bearing, and joy unspeakable is life at its best.

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Haggai's Message for Hard Times

Haggai 1:2-7
Jun 29, 2008

After seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God raised up men such as Ezra and Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. Nehemiah 3-4 show that they started with the city walls and gates. God's instructions were for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt next. The people delayed the work on the house of God and devoted their attention to their own houses. The message of Haggai is to show them that the LORD will withhold his blessings until they are obedient to him.

"2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 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. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways" (Haggai 1:2-7).

The dissatisfaction in Israel at the time of Haggai is now expressed throughout our country. God could say to his own people now, "Consider your ways."

The words of Jesus from Matthew 6:31-33 still apply today. "31 Therefore take no thought [anxious worry], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:31-33).

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This is the Day

Psalm 118:24
Jun 22, 2008

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

When you awake and face a new day, consider these truths from the word of God about each day.

Our text in Psalm 118 shows that this day is a gracious gift from the hand of the LORD. This day is a time to rejoice and to be glad.

This day is a time to speak of the LORD. "My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof" (Psalm 71:15).

Value this day because you have no sure promise of tomorrow. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).

This day is a good day for the gospel message to be given to some lost soul that needs the LORD. "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

This day brings us one day closer to the return of our Lord and Savior. "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Romans 13:11). The word "salvation" in this verse refers to our deliverance from this sinful world. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light" (Romans 13:12).

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Instructions for Fathers

Ephesians 6:4
Jun 15, 2008

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

Please consider these Biblical principles that are connected to this command from the Lord. We learn from the book of Genesis that the LORD God instituted the first marriage when He joined Adam and Eve as husband and wife. Ephesians chapter five shows us the proper loving relationship in the family. Children are a blessing from the LORD. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward" (Psalm 127:3). In giving the law to Israel, Moses gave the command, "Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 32:46). God's commands are always good and beneficial for the family.

Ephesians 6:4 has a negative part: "provoke not your children to wrath." These words have this meaning "Do not anger and irritate by vexations, unreasonable commands and blame, and by uncertain temper." Colossians 3:21 has this same command with these additional words: "lest they be discouraged."

In contrast to the negative part of Ephesians 6:4, we have this positive command. "But bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." These words indicate a personal loving guidance by the father into the discipline and instruction of the way of the Lord.

What a priceless blessing is the father who will love and train his children in the true Christian life!

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The Lord Knows Your Heart

I Samuel 16:7
Jun 08, 2008

"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). These words were spoken to Samuel when he had looked on an older brother of David and though that this man, Eliab, was surely the next king of Israel. God in his power and wisdom can see right into your inner being. God can see your real character. "Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21). This same truth is taught in the New Testament. "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4).

When God looks into the heart of a lost person, he sees evil in the heart. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).

God can also bring conviction to the heart as he did with Lydia in the city of Philippi.

"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul" (Acts 16:14).

When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, your heart is changed, cleansed, and purified by his grace. "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them [Jews and Gentiles], purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:8-9).

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Jun 01, 2008

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."

One of the hymns in our songbook, "In Spirit and in Truth," is "Saved, Saved!" (number 253). These beautiful words are in the chorus.

Saved by his power divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I'm saved, saved, saved!

All of Isaiah 12 shows us a joyful song of praise for the blessings of salvation. The joy of God's salvation is taught in verse three "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Jesus also used the figure of water from Jacob's well as a picture of everlasting salvation. In John 4:14, Jesus said, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Notice these words in verse one: "...though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me." The same message of deliverance from the anger and wrath of God is found in Romans 5:9. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

If we go through a day without joy in our heart for God's salvation, it would be good for us to offer up this prayer of Psalm 51:12: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."

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The House of the Lord

Psalm 122:1
May 18, 2008

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD" (Psalm 122:1).

This verse shows us the right attitude about the church services that we have the privilege to attend. When this verse was written, the tabernacle of Israel was called the house of God. Later in the days of Solomon, the temple in Jerusalem was built, and that temple was called the house of God.

Jesus entered into the temple of God in Jerusalem and cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple. He said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Matthew 21:12-13). Notice that he called the temple, MY HOUSE.

Paul wrote to Timothy, the young preacher, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). This verse does not refer to a man-made building but the body of disciples that make up a local New Testament church.

Involved in the very definition of the word CHURCH is the idea that the disciples in one of the Lord's churches will assemble, congregate, meet together and conduct services.

The Lord has given us a command about coming together for the church service. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

With Psalm 122:1 in mind, our attitude about God's house should be "I eagerly look forward to meeting together with my brethren in Christ where it will be a joy to study God's word, sing songs of praise to God, pray with God's people and worship my heavenly Father in spirit and in truth."

[Originally appeared in bulletin on October 9, 2005]

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Under the Wings of the Lord

Ruth 2:12
May 11, 2008

"The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust."

The first chapter of the book of Ruth tells of the famine in the town of Bethlehem that caused Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and her two sons to go to the land of Moab. Great sorrow came to this family. Elimelech died, and two sons died after they were married. When Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, she tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to return to their own families. Ruth’s answer is given in this wonderful statement: "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me" (Ruth 1:16).

The words of Ruth to Naomi and the words of Boaz (Ruth 2:12) show us that Ruth did trust the LORD God of Israel. She is described as a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11).

By God’s loving care, Boaz and Ruth were brought together. Notice the compassion and concern that Boaz shows to Ruth when she comes to his field to harvest barley (Ruth 2:5-17). He is a kinsman of the family of Elimelech and soon makes arrangements to redeem the property of Elimelech. The greatest blessing that Boaz received from the LORD was that Ruth became his wife. The words of Proverbs 31:10 can be used to apply to Ruth. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."

God blessed their marriage with a son, Obed, who became the grandfather of King David, and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

A blessed place of trust for any woman or any mother is under the wings of the LORD God of Israel.

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Through His Name

Acts 10:43
May 04, 2008

"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."

To help us understand the importance of the expression "through his name" in Acts 10:43, we can examine several other verses in Acts that refer to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:21, we have: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." In Acts 4:12, we learn "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

In Acts 5:14-41, we can see blessings and persecution coming to the church in Jerusalem. "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women" (Acts 5:14). The Apostles were arrested, put in the common prison, beaten, and then commanded "that they should not speak in the name of Jesus" (Acts 5:40). "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).

When the Apostle Peter spoke to all those gathered at the home of Cornelius and gave them the wonderful gospel message, he explained that all of God’s prophets in Old Testament times also preached a message of forgiveness by believing in the Savior.

When Peter said, "through his name," he did not mean that they were just to speak the name of Jesus. The words of Acts 10:43 speak of trusting, receiving, believing in the authority, character, majesty, power, and excellence of everything in the person described by the name.

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Lord, Open Our Eyes

2 Kings 6:8, 15-17
Apr 27, 2008

By Jeffery K. Barron

The Lord’s churches have a mission today that is greater than any other, and that mission is to share his Word and stand for his Truth. However, it seems today that it is so difficult to tell others about Jesus. It is as if no one wants to hear what the Bible says. However, Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." What if we do look, but we still can’t see it? What if we don’t recognize the opportunities that Jesus was talking about?

There was a time during the ministry of Elisha, the man of God, when "the king of Syria warred against Israel" (2 Kings 6:8). The king of Syria sent "horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about" (2 Kings 6:14).

Elisha’s servant, "was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?" (2 Kings 6:15). The city was surrounded, and it looked to Elisha’s servant like there was no way to win. After his servant had asked Elisha what they were going to do, Elisha responded, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16). Elisha’s servant looked around and saw no way that Elisha could be right. It was clear to him that they were outnumbered.

Elisha prayed, "LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see" (2 Kings 6:17). At that moment, "the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

Let us pray that the Lord will open our eyes so that we can see the fields ready to harvest. "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (Psalm 119:18).

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For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is Settled in Heaven

Psalm 119:89
Apr 20, 2008

"For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."

Psalm 119 has one hundred seventy six verses and is the longest division in the Bible. It is divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses each and is arranged in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses in Hebrew begin with the Hebrew Aleph, the next eight verses begin with the Hebrew Beth, and continues in order for all verses.

Each verse teaches us about God’s word, God’s law, God’s commandments, God’s testimony, God’s precepts, etc.

Verse 89 uses the word "settled" to describe the Word of God. The Hebrew word "Natsab" used here is also translated "to stand," "to establish," and "to set up" as a pillar. The Word of God stands firm, is unshaken, and is trustworthy.

In this world of spiritual darkness, the Word of God shows us the right way. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). The Word of God is sweet when life turns bitter. "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes." The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:7-11).

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

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Growth in the Lord's First Church

Acts 2:41-42
Apr 13, 2008

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

The body of disciples who had "continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (Acts 1:14) after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ numbered about one hundred and twenty (Acts 1:15). We can correctly call this body of disciples "the Lord’s church." When we study all the scriptures of the New Testament that inform us about the word "church," we learn that the Lord’s church is a local visible body of saved baptized disciples who are united in a covenant under the leadership of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this church (Greek: ekklesia) is to assemble for regular services and to work together to fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). This first church had its beginning during the personal ministry when Christ called together the first small company of disciples. In John 1:29-49, we learn that this small company, which consisted of Andrew, James, John, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael, had first been disciples of John the Baptist. Men and women were added to the number during the earthly ministry of Christ. Jesus Christ was the head, the chief Shepherd, and the pastor. The first special office in the church was the office of apostle.

Some of the basic principles in the growth of the Lord’s first church are:

  1. The true message of salvation was taught by Christ and his disciples throughout all the region of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.
  2. Disciples were made and baptized (Acts 2:41 and John 4:1-2) "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples [did baptize])." Please note: Baptism was not necessary to salvation but it was an essential part of identification and participation in the fellowship of the first church.
  3. The membership of saved baptized disciples continued "stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). These early church members were faithful in their responsibilities. This is a very good example for us today.

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An Examination of the Word "For" in Acts 2:38

Acts 2:38
Apr 06, 2008

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

We use the word "for" in these two different ways. We might say, "Go to the store for groceries." We are using the word to mean "to obtain" or "to get." If that is the meaning in Acts 2:38, then baptism is a condition of receiving the remission of sins, and those who teach that you must be baptized in order to be saved are teaching correctly. However, that would contradict the answer of Paul to the Philippian jailor in Acts 16:31. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

Consider another way that we use the word "for." We might say, "John is laughing for happiness." The word "for" is then used to mean "because of" or "as a result of." The baptism of Acts 2:38 is then "because of" the remission of sins. The remission of sins comes first, and then the saved person follows the Lord in baptism. This is the correct way of interpreting Acts 2:38 and is in harmony with all the scriptures that teach salvation by grace through faith.

In Matthew 12:41, we find the word "at" which is translated from the Greek word "eis" from which we translate the word "for" in Acts 2:38. Jesus said that the men of Nineveh "repented at the preaching of Jonas." The men did not repent to obtain, to get, or to receive the preaching of Jonah (Jonas is translated from the Greek form of Jonah). They repented because of, as a result of, and on account of the preaching of Jonah.

According to Acts 2:38, baptism is not the means of salvation, but it is the act of obedience for one who has first repented and received the remission of sins.

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The Ministry of Jesus Christ Continues

Hebrews 9:24
Mar 30, 2008

"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

After his glorious resurrection, Jesus Christ spent forty days meeting with and teaching his disciples (Acts 1:3). He gave this promise and this responsibility to his church. "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). After Jesus spoke these words, "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). We know from Hebrews 9:24 and Acts 2:33 that Jesus Christ entered into heaven where he now intercedes for us at the right hand of God the Father.

His ministry in this world continues through his authorized representatives, his churches. His churches are working under his commission, in his name, and by his power. His churches should be careful to do his work just as he instructed because Jesus Christ is the Lord and Master.

His ministry in heaven continues as our High Priest, our Mediator and our Advocate. Because he is our High Priest, we can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16) . Because he is our Mediator, we can "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6). Because he is our Advocate we can come in confession of our sins with full assurance that God will forgive us (I John 1:9-2:2).

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Victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ

I Corinthians 15:57
Mar 23, 2008

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians is devoted to the subject of the resurrection. In verses 4-8, the absolute truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is established by many witnesses. In verses 1-3, the resurrection of Christ is shown to be an essential part of the true gospel message. Then in verses 12-19, Paul uses supposition to show the awful consequences that would follow if Christ did not come forth from the grave in his glorified resurrected body.

If Christ be not risen then:

  • Our preaching is vain
  • Your faith is vain
  • We are false witnesses
  • Ye are yet in your sins
  • Those who have died have perished
  • We have no hope
  • We are of all men most miserable

We then have the positive statement that this supposition is not true. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (Verse 20).

Our faith is anchored in the solid truth that Christ is risen from the dead. Our hope for the future is based on God’s immutable promises. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (Verse 52-53).

Our service to God is encouraged by this promise: "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" (Verse 58).

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Music in Heaven

Revelation 5:8-14
Mar 16, 2008

"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, 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; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."

"And they sung a new song, saying, 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" (Verse 9). This book in the right hand of the One on the throne is a legal document, a deed that gives title to an eternal inheritance. Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, the Lamb of God, was the only one able to open the book. This indicates that our eternal inheritance is made possible only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus opened the book, a glorious song was sung around the throne of God. This song was a song of redemption through the blood. Redemption is connected to forgiveness and grace and means that we are purchased out of the slave market of sin and given liberty in Jesus Christ. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7). These musicians did not give credit to man"s righteousness, faithfulness, or good works because these things cannot produce eternal salvation.

This song is a song of praise to the One on the throne and to the Lamb as we see in verse 13. "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

This song shows us that the death of Jesus Christ was for "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Verse 9). We learn this same truth from Hebrews 2:9. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

Will you be in that number, praising God for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ?

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False Witness Against Jesus Christ

Mark 14:55-58
Mar 09, 2008

"And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands."

The One who is described as "the faithful witness" (Rev. 1:5) and who described himself as "the truth" (John 14:6) now faced an illegal, unjust trial. The vehement hatred of the Sanhedrin council and the chief priests against Jesus caused a violation of one of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (Exodus 20:16).

From the words of Jesus in John 10:17-18, we learn that he freely gave his life for us, and no man could take his life. We also learn from Acts 2:23 that the events of this trial came about according to the "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." We see in the trial and unlawful sentence of Christ that wicked sinful men are held accountable to God, even though God uses their wickedness to fulfill his purpose.

Proverbs 6:17-19 shows us that God hates a lying tongue and a false witness that speaks lies. Our witness for Christ is to be truthful and loving. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). There are so many wonderful things that we can say about his character, his life, his teaching, his gospel, his salvation, and his power. We need to spend our whole life being a true witness for Jesus Christ.

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The Agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-44
Mar 02, 2008

"Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:38-39).

The following outline of our text verses is from the book, The Fountain of Life, a selection of sermons by the English pastor, John Flavel (1630-1691).

  1. The place where this remarkable prayer was poured out to God was the garden of Gethsemane, which signifies the valley of fatness, or of olives. Christ went not into this garden to hide or shelter himself from his enemies. This was the place where Jesus was accustomed to pray, and a place well known to Judas.
  2. The time when he entered into this garden to pray was the shutting in of the evening; for it was after the passover and the supper were ended. It is thought that he went into the garden between the hours of nine and ten, and was taken by the Roman soldiers at about midnight, thus he had about two or three hours to pour out his soul to his Father.
  3. The matter about which he prayed is indicated in these words, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). By the cup, understand that portion of sorrows then to be given to him by his Father. Great afflictions and bitter trials are frequently expressed in Scripture under the metaphor of a cup. "Thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out" (Isaiah 51:17). Such a cup was now Christ"s cup, a cup of wrath; a large and deep cup, that contained more wrath than ever was drunk by any creature, even the wrath of an infinite God. A mixed cup, mixed with God’s wrath and man"s in the extremity. And all with bitter aggravating circumstances that ever could be imagined; great consternation and amazement; this was the portion of his cup.

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The Night Cometh When No Man Can Work

John 9:4-5
Feb 24, 2008

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Jesus Christ was about thirty years of age when he was baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:21-23). Shortly thereafter, he began his public ministry. His ministry was relatively short, only about three years until his crucifixion and resurrection.

Those three years were full of history-changing events. He traveled to villages and towns throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. He taught in the synagogues, in the streets, in homes, from ships, along the seashore, and on the mountainsides. He called out his first disciples to assist him in his ministry. With these disciples who had first worked with John the Baptist, and who had been baptized by John, Jesus established his first New Testament church. He prepared his first church to fulfill his commission to take the gospel to all people. He preached with love and compassion to sinners. He won new converts to saving faith. When necessary, he rebuked and warned the self-righteous Pharisees.

Jesus wasted no time. Each day was important in his work. He had a commission from his Father, and there was urgency about his ministry. Remember his words to his own disciples in John 4:35, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?" Jesus Christ is our Savior and our example. We need to carefully study his every word. We need his love, his compassion, and his urgent attitude.

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:14-16).

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The Field is the World

Matthew 13:38
Feb 17, 2008

"The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one."

Jesus gave important lessons to his disciples using parables. In Matthew 13, we read these parables: (a) The Sower, (b) The Wheat and Tares, (c) The Mustard Seed, (d) The Leaven Hid, (e) The Goodly Pearls, and (f) The Fish Net. I would summarize some of the teachings of these parables in this way. God’s will is that the message of the gospel and the other lessons of the inspired Bible are to be sown in this whole world to all people. This commission is given in Mark 16:15 in these words: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." When you study the first two parables of Matthew 13, you will see that the enemy, Satan, will fight and work against this mission of the Lord’s true disciples.

As a New Testament church which is committed to the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), we have great responsibilities, great opportunities, and great power given by the Lord to do the work. One area of our work is the entire Denver metro area. In this area, we have many lost people who need eternal salvation, many people who are saved and need the fellowship and instruction in the Lord’s church, and some who have been active in the Lord’s work in the past but have drifted away and need to be reclaimed for God’s kingdom. (Read about those in Matthew 13:22 who have let the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and have become unfruitful.)

We have been greatly blessed in supporting the God-called, church-sent, dedicated missionaries in Romania and Mongolia. Soon, Brother Mike Rogers and his family will be moving from Romania to the country of Moldova, east of Romania. My prayer is that we will be able to help in this new work as Brother Rogers sows the seed of God’s wonderful Bible message in this country. Based on Matthew 13, we can be sure that Satan will work against him all the way. God can overcome all that Satan throws against him (James 4:7 and I John 4:4).

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God’s Promises Do Not Fail

I Kings 8:56
Feb 10, 2008

"Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant."

This verse was spoken by Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, when the ark of the covenant was placed in the most holy place under the wings of the cherubims. (I Kings 8:6) The entire chapter emphasizes the wonderful blessings of God on the nation and assures the people that God always keeps his promises.

The fact that God keeps his promises is the sure foundation for confidence, faith, assurance, and trust in the LORD. Abraham is described as a man of faith. Verses that describe his faith are Romans 4:20-21. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."

We can know and understand God’s promises and thus trust his promises by accepting the inspired word of God, the Bible. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

There are many promises made in the word of God to the lost sinner. Two sure promises that the lost person can consider are: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"" (Acts 16:31). "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). Jesus Christ also gave us an example of one man"s simple prayer when he called upon the Lord. "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).

Two sure promises for God’s people are: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Why would we ever doubt even one word of God’s promises?

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The Call to the Gospel Ministry

II Timothy 1:11
Feb 03, 2008

"Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."

The week of February 3 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the time when I sat in a service in Starkville (where I was attending Mississippi State University) and said in my heart, "Yes, Lord, I will give my life to you as a preacher of the gospel." A few days later, I explained my decision to my mom and dad. I then drove over to the home of Brother Claude A. Walker, my pastor at Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church. He was a wonderful, dedicated man of God who gave me much encouragement and support. He was getting ready to attend a revival meeting in Bogalusa, Louisiana, so I traveled with him and spent about an hour with Brother Bob Nusco, the pastor there, who offered valuable advice about the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock. The following Sunday morning, I announced my call to the church and was asked to preach my first sermon that night. Early, early, on Monday morning, I was on a Trailways bus headed for the Seminary in Little Rock.

One of my first classes was Ministerial Practicalities taught by Dr. L.D. Foreman, another great man of God. The following quote is from his book used in that class. This quote expresses my own experience of the call to preach.

"What is the call to preach? "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God"" (Ephesians 3:7) Perhaps no man on earth can give a better answer to this question than the Apostle Paul when he said, "Woe is me if I preach not" (I Cor. 9:16). God does not speak to us in audible tones as He did before the Bible was completed. Besides the Bible to instruct us, the Spirit of God places in the conscience of a man the desire to preach. He feels that God wants him to preach. Seeing the multitudes, he is moved with compassion for them. He knows that they are helpless, damned to an eternal hell. He knows that he has the very message that they need. His own soul has been set free from the snares of the devil and the love of God has been placed therein. This desire can be satisfied only by a complete surrender to the Lord. We believe that God has a place in His vineyard for all of his people, but none of these have the divine appointment, such as received of the gospel minister."

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The New Birth, the Renewing of the Mind, and the Resurrected New Body

John 3:3, Romans 12:2, I Corinthians 15:42-44
Jan 27, 2008

The three scriptures that appear above show us that the power of God will finally bring each child of God to full deliverance from the curse of sin. We will then know the fulfillment of the promise of I John 3:2. "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."

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). When a person is saved by grace through faith (born anew, born from above, and becomes a new creation in Christ), that person is delivered from the penalty of sin. That deliverance involves being delivered from condemnation (John 3:18), delivered from the second death (Revelation 20:6), and delivered from the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

After a person is saved, the new nature, which is from the Spirit of God, is in conflict with the old nature of the flesh. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17). In this battle, which is also described in Romans chapter 7, we need understanding of the Word of God, (II Timothy 2:15) we need to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, (II Peter 3:18) and we need strength in the inner man (II Corinthians 4:16). The understanding, growth, and strength are available to each child of God according to Romans 12:2. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

The final step in our deliverance from the curse of sin is that blessed day when Christ shall raise these mortal bodies in the glorious resurrection. "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power" (I Cor. 15:42-43).

Come to Jesus Christ through faith. Only in Him can you have victory over the curse of sin.

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He Saved Us by the Washing of Regeneration and Renewing of the Holy Ghost

Titus 3:5
Jan 20, 2008

The lost person is described as "foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another" (Titus 3:3).

This terrible sinful condition required a change in our heart, soul and spirit that was beyond our power. This change could not be accomplished by any good works (Titus 3:5). This change was beyond the power of our flesh or will (John 1:13).

This change required a new birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). This new birth made us "partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). This new birth made us a "new creature [creation]" in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). By this new birth, we are now in the family of God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). By this new birth, we now have "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). By this new birth, we can now love God and love other people. The Holy Spirit now dwells in us (Romans 8:11). The physical body of the born again child of God is now the temple of the Holy Ghost. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19).

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). This verse shows us that this wonderful inward change, this regeneration, is by the power of the Holy Ghost. This change is available by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

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Passed from Death unto Life

John 5:24
Jan 13, 2008

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Another scripture that uses the word "death" or "dead" to describe the spiritual condition of a lost person is Ephesians 2:1. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Notice also the phrase "being alienated from the life of God" found in Ephesians 4:18.

These three scriptures teach us that a lost person does not possess eternal life, which is received as a gift of God at the new birth.

We must be careful not to make an exact parallel in comparing physical death with the condition of being dead in trespasses and sins. When a person dies, he will still have consciousness in either heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31). However, when one is physically dead, his dead body cannot hear any thing, cannot respond in any way to stimuli, cannot make any decisions, cannot express any emotion, and cannot have any concerns about his physical condition. Jesus raised a man who was physically dead (Luke 7:11-15). This man was one hundred percent passive in that transaction.

Now consider the wonderful lesson of the blind man in John 9. He was lost, yet he was blessed by the Lord by having his sight restored. He was able to listen to the voice of Jesus when Jesus asked, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" (John 9:35). He was able to respond to that question with this question. "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" (John 9:36). Jesus answered, "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee." (John 9:37). That man then responded, "Lord, I believe" (John 9:38). Based on the promise of John 5:24, we believe that this man passed from death unto life. He was not completely passive in his conversation with Jesus but was interactive.

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Only One Way to Eternal Salvation

John 14:6
Jan 06, 2008

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). God’s inspired Word teaches that throughout the Old Testament times, the New Testament times, and even now, access into Christ, by whom we have eternal salvation, is by faith. Consider these seven scriptures that show the one plan of salvation.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life " (John 5:24).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).

"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).

"And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:9).

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).

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